(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Ever have someone yell this to you? It’s a little disconcerting as you’re driving along the road and a squirrel runs out in front of you. All of a sudden your focus on moving forward down the road is distracted by a little critter that sometimes has a hard time determining if it wants to cross the road or return back to the side from which it came.
Sometimes that doesn’t end well for the squirrel.
Squirrels are distractions to our focus of driving. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, not all that serious. However, when we are talking about the Church, distraction from our focus is so important.
Satan loves to put the “squirrels” in the church to distract us from the main thing.
Consider this. Our key verse for this week is Ephesians 4:15: “Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Paul was encouraging the Christians in Ephesus to stay focused…on the Word (“speak the truth in love”) and on the work of Christ (helping people grow in there connection to and relationship with Christ).
Now consider this written a number of years later by the Apostle John about the church in Ephesus.
Revelation 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
The church in Ephesus was distracted from their “first love” … their connection to the Words and work of Jesus. What was the distraction? It seems like the legalism of the law had overtaken their love for sharing and living God’s grace.
Satan loves to distract the church. It can be with an overabundance of energy spent on paint colors and flooring discussions (and sometimes heated debates). It can be with a division over worship styles and practices. It can be focusing on fixing the politics of a country or fixing the behavior of a community. All these have purpose and seem noble, but all of them can be agents of Satan to distract us from what is most important:
First: Growing in the Words of Jesus – maturing in our faith:
2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Second: Being ready and willing to bring God’s message of grace to people.
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Every generation, every group of Christians must be on the alert for the “squirrels” that can run through the Church. Deal with the distraction quickly, but don’t let it wreck your focus on what is at the heart of the Church: God’s Word and God’s Work!
Apply: What “squirrels” are running through your church right now? How can you be part of fixing or removing the distraction so the ministry can focus more intently on bringing the Word of God to people and doing the Work of God?
Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
curb those who by deceit or sword
would wrest the kingdom from your Son
and bring to naught all he has done.
Lord Jesus Christ, your pow’r make known,
for you are Lord of lords alone;
defend your holy church, that we
may sing your praise triumphantly.
O Comforter of priceless worth,
send peace and unity on earth;
support us in our final strife,
and lead us out of death to life.