The Three Walls that Separate the Church

For the past five years, our church h has been connecting church life and home life using a process we call Faith Breakthroughs.  A Faith Breakthrough is a turning point when a person intentionally moves beyond spiritual barriers to the blessings God has promised.  There is no doubt that our walks with God were never intended to take place in one building on Sundays; yet a large proportion of American Christians find themselves stuck in their faith when it comes to real-life transformation.

The process of a Faith Breakthrough begins with identifying specific “walls” that are holding back the believer.  These walls are barriers of unbelief that keep us from living the life God intended.  Walls are not circumstances, as the Scripture makes it clear that Christ Followers overcame all sorts of circumstances.  Instead, walls of unbelief take the shape of bad attitudes, unhealthy choices, and rebellious acts – all of which hold us back from the abundant life for which we were made.  We’ve seen walls of resentment, of doubt, of anger, of greed, and many more.

We have also seen God tear those walls down, and He always uses the same weapon.  Walls are built by unbelief, and walls are destroyed through a process of believing God’s promises!

Not only do walls hold back people, there is evidence in Scripture that walls can hold back churches as well.  Laodicea faced a wall of pride.  Pergamum faced a wall of compromise.
They are not alone: most congregations have dealt with the reality of unbelief – and the barriers it causes.  These walls keep them trapped inside their internal programs and agendas – distracted by unimportant things that matter little in eternity.  These walls also isolate individual congregations from the Church as a Whole – the Body of Christ in Austin and beyond.

And just as the principle of Walls extends to churches, the principle of Faith Breakthroughs does as well.  The same antidote is available to every congregation: the power of God’s promises.

Almost every pastor I speak to in Austin understands the need for the Body of Christ to cooperate in reaching our City with the Gospel.  No one expects that all of our unique doctrines need to be set aside in order for that to happen; yet we often fail to see progress, I believe, because of the invisible walls that separate.  When I look at the New Testament, I see evidence of three primary walls that churches must address:

  1. The Wall of Pride. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul addressed the controversy of the church having moved into “factions” – with some following the teachings of Paul and some Apollos.  The Scripture is clear that we should guard against any teaching that contradicts Scripture, but is likewise clear that spiritual arrogance on non-essential differences is inappropriate.  As Paul summarized his argument in verse 18, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.”  The wall of pride is overcome by God’s promise that we will be grateful to God, and humble to one another, when we trust Him and focus on the foundations of our faith.  (1 Corinthians 4:6).
  1. The Wall of Prejudice. James 2 warns the church against showing favoritism based on economic status, but prejudice extends far beyond this example.  Churches can fall into the trap of prejudice based on education, culture, race, or even location.  In his teaching to the disciples in Matthew 7, Christ demonstrated the connection between our prayers to the Father and our treatment of others.  In verses 7-12, He expressed that the Father stands ready to meet our needs, and that we in turn ought to seek the needs of others:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

  1. The Wall of Self-Absorption. Macedonia, commended for their generosity in 2 Corinthians 8, was used as the positive example of what happened when a church chooses to see beyond their own needs and look outward.  Paul was challenging the Corinthian believer to do the same, and avoid the temptation to pull inward and “sow sparingly.”  Ephesus: The Wall of Indifference.  This is a failure of the church to recognize God’s greatness, and to worship Him with passion.  This wall is overcome by God’s promise to the church to meet our needs when we abound in good works.  Galatians 6 gives God’s promise to overcome this wall: that if we are steadfast in good deeds, we will reap a harvest if we will not give up.

We cannot tear down walls until we acknowledge that they exist.  But once we are willing to admit that these struggles face all of our churches, then we can truly begin to walk in the promises God has given.  Imagine the possibilities if the Body moved passed these barriers?

–         What would happen if my church began to express the gratitude and humility of a childlike faith – recognizing that any wisdom we have been given is as that of a child, and extending grace to those who differ on the non-essentials of the faith?

–         What would happen if we began to acknowledge our own pre-suppositions about others, and sought their needs as God has sought ours?

–         What would happen if we looked outside of our own needs, and really tried to understand the deeper needs around us and among our extended brethren?

I pray that we could see that day come about, and I long to see it happen in Austin.  Never before has the harvest been so plentiful as it is in our own nation right now.  And yet the Bible shares over and over again that our first witness to the world is the supernatural way in which we love one another in the Body of Christ.  May it begin as we claim God’s promises for His church!  And let the wall come down!

2 Responses to “The Three Walls that Separate the Church”

  1. Vida March 22, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Very well put…I’m camping out on this one phrase, ” most congregations have dealt with the reality of unbelief – and the barriers it causes. These walls keep them trapped inside their internal programs and agendas – distracted by unimportant things that matter little in eternity. ” How very true across this country, that not only are churches self-absorbed, but focused on things that really do not matter to eternity.
    May God continue to bless you as you lead this congregation as God so moves on your heart.

  2. Nancy Cushman August 31, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    While I was listening to your conversation about “Ground Zero” some scriptures came to mind about worship. In Acts 2:12-14 it is very clear that the power of God came upon the 120 who were worshipping “in one accord”. It was not a mixture of religions, but devoted and obedient believers. This is the reason I would not join such an assembly. Also, the Bible says that when 2 or 3 are gathered “in His name”, that is Jesus Christ, He is there in the midst of us. The best scenario for people to be effective is to congregate in one accord, in His name. This other assembly seems to be an imposter of the real deal. Close, but no cigar. There are times when people gather to hear Jesus’ message and seek Him for healing, but not as a group of a multi-religious assembly. The good news is that God knows those who are His. We are to be a light to a dying world, but only according to scriptural standards. Ground Zero does not seem to meet the standards that Jesus would attend. Praise the Lord. His Wisdom is pure from above. Thank you for “listening”. Nancy

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Start your faith breakthrough now!
The spiritual barriers people face are countless, but they can be categorized into Eight Primary Walls. These walls correlate with the 8 primary breakthroughs that everyone needs.
1 of 48
I have been wronged in the past in a way I cannot get over.
2 of 48
I worry that God is angry with me.
3 of 48
I have witnessed things that make me wonder if God is in control.
4 of 48
It troubles me that God has not answered my prayers.
5 of 48
I believe God loves me in spite of who I am.
6 of 48
I don't believe anyone can ever know what is absolutely true.
7 of 48
I spend too much of my energy pursuing material things.
8 of 48
I believe God is loving and kind.
9 of 48
People who have hurt me in the past cause me to avoid some relationships today.
10 of 48
I try to avoid temptations that would bring me harm.
11 of 48
I am so busy that I find myself ignoring the most important things in my life.
12 of 48
I tend to expect the worst to happen.
13 of 48
I worry about the problems that the future holds.
14 of 48
It humbles me to think I can know God.
15 of 48
I feel I can turn to God for direction.
16 of 48
I find myself more focused on the things I don't have but wish I did.
17 of 48
When bad things happen, I feel like I am getting what I deserve.
18 of 48
I believe the Bible has answers for today's circumstances.
19 of 48
I believe God is willing and able to answer my prayers.
20 of 48
I feel compelled to make the world around me better.
21 of 48
My faith practices are more about routine than relationship.
22 of 48
I am willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for something better down the road.
23 of 48
When looking back on my life, I tend to focus on all of the things I did wrong.
24 of 48
I have too many of my own problems to deal with the problems of others.
25 of 48
I feel there is a disconnect between who I really am and how I act in front of other people.
26 of 48
The possibility of gaining a good friend is worth the risk.
27 of 48
I find myself drawn to things I know are bad for me.
28 of 48
I am willing to serve others for nothing in return.
29 of 48
I have a hard time trusting people.
30 of 48
I am grateful for the things I have been given.
31 of 48
I have to guard against judging people when I learn they are dealing with tough circumstances.
32 of 48
I am confident God has forgiven me for my past.
33 of 48
When bad things happen, I wonder if God can make things better.
34 of 48
I believe God wants what is best for me.
35 of 48
I am amazed at God's power.
36 of 48
I question why God allowed certain things to happen in my life.
37 of 48
I feel with God's help, I can face any situation.
38 of 48
I know a lot of people, but don't feel very close to many people.
39 of 48
I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
40 of 48
I look forward to good things in my future.
41 of 48
I think God cares about the details of my life.
42 of 48
I think that God will meet all my needs.
43 of 48
I believe truth is the same for everyone.
44 of 48
People would describe me as a giving person.
45 of 48
I am intentionally seeking to grow in my relationships with others.
46 of 48
I observe things that make me wonder if I should believe the Bible.
47 of 48
I feel strong relationships are hard, but worth it.
48 of 48
When I am facing a difficult situation, I feel like I can solve problems on my own.
Great you have finished the evaluation.
Ready to see the results?