I get Facebook friend requests from Christians in Africa and India on a regular basis. I have no idea how many of those actually read my posts. If any of them do, then I want to announce to them that this is a great time for the church. We have turned the church, which is supposed to be a family (1 Tim. 3:15; Gal. 6:10) into an institution with a teacher and a bunch of students. Hebrews say we all should be becoming teachers (end of ch. 5).
REMEMBER: This does not mean go off and teach your own doctrines. It means learning about one another so you can provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25). The PURPOSE of the Scriptures, according to 2 Tim. 3:16-17, is to equip men of God (and women of God) for love and good works. It only works though if we are teaching, correcting, admonishing, and instructing in righteousness using the Scriptures.
Serve and teach, friends, not with crazy, new doctrines, but with encouragement to obey Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. “A good understanding,” says the Scripture, “have all those who DO his commandments” (Ps. 111:10). That is Old Testament, but the New Testament says that God blesses only the doers, not just the hearers (James 1). It also says that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him (Acts 5:32) and eternal salvation to those who obey him (Heb. 5:8-9).
All my friends (that I respect so much) want me to remind you that obedience is the product of faith in Jesus. Without him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). It is by the Spirit that we fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law (Rom. 8:3-4) and put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13). So there’s your reminder about the source of all our good works. Now, go work out your salvation with fear and trembling because it is God (not your church membership) that works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure. Seek God, get empowered, then overflow to those around you so that they are so filled with Jesus, or maybe convicted by the Holy Spirit, that they obey our loving Lord, who makes our yoke easy, but nonetheless puts a yoke on us (Matt. 11:30).
Remember, provoke to love and good works (Heb. 11:24), don’t spend time on doctrines you think you understand, but really don’t. It is LOVE and good works. Unity matters. Quit trying to create a separated, elite level of Christianity that the weak cannot be part of. Encourage the weak, and comfort the fainthearted (1 Thes. 5:14). Yes, we also need to “warn the unruly” (same verse), but that is the unruly, those that cause miserable problems in the church. Those that are simple doing what they are told, showing up Sunday after Sunday, but still confused as how to serve and grow, are not the unruly. They are fainthearted because they have never been TRAINED to be bold for Jesus. Help and comfort those people, if they will let you.