Should the Church Demand Performance?

Now let’s be a little more specific in what I mean. I just finished reading a chapter in a book about discipleship, and the chapter encouraged the church (as an organization) to, “Expect the best from believers.” It meant that when the church needed to set demands for its members to meet, and if they did not meet them, they should be condemned. The idea based on studies that showed that, “demand evokes commitment.”

I hate waiting for the end of the book, post, or chapter to find the answer. So, I am going to answer the question. The answer is no, the church should not demand its people to perform. This takes time with people. The church is there to walk people through their problems. The church is there to build each other up, not tear down each other when we fail. Does this mean that we let people live immorally? No, we should talk to them about it, but condemnation is not the answer.

The church, as a whole, has placed so much emphasis on our performance.  When new people come and hear our messages they say, “They are all hypocrites.” They call us hypocrites because we have sermons on self-performance when we have no ability in self.

I love what Martin Luther, the protestant reformation leader, had to say about the Law of Moses. He said, “Ay, beloved Moses, I hear that plainly, and it is certainly a righteous command; but pray tell me whence shall I obtain ability to do what, alas, I never have done nor can do?” I know it is a bit wordy because it was written so long ago, but if I can translate, he is saying is the Law demands from bankrupt man, and it does not lift a finger or give the ability to keep or fulfill the law. We cannot look to the law as if it helps us. It does not help at all. If anything it makes it worse.

“Ridiculous! God gave us the law to keep us from immorality!”

Now, what does the Bible say? Why did the law come? The Bible says, “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were” (Rom. 5:20) (NLT). I am not interested in people’s opinions about why God gave the law; all I need to know is what the scripture say. 1 Corinthians 15:56 says that, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” The power of sin is not in grace, it is in the law. Does that mean that the law is useless? No, it is meant for it’s purpose, to bring us to Christ. So requirements do not make us better people because if they did, then Israel would have been very moral, but they were not.. Only the cross can change our behavior.

The ability is IN Christ; when we demand from bankrupt man to preform, it is a lost cause, but if we can preach more messages about how we love because he first loved us, we will see people doing great things for God. Paul never said in his letters to the churches, “Husbands, Love you wives,” period. He wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Notice the difference? Christ is the reason we do things. We don’t do good works to receive God’s blessing, but we do good works because God has already given us blessings, freely.

So, should the church demand that people preform or else? No, the church is here to help people get out of the power of sin. Grace is the power to overcome sin. Praise the Lord.

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).



Photo credit: Marian Trinidad/

Categories: The Church | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Should the Church Demand Performance?

  1. I see your page needs some fresh & unique articles.
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  2. T

    This explains a lot….Watch it and share.

    • Hello T, I watched the video and I am familiar with, “Way of the Master.” I believe the law should be used for people to understand their need for a Saviour. Like many in the videos of the way of the master, they realize they are not good enough and need Jesus. But the Law is the diagnosis not the solution. So we must remember that bringing the law back after someone is Saved mixes the two Covenants, and the the focus is Jesus. 🙂

  3. james macahig

    Heb 10:24 we are told to not forsake or cease the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    1 Co 14:26 “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.”

  4. Good post Caleb. To take it further we can also look at the messages that are being preached today that add man made requirements/commandments to peoples lives. I read an article a few weeks ago by a well known pastor of one of the largest churches in the US. The article was on one of his latest sermons, “10 Commandments of Purity”. So in other words, man made commandments to being pure. This puts people under more law and further bondage, it points them to their self effort and flesh.

    And this is the majority of sermons you will hear, I call them “self help” sermons, teachings on changing your habits and the focus is always on you. So once they are in the church they teach them requirements and commandments, and not necessarily the 10 commandments but man made law.

    But the good news is that the truth is on the side of grace. Under the new covenant of grace it is Jesus’ finished work, His perfect sacrifice. And we rest and receive. We need to preach the fullness of Jesus and His grace always, and nothing else.

  5. good post bro.

    i’d like to add.

    Just to put emphasis.

    ” ________church” – the building, the organization, the one that has membership.

    not to be mixed with

    “Us, the church, Christ bride” – the true church, no denomination, no name.
    the group of believers gathering together be it at home or a a coffee shop.

    – grace and peace

    • Caleb Gibson

      Your right! I will make some adjustments to the post. Thanks for the info. Sometimes I have the idea everyone knows what I’m talking about.

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