The church is in need of Repentance!
The purpose of this article is twofold.
One, to bring to light some things that many believers are not aware of, and to help you understand that things are not as they should be in the church. This article is specifically for the dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Two, to get you to really think about what is really going on in the church, not only here in America, but around the world wherever you may find yourself.
When we speak of the "Church" (with a capital "C") what do we mean by that? To the disappointment of many the Church is NOT a building one goes to, nor is it a denomination or group. It's those individuals that have come to repentance and confession of sins, and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Moreover, we mean all those who truly have repented, confessed, and have become born again, following Jesus Christ to their dying breath. True believers, the pilgrims, the called out ones. The elect know this and need no correction of it. Those that still hang on to this reasoning of what the Church isn't must search the scriptures, and be guided by the Holy Spirit to show them.
A commitment to something is only as good as your assurance of it. Let me ask you, could you suffer all imaginable horrors ending in death without denying Jesus Christ? Could you be striped of everything and left with nothing and still follow Jesus as strongly as you may be now? If your family and children and everything you knew was wiped out would you still follow Jesus? Many will let their flesh control their answers some will even be thinking "Oh, that wont happen." Or "We live in America, get real, that can't happen." Let's be careful as to how we answer those questions.
"Peter answered and said unto him, Though all [men] shall be offended because of thee, [yet] will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." (Matthew 26:33-35)
"Then began he to curse and to swear, [saying], I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." (Matthew 26:74,75)
After Pentecost the believers were filled with the Spirit of God, and went and proclaimed the Gospel. They followed the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles' doctrine. They worked, lived, and witnessed with the purity of God in their hearts. They were "lights" in the world living in simplicity and truth. On the basis of knowing who, what, and why, you believe is important. If you're not TOTALLY committed to Jesus Christ, and the teachings he gave us, you'll most likely not "endure to the end." You must first be totally committed to Jesus and His mission.
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you." (John 20:21)
You must be uncompromisingly committed to Him. Second, you must see the things that are going on and taking place in the churches (which today has negative connotations attached to it for true believers). You must not shut your eyes to the truth God is trying to show you. Third, don't try to reform, change, or refit the denominations it wont work just leave, forget it, and get out! Any work in the Church is something only God can bring about, by His Spirit, when He sees fit. What we see in the churches today was foretold by the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."
As the Church we must be guided by the Holy Spirit. Those that are true believing Christians and have "eyes to see and ears to hear" need to be committed in themselves, and then their influence can filter out to others.
The churches are moving in an "opposite" direction of that designed by the New Testament.
The O.T. example of Israel, we could say she was a type of church if we wanted to, had been in the blessings of God and had received the direction God wanted her to take, but soon after bringing her out from the heathen they made a idol and corrupted themselves as it is today with the "church" (denominations) what we're saying is we need more of what Moses said--"Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him." (Exodus 32:26) But soon after getting into the promised land she began to "corrupt" herself with the ways and practices of the heathen all around her. She became "polluted" and needed repentance God sent prophets to turn them back. Look at her now and remember she refused that call! Again, "Who is on the LORD'S side?" Let him come out and come to Jesus!
When Jesus came and ministered He too was calling the people back from their polluted and sinful ways, but they would not listen either. Some, however, did and He began to build His Church. The early Church was thriving, living in closeness with God, and remaining true to His word. From within there were false brethren trying to destroy them from without persecutions by emperors and kings. Despite all those things the Church thrived and faced death as martyrs for the love of Christ Jesus. Will you?
Many of the practices and doctrines the churches hold to today are unBiblical and were not heard of or practiced in the days of the early Church. They simply followed Jesus. As persecutions and martyrdom's increased the "True Church" found herself forced to conduct meetings and fellowship in secret spreading the word of God and the Gospel with all caution. It was a time of unspeakable evils committed against believers. Still they were resolute in their commitment to Christ.
About the year A.D 315 things began to change. A man by the name of Constantine, under a so-called conversion to Christianity which was really false because he was still practicing paganism, came to power in Rome and became Emperor. He made Christianity, his brand, the state Religion thus putting an end to persecutions. The Church was to come out of hiding and have freedom to practice her faith. However, pagan Rome was not about to be changed by "True Christianity" but Christianity was to become paganized by Rome!
During that time it was questioned as to how to get the pagans into the church without offending them or their gods, after all Christianity was supposed to be the state religion, and Rome did not want to have a split religion there needed to be unity, Ecumenicalism, compromise to bring everyone together to worship the new religion. This was accomplished by allowing pagan practices in the church and thus pagans would feel comfortable and join in. This is where Catholicism gets its beginning, and this is where the unscriptural practices took root.
At that time those "True Christians" remaining seemed to have had enough of persecutions and martyrdom, and simply did not fight the onslaught of pollution and paganism pouring in. History bears record that nothing was done to restrain the corruption that moved in. Because they simply lived as True Believers and nothing more. No compromise! was their cry.
From that time up to about A.D. 1517 this polluted, paganized, corrupted, compromising church had total rule! Do we say that during that time there were no "True Believers" in the world unwilling to submit to that pagan church? Not at all, on the contrary, we're convinced that there was. God has always had his true Church on the earth, His called out ones, His remnant, His elect.
"Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah." (Isaiah 1:9)
"For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness." (Isaiah 10:23)
"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." (Micah 5:7)
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (Romans 11:5)
During the year A.D. 1517 Martin Luther, after many years of study and finally coming under the conversion and conviction of the Holy Spirit, nailed his 95 thesis (most of the 95 thesis were on indulgences) to the door of the Wittenberg Church. In so doing he was publicly presenting to all that would hear a call to a type of reform--a call for change. However, these "thesis's" did little to bring people to the truth. And was of little consequence, but only created a doorway for denominations.
Today many that point out the unbiblical practices in the churches are not well received. Beloved we need to understand the things that go on in "Christianity/ Denominations and what the New Testament has outlined are two different things. There was, and always had been, up to the present, a subtle move by the catholic church to destroy the Truth. Let me give you a sketch of what happened from Jesus to the reformation. Note, please excuse the primitive nature of these illustrations, but I think they get the point across very clearly.
As the reformation began to spread the catholic church remained virtually unchanged. Let's take a look at a sketch from the reformation to the present.
Notice, that as a result of the reformation various denominations came about. We also note that during this time there were present in the world, and even within many of those denominations, God's "True Church." I would bring your attention to how Roman Catholicism remained mostly unchanged. Yes, there have been branches of Roman Catholicism such as, liberal Catholicism, charismatic Catholicism, and so on, but for the most part its purpose and structure has stayed the same. Now let's look at what is happening today and where it's heading.
See where things are headed? God's True Church will began to see the errors and come out. While at the same time the catholic church will blend into the various denominations in which all will head to the "unity/ecumenical" movement resulting finally in the one religion church. Let's look at what needs to be done.
The many denominations and the Roman Catholic church are heading for the "Unity/ Ecumenism movement" where all faiths, most likely with the inclusion of Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, New Age, and all others will be united under one common purpose. What is the purpose and structure that will bring all these together? One can only speculate, but it seems as though it may be the idea of Peace.
"They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14)
"They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." (Jeremiah 23:17)
"Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and [there shall be] none." (Jeremiah 7:25)
"And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand." (Daniel 8:25)
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
However, the peace they will seek will not be what God is interested in.
"[There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked." (Isaiah 48:22)
What's the job of the "True Church" or "Real Believers"? It's to be preaching to the lost, but also sharing with the souls in the movements that are designed to bring this one church about. We, those that know the truth, are to be sounding the call back to purity and holiness in the practice, and doctrine, of the True Christian faith. As the below sketch illustrates we want to be clothed in Jesus' righteousness and be found in Him when He comes and not in a false church!
We need to be disseminating the Biblical truths and steering, where we can, others to the true Biblical faith. To simply sit in a service or stay in a congregation for the sake of anything but pure solid truth is a decision that may have far reaching effects. I urge you to shut off your TV, put away useless books, quit the computer games, pick up your Bible and read it! Study it for yourself. God has received many blessed men and women who gave their life for the Word of God; in many cases so you might have the Scriptures! Why do you neglect it? Why do you only read it for a little time? What other things occupy time that could be used in studying the Word of God?
God has allowed us to have a Bible so we can know Him and live right in His sight. The truth in the Word of God should be truth in you. I urge you to stop for a minute and consider where you are at? what is going on in your congregation? And what things have you let into your Christian life that you know is NOT of God? The call is come out my people!
"Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean [thing]; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD." (Isaiah 52:11)
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you." (2 Corinthians 6:17 )
In closing, I would exhort you to remain faithful to God. Serve Him with all your heart and surrender fully to Him. God grant to those individuals that have never become saved, but think they are, a repentant heart. God grant to those "on the fence" in their walk with Him open eyes that they may see. God grant to those faithful to Him to cry aloud in the streets and in the vestibule of the church for REPENT! Finally, please write down these scriptures and read them right away. Don't wait, do it now.
1 Timothy 1:3-7,18,19; 1 Timothy 4:1-8; 6:3-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; Psalm 78:7,8, 36-39; 106:35; Isaiah 6:9,12.
May the Eternal Father, through the Eternal Son, uphold you. May He minister to your needs and open your eyes to see the truth in His word. That He may be glorified in your life on the earth, and that you stand with Him against all things unbiblical and evil.