Mt. 5:3 π Mt. 6:24 π Mt. 18:20 π Mt. 19:23 π Mt. 20:26 π Mt. 22:37-38 π Mt. 23:8-10 π Mk. 10:43 π Lk. 18:27 π Lk. 22:26 π Acts 2:1 π Acts 15:25 π 1 Cor. 2:2 π 1 Cor. 2:6 π 1 Cor. 3:16 π 1 Cor. 7:23 π 1 Cor. 12:24-25 π 1 Cor. 12:25 π Gal. 5:19-21 π Col. 1:18 π 2 Tim. 2:26 π Heb. 8:2 π Heb. 8:10-11 π Jas. 3:14-18 π 1 Pet. 4:10 π 1 Jn. 2:16 π 1 Jn. 2:27 π Rev. 3:17Greek Words Mentioned in This Article
Heresies, sects – hairesis –  π Divisions, Dissensions – dichostasia –  π Public Servant, Administrator – leitourgos – 
I’ve lost track of who said this but it remains a truth regarding “church” nonetheless: “Death in the living room is no different than death in the institution.” It is also a truth that the genuine way of following Christ, especially in the U.S., has fallen into affluent, middle-class hands who no longer believe “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” ( Mt. 19:23 ) or that things that are impossible with men are only possible through God. ( Lk. 18:27 ) True Christianity must be rescued from these hands that have been given over to the service and worship of mammon (see Mt. 6:24 ) and restored to the hands of the spiritually and godly poor to whom the kingdom of God truly belongs. ( Mt. 5:3; top )
The “church” paradigm is a subtle, multi-layered, multi-dimensional snare carefully woven by the enemy of our souls over the course of many centuries. This “religious” snare is interwoven with other deceptive snares constructed in the context of government, culture, career, education, family life, entertainment, even science and technology. Each and every one of these deceptions, when received as truth, have the potential to open a “door” of influence for the enemy of our souls to enter into our midst and begin his work of deception, distortion, diversion and division. The one who administers death in the living room (or in the “church”) does so not so much by conscious choice but by having been captured, in varying degrees, ways and extents, by the enemy to do his will. ( 2 Tim. 2:26 , etc.; top) If we knew we were believing a lie or that we were doing the will of Satan, we simply would not do so – and Satan’s schemes against us would not be as effective and pervasive as they have been. Those who doubt Satan’s effectiveness and give more credit for the growing darkness in this world to the sheer stupidity and mere blindness of men should truly consider how widespread and how deep the “church” deceptions go, if they themselves really know how deep that “rabbit hole” goes!
While we certainly cannot change the whole of churchianity, by what means can we know whether the group we are attending or gathering with is truly administering life or administering death? What will be the telltale signs that will tell us the nature of what we’re stepping into?
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the “Minister (officiating administrator, Greek leitourgos [ 3011 ]) of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” ( Heb. 8:2; top ) Jesus is the only one in the New Testament ever said to hold this title and position. Note well this Greek word – it is the word from which the “church,” the counterfeit of genuine assembly life in Christ, has derived its understanding and practice of “the order of worship” or “order of service.” Many of these “liturgies” – whether written and followed to the letter or unwritten and simply understood and obeyed – are seemingly set in concrete and go a long way toward keeping any meeting we might have from bringing forth life. Every “church” known to this writer has its own story of when the “liturgy” was lost or their meeting plans and agendas were changed at the last moment and the Holy Spirit was simply allowed to lead – and this “service” is remembered by all as a most precious event, completely unlike all the dull, routine “services” under the usual “liturgy.” Someone could get a clue here.
We, the people who have been truly changed from darkness to light by Christ Jesus, are the temple of God, a temple which we are called upon to keep holy. ( 1 Cor. 3:16 , etc.; top) Holy means to be “set apart for the use or purpose of God.” When anyone or anything other than Christ Jesus Himself, through the leading of His Spirit (who will not contradict either the purpose or revealed words and will of God and who works through the unanimous agreement and unity of all genuine believers and true followers of Christ involved), sets the agenda, pace, process and/or direction of our meetings and encounters, we have introduced an element of unholiness because we have taken a part of the meeting and made it serve a purpose which God did not intend it to serve. Often this only serves the interests of some man or men but it can and often does play directly into the hands of the devil and the demonic.
We replace Christ as our “liturgy” any time we place our own agenda or order of events upon any meeting – we display clearly that we have no faith in His ability to lead and guide His people and reveal that we truly believe the people are too childlike and too stupid to be responsible enough for their own life so as to obey the Head and do the right thing. In short, like the “paternalism” of the deep South, we demonstrate the belief that the average believer, like an ignorant, wayward child, needs a man to be their father and they need a written code to tell them how to act when we come together. The Lord still says, “It shall not be so among you!” ( Mt. 20:26 , 1 Jn. 2:27; top ) When Jesus is truly the Head of our gatherings, there will be no need for any other, certainly not a written or unwritten code, to take that role and place – and the genuine kingdom of God will be seen by all to be in our midst.
Paul wrote, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified… However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.” ( 1 Cor. 2:2 , 6; top )
James also wrote, “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” ( Jas. 3:14-18; top )
If our messages (teachings, doctrines) given to one another press beyond Christ and Him crucified, they must be filled with the wisdom that is from above, a wisdom that conforms to the description given by James. But if our messages (teachings, doctrines) cause strife, disorder and ultimately death and we must win our arguments by slander, backbiting, bluster or the strength of our own personality, we can know without doubt that the message comes from or is tainted by an evil or fleshly source. Even the persistent insistence upon having a creed, even when the creed is correct (as many of them are, at least, as far as they can be), by which we can all know “the right answers” is a sign of walking according to the flesh. Let he who has ears hear.
Paul wrote, “God composed the body… that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.” ( 1 Cor. 12:24-25 ) God did not create this fractured and splintered polyglut of sects and heresies men call “denominations.” These are the fruit of the disruptive, divisive schemes of the devil that have plagued the people of Christ for centuries. If we must drive across town to gather with like-minded, socially-similar people (whether that be in a large-scale mega-“church” or a small-scale house “church” or something in between), we are only a commuter “church,” in truth, a heresy (a group of people choosing to separate themselves according to similar ideas and beliefs – Greek, hairesis [ 139 ]). If those brothers and sisters in Christ who live near us are not welcome at our gatherings in the name of Christ or welcome only on the condition that they agree to (or at least will remain silent about their disagreement with) our beliefs, we have only created a “dissension.” (Greek, dichostasia [ 1370 ]; for both these words, see Paul’s list of the works of the flesh that keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God – Gal. 5:19-21; top )
Any group or meeting that creates or perpetuates any division away from Christ Himself or any group whereby we (and not Christ) choose which members we will deem acceptable as “our brothers in Christ” is a sect, a heresy, a dissension, an aberration away from the true practice of following Christ and being His body. Any group that puts a larger burden of the serving (of one another or of the orphans, widows and leasts of Christ’s brothers) on any one portion of the group, especially any group or individual who acts in any role of “clergy,” is also an aberration away from the true practice of following Christ as all “members should have the same care for one another.” ( 1 Cor. 12:25; top ) Any built-in, systemic differences of acceptance, treatment or involvement indicate that someone other than Christ and God has assembled the group.
Paul wrote, “Jesus is the head of the body, the ekklesia (most often misrendered in English as church), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” ( Col. 1:18 ) This means that we need to come together as equals and not under the tutelage of a master teacher who knows (in his own opinion of himself, at least) more than the people who must at least acquiesce to his superior knowledge. This is again like the “paternalism” of the South – the people need a “father,” a “teacher,” a “head” other than Christ. Again, the Lord still says, “It shall not be so among you” ( Lk. 22:26 , Mt. 23:8-10 ) even though this goes against everything the world has taught us about “educating the ignorant masses.” Christ’s new covenant still stands as written: “I will put My laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” ( Heb. 8:10-11; top )
Christ as our only Head also means that there is not to be any class divisions between us, that is, no class divisions that dictate how we are to treat and interact with one another – yet the deepest divisions of the “church” have been retained in our midst. Wealth, race and “intelligentsia” (especially clergy, the “spiritual intelligentsia” and elite) – all elements of the “pride of life” that are not of the Father ( 1 Jn. 2:16 ) – are all seen (even if only subconsciously) as “superior” specimens of humanity. Jesus still says, “You say, ‘I have already become rich, I need nothing,’ and you do not know that you are the very one that is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” ( Rev. 3:17; top ) There is no one who needs Christ more than the one who thinks (mistakenly) that he has already partaken of all that Christ has to offer him or that he has achieved to a level of spiritual maturity beyond which he need not progress. There is perhaps no man more dangerous to any assembly or group than a man who has spiritual knowledge but who is not truly and completely anchored to the Head Christ Jesus. Such men are perhaps the most divisive as they demand that all others submit to their leadership and knowledge and never know that they are only drawing men after themselves and not Christ.
The people who experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts operated in “one accord” ( Acts 2:1 , etc.) and subordinated all of their own preconceived ideas and mindsets to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. (see Acts 15:25 where especially James, the head of the circumcision group, had to set aside his Judaistic ideas to obey the clear leading of the Spirit, etc.) This reliance on unanimous agreement simultaneously demonstrates the divine nature at work among us (mere men cannot come into agreement on much of anything – having all present agree on anything, especially a complex work architected by God, is a divine miracle of cosmic proportions!) and prevents even the least among the members from being lorded over. If every member agrees that this is the way we should go, then there is no tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the aristocracy by which any might feel superior and others will feel controlled or oppressed. “[Lording over] shall not be so among you” ( Mk. 10:43; top )
There is no such thing in the New Testament as a “tithe” and there really is no such thing as an “offering” (as the “church” practices it). We have been bought with a price (the blood of Jesus) and all that we are and have belongs to Him ( 1 Cor. 7:23 ) – we are merely stewards (managers – 1 Pet. 4:10; top ) of all of His resources and there is nothing of our own out of which we can give Him a small percentage (too often a mere pittance in practice) so as to keep ourselves in His “good graces” and ourselves “out of hot water” with Him. Anything we give as a gift to anyone must be free of guilt, coercion or thought of what return we might gain by making the gift. Tax-free donations to our favorite “church” or charity by which we gain some blessing from God or avoid some judgment of God hardly qualify as a freewill love gift.
The usual practice of the tithe usurps the teaching of total stewardship by subliminally teaching us that we need only obey God with a tiny portion of our resources. The rest is ours to use as is best in our own eyes – a practice the New Testament calls “lawlessness” and which the world calls “relativism.” Either we love God with all that we are and have and do, as the most important law of God commands ( Mt. 22:37-38; top ), or we are disobedient to God – it is that simple.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are come together in My name, there am I among them.” ( Mt. 18:20; top ) Many have mistakenly believed Jesus to have said “…two or more…” and use this to excuse their focus and fixation on the 99, the best-tithers, the most affluent, most influential people in our circle of “fellowship.” But it is our treatment of the hundredth sheep, the least or poorest of Christ’s brothers, the fatherless children and husbandless widows, the crippled, the lame, the blind, the lepers that speaks the loudest about how effective Christ’s work in our hearts has been.
When we focus on the idea of preparing and being equipped for our “two and three” encounters, we instinctively know that I may be the only one in that small group who knows Christ and therefore I have the responsibility to present Christ to the others. Or maybe the one or two others do know Christ but they are in need of some word of encouragement and it is my responsibility to present Christ to my brother or sister in need. There is no large group to hide in and no professional staff upon whom I can shirk my responsibilities. I must participate - I must grow up. Is it any wonder the “church” (and the demonic who built it) wants to shelter its permanent spiritual babies in large numbers.
This list may not be exhaustive but it represents enough of a place to start that we could see major changes in the way we live and gather in the name of Christ if we would simply hear and obey what the Spirit is saying to His people.
But if the group we are involved with stubbornly refuses to extinguish all forms of wickedness from our midst, we would be wise to run and not walk to the nearest exit. It is better to live alone in the wilderness obeying the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ (actually obeying Him and not using the disobedience of others as an excuse for our own lawlessness (what is right in our own eyes) rather than to practice the slow death of always hearing and talking about God and Jesus but never getting around to actually doing what He has commanded. Subtle disobedience to Christ and God can be practiced as easily in the living room as it can in the “church” and the fruit of this disobedience, death, is available to any and all who will partake – it makes no difference where we sit if we are passively waiting for other men to do to us and for us what we will not do for ourselves.
Let he who has ears hear.
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