Mt. 18:20 π Jn. 6:44-45 π Jn. 15:5 π Rom. 8:12-14 π 1 Cor. 6:12-17 π 2 Cor. 3:17 π Gal. 5:9 π Gal. 5:13 π Col. 2:6-10 π Jas. 4:4
There are some who are offended at the truths about the enmity between the "church" and the ekklesia, the called-out people of Christ. Then there are those who recognize the truth but still want to dabble in man-made religion - for that is all that Christianity really is, a man-made religion. Christ did not come to form a religion - He came to redeem from death, sin and self all those who would believe in Him. That is something that far transcends mere "church" attendance. But often, because a husband or wife or close friends still faithfully adhere to and attend a "church," some people will want to linger in the "church" environment, attending when they want to, going back, as it were, to Egypt to taste of the leeks and garlics whenever their soul hungers for such things. They will rely on their "Christian liberty" as an excuse for their being able to return whenever they see fit.
Once a person has seen the truth about the "church," they will be required to forsake the lies of "church." This is plainly spoken of in Scripture. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'The two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.' But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." ( 1 Cor. 6:12-17; top ) The immediate context is sexual immorality. But we know from the many references throughout the Bible to idolatry as being spiritual fornication and adultery that God requires us to live in spiritual purity as well. The "church" is a religious harlot who will steal away our affections for the Lord by contaminating our purity. It is still true that only a little leaven leavens the whole lump. ( Gal. 5:9; top )
Those who know the truth about the "church" and yet continue to attend are setting themselves on a very dangerous path. They are resisting the truth - something which quenches the work of the Holy Spirit, offends God and denies the very nature and essence of who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is. The Pharisees knew what was written in the Scriptures backwards and forwards. They had been able to recite great portions of it since childhood. But they still opposed the One about whom it was all written. When we recognize the truth of Scripture but live in another way, we have set ourselves to oppose God. When we knowingly embrace or dabble in a religious system that was devised by Satan, we have made ourselves to be God's enemy. ( Jas. 4:4; top )
But let's be practical - for, after all, most "churches" are a curious blend of truth and lies. We cannot throw away everything simply because Satan has deeply infiltrated into our midst. That would be like surrendering just because a spy had penetrated into the secret counsels of the generals. No, we are not going to surrender! The gates of hell, the "church," cannot prevail against the ekklesia, the called-out people of God - that is, if the ekklesia would simply be the ekklesia.
So what are the irreducible minimums of ekklesia life that are distinct from "church" lies? What is to be kept and what is to be abandoned?
There are probably more "church" lies that will have to be abandoned in order for the ekklesia to be the ekklesia but these are some main ones. Underlying all these "church" ways is really the question of "Who will be God in my life?" That is, will I pursue God the way I (the Me-god) want to or will I pursue God the way He wants me to? This is indeed a very important question for if we will not heed God's commands, then we have no reason to believe that we shall enjoy God's rewards. If God is not the one who determines our every course of action, then He is not our God. We are instead slaves of our own will and we can only look forward to reaping the rewards of the rebellious sons of disobedience.
It is true that we have freedom and liberty. Paul wrote, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." ( 2 Cor. 3:17; top ) And there may even be occasions when the Lord will call upon someone to regularly attend a "church." But you can rest assured that that call will not include supporting the institution in any way nor will it be so that that person can be "fed" the Scriptures. Rather it is more likely that God will call upon someone to attend a "church" for a time so that a real relationship with someone inside can be established and some sheep rescued from the clutches of the "church" - what the "church" leaders call "sheep stealing." Or they will be called upon to confront the lies and errors of the "church" leaders. Or, in the case of some very young believer, it may be so that they may observe the "church" lies for themselves. But that time of "church" attendance will not be a cozy, comfortable time for anyone who is truly being led by the Spirit.
Paul wrote, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors - not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." ( Rom. 8:12-14; top ) If you choose where you will go and what you will do according to the flesh, Paul says, you will die. This applies to "church" as well. If we choose, according to our flesh, where and when we will go to "church," we will experience death. But if we choose based upon what God is leading us to do, we will experience life.
Even when it comes to leaving the "church," we must be careful not to do so in a fleshly way - for if we do so, then we will only be guilty of the same death and division the "church" ministers. But it must also be clearly stated that leaving the "church" because you can no longer touch the unclean things does not mean you have to forsake all the people. Let God lead you. He can tell you how to go about keeping the friendships and brother/sister relationships without having to bow down to the golden calf of "church." Only that which is done in the Spirit - even leaving the "church" - will bring life to yourself and others. All works of the flesh bring death to one degree or another - even leaving the "church," that great instrument of death, loss and confusion, by fleshly or soulish means will only cause yet more damage. Only God knows how and when you should leave the "church" behind and how you can preserve your relations with those genuine brothers and sisters still trapped in the bondage of the "church" system.
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." ( Gal. 5:13; top ) We are able to serve one another only when we obey Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. ( Jn. 15:5; top ) When we use our liberty as an excuse to indulge our flesh, especially to indulge the flesh's appetite for religion or to display our own "spiritual superiority," we are no longer walking in the purity of our faith in Christ.
Paul wrote to the Colossians, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." ( Col. 2:6-10; top ) Religion did not bring you to Christ - God did. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." ( Jn. 6:44-45; top )
It is God who draws and God who saves and God who keeps and God who teaches those who want to be drawn, saved, kept and taught. This is the mystery of righteousness and salvation. Forsake that path at your own risk for any other path is a path that relies on human logic, reason and philosophy, all which are only empty deceit rooted in the traditions of men that war against the word of God.
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