Mt. 13:28-30 π Jn. 7:17 π Jn. 10:27 π 1 Cor. 2:9-10 π 1 Cor. 2:14 π 1 Cor. 2:16
Here is the linguistic shell game that is played on the followers of Christ.
1. From around 400 a.d. until 1600 a.d., the Greek word "kuriakon" slowly evolves into the English word "church." "Kuriakon" means "belonging to a kurios (lord)" and is used only twice in the Greek New Testament. "Church" means "house of a lord" and appears 114 times in the English New Testament. How did that switch happen?
2. Three Greek words ("hieron," "naos" and "oikos") are rightly translated into English as "the house of God." None of these Greek words are ever used by the writers of the New Testament to describe the meeting patterns of the people of Christ.
3. The Greek word "ekklesia" as it is used by the writers of the New Testament means "the people called out of the sinful world to attend to the affairs of Christ's kingdom and rule." But it gets translated into the English word "church" which means "the house of God." Why is a tangential meaning (at best) substituted in place of the primary meaning?
4. "Church is now a place where one goes to hear about the things of God from "the man of God" in "the house of God." If it's not God's house (and it isn't) then maybe it's not God's man either!
5. "No 'church' is perfect" we are told - and yet we are also told that the "church" is the design of an infallible God. How can an infallible God be the architect of a flawed system?
With all these subtle substitutions, where is the pea? That is, what is the honest truth?
The truth is rather simple. God has allowed the wheat and the weeds to reach maturity together. (see Mt. 13:28-30; top ) To allow this, God has allowed the spirit of antichrist to slowly and subtly install a religious system that permits men to practice their own ideas and preferences of religion and morality without their ever once having to worship and obey God in spirit and in truth. We are right back to the same choice Adam faced in the Garden of Eden:
1) obedience to God with the fruit being an utterly-dependent, constant and eternal unity with God orAny action taken apart from God is not the life of the Spirit. It is - no matter how religiously oriented or seemingly beneficial to others - only an act of rebellion.
2) disobedience to God with the fruit being independent "morality" ending in physical and spiritual death.
What was Adam's sin? We know it was deliberate disobedience to God. But what was the physical act that Adam did that God deemed worthy of not only Adam's death but also the death of the whole human race? Was it a gross murder such as fills our newspapers today? Was it a robbery or theft in which someone was killed or wounded? Was it anything which we would normally even think of as a crime? No. Adam ate a piece of fruit!For that seemingly innocent act, Adam and the whole human race must die.
Today, "pastors" and preachers defend "church" as a legitimate expression of our "liberty in Christ" as we seek to know God. In truth, "church" is only the demonic and worldly system built on lies and human traditions which keeps the people of Christ from attaining to spiritual maturity in Christ. And yet it is still true that the gates of hell, the schemes of the devil, the "church," will not prevail against the ekklesia, the called out people of Christ.
The sheep who truly belong to Christ hear Christ's voice. ( Jn. 10:27; top ) And even though they may have listened to the errant voice of a "church" "pastor" for a number of years, when the time comes, the Good Shepherd will call them unto Himself - and they will hear and obediently leave the demonic and worldly "church" system behind as they pursue the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls. Those who don't hear the voice of the Shepherd aren't His anyway and there is no possibility that any presentation of the truth - no matter how eloquently or logically presented - will persuade the stubbornly religious person to change their beliefs about the "church."
Logic can be used to refute many notions about the "church" - and intellectual study can reveal the deceptive roots that have intertwined themselves into the modern practices that call themselves Christianity. But unless God gives a genuine revelation of the truth about being a member of His people, His body, His ekklesia, then it is impossible to distinguish between truth and error. And if you determine something to be right and true apart from divine revelation from God, then you are only practicing lawlessness, doing that which is right in your own eyes. Without dependance upon God's divine instruction, illumination, leading and guiding, you are only eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Receiving revelation from God is really not all that difficult. God is not mute and He is not silent at this time in human history. He does not expect you to have to figure spiritual things out by yourself. He knows that indeed you cannot figure out the things of God by yourself. Paul wrote, "'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. ...the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." ( 1 Cor. 2:9-10 , 14; top )
It is easy when we read that word "us" to assume that Paul refers to himself and to everyone who will ever read his letter. This is not necessarily so. He is referring only to those who truly "have the mind of Christ." ( 1 Cor. 2:16; top ) Not everyone who knows facts from the Bible knows what is really on the heart and mind of God in this season of human history.
How can we know whether the teachings and instructions we hear are the true teachings and words of God or whether they are merely the misguided teachings and words of some man or denomination? Must we study for years at some seminary or even attend some Bible-teaching "church" where we get regular "feedings" of "God's Word"?
Jesus didn't think so. When His teachings were questioned (and, yes, Jesus permitted, even encouraged, even His teachings to be questioned!), He gave only one condition as a prerequisite to recognizing whether His teaching was on His own authority or was truly from God who sent Him. He said,
"If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority." ( Jn. 7:17; top - emphasis added)
God's will - not our own. His notions about assembly and religion - not our own. His provision, methods and timing about meeting needs around us - not our own ideas and preferences in a "ministry." He says and is - and we do and are. It is that simple and anything else is merely an expression of rebellious human religiosity.
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