Ezek. 33:11 π Mt. 15:14 π Mt. 18:24 π Mt. 18:28 π Jn. 13:34 π Jn. 13:35 π Rom. 7:18 π 1 Cor. 5:7 π Gal. 5:9 π Eph. 6:12 π 2 Ths. 2:11-12 π 2 Tim. 3:5 π Jas. 2:13
Imagine yourself as a soldier in a war. You are on patrol and up ahead of you are some other soldiers from your side of the conflict, all of whom are wounded in varying degrees. Though there is a medic in your unit who is only a radio call away, you pull out your pistol, angrily put the gun against their head and pull the trigger, making sure these other soldiers are dead. After all, you know these soldiers disobeyed orders, got drunk or high and wandered off into a combat zone without proper training and equipment and now they deserve to die because they've made your job harder because you've had to go out and rescue them. And your job is made even more impossible because they're so high and drunk they don't want to be rescued and, in fact, won't even believe they need to be rescued. They're actually a little upset that you've shown up because you just don't seem like the laid-back, partying type they prefer to be around right now.
Sound farfetched? It isn't in "Christian" realms. The "church" is populated with two kinds of people. First there are the apostate rebels against God who are so content and satisfied with their own ideas of religiosity that one cannot perceive any difference between them and the world, chiefly because there is no difference. These worldlings are no different than other worldlings - only the brand of deception and unrighteousness these ones prefer is possibly a bit more moral and certainly a lot more pretentious than that of other kinds of worldliness. Such as these are the ones that even Jesus would say, "Leave them alone!" ( Mt. 15:14; top )
But second there are people who have had some kind of genuine experience with the Spirit of Christ but then have subsequently mistaken the "church" buildings, rituals and practices as if that were truly of God and the way to God. This is as true within the large-scale mega-"church" as it is within the small-scale house "church." These folks are spiritually immature for any number of reasons, but the main reason is because they have been negligent or deceived in regards to their responsibility to approach God for themselves. Rather than go to God Himself for all they need, they have relied on men or programs or rituals or traditions to cause them to somehow supposedly drift closer to God (which never happens). This is one reason why God takes nearly everyone coming out of the "church" through a "detox" or wilderness period - they must get off the drug of sermonizing or programmed religiosity or the fear of men or whatever it was that drew the person into their own preferred form of "church." Either way, these people who have truly met God yet who still remain in their "church" are very comparable to the wounded soldiers in the example above.
Then someone comes along who has recently received revelation and insight about the apostate "church" and, rather than grieve and mourn and display brotherly concern over his brothers' and sisters' fallen condition, this one is frustrated and angry because they just won't come out and be separate with him. Or he is impatient at how slowly the people move if or when they do actually gather into what seems to him "prime assembly mode" - that is, the people are all in one room talking about Scriptural or spiritual things but somehow ekklesia and the body of Christ just never seems to him to happen. Or he is somehow convinced that it was somehow his knowledge or skill at studying history that has given him some advantage over those "stupid imbeciles" who still call themselves "pastors" and who routinely lead dozens, hundreds, thousands and even millions of people astray. And even when this one forces down the frustration, anger or impatience and honestly tries to follow the leading of the Spirit, there remains in his words a trace of that bitterness, a residue of that something other than the Spirit of Christ. Unfortunately, only a few drops of poison will turn sweet and delicious drinks into lethal potions.
This one, when this trace element is working its influence upon him, must be forgetting things like:
we do not fight against flesh and blood ( Eph. 6:12; top );If he knows there is no good thing that dwells in his flesh ( Rom. 7:18 ), that knowledge is still superficial head knowledge and not yet the practical, spiritual knowledge that allows him to operate in the absolute certainty that there is nothing in him that was not in Judas Iscariot. He is not yet truly aware in the depths of his being that he owes his Master millions while his fellow slaves owe him only pennies. (see Mt. 18:24 , 28 ) The one who is impatient for the downfall of the "church" and all these deceptive ministries has forgotten that God takes no pleasure in the downfall nor the death of wicked people who die in their sins ( Ezek. 33:11; top ) and that, when men have done all their deeds and said all their words, God will not have lost anything that was truly His. Perhaps this one's spiritual problem is that his ideas of God are simply just too small to trust in His ability to achieve and completely perform His overarching purposes in the face of the massive apostasy that abounds today and that will increase even more in the coming days.
even these apostate rebels and negligent freeloaders are still those for whom Christ died, and
if it weren't for God's magnanimous grace, that one too would himself still be among the ranks of the worldlings or the negligent freeloaders or even the apostate rebels (ranks in which not so very long ago he held his place with pride and distinction).
Whatever relatively few individuals who remain ensnared in the "church" system (again, whether that be the large-scale institutional mega-"church" or the small-scale house "church" is immaterial - these things are still cut from the same cloth) who have not come out from among the "Christian" idolaters, those who have genuinely received something of the new life of Christ, these are still our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have no right to judge them to be anything other than just that. We certainly have many reasons to believe them to be seriously deceived, mortally wounded and in grave danger of eternal separation from God but, again, there but for the grace of God, go we. Much humility and contriteness on our part is in order - we have no room for any feelings of superiority, impatience, frustration or anger. The sheep are not ours - they are His. He knows which ones will come out and when they will do so and He knows which ones will remain in the "church" system too long and come under the strong delusion that He will send upon those who are more loyal to men and the traditions and practices of men than they are to God. ( 2 Ths. 2:11-12 ) We must always keep plainly before our eyes and hearts the Lord's desire to show mercy and not judgment ( Jas. 2:13; top ) - even upon the worst of the apostate rebels and their followers. In the end Jesus will probably say to most of them, "Depart from Me - I never knew you." But the wise man will see the tears in His eyes as He passes this judgment upon those who refused to live His life and righteousness but instead insisted on whatever was right and preferable in their own eyes.
The one who teaches the truth about the "church" but who fails to patiently and perseveringly show forth the love of Christ for all of fallen humankind is jeopardizing the whole truth of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ and God. Which listener could truly be blamed for rejecting all of what is said if what they hear is tainted with the flesh's arrogance, superiority, impatience, frustration and anger? How is such a message any different from the pulpit pablum they are used to? What will be different - and what has been missing from most "church" settings throughout many portions of church history - is when we demonstrate the love for one another that clearly demonstrates that we are Christ's followers. (see Jn. 13:35; top )
When this love is practiced and plainly visible (and not just taught or talked about!), all will know that we follow Christ and those who, however imperfectly, do hear His voice (which is not an audible voice at all nor even is it just the "still small voice" deep in our hearts that we hear quite often - His voice is that which encompasses all the ways in which we might hear and perceive and understand so as to then obey Him) will come out from among those who practice a mere form of godliness but who do not have the power to genuinely take up their cross, follow Christ and sincerely and deeply and self-sacrificially love those around them as He loved us. (see 2 Tim. 3:5 , Jn. 13:34; top )
This is the only way to preach the whole gospel of the kingdom of Christ. Anything else is mere "church" and whatever truth one might have to offer those still in the "church" system is as drowned out by the background noise of our own stuff as is any truth preached from a "pastor's" pulpit on Sundays and Wednesdays. There simply are no short-cuts, no man-made methods, no fleshly procedures which will bring forth the kingdom of God in our midst in purity and in power. And one who has only one strand of fleshliness is as impure as is the one who has a hundred. Impurity is still impurity no matter what scale it is practiced on.
The Lord is preparing a mature bride who is without spot and wrinkle, as cleaned up as is both humanly and divinely possible using the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse away all filthiness of the flesh, soul and spirit. There is no place on the bride for a cleverly concealed spot or wrinkle, no matter how tiny or buried under years of being that way such a thing might be. We have been leavened by our "church" experiences, our cultural training and even our life's experiences - the work of the Lord now is to make us into the unleavened loaf that He intends us to be. ( 1 Cor. 5:7 ) It still remains true that only a little leaven works its way through the whole loaf and makes the whole loaf a leavened bread. ( Gal. 5:9; top )
Let he who has ears hear.
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