Friday, March 23, 2018
Salvation comes from obeying God’s command to “Repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). And when Jesus said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18–20), it is a commission of ambassadorship for the redeemed, to the unrepentant.
Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, our commission from Christ is to “make disciples” of Christ, not disciples of men and their traditions. But that’s difficult and cannot be undertaken by the spiritually timid more interested in pleasing man than God, because Jesus promised the gate to faith and truth is narrow and its path difficult, see Matt. 7:13–14.
But in this final generation the increasingly worldly, timid, corporate-styled church with its cultural popularity, wealth, and praise of man, has led the watering-down of the Word, with silence and even rejection of select portions of the Word, and traditions of men, all of which have largely replaced the commission to actually “make disciples” of Christ.
But those with discernment of this final generation, who are empowered by God’s Spirit to overcome the desire for popularity and the praise of man, have a decision to make: first, pray, then come out from among those who restrict whole truth, and prepare people in the unpopular, oft-restricted end-time truths, or, secondly, do nothing, and by silence join the increasingly lukewarm mediocrity so prevalent in today’s corporate-styled, people-pleasing churches.
Recently, a concerned brother in Christ, who recognizes the escalating abandon of truth in the institutional churches, asked if I could suggest a fellowship or group of like-minded end time believers. Unfortunately, I don’t know of such a group. But here’s an opportunity for the like-minded to begin such a group via a return to the Biblical house church ordained by God.
The house church is highly valid and God-created. By its nature it’s small and intimate, and its leadership, exclusive of denominational doctrines and traditions is accountable to God’s Word. Thus, the Spirit-led house church advances God’s unhindered Word rather than traditions and business-styled church programs of man. God’s Word powerfully validates the house church.
At Pentecost, the believers were in a house when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). And as Peter preached by the Holy Spirit, “those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41).
Compellingly, nowhere in New Covenant Scripture is there mention of a building campaign undertaken by leadership to then raise funds to build a church “building” to accommodate those new converts. People of the church met in homes, for when the veil of the Temple was torn the abode of God departed the Temple built by man and became resident in the hearts of converts.
The silence of the New Covenant regarding building campaigns for the construction of churches, all of which are today divided in doctrines and traditions, stands as a stark witness against the monetarily debt-laden churches of today, filled with sensational and worldly enticements.
When the reformers came out of Roman Catholicism, they didn’t separate from it sufficiently, nor did they guard against the immediate seeds of doctrinal and traditional divisions sown by Satan. Consequently, many divided denominations erupted, each having its own doctrines and traditions. Though Scripture teaches that Christ is not divided, the institutional church remains divided, then wonders why it’s losing members. To counteract that negative, the church having been wooed by Pope Francis, has been returning to the deceptions of Catholicism, enticing the unrepentant and non-converted with sensational performances. But that’s not of the Lord.
And today, much preaching and teaching of God’s Word doesn’t even give people a reason to “Repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). They’re happily content in their unbelief as the church increasingly makes them feel as if, they too, are part of the body of Christ, when in fact they’re not, but destined to eternal destruction. Lost people adore the message that all are included.
Scripture goes on to teach, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Co. 16:19). Again, “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house” (Col. 4:15). And, Paul, “serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials…[said] I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publically and from house to house” (Acts 20:19–20).
Let me suggest, that, for those of us who are Spirit-led and recognize the signs of the end-times, if you find yourself in a church that avoids, changes, or outright rejects select truths that would otherwise instruct and prepare you and loved ones in the knowledge of God for the times of the end, that you have the obligation in Christ to change the way you do church, for, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jam. 4:17).
God commands to “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Rom. 13:8). Financial bondage between the Bride of Christ and this evil world system is inconsistent with the truth, love and freedom of God in Christ. Financial indebtedness will be an asset for Antichrist.
Leadership of many denominational churches have indebted themselves and members to the financial bondage of this world by its construction of church buildings, an activity not ordained by God. That debt will soon come under control of the mark of the beast, Rev. 13:16–17, and to spare itself persecution and loss, the divided congregational churches will then largely acquiesce to Antichrist’s one world government which will greatly fuel “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).
On the decadal eve of the return of Christ and His gathering of the saints, many churches using manufactured worship, are turning back to apostate Roman Catholicism, just as ancient Israel on the eve of inheriting Canaan, its Promised Land, desired to turn back to apostate Egypt, see Num. 14. Roman Catholicism, which has already tried to destroy God’s true church, is the prophet’s fourth and final beast-kingdom of Dan. 2 and Rev. 13 which seeks to destroy “the freewoman” (Gal. 4:21–31), the true church. But as all that develops, discerning Christians will return to the house church, free of all denominational barriers, bondage and traditions of men. Please pray.
Marlin J. Yoder