The Dangerous Church?
Like Eden, the church has fallen into bad times. Mankind once lived in a Paradise, a compassionate caretaker of all the animal creatures and the very garden of God. But he and the entire human race fell onto hard times because he had rejected God and received another leader we know as Satan. Adam would have liked to continue hiding in the massive garden, but God drove him out and then, “And God placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24 KJV) Strong’s Concordance defines “Cherubims” as imaginary figures. Perhaps Adam got so tired and exhausted from searching for that paradise he once knew that he imagined some mystical heavenly beings must be keeping him from it and a “flaming sword” actually means a burning drought. The word “turned” truly means to return and to overturn.
Before God created Eden He made four rivers to flow from one head to water the garden. One of the rivers was the Pison wherein is found gold. Explorers and archaeologists have identified the remnants of where the river Pison once flowed. It is now filled with sand and at least one major gold mine. Eden evidently became filled with the deadness of sifting sand and a drought which continues to this day. It is no wonder that no one has located Eden even though they know the direction that Noah must have moved to along with his offspring. Even from space no one has been able to discover Eden because a thorough study will lead you to conclude it was the victim of desertification.
Because Easter is nearby, I want to tell you a brief legend carried through some areas of Christianity that says that one of the sons of Noah carried the skull of Adam all the way to Jerusalem where it was buried in a place called the Hill of the Skull. This place translates to Golgotha: the very spot where Jesus was crucified on what is now known as Good Friday. According to this rendering, the blood of Jesus ran all the way down to reach the skull of cast out Adam which says that Jesus’ blood did not leave anyone out. It is powerful enough to cleanse every sinner from their past and bring them boldly to the throne of grace. God loves you. Enjoy Easter.
If this story touches you as much as it did me when I recently heard it, you may decide this season to come fully to Christ because He has done away with all of our shame and error and offered to us His divine life and nature. If you will ask Him into your life and seek to follow Him, He will reveal Himself to you in a way that agrees with the New Testament. If you did so, you may decide to attend a church of your choice. This could be your first bad move because God would have you to attend the church of His choice. The Christian life is not about us serving our self, but about serving God. Even the blessed book of Revelation which is all about your future says it is written to His servants. (Revelation 1:1) Christianity is not about going to church it is about being the church which means the gathering together of the called out ones. Yes, there are great rewards for drawing near to God and to following His Word and His Spirit but they are the by-product of service to the Creator and getting to know Him.
This paper is a brief exposure to give you an understanding about how you must enter into God’s Kingdom. It will not tell you why you should go to a certain church because you like the pastor or because your friend goes there or even because it is the denomination your grandfather found some help in. I want you to imagine that a man with at least the intelligence of Albert Einstein and the insight of a spiritual leader like Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Church. (He was awarded both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Sophie Prize for work on the environment.) This man I will now introduce was greater than these two men and his name is the apostle Paul. He was very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He knew the Word of God and he was recognized for his brilliance. Now think about Paul. “For I know this that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them? Therefore watch and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31) Jesus Himself informed us, “Behold I send you forth as sheep amongst wolves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Here we read that this apostle Paul cried for three years warning all believers of what the church was about to become. It has perfected some of its tricks 2,000 years later and we now face such warnings from God as, “And through materialism and greediness they shall with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment and damnation does not linger or slumber.” (2Peter 2:3) If you knew that the meaning of “merchandise” in this verse actually means the entire marketplace or emporium, hopefully it will make you want to vomit. They don’t just use you as merchandise they use you to help fill the entire emporium with others who like your influence. They will use you to market their product: the church, which is a far cry from the real thing. Jesus describes such leaders: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and land to make one convert, and when he is made you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)
Why should you attend church especially when danger lurks there as well as great blessing? The answer is that you cannot be filled with all the fullness of God by obtaining it directly from Him. Some of it you must receive through the many members of the Body of Christ: the church. If you just try to get all the enlightenment you could receive directly from God you will usually fall short or be deceived. The apostle Paul took this route of learning from the Holy Spirit alone, but He compared notes with the other apostles to make sure all that He was receiving came from the Source. There is much to learn from the church and there is much to avoid from many of these so-called places. You must learn from the scriptures how God constructs the church and operates it, what pleases Him and what nauseates Him, what will cause you to really grow spiritually and what will lead you into a snare of the devil. We are not under the law and many of these wolves will not only make you their victims, but will also place you in bondage to the law. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) As you attend the church which you think you are guided to, you must do so with watching and praying. This is serious stuff. In Luke 21:36 Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Partially, in order to discern these precepts and learn how to walk in them, God has shined His light on the examples of seven historic churches that once all existed in Asia. One of them, Philadelphia, receives no condemnation, but rather is told to hold on to what they’ve got: Jesus name and His Word. (See Revelation 3:7) Revelation 2:15 warns us of the teaching of the Nicolaitanes which thing God hates and a companion verse warns of the hateful deeds of the Nicolaitanes (Revelation 2:6). Revelation 2:23 warns one church that because of her improper activities he must kill her children with death. I would never send my children to a church known for molesting kids even though these children in Revelation 2:23 is a reference to adult, potentially spiritual children, as far as I understand it.
The Book of Revelation tells us to avoid false prophets such as those that say the world will end in 2012 and to believe those who prophesy according to God’s Word. It says that such events as the dividing of the continents by an upcoming earthquake and a battle that will destroy one-third of the earth’s population will be manifested because those who should be following God continue to do terrible and evil deeds and will not repent. But before all of these woes and dangers, we must be able to survive the church life and transform it even as we are transformed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 says that as many as are led by the Spirit are the Sons of God. This means we must be willing to lay down our sinful nature and take up His nature that has ended the old nature and made us new creatures in Christ. This new creation we have become is nurtured and strengthened by such things as prayer, meditating in God’s Word and going about obeying the Lord Jesus Christ and walking in Love. If you receive the Son of God into your inner most being along with His forgiveness for past failures and ask for transformation, He will accomplish it. One of the last things that Jesus said before His crucifixion was, “It is finished.” In the sense of doing anything, only believing is required although you may consider yourself a mighty man of God, in the spiritual realm we are all females which means we are responders. We react to the movements of God in our life and His revelation which is why the Word of God is so important. We do not need to originate anything except to make ourselves available to God at every moment as much as it lies within us. Salvation is a gift of God and getting to know Him begins the honeymoon.
It amazes me that women give their lives to serve their mates as we do also but they create a marriage in the process and the place where children are born and grow up. Easter is a great season to learn more about what Christ did to qualify us to be the children of God and the bride of His Son. If you’re like me you will enjoy those lessons forever. If you get messed up in one of those false churches that God warned about and Paul wept about for the space of three years that was coming on the earth, you can find yourself in the midst of a spiritual disaster that is as bad as the forthcoming earthquake. You better pay attention to the choir but keep an eye open for the one the bible calls a liar, a deceiver and a destroyer.
Things you can look for in a good church are the Word of God, the Holy Spirit of God, the church being led by the Spirit and not conquerors of the people and real genuine love. If there is no presence of God, it probably isn’t a church which means the gathering together of the called out ones. You will know this is the foundation of Jesus Christ which begins with His peace. May it be with your spirit and remember what God purchased for us on Calvary’s tree He purchased for the animals as well to set them free. Read Romans 8:20-21 in the New Living Translation.