Still Looking For True Christians In Dead Churches?
by Michael Jeshurun
‘Why seek ye the living among the dead?!” [Luke 24:5]
Even though this Scripture has reference mainly to our Lord’s resurrection, I believe that there is a spiritual message in it for God’s children as well.
The lament of many of God’s true sheep around the world is that they cannot find a Church to fellowship where the truth is preached and the Lie (and the Liars) are hated and exposed!
They weep – “Oh just when I thought I had found a true Church to fellowship with, my heart has been grieved with the messages being preached from the pulpit. Sermons which deny the truth of the Original Sin, the ‘Total Depravity of Man’ and God’s absolute sovereignty in our salvation; messages advocating the pagan practice of Christmas and Easter, and the big lie that “doctrine does not matter, all that matters is love!” And last Wednesday during our Bible study, the pastor announced that there would be no evening service this Sunday, because there was a ‘ball game’ on the television and no one would come anyway!”
“I am beginning to wonder if I am sitting amongst goats who have learnt how to bleat like sheep!”
WHY SEEK YE THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD?!
The Master told the Church of Sardis, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead!” [Rev 3:1]
Along the same lines, the Apostle warned, “the TIME WILL COME when they WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, HAVING ITCHING EARS; And THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables!” [2Tim 4:3,4]
ALAS! That ‘TIME’ which the Apostle speaks of came even back when Philpot and Pink were preaching more than a hundred years ago! Imagine the state of professing Christendom NOW! Because things do not get better, spiritually speaking but rather worse! (2Tim 3:13) The Lord said “when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith upon the earth?” [Luk 18:8] Except for a few small groups of faithful disciples who gather in houses all over the world, THE WHOLE OF CHRISTENDOM WILL BE THOROUGHLY APOSTATE– which is why He says, “COME OUT OF HER, My people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues”. [Rev 18:4]
Yes, if we can find other believers who love the truth and holiness and are against all that is erroneous like Free Willism, Roman Catholicism, Christmas, and the Prosperity Gospel etc, then it will be our joy to join with such believers and break bread.
But I speak from 27 years of personal experience that such Churches are one in a thousand and they usually meet in homes. The Master called His sheep ‘little-flock’ (Lk 12:32) because compared to the multitudes that throng the nominal churches, they are VERY SMALL in number. If you are yet a member of one of these HUGE ‘churches’, it will not be long before the Spirit opens your eyes to the fact that you are sitting amongst goats. That is provided you are one of the Lord’s sheep!
In our day the Lord’s true sheep who love the truth are so few in number that for a preacher to be a FULLTIME SALARIED MINISTER he has to NECESSARILY BE AN AMUSER OF GOATS AND AN ENTERTAINER OF RELIGIOUS HYPOCRITES. If a preacher has gathered enough members to support him fulltime and build him a church building then 99% of those who are part of his ‘Church’ have to NECESSARILY be religious goats! I am sorry but this fact I have experienced through my own experience!
Incidentally, you don’t have to ‘go to church’, or ‘go’ anywhere for that matter! If the Lord leads you to a group of true believers then great. Please make every effort to fellowship with them at every given opportunity and do your part to edify them.
But remember this – if whichever group you have decided to be a part of is growing to a number where you have to purchase or rent a building for your gathering, then 99% chances are that the preacher there is not preaching the whole truth!
“Any thing which is endured today in the religious world CANNOT be sound doctrine; anything which is approved of, well-attended, popular, is not sound ‘doctrine’. When God raises up His servant, equips him and sends him forth to preach, that servant will necessarily preach the WORD, and DENOUNCE all that is opposed to the world: hence his message is BOUND to be UNPOPULAR, in fact HATED by all who are not regenerated”.
A honest study of both history and Scripture will convince you that the Church in EVERY GENERATION is a called out one. No such thing as a SECOND GENERATION CHURCH. In every generation the church of Jesus is made up of the CALLED OUT ONES (Ecclesia).
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘SECOND GENERATION CHRISTIANS’.
GOD HAS NO GRANDCHILDREN, ONLY CHILDREN.
The second generation “Did not know the Lord” [Judges 2:10]. When the generation that is called by the Lord is misled into building church buildings, then the children born into that church are forced to ‘play church’ though in most cases they have not been called of God. When the spiritual life of a church declines and dies, a building calls for the organization to continue. Thus many “dead churches” continue to exist all over the world. The pastor is still paid, many people still dutifully attend the services, the club goes on, BUT THE LIFE HAS GONE! A SKELETON REMAINS! What a pity it can’t be buried! If there were no buildings, “dead churches” would have taken a natural demise long ago. They would not have been left to continue as a hindrance to the Kingdom of God.
But you might ask, does not God use these big denominations and Christian organizations? Brother, God uses EVERYTHING, including the devil and his demons. He uses these denominations and Christian organizations to make His name known among the nations and to prepare His elect for salvation. As the apostle said, “What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” [Phil. 1:18].
Speaking of the religious organization of His day the Lord said, “LET THEM ALONE!” [Matt. 15:14]. So if one seeks to truly follow Christ as a DISCIPLE he MUST STAY OUT of such dead churches and pray that the Lord leads him to a group of true Christians, and if he cannot find one in his city, then better just stay at home and worship God, rather than dutifully attend a dead Church which has ICHABOD (the glory has departed) stamped on it! [1Sam 4:21]
I preach separation from false churches as IMPERATIVE! Ever since I left the Apostate Churches and started out independently, the Lord has gradually shown me little by little that the existing Christendom of our day is IRREMEDIABLY APOSTATE. We are living in a day when ‘Christians’ have no regard for sound doctrine or a hunger for true holiness. Even most who prate about their orthodoxy in sound doctrine do not demand holiness from the flock entrusted to them.
Most preachers in our day desire to have a ‘ministry’ to show the world what they have accomplished for Christ. But I know from EXPERIENCE that any preacher who faithfully preaches the WHOLE counsel of God, which means not just preaching the truth but exposing the lie (and the liars who masquerade in Jesus’ name) and demanding separation from the world and all its ideals, standards, styles, fads, fashions, craze and customs etc, I believe such a preacher WILL be left WITHOUT A ‘MINISTRY’, for he will soon begin to see that the elect of God who sincerely seek to follow the Lamb by denying self, sin, and the world are only a mere HANDFUL.
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without (outside) the camp (of nominal Christianity), bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come”. [Hebrews 13:12-14]
“Those who are “poor in spirit” have nothing in common with the self-satisfied Laodiceans. And how “distressed” in soul are they over the worldliness that has come in like a flood, over the crowds of unregenerate members, over the utter absence of any scriptural discipline? And what is to be the attitude and actions of God’s grieved children toward those having nothing more than a form of godliness? This “FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Timothy 3:5). Identify yourself with Christ on the outside; walk ALONE WITH HIM”! [A.W. Pink]
What If Islam Ruled America
Islam is more than a religion; It is a comprehensive way of life. The Quran (believed by Muslims to be Allah’s word), and the Hadith (Mohammed’s sayings as recorded by Al Bukhari), prescribe numerous regulations governing every aspect of the social, political, economical, as well as religious life. The belief that (Islam is a religion and a state)is an integral part of the Islamic religion. Let’s examine what Islam would do if it ruled America. What would happen to the values and institutions that we hold dear?
This country was built on the Bill of Rights, established by the founding fathers who came here to escape religious oppression. The Constitution gives citizens the right to express themselves as they please, criticize the president, to worship in the way they want and to act in any way they see appropriate as long as they don’t violate the rights of others. What would happen to this freedom in an Islamic state? Would the citizens be granted the right to choose the religion they want or would they be forced into Islam according to the Quranic verse: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.” (Surah 3:85) How about the right of a Muslim to change his own religion? Would he be given this right or would he be punished according to the apostasy rule which states that such a person should be punished by death? Mohammed said “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Al Buhkari Vol. 9:57)
Do Muslim activists want us to have the same rights granted to the citizens of an Islamic country such as Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive an automobile and no one can worship openly according to any religion other than Islam? Do they want us to be ruled by a ruler such as Khomeini, who issued an order to murder a writer, Salman Rushdie, just because he dared to criticize Islam? Even in a moderate Islamic state such as Egypt, Christians have to obtain a presidential decree to be able to build a church, or even repair a toilet in a church. They face discrimination in all aspects of their lives, including education, employment and promotions.
Our present system in the USA gives citizens the right to rule themselves, to write the laws that will govern their lives, to decide the amount of taxes to be collected from them and how it will be spent. One important principle in this great system is the separation of church and state. Islam, however, is built on an opposing concept, for “Islam is a religion and a state.” According to Islam, the Quran is the principal source of legislation: ” We have sent down to thee the book in truth, that you might judge men as guided by God.” (Surah 4:105)
If the Quran is the law, what are some of the rules and regulations that will be imposed? Here are just a few examples:
STEALING: punished by hand amputation. (Surah 5:41)
ADULTERY: punished by public flogging. (Surah 24:2)
DRINKING: punished by 40 or 80 lashes.& the third offense,the drinker should be excuted (Al Bukhari 8:770)
RESISTING ISLAM: punished by death, crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet. (Surah 5:36) Prisons in Muslim countries are known to be centers of torture rather than rehabilitation.
Under our system in the United States, there should be no discrimination among citizens based on sex, color, religion or race. Would Islam treat men and women equally when: It teaches that men are superior to women? (Surah 2:228) It gives men double the share of women in inheritance? (Surah 4:11) It gives the man double the value of a woman’s witness in court? (Surah 2:282) Would Islam treat non-Muslims fairly when: The Quran calls on Muslims not to befriend Jews or Christians? (Surah 9:30) The Quran imposes “Jizya” (tribute tax) on Christians and Jews that will be collected only from them and not from Muslims? (Surah 9:29) Mohammed says that a Muslim may not be killed if he kills a non-Muslim.” No Muslim should be killed for killing a kafir (infidel or non-Muslim.)” (Al Bukhari Vol. 9:50)
COULD ISLAM SOMEDAY RULE AMERICA?
Islam is the fastest growing religion in America. Today, the number of followers of Islam in the United States has reached 4 to 6 million. It is expected that Islam will be the second largest religion in America before the turn of the century from immigration, marriage and converting. It is only a matter of time before Islam will become the religion of the majority. America, then, will be labeled an “Islamic country”, ruled by the “Quran” and the “Hadith”or what Muslims call Sharia (the Islamic code of ethics).
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The Comfort I Have
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” [Revelation 14:13]
The comfort I have in the death of my wife resides in knowing that she died “in the Lord”, meaning that I believe she died possessing the salvation from her sins that only Jesus Christ could provide. She was trusting in the complete and full payment for all her sins that Jesus paid when He died on a cross 2,000 years ago at a place in Israel outside of the city of Jerusalem known as Calvary. My wife was not trusting in her good deeds, penance or religious rituals of any kind to even assist with her salvation. By God’s grace she understood that as the Bible states in Ephesians 2:8 & 9, that if we are to avoid eternity in Hell, we can only be saved by the grace (unmerited favor) of God and that it is not of works lest anyone should be able to boast before God that they were better than so-and-so. If you are depending on your own goodness to qualify you for Heaven, then you will need to be able to say that you are as sinless as Jesus Christ – then and only then can you hope to escape the ETERNAL wrath of God that will be poured out on all unsaved mankind on the day of Judgment. A person receives the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ when they become “saved” (also referred to as “born again”).
Perhaps you don’t believe any of this. Well then perhaps you don’t know what Heaven will be like. It will not be a place where you can indulge in any of the lusts and sinful behaviors that you indulged in on earth. It will be a place of absolute holiness, sinlessness and moral purity. For all eternity, no one in Heaven will ever use the name of the blessed Saviour Jesus Christ as a curse word. But instead, they will be forever praising Him for shedding His blood and for dying in their place for their sins.
Do you plan to ignore this message and just “take your chances”? Do you realize that Jesus Christ is eternal God and that He left His glorious home in Heaven to demonstrate His love to us? Knowing that none of us sinful creatures could ever measure up to His standard of perfect holiness and sinlessness, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, by suffering and dying for lost sinners like you and I. His perfect life and perfect sacrifice was the only acceptable payment to God for our sins.
Have you turned to Christ and received His forgiveness and repented of your sins and trusted in Him and His sacrifice ALONE to protect you from God’s wrath on Judgment Day? Our own self-righteous deeds are considered as nothing more than filthy rags to God. He is far more holy than we could ever imagine. Our sins are an enormous crime and offense against God, who stated that if we break one commandment, it is as if we broke them all. Jesus said if a person ever hated another person, they are a murderer at heart. He said if a person ever lusted after another person, they have committed adultery in their heart. We like to compare ouselves to people who we think are bigger sinners than we are. God compares us to himself, in whom there is no sin. Heaven is all about fellowshipping with this holy sin-hating God. Is that the kind of Heaven you were expecting to go to when you die? If not, then you will surely end up in Hell instead. But so that you have time to seek the Lord while He may be found, I am writing this message. I hope and pray that you will call upon God while He is near – to be YOUR savior while there is still time. You probably won’t have any time to seek Him on the day He ushers you into eternity.
One last thought: When God came to earth 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ, how did we treat him? He told people he was God and he proved it by the many miracles he performed (including raising people from the dead) yet they arrested him, imprisoned him, beat him and brutally murdered him. Yet he rose from the dead on the third day further proving his divinity. And how do we treat him today? Do we revere him or do we instead use his name as a curse word? Do we worship him or simply ignore him and his commandments? When was the last time you read the bible to find out more about this God you will have to meet some day? — R.K.
The God Of The Bible Is Not The God Of Modern Christendom
How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which prevails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a blasphemous travesty of the Truth. The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the respect of no really thoughtful man. The God of the popular mind is the creation of a maudlin sentimentality. The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence. To say that God the Father has purposed the salvation of all mankind, that God the Son died with the express intention of saving the whole human race, and that God the Holy Spirit is now seeking to win the world to Christ; when, as a matter of common observation, it is apparent that the great majority of our fellow-men are dying in sin, and passing into a hopeless eternity: is to say that God the Father is disappointed, that God the Son is dissatisfied, and that God the Holy Spirit is defeated. We have stated the issue baldly, but there is no escaping the conclusion. To argue that God is “trying His best” to save all mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him save them, is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent. To throw the blame, as many do, upon the Devil, does not remove the difficulty, for if Satan is defeating the purpose of God, then, Satan is Almighty and God is no longer the Supreme Being. –– Arthur Pink, “The Sovereignty Of God”
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The Cost of Discernment
A Quote From An Interview With Dr. Robert A. Morey
Dr. Morey, what advice do you have to give to those of us who believe in asking questions; to those of us who believe that the life of the mind is important, who believe that we must defend the faith and witness for Christ at all costs. What can you share with future generations of the Church? How can we fight for truths survival?
After Walter Martin died, I was asked to speak in his place at a major apologetic conference in Rockford, IL. The title of my lecture was, “The Cost of Discernment.” It has proven to be very popular for those who have been attacked for asking questions and defending the Faith.
1. There is a personal cost. Truth becomes all consuming, and the most important thing in your life. You cannot simply accept what people say without checking it out.
2. There is a family cost. Your wife, husband, parents or children will attack you. They will tell you that you need to be more “positive” and “accepting.”
3. There is a financial cost. You will spend countless thousands of dollars on books, references works, DVDs, CDs, etc. in your pursuit of the truth. 
4. There is a friendship cost. Friends will desert you because you are too “negative.”
5. There is a church cost. You will find it hard if not impossible to find a church that shares your love of apologetics. Many pastors will not like you and may view you as a troublemaker. They will pray and hope that you will move on to another church. They value money, buildings, and numbers while you value truth, justice, and righteousness.
6. There is a reputation cost. You will be maligned, slandered, and put down as mean, nasty, unloving, unkind, etc. You get tired of fighting the good fight.
7. There is a professional cost. Since you will not compromise; call good evil and evil good; are bold to condemn heresy; name names; and warn people against false popular false teachers, you will not be hired at most seminaries or called to pastor big churches.
8. There is a spiritual cost. Your spirit will be grieved over all the heresy being taught today. You are tempted to become depressed and discouraged. You live in an age where truth is not valued. No one seems to understand why you care about truth and holiness. Thankfully, the godly have always faced this same situation:
We are, “Afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
We must keep in mind 1 Corinthians 15:58:
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
The smile of God is all you need to endure the frown of man.
1. I am not sure I would say that a truth seeker will necessarily spend thousands on resources to pursue truth, but I believe a true Christian may have to forfeit certain jobs or careers and financial success in life if he or she is desperate to share God’s truth with others and to live an uncompromising life obeying God’s truth as it applies to themselves and their interactions with others. Also, a true Christian is apt to financially support like-minded ministries that the majority of professing Christians would want nothing to do with.
Christ Died For The Ungodly
by Horatius Bonar
The divine testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. God bears witness against him, not for him; and testifies that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that there is "none that doeth good"; none "that understandeth"; none that even seeks after God, and, still more, none that loves Him (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12). God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will "by no means clear the guilty." <continued>