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]
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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>