Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 23, 1998
Last Updated :
February 22, 2012
First Century Compromise, Letters To Seven Churches, Dying Flames, Deceptive Spirits, Pockets Of The Spirit, Spiritual Clones, Modern Pharisees, Spiritual Laziness and Worldliness, Return To The Lord, Weaker Brethren, Rebels, My Personal Ministry, Dutiful Presence Or Thriving In The Word?, Shine!
Sadly, despite this powerful burst of spiritual light, heat and energy which emanated from Jerusalem, it didn't take long before the creeping paralysis of compromise which leads to death, crept into the Early Church. While it is indeed true that the problem grew considerably worse during the third and fourth centuries when the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches began to establish their roots, the truth of the matter is, that it only took a few decades before the original hot embers had died, primarily through martyrdom, and their followers began to lose the Heavenly Vision first established by the Lord.
Even before the Apostle John had breathed his last breath towards the end of the First Century, we find him and some of the other Apostles issuing stern warnings to the wayward Early Church. Aside from the admonitions which were issued in the Epistles by Peter, Paul and others, which I amply discuss in other articles, consider the Lord's warnings to the seven churches in Asia Minor, recorded by John in the second and the third chapters of the Book of Revelation:
"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks . . . Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
Revelation 2:1, 4, KJV
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
Revelation 2:12-14, KJV
"And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."
Revelation 2:18-20, KJV
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."
Revelation 3:1, KJV
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
Revelation 3:14-17, KJV
Notice that in the above verses we already see the Early Christians beginning to lose their love for the Lord, His Word and lost souls. We also see the beginnings of false prophecies, false doctrine, fornication, idolatry, spiritual death, compromise, lukewarmness and worldly materialism; only a few decades after the deaths of the Apostles. If all it took was perhaps thirty years before the Original Flames began to die out due to serious compromise with the enemy, what does that tell us about Christianity today? Some nineteen hundred years have passed since those lines were written. Satan has had all of this time to wreak further havoc upon the Lord's virgin Bride. Can anyone seriously doubt that he has been successful? Can anyone doubt that Christianity today is in serious trouble?
If you are one who truly knows and understands the Word of the Lord, then you cannot deny this truth. If you look at what is currently happening within many churches which form a part of organized religion, and then compare those things with the Original Pattern, you cannot possibly deny that the situation has grown much worse in our modern day. Just like cold dead Judaism of two thousand years ago, much of modern Christianity is simply going through the motions without the true Spirit thereof. Many modern churches are cold dead corpses which still appear to have life, because there are still a few jerky twitches left to them, even though God's Spirit has already departed from them.
As I explain in some of my other articles such as "Have You Been Slain In The Spirit?", "Are The Gifts Of The Spirit For Today?" and "Lying Wonders Of The Endtime", what I believe is so dangerous about this situation, is that once God's true Holy Spirit departs due to disobedience to God's Word, a false deceptive spirit can come in which imitates the true Spirit of God so that the coals still seem to be alive. Most common church-goers have so little spiritual discernment, and understand so little of the Word of God, that they can't seem to tell the difference; and thus, sometimes unbeknownst to them, they fall under the strong delusion of the Endtime. If you would like to better understand these things, I encourage you to read the aforementioned articles.
It is for these reasons that I, and others like me, prefer to have nothing to do with organized religion. While some of their proud self-righteous leaders and members accuse us of being the outsiders; while they accuse us of being lost and backslidden from the Lord; while they tell blatant lies by claiming that we will die spiritually without them; we are proving by our very existence, and by our very love for and dedication to the Lord, His Word and lost souls, that they are absolutely wrong! It is just like Satan to twist and pervert the Truth, and to turn it completely around. It is just like Satan to condemn us for the very things of which he and his cold dead system of organized religion are guilty themselves. We are live hot embers burning brightly for the Lord, while they are the cold dead coals who are trying to deceive people with their false heat and light. It is my personal observation that many Christians today simply "play church". In other words, as Jesus said of the Jews of His day:
". . . Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
Mark 7:6b, KJV
Of course, there is a balance to be found in everything that I say and teach. While my words will undoubtedly seem harsh and offensive to some people, particularly to those who do participate in organized religion, please know that they are not meant to be taken as a blanket statement. I don't like to speak in generalities. While it is my view that modern Christianity, or churchianity, is for the most part a dead, corrupt system, this does not necessarily mean that every single church is dead. Neither does it mean that all of its members are wicked, evil and hopelessly lost. I am sure that there are pockets of the Spirit scattered here and there. I am sure that there are some churches and church leaders who are honestly trying to obey the Scriptures to the best of their knowledge and ability.
Over the years, and even now, I have known some very sincere Christians who participate in organized religion; however, I feel that these people are the exception to the rule. After a certain period of strong indoctrination, most people tend to become just like their pharisaical spiritual elders. I have seen this with certain Roman Catholics, Baptists, and others. It is very difficult to resist this spirit. Before long, one is parroting the beliefs and attitudes of his spiritual elders, for good or for evil. They are spiritual clones just like everyone else in their church. It slowly and subtly overcomes one before he can become aware of it. It is like a gradual spiritual blindness. As the Apostles Peter and Paul wrote in their Epistles:
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."
2 Peter 2:19, KJV
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"
Ephesians 4:17-18, KJV
Some of these people have self-righteously judged me because I don't attend a church building, while others have actually had the audacity to stop me on the street and ask me with what authority I pass out my Gospel tracts! These people are nothing but modern Pharisees. You may recall that the Jewish Pharisees of old also asked Jesus by what authority He did the things that He did:
"And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?"
Matthew 21:23, KJV
Of course, within Christian circles, the people who have challenged me the most concerning my preaching of the Gospel of the Jesus Christ, have more often than not been Roman Catholics who have been brainwashed by their clergy into believing that no one has the right to preach or teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ except the "holy mother church". The sad thing about this, is that the Roman Catholic Church seems to know very little about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They appear to be more interested in teaching the doctrines and traditions of their "church fathers" which are quite often contrary to the true message of the Gospel. I discuss this topic more thoroughly in other articles.
In some cases, these people have been deceived by their church leadership due to spiritual laziness on their part. If they would take the time to study the Scriptures on their own, instead of trusting in their priest, minister, pastor or Sunday school teacher to spoon-feed them their poison on weekends, perhaps they would wake up to the Truth. Sadly, quite a few modern Christians have forsaken their first love, just like the church at Ephesus; and instead prefer to watch their evening sitcoms, or to attend some sporting event, or to go see the lastest movie, or to waste time with video games, or to go to a loud rock concert, or to do whatever it is that Satan has used to cause them to waste their time on silly, meaningless, worldly delusions. In other words, they prefer to spiritually fornicate with the world. Peter goes on to tell us in his second Epistle:
"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
2 Peter 2:20, KJV
Sadly, while all of these things are going on in their lives, the Lord's Spirit is pulling at their hearts, as He pleads with them saying:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV
"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."
Isaiah 44:22, KJV
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"
Jeremiah 3:14, KJV
". . . Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?"
Malachi 3:7b, KJV
To add a final degree of balance to my previous statements, allow me to also state that there are some people who have left organized religion who, because that is all that they have ever known, cannot survive spiritually without it. They are indeed embers which fade and die when separated from the coals, assuming of course that those coals are still alive. Perhaps these people are spiritually handicapped. They need the crutch of organized religion because they haven't grown and matured spiritually; and thus don't know how to be fed by the Lord directly through His Word. They are similar to the weaker brethren that the Apostle Paul wrote about in some of his Epistles:
"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs . . . It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
Romans 14:1-2, 21, KJV
"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification."
Romans 15:1-2, KJV
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
1 Thessalonians 5:14, KJV
Perhaps they leave organized religion because they are totally disillusioned with it, but then they don't look for, or else they simply can't find something better with which to replace it. They may look for a time, but eventually they end up drifting into a spiritual "no man's land". Sometimes they become spiritually weak and end up backsliding all the way. Other people don't leave churchianity in order to serve the Lord better; they leave it so that they don't have to serve Him at all! These people are spiritual rebels. They simply want the freedom to live their lives as they please without being plagued by feelings of guilt. They want to escape the responsibility of having to answer to the Lord. Of course, this is a ridiculous notion, because eventually, we are all going to have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ:
"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
Romans 14:10, KJV
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV
Finally, there are those, like myself, who seem to thrive spiritually outside of organized religion. Please don't misunderstand me; I have my trials and temptations just like everyone else; but by God's Grace, I overcome them. There are times when I become extremely depressed because of my own sins, failures, and human limitations. Other times I will feel like all of my work is just a waste of time, and that nobody is really listening; or at least not enough people are listening. In some cases, Satan will tell me that I have no right to tell anyone anything because I am such a total mess myself; and I don't deny it. There have been times in my life when I have really gone back on the Lord. I am not saying that I denied Him as my Saviour; I don't think I would ever do that; but I have become very involved in the things of the world. I have gotten sidetracked in acting and talking like other worldly people, wanting to earn lots of money, desiring the things of the world, or wasting my time with television and other such things. In other words, I haven't always been a faithful Christian witness.
Thank the Lord I believe that those days are behind me now. The Lord has given me a real spirit of sobriety and urgency concerning my current work for Him. He has given me the strength and the vision to perform this ministry faithfully on a daily basis. I look forward to it every day and every night; whenever He has me work. I never know what He is going to have me write; and sometimes I work on projects which I would have never have had the faith to write on my own. As I have mentioned before, I am only a high school graduate. I don't possess any fancy diplomas or degrees from some renowned university, or from some theological seminary. Some people have told me that I shouldn't even be doing this kind of a ministry since I don't possess such "important documents". Well, I suppose the Lord knows better, for as the Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Corinthians:
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."
1 Corinthians 1:27-29, KJV
If you would like to learn more concerning this topic, I encourage you to read such articles as "The Only Credentials You Need!" and "The Wisdom Of God vs The Philosophy Of Men".
Before concluding this article, I would like to stress a few important points. First of all, you can survive spiritually outside of organized religion. Throughout this article we have seen that when cold organized religion died, it was from the outside that the Lord ignited His hot embers in order to bring new life. As I have pointed out in many of my articles, the key to your spiritual survival is not just in your physically gathering together in some church building or anywhere else, just so you can say that you have obeyed the "Pauline Law", but rather it is in continually studying and dwelling upon His Word. This is where the true Spiritual Power resides. It is only from His Word that we derive our spiritual fortitude and stamina to fight our daily battles for the Lord. If that church doesn't even emphasize the pure Word of God, then you are much better off staying home and reading it for yourself; for as Jesus said in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, His words are Spirit, and they are life:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
Dutifully bowing to pressure by assembling in a local church building is not the key source of your spiritual life; His Word is. God's Spirit is not bound by the four walls of a church building. His Spirit dwells in our hearts. That is the true Temple. Let me remind you again of Jesus' own words to the woman of Samaria found in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John:
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:21-24, KJV
If you are the Lord's child who is filled with His Holy Spirit, then He will touch your lips with His hot ember, so that you too will be purified in His sight, and will speak His pure language of Truth. If you are continually reading, studying and memorizing His Word, you will emanate the white-hot heat of His Love, and the brilliant Light of His Truth no matter where you are; even if that cold dead church down the street criticizes and condemns you for not joining their little club. If you fill your heart and your mind with His Word, this is what will come out of you when you open your mouth; for as Jesus said, it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh. It is out of our hearts that we draw treasures new and old; and those treasures are the wonderful treasures of His Word which we have hidden there. Consider the following verses:
"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."
Isaiah 6:5-7, KJV
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalms 119:11, KJV
"Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:"
Proverbs 3:3, KJV
"Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart."
Proverbs 7:2-3, KJV
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
Matthew 12:34-35, KJV
"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52, KJV
For more information on this topic, I encourage you to read the article "Speak the Pure Language of Truth".
Whether you choose to worship and serve the Lord inside or outside of organized religion is entirely up to you. It must be according to your faith, and not mine. If you have found a church or fellowship where the Lord and His Word are being exalted and obeyed, then perhaps you should remain where you are; however, if this is not the case, then perhaps you should begin to look elsewhere. If you are not knowledgeable of the qualities which should be present in a good church or fellowship, then I again encourage you to read such articles as "Where are the First Century Churches?", as well as the list of questions found at the end of part four of "Have You Been Slain in the Spirit?". Collectively, I believe that these will give you a solid basis upon which to determine the Scriptural purity of your church or fellowship. Wherever and however you decide to worship, I pray that you too will be a burning ember who will shine forth His Love, Light and Truth. Don't ever allow anyone to quench the fire of His Spirit which burns in your heart. Continue to be a burning ember for the Lord:
"Quench not the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, KJV
With these final verses, I am going to bring this lesson to a close. I pray that this article has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.