2003 - Updated 15/4/12




Know Ye Not

  (YOU) are the temple (church) of God


1 Corinthians 3:16

He must increase, but we must decrease
(a few thoughts from the wilderness)

Just in case some readers will find the following content quite frank and unceremonious sounding in places, this is by no means a suggestion I possess all the answers nor have it all together both spiritually and doctrinally.  Also, you would probably be disappointed if you elected me as your leader, which I would turn down anyway.  Most would agree it is the responsibility of all believers, everywhere, to shun the counterfeit and to take hold of everything God intended.

However, a lot of controversy comes in when leadership is the issue.  Not that I class myself as one (at least in the "official" sense - maybe in the family sense), but scripturally, when it comes down to the individuals walk with God, leaders are called to point the individual away from themselves unto "all the counsel of God".  Nothing more.  Nothing less (still count yourself one - thatza leader, dummy!).  Even the prophets of old never spoke for themselves, but always bore a word based message.  Unlike the self-appointed and professionally groomed scholars of today.

Further more; although these articles may have unintentional errors, it is however, the sole purpose of its author to encourage the Lord's remnant, to look to the heavenly and away from anything that may be "mine".  Or "yours"!  Or "theirs"!  The reason I can't resist quoting here this (very ignored) verse ... 1Cor. 1:2:

 ... "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place (soundz like all true 'born again' Christians to me, no matter where they reside or attend) call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and ours (yes, I  mean any believer outside your or my clique?)"

For I, nor you, nor anyone else for that matter, happens to know or possess all truth.  However, the word of God, found in the scriptures, does.  Therefore, it is not a matter of restoring lost truths, or starting a bible recovery programme, or founding another reformation, or offering a new revelation (sound familiar?); but chucking out all that is man-centred and getting back to the scriptures in all that pertains to truth and revelation.  For the last thing we need is a new church.  Nor do we need a new sect, cult, or movement for that matter.  Nor a new prophet.  However, we do need each other ("both their's and ours") ... "which every joint supplieth".  Wherewithal, and above all, the written word of God is paramount:

Let "God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings":

This is the purpose behind these articles.  Got ya Bible ready?

Know ye not

Know ye not wot!? What are we to know?? From God's reliable word that iz!  Or what do we know, in other words?  The NT says what we are to know and what we are clearly and indisputably.

What are we then? Well for a start, it says we are the temple of God.  Yip, you, me and everyone who is in Christ.  That's to do with God's very place of dwelling.  Not the place down the road.  Or around the block  Or situated on the elevation overlooking the town.  With its prominent spire.  Or steeple.  Or cross.  Pointing to heaven.  Nor the bricks and mortar you attend regularly down the street.  Or behind the curtain you face on certain days.  Spent in the precision build sanctuary you attend.  By getting in your car, or on the bus, and geographically relocating from home for a couple of hours.  I'm not saying this ... God is!!  Period!!  And all conclusively!!

1 Corinthians 3:16 says, "Know ye not that ye (you and me) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

The above verse, "Know ye not that ye are the temple", is not a deep and profound, but conclusive, clear-cut statement.  It is aimed at the benefit of the believer to make him fully aware of his new situation in Christ.  That he is simply the temple.  Or sanctuary.  Or tabernacle.  The place of dwelling.  Or (get this!!) ... the church of the very God who called him!

This basically means God's very Spirit lives in every individual believer 'called out'.  It also means God is at home in the life of every blood bought saint.  Moreover, scripture is very clear ...  God's people no longer go to "the temple", or to "church", to meet with their Maker.  The Lord is not there.  But only where the believer is.  Simply because the believer ... is the church!!!  Those called out ones!

This is why Jesus' words to a certain inquiring Samaritan woman down at the village well one day, was nothing to do with saying she had the wrong religion, not being a Jew.  Or He had the right one either, being bound to the law.  Of all people, Jesus chose a woman this time (remember, women were largely the underdogs in those days), who was also "detrimentally" a Samaritan.  Considered dogs by the Jews in those days (classed as "half-breeds" in other words).  Who also happened to be an immoral woman (time to cast stones?).  With nothing mentioned about the "act" of repentance from Jesus.  Nor points to follow in "how to be saved".  There was also an absence of staged atmosphere and vibes for her feelings to be captivated by, and emotionally respond to.  Nor a somber, sobbing and sobering altar call plea.  Nor a lofty oration to adhere to.  Neither was there the bonus and luxuary of having very soft music playing in the background.  Nor a nicely laid soft carpet, to strode the isle on, instead hiking the heat and dust of the day.

However, Jesus chose her nevertheless.  And merely spoke about the gift of God.  Adding "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst"!  That's going beyond the h2o stuff she carried in her hand, to temporary quench her thirst, to something even better.  And greater.  It is also clear that Jesus was not endorsing worshiping in the mountain here (as her people did).  Nor worshiping in Jerusalem (as His people did).  But going beyond these boundaries, to something even better.  And greater.  It is where Jesus choose to speak these incredible liberating words (John 4:24):

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit (a city or a place man sets is not important nor necessary) and in truth (towards the true God of the scriptures)."

Have you ever given this verse much consideration?:

Acts 7:38.  "This is he (Jesus the end time prophet), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us (the remnant church of the New Testament era)".

As it was then, so it is now ... the church (found) in the wilderness!  Where Jesus was (and is) present (1 Cor. 10:4)!  And real!  More on dis later.

Going to church

There is a reference in Acts 24:10 however, of Paul going to Jerusalem "to worship".  The reason Paul was going to the capital to worship, was because Paul was going there on a voluntary basis, being all things to his fellow Jews in order to win some to Christ (Christ being the fulfilment of the God of the Old Testament).  As you will see when you read the whole passage in context (vs 11-24) and in conjunction with 1 Cor. 9:20.

However, this was nothing to do with Paul "going to church" on a regular, habitual basis, to appease both God and the "elitist" church hierarchy at the same time.  The Ethiopian eunuch, in Acts 8:27, was also going to Jerusalem to worship (with no reference he had knowledge of Jesus prior to paying service in Jerusalem).  On his way home the Lord had other ideas, as his life was turned around for the better when he was introduced to the new temple (Jn. 2:19).  The One that was not made or fashioned by man.  The One which was destroyed, then three day later raised up for all eternity.  His name being Jesus (v 25).

Man may have his place and edifice he calls the "tabernacle" or "sanctuary", using these terms in the old covenant sense.  Unable to discern or distinguish the reality of the new covenant house of God.  However, scripture says in great contrast (Rev. 21:3):

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."

The Lord's interests are with people.  His people!  They are not in edifices or institutions (Matt. 24: 1-2).  Nor in the little kingdoms or sub empires man has built audaciously in God's name.

Under the inferior covenant, the Lord may have once presenced Himself in a tent. Then in a physical temple.  However, now (right at this very present moment) the Lord lives (eternally) inside every true Christian. By-passing everything made with human hands.

The earlier inferior version was just a mere shadow or a physical type of the superior reality to come.  It is the new wine  emptied into new wine skins the NT talked about!  The treasure in earthen vessels!  The pure, sweet perfume, in the alabaster box!  In direct contrast to what Western tradition (Christendom) has brought us up to believe.  The lie that the building or institution "down the road", is indeed God's church for you.  Or in your locality.  Scripture is clear that the Lord presence's Himself in the midst of where the two or more believers gather together in His name (Matt. 18:20), save His name alone (Neh. 1:9 & Jer. 7:12).  Being absolutely nothing to do with a "sanctified" building of bricks and mortar.  Nor a place where human credentialed clerics are incubated, hatched and based.  Nor because man merely chooses a convenient time at a "sanctified" place.  Then brands it with the term "coming to" , "attending", or "having church".

The name

If someone builds an institution it is only appropriate it goes by a name.  Right!  Usually the name of the man or his method the institution is built on.  Irrespective of whether it is built for religious or civil purposes, and irrespective of fable or historic fact (we won't have to name any of the many denominations and movements at this stage, or various cults, or numerous sects and cliques).  Because Jesus said His church would be built on Himself.  And we can't add or substrate to, or from Jesus, can we?  Meaning, any tag or brand given by man (to what Christ is suppose to own or be - His Body on earth) would be a travesty as well as a contradiction of the saints praying in this manner ... "Hallowed (set apart for God) be thy name."  Anything less here, is nothing but religious gimmickry!  Or sentimentality at best.

If you think I am being too hard or not reasonable enough here, by saying the Lord will not tolerate us naming His people in a certain place, or as a certain movement (or 'the place' it very self, with a self appointed, marketable or trendy name), then I ask you to seriously ponder over the following scriptures please?  Comparing (soiled, unripe) apples with (untainted, ripen) apples.  Moreover, laying aside all preconceived, mind entrenched, indoctrinated tradition or ideas.  First to consider (under the inferior covenant- 1 Cor. 15:46), there was the natural temple where the Lord only recognized His name, as follows in 1 Kings 9:3:

"I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever"

Point to consider:  How can a place man has set aside (outside the OT) be made holy (hallowed)? Furthermore, how can God's holy, eternal name, be replaced with a temporary, artificial, generic name, based more on trend and palpability, rather than authenticity? 1 Kings 9:7 this time:

 ... "and this house, which I have hallowed for my name"

Point to consider again:  How can a manmade institution be hallowed (made holy) for God's name only, just because it is a good idea, or serves a group well in identity and for its preservation in the general (secular) established community?  If it is for God's name only (with 100% pure intentions) then how can an invented name (irrespectively on being based on Biblical themes) be holy, if its usage goes for things like Mother's Day, interchurch programmes, to justify the group or denomination who have established it in the first place, "Christian" concerts, (unholy) "holy communion", and so forth?  Sometimes dedicated (dare not say blessed here) by an unregenerate mayor or town's representative!

Now (under the better covenant - Heb. 8:6) there is the spiritual temple, where the Lord only recognizes His name.  Acts 15:14:

"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them (set apart for God) a people for his name."

Man, in his religious endeavors, kingdom building, controlling the masses, or remaining in control over his own ("sanctified") estate, always makes a name for himself, as Gen. 11:4:

 ... "let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."

Religious man needs some sort of land mark, whether it be a tower, steeple or spire.  Or a symbol or a sign post.  A name always being the chiefest of his sign posts.  A way of advertising to "the heathen" and nations "their" brand of religion is the way (or a way) or place to meet God.  However, with God being a jealous God that He is, will never share His glory with any other.  Nor be dictated to by man (no matter how much mans ideas sound plausible and fitting).  God is always sovereign, doing things His manifold way, by keeping to His word, above man, and not uniform in wisdom either ... Ez. 36:22:

"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen (by going your own way or raising up a substitute), whither ye went (by conforming to the times and not God)."

His place

A manmade temple, or an institution, or a fraternity, relies on a name because it is physically or geographically recognized.  However, the Lord's church does not rely on a name to exist, because it is only spiritually discerned.  God's building does not rely on a name as it is not a concoction of man (yes, not another "con" in many more ways than one), and exists simply and solely because Jesus said He will build His church.  Irrespective to the hellish opposition and spiritual confusion that would try and thwart this divine task.

It also exists in the 'here and now' in the hearts of the 'called out'.  Merely because the 'called out' are being faithful and are discerning the Lord's place and name by faith.  Reminding us again ... God has a place (where He sets His name) which is not governed by time, or circumstances, or a geographical locality, because it is only found in spirit and only found in truth.

Acts 7:7.  "And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage (snared by man) will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place."

Which place?  The spiritual place set by God Himself!  This was the church found "in the wilderness" looking forward to the new.  Not as a great adorning, lofty, edifice, perched for all to see.  Nor a trendy auditorium down at the new subdivision, proving this particular church is relevant and up with the play.  But something authentic and only observed by divine manifestation.

In reverse, scripture takes us back where we can see how the Lord always had His eternal place He was preparing for His saints (the spiritual place of inheritance).  Genesis 28:11-22 tells the story of an outcast called Jacob, travelling in the wilderness as in the manner of his father Abraham before him.  With the significance of a dream he had one particular night.  In this dream he saw a vision of a ladder bridging heaven and earth.  Upon the ladder he saw angels ascending and descending.  This story is a picture of the two way relationship God has with His people through Christ, the way and the gate to this place of encounter.  Even though the Lord told Jacob in his dream his descendants would inherit the place on which he slept (meaning earthly Israel in the last Millennium to come), he awoke and said in regards to the vision:

"Surely the LORD is in this place (meaning something different); and I knew it not ("I tried to grasp it with my own human reasoning, but couldn't comprehend it")?"

And in fear he continued:

"How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate (the way) of heaven."

Now going forward again to the NT, we observe clearly that Jesus is this gate to enter by (Matt. 7:14), as well as the way to walk, as the truth and the life to find (John 14:6), and our one meeting place of encounter with God Himself (Matt. 14: 15-16).

A better revelation

Jacob had received direct from God revelation concerning God's place (the House of God) as being something outside of geographic boundaries and human reasoning.  The stone on which he slept was representing being under the direct Headship of Christ.  The oil representing the anointing of life from above, the Holy Ghost.  Making Jacob a living stone for a living building.

The physical place he then named Bethel (meaning the House of God) as a memorial.  Or a type of the revelation he received concerning the new place.  Of which his descendants (Israel's remnant and the grafted in Gentiles) would be also knitted into as living stones.  This place is only found out in the wilderness, without the camp, beyond the lofty and grandeur, where what is rejected by the world, is received by the Lord.  As Rev. 12:6:

"And the woman (the church) fled into the wilderness, where she hath (present tense) a place prepared of God".

This is the place where we are fed by none other than the one and only true Shepherd (the true Pastor) and Bishop of our souls ... the Lord Jesus!

During the second passover of the ministry of Jesus our Saviour, He did not go to Jerusalem (the physical place) but staged His own feast in the wilderness, outside the physical gate, by feeding the multitude.  In this new place, there was no earthly temple or city, as there was also no sacrificial ritual performed.  Our living Jesus was Himself the one meeting place.  The place where the people were miraculously fed.  And satisfied. Away from the mainstream and convention.  Looking at Deut. 14:23:

"And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there (also read 12:5, 21; 14:24; 16:2, 6,11; 26:2; 1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13)".

Yes, a place and a name, of His choosing and not mans.  Can you trust Him this much?  To go to Him there?  To feast with Him there?  To sup with Him there?  To commune with Him there?  Outside the city!  Without and beyond the camp!

His name only

Hebrews 4:5:

"And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest."

When the children of Israel were possessing the Land (a picture of the Christians forsaking the Old for the New) not only were they commanded to destroy the images, altars and shrines of the religious systems they came across (De. 12: 3-5), but were also commanded to destroy the names of them out of that place.  Now isn't that interesting!?  Then in their place the Lord's name was to be established ... Verse 5:

"But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there (no room for "scripturally" generic, gimmicky, or trendy names) ..."

It is clear ... the Lord's name replaces the names that man has erected, justified or made known. In fact, the other names are were to be destroyed, let alone be made manifest!  Meaning, in today's sense, His place and name only, are to be honoured and uplifted.  With every other thing brought down or extinguished.

Note:  Now being under the New, the NT remnant go further ... bringing down any false imagination of God in our thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5).

Is God a jealous God?  Is He jealous over His name?  Remember Jacob said, "How dreadful is this place!"  King Solomon said, in regards to the Bride:

"Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?"

Fulfilled in the Book of Acts:

"And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things (something amiss in today's religious clubs)."

To spell things out clearly, in plain speech, bulldozing away the confusion ... the important thing to know, is that man has made it complicated while God has made it simple in knowing His place.  For He has promised in His word (Ex. 20:24):

 ... "in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee."

Pray tell me dear Reader ... in your church or fellowship, who had the audacity to name it by the name it is distinguished by everywhere?  Or who had the authority and gave it the "official" name both you and the public use so glibly and freely?  The name that is commonly used to billboard and advertise with, that is?  A human originator?  Or God?

The answer is very simple isn't it?  Only if you really want to be ruthlessly100% honest of course!  Because as Matt. 12:6 says:

 ... "in this place is one greater than the temple (the physical place).

Yes, and it is greater than any substitute fellowship or institution man has ever conjured up.  In order for man to go and worship at, thus fulfilling his dues and religious duty for the day or for the week, until the next round.  Why not settle for the greater (and authentic) one?  The one that is freely available for those who come to, and are willing and prepared to walk in the truth and do the works of Him, who sent Him?

Yes, His name is JESUS, the foundation "can no man lay than that is laid"!  The end time prophet for "the church in the wilderness"!

Through the scriptures

Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned.  Meaning, we can only see these things in the Spirit through the Spirit, and by the Spirit: "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

This gives us such liberty in thinking for ourselves and making spiritual judgement: "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."  Being true freedom according to what Jesus said about the individual continuing (abiding) in His word as conveyed in John chapter 32.  Also, it is in direct contrast to religious bondage and serving God through false obligation.  Or according to false concepts and imaginations embedded in the minds of men.  Therefore in light of this, consider the following scripture for a moment please (2 Cor. 6:16)?:

"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

What is the temple of idols?  Is it a temple in some faraway, strange, foreign, pagan land, filled with erected pagan idols, projecting the grotesque contorted faces of devils? With candles or incense burning continually before them?  With heathen priests bowing down before them?  With chants, bells, smoke and smells ...  da whole bloom'n works.  Including the blood and guts of animal sacrifices!

Mindsets can be so railroaded and limiting. The scriptures bring home the truth to us that any misrepresentation of Him is an idol.  Even any imagination or thing which simply exalts itself against the knowledge of God in our thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5) would you believe?  Even a nice sparkling Christianized version (2 Cor. 11:4).  Understanding, the latter is actually more misleading and therefore more abhorrent in God's eyes.  Moreover, considering Paul asking what agreement is there between them and His (meaning between what is God ordained and what is man invented)?  While in the same context, scripture ordering us to come out and be separate.  That's clearly the believer being instructed in not having anything in common with mans substitutes for true worship, whether Christianized or blatantly pagan!

Can't you see here smacks of the Church of Rome, or the Protestant churches, or other generic churches, being full to the brim with inventions (traditions, regulations, rules methodology and substitutes) supposedly in place for God?  Where you have to leave your home each week and pay homage at a place of mans choosing, keeping and maintaining the religious mechanisms put in place, while being restricted by mans set order of ceremony.

Bearing in mind that these places are not designed at all for fellowship, if you truly think about it and are really honest!  Nor are they provided for person to person interrelation.  But keeping families busily apart and keeping people from interacting on an intimate, personal level.  It is also where there is an obvious absence of "every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love".  With only a 10 minute catch up time after the meeting, around shaking hands at the door with the minister, then quickly touching base with someone you know.  Like ships passing by at night with flashing lights.  Something totally amiss from genuine New Testament fellowship.  A church meal or afternoon tea, may sometimes be provided (usually on "church" territory), with the purpose of 'clique bonding times' and keeping folk happy within the vicinity of "the club".

Ministry in truth?

The "ecumenical movement" (what all Christendom is somehow all integrated together at various degrees and levels) is actually saying the opposite to the command from scripture of coming out and being separate.  It is in actual fact saying we should all (both religious and nominal Christians, and those 'born again' together) hold hands and be one (irrespective of the blatant or not so blatant religious inventions or beliefs they hold).  While at the same time, this oneness will apparently prove God is in it!  Again, the total opposite to what GOD's word says ... that we would be one in truth and according to John 17:16-22,  our oneness would be based on His word only.  As heeded ... separated and unaffiliated with all that is man pleasing, counterfeit and cheap.

Meaning, the saints agreement in scripture will not be a matter of organizing or dialogging unity, but just 'being' and 'experiencing' oneness of the Spirit based on the word of God, spoken here by Jesus:

16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (they are not building or instituting anything earthly or worldly).
17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (truth is only found in the word, the scriptures - not in church dogma, creed, theology or tradition).
18  As thou hast sent me into the world (God has not sent us into isolation), even so have I also sent them into the world (to be witnesses of this truth).
19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth (God has worked it that we are to be set apart from religion and mans ways and means, while not mixing tradition with faith).
20  Neither pray I for these alone (the Lord looking beyond us existing as a clique), but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (that there would be true unity between Jew and Gentile only based on Christ, nothing or nobody else);
21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (by this true oneness and unity, people would see the authenticity of the kingdom and turn to the truth of God's word).
22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one (this would be true unity and fellowship on the grounds of the cross only, being independent of dialogue, diaprax, consensus, and religious collaboration)

Therefore, if I believe in the plain scriptures and you believe in the plain scriptures, without trappings or add-ons, then we are 'one' anyway, without officiation, initiation, and organization!  Without fuss or ecclesiastical mumbo jumbo!  Without even knowing or meeting each other!  And this oneness is worked out not by fighting over doctrine, or proving our theological point, or being passive and indifferent to sin, idolatry, and spiritual harlotry, but loving each other in deed and in truth (1 Jn. 3:18), without pretence.  "Love unfeigned" the NT calls it ... 2 Cor. 6:6 and 1 Pet. 1:22!  Ecumenicalism is a false love ("the kisses of an enemy are deceitful"), because if you love someone you will correct them through care.  Even snatching them out of the fire.  While restoring them to the truth.  With Ecumenicalism, truth is out of the equation, with the elimination of scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 13:8:

"For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."

Contrary to:

"Oh, I know Christmas was originally pagan.  However, God now approves of it because it aligns with the Bibles birth of Jesus and has true spiritual significance.  And besides, it is a good tradition where the world get to acknowledge Jesus' birth also!"

Or:

"I know the early Christians never meet or build church meeting places.  However, you must realize the primitive church was poor and basic. compared with our sophisticated society today.  What's more, today is a different kettle of fish, a new ball game in fact,where we can afford to do these things and enjoy these things.  In the end, God gets the glory doesn't He?  So how can it be wrong?"

Or:

"I know marriage is a holy union.  However, God also recognizes sleeping together as marriage.  Therefore, because my husband has moved on and is no longer a Christian, and because the Lord never recognized my husband's marriage to me in the first place, and my new partner and I are fully committed to one another, then we are free to live together while attending church together.  Besides our councillor has given us both her professional tick and advised us on how our relationship is workable and appropriate at present."

There is two types of fornication (immorality) in scripture:  One, is the physical type, where sex outside of marriage is justified and even approved of.  The other, is the spiritual type, where a man professing to love Jesus does contrary to what Jesus says, while becoming bedfellows with Bible correctors and people who are married to their brand of church no matter how off-key it is.  However, a Bible believer can never go against the truth, contradict or compromise it; but only stand for the truth as 2 Corinthians 13:8 clearly states.

False unity and false ministry

Ps. 119:128.  "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."  

Just recently, a pact was signed in our town by all the mainline churches from Pentecostal to Catholic, to except one another as Christians, and to co-operate with everyone, and not to criticize each other.  Meaning ...  "we are all of the same family as children of God, on our way to heaven because we all come under the "Christian" banner!  It's just that some of us have different preferences in how we choose to worship God and how we conduct having church!" 

Oh yeah!!  Does not the word of God say, "as many as received him (that's Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name"?

So much for the truth and and standing by it!  So much for Protestantism and the essence of its origin and existence ...  protesting!  Protesting against what?  Protesting against all that is suppose to be unsound biblical doctrine, disguised idolatry; and trusting in works, a church, or sacraments for salvation.  Even more ...  so much for biblical discernment and judging with righteous judgement, as well as the individual Berean attitude of studying and rightly dividing the word.  Meaning ...  the Bible has now been "officially" thrown out the door by these apostate churches, by signing this 'selling-out' deed.

Interestedly, a brother in Singapore wrote to me telling me how the same thing had happened in his country about the same time, where even other heathen religions were involved in the pact.  All reminiscent of what happened in the USA in 1994, when the evangelical churches officially sold out to Rome by signing the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) arrangement.  Then after 911, we had this same "Christian" nation pulling together under a united religious front (from Evangelical, to Orthodox, to Moslem and other religions), blessed by both its political and religious leaders, to combat the so-called new enemy ...  'extremism' (under the guise of "terrorist"), and to move ahead together towards so-called world progress.  Without the true God of the Bible:

1 John 2:4.  "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Mark 7:9.  "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

Matt. 15:9.  "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

2 Timothy 4:4.  "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

It does not take much analysing of scripture to see that there is no true unity outside of truth ...  the word of God.  Yes, the Bible has now been "officially" thrown out the door by these apostate churches!

I will always remember the Sunday when I went to a meeting at the "church" I attended prior to leaving 'the system', and walking into the large foyer where a bookstall was temporarily set-up in the centre.  Instead of dumping all the books and their former teaching the older generation had been bought up on, they thought they would do a favour of giving them away free, to whoever wanted them first (how nice and considerate of them).  A complete mopping up of what 'the evangelical movement' once represented  ...  "out with the old and in with the new", and a pleasant and disinfecting way of washing their hands of the truth.  Also, granting an ideal excuse to trash the many leftovers as "out-of-demand"!

During this freebee exercise there appeared not to be many takers as the "church" library was now being replaced with the new contemporary teachings of "prosperity and wealth", "Church Growth", "the Word of Faith Movement", "Living in the Fifth Dimension theology", and all that razzmatazz.

First, it was the Authorized Bible being thrown out and replaced with modern (new age) alternative bibles, when announced over the pulpit by Senior and Assistant "Pastor".  They had updated their Bible to the new NASB, which had been introduced and endorsed by a travelling "superstar" evangelist from the States (who has since run-off with his young mistress).  Now they were selling it to their flock and modifying their complete belief system.  Next ...  scriptural teaching was slowly being replaced with modern heresies and ear tickling sermons.  It is always comes in that order!

Now this church was ripe for the picking.  But not for me and my household.  It was high time to take a hike and walk away.

Though hand join in hand

About the time I initially left the Organized Church in 1978 I made a challenge to the pastor of the denomination my wife and I had attended, when this pastor made a "pastoral" visit to our home in regards to why I left his "church".  The challenge I made was entailed with a clear condition, that I might consider coming back to his "church" if he dropped his association with 'the ecumenical movement'.

His response was a token reassurance to me (just after he had emotionally justified the Holy Spirit moving in the Roman Catholic Church) that if his "church" ever happened to officially join, then he would leave himself.   I told him it would not be that easy as the nature of the whole ordeal was much more subtle than that, as it would be a gradual process of being assimilated into it.

About four years later, a meeting was arranged where a Catholic Priest was preaching and praying in his congregation, openly justifying the confessional and priestcraft, as the pastor publicly approved over the pulpit the local renewal that was apparently taking place in the Catholic Church, after previously announcing it as revival breaking out.  This took place while fully knowing these Charismatic Catholics were still holding onto their sacraments, Mariology, and praying to the dead saints etc.  Instead of leaving, he was going with it all the way.

Here's a thought ...  if someone is a whore 'spiritually' (particularly a leader) then it would not be surprising if the Lord handed that person over to 'physical' whoredom. 

1 Cor. 6:13 ...  "Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body."

Here's the key:

Gal. 6:8.  "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

Although this man grew in popularity, was praised by many, both internationally and nationally, for saving (and reinventing) and taking over the head role of a defunct Pentecostal denomination in our country, he was undermining the faith of his sheep by his unsound associations.  No longer was his spiritual constituency called a "church" but now a "movement" (still under it's old name).  Due to his demise and failure as a true shepherd of God, it not surprising at all this man fell into sexual relations at times with female members as his fresh, redefined, trendy church, grew in popularity along with his name.  This all took part while this man was instrumental in introducing New Zealand to the "New American Standard Bible", the "Faith Movement" followed by the "Laughing and Shaking Revival" (notice the digression), before his exposure and public downfall.

After being caught in affair with his youth pastor, by his wife (after years of hidden, "seasonal" immorality, while being a great public "spiritual" figure, and destroying his marriage and family), he ended up marrying this woman.  Presently, after being reinstated back into "church ministry" by the latest trendy church to hit NZ, he is still unrepentant in his act of divorcing and remarrying, without scripturally reconciling to his wife first.  If this affair turned 'marriage of convenience' is justified as biblically valid, by the Mainline in general, it would also open the door for any married Christian (clergy or laity) to run off with a secret lover after exposure, then plead repentance and remorse when they had consolidated themselves as "husband and wife", after the dust has settled.   No doubt this will inevitably happen, as this helps to set a new precedence in moral behaviour among church goers, as the Lord hands these apostate churches over to more deception while they remain, unashamedly, living by deception.

This is also what happens when men are free to promote a vision not based on scripture and are not kept in check (even when blatant acts of sin are exposed and major prophetic predictions do not come to pass) by a strong plurality of word based elders.  I am convinced this is why they surround themselves with weak 'yes' men and plenty of women fans, so they will not be challenged.  The same reason kings of old, when they did not want their position threatened, surrounded themselves with eunuchs.  So much about these blokes teaching of "coming under authority".

We are not called to reform but build on Christ (the sure foundation that is already in place)

The Lord has not called us to redefine, or reinvent, or restructure anything.  Especially something which God did not set up in the first place.  But to walk away from everything based on man and his method or replacement for the truth.  Scripture says that old cloth cannot be patched up, but can only be replaced with the 'brand spanking' heavenly new.  Is this New Testament sound doctrine or invented theology?  Is this God's word or isn't it?  When Jesus said new wine was only for new wine skins, He meant it!  For "thy word is truth"!

1 Tim. 3:15  ...  "that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

It is also interesting to know that three other pastors this pastor was aligned with (or the pastors that aligned with him) during the 'heavy shepherding' doctrine and the Faith and Vision push in the mid seventies, were all later caught in adultery too.  One being a international "Christian" celebrity, who just recently ran off with another woman again in the States, much younger than himself. 

Recently, my wife and I were introduced to one of the other pastors' new wife (after casually bumping into them), without an inkling of remorse from this friendly and nice and gentle ex-pastor.

Our ex superstar pastor's vision (or 'reinvented' movement) carries on today, with all reference to his name or presence being removed, yet built on his unscriptural foundation and planning.  It is now just another mainline denomination offering the secular establishment a "Christian" alternative and just about using anything to prove it is "relevant".  A new movement/church he has joined has gone one step further in becoming political and militant in behaviour, aggressively crusading against law reforms that accommodate and allow prostitution and homosexuality, while conveniently and blindly accommodating adultery in their own camp.  As scripture says ...  "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man

There is a truth in the NT that men will always be ultimately faced with:

"What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"

Religion is always outta kilter, hypocritical, and missing the point by a million miles; along with a political agenda; while the deceived choose on being deceived by their leader/s and Christian gurus.  Or they simply choose leaders they will allow to deceive them.  Following is one of the most incredible things I have ever read.  Please give it much thought?  It is the height of religious thinking in a nut-shell and the way religious men will act.  It is also the height in which man will go to in deceiving themselves and making themselves "appear" clean in the midst of such brutal and devious behaviour.  Yes, there "is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Jn. 18:28.  "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover."

They did not want to be defiled!  Did you get that? They did not want to be defiled!  These are the blokes that set Jesus up and had Him murdered.  That claimed to be God's holy mouthpiece and the instrument of righteousness to the masses.  All the while they did not want to contravene their religion and upset their god.  Too bad about their Maker!  Too bad about the God of creation!  Too bad about His sinless lamb provided who they thought was defiled anyway.  Hence, it did not matter leaving Him in the hall of judgement.  Here was a complete innocent man.  Who only loved people with total selflessness, unfeigned, and wanted the best for them; who was arrested by corrupt religious leaders, who were blocking out the kingdom to the masses.  The masses were the people who the bloody religious leaders loved to hear the praise of, while falsely taking their money from them, and manipulating them to betray the One who really loved and cared for them.  Who just happened to be the One who exposed their leaders folly and hypocrisy.  The dirty hounds!!!

Man will do anything to appease himself.  Even to the point of ruthlessly stamping out anyone who gets in their way, so he can feel he has done God a favour by destroying his enemy and purging the land of all opposition.  There is no difference between a religious 'suicide bomber' and those who would rob people of the simple way (a part from the fact you will never get another chance with the former method).  If you conform, man may give you paradise NOW by way of false pretences, "but the end thereof are the ways of death"!

Yes, what one does with Jesus does really count.  For all eternity that is!  Forget about the whales, the oil running out, polluting the planet, or how long the earth has got left.  These things will take care of themselves.  The issue is and always will be, God's Son!!  What are you doing with Him?  Are you falling down at His feet in remorse for your own rebellious and stubborn pride?  Or are you joining the crowds and jeering at Him?  You can't have it both ways!

Discerning between the two

So it is a matter again of either believing man or God.  By believing man you will be accommodated, even highly esteemed at times.  However, by believing God's word you will be rubbished or undermined someway.  Even to the point of being ostracized, brushed off as irrelevant, or even seen as a danger to society.  That's why it is now out in the open to banish large parts of the Bible by official legislation.  Even outlawing it in places.  With legislation being prepared and even implemented to eliminate those who wont comply with the new world laws which will forbid exposing false religion, calling 'wickedness' sin and 'compromising truth' as a lie, and insisting the way to God is still narrow.  A great breeding ground for the new 'watered down' apostate bible versions!

Therefore, we have two lots of temples (churches) clashing here.  One is a place where idolatry (man-made representations of God or serving Him) is prevalent and popular, and the other is not a place at all (geographically speaking), but the individual believer himself, where God Himself resides.  Or the situation in which the two or more believers come together in Him for mutual sharing and fellowship around the scriptures, independent of an organization or set format.  Aside from politics and being political.  Whatta a contrast and whatta revelation!!

Jeremiah 7:4 says,  "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these."

Because we don't look for a temple made by the hands of man, which the Hebrews had to physically discern between the pagan or counterfeit, to what was God ordained.  The children of God under the New Covenant, however, now discern the temple as not being physical, or geographical, but spiritual.  That is where God sets up is abode in the heart of every believer.  Anyone who tries to tell you the Lord's church is something else, outside of only being spiritually discerned, is not to be trusted but to be deemed as using "lying words", according to scripture:

Luke 17:21.  "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

"You need to join a church (they mean "them" or "someone" they have made a spiritual alliance or affiliation with) so you wont backslide or go into deception"!  (Or show up their method of spiritual monopolization!)

"You need fellowship (which is not really fellowship at all) where the majority meet (meaning the popular mainstream) so you wont become a cult"!  (Or threaten the religious status quo or someone's job!)

"You need to come under a churches covering (meaning what is manmade) so you can be kept from going off the rails  (where all 'manmade' roads still lead to ... Rome or the Harlot Church)!"

Contradicting Luke 9: 49-50:

"Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us (doesn't belong to our "spiritual club).  And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us (are just as much a brother or sister in Christ)."

In all religious platitude and tripe, the onus is to get the believer to conform to mans ways and to be controlled by his system for service to God, than find the bona fide through scripture.  This is where Jesus stands completely on His own credentials and credibility, and single handily claims to be ... the way, the truth, and the life, and only way to God.  It is where Jesus is both mediator and LORD, period!  Having the pre-eminence in all things!  Making mans spiritual alternatives and religious apparatus' redundant and obsolete in one fell swoop!  "It is finished!"  Praise the LORD!!!

Know ye not ... this is true!  Know ye not ... this is the word of God! On the other hand and according to scripture, those that say, "This is the temple of the LORD!" are lying!

Building on what God has said

Here's the true pattern and starting point (after you discover you have been hoodwinked by mans method of salvation and religious service):

Go and rub shoulders with like minded folk in their home, or yours, who happen to be hungry for God.  Share a meal with 'em (called breaking bread in the book of Acts) while interrelating on a natural level around the scriptures.  Being absent of all the trappings that go with official "meetings".  Further more; divorce yourself from all artificial settings, religious paraphernalia and temple adornment, you can think of.  Pray together for God's guidance and blessing in order to reach out and win others who respond by the Holy Ghost.  Make sure you do not place conditions on others (whoever they may be) for receiving your love and care.  Like, f'instance, "You must come under the leadership's covering to receive the benefits!" Or, "You must come under authority as there is no guarantee outside of it!"  Forget not to be open, upfront and real ... confessing your faults (not sins ...  Jesus is our go-between) one to another.  The opposite of coming to spy out the liberty of others.  Or biasedly reporting back to your skeptic and shallow associates a bit more 'church' tittle tattle.  As well as instigating a good reason to follow the merry circle of manufactured religion as a deceiving alternative.

To follow the Lord is not complicated is it?  Until you find great spiritual opposition thrown at you from all angles.  Merely for looking to and adhering to such simplicity in Christ.  As well as your reluctance to be controlled by some form of human centralization or personality figurehead.  However, this is God's way in dealing with where your priorities lie ... whether they be in heaven or in man.  Or if they will draw you closer to your brothers and sisters in Christ or back into a form of bondage?  It will also prove and deal with who you are spiritually governed by ... a form of religious monopoly?  Or the Lordship of Christ?  It will even create a greater dependence in the Lord.  How many times does it say ... the just shall live by faith?

If it's your home, where you are meeting, the 'whosoever' male figurehead is the leader in the household.  Whether you like it or not.  Or whether he is the father, the husband, or the owner of the property, under the LORD.  He is the head of this department in other words.  Not 'the man of the cloth' down the road.  Just as Abraham was lord over Sarah and their household (1 Pet. 3:6) minus an additional, senior, spiritual advisor acting as God's proxy.

Some homes will be owned by sisters in the Lord (especially in this day and age).  However, they will obey the scriptures (1 Tim. 2:12) and respect faithful men taking the lead (Acts 12:12 & 16:40) who will not exploit their sisters vulnerabilities, manipulate their emotions, nor abuse their own call.

As God is a loving LORD, so the head of the household is a loving father who cares for and nurtures his household tenderly.  This is his saved or sanctified family (1 Cor. 7:14) in action.  Plus friends who meet (even live) under his roof.  You have the support of the apostles in scripture here (the foundations of the apostles and prophets - Eph. 2: 19-20) who went around ordaining proven faithful men as elders (2 Tim. 2:2).

Read the book of Acts!  It hasn't changed  a bit.  And is still as reliable as ever.

Jesus the rock

To clear up some confusion here, in regards to scriptural references, with some passages of scripture saying Jesus is our foundation, and other parts speaking about "the foundation of the apostles and prophets", there must be some balance found in the word.  Surely we can't have two foundations can we?  Let's rightly divide ...  okay!  Here we go:

Jesus is the rock ...  Psalms 18:31!  "For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?"

Plus ...  1 Corinthians 3:11!  "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Yes, without a doubt it is biblically established that Jesus is indeed the/our rock!

In unison to this, the teachings (the epistles) of the apostles are the foundation built on this rock (Jesus) which we are to continue building on (see ... there is no contradiction after all as you will see from scripture!).

Firstly, when a builder is going to build a house and as a part of counting the cost (which Jesus mentioned), he is going to look at the natural foundation first.  Being the bedrock that is already (naturally) in place.  This is the ground and base for erecting his house on, in other words (remember Jesus' parable about the wise builder?) ... the part which holds up the building.

Moreover, a wise builder will simply not build on sand or swampy ground.  Bearing in mind here ... Jesus is that stable bedrock (the rock of our salvation) to be established on.  Just as Peter (only just one of the apostles) is a stone (John 1:42) from the quarry, outside the camp, to be one of many elect pieces of spiritual stones, as spiritual building material.  This is how the word conveys it:

"He is like a man which built an house, and digger deep (counted the cost and did his homework), and laid the foundation (the apostles and prophets) on a rock (Jesus): and when the flood arose (persecution and trials), the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock (Jesus)."

Therefore, on top of this solid, immovable, stone slab (the very foundation) the building is built.  Then when the building commences, it commences first with the building the foundation (on top of the natural foundation - Jesus).  According to the New Testament, this is the teachings and ministry of the apostles (who were with, or who had met Jesus) and the prophets (throughout the Bible from the Old, lapping over into the New).

Moreover, these teachings all centre on Jesus the base, and are the building stones for the believer on this apostolic foundation.  No one can add to this apostolic ministry, which has already been established.  No one can go further than the epistles of the apostles, in other words.  Meaning, there is no such thing as Apostolic Succession.  Nor a "special" end time prophet.  Anything else is extra biblical commentary and has no substance for final authority or additional revelation.  The gospels start with Jesus and the buck stops with the apostles.  Which means no one can add to Paul's ministry (Eph. 3:4-7; Col. 4:3-4) who summed up the New fully with "the revelation of Jesus Christ".  Period! 

Meddle not with them that are given to change

Get this:

Are you sticking to the old paths?  Or looking for a new revelation?:

Jer. 6:16.  "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."

"We will not walk therein", said the rebellious Hebrews!  This being the basis for building a denomination, or a clique, or an earthly kingdom, ever since. Nothing has changed. Therefore, we either stick to the old proven (time tested) way God has endorsed and ordained, building upon His foundation (the natural being His Son and the built foundations being the apostles of the New and the prophets of Old) or we build on another foundation.  Which will not last and eventually come crashing down around us.

Therefore there is no need to go looking for additional commentary and "new and exciting" forms of worship!  Nor trying to, or endorsing anything surpassing or updating the ministry of Paul!  Or jazzing up the scriptures into an entertaining commodity!  Scripture is our safety net as Pr. 24:21:

"My son, fear thou the LORD and the king (Jesus): and meddle not with them that are given to change."

The Bible is clear in Proverbs 22:28:

"Remove not the ancient (old, proven and time tested) landmark (it is written!), which thy fathers (the foundations of the prophets and apostles) have set."

"Change" is a magic name for a multitude of excuses.  Today the churches are following another Jesus.  Who happens to be the contemporary Jesus everyone is talking about or promoting.  Who changes to suit the times, so we do not have to change to be conformed to Him.  This is not the Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever, is it? The one who is an immovable, firm, sure, steadfast, solid and eternal foundation!  The one we can confidently call our Rock!

Another gospel

Because Jesus' sheep hear His voice, they do not add to or subtract from His word.  Nor do they put the word of God on a par with tradition, knowing one cancels out the other.  Nor do they place His name on a par with scripture either, as His name must line up with the word (Ps. 138:2).  The sheep merely follow the Shepherd.  Any other voice is an impostor and out to shut out the kingdom of God from the people and replace it with an earthly one.  The remnant are not entertained by scripture but fear and reverence it.  Knowing what is written:

Ezra 10:3.  "Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives (the mixing with other adulterating churches), and such as are born of them (religious adherents from wrong seed), according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law."

Isaiah 66:5.  "Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word ..."

Isaiah 66:2 ...  "but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit (not a plausible showman or a facile superstar, or a fun filled audience), and trembleth at my word."

Here's some sobering questions:  Are you trembling or are you mocking and scoffing at biblical references?  Is the word convicting you or are you being entertained by it?  Are you using the scripture as a fun commodity or does it bring you to your knees?  Is God's Holy Book there to 'take the Mickey out of' or is it there to act upon with with great trepidation? In other words (getting down to the tin tacks) ... is the word of God changing you, or is it just tickling your ears?

On occasions I get website addresses and emails sent to me which poke fun of the scriptures.  Or jazz them up with cartoons and jokes distorting what is holy, in order to turn it around into an instrument of fun.  I guess this type of Christian feels he needs to relax sinners and entertain them on their way to hell.  Or does not like the idea folk will go berserk at the truth or them (even being physically threatening to them) before they break before the Lord.

Back in the early eighties I remember when "praise-a-size" came out for church goers as a "Christian" substitute for "worldly" "jazercise" exercise for woman.  The ads were promoted with the slogan, "Be a firm believer!"  Many could not see the sickness behind such gimmickry and distortion of scripture, for the sake of selling a commodity using the fact it was "Christian".  However, the truth of the matter is that it was "Christan" in brand only, and not in substance.  An silly oxymoron at best and making merchandise out of what's holy, at worst.

Pr. 23:23.  "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."

Furthermore, things have now got far worse. Read on:

They rose up to play

Here's some instances ... Christendom's book shops are full of paraphernalia and religious merchandise, and churches are full of such things as Toronto and Pensacola type manifestations.  It is now important for a preacher to be a good comedian and to be skilled in cracking jokes, in order to cushion any gutsy Bible verses.  Or for "churches" to have exciting, well polished, and "awesome" talent; to flaunt their stuff from a "church" stage, and poke fun out of what is holy, in style and in plausibility, in oder to somehow attract sinners.  This is certainly not in truth and in spirit!  Nor ministered "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth!" You only need to visit these "churches" which are selling their merchandise at the back of their "sanctuaries" and using the pulpit to promote them.  A well know Christian writer in the States just emailed me proof the other day, of Christian online bookstalls accommodating X rated porn in their sales.  Click here to see that I am not pulling anyone's leg.

Lev. 20:26.  "And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine."

Lev. 22:32.  "Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you (sets you apart as different, real, true, unfeigned,  unpretentious, genuine, clean, authentic, holy) ..."

Years ago, when the Lord was revealing to us about true fellowship and true ministry in His authentic Body (even though we were still in the Institutionalized Church), we arranged the odd camp where we could get away from conventional church and find the Lord in the Spirit.  These were exciting and fun filled times, but mixed with leaven nevertheless.  On the last evening of a long weekend camp, an impromptu variety concert was organized, so people could relax and have a "good jolly" time.  An excuse to "let off steam", so the notion went.  One of the skits acted out, was a mere copy of a famous non-Christian comedian, making a joke of Old Testament stories.  After the demonstration of this act the whole mood and spirit of the camp changed, as the anointing was lost and many of the non discerning were swept away by the fun and laughter of the event.  The sad news also,is where some of these Bible believing Christians have never recovered spiritually, to the best of my knowledge.

I also remember at another concert (one of the few and the second to last we went to) some "Christian" performers acting a skit and making a big joke of the story of the Prodigal Son.  At the time, when everyone was caught up in the laughter and yahooing of the moment, my mind went back to when  I first read this story as a new born babe in Jesus, when I was greatly moved me to tears, by the personal and  significant way the story related to my new life.  These people had become blind by religious delusion and lack of fear for God and His terrifying word.  They were sadly missing completely the reality of why this story was in the pages of the Holy Script in the first place.  It was not truth to them but fantasy.  Disneyland sugar-coated, with scriptural references, is another way of describing it.  By not being a doer of the word, they had lost the plot and deluded themselves.  This is the gigantic difference between being tantalized by scripture and playing around with what is holy, while ignoring its vital and simple application.  One is being lost in exhibitionism and externalism, while the other is just getting on with the job, without mumbo jumbo and drama!

Moreover, for those odd readers who will now email me with stupid humour, to ruffle my feathers:  Warning ... I will remain unperturbed, while God will either get angry with you, or laugh from heaven at all your folly before judgement.  Here is His word again:

"Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" ...  "Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.  Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep."

The moral of the story here ...  better to cry now and laugh later, than laugh now and cry later!  Right!?

There is a big difference between having a merry, joyful heart, than blatant mockery and taking the Mickey outta God Almighty Himself! In the end ... God is not the one who will be mocked!

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling

Ecc. 3:4. There's a "time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance"!  But never a time for tomfoolery!  Nor taking things for chance!

I maybe a bit intense at times and need loosening up, but my family and I do enjoy a good joke and hopefully know when to clown and laugh.  However, in our fun and joke times, best to leave the Lord out of it, if it is making light of His word, that is to be feared and adhered to urgently and fearfully.

Rev. 22:11.  "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."

The Bible is no joke!  Jesus is no joke!  The gospel is no joke!  The last one of these acts I took my family to hear was a "clean" looking 'contemporary music' band.  This turned out to be a "Christian" concert in a newly opened church in town (how naive of me), obviously to give it a boost (yes, okay, I got sucked in).  It was also, obviously, their form of "outreach".  Thatz ... to bring in the numbers and add numerically to their church ... proving God is in it!

I cannot take away the obvious talent these young folk were gifted with that particular evening.  In fact, I was a little blown away by it.  Then I was blown away by something else:

To start with, I cannot forget one band member between songs, who kept making mention of his very long, pretty hair, that went all the way down his back, while stroking and fondling it throughout the evening.  And cracking jokes to justify it (1 Cor. 11:14).  What was worse (which was actually very disturbing), was when the band came to mentioning the crucifixion (I guess it could not be avoided as it was suppose to be a "gospel" outreach after all), they were so joke orientated, they were actually poking fun about Jesus on the cross (believe it or not!!!).  I thought to myself,  "This is it!  The last straw!"  It only proves anything can go now in these churches, without an inkling of discernment or protest!  Or conviction!  Or blush or shame!   Like others today, they were actually ridiculing the cross without knowing it, thinking it was the way to go to attract attention to it.  I couldn't stomach it anymore, and taking my family with me, walked out in front of the audience, and straight past the suited 'heavies' at the rear.

Phil. 3:18.  "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ".

The reason churches make fun and light of God's word is because they do not fear God Himself, as their religious organizations have become house's of trade, entertainment, and celebration; likened after the children of Israel celebrating around the Golden Calf.  Spiritual 'whorehouses' could be another word.  The object of the exercise is to lessen the impact of God's word, remove the sting, so people will feel comfortable and not walk out (it backed fired with us). 

As mentioned, it is a numbers game all the way.  Dependant on 'the system' and hidden among the masses.  The more numbers, the fatter (but less mature) the members become (who dare not think for themselves) and the more successful looking the business.  After all, "perception is reality", they tell us!  All at the expense of truth, which cannot be sold.  This is how the LORD sees this house (Ex. 33:32):

"And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not."

This is not God's church but mans church, building on another foundation.  A foundation of performance, show business, and pretense, to keep their attendees occupied with 'thrills and spills' and warm fuzzies.  All done in the Lord's name to justify it as "Christian".  It is also a cheap way to make easy money, handing many hucksters and opportunists the opportunity to peddle their ministry and cash in on the popularity of Western style religion.  This is only bringing the Lord's name into disrepute of course, portraying a mockery of the gospel, and letting sinners off the hook from being accountable to a holy God with whom we have to do.  Better would it be, and lighter the judgement, if people got on with frolicking and partying without God in the picture.  At least it would be more honest and less devious.

The house of merchandise

Getting back to the selling and trading of the "Jesus" thing, or using God for the sake of a buzz ...  is it scriptural?  Nope!  Is it ethical?  Not in God's eyes?  Is it against scripture?  Yip!  Big time ... John 12:16:

Jesus said, "unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

By the way, they are still defiantly and audaciously selling doves in "the sanctuary" today.  Ant they?  Like I said before ... nothing has changed!  Next time you are in a evangelical bookstore, look for the doves and remember what Jesus did to those who supplied them to the church in His day.  However, it's got worse ...  these doves are only symbols (icons made by human hands) along with the cross (the symbol of Tammuz), the Fish (Pieces in astrology and the fishgod Dagon in mythology), and the Cabalistic "Star of David" which the Jews were forbidden to follow (Amos 5:26).  Now Christians wear them!  Wow!!

Well, if you want to live a lie, in Jesus name, then this is what the Lord will give you over to!

In the kingdom of God there are no symbols.  The kingdom of God differentiates itself from the kingdom of this world as one comes with observation (outward decorations and show) and the other "cometh not with observation (is only spiritually discerned)", according to scripture ... Luke 17:20.  The only sign known to the true church is "the sign of Jonas the prophet" (Luke 11:29).  Basically this was the reality of what Calvary was all about ... three days and three nights underneath in darkness; followed by the miracle of resurrection life.  Shouldn't this be all we are to know ... Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and only glory in the cross!

As it is written ...  "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

How simple and clear can you get!?

Celebration

2 Cor. 10:7.  "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?"

I like the occasional good concert and can appreciate good talent.  But I will leave it there.  What I would like to point out is that while the Lord deals with 'within' as the outcome (the heart in this case), both the religious world and the secular world major on the external ... using 'imagery' and 'sound' for effect.  Meaning ... as long as the crowd or audience are satisfied then so are those who are controlling the event.  This may have its place in the realm of entertainment but adds nothing to worship in spirit and in truth.  It also bears no consequence with our Maker.  In other words, God is not impressed one iota in what we can perform or achieve.  His concern is always with the quality of the inner man ... "simplicity and godly sincerity"!  These are to two qualities which are akin to in spirit and in truth.  Because nothing else satisfies our Dad in heaven.

Did you know the reason why the unbelieving masses flock to concerts and why there is such a preoccupation with clubs and outings, and why life is getting busier and busier, and why loud music and booze is predominant in so many places now?  It is because man is shutting out God by all the noise, clamour, clutter and commotion.  The religious world is doing the same thing with the aid of religious machinery and gimmickry.  This brings me to the new trend in "Celebration" mania:

Nowhere in the New Testament are the true remnant exhorted or even encouraged to come together for the sole purpose of holding a celebration.  Celebration is not fellowship.  As each performance out strips the former in presentation, with the aid of hi-tech and improved methods, the world is now celebrating in style and exuberance under many canopies from religion to sport.  Notice also how ancient mythology is being injected into these occasions to spruce them up and make them marketable and packaged as a way for man to prove he is "one" without God.  Or one with the gods he is creating out of nothing.  Just watch their opening ceremonies on TV and see the incorporation of 'new age' and 'old age' mysticism mixed together, in the name of diversity of cultures!

Celebrating just happens as God's people are joyful in expressing their love for the Lord and one another, in the company of friends, while making merry around His table.  This is a natural occurrence which does not need psyching up.  Or enhanced by technical brilliance.  Or injected with Babylonian flavours and artistry.  True adoration and service can't even be planned.  We are commanded however, to come together for fellowship and for "exhorting one another (Heb. 10:25)".  Nothing else.  Definitely not for performing or for entertaining the world's way.  Nor to confuse the presence of God with emotional pleasantries and vibes.

Hospitality is scriptural.  And part and parcel with fellowship.  However, hospitality is not entertaining the way entertainment is presented today, with a platform over an audience.  Neither is it grandstanding or engineered, with orchestrated pump-ups and even mass hysteria.  Yes, celebration will take place in heaven on a grand scale (read the book of Revelation), as we see this demonstrated in inferior typology, limited at this stage to the Old Testament; with musicians, processions and the like.  However, in the New Testament things are not showy with fanfare.  But simple and base.  While found at grassroots.  In natural settings.  In the homes of the saints.  This is the church functioning in the wilderness, outside the city of ecstasy and celebration ... where they rise up to play and blur out God.

How does it go?  Charity "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own"!

Did you know that there is a vast difference between the humble church in the wilderness and the lofty, grandeur, one that likes to be seen?  True, a bride takes delight in appearing becoming for her Bridegroom (which stems from an inner quality within the confines of fidelity and virtue).  This is in great contrast to a showy whore who likes to flirt, strut and flaunt her stuff, in order to attract, lure, and seduce her lovers.

Ez. 16:25.  "Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms."

Everyone is aware of the phrase "taking artistic licence"!  This of course has no bearing on the true saints as, after all, "art and expression" (as in everything) are confined to goodness, righteousness, and truth, according to scripture.  At present the behaviour of the whole world is changing, as it comes under the spirit of compromise and its accommodation for sin, in the form of "artistic' expression" and "cultural sensitivity".  Real terms to underscore its agenda and disarm the non discerning.

What is the true saint of God exhorted to dwell on?  Certainly the opposite that what is presently being celebrated as "good"!  This verse is addressed to the true saints of God:

"...  whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

I remember seeing a person I knew at high school being on the front page of a Sunday newspaper (a few years on) because he was found attending a function with a ring in his nose. This made national headlines back in the early seventies and shocked the general public, who viewed things like this as abnormal occurrences.  Today, in just three decades, this is common occurrence, as people do not even blink an eye at even worse self-violations to the human body.  Where even folk who name the name of Christ are body piercing and receiving tats in His name, saying it is just an expression of the freedom they have in Christ.  Forgetting they no longer own their own bodies, as they  have been bought with a price, and are now suppose to be presenting their bodies as temples of the God who made them.  Who deplores, by the way,  marking and mutilating the body with images of the dead and grotesque.  Even if it is done as some sort of embellishment (Lev. 19:28).  A ring embedded in the ear (or anywhere on the body for that matter) does not mark a Bible believer as a 'slave' to God ('servant' is the correct rendering - without marks and "artistic" mutilation).  This is because His kingdom does not come with observation.  This also goes for all flamboyance and non discerning dress conduct.  Paul made it clear that a woman was to concentrate on her inner beauty more than her outer, and not enhance her voluptuousness:

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Today, strange apparel, the "weird and wonderful", confused gender, cross dressing codes (Deut. 22:5), and "artfully" mutilating the body, all go hand-in-hand, and are fast becoming accepted as normal and natural by the general public.  Where fashion is being reinvented into what is now termed "wearable arts".  All subtle ways in caricaturing God's creation.

Zep. 1:8.  "And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel."

By the way, exposing this present behaviour problem has got nothing to do with being bound by a spirit of legalism.  Nor being a party spoiler.  Nor being an ignorant prude.  Nor being culturally insensitive and un PC.  But is everything to do with avoiding Babylonian 'trend setting' and being conformed with this present world (as in the words of Paul - Romans 12: 1-2).   Separation (circumcision of the heart) still remains the first principle in God ... whereby "we which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

The strange and the bizarre, or the normal?

Rom. 1:23.  "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (redefining and distorting God's ultimate creation), and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things (beautified half human and animalistic creatures). "

It started off when ET was made popular (although the distortion of the natural was already taking place) when creatures who have both a human and reptile appearance, and are portrayed as "cute and cuddly", could be naturally embraced (in the human imagination of course).  "Without natural affection ..." as the verse goes (Rom. 1:31, 2 Tim. 3:3)!  The very reason why Paul told us to mortify in our members "inordinate affection (Col. 3:5)"!  What is inordinate affection?  Affection that is unrestrained in conduct, feelings, and is disorderly and uncontrolled.

When I took my family to the UK in 1994 we found we could not buy breakfast cereals for our young boys without every single brand being marketed with "cute" little dinosaurs or "pretty" little monsters on or in the packaging.  As if there was nothing wrong with children embracing what was once considered grotesque.  Hollywood has also done a beautiful job in conditioning the "civilized" masses, to turn again to making imaginations and outward images of unnatural creatures.  Or accepting it as normal.  Even if they are being marketed under the guise of hi-tech and sci-fi.  To the point of eventually turning 'good' being sold as 'bad', and 'bad' being sold as 'good'!
As Mal. 2:17:

"Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them".

To a 'true blue' Bible based, Holy Ghost discerning Christian, we know that these caricatured creatures are not alien beings from another planet at all.  Nor are they the humanoid result of randy angels impregnating earthly woman.  Nor are they real baby dinosaurs or ghosts of the dead haunting medieval edifices.  Nor are they tangible monsters who lurk in city sewers or dense darkened forests. However, they are in essence, products of the activity of devils, deceiving and bringing the world down with them.  While confusing natural affection with unnatural affection, and opening up individuals to an infestation of unclean spirits, masquerading as emotional and spiritual therapeutic aid.

But of course, what the world does is their business.  They are lost anyway.  Furthermore, didn't the Bible say all this would happen?  That's why we (the true election) stay out of the world's politics and affairs (2 Tim. 2:4) and spiritually (even physically at times) are separated from it's behaviour.  In other words ... leave sinners alone if you are not going to bring glad tidings of the good news to them!  Don't condemn them by your sanctimonious behaviour!  But allow them to be convicted by your sincere, no nonsense, uncompromising stance; in and through the word of God that is.  However, what the "saved" do within the sanctuary, using the Holy name; is every bit the saints business.  This is where we are expected to biblically reprove, expose, mark and name darkness disguised as light, and purge out the leaven.  Even saving others "with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh".  As 1 Cor. 5:12:

"For what have I to do to judge them also that are without (non Christians)? do not ye judge them that are within (Christians)?"

Yes, as I said before ... 'imagery and sound' are paramount in the kingdom of this world!  Even "a noise of war" (Ex. 32:17) coming from God's backslidden children who rise up to play and pretend God looks on!  Whereas, in contrast, in the kingdom of God, "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever".

Did you know all the attention given to so-called "praise and worship", "spiritual warfare", and all that razzmatazz, are just redefined terms for "a noise of war in the camp"?  Also, did you know that all the emphasis on music as a New Testament requirement is from below?  In our meeting together it is supposed to be simple and orderly, with no room for 'Toronto' or 'Pensacola' type crazy manifestations, bedlam and out-of-control behaviour.  Nor hype of any kind.  Nor repetitious singing to pump the congregation up.  Nor raging and raving, and romping and stomping, as many are taking licence to do so today.  With the aid of rock, or rap, or hip-hop groups.  Or a charismatic superstar.  How many tables can we partake from?  Paul said in 1 Cor 10: 20-22 only one:

"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.  Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?"

In contrast to 1 Corinthians 14:26:

"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you (not just the special, the polished, the slick, the extroverted, and the charismatic) hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.  Let all things be done unto edifying."

Many of the evangelical performances today, from rock concerts to "Christian" theatre, have got nothing to do with being spiritually edifying whatsoever.  But everything to do with glorifying the flesh and placing the god of gratification in the centre.  Plus using God's name as a cover.  Scripture and verse ... Matt. 15:8:

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."

Feeding the wrong spirit

Do you also know that religious devils (masquerading as light and being "biblical") are not only at home in Sunday services but are being fed and soothed by what's going on?  One example from scripture is the account of David the musician, with his harp ministering unto King Saul, being taken out of context.  This portion of scripture is not supporting 'music in church' as many have turned it around to do so, but is actually an indictment against it.  The truth of the matter ... the evil spirits (devils) enjoy and are soothed by music.  Remember, the evil spirit only departed from Saul because it had been refreshed (edified, fed, soothed) by the music.  Of what was only a temporary thing.  So it had to return when it needed pacifying again, as with Saul's mood swings and tantrums.

What happens on Sundays, in churches, is that religious spirits are greatly soothed by all the music and emotion generated in meetings, so that thousands of apparent Christians return home thinking they have met with God, as seemingly God has been blessed and satisfied by all the religious commotion and rigmarole ... until next time.  Then once home, it is back to reality again, by taking off the religious masks and becoming "normal" people ... until the next round.  Here real spiritual problems and falseness may not have been dealt with in the interim, let alone in the atmosphere of vibes and music, electrified emotion and the elation of "church" participation, where it can be so easily hidden.

Remember, Lucifer (Satan the liar and deceiver) was originally perfect in all his ways and was also covered by the beauty of all the precious stones, gold, and ornamentation of heaven (Ezk. 28:15,15).  This is why he is a master of counterfeit and presentation, even in his fallen state.  The reason the Devil still hides behind glitter and looking "beautiful".  Ezekiel 28 speaks of him as having brightness (glitter and gold).  Isaiah 14:11 speaks of him as having "pomp" (visual externalism and presentation) and possessing "the noise of thy viols" (music) before he was cast down.  Wow!!  All the qualifications in "having church" in this age of sophistication and spiritual delusion!

Therefore, can you see the similarity today, from rock concerts to trendy Cathedrals, to 'new age' churchianity and beautified tradition?  As well as everything that is now being promoted at processions in general!  That's from sporting spectacles, to celebrity commemorations, to Global special events!

Elk. 28:13 ... "the workmanship of thy tabrets (percussion and beat) and of thy pipes (melody and harmony) was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created."

This means musical instruments (akin to church piped organs housed in church sanctuaries) were housed in Lucifer's very being, right at his beginning, with a colour of diverse sounds.  As the "anointed cherub that covereth (v14 - like a church sanctuary)",  he was "full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty (v17)", and his job was to take and channel all this majesty, the beauty of sound and appearance, and praise ('imagery' and 'sound' again), towards God the Almighty, until the day he held back a portion of the glory for himself (a bit like what Saul did at Amalek) and sinned in his heart ... "Look at me!  Man, I must look beautiful before God!!"

Drums, fun, and warfare

Just a side note here in reference to "tabrets":  Many today teach that drums are evil because they incite folk into pagan ritual.  These teachers also teach that drums are not scriptural, therefore, in regards to their use ...  end of story!  Not so Folks!  Drums (as well as cymbals) are mentioned quite a few times in the Old Testament, and are usually in reference to offering worship to the true God of Israel.  While nearly every time they are mentioned in scripture, it is not done in a detrimental way.

A drum is a circular instrument with skin on the surface of either one or both ends of the shell, with the intention to be methodically tapped for adding in the colour of percussion sounds to a tune, or as a pulse to carry the rhythm or beat of a tune.  That's why the drum is often associated with dancing before the Lord.  In the Bible the scriptural term for the modern term 'a drum' is known as 'a timbrel' or 'a tabret'.  Here's de proof!:

Timbrel:  Ex. 15:20, Job 21:12, Ps. 81:2; 149:3; 150:4.

Tabret:  Gen. 31:27, 1 Sam. 10:5, Job 17:6, Is. 5:12 

Drums not scriptural eh?  Again, it looks like "the experts" don't know their way around the Bible as they claim.  Or tell straight out lies, as drums and cymbals are as scriptural as both wind and string instruments!

2 Sam. 6:5.  "And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels (drums), and on cornets, and on cymbals

Remember, tabrets (percussion and beat - as just pointed out) were built into Lucifer himself when he was made before he fell!  However, DRUMS ARE CERTAINLY NOT A BIG THING OR IMPORTANT AT ALL IN THE NEW ... LIKE MUSIC IN GENERAL!  In fact, THERE IS NO SUCH THING as a "music ministry" in the New Testament!  Nor a music leader, choir leader or worship leader!  There is also no mention of using musical instruments when coming before the Lord.  There is only mention of singing as a small intricate part of gathering together for fellowship and building each other up in the Lord.  Definitely no mention of musos, minstrels, bands, orchestras or choirs.  All for good practical reasons of course!

In my religious past I had experienced the hum-drum (no pun intended) of being present at so-called "prayer and praise" meetings where drums (from timpanis, to tambourines, to drum kits) were used to "warfare" against the Devil and drive away his evil spirits.  As if the Devil was scarred by all the noise and commotion.  I think not! But rather he was quite comfortable amongst these performances and even the instigator (remember again, he uses 'imagery' and 'sound' as a main tool).   At the end of the day, these performances were nothing short of witch doctors stuff (or modern day sorcerery), dressed in Western costumes ... incantations done in the name of Jesus!

One thing that does scare the Devil though, is the saints using the word effectively based on the finished work of Calvary.  This has nothing to do with chants, incantations, or pumping up storms using drums and percussion instruments, by the way.  Nor has it got anything to do with real spiritual warfare, which is merely resisting the Devil by what's written, and humbling oneself before God Almighty.  Operating outsides these simple stringent bounds will certainly take you into deception.

While drums get much blame in being behind the Devil's music just remember one of the most beautiful tunes played night after night for years, to mainstream society on the telly-box, with lovely melody and harmony, was the theme to MASH played throughout the viewing of the show.  If you get a copy of the lyrics to the vocal version of the theme to MASH ("Suicide is Painless"), you will notice quite clearly the song glorifies suicide as away of escape. 

Some of the most famous composers of beautiful classical music celebrated today were perverts, anti-Semites, eccentrics, or revolutionaries, and so on.  Like in all things, it is best to check first your opinion on music and various musical instruments along side of scripture, along with the witness of the Holy Ghost to your spirit.  Moreover, doing an honest check on your real motives in why you are discrediting it.  That's before you teach others your bias doctrine, or push your own axe to grind, or fume off your personal prejudice at others, or receive it from others.

Col. 2:8.  "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Here's another one:

Titus 1:13-15.  "This witness is true.  Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

Also, because a person can produce great beauty and comeliness of art, it is never an indication this particular person is a righteous person or someone who possesses real inner beauty and true virtue.  Some of the biggest scum bags around can express great delicacy, elegance, and exquisiteness, through the arts; from paintings, to poems, to music.  Or at least appreciate and even enjoy such fine 'quality'.  However, at the end of the day, this means nothing in GOD's eyes.  God looks at the heart and not outward appearance.  Even if the appearance happens to be beautiful and becoming.  Repeating this verse in regards to "beautified" rebellion again ...

"thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not."

Why are drums picked on?  Because much doctrine on music today is not based on truth but on personal 'likes and dislikes' and straight out prejudice.  It is so easy to have our own wee club thing going on, based around our own nice little teachings and cosy conveniences, while not only excluding the rest of God's word but the rest of God's people.

As I said before ...  truth is (vitally) important.  However, just as equally and vitally important is the spirit behind what someone ministers to others.  We need to not only try the spirit behind a musician and his music
along side the word, when it is suppose to be "Christian", but we also need to equally discern the motive behind the person, who happens to be teaching against these things.

Or choosing an easy target like drums or beat.  Merely because the beating of drums can easily be associated with rhythm and therefore assumed or postulated as sensual expression, or erotic gesticulation.  On the other hand, we also equally need to try the spirit behind what and why we go on our own little personal crusades, against something we don't happen to like or understand, justifying it by finding "scriptural" faults in their "dodgy" practices or doctrines.  Remember, the enemy within is more dangerous than the enemy without.  And needs to be dealt with first.

Furthermore (as a warning),
remember what happened to Michal, the daughter of Saul, when she assumed David was acting vulgarly and vainly by dancing the way he did in public. By rightly dividing, we can see clearly here that David was actually rejoicing and being excited in innocence before the Lord, in celebrating what the Lord had done (SA26:14-23).  It is so easy to despise someone in our heart when we are not free to the point they are, in expressing themselves before the Lord.  Instead of judging them, we should be throwing ourselves at the Lord in repentance and getting free ourselves.  This way we can rejoice with them in the Lord.

Unto the pure

I would say James 3:17 is quite appropriate here:

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure" ...  what's our motive, our attitude and motivation in why we make a point of something or why we even think it?

"then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated" ...  meaning, we should be very approachable and reasonable, without overriding others with our views or thoughts.

"full of mercy and good fruits" ...  our spirits should always be gentle and kind-hearted, not nasty, sour, arrogant, sarcastic and conceited in our dealings with others.

"without partiality, and without hypocrisy" ...  I had to underline 'partiality' here for obvious reasons.  We should not conduct ourselves as favourable and bias to notions that are just convenient to ourselves, nor contradict them.  Inconsistency is a shocking witness.

Many have made doctrines out of thin air when it comes to music (the issue of drums being a good example).  After all, who is the prince of the air?  Isn't' music just the mere art of making sense out of sound anyway? 
One must take into account that when music, musical instruments, and worshiping the image set up in Daniel Chapter Three, were incorporating each other, the scriptures do not single out one certain sound or one type of music for scrutiny, but repeats this line four times ...  "all kinds of musick"!   ALL KINDS that is ... X 4!!

Interesting eh?  There was no discrimination mentioned against one type of music here in Daniel.  Please don't forget this!  In fact, there is no singling out of any type of music as being evil, against another, throughout the entire Bible.  This is why we are told in scripture  ... "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Titus 1: 14-15 again ...  "Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

Admittedly, there are types of music that happen to be morbid or bright, passive or aggressive.  Why would a child of the light want to dwell on the morbid and overly aggressive?  Why would he want to promote what is lurid, lewd, deviant and bizarre?  Or even continually dwell on melancholy music? Especially when scripture encourages the opposite.  Let's look at Pil. 4:8 again:

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."


Meaning ... there is no such thing as "Boggins for Jesus"!  Nor "Goths for Jesus"!  Nor "Punks for Jesus"!  Nor Rockers for Jesus", for that matter!  Ever heard of "Pagans for Jesus"?  Just the same, there is no such thing as piercing, branding, or marking "the body for Jesus"!  No matter whether tattoos or certain jewellery can be justified as art!

Personally, I have never used music to sexually or wickedly fantasize.  Even while I was a non believer (not ruling this out as someone else's experience, of course).  I once remember a non Christian commenting on some jazz-fusion I was listening to and enjoying one day ... passing it off as "porno music".  Obviously he had watched pornography somewhere, at sometime, and this background music was similar to the stuff he was listening to at the time.  Even though this music had no bearing on me in this area, that's how he related it to, due to how he was accustomed with it, and how it triggered his sub conscious memory, and what he had given himself over to.

Just the same way I have even heard comments from another fellow Christian on what we thought was lovely, majestic, classical music (being played softly in the background).  Here someone was relating to this music we were enjoying to as "mental asylum music".  Or "nut-house stuff".  Again, this way of thinking was totally contrary to the way we thought, when we were enjoying this type of music.  The music merely reminded us of something wholesome and praiseworthy ... like a beautiful landscape or a pleasant memory.  Obviously this person had seen a movie or something about a mental institution, where this type of melodic music was used to mellow down the atmosphere, as well as the occupants of the institution.  Hence, the way he would genuinely associate it with, like "nut-house material"!

Furthermore, I remember a young Christian lady back in the 70's (who just recently went to be with the Lord by the way) having difficulty in listening to some Barry McGuire material we were enjoying at the time.  She related this type of music to her pre Christian days in clubs back in England, where lot's of Gays hung out and grooved to similar sounds.


Therefore, it could easily be said that some of the music we have been against has had nothing to do with truth at times, but what we have associated it with in the back of our minds.  This is where the familiarity of the music has either triggered the memory of some past ugly or pleasant event, to how we think now.  Hence, the problem with personal prejudices and bias opinion getting in the way, and muddling fiction with truth, and fables with fact.

Also, I remember when I was a teenager just before I found Christ, how listening to a group like "the Beach Boys" never gave me rebellious or wicked thoughts at all. Although one or two individuals in the group had been through drug problems and mystic experiences.  All that this music did to me was give me a sense of good feelings ... from where I pictured sunny days and blue skies, innocent beach and bay scenes, happy beach parties, buggies and surfers.  While being mixed with a  bit of teenage romance (yes, girls).  Nothing else.  In fact, I never ever got sexual gratification or gloried in horrible thoughts through music.  Admittedly, towards the end of my past life some of the music I was starting to get into, however, was depressing or aiding my mood swings I was going through at the time, before finding the Lord.

When I went up to Auckland at the age of eighteen to hear "Led Zeppelin" 'live',  I was blown away by their musical brilliance and how they could fuse lovely old English melodies together, building into heavy rock crescendos.  Stuff that was original and innovative and ear capturing.  I simply looked past their lifestyle and enjoyed their music.  In fact, when I started finding out many of the antics of the music groups of this era, I was disappointed in them, and shunned their philosophies. 

About a year later, when friends and I went up to a three day musical festival at Ngaruawahia, I found myself disillusioned with the nudist scenes and much of what was taking place.  The group "Black Sabbath" was suppose to be the climax.  However, on the last night of the festival I found myself aware of an evil feeling that crept over the whole concert, as the electric power was deliberately turned off, to build anticipation and excitement.  A cross was also set on fire on a surrounding hill to add to this darkened atmosphere.  During this band's performance everyone was encouraged to light a match after everyone had been psyched-up by hitting beer or fizz cans together in unison, in a chant before the impact of  the band booting up.  Being there and joining in and going through the motions, I remember looking around at all this empty participation and wondering to myself, "what's going on here?"  And, "what on earth is all this really about?"  Moreover, "what was I doing here and is there more to life somewhere out there?"

Concluding here ... it is a good thing to think outside the square, as well as think for yourself.


Years later, as a Christian, I found myself in a similar situation, asking similar questions at "Christian" events and "Jesus" rallies I found myself at.  The air may not have been filled with as obvious of evil.  However, it was deceptive in a more "justified" manner, nevertheless.  As long as the message of the cross is confused, diluted, or edited (not just the image set on fore) Satan does not mind.


Discerning the spirit

My observation down through the decades, is that music can be an effective tool of the Devil to enhance atmosphere and set the stage for something else.  If the group is into the occult, then that spirit will pervade if the group is glorifying it through their performance and lifestyle, along with there being willing recipients to receive anything the band would have to offer.  At the end of the day it is what you wilfully give yourself over to, as being the real danger.  In any situation 1 Thessalonians 5:21 can be exercised, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good".  This is where the elect of God can discern between what is good and wholesome, and between what is evil and deceptive.  Then shun the latter.  Rom. 6:16:

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

In the end, it is what you willingly give yourself over to which becomes a snare.  This is whether you are deceived into it, or coerced into it.  Again, nothing has changed:

"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

Where would we be without the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit and the scriptures as our final authority? Trouble is, when folk start listening to men because they are not prepared to go to the Lord and "search out a matter" and trust Him at His word, they end up being railroaded by misconceptions and wrong notions, and being blocked from the truth at the same time.

I do not believe by dissecting music or other art forms through personal prejudice and 'own' "likes and dislikes" ,will solve anything.  But just help enforce or reinforce manmade rules and regulation.  As well as being a put-off for would-be converts, who could trip over coz of our discrimination and personal prejudice.   On the other hand, if someone wants to be deceived, then deceived they will be.  By pointing them to the scriptures, this will prove whether they have a love for the truth or not.  The dangerous thing is when they hear the truth and heed it not.  Then the LORD will hand them over to more deception.  You see, deception is an evil spirit (1 Kings 22: 22-23, 2 Chron. 18: 21-22) and is reserved for those who will not receive a love for the truth.  How does 2 Thes. 2: 11-12 go again?:

"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."


It does not take much for those on the side-line to see what is happening to those in the Institutional Church, caught up in 'the counterfeit', and see why it would take a miracle for an individual to find true deliverance from this deception and gross apostasy.  2 Chr. 18:22 says:

"Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee."


That lie could be the area of throwing out godly discernment for the sake of embracing what is trendy and popular, by allowing your mind or flesh to dictate above your spirit.  What scripture refers to as taking "pleasure in unrighteousness".  When this happens, the voice of God is shut out and the Devil has a heyday.  Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, as the true remnant know and heed their Shepherd's voice.  After all, we have been called to a narrow way.  This is where we trust in what He has said and in what He has written.

"Praise and worship"

Back to Ezk. 28:13 ...

Can you see how everything is geared up today in the organized churches, to channel all the music, "praise and worship", with pomp and grandeur, from the manmade sanctuary, towards the altar at the front ... the so-called holiest place of all, where the modern day priest (whether he's titled "Pastor" or "Reverend" or whatever) is elevated in place of God?  Moreover, call it biblical and pleasing to God at the same time, based on some Old Testament teaching and the concoction of "new and exciting forms of worship" mixed in.  Whether it is shouting, clapping and stomping.  Or using the blasts of musical instruments.  The bottom line is ... it is nothing more than a mere pump-up!  Paul likened it unto "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal".  The opposite to true worship and N.T. charity.

Lucifer wanted to sit on the throne in the Sanctuary (the holiest place of all) receiving the glory, replacing God, and being acknowledged for all of his own creation and achievement (orchestrated music, brightness and beauty).  Just like the Pharisees adorned themselves (Matt. 23:27) and sat in the seat of Moses (Matt. 23:2), looking for the praises and acknowledgment of men (Jn. 12:43).  Also, Lucifer can appear not only as a serpent but as "light".  Or some other beautiful angelic manifestation, fooling his audience through manipulation, while leading them into abomination:

"Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries (his churches) by the multitude of thine iniquities (rebelling against the scriptures), by the iniquity of thy traffick (trading religious merchandise and filthy lucre, as holy)".

All this means that the Deceiver is well founded and grounded in all that is expertise in showmanship and procession, using the art of music, the craftsmanship of musical instruments (v13), and being at home in religious observation and ceremony.  Even the christianized versions.  Which he really cherishes in, being the greater of all the deceptions!  Plus, using the arts religiously as a tool for business, money, and trade.  Simply by (and with justified reason) turning "the House of God" into a house of trade, and making merchandise out of its attendees.  This is because the Devil appears as light.  And as the angel of light, along with his ministers appearing as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11: 13-15), it gives him platform and opportunity, to present another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel, according to 2 Corinthians 11:4.

Why have you not been taught this?  Ask your Pastor or the Reverend down the road?  And please don't let him (or her) off the hook!  This should be the deciding factor of whether you leave camp or not (if you have not already chucked in Babylon).  After all, you are not a mushroom, are you?  This is the only sanctuary God is interested in (Heb. 8:2)!  Sorry, He doesn't care about you church clique/club one iota:

JESUS ... "minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle (see - there is a true tabernacle/church after all), which the Lord pitched, and not man"!

Giving yourself over

The truth is ... we were originally created as spiritual beings, as well as flesh and blood (the latter acting as our original clothing).  Spiritual ... so we can respond to GOD our Maker in spirit.  While, at the same time, housed within a temple called our bodies (flesh and blood). 

When we are reborn by the Spirit of GOD we become spiritually alive (connected) unto God again. Therefore, in the spiritual nothing is neutral.  Something is either of GOD (for the purpose of bringing true spiritual worship to GOD, adding to our eternal well being as a bonus) or it is from the corrupting works of darkness.  This is the reason why the enemy counterfeits the Spirit of God, using his fallen resources and experience, to entice away, by religious "niceties", adulated feelings, and seductive doctrines.  This only works of course, if true saints are not walking in the Spirit by obedience to the word, when they open themselves up as prey to this other source.  May I also add, giving oneself over to what sounds logical or plausible is not enough.  Reason:

If a person wants control over you through mind control (hypnosis), even using Jesus name, then you will be spell bound in some area of your life if you submit.  During large gatherings this can be why strange manifestations break out as people in mass submit themselves to the particular spirit that is controlling the gathering through a human agency.  Whether he (or she) be a celebrity or a person in authority.  A religious person in control will attribute these strange activities to either God (granting someone "holy drunkenness in the Spirit - just for the sake of fun and proving God loves to play pranks)" or someone already having a "demon" (devil).  Which happens to be manifesting itself because the so-called "presence of God" is manifest through the person "ministering" (the great play-off, in other words).  Whereas, the actual truth is the recipient is giving ground to deceiving spirits taking control of their life, because they are willing or gullible enough to collaborate or comply. Even being in this spirit through anticipation and preempting what they want (not what they need) before they arrive at a meeting.  Hence, the electric atmosphere, anticipation and collective response, and manifestations taking place, happening with ease, upon arrival. Like being slain in the spirit or reveling around like a drunken lunatic.  Or mimicking an animal.

Who can be deceived this far? Especially when they are supposed to be a Bible believing Christian? Answer ... anyone is for the taken!  That's they put vibes and feelings, or philosophy and intellectual stimulation, before the word and allow themselves to be wooed into following a personality rather than the Lord.  As Romans 16:18 puts it:

"by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."

God will never contravene or contradict His written word.  He guarantees this by His written word (Jn. 10:35; 2 Tim. 3:16).  Moreover (as just mentioned), you will find at these gathered events (whether "Christian" in name, or pagan or 'new age' to the core) people are going there already in anticipation of receiving something outside the plumb line of GOD's word, where their minds are already being prepared for delusion.  Simply because their motive is for their own benefit and not the Saviour.

However, this cannot happen to a discerning Bible believer who is constantly on guard, weighing everything up with scripture, and walking in the Spirit on a continual basis.   Even if he happens to be going with a friend to make sure the friend will not swallow the error at the meeting.  Or whether the Bible believing friend will be present there for some other reason.  The word guarantees this.  However, the opposite occurs to a willing recipient at these gatherings, who is already thinking contrary to God's word, or open to things beyond the word, whose end will be bondage to these things.  As Rom. 6:16 says:

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

This is why the word says, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets (1 Cor. 14:32)."  In other words, the LORD has created or granted us (His elect) dominion over our own spirits.  Meaning, the LORD will not trespass His word and take control of us without our permission.  Submission to the Lord is merely by making a voluntary, willful yielding to Him, using the faculty of the individual's will.  It is evil spirits who plunder, gatecrash and take-over and possess, by the individual giving into a lie or fear.

As a test ... next time a hypnotist is in town, or an evangelist who has the power to blow people over by his breath or by a wave of his hand, get together with friends and see if it is the Lord's will to come against the deceiving spirits.  If you really feel lead by the Lord, somewhere near the meeting come against the enemy (the devils) in prayer, rendering the Devil powerless through Calvary by calling out to the Lord, and the crazy manifestations will be brought to nought.  Even when things like firewalking, water divining, seances, or karate, are making an impact locally, remember ... "greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world"!  All for the glory of God of course!  Also remember, Elijah's witness and proof to the people he was serving the true LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, was through the Lord proving He was the Lord above all.  This was by manifesting His divine power as being greater than devils (or other "gods) when the prophets of Baal and their god was brought to nought in 1st Kings 18.

Yes, the Lord is God!  Furthermore, the LORD in His sovereignty has granted us rule over our own individual selves (that's over our spirit) to conform to His will.  This is called having rule over your own spirit (self control - temperance) in scripture, and is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  Avoidance is not being ignorant of this fact, as it is for our own safeguard and spiritual well-being.  Proverbs 25:28 clearly states:

"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls (where the enemy can come in and plunder our souls).

Being outside His will is being open to religious seduction and deceit.  Yielding collectively to delusion (like at a large gathering) creates a festering ground for deceiving spirits to be effectively active.  Jesus will not play games or do things just for fun, when it comes to spiritual things. There is simply no neutral ground. The very reason Jesus said you are either with Him or against Him.  As Rom. 16:18:

"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (naive and gullible)."

The important thing is not to be hearers only, tickled pink by appeasing to smooth "sounding" doctrine (as opposed to SOUND doctrine), good words and fair speeches, but to be doers of the word:

James 1:22.  "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

That's why Jesus did not say His meat was "heavy revelation", "figurative interpretation", or "a deep hidden meaning".  Assessed by only those who were selectively "initiated".  Nor was His meat only reserved for those being intellectually "qualified" or approved academically, to bring enlightenment to the masses.  But simply for those who do the will of His Father (Jn. 4:34).

2 Tim. 3:13.  "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

However, those that have a love for the truth will respond to the truth (even if it hurts and is costly), and will place their whole life and salvation on His word.  This is nothing to joke and poke fun at, or fantasize about, but just to be obedient to.   Simply because ... "To obey it better than sacrifice."  Could anything be more simple than that?  Obedience is paramount over everything in our Christian walk.  Outside of this, what else can matter?  Yes, "To obey is better than sacrifice"!

Back to God's building

(recapping on a previous chapter "Building On What God Has Said")

Now we have the first part of the building being laid, which started in the Old Testament, lapsing over to Jesus' ministry with His disciples in the NT, where the building process is continued on through the Book of Acts (book of "ACTion" - where the rejected stones are gathered for Gods building) and sealed by the ministry of Paul and the Revelation of Jesus Christ (the very last book in the Bible). 

Here the rest of the building is erected (Jesus said He will build His church, not man) on the teachings of these holy men of old (2 Pet. 1:21) by placing the 'called out' redeemed into this building as living stones (in the manner of their Saviour), which the builders (men building their own religious edifices) rejected (they could not see any use of these peculiar people, as they would not fit in with their programme).

1 Peter 2:5.  "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

When households come together at times (nothing has to be regular here) for mutual teaching and fellowship (an anointed preacher from another district might be paying a visit), the most mature and spiritually qualified men have responsibility and authority for order (human or educational credentials mean nothing here, whereas godly order and spiritual fruits do).  New Testament "watchmen" (like good and faithful shepherds) would be a similarity here, where the faithful and discerning are keeping an eye out for religious impostors and dominant personalities who would hi-jack what has been proven in the Lord.  Over all (minus the intrusion of wolves disguised as sheep), this would be the church found in a locality.  Furthermore, all these indigenous bodies, functioning autonomously and universally around the world, would be the church as a whole ...  the Bride of Christ.  The Body of Christ worldwide in other words.

God has order and does things His way, which is not mans way.  The way of man is aimed at control and centralization of power.  Man does things back-to-front in reversed order (anti-christ and anti-bible in character).  He starts with the church universally, giving it preference and control over the local churches.  If there are household churches they are viewed as mere off-shoots from the mother church and therefore claimed as hers.  The very reason the churches back controlled 'home bible studies' as they are mere counterfeits of the NT homechurch situation, acting as multiple arms (termed 'church' or 'prayer cells') of the governing local body (the religious institution down the road).  This is in reverse to scripture and how God does things (or topsy-turvy order):

The foundations of the church are already laid down historically by the prophets of old and the apostles, and capped by Paul's completed ministry (the full counsel of God).  This structure is the new wine skins Jesus spoke about, which were only to be filled with the fruit of the vine ...  His Spirit.  This way the newness of life from above would be preserved and kept in flexible vessels ...  people, not manmade rigid structures.  In other words, the Lord's new structure could never be controlled, modified, improved, or souped-up, and hijacked by man; along with not being bound by tradition and imposed regulation.  Anything that can be, is not from God in the first place, but only mans invention to be used instead.

Fellowship starts in the home, with the husband or male figure functioning as the head, watching over his little flock, the family or church in 'such and such' a home.  For scriptural clarification please look at the following emphasis in the following verse (if this verse is relating to elders then it is also an example for all men in the Body as Heb. 13:7 following this verse):

1 Tim. 3:4.  "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

Then, all the families together in the Lord, worked out in a community, such as a town or district, are where the elders watch over the flock, with each one independent of the other as in the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, who are responsible to Christ only and not a centralization of power.  Whereas, all the churches collectively in districts, making up the church universally around the world functioning as one body, are under the DIRECT Lordship of Christ as HEAD.

Heb. 13:7.  "Remember them (plural - not him) which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God (not theory, theology or philosophy): whose faith follow, considering the end of their (plural - not his) conversation."

Without starting at grass roots and worked out through families in natural home settings, there is no true church locally, and therefore universally.  The church of Rome, or it's Protestant and generic counterparts, enforces it's order out from the top down (where it has a geographical HQ) and controls universally, the other way around, and back-to-front from scripture.

Just name a denomination ...  go on , I dare you to!  Now do some home work and find out (even if each little church of a locality claims to be autonomous) and you will find they are all linked doctrinally and subject, in some way, to it's denominational governmental headquarters of a particular city, in a particular country, where the shots are called.  Which rules out the New Jerusalem from above, which is free, and the mother of all the remnant.  You cannot have two Mums (Moms) you know!

Gal. 4:26  "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."

The two or three gathered in Jesus' name, is the nucleus of the church, found in the local homes of fellow believers.  As a guideline (and repeating again) each church in the book of Revelation was independent of each other (there was no Mother Church or central hierarchy), where their allegiance was to the risen glorified Christ in Heaven as their Head.  Direct!  One Body and therefore one Head.  No multi-headed monsters in this department, or multi or dual allegiances!  Yes, ONE Body with ONE Head ...  the Bride with her Bridegroom!

Evangelizing (or the starting point ... witnessing and winning others):

Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"

Notice (yes please take note!) this verse is a man here (who is actually God in the flesh) talking to other men.  Yes, Jesus was not referring to children, women or  people in general ... but men (more on this soon)!

The Lord promised to bring the increase if we, by faith, plant seeds and water with His word, meaning the scriptures.  In other words, we plant by the word and water by the word (our spiritual labouring and sowing together) and reap the eternal benefits.  The manmade churches are run by clergy (religious professionals) and women are given much responsibility, as well as prominence, because of the apparent shortage of men.  Or the lack of REAL men.  True men of God that is!  In the end, in many places, women end up ruling over men, as men abandon God's word and their spiritual responsibility.  This is when the new reversed role is justified by scripture being compromised or vastly watered down.

This following clear, straight to the point verse (1 Tim. 2:12), which is really very hard to distort, is at best ignored, or at worst despised:

"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

Furthermore, probably this verse is now the most controversial and distorted verse in the NT.  The problem with correction here is that there is simply no room for using the old lie of "the 'originals' meant this ... "  Or,  "the true meaning was really that ... "  Or, "Paul despised woman ...  " Or, "this verse is now outdated due to a new and better change in understanding.  Or a shift in attitude.  Or virtue.  Or relevance."  Yeah, right!!

Also, hand in hand with tipsy-topsy ministry, a large emphasis is placed on children's outreach (or evangelism) in order to win the mums through touching the children, or getting them involved.  Where in turn the husbands (or male "partners") could be encouraged (or worked on) to get them to attend church on Sunday (or Sabbath) also, in order to hear the message and be persuaded to make some sort of outward commitment towards God.  This would mean getting involved with "church life" and taking on its obligations,  that would add support and impetuosity to the mechanisms of the religious machine already in place.  All the while its operation would turn-over unimpeded.  At the same time, while the importance of divine order being largely undermined.  Let's see also from scripture how this downward trend is 'back-to-front' in regards to the Lord's order we are now looking at ... Is. 3:12:

"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."

God's way is to raise up men.  This is why in this age of the 'great falling 'way (the Great Apostasy some call it) the role of man has been so undermined, more than anytime in history.  As Pr. 31:3:

"Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways (which would undermine) to that which destroyeth kings (masculine authority)."

This is indisputable proof we are now living in the 'great falling away' period where scripture said there would be traitors, men without natural affection, and lovers of self.  It is also where children would become mens oppressors (dictating standards and change) and women being their rulers.  As well as being considered the norm.

Can't you see this era is upon us now, where men are at times totally confused about their function (socially, responsibly, civilly, and even sexually).  Destroy the function and God ordained role of man (husband, father, role-model and leader) then you destroy a society.  If this happens in the house of God then it implodes and is no longer of God.   Of course, as Christians, we should only really be concerned with the latter point just made, as this is our responsibility before God ... who has called us.  Whereas the other is predicted to happen by scripture anyway.  And will happen despite any 'well meaning' concern and outcry, intervention, or even forced legislation against it.

How un-PC to make such 'non-Millennium compliant' statements that man was created to govern his affairs while women were created to be his helpmeet and support along side him.  Not under him (like yesteryears).  Nor over him (like today).  How "Dark Age" and inappropriate to endorse such a thing in this age of sophistication and advancement?  Or in this age of mutualism and convenience!  Who wants to be a fool for Christ anyway and not be conditioned by something that never was the norm from day one until the present?

Of course the manifold wisdom of God is greater than the uniform mentality of man.  The true and wise only agree with God's word, which is both contrary and foolish to man, who accepts the abnormal as a replacement for the normal.  Whereas, the man of God fully contradicts the spirit of this age we are now living in, and confronted with.  Whose on the Lord's side anyway?  Or who's going with the flow, downwards?  Being justified as "being right", as man is achieving great things technically and academically, while on the course of complete moral depravity and breakdown, and worsening conditions socially and politically, from one mitigating phase to another.

Bloke to Bloke

Is this following verse (2 Sam. 23:3) referring to men ruling over men or licence for women ruling over men?

"The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."

God's way is to raise up men first.  This is how the church era commenced and how it will conclude, when Jesus comes back for His Bride, without blemish, and without spot.  Men are commanded in scripture to be men and take the lead as 1 Cor. 16:13 states categorically:

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit (measure up to) you like men, be strong."

It couldn't be clearer, could it?  Saved men were called and sent out, and confronted other men (in many nations) with the truth (the gospel).  When a man was saved and happened to be leader in a household, the whole household would follow and come to Christ  This is a natural process as well as a normal principle in scripture.  Here's the proof again:

Acts 11:14.  "Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved."

Acts 16:31.  "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

Acts 16:34.  "And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."
 
Acts 18:8.  "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized."

No pussy footing around in this department.  No long, drawn out, emotional pleas; with pumped-up, orchestrated atmosphere, through music and emotion, and popcorn testimonies thrown in.  No warm fuzzies or "bowed heads and every eye closed", to come to the so-called "church" altar, during repetitious choruses ("again, just one more time folks" X 20 runs!!), to span out the time, making it easy to respond, with the aid and convenience of the so-called "sinners prayer" being recited from the wouldbe convert.

Men to men!  As iron sharpens iron!  In fear, not false reverence!  Get men truly converted then the rest, under his care, will follow!  This is not rocket science or something that can only be learned at a religious academy or through the teachings of "qualified" scholars.  Of course there were houses in scripture belonging to women (widows, business women and no doubt inheritors in those days also), where their households in turn were saved also (Acts 16:15).  However, these conversions were as a result of faithful men taking the lead and being responsible in obedience to the call.  With women in support, from home or even to the battle front (Luke 24:10).

As I said, get the blokes saved, then they will be the next leaders, and their dear families and loved ones will follow.  Furthermore, church fellowship (the genuine New Testament stuff) will naturally be around them.  This would be in welcoming guests to their home and taking the lead in opening a meeting.  Or giving thanks at their love feasts they share.  Making sure a dominant, charismatic "Lone Ranger" doesn't come in and take the reigns, and turn it into "His" or "Her" cult.  Or seduce the sheep back into 'the system' ("we need your vitality, your youthful zeal, your injection of life").  Remember what happened to the Jesus Movement?

The head cares for his family.  They are his flock under the Lord.  No need for a hireling or paid professional.  If there is a general get-together in the district or town, other more mature men could be overseeing as mature elders.  Immensely simple and basic really!  Divorced of politics, with its fun and games, or Sunday performances.

2 Tim. 2:2.  "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

Where is a faithful and trustworthy man?  Without guile and without strings attached?  Who will minster life and direction unconditionally!

A Pastor or the plurality of eldership?

What about "the Pastor" concept?

First of all a pastor is basically another name for shepherd and is related to the word pasture.  A pastor feeds and the pasture is where the food is found.  Get the picture!  Easy peezy eh!?  Anyone who is feeding a lamb good fodder and caring for them is being a pastor.  Just as anyone going out witnessing and being a fisher of men is doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5).

To get down to tin tacks, the word "pastor" (by itself) is NEVER mentioned in the New Testament.  Yes, NOT ONCE!  Go on ...  check it out!  Incredibly it is only mentioned ONCE in the whole Bible (Jer. 17:16).  Surprised?  Has this never dawned on you?  If it hasn't then surely shouldn't some serious questions need to be asked (remember, you are a child of GOD - not a mushroom in a darkhouse - nor a sanctified zombie)?  Like, "what sway has religious conditioning, Western tradition and cultural upbringing, really had on me?"  'The system' of course does not want you to think for yourself, in case you might question and break out.

Yes!  ONLY ONCE in the WHOLE BIBLE!  That's the word 'pastor'!  Sinking in YET!!??

Now get this ... the word "pastors" (note, in the plural this time) is ONLY mentioned ONCE in the WHOLE New Testament!  This is being in the past tense, on a par with "teachers".  In fact, the word 'pastors' is being used interchangeably here with teachers and does not stand on its own.  I'm not making this stuff up ... you need to check it out:

Eph. 4:11.  "And he gave (past tense) some, apostles (one function); and some, prophets (one function); and some, evangelists (one function); and some, "pastors and teachers" (two terms - but one function nevertheless - look where the comma is placed?).  For what purpose may I add (with all functions working together)?:

"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" ... etc.  No, not to run the saints lives and to do their thinking for them.  Nor to spoon feed them.  Neither to have dominion over their faith.  Nor to banish them because they won't come under one man (other than Christ) and go along and be railroaded with man-made dogma and liturgy, etc.  Nor to become a clone of "the Pastor".  But to aid to the yougins' in the Lord to growing up into maturity in Christ.

Interestingly, the word 'bishop' is mentioned quite a few times in the New Testament whereas, as already said, the word 'pastor' (singular) is not mentioned once.  In the modern, religious world, the word bishop now means (thru hijacking or reinvention) 'a high-ranking "Christian" cleric'!  Whereas, biblically it means 'a spiritual overseer!'  An elder in other words.  On a par with guardian.

Also, the word bishop is never mentioned with a capital "B" (just like pastor isn't with a capital "P") when referring to men.  However, it is used once with a capital "B" when referring to Jesus.  Just like the only two times shepherd is mentioned with a capital "S" is when referring to Jesus (1 Peter 2:25 & 5:4).  A huge difference eh!  And obviously for a reason!

Furthermore, isn't scripture driving a point home here?  Especially when Jesus was very clear about giving no man a religious title (Matt. 23: 8-11).  Men even blasphemously titles a man "Reverend" or "Holy Father".  Names which are only reserved for God Almighty (Ps. 111:9 & Jn. 17:11).

Professional titles maybe okay in the secular world, like Doctor or Professor.  However, religious titles are out under the New Covenant.

A ONE pastor show is nothing but a pyramid system, where ONE man is seated at the top (like a high priest or a moderate form of a pharisee sitting in Moses seat) controlling a church, with a second rank of hierarchy (giving the biblical term of "eldership" or "the Ministry", or the unbiblical term Clergy) for the structure to be enforced.  Then at the bottom (after the ushers and choir members etc.) the laity are called parishioners, attendants, pew warmers, church goers, the congregation, and such like.  This is not much more than just a Sunday audience, where certain people maybe handed "admirable" tasks (roles, responsibilities) in order to perform their duty, and aid the organization.  Many are roped in because they only want to do what is considered good, and really believe they are serving the Lord with these obligations.  Not realizing (because they would never be taught this doctrine) that going beyond what God requires (even if it is considered good) is just as big as sin as not doing what He requires.  Numbers 24:13:

"I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak?"

Also, it would be no coincidence that all other references in scripture (seven times bar one) mentioning pastors (plural) are in the detrimental sense, with added warnings.  Only once is the word 'pastors' are mentioned in the good sense, when the Lord was prophesying a time when He would give pastors (remember, meaning shepherds) according to His heart, being fulfilled in Eph. 4:11.  Which were the new called out, regenerated men, caring for the new called-out lambs in Christ.

Obviously, there is a reason for these scriptures making reference to pastors where the Lord in His wisdom would foresee this position being easily abused or misconstrued, and turned around for tyranny.  Hence, the VERY LITTLE mention of the term "pastor" (unlike Christendom's generic churches where the emphasis is huge, major and paramount), and the SINGLE mention as a part function and not title, in the New Testament.  With much said about 'elders' or 'eldership', or even 'bishops', to add to this fact.  Here the qualification of shepherding and caring for the Lord's flock (as it was with Peter, who the religious world would replace Jesus with as the Rock) is genuinely loving them, without ulterior motives.  After the ascension however, Peter had directed at himself a very vital and personal question from Jesus (X3):

"lovest thou me?":

If you can answer this above question in heart and deed and not just in word, then you may qualify according to scripture!

Yes, elders are shepherds (pastor/teachers).  However, as elders, these men's functions are far wider than just a title called "pastor".  Their responsibility, according to scripture, is to be apt to teach, given to hospitality, and willing to make visitations in at least pairs (Mark 6:7 - not just one elder making the call on someone's wife while the hubby is at work - the neighbours aren't fooled even though the flock maybe) and praying for the sick.  They are to rule and govern the church locally in sending out money to the needy, calling meetings when someone is visiting, labouring in the word and doctrine, feeding the flock (sounds like a shepherd), and keeping order in meetings, or in the homes.  F'instance, what happens if the brats have taken over or the husband is beating his wife?  Or if there is sexual hanky-panky happening behind the scenes, like something going on as in 1st Corinthians Chapter Five?  The elders (mature faithful men who have proved themselves) are called on, to sort it out and deal with the problem.  Scripturally!  If problems are not sorted this way, then this person with unrepentant sin is brought before everyone associated.  If nothing happens here then this person is dispatched back into the world, or even back under Satan, from whence he came, as a last ditched effort in saving him, hoping this will bring him back to his senses.  Here's the references you need to know ... 

There's not much glory in this position, being an elder for a local church,  which is the position of ministering to, and not being ministered to, or adulated on a platform.  Here is to be a servant of people in other words, where the only platform maybe in someone's lounge, chatting from their sofa on an equal footing with the rest of the flock.  Also, having to earn a wage by pulling up the sleeves down at the factory, or rubbing shoulders with the heathen in the office.  There's no fancy gowns, frilly titles, or lofty pulpits to be elevated to in this department.  Sunday school teachers, Youth Pastors, and Worship Leaders are not New Testament terms anyway!  Neither are Deaconess's!  Prove me wrong!   Go on ...  don't be a mushroom!  Be a real Bible believer (a good Berean) by going to your Bible and getting it for yourself!

What does an official, denominational "pastor" have to do, or what is required of him?  He is obligated to obey the church government/bureaucracy as if he was married to it.  After all, this is the organization which has employed him.  It is in essence, his lifeline.  It's simple ...  if you don't obey your employer you get the sack (you get fired).  Meaning, the denomination must come first before his flock or anything else.  The New Testament has another name for this profession ...  being a hireling!

A professional "pastor" must be kept informed of the direction the denomination takes, and is required to follow this through, and enforce it's policies.  If the process, or change of policy, is unscriptural then the local Pastor has a problem and must decide which comes first ...  his Bible or the organization?  It will be required of him to attend convention and learn from his superiors in order to pass the requirements and instructions down to his congregation.  It is amazing how many of his Sunday/Sabbath sermons (or large portions of them) are borrowed from many of his contemporaries and is not revelation from above.  Of course, his congregation would never be aware of this because of mushroom grooming, with folk never knowing they are entitled to look beyond the "unthinkable" ...  beyond "the square".

Ezk. 34:2.  "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"

However, the "Pastor thing" cannot be solely blamed on pastors themselves, who take the seat of Moses in many cases (meaning "he calls the shot").  It is human nature all the way.  If a man is not out to control, the people will place someone on a pedestal, to look to and reverence.  Even when Jesus came as a servant they tried to arrest Him and forcefully make Him King.

John 6:15.  "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."

Wow!  How many men would run from being crowned "Pastor" or "Reverend" today, when 'the system' lays the carpet out for them, and then justifies such an image of prominence as a "calling", even if it means replacing Jesus as mediator.

In the Old Testament the children of Israel chose Saul (a head and shoulder man) above the little insignificant "shepherd" lad called David, who God had in mind.  In fact, a king ruling over Israel was not God's idea at all (1 Sam. 8:5-6) but was mans (Deut. 16:18).  God gave them judges (plural) but they wanted a king (singular).  They wanted to crown Jesus king, just as Christendom have rejected elders for the title and figurehead of a Pastor.

Man would always follow a man (a one man show) as Head, when he gets his way.  It is in his fallen nature.  Anything for a substitute for God, or to help Jesus out as "the chief Shepherd" (capital "S" - 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).  This way man is only answerable to himself and the reason religion is a substitute for the way.

In the West the whole culture of "Pastor" is major and paramount and has got so out of hand that it has been ingrained into the minds of the whole fabric of society, both secular and ecclesiastical.  The whole church system is built on it.  Repeating again; in the New Testament the word 'pastor' (singular) is not mentioned, whereas the word 'pastors' is only mentioned ONCE and only as a function coupled with 'teachers'.  Teaching by example at grass roots, has got nothing to do with academic qualifications or written diplomas.  However, it does have everything to do with the merits of being a mature and experienced person in the Lord; not given to booze or tyranny, being a faithful elder; who has his home in order, a husband of one wife, and loves Jesus with his whole heart, mind and soul, that he would give his life for Him.

Are you still called to the "ministry"?

Preserved, perished, or lost through time (or "it is written")?

There is a desire from within many Christian circles today, even from wouldbe discerning believers (who no longer want to be hoodwinked by the counterfeit church or man) to discover the true church of the New Testament.  If, somehow the New Testament falls short or is somehow inadequate.  This leaves God's children open prey for wrong teaching and extra-biblical thesis.  It has also opened the door wide open for hucksters and even sincere, deceived, teachers who have got on this band wagon and are peddling their merchandise on the pretence that they can show the believer back to the greener fields of the authentic New Testament era.  No doubt, this is where "the church restoration" movement has sprung up from.  Let me explain further:

Today, it is very common to have quasi groups who use the Greek to correct the English, even though the original Greek no longer exists and where the "phantom" Greek can be used to prove anything.  Or teachers who speak about New Testament restoration, if somehow biblical truths have been lost, and now qualified teachers are being raised up and used in replacement, in order to usher in a 'new movement' God is now raising up in these end times, with the intent of believers adopting this new "primitive" theology or adopting it's so-called methods.  Now the platform is set for many groups to pursue and push this doctrine, using the elusive "original Greek" as final authority to their means and end.

The good news is ...  the Lord is not restoring anything (Acts 1:6).  Nothing needs restoring, renewing or reforming.  New Testament wise that is!  The truth is, we do not need new teachers or a new movement, or even returning historically back to Acts, as many of late have made out, as well as making a ministry out of it.  In my Bible I already possess the whole book of Acts right through from chapter one verse one, through to chapter twenty eight, verse thirty one.  On top of all this, I still have in my possession the complete New Testament to read and study, as well as the whole Old Testament.  If we went back in time to some how capture and re-live the church, we would  also have to go back to their culture, back to the horse and cart etc., giving up on the likes of electricity and all other modern resources, as well as denouncing all present technology.  Here's the good news, taken from this Book which claims to be God's word:

1 John 5:13.  "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

What else do we need?  Create a problem, then you can create an answer, with the solution lying in the hands of the so-called "special enlightened".  Why would things in the natural anyway have to change to accommodate the above verse and make it real?  None whatsoever!  The above verse still stands, with its original intention and meaning, in plain speech for any tongue to translate, spelled out in the language the whole world is adopting, just as ever as it always did, irrespective of the social way we live, or the time we live, or the change society has brought upon..  This is why John also warned why "it was written":

1 John 2:26.  "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you."

This is also the reason Jesus or the scriptures kept reminding us, "Let no man deceive you"!  Knowing that many would come in His name, hijack His cause making it "theirs", while hiding their intentions from their adherents by baffling them with science or undermining the simplicity and authenticity of scripture.   Whereas, if one is word based it should be easier for them to see the errors in the 'institutional church' as well as false movements claiming to be 'outside'.  If one has made the Holy Bible their final authority then they would also be aware of the wiles of men who would come along robbing the Bible from them, in order to point them to 'his' quasi idea and answer, or the elusive "truth" which is suppose to be "out there" somewhere.  The very reason here why a "revelation" is built on someone's ideology or pet theme.  Which means; in order to find the true church one needs to take on board this persons idea, and hence ...  another movement or sect has evolved, built on a man, where confusion reigns and God's way is clouded and discredited all over again.

John the baptist came on the scene phasing out the Old in order to point folk to the New.  John was not restoring anything but phasing out what was now discarded and obsolete.  John was actually the last of the Old Testament prophets with the message for his era and nation, pointing to the New with this famous statement from John 3:30 (which we should also take on board and adhere to):

"He must increase, but I must decrease."

Today, we have the same Holy Ghost to fill and endow us, to show and reveal His word and grant us the power and unction to live the new life and be effective witnesses for His kingdom.  The only thing tangible on earth from God is His book we can hold in our hands and call the Holy Bible, which is to be trusted more than even an audible voice from God, let alone a nudge or inkling.  There is nothing else.  Hath God said?  He sure has!!  "It is written!!"  Therefore, it is not a question of which church, or movement, or teaching of man we are pointing folk to (whether the present or the historical).  Because these things are only men's buildings.  It is a question of what foundation have these things been built on?

Heb. 3:4.  "For every house (doctrine, teaching, philosophy) is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."

John the baptist pointed to Jesus as the foundation, as does the apostles and the books of the New Testament.  However, Jesus is not here physically but in heaven.  Whereas He is here presently in Spirit, as the Spirit is subservient to the word, and not the other way around.  The authority which Jesus used was what was written.  The authority which the apostles used was what was written, building on Jesus.  When the new believers came on the scene (the Bereans) they never took for granted what the apostles said, but used the scriptures as their authority.  Final authority that is!  Just as when teachers come along today saying "this is the way, walk ye in it", the remnant use the scriptures as their authority over their words.  When teachers come along declaring , "The temple of the LORD!" and claim they can point us to it, we should know what the scriptures say, "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD!"

It is the individuals prerogative to not trust man, his lying words, or even his well meaning spiritual assistance when spiritual things are at stake, but to use the scriptures as his source of revelation and authority on all things.  The Lord never looses anything.  Man does however, when he takes his eyes of his  Redeemer.  Furthermore, man will do all he can to follow a "Jesus" independent of His complete word.  Another Jesus in other words!

The answer is very simple:  Trust not in lying words which say 'this is the temple of God', but make the scriptures your final source and authority in all things that pertain to life and revelation.  Let us all build from there, fulfilling Jesus' prayer to our Father that He would "sanctify (us) through thy truth: (as) thy word is truth"!  That we are made aware of His truth setting us free from the yoke of man and his ways, by continuing in His word.

Last of all ...  preaching the message

The majority of the evangelicals and fundamentalist's message today is another gospel.  It is not the gospel of the cross, which is the gospel of the New Testament, but the gospel of (1) popularity and (2) relevance. 

By popularity I mean ...  where the cross has been removed from the good news in order to make the message acceptable to the sinner and not scare him or her away from joining "your" church.  Where worldliness and the Bible can be compatible and neatly accommodate each other, so the boat won't be rocked and the church would appear as an adornment to the establishment, receiving endorsement, a good name and freedom from persecution.

Gal. 6:12.  "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised (adopt/embrace religion); only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ."

By relevance I mean ...  where God is portrayed as a God who changes with the times to suit us, whereas the scriptures present an immutable God who commands we change to suit Him, irrespective of what the era in which we live may dictate.  The era may be sophisticated and educated, and therefore appear more up-to-date and slick than the basic gospel message itself.  However, the Lord is not impressed, and still says He looks to those who are of a contrite spirit and who tremble at His word.  The true gospel may still look foolishness to man, but unto those who are saved, it is still the power of God unto salvation.

It is the gospel where persuading men has got nothing to do with enticement through niceties, like entertainment or audible and visual presentation.  Man can be intellectually persuaded by the intellect, or emotionally persuaded by the emotions, but the spirit can remain indifferent and passive to the word.  How does God choose to manifest His word?  Is it by drama, or song, or music, or some other clever technique?  Nope!  Titus 1:3 says it is "through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour".

More confirmation form 1 Corinthians 2:4:

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power".

How is the gospel scripturally conveyed?

1 Cor. 1:17.  "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Why does the 'institutional church' avoid this (preaching the foolishness of the cross), but substitutes it with "the wisdom of words", or "the mighty", or "noble things"?  Or the things which look impressive to man, clever, and relevant?

Because, "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe"!

The Lord has chosen preaching, nothing else.  Just personal, mouth to ear verbal communication, without props, aids and format.  This is because preaching the cross is considered foolishness by the world, as the world esteems a standard of cleverness and sophistication, presenting a glossy method of communicating a message, to capture and impress the audience.  Whereas the gospel only captures the convicted and those who begin to see past mans clever folly:

1 Cor. 1:18.  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

It is not enough to believe in a Jesus, but the Jesus of the cross.  There is another Jesus; the invented version, the myth, the "One" which suits the times or the culture.  The "One" who is confined to a "special" occasion, like Easter or Christ-mass, or a Sunday morning, or a modern ritual.  However, there is only one scriptural Jesus, and this is the Jesus who bore His cross and suffered for us.  That's why Paul mentioned a couple of times, spelling out clearly:

1 Cor. 2:2.  "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

Paul did not commit himself to politics, or philosophy, or improving the world, or reforming the religion he came from, or reforming the apostate church for that matter.  Paul committed himself to only knowing the cross and only glorying in the cross:

Galatians 6:14.  "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

This Jesus is not a popular Jesus, but is a stumbling block for the wise and a rock of offence for the clever.  This is the Jesus you can depend on, as He changeth not, and remains a rock immovable.  The same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  The beginning and the end.

1 Peter 2:6.  "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."

He that believeth on Him will not be deceived.  Nor will he be perplexed, confused, or crushed.   However, he will be sure and steadfast, as an anchor to his soul.  This is found only on the other side of the veil.  Beyond the bricks and mortar, religious fraternities and institutions of man.

Here's the acid test for fellowship

Who is Head of your fellowship?  Is it Jesus or is it a man appointed clergy who you don't get time to really know or check out; and why you never had a say in "their right" to rule over your life?

Do you meet in a specially erected building, at a set time, with costly over heads, being hardly used during the week?  Where the "sanctified" edifice can only be used on the condition it is used in ordered ceremony or as a selected programme!  Or where the inscribed plaque says, "Only for the glory of God", when, in actual fact, the building is hired out during the week for Bingo, or a visiting hypnotist, or just some community occurrence!  Or are you free to call and fellowship in simplicity, in someone's home, where people can drop in and out on a casual basis, and where a building cannot be confused with being reverenced on a par with the Lord?

Is soul winning aimed at children or is it aimed at men by men?

Who runs your get-togethers and Bible studies, and teaches over others from the word, and makes major decisions for the direction of your fellowship ...  men or women?  Also, are you submitted to true shepherds or control freaks?

Is there a distinction between clergy and laity?  Do you allow others to have dominion over your faith?  Or are you just ALL Brethren as Jesus said?

Do you advertise your meetings on bill boards, newspapers and flyers, next to the trendy or mainline churches?  Or do you just meet with family and friends, and allow the Lord to bring the increase?

Are you geared up for the numbers game and for community profile?  Or are you only committing yourself to faithful men? 

Do you use entertainment, music, drama, and other art forms to spruce up you meetings and attract a wider scope of people?  Or do you just gather around the word and allow the Holy Ghost to bring conviction and growth to peoples lives, in a low key fashion?

Are people attending service and duty because they are programmed, conditioned, and obligated to in some way?  Or do they come together because they are hungry and desperate for God, and have a love for the brethren as well as a love for the truth?

Do you use atmosphere, music and emotional manipulation to get people to respond towards a gospel message?  Or do you just depend on the Lord's Spirit to bring conviction and reproving through the spoken word?

Is the gospel conveyed through preaching the cross in simplicity?  Or is it portrayed cunningly through the arts, crafts, wisdom and cleverness of man?

Are you forced to do "follow up" and institutionalize young converts?  Or can you let them go and entrust them to God, like Phillip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch, and as Jesus did with the woman at the well?

Do you go to evangelize?  Or do you try to lure people into your "church", in order to convince them through organized programmes, compelling performances and attractive presentations?

Is the way you follow wide and tolerable and acceptable to society, and blends in with the religious landscape?  Or do you follow the narrow way, which contradicts the spirit of this age, and is in the minority?

Summary of the biblical facts

"Going to church" is not biblical in the New Covenant sense.

Having a "spiritual covering" or a human proxy in relation to God, is also unscriptural.  As is allowing someone to have dominion over your faith.

A 'one-man-band' pyramid set-up (A "Pastor/Priest" concept) is not New Testament.

Tithing is  Old Covenant (ever tried giving 10% of two pennies? The broke widow gave all in contrast to the religious attendees giving a portion 'off the top' of their wealth)

Holy Days (Sabbath or Sunday keeping) are also Old Covenant (Paul said observing times in a ceremonial way is going back under the law - Gal. 4:10)

In the New Testament the church (Christ's Body being manifested on earth through the function of the saints - every joint supplieth) usually begins with individuals. Then secondly, through households coming to Jesus (get the man saved and you get the family saved - check out the Book of Acts).  The person who wins these families to the Lord is responsible to make sure they are getting the right food (the scriptures only) and that they are being focused on the right person (Jesus only).  If they don't intend to belong to your group/family then let them go.  With the Lord's blessing, if they are going out in His name (only).

If you want fellowship, start it yourself.  It only takes one other person to have fellowship (which is where the Lord presents Himself).  Start with a friend, or any hungry contact, or another couple or family, and let the Lord guide you.  Do it prayerfully and responsively.  Check and base everything on scripture.  Don't allow slick outsiders to come in and entice you with clever words or academic credentials, or both, so your group belongs to them.  Just like what happened in the "Jesus Movement" during the late sixties and early seventies, and the Welsh Revival at the turn of the 20th Century, and many other genuine moves of God.

Here's the acid test for walking the narrow (simplistic) way

The 'four musts'!

Does it focus solely on Jesus?
Does it promote righteousness and truth?
Is it word based?
Is it universal in application?

Does it focus solely on Jesus? That's the scriptural Jesus who changeth not, who came as God in the flesh, blessing children and scourging those who defiled His temple for trading what was suppose to be holy.  Not the "meek and mild" contemporary "One" who changes to suit the latest fad.  Or the European image of Jesus with long blond hair and dreamy blue eyes, tailor-made for Western Anglo Saxon Protestants.  Nor a Catholic/Jesuit Jesus who appears as a 'left wing' revolutionary in Third World countries, to over throw 'right wing' tyranny.   Nor a feminine Jesus, who wouldn't get "His" hands dirty, or work as a chippy building houses.  Nor an alternative Jesus, like a hippy or a 'new age sensitive dude', who wouldn't "murder" animals or wear animal fur, or lawnmow over daisies coz of the little critters who can't be seen.  The gospel where saving trees is more important than saying lives, or where saving the planet is more important than reaching lost man with his only hope.

Does it promote righteousness and truth?
  Forget about worldly controversy, or what others are up to (in or outside so-called Christendom)!  Make sure you are squeaky clean (the scripture say blameless, without rebuke) ...  clean hands and a pure heart.  The enemy maybe without, but your call is to deal with the enemy within.  Don't worry about politics or religiosity down the street, next door or in the next town.  Make sure the leavens purged out of your own life, for your sake and your family and friends.  Then you can be a witness in the world, as an open living letter, read by all men, that "all these things shall be added unto you." 

Is it word based?  Make sure scripture is your final authority.  Beware of men correcting scripture by the backing of his educational qualifications, his ecclesiastical credentials or "spiritual" rank.  Or bamboozling you with the so-called "original" Greek, or "Hebraic" root word.  Think and work things out for yourself.

Is it universal in application?  Are you naturally 'spiritual' and spiritually 'natural' with your application to the word?  Seeking God with your feet firmly on the ground, and tuned into the world around you.  Being practical and a doer of the word, not just entertained by it, or clever at quoting it ...  or mystifying it.  But working with your own hands and thinking with your own brain.  Being a true Bible practitioner, and not just a Bible rhetorician.

Brethren, it is high time we stopped pussy footing around with religion, playing around with politics, cultivating hirelings, supporting someone's war or crusade, peddling a generic gospel, or using the elusive Greek (or Hebrew) to correct the Bible.  It's about time we stopped selling the truth, fighting over side issues, promoting a human personality, depending on women and novices to run and rule God's house, and avoiding man to man telling it like it really is.  Who is on the Lord's side?

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