“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
We know by this definitive declaration from our LORD Jesus Christ, that He surely IS building His called-out ones (church). This means that He leaves no life the same when He finds and saves that soul. That disciple must continue in His Word, progressively being sanctified and made free from sin and stagnation (John 8:30-32, 36; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, etc.). Such change and growth, which begins by obeying Christ’s command to repent, has little or nothing to do with the church world in existence today. The grossly out of step modern church world has no resemblance to the earliest Christians we read about in Acts. Such becomes obvious to any born again student of Holy Scripture.
What “church” was Jesus speaking of that He promised He would “build”?
One thing that is grossly lacking is the simple definition of what/who the church is that Jesus is speaking of and what His apostles further established. The word “church” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word ekklesia which simply means the called out ones. So many Christians have never been told this simple truth and are therefore left to be deceived and exploited by hireling pastors who are merely using them to build their church business while pretending to be serving the LORD. Without this understanding of what Christ’s church truly is, one will be left to believe that His church is a physical building or one or more of the organizations of mere men we see in the modern church world.
Maturing and Equipping the LORD’s People
According to the divine revelation of the church given to the apostle Paul, if a group of Christians are not being matured and equipped to literally do “the work of the ministry,” then they are NOT a New Testament assembly/church – period. Such maturity is the duty of those called out to servant lead.
Unfortunately, so many today holding positions of leadership over people, are not divinely called. Others who are called out by God, have refused to truly lay down their lives for Jesus and His beloved people. Here’s how the apostle Paul describes and contrasts them with those truly obedient to Jesus.
“(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: 19 Whose end is destruction (hell), whose God is their belly (serve their own selfish desires), and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:18-21
Ninety nine percent of all local churches in America intentionally create good church members who are spectators, but that’s not what God had in mind when He purchased a people with the blood of His only begotten Son! Spiritual growth, maturity, and equipping would mean that if the elders are fulfilling God’s purpose for His New Testament church, there are many of those they lead that are fruitful in doing “the WORK of the ministry” and that’s not singing in the choir or cleaning the bathroom! (see Ephesians 4:8-15) No, that’s communicating God’s Word to the people and teaching people the whole counsel of God’s Word (Matthew 28:18-20).
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Ephesians 4:11-15
The vast majority of local churches today are apostate and that’s easily seen by the truth remnant in that they are entertaining, teaching false doctrine, and selling their unlearned audiences into the coming one-world religion. No true preaching is going on in the fear of the LORD and fullness of the Holy Spirit. People are not becoming disciples, personally learning to walk with the LORD daily, having a prayer life, and study God’s written Word for themselves. Beware!
The very fact that equipping Christians is nearly nowhere to be found in that which calls itself the church is clear proof that the great falling away is in full swing (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:1-4, etc.).
Instead of training people up to be fruitful to the eternal glory of God, modern wolves keep them dumb (out of God’s Word), entertained, and teach them to be good tithers and church members, no different than the rotary or country club.
Without fail, where the LORD is being honored, there is maturity transpiring in His saints:
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14
The truly obedient servant elders in Christ’s body, prays, diligently labors, and lives to see the work of Christ transpire in His people. God-fearing servants aren’t interested in being called by a title, preach the pure Word of God, refuse to entertain, never hesitate to speak divine truth when they know it’s going to offend some, could care less if someone gets offended, and live in the holy fear of the LORD, eagerly expecting His soon return as they prepare a people to meet Him. They preach on sin, repentance, the essential of personal holiness, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, His soon return, and the need to obey God and be fruitful for His eternal glory!
Paul, the master builder apostle, told us that he labored diligently to prepare Christ’s body to meet Him. He gave us the three specific things that he feverishly worked to accomplish in light of Christ’s soon return:
“… Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:27-29
If you go to a church where the pastor/leadership refuses to preach, to WARN, and to teach, you should leave immediately. That is not a New Testament assembly. A man who refuses to warn you of false teachings and false prophets is himself a wolf. Any man who will not teach you the pure Word of God and get you in the Word daily yourself, is a wolf.
Beloved, a true servant of Christ, one called out to serve His people, doesn’t need a physical building. In fact, the LORD seems to be calling out true shepherds who have refused to be a part of the apostate system. These men are accomplishing more on a daily basis than most church-building-managers ever accomplish.
Sadly, the vast majority of those leaders who have buildings are merely real estate managers, money raisers, and they are simply building a business for their own glory – a church business. Since this is the case, they dare not speak a hard word from Holy Scripture, such as a message on sin, repentance, the daily dying/cross, or the need for personal holiness.
The professional clergy we have in place today is never what God planned nor does He endorse it. In most cases it does not fulfill His will. This ‘clean as a whistle’, never been bruised, battered, or in a battle persona is a farce. Jesus promises that all who will truly follow Him (not tradition and flesh) will certain “be hated of all men for my name’s sake” and shall suffer great persecution (Matthew 10:22; 24:10-13; 2 Timothy 3:12-13). The word “affliction(s)” appears 14 times in the New Testament. Paul the apostle of Jesus was in many grueling, painstaking, scar-inducing battles. He suffered many things at the hands of wicked men and the elements for obeying God’s will (2 Corinthians 6:5-10; 11:23-30; 12:7-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:2). Never mind these sad spineless seminarians who do nothing much more than fund raise, entertain, and count nickels noses, and numbers. Like the unqualified imposter in the White House who has never owned or run a business and is merely spending our money like it’s going out of style, the majority of these modern real estate managing, pulpit pansies have never gotten their hands dirty helping the poor, witnessing on the streets, or suffering vicious false accusations and afflictions and attacks by antichrist beguilers such as Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14-15). No, instead they have studied the church business industry, learning how to market and manipulate their communities to building their local franchise.
Deborah Blanchard notes:
“Paul knew he was facing imprisonment and afflictions in the very near future yet he said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) O that we had that same resolve to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace all the days of our life regardless of what may come of us! Testify! Acts 20:24″
If you will be with Christ in eternity, you must run for your life from any morally spineless leader who refuses to preach the hard truths of God’s Word. Such a man is serving self and Satan, not Jesus. Lay down your own life today.
For more on the LORD’s warning of and characteristics of false leaders, you may wish to begin by reading Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, and Matthew 23.
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” 2 Peter 3:17
- Walk in the Spirit and holiness (Romans 1:4; 6-8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:15-16, etc.)
- Deny self, take up the cross daily and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25; Luke 9:23-24; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12; Galatians 2:20, etc.)
- Discern truth from error and true servants from false prophets/wolves (Ezekiel 44:23)
- Personally study God’s Word diligently and daily (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Have a life of prayer (Matthew 6:6; 26:41; Mark 1:35, etc.)
- Communicates the Gospel, the Word of God, to others (Matthew 28:18-20; Philemon 1:6, etc.)
It does not matter what else is going on at a local church – if people are not being prepared to do His work, it’s a false ministry.
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It’s disgusting to go into a church and listen to a pastor who obviously has little wisdom from God. It frustrates me. I believe God has me away from the church world for a reason. I have prayed many, many times about finding a church home and God has yet to open that door.
Many are in this same place and perhaps the LORD is protecting His people and showing us just how much we need Him and causing us to cease depending on a local assembly so much. We are learning to trust Him in a real way now. Maybe it’s a season. True, biblical fellowship is needed. Think about this: When and since He saved most of us, we immediately and without interruption had a local church we have been a part of. So, we have never known what it means to truly trust Him and to sincerely walk with Him daily. May He grant each of us rich fellowship with Himself and His body (Acts 2:42-47).
“Last night there were 13 of us. We are studying the end of the age and Jesus’ 2nd coming. We have discovered that home fellowship can be similar to “Churchianity” if we aren’t aware of the pitfalls of offense, personal agendas, etc. We are learning to love one another with the love of Christ…and..we have a long way to go on many levels, but we are sticking with it. It took our core group 1 yr. to decompress from the church “drug” and from our woundedness over some things that happened and the loss of relationships from those who felt we were the enemy once we left. Well, you know this common story. We’ve been meeting for about 16 months now. We’ve had some come in and go back out again. I guess that is to be expected. We’ve had some leave because of doctrinal offense and not liking that most of us do not believe in eternal security. Our agreement is that anyone whom the Lord brings may come, but its not up to us to make them stay. What a journey this had been. I still miss the energy from a larger body, but have since learned that all the bells and whistles we used to enjoy in way of music, guest speakers, programs, etc. are not necessarily about the King. The decreasing is hard, the increasing of Christ is wonderful and supernatural.” Janet
This is a great testimony for sure! This can help a lot of people who are coming out of the apostate church world and gathering in homes or elsewhere as Jesus’ body. it seems that people bring their baggage from the church mentality and culture to home groups. They put on their religiosity. We are all prone to this and this must be crucified. I often say this which I think helps and is according to 1 Corinthians 12, the every member functioning truth…. I say: “IT SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER WHO TEACHES OR SAYS SOMETHING – WHAT MATTERS IS THAT GOD’S HOLY TRUTH GETS COMMUNICATED IN HIS LOVE.”
To learn to function in God’s love among His people, we must daily begin pouring prayerfully over passages such as John 13:35, Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-13, and Ephesians 4, Philippians 2:1-16, and Colossians 3:16 … Please SPREAD THIS WORD …. May it become our hobby to begin digging out, sharing, and memorizing verses and passage on humility before God and man and love! Please SPREAD THIS WORD …. These can be poured over together also (as a group).
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5
This is simply an absolute wonderful testimony Janet!!!! God is able precious. The lower we get – that He blesses us to get – the less we are offended about anything!!!! Because at that low level, you can’t be knocked down so nearly everything is a blessing. Taking that lower seat, right (Matthew 23).