Choosing a church to join:
This article is a direct response or follow-on to the previous one titled "The Great apostasy of the church"
Choosing a church today is like walking through a mine field. Of course it shouldn't be so, but unfortunately this is the sad state of affairs.
When you join a church, to some degree, you come under the spirit of that church. You end believing what they believe and talking just like them. This would all be fine if the church was what it was supposed to be.
Before we can go any further, we need to have a brief look at the Biblical pattern for the church.
The Bible gives clear guidelines on these things in many areas. I will not go into any great detail here, but will just outline the larger principles.
Firstly there is only one church! There is no Biblical justification anywhere for many different churches all believing different things. Jesus is the head and has one body, not many. He doesn't have a Jewish body a Gentile body, a Catholic body, a Methodist body and so on.
Perhaps the most shocking portion of scripture dealing with this is 1Corinthians 1: 10. It's shocking because its so clear and so totally ignored by church leadership.
This section in the Bible is headed "Sectarianism is sin" How about that for a start! verse 10 "I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you and that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgement"
I was recently shocked when I stopped at a four-way stop street in an area that I seldom go to. As I looked around I noticed that there were four different churches, one on each corner! What a tragedy!
The early church up to around 300AD was in perfect unity. There were not a whole lot of different churches. Yes there were many attempts by Satan to bring in division. We see many of these attacks in the book of Acts as well. Each attempt was refuted, condemned and eradicated by the church leaders of the day.
The church should be divided geographically only.
Satan tried hard to stamp out the church in its early unified stages, by launching a series of blistering, cruel persecutions against the church by ten successive Roman emperors. Many thousands were killed and yet the church grew stronger and greater.
Then came Satan's ace trump card...get the church divided and filled with worldly practices.
At around 300AD the emperor Constantine stopped the persecutions and made Christianity the state religion. To make it more palatable, he introduces some of his own Babylonia occult practices to the church.
Some of these included setting up the worship of the sun god and moon god by placing little silver (moon) and little gold (sun) balls on a tree and nailing it to the floor. Every single tradition of Christmas comes straight from Babylon idol worship. Including the day December 25. Some of these practices like are condemned in Jeremiah 10.
Other Babylonian practices introduced into the church by Constantine include the worship of the goddess of sex. This was done back then, by going through the Easter (Ishtar) gate into the temple of sex! Eggs, rabbits and other things were representative of sex-god worship and fertility.
The Ishtar Gate (origin of Easter) was used to enter the temple of pagan and sexual practises.
In 600AD these things were further entrenched by what became known as the Catholic church.
Interestingly this was the start of the Dark Ages. It was called "dark" because it was spiritually dark. The Catholic church spearheaded this time of deep darkness and mass murder of the Jews and everyone that was not Catholic. This included the inquisitions, which were comparable to Nazi Germany.
Then came the time period known as the reformation, which signalled the start of the return to Biblical truth.
The reformation produced the renaissance and industrial revolution.
Its interesting that the move away from the truth produced the murderous dark ages and the return to the truth produced enlightenment! As goes the spiritual so goes the natural!
The reformation was a powerful move but was incomplete and still left the church divided and pretty messed up.
This brings us to our subject. How do we chose a church?
Obviously, the truth is the standard and this is what we need to look for. But it is the truth according to the Bible, led by the Spirit of God and not man-made, man-cantered so-called truth or church dctrine.
For the life of me I can't understand how anyone could go along so blindly and happily involved with churches that have institutionalised the many Babylonian occult practises. Saying that these practices are now Christian changes nothing. Amazingly most Jews know that these practices have evil origins and as a result, would not become part of any church practicing them. We are not to put stumbling blocks in the way of Jews coming to salvation. (See the previous edition for more on this)
Paul says, "I have not shunned to declare to you the whole council of God".
Paul says that he "preaches nothing but Christ and Christ crucified".
Paul says that he must "decrease while Christ increases" as a result.
Jesus says that "you are not worthy of being His disciple unless you take up your cross daily and follow Him".
Jesus says that we are to "make disciples among the nations teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you".
These are some key pointers and should be part of any church
A church must have the cross and it's application into our lives as central. The cross kills us to all things of self, the world and the demonic!
You will see the marks of the cross on a church (and person) that applies it correctly. They will be dead to the world the flesh and the demonic and very very ALIVE to the true, pure things of God.
A church must have a "fully preached" declaration of the gospel. Not just the nice self- motivational sections. It must embrace the "hard sayings" and the "severity" of the gospel as well.
There are some key questions we need to ask church leadership that relate very much to this day and age if we are going to join their institution.
We need to ask: "Do you as leaders fast often"? If the answer is no, the church is a self-inspired and led church.
We need to ask: "What is your stand on the rights of homosexuals, the rights of a woman to murder her unborn child, the rights of the murderer to life instead of execution."
Most importantly we need to ask: "What is your attitude to the rights of the Palestinians to a state and city within Israel."
You see, many churches today support the supposed rights of the Palestinians to Jerusalem and parts of Israel, while saying at the same time that they have compassion for the Jews.
I'm not interested in a church that says it has an interest in the Jews and then denies God's word that all of Jerusalem and Israel belong to the Jews.
Mark my words...this issue will soon become the issue that will divide the church totally.
Some other areas of emphasis needed in a church:
The church needs to be balanced. This balance is to be from the perspective of the Bible and not man made tradition.
The Bible has one third more on hell than heaven. The Bible speaks five times more about the second coming (and related events) than the first coming of our Messiah.
Today the church at large never speaks of hell or the second coming never mind in the proportions mentioned!
A church needs to have an Abrahamic, Hebraic expression to it. It needs to break from its identity with Rome and Babylon.
The diagram below speaks for itself:
Today God is doing many wonderful things and the devil is doing many terrible things. We need to know which is which! That seems obvious but unfortunately much of the church is today doing the work of the devil and coming against the work of God!
All that remains of the church of Laodecia today is ruins. It's future as revealed in Revelation 3 is no different!
Gods work will be truly and very deeply blessed, bringing a deep peace into the hearts of its adherents.
To find a church that fits the above bill should be very easy, but its not, simply because there are so few. If you are faced with this dilemma, what you need to do is do the best you can in the circumstances, but set your heart after our Lord, in spirit and truth. Protect your spirit in prayer against error and deception and move forward, forward, onward with our Lord. He will see to it that you are filled with His grace and you will grow well, even in the desert!
If you are in a church that does not fit the above very basic foundational criteria, you need to set your spirit and heart after God and not the church. This way you can still be in fellowship, but you will be protected from becoming an average church mouse. In fact you will soon get to a place where you will soar way above your church.
You do need to be involved in some way with other believers. Independence will get you shipwrecked. If you are not in a church, you should at least be in fellowship in some way with a group or even just a few believers.
I would strongly advise that you as an individual get involved with some para-church organisation that is involved with Israel and the Jews.
The best of the bunch is without doubt Christians United for Israel. This organisation run by the inimitable John Hagee has the Israel premier Benjamin Netanyahu on the board. its aim is to present a worldwide united Christian perspective or front in relation to Israel.
Amazingly, in a short period of time, it has become the largest Christian organisation in the US with a presence in 90 cities. It has now successfully run 80 celebratory Nights to Honour Israel.
It's powerful and growing at an alarming rate. It now has over 5 million members. I am one of them!