[This message was delivered to Charity Baptist Tabernacle on May 8, 2019.]
The Holy Spirit impressed on me the need to preach outside churches which are not under Christ in all things. I had questions that needed complete Bible and factual answers before proceeding. What are these churches doing that is harming the cause of Christ? How are they harming the cause of Christ? Even if they are in error, should a Christian openly expose their error? After reviewing past studies and also doing further study, I felt sure that I was called by God to initiate this battle.
In this sermon I will answer some questions for you. Are these state churches doing God’s work God’s way? Are they churches of Christ, churches under Christ, or are they doing more harm than good to the cause of Christ. According to the Bible are my actions in line with what God would have me do? Does the Bible say that this battle is of God?
What I will cover:
- The Bible Principle: Doing God’s work God’s way;
- God’s Churches: Doing God’s Work God’s Way;
- Am I doing God’s work God’s way?
- More Matters [Apostasy and the results and more]
I. The Bible Principle: Doing God’s Work God’s Way
1 Peter 1.15-16: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Holy means “set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God.” The principle of holiness would have a believer and a church to do God’s work, God’s way. God wants his children to be holy and to do His work, His way. This principle runs from Genesis to Revelation.
This principle applies to this ministry and it applies to this church.
Examples from the Old Testament follow:
A. Hebrews 11:4. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
We see this principle with Cain and Abel. God had told Cain and Abel how to approach Him. Abel approached God God’s way, thereby showing that he was righteous. Can acted in self-will, doing things his way rather than God’s way.
B. We see this principle in Exodus 30, the great worship chapter. The altar of incense was a type of prayer and praise for the Lord, spiritual, not sensuous.
Exodus 30:9 “Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.”
Here we learn that were two prohibitions given concerning worship: (1) No “”strange” incense was to be offered. This speaks of simulated or purely formal worship. (2) No “strange” fire was permitted. This refers to the excitation of “religious” feelings by merely sensuous means, and to the substitution for devotion to Christ or any other devotion as to religious causes, or sects.
C. We see this principle of holiness when God called out Israel as a people unto Himself. God informed His people, of the manner by which they were to approach Him. In Leviticus God speaks out of the tabernacle in which He dwells in the midst of His people, to tell them that which befits His holiness in their approach to, and communion with Himself, Leviticus gives the details of the walk, worship, and service of that people. In other words, Leviticus stands in the same relation to Exodus, the record of redemption for the Israelites, as do the Epistles to the Gospels.
The Gospels and Exodus are the records of redemption. Exodus, as a record of redemption for the children of Israel, like the Gospels for born again believers, lays the foundation of the cleansing, worship, and service of God’s people, the Israelites in the Old Testament, believers in the New Testament. Leviticus, for the OT Israelite, and the epistles, for the New Testament believer and church, gives the detail of the walk, worship, and service of the people of God. God wants his people to honor those details. God wants His Work done His way.
Leviticus 10.1-2 “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.”
The sin of Nadab and Abihu was in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God. It was “will worship” which often has a show of wisdom and humility. It typifies any use of carnal means to kindle the fire of devotion and praise. The results were bad for Nadab and Abihu.
Colossians deals with subtle forms of error which were at work in the church at Colosse—The first was legality in its Alexandrian form of asceticism (“touch not, taste not) with a trace of the Judaic observance of the “days” the object of which was the mortification of the body.
The second was mysticism. A mystic seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute; experience, feelings and emotions guide the mystic. Colossians was written to the church at Colosse as warning for that church and for churches in all days and has specific relevance and application to most churches in America today.
As to mysticism, Colossians 2:18-19 says: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”
As to asceticism, Colossians 2:20-23 says: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”
Colossians 1.15-19: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”
Colossians 2:6-8 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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.”
D. We see this in the life of David. Even a true man of God can do a right thing in the wrong way. A man of God whose heart is right can err concerning truth out of ignorance or heresy. But when he learns of his error, he corrects it wholeheartedly.
2 Samuel 6.1-11 “Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. 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, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.”(also in 1 Chron. 13 where David did a right thing the wrong way). We see King David seeking to bring the ark of God to Israel. Read v. 3.
God had given explicit directions how the ark should be borne. See, Numbers 4:1-15.
Numbers 4:15 “And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die….”
But David adopted a Philistine expedient. The Philistines had built a new cart to return the ark to the Jews.1 Samuel 6.7,8 (“Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go.”) was the Philistine expedient adopted by David in 2 Samuel 6:3. (“And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.”). David transported it on a cart pulled by 2 milch kine. Now David was a man of God—a man after God’s own heart. He was excited about bringing the ark back. “And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets” (I Chronicles. 13:8).
Failure to do things God’s way always brings bad consequences. The result of David not doing the things of God God’s way—God kills Uzzah for touching the ark when the oxen shook it. David was displeased. But He was also afraid of God and said, “How shall I bring the ark of God home to me” (2 Samuel 6:9; 1 Chronicles 13:12)? Then he did it God’s way—“Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever” (1 Chronicles 15:2)—but not until he saw that the LORD blessed the house where the ark was left—the house of Obed-edom. David wanted God’s blessing.
This story of David’s new cart and its results is a striking illustration of the spiritual truth that blessing does not follow even the best intentions in the service of God except as that service is rendered God’s way. It is a constant point of failure. Churches are full of Philistine ways of doing service to Christ. See, e.g., 1 Chronicles 15.2 (“Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.”); 1 Corinthians 1.17-31; 2 Corinthians 10.4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
II. God’s Churches: Doing God’s Work God’s Way
Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church….” Christ said He would build His church. He laid the foundation in the gospels. For more on this see The New Testament of Jesus Christ: His Executor Named and Empowered. He knew that there were already other churches (ekklesias), assemblies of people coming together regularly for certain purposes. He knew that there would be churches in the future. But He said His churches would be built by Him.
Christ’s churches under Him in all things. See Ephesians 1:19-22; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 2:8; the whole NT doctrine of the church beginning in the Gospels.
Christ’s churches are spiritual organisms not worldly organizations. See, e.g., Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12.
Churches which are not of Christ or under Christ organize as worldly religious entities, partially under God at best or wholly under man at worst. They do not do God’s work, God’s way. Examples are churches who operate as legal entities of any kind including unincorporated associations, corporations, and 501(c)(3) or 508 tax exempt religious organizations. Many of these churches use business, not Bible, principles to bring people in, to “church” people; to develop a sense of community” as Trinity Fellowship Church calls it. In church, they give rock concerts in a nightclub atmosphere, show movies, and provide programs to help those churched find their purpose, as Trinity Fellowship calls it. They appeal not to the Bible but to mysticism: “Experience God,” Trinity Fellowship Church says.
The corporate 501c3 church is not under God in all things. They may be under Christ in some things, but they are not under Him in all things. A corporate 501c3 church is to one degree or another, a temporal, earthly, fleshly man made organization built by man according to state non-profit corporation and federal Internal Revenue Code law. A church under Christ, is an eternal, heavenly, spiritual organism built by Christ according to the principles in the New Testament.
I quote from an essay I wrote and posted on my website: “Some define corporation to mean ‘a human being with no soul;’ of course this statement makes an important point even though it is not literally true. A corporation is not a human being, but it is an “artificial person” (a legal fiction) who acts legally, by, for example, entering into contracts, buying and selling property, suing and being sued. And, as an ‘artificial person’ with no soul, the corporation, whether profit or not for profit, will act accordingly. Human beings with souls in a corporation act within an unnatural, soulless, Godless, state-created fiction; because of the contracts created by their act of incorporation, all disputes can be taken to secular courts where only man’s law and rules will be tolerated; do not try to argue God’s law in that environment. The ‘church’ non-profit corporation will be polluted to some degree, greater or lesser, by the immoral, soulless part of the two-headed monster.” Corporation: A human being without a soul.
Here are a few of the many attributes of a corporation (for a more complete understanding, see the fairly concise articles Who Is the head of an incorporated church? and What does church, inc. mean? for much more information on incorporation.
- An incorporated church and a New Testament Church have different creators. The state creates the former and God creates the latter.
- The state creates the corporation through state non-profit corporation law. A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in comtemplation of man’s earthly law.
- The sovereign of a corporation is the state of incorporation. No corporation can exist without the consent or grant of the sovereign since the corporation is a creature of the state and derives its powers by legislative grant.
- An incorporated church is a monstrosity with two heads which are at odds with one another. Whenever there is an incorporated church, there are two entities—the one, the church as such, not owing its ecclesiastical or spiritual existence to the civil law, and the other, the legal corporation, each separate although closely allied. Such a church gets part of her powers from God and part from civil government.
- Their organizations are different.
- Ownership of a New Testament Church and a corporation differ. Members in a non-profit corporation are the owners of the corporation. Jesus Christ owns a New Testament Church.
- The properties utilized by the corporate church and that utilized by the New Testament church have different owners. The non-profit corporation owns any property used by the incorporated church. The Lord Jesus Christ owns the property held by a New Testament Church. See Short Answers to Some Important Questions about incorporation, 501(c)(3), 508 and other matters.
For details about 501(c)(3) see What is 501c3? For more detailed analysis see the articles on 501(c)(3) at God Betrayed/Church Corporate-501c3 Status: Union Of Church and State.
501(c)(3): Product of federal law—Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). 5 rules come with it. In the event of disagreement, the Internal Revenue service agency process decides the issue. If a church loses there, she can appeal to federal court. Again, do not take your Bible and don’t rely on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution since you have given up your 1st A protections when you applied for and received 501c3 status. You became tax exempt as opposed to non-taxable.
IN SHORT, CHURCH CORPORATE 501C3 STATUS CORRUPTS A CHURCH. STARTS A CHURCH UNDER CHRIST ON THE SLIPPERY SLOPE TOWARD APOSTASY AS LAID OUT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (CORRESPONDS WITH THE APOSTASY OF ISRAEL).
B. Business Techniques and Practices
Businesses. Mega-churches and other incorporated 501c3 religious organizations are run like businesses:
Business model: These churches use business techniques and practices. A business finds out what the people want and gives it to them. Bible students readily see all the deviation from God’s principles in this.
They find out what people want (community surveys) and give it to them. “Rock and roll music.” “Country music.” Worldly activities such as movies, etc., heretical preaching. They may preach salvation, but that is about all. They bring the world into the church. They do not go into the world, preach the gospel and add those saved to the church.
A church is for saved born again believers. Christ’s commission is for church members to go into the world and preach the gospel. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16.15-16; Luke Luke 16.47, Acts 1:8. The pattern is salvation, baptism, church membership. That is the way it has been since the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:41, 47(b) “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them [the first church, the church at Jerusalem] about three thousand souls…. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The draw of the typical American church: “Experience God, Find Community, Fulfill Your Purpose.”
Hence, Christian Rock Concerts, Cowboy churches with cowboy bands and everything else designed to appeal to “cowboys.” Movies, worldly entertainments of all kinds, etc.
[Here I presented a little introduction to Godly versus Satanic music.]
C. The ultimate authority for these mega churches is not the Bible; rather, they appeal to mysticism, to experience, emotion. “Experience God.”
III. The application of the principle of doing God’s work God’s way to the preaching of God’s Word
We have no problem preaching to the porn houses, in front of businesses, going door to door. Yes, according to the NT we are to go to all those places. Why not also to religious organizations that are doing far more harm to the cause of Christ than any business, porn house or other place where people gather.
A church under Christ is an assembly of believers, a spiritual organism (Ephesians 4, I Corinthians 12, the whole New Testament teaching on church doctrine) – the lost can visit of course but are not to be baptized and admitted into membership unless they get saved. A church under Christ is “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body” (Ephesians 4.12). Her commission is given in Matthew 28:18-20; also Mark 16:15-18 and Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8.
Jesus, the apostles went outside the church (the assembly) and preached house to house and publickly. They preached at the religious places, the places where religious people, as in the mega churches and most churches in America today, were not following the teachings of the Bible and ignorantly or willingly preaching and plotting against the Savior and His principles.
Jesus preached at the synagogues starting as a 12 year old. Do a word search of the word “synagogue’ in the Gospels. Here are just a couple of examples:
Luke 4:16-20 “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.”
A comparison with the passage quoted by Jesus in the above veres, Isaiah 61:1-2 affords an instance of the exquisite accuracy of Scripture. Jesus stopped at, “The acceptable year of the Lord,” which is connected with the first advent and the dispensation of grace. “[T]he day of vengeance of our God” belongs to the second advent. Jesus quit reading because He was emphasizing that this was His first advent, His first coming and that the Jews needed to read and study Scripture and recognize Him as Messiah and Savior.
John 18:20 “Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.”
As to the churches, Jesus preaches to them in the entire NT from Matthew to Revelation. In the Gospels, he is laying the foundation of His churches.
What about the apostles?
Again, do a word search of “temple” and “synagogue.”
On the day of Pentecost they first preached to the Jews from every nation. In Acts 3, Peter preached outside the temple.
The result: Acts 4:1-4. They jailed them. Then they Peter preached to the rulers, elders and scribes who commanded them not to preach in the name of Jesus and let them go. Then prayed that God would embolden them to continue doing what they had been ordered not to do. Then, as we read in Acts 5, they imprisoned them again.
In Acts 5.20 the angel of the Lord commands them, after breaking them out of prison, to “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. (21) And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught….” When they were brought before the religious rulers, they answered the high priest “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5.29).
Stephen disputed with rulers of the synagogue and preached to them Acts 6-7. The apostles preached and taught in the synagogue Acts 13:14-43; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1-4 (Acts 17:1-2 “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, …). Acts 18:4 “And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:19, 26. Acts 19:8. Acts 22:19, 26:11: “And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
Do a word search of temple and synagogue in Acts. Read the gospels, the book of Acts.
Revelation 1.4–3.21 preaches to the churches. How shall the heretical and apostate churches know their condition without a preacher? They certainly are not going to read and study the Word of God.
IV. MORE MATTERS
There are more professing athesits in America now than Evangelical “Christians” (those who profess to be Christians and attend a church, not matter how infrequently) or Catholics. Of course only a small portion of those “Christians” are actually saved. So the number of professing atheists vastly outnumbers born again believers in America, especially those who are doing God’s work God’s way. Why? Because true churches in America long ago lost the power of God and the world knows that most churches are powerless businesses posing as religious organizations using worldly techniques and religion and the name of Jesus to avoid property taxes, income taxes, and to gain worldly advantage over other businesses.
But this is to be expected. The New Testament lays out the apostasy.
On the road to apostasy: 2 Peter 2. 2 Peter, 2 Timothy, Jude, Second and Third John have to do with the walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension.
2 Timothy 3 predicts the apostasy.
2 Timothy 4.1-4 describes the actions of a faithful servant in times of apostasy.
(Taken by an atheist jogger who I witnessed to and gave a tract).
READ 2 TIMOTHY 4.1-5.
2 Ti. 2.1-5.
For more on Bible teaching on church apostasy and the apostasy of American churches, see the relevant articles at: The Biblical Doctrine of the Church.
The theme of Ephesians 6 is that members of a church are soldiers. The training ground starts in the home (Ep. 6.1-4), and is to be displayed at work (vs. 5-9). In verses 10-18 explains the spiritual warfare of the members of a church. We wrestle against (v12).
COMMENTS ON EPH. 6.10 AND ONE AS APPROPRIATE.
The message I carry to those churches: To individuals I encounter: Are you saved? If so, and if they are a member of the church, Revelation 2.1-7.