A message from Jesus about churches – part one

Looking for a church with biblical values.

The other day I was talking with a friend who told me that she has not been able to find a church that reflects biblical values. Our chat reminded me of why I am writing this blog, which is to share my study on how to live for ever according to scripture. Many Christians and believers I’ve met have set ideas about ‘living for ever.’ Their beliefs are usually based on what their churches teach them. I decided to find out for myself what the bible has to say about ‘living for ever’ without church doctrine or denominational flavours.

The Second Commandment was taken out of the Catholic bible.

I was raised a Catholic and Catholics aren’t known to read their bible much. I used to sit in church with Mum and Dad and listen to sermons being preached in Latin. I was only a child and didn’t understand a word of what was being said in Latin. Even if I had understood I still would not have known if it was God’s Word or not because we were not encouraged to read our bible, so I would not have been able to cross reference.  I just assumed that churches preach God’s Word.

It wasn’t till years later that I discovered that the Catholic church actually changed the wording in their bible. For instance the Second Commandment has been taken out of the Catholic bible. This explains why idolatry is rife within the Catholic faith but that’s another story.
Before I read the bible I used to think that all church doctrine is based on scripture and I was really surprised to find out that this is definitely not always the case.

Jesus wasn’t too jazzed about churches.

On my blog I am sharing what GOD’s prophets and His Son have to say about ‘living for ever’ based on the words ‘live for ever’ as they appear throughout scripture. During my studies I discovered that Jesus isn’t too jazzed about what goes on in churches. Jesus sent stern warnings to various churches in the first three chapters and the last chapter of the book of Revelation, which is the last book in the bible.

Many of today’s churches teach us that ‘people are saved by faith.’ What does Jesus have to say to the churches about this? Jesus doesn’t tell us that we’re saved by faith only. Jesus tells us that it matters what we think as well as what we do,

… all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts:
and I will give unto every one of you according to your works

Jesus says that everyone will receive according to their works. He mentions this in the last book of the bible. First in the second chapter and then He repeats this in the last chapter. No promises here of special treatment for anyone. Just plain common sense .. according to your works.

Jesus says, I won’t acknowledge lawless ones as my own.

Is having your bum on a church pew as good as a ticket in?

Jesus did not say, ‘Oh well you believe in me, so therefore you’re part of my special posse.’ No, He said, believe on him that sent me. Jesus has specific requirements for his followers and there are many requirements that seemingly very dedicated followers won’t adhere to. This often happens because church doctrine confuses people and they’ve been made to believe that having their bum on a church pew is as good as a ticket in. Or church doctrine teaches people that a statement of faith is all that is required to receive eternal favours.

What did Jesus say about this? Jesus said, don’t come telling me that you’ve done all sorts of good things in my name if you don’t even get the basics right and refuse to follow my Father’s law.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work lawlessness (iniquity).

It took me a little while to figure out who Jesus was referring to with the above scripture. Initially I found it hard to imagine that believers would think that they are above the law. Eventually I discovered that there are indeed many believers who are convinced that they have been made ‘holy’ and won’t have to make an effort to follow the commandments; just because they claim to have faith and believe in Jesus.

Thou believest that there is one GOD; Guess what? thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble … faith without works is dead.

Jesus says, ye hypocrites .. teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Jesus addressed the clergy of his time as hypocrites because of their church doctrine.

… Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?  ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition … For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men … Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. … Ye hypocrites, in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

What the churches teach today is nothing new. They did the same in Jesus’ day, more than two thousand years ago. Churches still make up their own rules and regulations instead of sticking to the will of the Father and teach their followers to follow GOD’s commandments.

Jesus is the Son of GOD.

Jesus is the Son of GOD who came to earth to bare witness to his Father’s Word which is also called the truth. Just before He was crucified Jesus said,

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Around one third of the word population claims to follow Jesus. But how many of us really do? How many of us walk as he walked?

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you,
but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word which ye have heard
from the beginning.

Jesus preaching in the synagogue.

For people such as my friend referred to earlier in this post, who loves GOD’s Word but has not been able to find a church which reflects GOD’s Word; the following is what happened to Jesus when he spoke the truth in his own place of worship.

Jesus reading in the synagogue on the sabbath.

One day when Jesus was in 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 even though the churchgoers wondered at the gracious words which came out of his mouth; they also said, Is not this Joseph’s son? Jesus received a lukewarm reception because the people of the church knew him as the carpenter’s son.

Jesus speaking the truth and exposing hypocrisy.

Jesus continued his teaching by saying that being a believer doesn’t entitle anyone to favourable treatment. Jewish people are generally known as GOD’s chosen in a similar way that many Christians believe that they are Jesus’ chosen and entitled to special treatment and privileges. In the synagogue Jesus reminds the congregation that GOD sent special help and favour to a widow and her son who both were from a non-Jewish town. This was during a period of several years of severe drought when all Jewish people equally suffered throughout the drought. Yet a lady and her son from a non-Jewish town were helped by one of GOD’s prophets throughout the drought and favoured over and above all the believers.

With their hypocrisy exposed the ‘holier than thou’s’ in the church got so mad that they chased Jesus out of their church and city and attempted to throw Him down a hill.

The Son of God was thrown out of a church for speaking the truth.

Jesus ran away from the hypocrites and found himself another town where people were more receptive to his teachings and healings.

If you’ve been thrown out of a church or bible-reading gathering for speaking the truth and exposing hypocrisy; don’t fret, you’re in good company.

More messages from Jesus.

Other messages passed on by Jesus about preaching the gospel as relayed to his disciples were as follows,

The Kingdom of GOD is come nigh unto you.

Receiving the Good News is akin to accepting an invitation into the kingdom of GOD. Not everyone accepts this invitation. This may be because repentance goes hand in hand with this invitation and not everyone is genuinely remorseful about their muck-ups nor prepared to better themselves.

Step-by-step guidelines.

Following are step-by-step guidelines set by Jesus from start to finish for sharing the Good News, including what to do when the invitation is declined.

Jesus sent them forth by two and two.
And gave them power to heal all manner of sickness and disease.
He said, go as you are without dilly-dallying.
Bring wishes of peace.
Freely ye have received, freely give.
Accept what is given to you.
Stay where you’re invited.
Don’t go from house to house.
If they don’t receive you … leave.
Know that ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
When they persecute you in a city, flee ye into another.
Wipe the dust of your feet and let them know that
The kingdom of GOD came nigh unto them.
He that heareth you heareth me;
And he that despiseth you despiseth me;
And he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

He that knoweth GOD heareth us.

If people are not receptive, move on.

If people are not interested in what you have to share about the gospel it is time to move on.

 he that knoweth GOD heareth us

Don’t go telling others how to believe according to your own faith. If people don’t (want to) hear you, let them be. Not everyone is able to hear unless drawn by The Father.

Set a good example.

Extraordinary as this may seem, there are believers who make it their business to tell others that GOD’s law is not applicable to them. This is what Jesus has to say about that,

Once more, just plain good old common sense tells us to set a good example by sticking to some basic rules and obey our Maker by not lying, nor killing nor stealing, nor coveting and so on. Just as Jesus did, who is our example and without sin.

Don’t offend little ones.

Jesus is not impressed if newcomers or little ones that believe in him are offended.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me,
it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he were cast into the sea.

Some well-meaning believers think it is their duty to impart their wisdom and understanding upon others. What is wisdom and understanding according to scripture?

The fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding …
A good understanding have all they that do his commandments.

Judge not.

If someone is helping others in Jesus’ name but is not part of your congregation or church; Jesus says, leave them alone. Don’t go telling others how to believe according to your faith. If anyone does good work in Jesus’ name, that speaks for itself and is not to be rebuked. Judge not that you’ll be not judged for the LORD is our lawgiver and judge.

GOD’s message is a message of truth.

So to my friend and others who are not being welcomed into church communities, Jesus was very clear about it. GOD’s message is one of truth. The LORD shall judge the people with his truth. The bible tells us what truth means. GOD’s law is truth, his commandments are truth, his Word is truth. His truth endures for ever. The Word was made flesh … full of grace and truth. Jesus came to bear witness to the truth and He said that everyone that is of the truth hears Him.

If people are not teaching this message or receptive to this message, move on. GOD’s people will hear you and if people despise you when you share Good News, don’t be surprised. Jesus warned us that this is likely to happen.

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

 

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