Monday, August 27, 2012

The Runaway Bride. A Biblical Look at the Apostate Church. The Simple Truth.

*Disclaimer: For the moment I am going to take a minor detour from the subject matter of Christian single women to focus on issues that are relevant to the Body of Christ in general. This blog post is a reflection of such a detour. 

We live in a society today where you can find a church just about on every corner. In some neighborhoods, you find the church just down the street from the liquor store. There are new churches being planted annually by various organizations throughout our country and even the world. With so many churches it goes without saying that it should be easy to find a Biblically based church that teaches God’s Word unashamed. Now I underlined the word “unashamed” as there are many churches that will teach whatever you desire to hear; but very few churches are willing to preach the Word of God unashamed. I often talk to brothers and sisters in Christ who share their frustration with trying to find a Bible teaching church. So my question is, “Don’t you have a church in your neighborhood?” Although I know the answer to that question, I’m just trying to make some light conversation…and possibly add some of my humor to the subject matter. Notwithstanding there are many churches but few that teach the uncompromised Word of God. Why? Because many have gathered to themselves their own kinds of teachers. (Reference 2 Timothy 4:3-4)  The other issue is that today’s modernized “Christian” has no desire to hear the Truth. They can’t handle the Truth. They want to be motivated to serve God. This is why we find Apostate churches so prevalent today. And let me tell you, it is best that you get a full understanding of what an Apostate Church looks like so as to avoid it at all cost. 

The word apostasy means to remove, abandon, to become renegade. When I talk about the Apostate church I am referring to churches that are far removed from the counsel of God, His Holy Word. The Apostate Church refers to any church were God’s Word has been exchanged for that which appeals to emotionalism, sensationalism, and often times idolatry. In essence these Apostate churches have exchanged the Truth for a lie, plain and simple. (Reference Romans 1:25)

Romans 1:25 – “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (ESV)

Here are a few things you may find in an Apostate Church: 

*seeker-friendly worldly methods used to build church membership instead of allowing God to bring the people to the church. (Reference Acts 9:31; Acts 12:24)
*a business model that has been employed to build church membership so as to add numbers to the business, not necessarily to add numbers to the Kingdom of God.
*a focus on building worldly programs: i.e. classes that teach on empowerment, self-esteem, so on and so forth…you get my point here.
*sin is rampant within the church and is not being addressed from the pulpit.
*the preaching on sin, repentance, grace, humility, and the Cross of Christ have been exchanged for a lighter message which appeals to the emotions and senses.

Let us take a look at a few Scriptures.

Ephesians 5: 26-27 “that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (ESV).  

So as to keep with the context of this Scriptural passage, it is safe to state that this passage is in conjunction of speaking about the marriage relationship between husbands and wives. This particular passage comes just after the Apostle Paul provides instructions for husbands as how they are to love their wives. So let us take a look at this passage again in its context. 

Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (ESV).  Now do you see it? Just look at the way Christ loves the Church, His true Body. This is why I wanted to include this passage here. Jesus Christ loves the Church so much that He desires to present the church without spot or wrinkle so that she (the Church) might be holy and without blemish. 

What we have today are “churches” that have ran far away from Christ’s cleansing power. These runaway brides have no delight in Christ washing them clean so that they can be presented without spot or wrinkle. These “churches” have exchanged the glory of God for a lie. Because of this, God has given them over to the lusts of their own desires. Romans chapter one talks about God’s wrath being revealed against all unrighteousness. (Ref. Romans 1:18-32)

Romans 1:18-19 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them.” (KJV)

Add water and stir: This indeed is the concept of the Apostate Church. The true Gospel has been so watered down that it isn’t the Gospel at all. God’s Word has been kicked out and traded for what will bring in more people, satisfy the masses, and make one feel good. These same “churches” that are teaching the feel-good message are teaching the doctrine of demons. Here are some Scriptures that further emphasize the point. 

1 Timothy 4: 1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (KJV) 

2 Peter 2:1-2 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (KJV)

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (ESV)

A hatred for God:  Now we see the true heart of an Apostate Church, a hatred for God and His Word. This is the only logical explanation as to why there is such a detour away from that which is holy and pure to that which is worldly. The Apostate Church has set itself as an enemy (enmity) of God.  (Ref. James 4:4)   Therefore the things that are worldly are seen as more desirable; that which is holy is frowned upon. You may be tempted to say that “hatred” is a strong word. Yes, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. Nonetheless, it is a truthful statement. We are to hate what God hates and love what God loves. Now that’s not popular is it? 

The runaway church as it seems is a church that has turned aside from proclaiming God’s Word and have closed their ears to what is righteous, what is true, what is Holy. They are a rebellious church, a rebellious people. 

Isaiah 30:9-11 “For they are rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’” (ESV)

Here is the Simple Truth: The Apostate Church exists because some who profess Christianity do not want to hear the TRUTH! The Truth is too offensive for those who enjoy the Sunday morning emotionalism that is prevalent throughout many pulpits. The sensationalism that occurs in these “churches” on Sunday is a shame to the Cross of Jesus Christ. This isn’t “Church for Dummies”. This is a flagrant disregard for anything that resembles the Bible. Let me share something with you. For those who attend such churches there is a disregard for studying, reading, and meditating on the Word of God. There is a dismissal of researching and applying Scripture in these Apostate churches. 

In conclusion, any message that makes one feel good should be checked through the lenses of the Bible. What often remains is a motivational message that you probably can get from the self-help section of any book store. 

What is God’s mandate for us where the Apostate Church is concerned? 

1.      To be sober-minded. 1 Peter 1: 13; 1 Peter 5:8
2.      To be steadfast in prayer. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1
3.      To snatch some from the fire, if they are willing to go peacefully and leave these false churches. Jude 23
4.      To speak the truth in love to those who are in these false-teaching churches. Ephesians 4:15, 25
5.      To hand such a one over to Satan. 1 Corinthians 5: 4-5; 1 Timothy 1:20

Further reading: Matthew 7:15-23; 24:11-28


The Holy Bible (ESV and KJV)

Handed Over to Satan? (1 Corinthians 5 Bible Q&A with John MacArthur

To Judge or Not to Judge (1 Corinthians 5 Bible Q&A with John MacArthur

Now here’s where you come in. I would love to hear your comments, questions, or stories of how this relates to you or someone you may know. Have you ever been a part of an Apostate church? Please feel free to place your comments below. May the grace of God be upon you.