This week we will look at a very radical view of the church. First, there is merit and benefit to any who gather in any form of church out of the desire to know and please Him. One might even get more “martyr points” for joining a dry, seemingly lifeless congregation. However, the model of New Testament church life we see in Scripture is the opposite of dry and boring; it is the most exciting and fulfilling community of people ever. Why settle for anything less?
Perhaps the most corrupting influence that has robbed Christians of what church life should be is the institutionalization of the faith. Any truth that becomes institutionalized becomes corrupted, humanized, and diluted at best. At worst, it becomes anti-Christ and takes on a character opposite of the Lord. Is this why so much of the book of Revelation, which was given as a “testimony of Jesus Christ,” has so much space devoted to the harlot church, “Mystery Babylon”?
This false church became so by marrying the spirit of this age instead of waiting as a chaste virgin for the Lord. Still, we know at least some of God’s people are in this false church, because there will be a time when He calls His people to “come out of her” (see Revelation 18:4). So, even those who have been drawn into the false for a time, if they did so seeking Him and His truth, the Lord will call them out in due time. Though God’s people may be blessed and even learn some truth for a time in the false church, nowhere in biblical prophecy does the false church become the true church. Instead, we see a time when God calls His people out of her, and then destroys it with “the sword of His mouth” (see Revelation 19:15), which is the truth.
We have all heard the sayings, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and “Good can be the worst enemy of best.” There is truth to these sayings. The “good” side of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is still poison and possibly more deadly than the evil side, since it’s so deceptive and rooted in human goodness that it seeks to supplant the seat of Christ in His temple. As we mature in Christ, we can more easily distinguish between what may seem “good” but is in fact from the Tree of Knowledge, the fruit of which is deadly.
So, we should not just look for a good church in which we feel comfortable, but God’s church where we may feel not so comfortable at first but is where He wants us. Here, we will be served from the Tree of Life, which is Jesus, rather than from the Tree of Knowledge.
What comes from the Tree of Knowledge will usually focus on principles and strategies, which may all seem good and wise. What comes from the Tree of Life will follow the Person of Christ and its growth will be measured by how much we see His glory, are changed by Him, and “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (see Ephesians 4:15 NKJV), not just knowledge.
That is not to imply that all principles, methods, and strategies are from the Tree of Knowledge, but when the teachings of any church are weighted towards principles rather than the Lord Himself, they are trending in a dangerous direction.
What should we do if this describes our congregation? First, following the Lamb is always a good place to start. Seek Him for His will and wisdom for how to do it. Maybe the Lord has allowed you to be there to help deliver others who have fallen into this trap, perhaps even the whole congregation. Remember, the Lord loves and “desires all men to be saved” (see I Timothy 2:4).
Nevertheless, when the Lord leads us to stay in situations for a time, we should also perceive when He is leading us out. Our priority should always be to do His will. Those whose devotion is to the institution more than the Lord often consider someone leaving to be the most evil threat against them. However, the Lord said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (see Matthew 10:34-36) and there are times when we must separate. The key is to know if it’s time for peace or a sword. Is it a time to follow the Person of Christ, or just principles?
Dr. Billie Reagan Deck is a prophetic apostolic teacher and bearer of God’s good news and His glory. For more than forty years, she has carried the Good News through Bible classes, conferences, retreats, seminars, personal counseling, television, etc. She is not ashamed of the Gospel and believes that it is the power of God to those who believe.
Dr. Deck teaches people how to respond to the realms of God, by creating an atmosphere for Him to demonstrate His sovereignty. In simple words, she trains the saints to allow God to be God in His own House!