Much is taught to Christian believers in churchy situations that is foreign to the plain teaching of the New Testament—worldliness, avoiding suffering, prosperity, cessation-ism, clergy-laity divide, tithing, rules to follow, steps to become born again or spiritual, weird manifestations, even new-age stuff!
God has provided us with so much direction, revelation and understanding in the apostolic scriptures. We are so blessed with what we have in our hands.
When the apostles received Jesus’ commissioning words before his departure, the only scriptures they had was the Old Testament. Now we have the gospels, the letters and Acts and Revelation, and we have all this in one volume and in many translations and many versions. Can you see how remarkable this is?
But no, all this is not enough for many creative preachers. They add so much more. Adding to God’s revelation, His word, subtracts from it.
These teachers ignore the deposit once made to the saints (Jude 3) and look for ways, new ideas to impress peers or to keep people (some with ‘itching ears’) coming to their “well” every time to draw stagnant water instead of showing them the living water so they can drink themselves. If people don’t keep coming their support will dwindle. So preachers often copy other well known teachers and a new doctrine emerges and schisms result. Doctrines of men and not from God which make void the pure word of God. We are to teach what Jesus taught his disciples. Simple.
But simply Jesus and the gospel is not enough it seems for many. They must improve on what Jesus taught. Imagine trying to improve on what God has said! When men do this they put themselves on a higher plane that the Lord Himself! That is gross idolatry.
So in come issues such as Jewish ideas, medieval mysticism, bizarre behaviours, revelations from angelic beings or reviving forms of religion that lack the power of the true gospel. So the subscribers stay in their pews or lounges frozen in this world which seems out of control, unable to change it.
And all the while the Lord reminds us every time we eat the bread and drink the cup that He is coming back for His undefeated ekklesia (=gathering) because it’s being constructed one by one by HIM and against which the powers of Hades have no option but to crumple into ruins. The rest will be destroyed along with the evil powers.
This is the kind of gospel that is missing.
Warfare is called for. Not of human weapons but . . . .
“ . . we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ . . .” 2 Cor 10:4-5, NASB
These fortresses, strongholds are the imaginations/speculations, thoughts which must be taken captive to the commands of Jesus. Right? NOT to try to “ make the gospel work” by human effort which we can see happening in home meetings as well as the institutional corporations with their CEOs, boards, management expertise, budgets, manpower, clergy caste and hierarchy.
It is very important to begin anew with the new wine of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. It is sufficient. We must stand on the word of God and nothing else. Any mixture will spread like leaven and weaken, even bringing destruction. The Holy Spirit is given to us. We are one in Jesus and one with Jesus—that must sink into our hearts and minds so we know nothing else matters.
Renewal of the mind by the unchanging word of God must happen and keep happening in us. No alternative.
As I said in my last post, how awful it would be if Jesus’ would say to you at the end of time, “you loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43) or “I gave you my words, my Father’s will, but have you kept my words and not the words of men?”