“Dear friends, I wanted very much to write to you about the salvation we all share together. But I felt the need to write to you about something else: I want to encourage you to fight hard for the faith that God gave his holy people. God gave this faith once, and it is good for all time.” Jude 1:3 ERV
While some will say that there is almost nothing anyone can possibly do to defend our faith in Christ as God has all it takes to defend Himself, there is, however, so much that can be done to keep the saints from falling prey to the subtle devices of the enemy in these difficult times of the Church.
I must say that events in the social media and others we see, read or hear in the traditional media are not new as every generation in times past have had to fight religious deceptions. The early apostles fought it, others after them fought it and we, too must face these challenges. The issue of tithes and offerings is still a heated debate in the social media. One well-known preacher of the gospel (in Nigeria) wrote saying some time ago that the blood of Jesus cannot redeem anyone from sin. There have been issues with others (even) ascribing to themselves the personality and office of Jesus Christ by their speech. It will take a discerning heart to judge rightly. We have read about and seen on television and the social media of certain men who claim to be of God perform weird miracles and do unusual things. We have also heard about the grass eating Church, the pastor who heals with insecticides and another who also heals with antiseptic. The list goes on and on.
The core of the above is in verse 4, “Some people have secretly entered your group. These people have already been judged guilty for what they are doing. Long ago the prophets wrote about them. They are against God. They have used the grace of our God in the wrong way—to do sinful things. They refuse to follow Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.” ERV
The long list of Scriptures below will help a great deal
Mat 13:25 – “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”
Act 15:24 –“Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.”
Gal 2:4 – “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.”
2Pe 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.”
Unfortunately, many of us have been taken unawares by the antics of these false prophets in our times. Many of us have indeed become captives of some of these false teachings. Here is an example:
I was in a commuter vehicle but unusually, I heard the driver sing some beautiful songs. Never have I heard a driver sing so melodiously! But here I was hearing one sing “Church Songs.” One more thing drew my attention. I noticed that most of the songs had been revised…not the exact words that I knew.
Here is the song that I know and there indeed many versions of this song: I have decided to follow Jesus (3x), No turning back (2x). Now, this is his version. I have decided to follow Jesus…and, not Church. I have decided to follow Jesus…and not pastor. I have decided to follow Jesus, Church leave me alone, pastor leave me alone.
Of course, the Church is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, our fellowship with the Lord is not about a particular denomination and neither are we to worship any pastor. We are to worship the Lord and the Lord alone. Thus, on the surface he is correct. He sang many other such songs. But I knew that there was something wrong with his beautiful renditions.
So, what was it?
As I alighted from the vehicle, I put my head through the front passenger window, smiled at him, then, I said, “My friend you sing so well.” He gave me a broad smile and said, “thank you, sir.” I continued, “But your songs seem to be unusual; the words are not in tune with the Scriptures!” He laughs at this point, then, all hell was let loose.
He quoted the following Scriptures
Mat 24:1- 2 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Acts 7:48 – “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet.”
Act 17:24 – “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
Joh 4:20 – 24 –“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
1Co 1:11 – “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
And there seem to be nothing wrong with these Scriptures, too right? Very well!
I listened very well to all his quotations and explanations, then, I said, “You seem to know the Scriptures a lot, too. But your applications are all wrong.
Explanation 1 – (Matthew 24:1-2) According to him, Jesus himself prophesied that the Old Testament concept of worshipping God as a congregation in any building (Temple) would stop in the New Testament. Thus, the idea of gathering together as a congregation (Church) in the New Testament under any circumstance is unscriptural.
Explanation 2 – (Acts 7:48; 17:24) From this he explained that God no longer lives within buildings. Thus, it’s sinful and unscriptural to gather in worship in a commonplace as a Church.
Explanation 3 – (John 4:20-24) Like explained above, God encourages true individual worship but not congregational worship…no more in the mountains where people gather
Explanation 4 – (1 Cor. 1:11) He upheld that the Church is faced with so many problems because God is against congregational worship.
Do you get the gist? Do you remember his songs? Do you now understand why? I want you to imagine the number of people he has misled…beautiful Scriptures! But you have got to be able to compare spiritual things with spiritual things…”And these are the things which we say, not in the language of man’s wisdom, but in words given to us by the Spirit, judging the things of the spirit by the help of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:13 BBE). Again, read, “Now these were more noble than the Jews of Thessalonica, for they gave serious attention to the word, searching in the holy Writings every day, to see if these things were so.” (Act 17:11 BBE).
It is only a man who is influenced by the spirit of demons that will preach against the congregational worship of the Lord. So, when you hear anyone say that the age of congregational worship is over, you know who his father is.
I praise the Lord that God desires our individual and congregational worship and in fact, worship is to eternity, “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev 4:10 – 11; 5:14 KJV)
Be careful about what you watch, listen to and read because angels of darkness now present themselves as angels of light, (2 Cor. 11:14)
Arise and stand for your faith.