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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Why it may be time to put aside contending for Doctrines!

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 Why it may be time to put aside contending for Doctrines!

Meditations on the Churches in the end days with regard to the saying:

"Brother, it does not matter what doctrines we believe that men espouse from the scriptures. If we have Christ from God's point of view we are His and in His kingdom. Therefore that is what God desires not for us to believe a certain set of teachings on how salvation works etc. Salvation in the early church was something you had and if you had it, it was evidenable by your actions. (SermonIndex: Greg Gordon)

It may well be the case in looking at the two extremes of church life visible today that it isn’t purposeful to contend for the Gospel in the sense of making doctrinal distinctions or even presenting teachings on how salvation works. North America and China appear to be the polar opposites. In North America there is a selfish and individualistic way of life which so far as the conduct of the churches is concerned has gone beyond what is possible to restrain by simply presenting doctrines of Scripture. In China at this time (though things are changing), selfishness and individuality may not even be possible to experience in this same way as the western churches experience these things. Moreover for the churches in China, persecution and suffering almost guarantees that the focus of saints is away from oneself and unto the Lord Himself. Christ in you the hope of glory. So that to preach doctrines would in the end be a dead thing to those who have a living and faithful walk, or else who live selfishly to the point of individualistic determinism.

In the Scripture we can see that both of these positions existed in the apostolic churches to a certain extent. Clearly the church in Jerusalem was not in the same liberty and luxury as was the Church in Corinth. Ananias and Sapphira in Jerusalem were part of the suffering church, yet their death’s still came and its effect was to cause a fear of God to fall on those who witnessed it (Acts 5:1-11). Whereas in Corinth some had died and even though this must have been realised by other brethren at Corinth, no fear of the Lord could have been evident. If the fear of the Lord had been evident there would also have been a change of attitude and conduct. In the end Paul had to write and explain it (1 Cor 11:28-32). Whilst both of these judgments, expressed in these two Churches, were from God Himself, the effect was clearly very different. Not only this but the better portion came on the suffering church of Jerusalem, where two were judged, but the many were blessed. Fear of God is a blessing. It may also be a reflection that God is jealous of those who are willing and able to be faithful. In the luxuriant church of Corinth some had died yet it was for the individual benefit of those who had died, in that they should “not be condemned along with the world”. Yet it had no benefit to the many. Perhaps this is a reflection of God’s mercy for the ones who were judged. Even so that benefit would have been hidden. Paul in the end had to explain it to the Corinthian Church before they were able to understand it.

It may well be that the Churches throughout the world increasingly fall into these two extremes. If this were true one would have to ask oneself which kind of church you would desire to be a part of. A persecuted church where God’s judgement is clear and visible causing the fear of God, in order that you are able to keep and lay hold of the fullness of God’s blessing and purpose in your life? Or a church where God’s judgment was veiled and never led you to realising your own condition and lack of good works? I wonder whether this is in reality amounts to a real choosing to go the way of the cross, and a loss of one’s own rights and possessions. Or a choosing to go the way of the natural mind and self-preservation! In the end it may well be that God Himself will decide the issue for His own Name and judgment will come outwardly and visibly in such a way that suffering will produce a real people of God in every place. As it is written, “he, who has suffered in the flesh, ceases from sin.”

At this moment these two distinctive types of church, whilst visible, aren’t the only kind of church visible. There is another kind as well. These are the lukewarm churches. Neither hot nor cold! It is only the lukewarm church which is spat out of the Lord’s mouth. Not the hot, nor the cold. I don’t suppose that every church in China is hot. Nor that every church in North America is cold. But it seems to me that the real danger may not lie in the two extremes, as God may have His answer for them. The danger may actually lie in the middle because these are the ones who though they are spiritually poor, nevertheless say “I am rich (Rev 3:13-22)”. The “I am rich” speaks of every gift of God. It is to speak of Faith, Life, Grace and the Holy Spirit, amongst other gifts. In saying these churches have every gift, it is to speak of those things which having been given, which cannot be boasted in, yet they boast. The same say they “see” but do not see the times in which they live. They are those who are building a kingdom on the earth, whilst neglecting the Kingdom of Heaven which though in them, is yet to come. It is a kingdom which is not of this world. Neither can the world understand it. Yet in recent years the world has been learning from these churches how to better administrate their businesses, how to manage their people and how to increase their wealth. Previously these same churches went to the world to learn how to practise business and administration. Having learned, they have now added the knowledge of God and are becoming teachers in the world.

This is precisely what the Bishop of Rome undertook in the 2nd century and which resulted in the visible appearing on the earth of the Mother of Harlots. Those who are the lukewarm churches today may be a mirroring of this effect, but to an outcome more diabolical than even the Mother of Harlots which in the end is devoured by the beast. This church may be the very church which ends up facing east to the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place. Such an outcome would be the fullness of Apostasy.

 2012/6/27 14:07

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