A Letter To The Church At Large
Who are you listening to?
"Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment." (1)
Many years ago, ministers of Israel did not always speak as God's servants. Whenever the people of God will not 'endure sound doctrine;'(2) it opens the way for 'a lie!'(3)
Who are you listening to? What are you reading? There is an ocean of words out there, with so many forms of teaching and preaching. Do you spend as much time reading the Bible as you spend reading other sources and listening to the words of men?
Jesus warned us of the days that we are now in; in fact, He told us what would cause the darkness which we now see all around us: 'And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.'(4) 'For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.'(5) How can we ensure that we will not be deceived? Is there any way we can make absolutely sure that we will 'endure to the end'(6) and be saved? If we truly know Jesus through His Word, we will not be deceived!
Much of what we would call Christendom today is being or has been carried off into captivity. The battle field is our hearts and minds. What we believe will determine our choices, and our choices will determine our eternal destiny.
Too many have left the 'study' and 'rightly dividing the word of truth'(7) mostly to others. Too many have entrusted their souls to a man or woman. They have substituted the words of a person for the personal, concentrated, prayerful study of God's Holy Word.
If we are willing to face the whole truth, the church today is in bondage. We are fleeced too often, believe too easily, and to the glory of the enemy are all too ineffective in our work and our prayers. Is it possible that we ignore the Word of God because a simple reading would rip away all pretense of our being saved?(8) True Christians are powerful beings, because they have a covenant with the Living God.(9)
Followers of Jesus are called to be 'salt' and 'light'(10) to the world. The Scriptures also tell us that '...the gates of hell shall not prevail against'(11) the Church! It follows that the state of the church and the state of the world are OUR fault. We are hiding behind our pulpits, our pet doctrines, our tithing, and our missionary campaigns, while we persist in disobedience to the responsibilities we were given! God does not want a part of you, of your money, or your time; He requires and deserves ALL! We know also that God is 'not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,'(12) yet we live and act as though all this 'hell on earth' is somehow God's Will. Nothing will improve until we are willing to see the truth about our hearts and how we are willfully defiant against the perfect plan of our Loving Heavenly Father!
Who are you listening to? There are many responsibilities that we need to embrace and begin now to live up to. There is no time like NOW!
Each of us as a Christian is accountable for what we believe. We must search God's Word! We need to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally through His Word and learn His still small voice for ourselves.
Yes, godly ministers are a part of God's plan: 'And he gave... apostles;... prophets; ...evangelists; ...pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:'(13)
After we hear a teaching, however, we need be like the Bereans, who were called 'more noble' because 'they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.'(14) Only through knowing God's Word will we be able to discern who the godly and ungodly ministers are. God has provided that Christians should not be deceived: 'But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, ... .'(15) We can come to God, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with our Bibles and hearts open, to be taught by Him. He will do it! Jesus will meet us there!
We need to seek 'first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;'(16) above all else. This can never be a once for all, but needs to be our eternal first choice every minute. Jesus Christ is to be the reason for everything we do. If anything is standing in the way of our seeking the face of Jesus Christ in His Holy Word, we need to remove it. We need to think about that last line: we must not allow anything or anyone to separate us from Jesus Christ! It is an absolute must that His Holy Word would be our daily bread. We need our 'foundation' to be 'on a rock:'(17) These are not ideals to work toward; we must change our lives today!
Husbands are accountable to teach their wives and wives must minister to their husbands; fathers and mothers must raise their children in love, bathing them in the Word of God; brothers must build up brothers, and sisters should minister to each other, as the Lord has equipped each for their duty. Brother Paul makes it clear: 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:'(18) If we don't have a good understanding of God's Word in context, how can we honestly minister to each other and then the world?
We must awaken to the times we are in, and to the condition of our hearts. We must allow our Father in heaven to share His heart with us. We need to weep and intercede for the slumbering church.
'Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.'(19)
There is only one reason we are on this planet today, that is to fulfill the commission of Our Lord!(20) There is no doubt that God has blessed believers: 'According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness... .'(21) He Who has given so much through His Son has the right to expect much from us! Having received so great a responsibility, the consequences will be heavy if we should disregard it:
'...For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:...'(22)
Our God is all powerful! If we turn to Him, repent of our ignorance, rebellion, and sloth; study His Word, and practice what we learn therein, He will send us His 'Comforter'(23) daily!
Now is the time for God's Elect to wake up and become '...watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:...'(24)
Make no mistake of this: if we do not have a personal knowledge of God's Holy Bible, WE WILL BE DECEIVED in the coming days!
Let us look to God now in prayer and make a new start!
© 1998 - 2016 Anthony & Gretchen Barbieri - All rights reserved.
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The following is a list of the references used in the writing above. All scriptures are taken from the King James Version.
- Lamentations 2:14
- II Timothy 4:3
- II Thessalonians 2:11
- Matthew 24:12
- Mark 13:22
- Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13
- II Timothy 2:15
- Hebrews 4:12
- Matthew 17:20, Romans 8:37, Philipians 4:13 and many others
- Matthew. 5:13-14
- Matthew 16:18
- II Peter 3:9
- Ephesians 4:11-13
- Acts 17:10-11
- I John 2:27
- Matthew 6:33
- Luke 6:47-49
- II Timothy 3:16
- Lamentations 2:18-19
- Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:47-53
- Peter 1:3
- Luke 12:48
- John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7
- Revelations 3:2