Two Churches Two Kingdoms - Challenge of our DAY
May 09, 2005
Exodus 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.
Hebrews 13:12-14 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
Brothers and sisters, make no mistake about it, we are in the end times. There are a few things we need to realize about these days that we live in. Mainly we need to understand that there is a "cosmic struggle" being played out in the heavens, and of course it has its counterpart down here on Earth. The battle is spiritual but it manifests itself in the physical also. I am afraid, however, that we are somewhat ignorant of both the spiritual and physical elements of this struggle. Maybe we can change that today.
There are two kingdoms aligned against each other: The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. Jesus was sent here to represent the Kingdom of God. The Antichrist will be here soon to represent the kingdom of the devil. It is hard to see the Kingdom of God with the naked eye, but the kingdom of the devil is all around us. Perhaps we would be surprised to know how pervasive the devil's kingdom is. I wonder how we would feel if we found out we were helping to build the devil's kingdom? Let's take a look.
When Jesus came to Earth, He preached the Kingdom of God, which He also called the Kingdom of Heaven, or just, The Kingdom. While He was preaching the true Kingdom there was also a false kingdom operating. Of course these two kingdoms clashed violently. Eventually the devil's kingdom, represented by the religious system of the day and by the political government of the day, killed Jesus and persecuted His followers.
The Pharisees and Sadducees, who were supposed to be "God's authority", teamed with the political government of Rome and put Jesus to death. Jesus did His Master's bidding and the religious and political people did their master's bidding. This same configuration was seen in Elijah's day. Elijah, more or less single-handedly, represented God's Kingdom, while Jezebel and her false prophets represented the devil's kingdom. This clash has played itself out since Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and disobeyed God. Are we so foolish as to think it isn't being played out today?
Yes, the battle still rages. We need to be very frank and very serious at this point. Today's churches are either representing the Kingdom of God, or, the kingdom of the devil. WE are either helping to build God's Kingdom or we are supporting and building the devil's Antichrist system. Of course we recoil at the very suggestion. We would NEVER help the devil. Would we? Would we have been one of the Pharisee's who teamed with Rome to kill Jesus? Would we have been eating at Jezebel's table? Yes, I am afraid that many of us would have done those evil things. Why do I say this? Because we take part in a religious system today that is building and supporting the Antichrist's coming kingdom: A religious system that is teamed up with our political government. Sound familiar?
Let's break it down and see where we stand. Let's look at our modern church system and compare it to the apostolic church in the Bible and in the first few centuries of its existence. Let's see if we are in the devil's camp or if we are going to Jesus outside the camp.
"Outside the camp" versus "mainstream." Until Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom, the true church will NEVER be "mainstream". The devil is always "mainstream." After all, we know we are of God and the whole world is under the rule of the evil one. The "mainstream" world and its newspapers and televisions and governments WILL accept the Antichrist. So if our churches are accepted in the "mainstream" world, what does that tell us? The true church is always a remnant: A peculiar people who are sojourners. We are destined to meet with Jesus outside the camp. So how is it that our modern churches are so widely "accepted" by the world? Where is the violent clash? How is it that a church can sit on the road next to a palm-reading witch and there are no sparks flying? Why don't our church "leaders" clash with the world like Jesus did? If Peter and Paul were here today whom WOULD they clash with? Would they clash with our church "leaders?" Yes, they would.
"Approved by God" or "Licensed by the State?" This is one of the main indicators. Where is our approval from? Jesus was approved by God but rejected by the political and religious system of His day. The Apostles were beaten and forbidden to preach in Jesus name by the religious leaders of their day.
John Bunyan was jailed for 12 years for preaching without a license.
Upon his release he refused to get a license and was jailed again 3 years later. Remember that there are two kingdoms in place. The devil's kingdom will ALWAYS run the governments of the world until Jesus returns. Whereas early Christians died rather than be licensed, today we VOLUNTEER to be "licensed" by the state. In America we now APPLY for 501c3 status from the IRS. Why we can't see through this trap is beyond understanding. In return for some nice tax breaks, the pastor agrees to a number of things that Jesus or Paul or Peter would never agree to.
For instance, a 501c3 organization cannot try to affect legislation. A pastor of a 501c3 church can't even tell you who to vote for. So for 30 pieces of silver our modern churches have been gagged and bound in numerous ways. The sad thing is that the IRS clearly states in their documents that churches aren't taxable anyway. A true church is a church that is free to speak what Jesus would speak. A true church doesn't take "hush money."
[comment by Pris:
Many of us have done this to comply with the LAW, which God has told us to obey the law of the land. When the state starts to prosecute us for doing what is right in God's eyes, many of us will lose our license, or status with IRS, or be jailed. For many the laws have changed since we applied. Either way, the one who serves the Lord will not compromise, whether licensed or not.]
"Simple and Straightforward" or "Complex and Organized." This is another basic difference between a true Kingdom of God church and a false, man-made, kingdom of the devil, church. The bible shows a very simple setup for church leadership. There were to be plural elders at each church.
We don't find complex hierarchal structures in the Bible. Yet, in the churches of the devil's kingdom, we find all varieties of intricate leadership structures with dozens of titles and positions: Popes, Cardinals, Rectors, Senior Pastors, Assistant Pastors, 3rd Junior Pastors in charge of washing the Senior Pastor's car, Left Handed Worship Leaders twice removed.
Where are all these titles in the Bible? What is the purpose of all these titles and positions? The devil is all about centralized power. Through his hierarchal networks he is consolidating his religious and political and business structures into one tight unit so that the Antichrist can then assume power.
The true church is under the headship of Jesus alone.
The Bible never puts us under any "mother church" or into any "convention." If our churches are full of hierarchal complexities and titles and positions, we need to ask ourselves what kingdom do our churches belong to. If our churches belong to councils that are working to unite all of the world's churches under one roof, we ARE building the devil's kingdom. (Hint; something is wrong if you need an appointment to speak to your "pastor.")
"Newness of Spirit" or "Oldness of Letter." Until Jesus returns, the Kingdom of God will remain largely invisible. It is hard to point to the true Kingdom and say, "here it is" or "there it is." It is even somewhat hard to define or explain it since it needs to be spiritually discerned.
Jesus told parables to try to explain the Kingdom. The devil uses another method for his kingdom; he likes to write it all down and define it in minute detail. Whereas Jesus spoke in simple terms, the devil likes complexity and small print. Think about it. How did the gospel spread? It spread by people talking to each other. Of course most of them couldn't read anyway and that didn't seem to hinder them. How does the devil gain his power and spread his influence? He uses laws, contracts, fine print, creeds, and constitutions. We lose something when we try to commit the things of God to paper.
We already have the Bible and that should be enough. But the devil needs more. He likes to have creeds written down so that we can have something to argue over. He likes to pass thousands of complex laws every year that boggle the mind in complexities so that he can continue to gain power. The Kingdom of God doesn't need these things. So why do our "churches" have creeds, mission statements, bylaws, contracts, bulletins, tithing envelopes, offering envelopes, doctrinal statements, programs, visitor cards, brochures, flyers, and magazines. Seems we are getting away from the work and methods of those unlearned fishermen. Are we using the devil's methods to build God's Kingdom? Unfortunately it doesn't work that way: the devil's tools only build his own kingdom.
What is born of flesh is flesh, what is born of Spirit is Spirit.
We could talk about many other things but we should be getting a clear picture now. God's ways are not man's ways. What is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the eyes of the Lord. We need to wake up to what is going on around us. Our "institutions" are NOT building the Kingdom of God. We have allowed ourselves to be duped into building the kingdom of the devil. We have settled for convenience and the lowest common denominator. We have rejected the headship of Jesus and therefore we have been given children and blind men to lead us.
We have adopted man's business model and ignored the Lord's model.
We are so much like the world that they have no need to persecute us.
We have rejected the Living Water and we prefer broken cisterns that can hold no water. We have taken Jesus off the throne and put human reasoning there instead. So what can we do now? How can we get back to the biblical model? The Bible tells us what to do.
2 Cor 6:17 Wherefore, come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
We need to come out from these unclean churches whether they are from Rome or America or Israel or wherever. We should come away from liars and perverts and pedophiles and MILLIONAIRE CON ARTISTS.
We should stop using God's money to build the devil's kingdom.
We should stop relying on the arm of the flesh and the vanity of the human mind. We need to start relying on the Spirit. We should spend more time with other true Christians at their homes. God is the God of the living, not of the dead. We don't need to assemble with the dead and their professional clergy hirelings. We need to come out from among those who worship at the government's table. We need to go to Jesus where He is: outside the camp. Let those who bow to Nebuchadnezzar's statue continue to do so, but let us worship the true God and build the Kingdom of Heaven.