The Absence of the Gifts of Christ and the Apostate Church
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” - 1 Timothy 4:3-4
The “Five Fold” Ministry
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, and longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is ONE body, and ONE Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things).
And He gave some, APOSTLES; and some, PROPHETS; and some, EVANGELISTS; and some PASTORS and TEACHERS; (…with elders, bishops and deacons following in their respective order – Titus 1:5-7, 1 Tim 3:8)
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:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” - Ephesians 4:1-14
…And God hath set some in the church, first the apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments (administrations), diversities of tongues.” – 1 Corinthians 12:28
So my question is…how did the “pastor” get elevated to the #1 position in our modern day churches all by himself? When and where did we stop believing in the operation of the other gifts? If the gifts of apostle and prophet are considered “to have been done away with” in our modern day interpretation of scripture, what consequences has this had on the body of Christ as described in Ephesians 4? If the gifts of (specifically) the apostle, the prophet and tongues no longer exists, then how could the others have survived?
I’d also like to know when and where it was decided to abandon God’s idea of a church “service” as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40? Is it due to a misinterpretation of the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:1-10 and our modern day belief that tongues and prophesy have been “done away with”?
Nowhere in ANY of Paul’s teaching do we see him addressing the churches “of just the first century” because “none of these things will apply to the latter day churches”.
It is we that have neglected God’s word and exalted man in our churches. We have made it the pastors “job” to “bring us a word from God”, thus becoming followers of “Paul”, and others of “Apollos”, and others of “Cephas”…our churches are more like organized country clubs than they are a body of believers in Christ!
This is what we get for abandoning truth: We have two “pastors” who preach sermons week in and week out on all kinds of subjects – after all, it’s their “job”, right? Neither one of these men have the gift of prophesy, but proceed to “preach” a sermon on a topic of prophesy, or a prophet, without the understanding to go with it.
Elijah: 1 Kings 18:36-19:18 – The first pastor is on a “storms series” and he says the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel is about “God trying to warn you to get off the mountain seven times before a storm hits in your life”. He goes on to say that “we cause these storms and that God is trying to get our attention over and over, but that we don’t listen until it’s too late and we are nearly washed off the mountain”.
Now this pastor leaves for vacation, and so I visit another church the very next Sunday and that pastor preaches the exact same passage of scripture, only he says “this is all about asking God again and again for your miracle until He gives it to you…even if you have to ask seven times, don’t give up!” He goes on to quote the leper who washed himself seven times in the river until he came up clean. This pastor has a “seven times” theme going on.
Here’s the problem: Both of these men are wrong! This passage of scripture is about a HOLY God who caused a drought (not a storm) in the people’s lives due to their sin and disbelief. The rain therefore is an act of MERCY (not a miracle) on God’s part, due to an act of repentance on the peoples part. Elijah didn’t pray for the rain seven times. What he did was to humble himself before God by bowing to the ground with his face between his knees and prayed one time. Only then did he instruct his servant to go up the mountain. When the servant did not see any evidence of rain, Elijah simply told him to go up seven more times (for a total of eight times). The Scripture does not say Elijah prayed each time before the servant went up. It’s just not true.
Another example: Pastor #1 returns from vacation and continues his “series on storms” and proceeds to preach on Noah and the flood making a dramatic hand display of Noah standing outside the ark with the rain pounding down on his face while pleading with his children to get into the ark over the roars of thunder and lightning…he even goes as far to say that this is the first time any of them had seen lightning. Nevertheless, his point is not to let your children get left behind…to pursue them earnestly if they aren’t in the truth, or “get back-slidden”. He goes on to say that Noah was the last one in the ark because he had to make sure that everyone else was inside and “as parents we should make sure that we are the last ones inside the gates of heaven”.
This isn’t at all what God has in mind here…
First of all, nowhere in scripture does it say that Noah’s children were “back-slidden”…nor did he have to beg them to get inside the ark. GOD had already decided who was going to be in the ark long before he called Noah and the seven inside – as a matter of fact, He made a COVENANT with them (Genesis 6:18). Secondly, there was no thunder and lightning – it’s a lie! Nowhere in this passage of scripture is thunder and lightning ever mentioned!
The TRUTH of the matter is that all eight – NOAH first, simply walked into the ark at God’s beckoning…“Come thou and all thy house into the ark…And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his son’s wives with him, into the ark…” – Genesis 7:1 and 7. The seven simply followed Noah into the ark. Why? Because his wife and his sons and his sons wives were in submission to him (“the meek [submissive]shall inherit the earth”) – in other words, he “ruled his house well” (1 Timothy 3:4). Not only did Noah love, revere, and trust God, but so did his family.
It’s really a beautiful picture of how God cares for those who trust in Him even when He is in the midst of destroying everything around them…even the world. It’s a type of Passover before the Passover was ever instituted! In fact, there are many shadows of things to come within the account of Noah – baptism by immersion; only one door leading to the kingdom of God – which is Jesus; the renewing of life – the Holy Spirit….
I ask you, is this what we want seekers of the Truth to come to church to hear – exaggerations and lies? We think that the world is full of nothing but a bunch of “sinners” who need us to “convert” them? We don’t read about the Cornelius’s who are having visions and being led to us by the Spirit? “Devout men (and women) who fear God…giving alms to the people and praying to God always”, just waiting to “hear all things that are commanded thee of God” (Acts 10:33), but instead of feeding them Truth, we “preach” lies? Do we really believe that the word of God must be dramatized or exaggerated in order to be effective? Can we not just let the word of God speak for itself?
“…let God be true, but every man a liar!” – Romans 3:4
Jesus’ words (not mine)….
“Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” – Matthew 23:15
Again…“And He gave some, APOSTLES; and some, PROPHETS; and some, EVANGELISTS; and some 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 (the body of Christ and Christ as the Head), unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;…”
“But speaking truth in love, may grow up into Him in ALL things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh INCREASE of the body unto the EDIFYING of itself in love.”
I’m not denying that God is love, and that love is the greatest commandment, but have we forgotten that this love is grounded in TRUTH?
“I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life…” – John 14:6
As the Apostle Paul wrote: “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you…For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be followers of me. FOR THIS CAUSE have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.” Paul goes on to say: “Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness? - 1 Corinthians 4:14-21
“And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers, And FEAR came upon every soul, and MANY SIGNS AND WONDERS were done by the APOSTLES.”
They had all things in common – selling their possessions to the good of the brethren…this is a first generation Apostolic/Pentecostal church!!
“Continuing daily with ONE ACCORD in the Temple…” – Acts 2:42-46
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” - 1 Corinthians 14:33
And just what is God’s idea of “church”??
“How is it then brethren? When ye come together [every time you come together], EVERY ONE OF YOU hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by TWO, or at the most THREE…let ONE interpret…but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silent…let the PROPHETS speak TWO or THREE, AND LET THE OTHERS JUDGE…” – 1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Sadly, I have never witnessed this in ANY church I have visited – not a single one! The “pastor” stands in the “pulpit” all by himself and “brings a word from God”. And yet this is the living, breathing word of God saying it takes more than one man! I have to ask myself - why is that? If we are not to judge the words coming from the pulpit…howbeit then, that we should be given authority to judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) if we have not first proven ourselves responsible and capable (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Corinthians 11:19)? Are we saying we have not been admonished to “try the spirits whether they be of a truth” (1 John 4:1)? Is not righteous judgment acceptable (1 Corinthians 11:31) according to God?
Not much has changed in Israel [modern day Christians]:
“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, ‘Rule over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the land of the Midian’.
And Gideon said unto them, ‘I will NOT rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, THE LORD shall rule over you’.” – Judges 8:22-23
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, ‘Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us [the church of the living God] a king [pastor] to judge us like all the nations’. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said ‘Give us a king to judge us’. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them’.” – 1 Samuel 8:4-9
“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even unto ME with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning…And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness and repenteth of evil…
Who knoweth if he will return and repent and leave a BLESSING behind him: even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children…let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare thine people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, where is your God?’” – Joel 2:12-17
“And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought fourth out of the land of Egypt [the world] with great POWER [the Holy Spirit], and with a mighty hand?
Wherefore should the Egyptians [unbelievers] speak, and say ‘For MISCHIEF did He bring them out, to SLAY them in the mountains, and to CONSUME them from the face of the earth?’ Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people’.” – Exodus 32:15
“For the Lord had said unto Moses, ‘Say unto the children of Israel [modern day Christians], Ye are a STIFFNECKED people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments [worldly/religious traditions] from thee, THAT I MAY KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEE…”
“And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.” – Exodus 33:5-6.
Will the church strip themselves of their worldly traditions?
Is the world seeing the POWER of Christ demonstrated by many miracles, signs, wonders and healings through a living and breathing body of Christ? Does the world identify us as “the children of the Most High”, or do we merely acknowledge that among ourselves?
Isn’t it the world and everything in it, that is groaning…that is waiting for us…longing for US [the sons of God] to be revealed? – Rom 8:12-23
Read Revelation 1 through 3. This is about us, not the world. Ask yourself, how will God ever judge the world, if His own house is not in order? He can’t. But it will get in order even if He has to remove “lamp stands” before His judgment comes. In these verses we see that only a few have remained faithful. I’m not saying this, JESUS is.
Sometimes I wonder if Matthew 24:38-39 is really about the “end times” apostate church... “eating and drinking, giving in marriage…knowing not until the flood came”?
…“condemned with the world” – 1 Corinthians 11:32
Again, “I sent unto you Timotheus [a messenger/teacher] who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church…
For the kingdom of God is not in word…….but in power!”
“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” – James 4:9
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