Practical Application of the Word of God
Should we as Christians just go with the flow, trusting and following people in appointed leadership positions (this does not necessarily mean they have been chosen by God, although we hear this a lot; instead, realistically, we find this, for the most part, to be a very closed circle of a long-standing network of people who’ve been good politicians, knowing how to get and keep power instead actually having the qualifications of godliness and holiness that God inspired in His word to be the hallmark characteristics of spiritually mature Christians – elders) just because they say something is okay or right without first going to scripture and seeing what God says is right – or wrong?
Proverbs 1:7 tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The word fear here is an all-encompassing word describing what our relationship with God should be at all times: respectful, reverent, obedient, worshipful, yielded, submitted, surrendered, and loving (agape).
If we’re wholeheartedly committed to that relationship with our Father in heaven and our Older Brother who is our Teacher, our Shepherd, our High Priest, and our Lord and King (we often forget, I think, that through God’s adoption we are citizens of His kingdom and the constructs of that kingdom – contained in the entirety of His word – are what we are subject to and should be living by in every aspect of our lives), then everything in our lives should be evaluated through their word as a matter of course.
But that is not what people in leadership positions among the ekklesia teach.
We’re told that they have special knowledge from God that we don’t have, so we should just go with the flow and trust them in all things.
We’re told that we cannot study or understand scripture without them (and the organizations they are members of – remember that it is only those who are designated as ministers who are members – the rest of us are just affiliates, despite the fact that scripture says we’re all brethren and condemns this lording-over structure we see in the church today).
Yet this borders on blasphemy, because we who are baptized into God and Jesus Christ (not any physical organization) to whom all our loyalty, allegiance, and commitment must be, all received the same Spirit of God, which guides us into greater understanding of the Word of God.
So if mere members can’t understand scripture without a minister being present, then does that mean God’s spirit only works with us when we’re in their presence and we should never open the Word of God unless – and this is becoming increasingly rare in services since the words, the traditions, and the commandments of mere mortals have, in general, become the standard we’re being taught to follow – they are present?
Critical thinking and analysis should make the answer to this obvious. But the corporate religious organizations not only discourage critical thinking and analysis, but they more often than not fiercely and angrily condemn it.
Whether it’s meant to come across this way or not (I don’t know anyone’s heart, so all I can do is evaluate the fruit), the message to the sheep is, “You’re too dumb, too ignorant, and too deficient for God and Jesus Christ to actually work in and with you to grow into their spiritual image. You can do nothing without us (the ministry).”
This is very dangerous territory and we, the people God has called and given to Jesus Christ, are in the thick of it. Jesus Christ says in John 15:5 that we can doing nothing without Him.
In effect, the ministry is putting itself in the place of Jesus Christ, pushing Him out of the picture completely, and making themselves as the gateway between us and God. Catholicism has long done this and much of the syncretism, beliefs (the Church as the mother teaching is but one of these) and system of Catholicism has been adopted and incorporated even within and by the Church of God.
Why do you believe what you believe?
Is it because some physical organization or person told you that it is truth? Or is it because, like the Bereans, you have poured over the scriptures to prove – or disprove – what you hear and read from people and organizations against the very Word of God?
Who do you serve? Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:24 that nobody can serve two masters. While He uses money as an example, it is not the only physical master we can be tempted to serve. Anything physical that we serve replaces God. It is an idol and we are guilty of idolatry.
It can be possessions. It can be ideas. It can be commandments and traditions of humans. It can be people. It can be organizations. It can even be ourselves.
But anything other than God that we serve, worship, and obey is an idol. It’s that black and white. And we all struggle with this throughout our lives, because it’s a constant temptation. And many of us fall prey to it more often than we realize.
The ministry says we should trust them, but what does God’s word say? Psalm 146:3 has the answer: “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.”
Our trust must be in God and Jesus Christ alone and the Word of God must be our absolute bottom line for the truth.
One of the areas where we’re exhorted to trust the ministry is in making administrative decisions. The include things like choosing places to meet for services, the format of services, etc.
But should we? What if the ministry chooses to meet in services in a pagan temple, with pagan symbols and idols filling the meeting space?
This is increasingly becoming more common among the churches of God. I know of one congregation that actually holds Sabbath services in a Catholic church.
What does God say about worshiping Him in a pagan place? Why did Israel and Judah go into captivity? What happened to Manasseh when he brought the carved image of Asherah into the midst of the temple of God? Read II Kings 21.
Who is the temple of God? God’s word says that the ekklesia are the spiritual temple of God. Is not meeting in a pagan temple surrounded by idols and pagan symbols the same thing that Manasseh did when he brought the carved image into the middle of the physical temple of God?
I submit that it is the same thing and it’s an offense and an abomination to Almighty God and to Jesus Christ and no matter how many prayers are said asking for their presence there, they will not defile themselves by coming into something that they hate.
The prayers, quite frankly, go no further than the ceiling. And that is why we are increasingly subjected to a spiritual junk food diet during Sabbath services.
That is an administrative decision, but it is sin and it is offensive and an abomination to God and Jesus Christ. There are no justifications or talking around it in mumbo-jumbo fashion (and you will hear this) that gets around the truth.
So, the question becomes, for each of us, “who are you going to obey?” Who we trust, who we believe, who we have faith in, and whom we’re faithful to determines the answer (which either comes from proving all things through and by the word of God or following humans)?
What is your answer?