I regret to say this, but not always are our adversaries outside of the church doors, the one place where we expect the fellowship to be intact and in accordance with the will and Word of God, for we are told quite clearly that “ungodly men have crept in unaware.” (Jude 1:4) This has been happening since “they were first called Christians in Antioch”, (Acts 11:26) and there is more than likely an influx of these type of individuals in our day and age. Not only are there too many types of religious organizations in our day to name, but it is sad to say that more and more seem to be drawing away from the truth of God’s Word.
It is my personal belief that we are experiencing the beginning of what the Scriptures refer to as the apostasy, (1st Tim. 4:1) but this event is not something that will spring up overnight, as it were, in the timeline of God. Those that are giving heed to seducing spirits are already in our church’s, these are they that do not spend any real time studying the Word of God on their own, but instead show up on Sunday, spend more time talking about the weather and what their plans are for the rest of the weekend, and then head for home, forgetting the message that they have just heard even before they arrive at their destination. These are the ones that “give heed to seducing spirits” for they are not spiritually discerning, the Word of God is of no true value to them, and they are easily deceived because of this.
Do not imagine in your mind only demons in the pews, as it were, for the Word of God is quite clear, man does not need demonic influence to sin against our Lord. In the millennial period Satan and all the demons with Him are cast off the face of the earth for a thousand years, and yet sin will continue. (Rev. 20:1-2) Though it is true, whether we like to admit it or not, there are demons present in many churches today, but man alone is quite capable to reject the Word of Truth without them, for many of these individuals we speak of are more than willing to “heap to themselves teachers” (2nd Tim. 4:3) These individuals have no desire for sound doctrine, for it makes them face themselves and the truth of who they are in the eyes of God, so the appointed hierarchy of the ‘church’ will seek till they find a man who will preach what they want to hear, someone who will not step on their toes, someone to help them to feel as if they are doing the work of God, when in reality they are far from it.
You will recognize these church’s if you spend any length of time in them, for the people within them will make you feel welcome, as long as you do not question the teachings that never seem to convict, the sermons filled with jokes, videos that do not pertain to the subject matter, but only to an emotional response, entertainment value placed above sound in-depth doctrine meant to edify, correct and reprove. Trials and tribulations in these organizations are shunned at every possible opportunity, for if Jesus loves you, then everything will always be alright. The attributes of God stop short of justice and wrath, focusing only on what is deemed to be loving and, believe it or not, fair.
This does not mean that one cannot be saved while attending a place such as this, for our Lord can call you anywhere and at anytime to an eternal existence with Him, but growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, pursuing Him for His sake only will be something almost frowned upon. Sometimes God starts a great revival in a mans heart, but do not expect it to flow over to everyone, much less anyone else in the congregation, for this requires a personal and completely open relationship with God, and those with “itchy ears” are interested only in a being who can do for them, not one they must serve.
If He is calling you out of the sheepfold for a greater purpose, one that serves and glorifies His name for his sake only, do not expect any to follow, though with your whole heart you will try, try to persuade with a love you have possibly never experienced before, with great effort and much prayer your desire will be to help those who have been blinded, to see, to assist those who are being deceived to see the truth. Your ears will begin to be opened by the Holy Spirit, you will start to see the subtilty of the adversary, and though those in the congregation will still smile and say hello, they, for the most part will not listen.
Many there are that are satisfied with the milk of the Word, and will remain so for their entire lives, for a greater service to the Lord our God would require a greater sacrifice on their part, and the ‘burdens and cares’ of this world are enough for them. Some will try to hold you back, openly and secretly, telling you that perhaps you are working to hard, speaking just a little too much about the things of God, “after all, there is a life to live.” Some will openly rebuke you, remarking that maybe you are not fitting in as you used to, stepping outside the boundaries that were set up a long time ago by the founders of the building with the tall steeple.
Please take no offence if I have shown you the truth of the particular church you are attending at this time, my desire is only to encourage and to convict, but if the place of worship you are attending is steeped in tradition and not the word of God, if it celebrates every holiday with a special sermon repeated every year like clockwork, if it revolves around what is on the news channel that week instead of the word of God, then truth is what we need to hear.
Know this for sure, that Satan is not the only adversary, but also those that exclusively serve only themselves, those that will not heed the call, even when they hear it with clear ears. The only people our Lord called hypocrites were the religious individuals who placed above God the things of men, (Matt. 23:27) not the people who were truly searching for His wonderful grace and mercy, those who were and are looking for the truth of God’s Word and will in their lives.
Know for a fact, that if you are called to speak the truth, especially in a church that follows tradition above the Word, you will be ostracized, politely, but nevertheless left out of the “inner circle”, you will, over time, be neglected, not welcomed, and even hated.
Please do not misconstrue my words, infer no venom in them, no guile or retaliation, for I have gone to a church that fits this category only once in my life, and then only for a very short period of time. But please, be very sure of one thing, all diligence and adherence to the Word of God in these matters must be observed, no feelings or emotions can cloud your thoughts, for we are speaking of souls here, so in great humility and prayer, with much love you must proceed, but if you do not, much can be lost. Some may hear, but even if none do, keep your eyes on the prize and reward, who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You cannot change those who will not hear, only He can do that, but if you are sure that the path that He has set you on is in agreement completely with His Word, then you have no fears, for in this lonely time, in this time of great revival in your heart, He is with you, and for His glory He will lead you.
To suffer with our Lord is to stand in His strength and not our own in the face of all adversity.