As we saw the other day when we talked about the spiritual world, Jesus said John 4:23 “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” We also saw that in this spiritual world, God and satan are at work. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We saw that God is powerful but satan has also been allowed to be powerful and there are other spirits at work. This is why Paul said, Ephesians 6:10 “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”
In the spiritual world there are two powers at work, God and satan but as we just read God has the power to destroy satan’s work. Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Colossians 1:29 “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” 2 Thessalonians 2:5 “Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
Even though satan is very powerful, God’s power is greater. Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus them gave that power to His disciples. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
We also saw the church has demythologized scripture and therefore has rendered the church powerless. Basically, that means the supernatural has been set aside. That is easy to see, as all you have to do is look at the church and then compare it to scripture. The church became content to build with human wisdom and strength. Church became something you went to and ceased being those who were sent out in power. The church no longer healed the sick and cast out demons but gathered week after week to feed themselves. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 3:1 “I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly.” Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
It was because of rebellion that caused God to turn His face from the church. Because of rebellion, God has allowed our enemies to decimate the church as we read in Thessalonians above. Here is the problem. By rejecting God’s word, the authority and power that God gave the church was removed, but the power satan had was still present and the church cannot defeat satan without the power from on High. Because man rebelled against God’s word by removing words and adding words, the church became just a powerless gathering of like-minded people who refuse to believe God’s words over man’s word. This unbelief is disobedience and disobedience always lead to destruction. Deuteronomy 28:15 “However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you.” God gave His people the option to obey or disobey. Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” Read Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26.
Jeremiah said this to the people. Jeremiah 11:1 “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— 4 the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. 5 Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today. I answered, “Amen, Lord.” 6 The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. 7 From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” 8 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’” 9 Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’” Today the church follows other gospels just as Israel and Judah followed other gods. Yesterday we saw that there are powerless churches everywhere who refuse to believe what the bible clearly states; there is power for all who would believe just as we saw in the Gospels and Acts. Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe.” Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Instead of power from on High, the church is content to continue in their own strength and wisdom. I say power from on High because there are churches like the charismatics who think the little power they are seeing is from God, but it is not.
Churches everywhere are refusing to obey and are following other gospels which is exactly what Israel and Judah were doing. Jeremiah also said, Jeremiah 7:23 “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” Daniel had warned us this would also happen to the church. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” Isaiah also said Isaiah 59:15 “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.”Jeremiah also said, Jeremiah 8:4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: “‘When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” 8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?” Theologians down through the ages have handled God’s word falsely.
This week we are going to be looking at some of the destructive thinking (isms) from so-called wise theologians. This was happening even in the time of the Apostle Paul. He said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” He also said Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Almost immediately the church turned away from the word of God and power faded quickly.
Even during the time of Jesus and the disciples, there was false teaching. Matthew 22:23 “That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.” Acts 23:8 “The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits.” Paul warned about false teachers in Timothy and Titus. 2 Timothy 2:17 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” 1 Timothy 1:3 “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” Titus 1:10 “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 13 Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.” 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That time came soon after. When talking about sound doctrine, he did not mean Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal etc.
Even so Paul’s instruction would be ignored, and you would eventually end up with Catholicism. Then in 1054 AD, you had the East - West Schism that formed the Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox church. Obviously, there was much going on before this schism happened. It is actually mindboggling that out of all of it, the cannon of the bible was formed. The bible as we know it was well on its way by 200 AD. When you look at all that was going on during this process, it really shows the bible to be God’s living word and put together by His Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The bible did not come together by men but by the Spirit of God and after all these years this living word is our guide to eternal life. But right from the beginning, man went their own way and did not follow God’s word. They did not heed Paul’s instruction when he said, 2 Timothy 1:13 “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” The pattern that the church did follow was continued schism. The truth continued to be set aside as men continued to go their own ways. You then had the Reformation that was more of an explosion than a schism but not for the better. The church continued to splinter into many directions and continues to do so to this day, meanwhile the bible is still the only way and still ignored. Yes, the Catholic church was off track and still is, but the Reformation just made things worse. Instead of turning back to the truth of God’s word, now you just have a whole bunch of tracks going in many wrong directions, with each group following the wisdom of men but still rejecting the word of God. Therefore, there is still no power because they did not return to God’s word.
These schisms did not take us back to the truth but further from the truth, allowing satan to continue to decimate the church. Because the church refused to obey and return to God’s word, God set His face against the church, Ezekiel 15:7 “and when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the Lord. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Instead of studying God’s word, men and women studied and argued about the words men were saying about God’s word. Their spirit does nothing for you as there is no power in the words of man. If they had returned to God’s word, then the Spirit of truth would have directed them back to the Way, life and truth. They tried to come up with ideas that replaced the supernatural. Instead of having the power of God as the church was supposed to have, God allowed our enemies to destroy the church and the power of satan prevailed against the church. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, no one would be alive. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” God promised David there would always be a remnant, so these days have been cut short. People get mad at God for allowing all the evil we see, but it is not God’s fault but His own people who have rejected Him. People should ask why does God allow us to live? They say how could a loving God let all this happen, but we have already been told, Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” Deuteronomy 4:40 “Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” Deuteronomy 6:1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” Deuteronomy 8:19 “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 11:13 “So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. 22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go. 26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. 29 When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. 30 As you know, these mountains are across the Jordan, westward, toward the setting sun, near the great trees of Moreh, in the territory of those Canaanites living in the Arabah in the vicinity of Gilgal. 31 You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living there, 32 be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.”
God made it really clear as you just read but instead of listening, the church rejected God’s word to go with the intellect of man, yet all man’s best ideas did not produce power from on High and still does not. It is only when we obey God’s word, that God blesses us with His presence, which in turn defeats our enemies. The amazing part about God’s plan is the joining of the spiritual world and the physical world. Scripture shows us that there was always a supernatural element with God’s people when His people obeyed. Deuteronomy 4:34 “Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” Jeremiah sums this up when he prayed, Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.” Even with all that power, disobedience always leads to defeat.
All through scripture we see God dwelling among His people with power. God is not a God who does not interact with His people. God wants to bless us with His presence. As King Nebuchadnezzar said, Daniel 4:2 “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” When Jesus sent out His disciples, He empowered them to go and make other disciples. Jesus did not just teach them; He gave them power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Matthew 11:2 “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” That power was supposed to continue in the church at Pentecost and it did for a short while. Acts 8:5 “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” The church was supposed to be about power. Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Instead, the church decided it was about man’s intellect. But Isaiah tells us, Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me.” This is what the church has done and because of rebellion no longer has power and authority and hasn’t for a very long time. This is obvious, just look around at all the powerless churches. Read Matthew 10:1 again and ask yourself where is that? If your first thought was God doesn’t do that anymore, you have been deceived!
Scripture states there should be power, but man has rebelled against God’s word and man teaches there isn’t power as there was in the New Testament. Most have come to that consensus but refuse to repent. I realize not everyone will admit they are cessationists (“defined as the view that the “miracle gifts” of tongues and healing have ceased—that the end of the apostolic age brought about a cessation of the miracles associated with that age. Most cessationists believe that, while God can and still does perform miracles today, the Holy Spirit no longer uses individuals to perform miraculous signs”), but must churches act as if they are cessationists since they do not seek the power of God. You know this is a lie from satan because scripture states, 1 Corinthians 12:9 “to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues.” It is man who states otherwise, not scripture. Since scripture does not have this teaching, that means it comes from satan, therefore cessationism is a doctrine of demons and those who teach it are false teachers. Yet people still follow them blindly. They just keep heading in the wrong direction like those who went before them. Jesus would still call them blind guides and hypocrites. Jesus then said, Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Today the church is desolate. It is not until the church returns to God’s word and listen to His voice that power and authority against the evil one will return, but the church refuses to listen to God’s word and continues to seek after man’s word. Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. 19 Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.” Ezekiel was appointed as a watchman. Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” He was told, Ezekiel 2:3 “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.” Ezekiel 3:7 “But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” When Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord they said, Jeremiah 44:16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!” That brought destruction on them. 26 “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” 27 For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs.”
This describes the reason for the desolation that the church is in. Leviticus tells us Leviticus 26:14 “‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you. 18 “‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.” Nehemiah 9:16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.” Today the church has appointed many leaders to return to their slavery. 2 Peter 2:19 “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
When Jesus sent out His disciples he told them, Matthew 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” Yet many refused to listen and still refuse to listen. Proverbs 1:23 “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Oddly enough men and women would rather listen to other men and women talk about God, instead of God Himself. Even though what is plain to see right before their eyes, they will listen to someone like John MacArthur tell them power of God ceased with Paul and the people all say oh, okay and never test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Meanwhile satan stands behind the pulpit and continues to deceive people simply because they refuse to believe God’s word. For thousands of years since Jesus, men and women have pontificated (“to speak or write and give your opinion about something as if you knew everything about it and as if only your opinion was correct”) and people have followed their own words instead of Jesus. To this day people continue following the teachings of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, early church fathers and modern-day preachers yet the words of Jesus are ignored unless they are using the words of Jesus to make their own words sound more authentic. The problem is there is no power.
Let go back to the Catholic church who think they are the church that Jesus started. Their belief is that “they maintain that the Roman Catholic Church was established by Christ when he gave direction to the Apostle Peter as the head of the church.” “This belief is based on Matthew 16:18, when Jesus Christ said to Peter: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Another said “The epistles that follow the book of Acts take a deeper look into the theology of Christianity. Paul, Peter and John were the primary writers of these epistles, and they lay out the foundational doctrines of Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Early church leaders studied these epistles to develop a fuller understanding of their meanings and implement them within their churches and communities. The studying of these doctrines and their implementation into belief systems are the first signs of Catholicism.” Yet there is no power because they ignored the gospel of Jesus and developed their own doctrines while at the same time saying they came from God. They said, “Early Christianity continued to grow its roots throughout the world as the church fathers shared their teachings far and wide. But at this point in history, Catholicism had yet to separate itself from other forms of Christianity. Two truths needed to occur to mark the start of Roman Catholicism. These events are the following: The primacy of Saint Peter above the other disciples and the primacy of Rome as the center of Catholicism.” “Roman Catholic tradition views this verse as Jesus’ formation of the papacy, making Saint Peter the first pope and establishing the Roman Catholic Church in the same moment.”
It doesn’t really matter what the early church fathers said or the traditions that followed, what does the verse say? Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.” Yes, God would empower Peter just as he did the others at Pentecost but to say he was the rock on which the Catholic church was to be built is not what the verse is saying. The beautiful part about this verse is you can insert your name there if you believe Jesus is the Messiah. The church is made up of individuals who believe the same message, therefore God empowered the church with these keys. According to the Catholic church and their traditions, Peter was the Rock. The Catholic church is what happens when you let traditions, reason and experience change what scripture actually states. (Tomorrow’s blog) The Catholic church like other denominations look nothing like the Gospels. It is here that Jesus is giving power to the church, but that power is dependent on Jesus being the Messiah. That means then that His words are followed and not changed. Since the church has changed scripture and added to it, there is no power. Yes, the Catholic church is powerful and wealthy but is powerless against the evil one. Jesus said He would build His church, not man. Since they built their church on man’s wisdom, they don’t have power and as you can see from history and present day, corruption and abuse are prevalent. They do not have the keys that God said the church would have. Instead, they have propagated false teachings everywhere in the world. The Reformation was a reaction to this, but they just continued to spread more false teachings to the world. It is not just the Catholics who are off track.
This is the amazing part of God’s plan. God says if you follow me, I will empower you to defeat satan. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” This is similar to what God said in Haggai 2:7 “I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” The church was supposed to do as Jesus did in the same power and authority of Jesus. Repentance was the key. Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” When the kingdom came near, the good news was proclaimed, the sick were healed and demons were cast out. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” These were the keys that would be given to the church. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” That is the power we need to overcome the evil one. Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” If Jesus was building His church, the church would not be desolate as it is now. The gates of hades have overcome the church because the church rebelled against the word of God. All this wisdom man thinks they have is not the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. A simple step is to read the bible instead of the million books about the bible. If we had the Spirit of truth, there would be Ephesians 4:5 “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Jesus said, John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
If we are to have those keys returned to us, then anyone who calls themselves the church must turn from their wicked ways. Ezekiel 33:11 “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Ezekiel told the people Ezekiel 20:39 “As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices. 41 I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Today we are the living sacrifice. Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Micah 4:1 “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.”
When God dwells among us, so does His power and then the church will once again go out and do as Jesus did. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Psalm 20:6 “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Anointing is the same anointing Jesus had, which means the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will come upon the church. Once again, the church will have the keys to the kingdom. Mark 6:7 “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”