13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:
16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
In this Proverbs study, we have been comparing the personification of wisdom and the personification of the “strange woman” with the faithful and unfaithful Christian church.
I want to remind readers that it is my belief that the faithful and unfaithful church today exist in spirit among all Christian denominations and sects. This is a heart issue, first and foremost, and not one we can go around judging others concerning.
I want to consider the above scripture in terms of the unfaithful church, not to accuse anyone, but so that we might gain some insight that will help us grow and become stronger in the faith.
The gospel is simple, but preaching sound doctrine that considers the whole council of the scriptures while applying this understanding to our Christian walk is not simple.
There are churches that hardly preach the name of Jesus, much less the sinful state of man and our need to be redeemed by Jesus alone. There are churches that seem to know so little about the Christian life, and instead encourage Christians to live just like everyone else—just with better jobs, bigger houses, and fancier cars than everyone else.
There are churches that promote practices from other religions, turning the Spirit of God into a Star-Wars like force of nature that you can manipulate to your will. Teachings like the Law of Attraction make suffering for Jesus’ name into a sin, because only the wicked suffer; if we do well then we can only expect pleasures and riches in this life. They steal teachings from any and all sources, including other religions, to give people something newer, edgier, and more exciting.
Yet, it is true that the dead are there.
A church without Jesus Christ is dead. A church that denies the sinful state of man and the need for redemption is dead. A church that condones sinful living without repentance is dead. A church that encourages worldly prosperity and pursuit of pleasure is dead. A church that replaces the Spirit of God with modern-day witchcraft, sorcery, and idolatry is dead.
These churches rake in congregants—and make a ton of money—by corrupting the name of Jesus and of Christianity.
However, in my estimation, churches such as these are all too easy to pick on and there are plenty of people out there who speak up about this corruption. That is good.
However, our mainline, everyday churches have problems too, and that is where I concentrate my efforts.
Why? Why not go after the real problems?
I go after that which I know—and that which I love. I love my brethren, and I believe that most sincere Christians are aware of the corruption of these ministries—yet they are blind to the corruptions of their own denomination—and all corruptions can be used by the enemy to deceive us.
Even today, we see a trickle-down effect from these larger ministries into our small, local churches. I have seen it. I have seen half-truth gospels that focus on forgiveness and grace without pursuing the righteous life Jesus promises through a change of heart in Him. I have seen perversions of the Holy Spirit, either by making Him into a show to impress others or by denying that He still works today just as He did in the days of Acts.
I have heard teachings that deny Christian suffering, and instead equate blessing with a prosperous life in the things of this world. I have heard teachings that replace the resurrection with the term, “rapture” which confuses many and closes their ears to teachings that would prepare them to stand with Jesus during the tribulation and rule of the false Christ.
I have heard common place teachings that slander the character of God—such as the idea of eternal conscious torment for those who do not choose Jesus. I have heard common teachings that reject the sovereignty of God over our salvation. I have heard teachings that promote a works-based salvation through reciting special prayers or adhering to legalistic lifestyle changes.
I have seen how mainline churches talk badly about one another, slander and falsely accuse without considering their own shortcomings. I have seen how you cannot disagree with a church without being asked to leave; I have not been able to join a single church because I cannot affirm every doctrine as true. I agree with all in part and disagree with all in part; I love all and have a place with none. Yet, I am the arrogant and misled one.
I know how I seem, but I also know that what I write and how I live is not about me; it is about Jesus. I will not deny what He has taught me for anyone. I will fellowship with any Christian who is humble and welcoming; otherwise I will go my way with peace in knowing that Jesus is merciful to me and my brethren, and a few misguided teachings does not make someone of the Great Whore church.
We can disagree on much and remain faithful to Him.
So, let us be faithful to Jesus by showing patience with our brethren—no matter which denomination they are from. Let us be faithful to Jesus by loving one another and helping each other grow in our Christian walk so that Jesus alone is glorified. Let us be faithful to Jesus by trusting in Him, knowing that He is in control of all things and everything will work out for the good of those who love Him and trust in Him. Let us be faithful to Jesus by placing Him first in our lives, or growing in that direction. This is what sets the faithful church apart from the unfaithful church.
However, even the faithful will receive correction from Jesus so that we can be freed from the corruptions of our churches. This is what the Great Tribulation is about for us. For the wicked, it is deceit and destruction. For us, it is refining and glory to our Lord, Jesus.
However, the more attached we are to that which deceives and destroys, the more painful that time will be for us—and I also believe the less likely we are to make it all the way through. In His mercy, Jesus will allow many to lose their lives at the beginning, because if they did not, they would inevitably worship the Beast and his Image.
God never sends an enemy without warning us first—without giving us ample time and room to prepare ourselves. So, I’m telling you, be prepared.
I don’t know when that time will come, but I know that preparing for that time by encouraging Christians to grow in faithfulness and in truth is what my ministry is about—and there must be a reason for it—because I know my limitations, so I know any good and true thing I do comes from Jesus and not me.
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