CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS

–“I would that thou wert cold or hot.” ( Rev.3:15 )

(This Section is a detailed study on the pitfalls of apostasy & complacency that individual Christians, as well as entire churches & denominations, can fall into. It is the editors’ prayer that the reader will not merely reflect on the failings of other Christians when studying this section, but will, in Christian maturity, use it as a spiritual thermometer to measure his or her own depth of devotion to Jesus Christ, & know whether they are “cold or hot”.)

1. Predictions of a great apostasy in the last days:

Mat.24:12Iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold

2Thes.2:1-3That day (Jesus’ second coming) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasy) first

1Tim.4:1The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith

2Tim.4:3,4The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…turn away their ears from the truth

2. Ignorance of the Word of God:

A. Many don’t study the Word or know what it really says:

Hos.4:6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

Mat.12:3-5Have ye not read what David did? Or have ye not read in the law? (See also  Mat.19:4  )

Mat.22:29Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures

Acts 13:27They knew (understood) not…the prophets which are read every sabbath day (See also  2Cor.3:14,15 )

1Tim.1:7bUnderstanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm

(See also  Jer.5:4 ;  Acts 13:27 .)

B. The dangers of being unlearned in the Word:

2Pet.3:16In all (Paul’s) epistles…things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned…wrest (distort)

C. The ignorant can be easily led astray by false teachers:

Gal.1:6,7Ye are so soon removed from Him that called you…unto another gospel

2Thes.2:2,3,5Let no man deceive you…Remember ye not that I told you these things?

D. Even many who know the Word don’t obey it:

Jer.5:5The great men…have known the way of the Lord…but these have altogether broken the yoke [disobeyed]

Jer.8:8,9How do ye say, We are wise, & the law of the Lord is with us? Lo…the pen of [your] scribes is in vain

Mat.23:3Do not ye after their works: for they say, & do not

Rom.2:17-24Thou knowest His will…hast truth…makest thy boast of the law, [but] breaking the law dishonourest God

E. Some, though familiar with the Word, are not even saved:

Jer.2:8aThey that handle the law knew Me not

Jn.3:1-10Art thou a master of Israel, & knowest not these things? [about being born again]

3. Doctrines & traditions of man vs. God’s Word:

A. Beware of exalting doctrines of man above the Word:

Isa.29:13bTheir fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men

Mat.15:3Ye transgress commandment of God by your tradition

Mat.15:9Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men

Mk.7:9Ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition

Mk.7:13Making the Word…of none effect through your tradition

2Tim.4:3,4After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears

B. “Denominationalism” & needless doctrinal divisions:

Rom.14:1-6[Avoid arguing over minor personal doctrines]

1Cor.1:10-13(One) saith, I am of Paul, & I of Apollos; & I of Cephas… Is Christ divided? (See also  1Cor.3:21-23 )

1Tim.6:3,4Proud…doting about questions & strifes of words

(See also  Jn.4:20,21 ;  Acts 15:5,24 .)

C. Prestige-seeking leaders create their own factions:

Acts 20:30Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse [erroneous] things, to draw away disciples after them

2Tim.1:15All they…in Asia be turned away from me (Paul); of whom [the leaders] are Phygellus & Hermogenes

3Jn.9,10Diotrephes, loveth to have the preeminence among them [& he rejected the apostle John’s authority]

D. Splitting theological hairs, while disobeying the Word:

Mat.23:24(Ye) strain at a gnat, & swallow a camel

Lk.11:42Ye tithe [but] pass over judgment & the love of God

E. Twisting the Word to suit personal doctrines:

1Tim.1:5,6The commandment is love…from which some…have turned aside unto vain jangling

2Pet.1:20No prophecy of the Scripture [should be] of any private interpretation

2Pet.3:16They that are unlearned & unstable wrest…the Scriptures, unto their own destruction

F. Stick to solid Scriptural doctrines:

1Tim.4:6,7Nourished up in the words of faith & of good doctrine

1Tim.6:3,4If any man…consent not to…the Words of our Lord Jesus…he is proud, knowing nothing

Tit.1:14Not giving heed to…commandments of men, that turn from the truth

(See also  Col.2:8,9 ;  2Tim.1:13 ;  2:14-16,23 ;  Tit.1:9 ;  2:1,8 ;  3:9 .)

G. Beware of unbelieving modernism:

Jer.8:9The wise men…have rejected the Word of the Lord; & what wisdom is in them?

Acts 23:8(They) say there is no resurrection…angel, nor spirit

1Cor.15:12-17How say some among you that there is no resurrection

Gal.1:9If any preach any other gospel…let him be accursed

2Tim.3:5Having a form of godliness, but denying power thereof

2Pet.2:1Damnable heresies, even denying the Lord

4. The dwelling place of God:

A. Your body is the true temple of the Holy Spirit:

Jn.4:20-24Neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship… true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit

1Cor.3:16Ye are the temple of God…the Spirit dwelleth in you

1Cor.6:19Your body is the temple of Holy Ghost which is in you

2Cor.6:16Ye are temple of the living God…I will dwell in them

B. The true church is the body of believers:

Acts 2:41-47[Scriptural definition of what the “church” is]

Rom.12:4,5We, being many, are one body in Christ

1Cor.12:13-28Ye are the body of Christ, & members in particular

Col.1:18,24He is the head of the body, the church

1Pet.2:5aYe…as lively stones, are built up [into] a spiritual house (church)

(See also   1Cor.10:17 ;  Eph.4:4,12,15,16 .)

C. The early church only had homes to meet in:

(See  Rom.16:3,5 ;  1Cor.16:19 ;  Col.4:15 ;  Phlm.2 .)

D. Does God dwell in church buildings?

1Ki.8:27The heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I (Solomon) have builded?

Isa.66:1Earth is My footstool: where is the house ye build Me?

Hos.8:14Israel hath forgotten his Maker, & buildeth temples

Acts 7:48The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands

Heb.9:24Christ is not entered into holy places made with hands

5. The danger of complacency:

A. Lukewarmness & satisfaction with material things:

Rev.3:15,16I know thy works, that thou art…lukewarm

Jer.5:31The prophets prophesy falsely, & the priests bear rule by their means; & My people love to have it so

1Tim.6:5Supposing that gain is godliness [the “abundant life”]

Rev.3:17Thou sayest, I am rich, & increased with goods, & have need of nothing, & knowest not thou art wretched

B. Closing our minds to the truth is spiritual blindness:

Mat.15:14They be blind leaders of the blind

Isa.30:9Rebellious people…that will not hear law of the Lord  Zech.7:11,12  They refused to hearken…& stopped their ears…lest they should hear…the words (given) by the prophets

Mat.13:14,15Their eyes they have closed; lest…they should see

(See also  Mat.23:16,17,24,26 ;  Rom.10:3 ;  2Cor.4:4 ;  Eph.4:18 .)

C. Even many who boast that they “see” are blind:

Jn.9:40,41Are we blind also? Jesus said, Ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth

Rev.3:17Thou knowest not that thou art…blind

D. Compromise due to fear of man:

Jn.12:42,43Many believed but…did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue

Mk.8:38Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me…of him shall the Son of man be ashamed

6. Disobedience to the great commission:

A. What we as Christians are supposed to do:

Mk.16:15Go ye into all the world, & preach the gospel to every creature

B. Beware of no concern to win the lost:

Isa.56:10,11His watchmen are blind: dumb dogs, they cannot bark…shepherds that…look to their own way…for gain

Jer.50:6Lost sheep…shepherds have caused them to go astray

Ezk.34:4-6Neither have ye sought that which was lost

Ezk.34:8Neither did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, & fed not My flock

Jn.10:12,13The hireling fleeth…& careth not for the sheep

(See also  Ezk.33:6 )

C. Hypocrisy among believers turns men from salvation:

Rom.2:17-24The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you (See also  Mat.23:13 ;  Lk.11:52 .)

7. Failure to shepherd the flock:

A. Jesus’ commands to pastors:

Pro.27:23Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks

Jn.21:16Lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep

Acts 20:28Feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His Own blood

1Pet.5:2Feed the flock of God which is among you

B. Many neglect to spiritually feed their flocks:

Ezk.34:2,3Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye feed not

Ezk.34:18,19My flock…drink that which ye fouled with your feet

C. They don’t minister to & care for them:

Jer.6:14They have healed the hurt…of My people slightly

Ezk.34:4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither healed… neither bound up…neither brought again

D. Unshepherded members are a scattered flock:

Jer.23:2The pastors that feed My people…have scattered My flock…& have not visited them

Jer.13:17,20bWeep…because Lord’s flock is carried away captive. Where is the flock…thy beautiful flock?

Ezk.34:5-8They were scattered, because there is no shepherd

Mat.9:36(Jesus) was moved with compassion on them, because they…were scattered, as sheep having no shepherd

8. Warning against coveting financial gain:

A. Preaching for money, not to win souls or feed the flock:

1Pet.5:2Feed the flock of God…not for filthy lucre

Jer.6:13Given to covetousness…from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely

Mic.3:11Priests teach for hire, & prophets divine for money

Mat.6:24No man can serve…God & mammon (materialism)

Tit.1:10,11Vain talkers…teaching…for filthy lucre’s sake

2Pet.2:1a,3aFalse teachers…through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you

(See also  Zech.11:4,5 )

B. Unjustly robbing the poor:

Isa.56:11bThey all look to their own way, every one for his gain

Ezk.33:31bWith their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness

Ezk.34:2,3Woe be to the shepherds…that do feed themselves! Ye eat the fat, & ye clothe you with the wool

Mat.23:14Ye devour widows’ houses, & for pretence make long prayer

C. Selfishness towards the needy shows a lack of love:

Mat.25:42,43I was an hungred, & ye gave Me no meat

1Jn.3:17Whoso hath world’s good & seeth his brother hath need [& doesn’t help] how dwelleth the love of God in him?

(See also  Jam.2:15,16 )

9. Warnings against hypocrisy:

A. To those that pretend to be Christians, but are not:

Jer.7:4Lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord are these

Mat.7:21Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter Heaven…but he that doeth the will of My Father

Mat.15:9aIn vain they do worship Me

Mat.23:2,3Do not ye after their works: for they say, & do not

Mat.23:14bFor a pretence make long prayer

Lk.6:46Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, & do not the things I say?

Tit.1:16They profess they know God; but in works deny Him

(See also  Mat 7:22,23 )

B. Some appear outwardly good, but are inwardly wicked:

Mat.7:15In sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves

Mat.23:5All their works they do for to be seen of men

Mat.23:27,28Like whited sepulchres…appear beautiful outward… within are full of hypocrisy & iniquity

Lk.18:11,12I thank Thee, that I am not as…this publican. I fast

(See also  Jer.7:9,10 )

C. False holiness & religious standards:

Mat.23:4They bind heavy burdens…on men’s shoulders

Acts 15:10Why…put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples

(See also  Mat.6:2,5,16 )

D. False professions of love for God:

Isa.29:13This people draw near Me with their mouth, & with their lips honour Me, but removed their heart far from Me

Jer.2:32My people have forgotten Me days without number

Jer.5:1,2Though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they swear falsely

Ezk.33:31a,32They come…as My people, & they hear thy words, but they will not do them

Mat.15:8Draweth nigh unto Me with mouth, & honoureth Me with lips; but their heart is far from Me (See also  Mk.7:6 )

1Jn.4:20If a man say, I love God, & hateth his brother…liar

(See also  Mal.1:6b ;  Isa.58:1,2 .)

10. Religious persecution:

A. Misled religious zeal frequently results in persecution:

Gen.4:3-8[God accepted Abel’s offering & rejected Cain’s.–In a jealous rage, Cain murdered Abel] (See  1Jn.3:12,13 )

Isa.66:5Your brethren…cast you out for My name’s sake

Mat.23:31-35Children of them which killed the prophets…from the blood of righteous Abel unto…Zacharias

Jn.16:2Whosoever killeth you will think he doeth God service

Gal.4:29He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now

(See also  Lam.4:13,14 ;  Mat.27:40-43 ;  Jn.19:6 ,7 .)

B. Religious jealousy motivates persecution:

Mk.15:10The chief priests had delivered Him (Jesus) for envy (See also  Jn.11:47-50,53 .)

Acts 13:44,45When Jews saw multitudes, they were filled with envy

Key chapters:  Ezk.13  &  34 ;  Jer.23 ;  Mat.23 ;  Rev.2 & 3 .

Copyright (c) 1997 by The Family

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