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Fall of the Church

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A continuation of ‘Doubt, Disbelief, Distrust’.

For 6000 years men have doubted, disbelieved and distrusted God, because of the seed accepted by Adam and Eve when Satan planted his own words into the hearts of mankind. The Israelites, since hearing God Himself speak from the mountain, have also doubted, disbelieved and distrusted God for 4000 years, and the church has likewise done the same for almost 2000 years. We can see the effect of these seeds of Doubt, Disbelief, and Distrust in various accounts in the Bible.

After the Holy Spirit had arrived in the book of Acts, what happened to the new church because of doubt, disbelief and distrust? What did the apostles do with their hearts still tainted? It was only a short period of time before we could see what did happen, so open your ears to hear.

The first seed to appear was Disbelief:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

So what is wrong with this? Most people think that such a group of people sharing their possessions openly is fantastic. But this is not the issue, for the problem here is that the people were not taught by the apostles to practise what Jesus said! They were still practising the ways of the world by selling their possessions to help those in need. The apostles in the midst of the people were performing miracles, but because of the apostles’ disbelief of Jesus, they never taught the people to practise Jesus’ words, therefore the people were still relying on money to meet their needs.

As the people were never taught to practise what Jesus said, they kept their own ways of solving problems, which were the ways and methods of mammon. They should have been taught to practise the things Jesus did, such as changing water to wine, multiplying food, walking on water, and even commanding the fish to retrieve coins from the bottom of the lake or ocean to pay the required taxes! Because money was still the primary means of meeting needs, the Balaamites arose in the church, who are prophets for profit, who sell the revelations from God for money and advise people how to get money with God’s blessing! So with the Balaamites’ teachings, the people in the church were left relying on money to meet their needs and they did not prosper, as they were not taught the L/life Jesus showed us.

So how did Jesus stop debt from rising up? We can see this during the feeding of the 5000. The disciples were thinking of obtaining eight months wages to use the money to purchase food for the 5000. But Jesus said to them, You give them something to eat. Then He asked them, How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” Jesus showed us the answer by multiplying the food.

The second seed to appear was Doubt:

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

Here the apostles showed that they were focused on the ‘ministry of the word of God’, and not on Jesus’ words. For in their hearts they still doubted the Father’s command, “Listen to Him,” that they should listen to Jesus in everything He said, like “You give them something to eat,” and “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” With them not serving the people, it allowed Nicolas to infiltrate the group with the Judaism teachings, mixing Moses’ words with Jesus’ words. The apostles had no chance to remind the people that the Father had told them to listen to Jesus, for they no longer served the people. Why didn’t they use this opportunity to teach the seven how Jesus multiplied the food and served the people? This is the start of the Nicolaitans in the church, as people were never taught the T/truth Jesus told us. The seven chosen were full of the Spirit and wisdom, but were the seven full of Jesus’ words? For the Holy Spirit would act to honour Jesus’ words, but not the wisdom that a man has. This left the people discontent with the way things were handled in the church.

So how did Jesus stop discontent from rising up? We can see this in Luke 22:24: Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as One who serves.”

In fact the disciples argued a few times about who was considered the greatest. Yet in Acts 6 we see the disciples appointing seven to be ‘lords’ over the people so that they no longer served the people themselves. We are to learn from this and settle complaints by reminding people to serve as Jesus served us.

The third seed was Distrust:

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Here the apostles showed that they did not trust the Holy Spirit because they did not know what the Holy Spirit was to do even though they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. This distrust came from when Satan introduced doubt to Adam and Eve with the thought that God had ulterior motives and could not be trusted. Simon had shown already that he believed and was even baptized with water and was very keen. But the apostles did not baptize Simon with the Holy Spirit because he offered them money. They should have remembered Jesus words, “Freely as you have received, freely give,” and trusted the Holy Spirit to convict Simon in regards to righteousness, just as Jesus said the Holy Spirit would. They should have told Simon what Jesus said, and trusted the Holy Spirit to uphold Jesus’ words. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” They should have told Simon that the Holy Spirit could not be bought with money as Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money,” and baptized Simon with the Holy Spirit, and then trusted the Holy Spirit to teach and remind Simon of everything Jesus said.

This meant that not all the people who wanted to get to know God better were given the Holy Spirit, because the apostles did not trust the Holy Spirit to do what they thought was right, but made their own decisions about what is right. It is the Holy Spirit who is our Counselor and who teaches us about Jesus’ words and shows us what is right. In reality, it is Jesus’ decision to baptize a person with the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” They should have left this for Jesus to make this decision, and not have made the decision themselves about who can be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So those people who were not permitted to have the Holy Spirit started looking for spiritual fulfillment in other places through a false holiness, in the hope of having a relationship with God. This led many people over time into many types of ritualism in the church because they did not know the Holy Spirit even though they may have had heard about Him. This is the start of the Jezebelians, as they offered an alternative ritualistic experience through false holiness.

The people missed out on the way that Jesus offered, so were left distressed as though they were not good enough for God and thus they used rituals to make up for it. So how did Jesus stop distress from rising up? We can see how Jesus did this in Mark 5:18-19 with the account of the man with an evil spirit in the region of Gerasenes. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said, Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Jesus set this man to work to do what Jesus required him to do.

There are many who have come into the church wanting to do what God has for them, but find themselves being turned away because they are not good enough from man’s point of view, leaving them to think that they are not good enough for Jesus or the Holy Spirit. So they go away seeking ways to become acceptable to God. These things still happen today. Leaders still practise the ways of the original apostles, in doubt, disbelief and distrust, and leave people in debt, distress and discontentment!

With the Nicolaitans’, the Balaamites’ and the Jezebelians’ teachings established, there was one more group that completed the collapse of the church of Jesus Christ. This was initiated by what would become the ‘circumcision group’, who are followers of Moses but believed Jesus, and who brought about the events of Acts 15, saying Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” And at the ensuing meeting in Acts 15, Some of the believers who belonged to the party of Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” With the testimony of Paul and if the disciples had remembered the things Jesus said and did, there might have been a chance. However, the testimony by Paul and Barnabas of the miraculous signs and wonders done among the Gentiles did not remind the disciples, which ended up with James the Younger speaking up, taking control and reminding everyone of how Moses was preached in every city!

Then this led to them all agreeing and recommending the letter to the Gentiles as follows:

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— men who have risked their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

In this letter we can see the outcome of the meeting, which established the position of the Balaamites, the Jezebelians and the Nicolaitans in the church. These are the four recommendations to which they assigned the Holy Spirit’s Name:

  1. Abstain from food sacrificed to idols.
  2. Abstain from blood.
  3. Abstain from the meat of strangled animals.
  4. Abstain from sexual immorality.

These four burdens brought in by the Jerusalem council were surrounded by abstinence and avoidance. God once said, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” God told us that we are to master sin, but mastery of sin was never taught. Instead abstinence and avoidance were made as requirements, which are still encouraged today. Because of abstinence and avoidance, people were cut off from the righteousness of Jesus and forced to seek righteousness without Jesus.

The ‘requirements’ in the letter written by those in Acts 15 had the following impact:

  1. The first recommendation had people focused on not eating food sacrificed to idols, which stopped them from tasting the goodness of the word of God. They never got to eat any of the Bread that is Jesus. This gave rise to the Balaamites who used money to replace the life Jesus gave us.
  2. The third recommendation had people focused on not eating the meat of strangled animals, which stopped them from tasting the Heavenly gift. For Jesus is the Lamb who was slain as in Isaiah 53:7, and crucifixion is death by strangulation. So they never learnt what it is like to be a son or daughter of God. This gave rise to the Nicolaitans who mixed the teachings of Moses with the truth Jesus gave us.
  3. The fourth recommendation had people focused on not committing sexual immorality, which stopped them from learning to share in the Holy Spirit. So they never learnt intimacy with the Holy Spirit or becoming wholly trusting of Him. This gave rise to the Jezebelians who used rituals to replace the way that Jesus gave us.
  4. The second recommendation had people focused on not drinking blood, which stopped them from upholding the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins that comes through the blood of Jesus. This gave rise to liars in the church, who are of the Synagogue of Satan and who justify their own actions and block the forgiveness that Jesus brought by His blood. Jesus said “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars…” The newest group called ‘Liars’ were accepted into the church, but did not come through the ‘Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins’ by the blood of Jesus Christ. They are those in the church who will not drink the blood of the New Covenant, for they act like Jews who are not to drink blood. These people are living a lie, holding onto the belief that they are ‘good’ enough and don’t need to repent and therefore don’t have to drink the blood of Jesus to be saved because they presume they are already righteous in God’s eyes. They are of the synagogue of Satan as Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” They fellowship with each other and speak lies like their father, the devil, and say things like, “I’ve done nothing wrong,” and “I’m a good person,” and so they avoid repentance.

The truth about ourselves is that we are all sinners in need of continuous, obedient, humble, submissive repentance. The recommendation of the Jerusalem assembly to not drink blood stopped people from realizing that they and we are all sinners, and this is the truth of all mankind. It was the recommendation to abstain from blood that stopped forgiveness from flowing, which stopped the people from repenting, from understanding that their sins are forgiven, and from forgiving others as we did not want to offend the Liars.

Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

This group of ‘Liars’ in the church are like the Gibeonites in the days of Joshua who made peace with the Israelites through deception, but never became part of the Israelites through the covenant given to Moses. In 2 Samuel 21:2 we read that the Gibeonites were still living among the Israelites. As Saul had tried to destroy them by wiping them all out, Israel became cursed with a famine because the treaty made with them was broken by Saul. This was all because the original peace treaty made with the Gibeonites by Joshua was not part of the plan of God. So be warned: don’t make peace treaties with the Liars.

So how did Jesus stop deception from rising up? We can see in the following event of Mark 7: The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of His disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

Jesus stopped deception with the knowledge that all men are sinners in the light of God’s word. Men bring their own sense of righteousness to another person and expect them to live up to their understanding of what righteousness is. But Jesus knows what righteousness is in God’s eyes, and adheres firmly to it, thus removing deception by His knowledge.

For if people had been taught with understanding that they are forgiven by the blood of Jesus through forgiveness of sin, and shown that they are to repent and forgive as they are forgiven, and that they are to master sin and not avoid it, then they would have discovered that the word of God is the best food, the flesh of Jesus would have filled them, and knowing the Holy Spirit would have kept them faithful.

The things that happened stopped them from coming to the maturity that Paul spoke of in Hebrews 6: Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the Heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.

Thus the people developed their own way, truth and life from the teachings of the Nicolaitans, the Balaamites and the Jezebelians led by the teachings of the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Herodians. And because of fear of offending the Liars, there was no forgiveness or repentance preached, and the people in the church have remained in the ‘elementary teachings of Christ’ and never gone on to maturity.

Therefore, what seeds did the Nicolaitans, the Balaamites and the Jezebelians generate in the church? Just like the men who joined David while he was hiding from Saul were in distress, in debt or discontented as in 1 Samuel 22:2, they are the same as we have in the church today. And the Liars contributed by sowing seeds of deception.

Doubt, Disbelief, Distrust, Distress, Debt, Discontent and Deception are the attitudes sown into the church. These attitudes are to be destroyed, just like the seven nations that Joshua and the Israelites were to destroy!

Now have the eyes to see and ears to hear and repent. With the seven seeds sown and taking root, the church fell and collapsed with very little remaining to remind people of what Jesus had sown. Therefore, the church has remained powerless to this day.

Lord, we repent. Forgive us as we seek the truth Jesus gave us and as we repent of all these things. Amen.

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