(THE) ONE TRUE CHURCH?
In recent years the ecumenical movement has gained support among many Christian people. We are urged to lay down our differences and join with those of other faiths for the furtherance of the Gospel. With an organization of all Catholic and Protestant people, vast wealth and political power would be available to achieve the goals which would be considered desirable. It would be more convincing and drawing to the vast, non-Christian population of the world, it pointed out.
The arguments for this movement are plausible at first glance, but let us consider them carefully. First of all, what will be the requirements for membership in this super/mega church or organization? Will it be, “Ye must be born again” (Jesus’ own words in John 3:7)? Will it be faith in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus and believing on Him as the Scriptures have said? Will it be a life cleansed through the words of Christ and abiding in Him proved by keeping His commandments? (John 15:1-10). Will it be Jesus’ words, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you,” (John 15:12)?
Christian fellowship must be established on something deeper than a willingness to ignore our differences. The prophet Amos asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The answer is obvious. Apostle Paul further admonishes, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15).
Some believe the merging of churches is the answer to greater fellowship and unity. Sometimes this has taken place where there was a difference in basic doctrines. When this is true a compromise must be worked out to get along at all. Satan is the greatest compromise-r of all time, urging us to give in a little here and a little there to attain his purpose. When the Truth is lost a little at a time, it may not be very noticeable, but it is lost nevertheless.
God’s call to His people is: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Also, in Revelation 18:4, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not her plagues.” The course for God’s children to take is clearly outlined by the above Scriptures.
RECOGNIZING FALSE TEACHING(S).
Tracts, magazines, books, radio, and television are flooding the world with false and misleading teaching. Care must be taken to choose our reading material(s) wisely so that it will not contain teachings and concepts that are not sound. If we open our minds to study religious or cults not based on scriptural principles and standards, Satan will have a good change to mislead up and it may be very difficult to find our way back. We are warned of the danger of following false prophets or teachers, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves,” (Matthew 7:15). Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light and his ministers and deceitful workers into apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness, but their end shall be according to their works.
How, then, can we know whether we are deceived ourselves or following one of the false teachers? There are ways for us to know. Have we been born again and become God’s child? (John 3:3). Do we find fellowship with God and His children? “But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7). Do we have a submissive spirit that is easily entreated or do we feel others should be more tolerant of us and our convictions, attitudes, weaknesses and ye, even waywardness? (Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:5).
Do we feel misunderstood, picked on or persecuted when others reprove us, perhaps feeling that we are getting treated as Job’s friends treated him? Do we cling to our own light, or do we accept the thought that God may also be speaking to us through others?
Are we really, honestly doing what we know is right? Are we really obeying God and His Word? If so, we will have the Witness of the Holy Ghost in our hearts (Acts 5:32). We will abide in Christ, the true vine, and bear fruit as one of the branches. We will rejoice in the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord, denying ourselves of ungodliness and worldly lusts and living “Soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:12,13).
If we allow a love for self and the world to blind our eyes to the will of God, we will develop a resistance to God’s will and grieve away the Spirit of God. Then Stan comes as an angel of light and we listen to him because it appeals to our carnal mind. Little by little we accept a broader, easier way, thinking it is God’s leading. To think we are right when we are wrong is deception.
If we keep God’s Word He is faithful to keep His. He says, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall com upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the face of the earth,” (Revelation 3:10). The almighty power of Christ prevents Satan from deceiving those who keep His Word.
There are those who will be turned to the left hand at the Judgment Bar of God who expected to be among those invited in to receive the reward of eternal life (please read Matthew 25). How terribly tragic to go through life, expecting to be saved only to be rejected by the just and righteous Judge in the day when mercy will be past. These poor, wretched souls were deceived, but at one time they surely knew that they were starting down the wrong road. Paul told the idol worshipers that God “left not himself without witness,” (Acts 14:17). No one will be able to stand up at the Final Judgment and accuse God of being unfair because they didn’t know they were being deceived. He will tell them to remember when He witnessed to them, perhaps through His Word, His Spirit, or one of His servants, warning them that they were starting down the wrong road on which Satan was finally able to deceive them.
If we have been deceived let us turn around and say like the prodigal son, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants,” (Luke 15:18,19).
When we come to Him penitently like the prodigal son did, God will forgive us and restore us as His child. Then we can rightly claim God as our Father. This loving Father will never deceive us or let us down.
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Published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite