By Pastor Mike Taylor -
4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(II Timothy 4:3-4)
Sometimes, if I allow myself, my heart becomes heavy with the direction of this country we live in, and for the rest of the world. Paul warned that a falling away from true religion of those following after Jesus Christ would be rampant and coming to a fulfillment at the end of the age. This warning has been increasing in intensity and volume from its beginning nearly 1800+ years and the rise of apostasy in the form of Gnosticism and the beginnings of the transformation of the Roman Empire into a theocratic rule by the "Holy Roman Church" and its papacy. Anyone can research the history of this portion of human history and read about the horrors that were imposed on other humans to rule them, all the while invoking the name of Jesus Christ. I've written several messages about the coming One World Religion that will be headed by none other than the Roman Catholic Church and its pope. These can be found on my website, should you wish to review them. But that is not all what I wish to talk about today.
Down through the last 400+ years since the Reformation, there have been many endeavors to return to the teachings of the Bible and forsake man-made traditions that elevated their teachings above clear meaning of passages found in the Word of God. I was just reading a message by the late Jack Kinsella, who was a reformed Catholic himself. Something I didn't know, but he went over how he came out of the Catholic Church. The story goes that he started to question the practice of calling the local priest of his school, "father", when the Bible clearly stated that we were not to call anyone on earth "Father"...Matthew 23,
v.9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
As I have always been, Jack was also confused and asked a nun why this was so, since the bible said it was not to be done. To this the nun spoke against God's Word and Jack wrote what she said. "So I asked her about that, and her answer totally devastated me. "In matters of conflict between the Bible and Church dogma, Church dogma is to be given the greater authority." I had to ask her to clarify it for me; "You mean when the Bible doesn't agree with Church teaching, it is the Bible that's wrong?" And if this be in opposition to God's Word, what else is in opposition? From my viewpoint and my studies, there's major opposition, but we won't go there today.
That is the mindset of main stream Christianity for the last 1800 years, which they call their traditions. It is be given more weight than what the bible says. Meaning man can override God or change the clear meaning of scripture to his own interpretation or evil intentions. They are modern scribes and Pharisees of our day! Do we not remember what Jesus said to the ruling authority of the Pharisees and their scribes? Jesus railed against them for their traditions. Starting in Matthew 23 v. 13, Jesus makes charges against the ruling theocracy of the Temple priest by how they had perverted the law of God by their traditions, and ends it with this powerful indictment:
v. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
v.28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
As modern day Pharisees have done in our mainstream churches beginning with the Church in Rome, lest I be accused of Catholic bashing, the Protestants churches have taken some of the same roads. Now there are good churches filled with God fearing, Bible believing people (Catholic and Protestant) who only wish to follow after the ways of God and the footsteps of our example, Jesus Christ. I pray that those that fear God are blessed by those churches, but the apostasy grows amongst us to where the modern day Pharisee hypocrisy flourishes in our churches and outside of churches on your TV set or your local evangelist coming to an auditorium near you.
As the Catholic Church has been guilty of for hundreds of years, so is the modern day epitome of what Jesus accused the Pharisee and the scribes of. The cancer of hypocrisy has spread to those religions that came out of the "mother" church who only wished to put distance between them in beliefs and practices from the Papacy in Rome. But I have come to the surreal realization that the mainstream religions of today have evolved into the same apostasy that has inflicted the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. Not all, but many have been effected.
How many times do I get emails from concerned Christians, who lament that there is not a church that believes in the faith once delivered by the Apostles? Today's mainstream religions are into anything that makes the senses feel good. It could be music with hard rock sound, coffee shops that line their lobbies, or Prosperity Gospel that is looking only for as much tithe and offering they can swindle out of you. Of course, it's in the name of "Jesus" or somebody by that name, and all the while they are lining their pockets with as much gold as they can in this life. They live luxuriously in fine homes, fancy cars, and may run around in a leer jet, all the while saying they are spreading the Gospel. Who have they taken their lessons from? Yep, the Catholic church who is the richest religious institution in the world, having more gold in their coffers than Fort Knox. As Peter wrote about these false prophets and teachers in 2nd Peter,
2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Has not the modern day churches done this in the name of "Jesus Christ" or could it be another Jesus? The newly elected Pope seems to be changing even its obscure way of salvation that they have fostered for over a thousand years, namely you must be Catholic and part of the "mother " church to be saved. You must depend on a priest, or someone other than our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Pope Francis was quoted as saying (of course, most Catholics won't believe it, saying he was misquoted, but it's easy to take the quote from a homily) that there are other ways to get to heaven..And I quote:
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. 'But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can... "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!".. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."
Of course not all Christians believe that those who don't believe will be redeemed, and the Pope's words may spark memories of the deep divisions from the Protestant reformation over the belief in redemption through grace vs. redemption through works. In further comments he replied to a question about to another atheist about good works:
"Just do good and we'll find a meeting point," the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: "But I don't believe. I'm an atheist." Just do good"
Thus the leader of a billion Catholics expressed a belief that salvation does not come by grace, but by works of doing good. This, I believe is a further attempt to unify all religions, or no religion into one religion on earth. This would extend to Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Jews, or come as you are atheist by definition. Is that scriptural? Oh, I forget. Traditions can supplant and replace the Word of God, if they are in conflict, as dogma takes precedence. But let us not stop there. Are the modern Protestant churches doing any better? Look around you, my reader, what do you see? If you follow after a religious denomination ask yourself if their teachings line up with the Word of God...There are 7 things to look for when evaluating whether your local church has fallen into apostasy. I quote this from an online source dealing with apostasy and paraphrase:
1. What is their source of teaching? Is it the bible, or does the teacher makes up his own theology as he goes? The false teacher relies on his own creativity. He makes up his own message.
2. A different message. What is the substance of the message? For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: "They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them"
3. Different position. What does their teaching leave you feeling? Truth in Jesus Christ produces freedom, but apostasy produces slavery. The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it.
4. Different character. What kind of people does the message produce? The counterfeit Christian is marked by arrogance and slander. They are "experts in greed" and "their eyes are full of adultery"
5. Different appeal? The truth teacher promotes the Word of God. The false teacher makes a rather different appeal: "By appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error"
6. Different fruit. What does the message produce in the people who hear? The true believer attains more of the ways of Jesus Christ. The counterfeit is "like a well without water" (2nd Peter 2:17). This is an extraordinary picture! They promise much but produce little.
7. And finally: What end does it ultimately lead to? The true believer will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. The deceived will be swift to destruction, as they followed the wrong teacher, or a false Christ devoid of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. The cross is seldom mentioned. That would be any Catholic or Protestant religious institution near you...choose wisely.
Let's not forget the abomination of homosexuality, adultery, pedophilia, and every sin of the flesh imaginable and that's just the clergy, not just the congregation...disgusting!!
Do you see any symptoms of these signs of false teaching or sins of the flesh being displayed in your church? If so, these are the warning signs to get out and find a church that believes in "the Bible Only"...I had a family member who expressed in an email that took me back. First, this family member is a converted Catholic...yeah, I know, the strongest kind, as they weren't born into it, but embraced it with all the foreknowledge and their five senses within their spiritual discernment...(or the lack thereof). Not going back to Catholic bashing, but it shows were this apostasy originated and now flourishes in Protestant churches in different forms as noted above. To what he said and believed by all Catholics as a nun so emphatically told Jack Kinsella, that tradition trumps the Word, or Sola Scriptura, (scriptures only) the source of all Truth from God our Father. My family member said, and I quote: " Sola Scriptura is a heresy. It undermines your religious foundation. I don't think it sends you to hell, as I believe God is infinitely merciful." Say what?
My heart literally sank...he believes everything that comes out of the mouth of this present Pope and every Pope (even the historically evil ones) or priest that has the moniker, "Catholic"even the perverted ones, and there are many...as tradition trumps Word in their minds. But that is the mindset of our modern era of religious tolerance to everything that is unbiblical. It doesn't fit the modern mindset of the church today, they say. We have evolved...Oh, really? So God the Father has changed? The King of kings, has changed? Where do we get off changing the clear meaning of Holy Spirit inspired words of God Almighty? .Malachi 3,
v.6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Isaiah wrote what God said of Himself:
46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Also in Hebrews where Paul wrote:
13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.
So I ask you, how dare any religion that was made on earth, even the same one who they emphatically proclaim that Jesus founded, change what His Word says? Does God change? Any man, or leader of any institution that supplants or distorts the clear meaning of the Word of God is anathema to the Almighty. As Paul wrote and railed against those who would pervert God Word that was received of him by revelation of Jesus Christ, Galatians:
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1:10 For I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I repeat to those who would pervert, I say loudly and vigorously proclaim to any man, even my own flesh and blood, if any man change the Word of God, then he sins against the very God he claims to believe in and worship, his worship may be in vain. And those who do, would do well to examine themselves and determine if they be in the faith once delivered to the Apostles and have not worshipped another "christ"...a false christ and follow a false teacher. Revelation chapter 22, that closes out the whole of the Bible,
v. 19, For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
v.29. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
We have freedom in Jesus Christ. His way is not the way of bondage of regulations, or traditions, but the true milk of the Word with the power to save and change the life of the repentant heart and to follow Him in His footsteps as close as humanly possible. I told my family member, that the foundation of my spiritual life, in all its failed human errors notwithstanding, as been rooted in four verses and makes a explosion outward to all the truths of the Bible and something I learned at the urging of my dearly departed uncle, when had me memorize a simple passage that we all know, or should.
John chapter 3:16-19,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Jesus spoke the simple and only way to salvation through grace and mercy when He said these words. But He also said in v. 19 that men's hearts loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for truth of the Word of God in your life. If there be anything I can pray with you in agreement, or counsel you on, or just a listening ear, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you everyone, TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.