Christiananity in Crisis
CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS

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

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

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

                2Tim.4:3,4              The 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.4:6   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

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

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

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

                1Tim.1:7b               Understanding 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.3:16                In 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.1:6,7 Ye are so soon removed from Him that called you...unto another gospel

                2Thes.2:2,3,5         Let 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.5:5     The great men...have known the way of the Lord...but these have altogether broken the yoke [disobeyed]

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

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

                Rom.2:17-24           Thou 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.2:8a   They that handle the law knew Me not

                Jn.3:1-10 Art 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.29:13b              Their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men

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

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

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

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

                2Tim.4:3,4              After 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.6:3,4              Proud...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 20:30             Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse [erroneous] things, to draw away disciples after them

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

                3Jn.9,10  Diotrephes, 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.11:42  Ye tithe [but] pass over judgment & the love of God

E. Twisting the Word to suit personal doctrines:

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

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

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

F. Stick to solid Scriptural doctrines:

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

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

                Tit.1:14   Not 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.8:9     The 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.15:12-17        How say some among you that there is no resurrection

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

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

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

 

4. The dwelling place of God:

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

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

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

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

                2Cor.6:16                Ye 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.12:4,5             We, being many, are one body in Christ

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

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

                1Pet.2:5a                Ye...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.8:27  The heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I (Solomon) have builded?

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

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

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

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

 

5. The danger of complacency:

A. Lukewarmness & satisfaction with material things:

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

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

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

                Rev.3:17 Thou 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.15:14               They be blind leaders of the blind

                Isa.30:9   Rebellious 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.13:14,15          Their 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.9:40,41               Are we blind also? Jesus said, Ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth

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

D. Compromise due to fear of man:

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

                Mk.8:38  Whosoever 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.16:15                Go ye into all the world, & preach the gospel to every creature

B. Beware of no concern to win the lost:

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

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

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

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

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

                (See also Ezk.33:6)

C. Hypocrisy among believers turns men from salvation:

                Rom.2:17-24           The 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.27:23                Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks

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

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

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

B. Many neglect to spiritually feed their flocks:

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

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

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

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

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

D. Unshepherded members are a scattered flock:

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

                Jer.13:17,20b          Weep...because Lord's flock is carried away captive. Where is the flock...thy beautiful flock?

                Ezk.34:5-8               They 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.5:2  Feed the flock of God...not for filthy lucre

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

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

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

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

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

                (See also Zech.11:4,5)

B. Unjustly robbing the poor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

                1Jn.3:17  Whoso 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.7:4     Lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord are these

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

                Mat.15:9a               In vain they do worship Me

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

                Mat.23:14b            For a pretence make long prayer

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

                Tit.1:16   They 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.7:15 In sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves

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

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

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

                (See also Jer.7:9,10)

C. False holiness & religious standards:

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

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

                (See also Mat.6:2,5,16)

D. False professions of love for God:

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

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

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

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

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

                1Jn.4:20  If 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.66:5   Your brethren...cast you out for My name's sake

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

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

                Gal.4:29  He 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.15:10                The chief priests had delivered Him (Jesus) for envy (See also Jn.11:47-50,53.)

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

 

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

 

 

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