Bible Lesson 215

THE TROUBLE WITH THE VISIBLE CHURCH

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to remind you, thought you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

And the Angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”

Jude 4-8

Jude, who was writing to the church of the apostles, shortly after the cross of Christ. Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and saw the devil and evil already beginning to erode the truth of the Gospel. Jude come right to the point of his message, and explains that although He had intended to write to comment on the truths of what he refers to as the common salvation; however, it had become obvious to him that there were already those who had been allowed into the groups numbers who, just as we have in ours today, been tares rather than wheat.

They were not saved, they only said they were saved and they could argue the point that they had made decisions and fulfilled all that was required with the exception of having the New Birth that comes in true salvation. Jude warned the church (visible church), that unless they repented and turned back to what the church was founded upon that they were headed the same route as The nation of the Hebrews after God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

You should remember that God led them out and marked the trail that would take them to the promised land with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It turned out the people of the Exodus were a hare headed and quarrelsome people and complained constantly; until they reach the Jordan River which separated them from the promised land.

What did they do’ Did they go across and claim the land that God had promise them and they had made that long trek from Egypt, to Canaan to claim; now what they did was to form a committee and send out spies to make sure that there was not anything over there that would hurt them. What they should have done is to go straight across and take control of what was theirs. God had said go in but they chose to get a second opinion, and when their spies came back ten of them said no way, and only two, Joshua and Caleb, said God says it is ours, let’s go in.

You probably know the rest of the story, which is that God said O.K., about face and God marched them back into the wilderness and every one of them over 20 years of age died without ever seeing the promised land up close. Not one man over 20 at the time that they disobeyed God went into the promised land, except Joshua and Caleb. Now here we are looking back over the millennia, and we see that Jude saw the same situation that Joshua and Caleb found themselves in.

That is the same kind of thing that happened in the beginning, there in that Paradise that God created for Adam and Eve. God put them over every created thing with the exception of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told them that they could eat of every tree in the Garden, which included the Tree of Life, and said if you eat of that one tree, The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will surely die. Notice that God had created Adam and Ever to live forever if they remained in the condition that He created them, and that was they were created in innocence. What happened’ Eve got to talking with a serpent that had been taken over by Satan, and Satan beguiled her to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and then she caused Adam to eat of it.

That was the first case of man losing things that were promised by God; because they didn’t really trust God. Over and over that same kind of thing happened and it is happening today in churches (visible churches), all over the world. If we understand the Bible, we know that Israel who was the nation chosen by God to become Priests that would spread the Kingdom of God, was constantly on and then off. They were first a Theocracy (God was their King), then Judges, then they desired to have a King, like every other nation, and they failed to maintain their connection, with God; finally, when God sent His Only Begotten Son to them they refused to accept Him. We can shake our heads and ask why they were so hard headed, and disobedient; but we are as bad if not worse than they were.

In our day, we have left God and taken up a path that seems a little more convenient or comfortable than the path that God sets for us in His Word, the Bible. Oh, we have a form of godliness, but we deny the power thereof. God warned us back there in 2nd Timothy 3:1-9, that we would come to a period that is called the ‘last days’, days that would be perilous; because men would be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control , brutal despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and God tells us to turn away from these people and have nothing to do with them; however we have not heeded God and instead of turning away from these types we have joined them and invited them into our church congregations. As I recall God’s warning here I think about what He says there’.when God says ‘these are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth’.

Oh, we see them everywhere in large congregation, with their pencils and their Bibles open and taking copious notes, however they refuse the Truths of the Bible and follow myths and half-truths, and outright lies from preachers, who look nice and use many words. Too many are really not looking for the Truth of God but for acceptance of their unbelief. God continually warns us in His Word the Bible, that we have to be careful of who we follow and what we hear. Matthew 7:15, is a warning about them and it says, “Beware, of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” These are the smiling, practiced and precise speakers who weave tales that call the Word and Will of The Almighty God into question’ which is exactly what Satan did to Eve in the Garden. We tend to reject the hard truths of God and run toward the easy beliefs of Cheap Grace sermons. Just as most will run away from an uncontrolled fire, while only fireman run toward.

The Gospel and the Cross and Christ on that Cross is the hard truth of God, and Jesus Christ the Savior says of it that it is difficult, but it takes a difficult remedy to forgive sin and recreate sinners into saints. God back and read Matthew chapter 7:13-15, and you will find that it warns us and commands us to enter by the narrow gate, and reject that broad gate, and it goes on to tell us that the narrow gate leads us to a difficult way, which leads to life’.and there are few who find it. That is what those scriptures tell us in my words. Remember now, that gate that leads to eternal life and heaven and its peace and glory, is a narrow gate, and you can carry nothing from the old life through, in fact you will have difficulty finding it and even more difficulty squeezing through it because it rejects the humanistic beliefs of the flesh.

We all need to question ourselves, and follow the biblical guide lines to make sure we have made it through that narrow gate and are proceeding down that narrow way, always careful to make sure that we are following God’s way to heaven. Most people these days have difficulty understanding that they were sinners by birth, and love sin so much that they don’t like the idea that Jesus had to leave heaven where He had always been, and come to this sin-sick world to take on the form and flesh like yours and mine, and live here 33 years under the law and never sin, so that He would be the Perfect sacrifice for sin for those who would obey Him. It was God who was nailed to that cross, that you deserved to be nailed to, and God suffered and bled and died there to pay that sin-debt that you owed and could never pay, anyway other than to die and go to hell.

We have been afraid to really deal with the truths that God provides for us in the Bible, that Inspired, Inerrant, Infallible, Word of the Living God. We have played with and sweetened it up and denied it, and rejected it to the point that we don’t hear it when and if it is preached anymore. Preachers today find it hard to have to preach ‘repent or perish’ which means literally that unless you quit sin, turn away from it and turn to follow God and His Commandments, and it has been so softened that we barely ever hear it anymore. However, God tells us over and over that unless we repent we will never be forgiven and that all sinners will end up in hell.

What must we do to be saved’ First we must become convicted that we are sinners who have offended a Sovereign God who controls life and death, and will Judge the quick and the dead someday. We have to wait upon God but it is evident that now may who ever came to the end of Self was ever saved. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24-27. Not many words but every one of them full of meaning and this is the promise of God, so heed them! That says nothing about walking and aisle in some church, professing to believe, and being voted into church membership. What it says is, that God has to work to call you out of the world and into union with Him. God has issued a call that you will not be able to deny, just like God issued that call to His enemy Saul, later Paul, who was on the road to Damascus. God knocked Saul off his high horse and blinded Him for several days, to change him from and enemy to a sheep.

We may not be riding a stallion when God calls us but we all end up in the dust at the feet of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t been there you haven’t been called. Have you ever found yourself, at the end of your rope, ashamed, embarrassed, helpless and having no help but to seek God’s power to change you and make you a candidate for heaven’ If you haven’t you just haven’t gotten low enough before God. It is not as if you woke up one day and wanted to turn over a new leaf. Turning over leaves does nothing because you working to get God to save you.

You will find that the leaf that you turned over is just as corrupt on the new side as it was on the old side. Salvation does not begin when you become a church member, it begins when you have been born again, and become obedient, and been yoked with Christ, (Matthew 11:28-30). How do we come to Christ to become yoked and saved’ God has to call us and that means that nobody can decide to be saved and join the church. That sounds easy and that’s about what we have devolved into in this society. Jesus tells us that no one can come to him unless the Father draws them, and if we come as a result of God drawing us to Christ and His Cross, Jesus said He will receive us, (John 6:44; John 6:37). I will not repeat it here but I just want to tell you that you should know: That Salvation is of God, He is sovereign over all things especially in Salvation. What has happened over the decades that we have been playing church in so many places, is that we have changed the Bibles mind about what matters most and that is who do all things radiate from’ The answer is not man, it is God. We begin, just as the Bible does, with God.

Before the creation, there was no one except God; and God then created everything, including you and I. Humanist in our day do not like that arrangement because it destroys their understanding of Truth, how God’s Word stands. It does not matter what they think; because God is God and they won’t live long enough to matter, one way or the other. Just be sure that you know that you know that you know the Truth. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, know it because you read it out of God’s word.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob