Consequences of disregarding Christ’s teachings
Nowadays, in order not to be deceived by any wind of teaching, it is more than ever necessary to examine the signs by which we can distinguish a living Church, which is the Body of Christ, from a dead one, which is without Christ.
It is crucial to know where we are because our salvation will depend on it. If we accept the compromise, God will not receive us. (Come out from among them and be separate from them… do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. 2 Corinthians 6:17; …a little yeast leavens the whole dough. 1 Corinthians 5:6)
The Scripture warns us of the danger we are in and tells us to guard against people/congregations who claim to be with God but, are not. (Beware of false teachers. They come to you clothed in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15) We must carefully examine whether the congregation to which we belong has the characteristics of the Body of Christ.
As for the human body, it is quite simple to find out; we know that when a human being is dead, all the limbs of the body are also dead, they stop functioning. It is the same with the spiritual body. The Church/Body has no life unless Christ commands that body. When the brain stops giving signals to the body, it is dead. It is not possible to have living limbs in a dead body. (Anyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. 2 John 1:9) “Anyone” may be a person or a congregation. He/it cannot have life, because life comes only from Christ. (The Son gives life to whom He wills. John 5:21)
Warning! Even if there is only one dead limb in your Church, and that limb is not removed in time, it will kill the whole Church/Body! (See the case of the Church at Thyatira on p. 11)
One of the signs by which we can verify whether the Church really belongs to Christ is the doctrine/teaching that it accepts and practices.
When a Church does not have the teaching of Christ, it practically disregards and neglects Christ, refusing His will. (He that does not love me does not keep my commandments. John 14:24; The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4) It is therefore extremely important to check whether the teachings of Lord Jesus are fully accepted and practiced.
One example are the teachings of the Lord concerning non-resistance. (But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat as well. Matthew 5:39-44; Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Luke 6:30)
These teachings are meant to contribute towards the restoration of the image of God in us, so that we can live for eternity with the saints, with those who are alike the image of His Son, people of the house of God. (Ephesians 2:19)
The Holy Spirit uses these commandments and works with us to transform us in the image of the Lord. (We are changed in His image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Only by keeping these words, which teach us not to resist the one who hurts us will build God’s patience and kindness in us. (The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in patience. Psalm 145:8) The purpose of these commandments is to reach God’s love. (The goal of the commandment is love. 1 Timothy 1:5)
It can be easily seen that churches that disregard Christ by not remaining in His doctrine will give their consent to the enrollment of its members in institutions that practice resistance and oath (eg. army, police, gendarmerie, security and protection, etc.) as well as in obtaining rights through the use of means provided by the secular world. (eg. obtaining rights through courts for various claims, such as: properties, land, litigations, etc.)
Reality shows us that nowadays, many congregations belonging to various religious movements are/or have been engaged in lawsuits for their properties or rights, they have members in institutions that promote and practice resistance, thus disregarding the teachings of the Lord regarding non-resistance. Through these actions, they consent that their members should do the same when they have something to solve with their fellow men, thereby encouraging them to neglect the teachings of the Lord, which were given the image of Christ to take form in us.
The Body of Christ
Another sign by which we can note if the Church has Christ as its head are the teachings and practices of the body of Christ. The Scattered Flock The congregation that disregards and does not practice the teaching of a tightly bound body, in which each member must have his God-given role for the spiritual benefit of others, is an assembly that has no head in Christ. (Through Him the body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:16)
In such congregations, God was set aside and was not allowed to form the body and put the limbs in it as He willed. (Now, therefore, God put the members into the body, every single one according to His will. 1 Corinthians 12:18)
In these congregations/gatherings, the phenomenon of the scattered flock is manifested, where there are many souls that no one cares about, to whom no one demands accountability, where obedience, rebuke and discipline are not practiced.
Thus, we can check: If the Church does not have a head in Christ, it will not watch, neither check if each member seeks the benefit of the other members, nor if they seek each other’s benefit. (Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s benefit. 1 Corinthians 10:24)
If the Church is alive, the members take care of each other. (So that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another; and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. 1 Corinthians 12: 24)
You can make a test in your church: If a limb suffers from a spiritual or physical disease, how many members will care for them? Nobody, one or two, or all the limbs?
A congregation without Christ as its head is
structured and organized in such a way that it will require its members to only be present at worship 2-3 times a week. Thus, the vast majority of members only have the sole responsibility of consuming the religious programs.
Through this type of organization, members are not required to participate in the life of the body/family, namely benefiting other members, thus promoting self-love, where everyone is preoccupied with their personal concerns and interests.
Brotherly Obedience Another sign by which we can check whether the Church has Christ as its head is the acceptance and practice of the teachings regarding brotherly obedience. (Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Hebrews 13:17; Likewise, younger ones, be subject to the elders. 1 Peter 5:5)
We can verify: If the Church belongs to Christ, the members live in obedience to Christ and to their spiritual parents. (Obey one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:21)
If the Church is of Christ, it will practice the punishment of those who out of pride do not submit to the elders. (Matthew 18) It is easy to note that where the phenomenon of scattered flocks is manifested, those in authority do not demand any obedience. (Since obedience would have no purpose, it cannot be practiced).
The Purity of the Church Another sign by which we can verify whether the Church has Christ as head are the teachings regarding the purity of the Church. The assembly that disregards and does not keep the teaching that says to watch that no person is worldly, will practically disregard Christ and His body. (See that there is no fornicator or worldly person among you… Take care that no one deviates from the grace of God. Hebrews 12:16)
It can also be verified whether the command to rebuke and discipline are disregarded and if they are not put into practice. (If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him… and if he will not listen to the Church, let him be as a pagan to you. Matthew 18:15) Check if the Church you belong to promotes the teaching that says that in Christ’s Church/Body there are both sons of light/wheat and sons of darkness/weeds.
Through this, the teaching of the Lord is disregarded. The teaching says that the sons of light cannot stand with the sons of darkness, and the very clear teaching which states that the weeds are sown on the field, which is in no way referring to the Church! (For what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14-15; The field is the world. Matthew 13:38)
The fruit of this teaching is the tolerance of sin, the yeast that leavens the whole dough, causing the death of the entire flock. (Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough? 1 Corinthians 5:6)
If we belong to an assembly where the vast majority of members have the sole responsibility of consuming religious programs, let us ask ourselves:
- Is that how God ordained it to be? Did God ordained the Church to be just a settlement where members gather, where most are just consumers and have no active role or task?
- Can we say we are born again/have life from above while being in a Church where the limbs are not tightly bound together? Can we have life in a congregation where brothers do not care/bear the burdens for each one another, thus not fulfilling the law of Christ? (Galatians 6:2)
- Is God in any way involved in a place where His teachings are neglected and disregarded?
- Can the body be alive if it does not receive commands from Christ? Comment:
- If the assembly does not submit to Christ, can there be living limbs in that body? Comment:
- Perhaps many of us will say that God has children of His in congregations that disregard Christ. Biblically, can such a statement be made?
In order to check if your Church neglects and does not put into practice the teachings of the Lord, we will list some of them:
- Do not resist the one who harms you… (Matthew 5:39)
- Anyone that wants to sue you for your coat… (Matthew 5:40)
- Carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
- Watch so that no person among you is… worldly. (Hebrews 12:16)
- Beware not to slander… (Matthew 18:10) Have no connection with so- called brothers that… slander. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
- The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:34- 35) I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. (1 Timothy 2:12)
- But give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. (Luke 20:25) By this commandment, verify whether undeclared work, software piracy, bribery, are allowed…
If you belong to a scattered flock that disregards God’s teachings and tolerates the worldly, we urge you to examine yourself in the most serious way before God. (Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise. Ephes. 5:15)
Step 1. Check your life and start obeying everything God says, to not lose your soul (To Him you shall listen in everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not listen to Him shall be utterly destroyed. Acts 3:22-23)
Step 2. Pay attention to what God says and do not cling to those who ignore His teachings and who disregard the teachings of Christ. (Anyone who goes forwards and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching to you, do not receive him into your house and do not say to him “Welcome!”; for the one who tells him “Welcome!” partakes in his evil acts. 2 John 1:9-11.)
Put your trust in God, who tells you that light cannot stand with darkness. (Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14)
Pay attention to God’s warning and obey what He says: ,,Come out from their midst and be separate, and do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters of Mine”. (2 Cor. 6:17)
Stop building with those who serve other gods as well! (Ezra 4:1-5)
Step 3. Fulfil the commandment: ,,Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) Look for people with a pure heart and God will get them in your way! (He who asks, gets; he who seeks finds. Matthew 7:8; Those who seek Me with all their heart will find Me. Proverbs 8:17) The Lord is faithful and will do His part. (By no means will I leave you, neither will I abandon you. Hebrews 13:5)
Flee from the scattered flock, do not seek gatherings with special programs, but seek the Body of Christ, which is tightly bound and joined together; where He is Lord and where His teachings are kept. Only in His Body can we pursue a healthy growth; here you are guarded by predatory wolves. (From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies… Ephesians 4:16)