Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Deception series #5: Cults

 

Three terms tend to confuse people: The Church, Denominations and Cults. Let’s consider them here. 

THE CHURCH

 In this present age Christ is calling out from this world  a people for His Name and  for His glory. The aged Simeon who held the baby Jesus in his arms said of Him, “For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people.  A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people,Israel.”  Luke 2:30-32

As the Church Age got underway, James the leader of the Church in
Jerusalem referred to Simeon’s statement spoken years earlier. “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.” Acts 15:14

The church is not primarily a building, although we  refer to  the buildings where we meet as churches.  Instead, the church is the gathering of those who have been redeemed by faith in the shed blood of Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. Not everyone who is a member of a visible local church is a member of The Church, Christ’s Body; only those who have come to Christ, recognizing their lost condition as sinners and have received Christ as Saviour.

Christ’s  Invisible Church is His spiritual Body, of which He is the Head;  made up of believers from visible churches.  His Church transcends and overcomes racial, national, language,  cultural and denominational barriers.

Christians are the Church In Ephesians 2:22 Paul refers to the church as “a habitation of God through His Spirit”. and in Ephesians 5: as  the “Body and the Bride of Christ. “

When Jesus died and rose again from the grave, just before He returned to Heaven, He commissioned His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20  and Acts 1:6-8  to preach the Gospel and to baptize the believers in water.

He also sent His Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to do what we who are His followers cannot do:

draw sinners to Christ  John 6:44,   

convict them of sin   John 16:7-11,

regenerate them  Titus 3:5-6,

seal them to the Day of Redemption  Ephesians 1:13  and 4:30,

and baptize or unite  them into Christ’s spiritual body, The Church  I Corinthians 12:13

 That baptism of the Spirit is not an experience we are to seek. 

God’s Spirit takes the active role in the heart of everyone who puts his trust in Christ and baptizes him into Christ’s Body. I Corinthians 12:13  In fact, Romans 8:9  warns that if the Holy Spirit does not live in our lives, we are not  Christians. 

The only command we are given as far as the Holy Spirit is concerned is to be filled or controlled by Him. Ephesians 5:18-22  When we yield ourselves to Christ as Lord,  the Spirit of God takes over in our lives and He enables us to live the life of Christ which we could never live apart from Him.  When filled by the Spirit, we bear the fruit of the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-23

DENOMINATIONS

No sooner was the Church established when division set in over doctrinal differences, personality differences  and leadership style differences.  Paul wrote I Corinthians to help that carnal, divided, church learn how to deal with their differences in a Christ-honoring way.

As currency is made up of denominations of coins and bills,  so the church is made up of denominations.  The $20.00 bill is not our nation’s currency.  It is only a denominational expression of our currency.  The Methodists or the Presbyterians or  the Pentecostals  or the Baptists are not The Church; they are only denominations of The Church. 

A humble, spiritually-minded  denominationalist understands that his denomination does not have the full picture nor do they have  all the answers.  On the other hand, an arrogant, self-righteous denominationalist  is convinced that his denomination alone has it all together and that all other denominations are wrong.

If only all of us could learn the truth of I Corinthians 13:12  “For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.”   It is right to be dogmatic in declaring the Bible to be  the inspired, infallible Word of God  and it is right to be dogmatic about the doctrine of Christ,  but it is arrogant of us to take the position that we are correct in our understanding of every verse of Scripture and that those who disagree with us are wrong.

CULTS

There are at least five distinguishing marks of a cult.

1. A cultist believes that simple faith in Christ is not enough.. As Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden by offering her an opportunity to discover hidden knowledge beyond what God had spoken to her; so the cultists offers secret knowledge beyond the Bible that only those initiated into the cult can understand.

2. The cultist thinks that only those who belong to his group are members of  the true church.  All others are false.

3. The Cultist usually has his own holy book in addition to his Bible and he uses  it as a key to interpret the Bible.  God warns in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 22:18-19  that the one who adds to the Bible or subtracts from the Bible is under God’s curse. 

4. Some have their own modern prophet or prophets  who they believe speaks  to them with the same authority of Scripture.

5. Most serious, the cultist  adulterates or denies  the  Doctrine of Christ.  Those who do, face God’s judgment.  Galatians 1:8-9    II John 7-11

WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST? 

See the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels, especially in the Gospel of John.

1. Jesus is God, the Creator,  come down in human flesh.  John 1

2. Jesus was born of a virgin mother, Mary.  Isaiah 7:14  Luke 1:26-35

3. Jesus was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God slain for our sins.  Isaiah 53  John 1

4. Jesus died on the cross shedding His blood as the perfect and complete sacrifice for our sins. Romans 3-5  Hebrews 10    Isaiah 53

5. Jesus rose from the tomb in a glorified body.   John 20-21

6. Jesus ascended back to Heaven where He is today interceding for us. Acts 1

7. Jesus is returning to this earth for His own and  to establish His Kingdom. Acts 1 and  I Corinthians 15

8. The Gospel (or Good News) is that those who receive this Jesus of the Bible; trusting Him alone for salvation, are saved and made fit for Heaven.  Those who reject this Jesus are lost and condemned to hell.

For further teaching concerning The Doctrine of Christ, go to my series on SEPARATION which begins with this truth.

The most important question you can consider is not of which church or denomination are you a member. The most important question you can ask yourself is,   AM I A MEMBER OF CHRIST’S BODY THROUGH  FAITH IN THE SHED BLOOD OF CHRIST?  Once that question is settled, ask God to help you find a church where you can hear the Bible preached and where you can grow in the grace and knowledge of God. If you live in the Albuquerque, NM area, I would invite you to visit Alameda Bible Church.

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May 25, 2006 - Posted by | Deception Series

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