EXTREMELY DANGEROUS ASSOCIATIONS WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even of Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore" (Psa.133:1-3 KJV).
Clearly, it would be wonderful if all of the Father's elect children could dwell in unity and one could associate with any of the elect of God and participate in any formal worship assembly with the confidence that one's participation is pleasing to the Father and Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. It would be wonderful if all the Father's elect children could dwell in unity of faith and purpose; however, this is definitely not the situation that we find among the Father's elect children today.
In this age, there are hundreds of congregational associations that teach the keeping of God's law, the observance of the Sabbath and the annual festivals and overtly appear to be trying to worship God correctly. However, most of these various associations are separated by major doctrinal differences about subjects that are extremely important to one's salvation. These doctrinal differences and certain attitudes and behaviors keep God's elect from being unified in belief and a work for God.
Because the Bible clearly warns that the Father's elect children should avoid heresies, heretics, and participation in other religions, the following are some questions that the elect who are serious about their salvation should ask and answer concerning spiritual associations with the Father's elect children:
This study will examine these and other important issues that concern associations on a spiritual level with the Father's elect childrenindividually and within the congregations of Godand one's responsibility to fulfill one's calling and maintain one's spiritual integrity before the Father and Jesus Christ.
A SERIOUS WARNING
The prophet Amos recorded this prophecy concerning the results of ancient Israel's rebellion against God:
"Only you have I known out of all the families on earth; therefore I will punish you for your lawlessness. Can two walk together, except they are in agreement?" (Am.3:2-3).
This prophecy of Amos also applies to the Father's elect children today, because they are considered spiritual Israelites who must live as examples of God's way of life just like the ancient Israelites were to do. Moreover, the Father is going to send the Creator God (Jesus Christ) to punish the descendants of ancient Israel in the end of this age for their disobedience to his laws, precepts, and principles. Furthermore, he is sending Jesus Christ to punish his disobedient children who refuse to honor the covenant that they made with him at their baptism.
"Can two walk together, except they are in agreement?" The answer is, no. They cannot.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ gives a very serious prophetic warning to a group of people called the church at Philadelphia. He says to them, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown" (Rev.3:11).
There are basically three ways that a person can lose their crown:
TWO CATEGORIES OF THE ELECT
Many of the elect think that Jesus Christ will unify all of the elect in the end of the age to perform a great work for God; however, this will definitely not happen. The prophecies concerning the church that will exist during the end of the age clearly show that God's elect are divided into the following two distinct categoriesThe obedient and the disobedient.
The prophecies of Habakkuk 1:5, Daniel chapters 11 and 12, Acts 13:40-41, and Rev.3:7-10 show that just before Jesus returns he is going to give many who are obedient to the faith tremendous opportunities to serve him and his Father. Because of their obedience to God and their diligence in performing their responsibilities, the elect in this category are found worthy to escape the horror that will take place during the end of the age (Lk.21:34-36; Rev.7:1-3; 12:12:6).
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew chapter 25 and the messages to the seven churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and the church of Revelation chapter 12 clearly show that most of the Father's elect children are living in disobedience to his laws, precepts, and principles and are not in good standing with him.
The elect in this category are not found worthy to escape the horror that will take place during the end of the age. It is Jesus' intent to deal with these individuals in a severe manner in order to awaken them to their calling.
If there is only one Body of Christ (Eph.4:4-7) to which all the elect belong, only one spirit, and only one faith, why is there a lack of unity among the Father's elect children, and why are they separated into various congregations that are generally antagonistic toward one another? The following are the four major reasons why no unity exists among the Fathers elect children today:
1. The Spiritual Leadership
Concerning unity within the body of Christ, the apostle Paul said:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph.4:11-13 KJV).
Paul says that one of the reasons that certain men are given positions of leadership within the body of Christ is to unify the Father's elect children in doctrine and purpose. Being unified in doctrine and in purpose is truly the ideal; however, realistically this will not happen before the return of Jesus Christ because of major problems that exist within the spiritual leadership of the elect.
Today, a major reason for disunity among the congregations of the Father's elect children is their spiritual leadership.
Jesus' reprimand to the Jews and the spiritual leaders of his day for their rebellion against truth is just as appropriate today as it was then (Matt.15:7-9), because most of the men in leadership positions within the congregations of God today are not qualified to lead the elect of God for one or more of the following reasons:
If this were not true, there would be unity of belief and a spirit of cooperation and teamwork among the spiritual leadership of the church.
Satanic Deception and His Ministry
Satan's deception through false ministers causes much disunity and division among the various congregations of God. At the very beginning of the early church, Satan began his plan to destroy the elect of God from within. The apostle Paul warned the elect at Corinth to be aware of this threat to their eternal lives:
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2.Cor.11:13-15 KJV). See also Deut.13:1-5; Jer.23:21-22.
Yes, Satan has many ministers disguised as true ministers of God (Rev.2:9; 3:9). Although these servants of Satan are actively deceiving the world at large, some of these individuals are within the congregations of God and are actively subverting the elect of God. Although some of the people who claim to be the ministers of Christ are truly deceived themselves, some are not, and they are willing tools of Satan. These individuals actively try to destroy the unsuspecting, the ill informed, and the naive. Jesus knew this would happen and warned his followers to beware of those who were not sent by him to shepherd his people.
"Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt.24:4-5 KJV).
The history of the church clearly shows that Satan and his servants have been very successful in their mission to destroy the elect and in the destruction of those who are dedicated to restoring the faith once delivered.
2. Counterfeit Christians
As Jesus was preparing his disciples for their conversion and their responsibility as spiritual leaders after his death and resurrection, he warned them through the parable of the wheat and the tares of an extreme danger that would always be present within the congregations of God:
Matthew 13:24-43 NIV
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds [tares] among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner's servants came to him and said, Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds [tares] come from? An enemy did this, he replied. The servants asked him, Do you want us to go and pull them up? No, he answered, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn" (vs.24-30).
Verses 24-30 tells us that there are two different types of grain that are planted in the fieldgood grain and bad grain. The beneficial grain was planted by the owner of the field and the harmful grain was planted by the owner's enemy, but both the good and the bad grain must be left to mature together until the harvest.
"His disciples came to him and said, Explain to us the parable of the weeds [tares] in the field. He answered, The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man [Jesus Christ]. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom [the elect]. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil . . ." (vs.36-39).
Clearly, the wheat is symbolic of the Father's elect children and the tares are symbolic of the children and servants of an evil spirit-being. Although both the wheat and the tare claim to be followers of God, one is not. These false Christians among the elect can be very dangerous to one's salvation, because they weave themselves among the roots of the wheat (the foundation and inner-workings of the congregations of God) and are spiritual poison to God's elect because their mission is to subvert the plan of God and destroy God's people.
"The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear" (vs.39-43).
This parable tells the spiritually alert Christian the following things about Christianity as a world religion and people within the congregations of God:
Although the spiritual tare can be identified, many of God's people cannot tell the difference between a true Christian and a false one, simply because they have not put forth enough effort to truly know and understand the difference between good and evil on both a physical and spiritual level.
Although the removal of the tares from among God's people is the responsibility of Jesus Christ, the parable of the wheat and tares is a clear warning to those who are serious about their salvation that they need to develop a keen sense of spiritual hearing and eyesight in order to keep from being deceived by false Christians.
Wolves Among the Flock
"And from Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. . .Take heed, therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the holy spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his blood. For I know that after I leave, grievous wolves will come among you, that will not spare the flock. Also among you shall men arise, speaking perverse things, in order to draw away disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:17, 28-30 Para.).
Paul's prophetic warning to the elders at Ephesus came true. Throughout the centuries, evil men and women have risen within the Body of Christ and abused and manipulated its members in order to fulfill their own sinful lusts and desires. Today, there are those within the flock who perpetuate this same evil upon God's people. See Rom.16:17-18.
The Latter Days
The apostle Paul warned the evangelist Timothy to beware of those who would depart from the faith and remain among the elect to draw them away from God's truth:
"Now the spirit speaks expressly that in the latter times saying that some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; telling hypocritical lies; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1.Tim.4:1-2 Para.). See also Jude verses 1-19.
History shows that the failure of God's people to take Paul's warning seriously eventually led to the demise and disappearance of the early church after the death of the apostle John.
3. A Rebellious People
Adam and Eve rebelled against the Creator God in the Garden of Eden. After being delivered from the slavery of Egypt, the children of Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness. Mankind in general has been in a condition of rebellion from the time of Adam to today (See Ezk.20:12-13; Isa.30:9-10; 66:3). Furthermore, most of the elect today are living in rebellion against God and his way of life. See Matt.25:1-13; Rev.chps.2-3.
Rebellion comes in many forms and it always separates the rebellious from God the Father and Jesus Christ. Isaiah's prophecy of ancient Israel's rejection of God is a prophecy that can easily apply to many of God's elect today:
"This is a rebellious people, Which say seers, . . . speak to us smooth things, . . . cause the Holy One of Israel to cease" (Isa.30:9-11).
The rebellious among God's people do not want to hear things that will reveal their true spiritual condition, because recipients of God's truth must either conform to it or reject it. In order to conform to God's truth a person must change from unrighteousness to righteousness. The rebellious do not want to change from their self-willed and self-serving attitudes and behaviors and conform to God's ways; therefore, these individuals seek spiritual leaders who will not challenge their rebellion against God, but will instead teach them things that validate their concept of truth.
The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to continue to teach God's truth, even though there would come a time when most of God's people would reject this truth:
"I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables" (2.Tim.4:1-4 Para.).
This rejection of God's truthboth actively and passivelyis rebellion against God, which is why six of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation are going to be punished by Jesus Christ.
4. Looking to the Wrong Source
Today, in rebellion against the clear instructions of the word of God that tells the elect to take the responsibly for their own salvation, most of the elect look to the wrong source for their salvation, they look to their spiritual leaders or an organization to secure their salvation for them. Most of God's elect have either forgotten or never truly understood the apostle Paul's admonition to the Philippians and to Timothy concerning the effort required to secure salvation and be an accountable and responsible member of the body of Christ:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12 KJV).
"Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 KJV). See also Rom.12:2; 1.Thes.4:10-12; 5:21; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
If this ungodliness did not exist among God's elect, there would be unity of belief and a spirit of cooperation and teamwork among God's elect and their spiritual leadership.
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
Does God assign guilt by association and will he punish the innocent along with the guilty? Under certain circumstances, he does. It is a biblical fact that the innocent were sometimes punished with the guilty under the covenant that God made with ancient Israel, because the innocent were either in the wrong place at the wrong time or had not heeded warnings to remove themselves from among the disobedient.
It is also a biblical fact that, during the gospel age of salvation, the innocent have been and will continue to be punished with the guilty under certain circumstances. This condition of guilt by association not only places one's physical existence in jeopardy but also places one's salvation in jeopardy.
One of the ways that a righteous individual can put themselves in a situation where they place their salvation in jeopardy and risk being punished by Jesus Christ along with the wicked is through an association with unrighteous individuals or associating with an errant congregation of God's people.
The prophecies in the Book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 concerning the six churches clearly show that some of the elect within these six congregational associations have attitudes and behaviors that are acceptable to God and they are worthy of being given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. However, these prophecies also clearly show that these people are unworthy to escape the punishment that will be given to those with whom they are associating. But, why are these worthy people going to suffer punishment and trials along with those who are not worthy. The answer is that they are guilty by association.
In order to clearly understand why the righteous will be punished along with the unrighteous and why Jesus Christ assigns guilt by association, one must understand one's responsibility toward God the Father, Jesus Christ, and one's fellow brethren in the body of Christ. The failure of the worthy who are among the congregations of the unworthy to follow the clear instructions of the Bible to perform their responsibility to the Father, Jesus Christ, and their brethren is the reason they will be punished along with the unworthy. The worthy fail to do the following things:
Because they have failed to "Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude v3 KJV) and shirked their responsibility to stand for righteousness, rebuke sin, challenge false doctrines, warn their brethren of the consequences of sin and belief in false doctrines, and aggressively stand for righteousness, they have become partakers of their brothers' sin (1.Tim.5:22; 2.Jn.vs.9-11); therefore, they will be punished with them.
Is Ignorance an Excuse?
A person is not given perfect knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God's plan or his laws, precepts, and principles at the instant they receive the holy spirit. However, ignorance of these things is no excuse for holding onto unrighteous attitudes, behaviors, and false doctrines, because all basic foundational truth that is required to live a righteous life and remain in good standing with God the Father and Jesus Christ can be acquired, if one is willing to do the things discribed in the following scriptures:
"Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. And shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 KJV). See also 1.Thes.4:10-12; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer; but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (Pro.15:28 KJV).
"All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built on a rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on the sand. For when the rains and floods come, and storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt.7:24-27 LBP).
"Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, the acceptable, and the perfect will of God" (Rom.12:2 Para.).
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1.Thes.5:21 KJV).
Although the spirit of God imparts knowledge, understanding, discernment, and wisdom, a person must ask the Father for these things and follow through with study and meditation on his word:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matt.7:7-8 KJV).
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are opened to their prayers. . ." (1.Pet.3:12 KJV). See also Jn.16:24; Mk.11:24; Rom.12:12; Col.4:2.
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night" (Psa.1:1-2 KJV). See also Psa.119:15-148; 1.Tim.4:12-16.
It is important to understand that the Bible was written primarily for those whom God has called to salvation during this age. Through the Bible, it is possible to learn from the experience and teaching of others and gain valuable knowledge, understanding, and inspiration to help us in our daily walk with God:
"Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be perfect, fully furnished for every good work" (2.Tim.3:16-17). See also Eph.6:10-17; Heb.4:12.
"Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1.Cor.10:11 KJV). See also Psa.19:7; Pro.1:1-7; Dan.12:9-12; Col.1:7-10.
With Knowledge and understanding comes a tremendous respons- ability to be faithful to God and to practice the truth that has been given. The faithful must constantly keep in contact with God in order to keep their primary goals clearly in mind.
WITHDRAW FROM THE DISOBEDIENT
The Bible is very clear about what to do when people have been warned about unrighteous behavior and refuse to repent. In Matthew chapter 18 and in other scriptures, there are instructions that show how to discipline the disobedient within a congregation; however, what does one do when an entire church refuses to repent of their unrighteous attitudes, behaviors, or false doctrines?
What the apostle Paul says to the Thessalonians and to Timothy also applies to an entire congregational association:
"Now we [the apostles and elders] command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition that he received from us" (2.Thes.3:6 Para.). See also 1.Tim.6:5 & Jer. 51:6.
"Stay away from foolish questions, and genealogies, and arguments, and quarrels of the law, for they are unprofitable and vain. And that after the first and second warning, avoid the heretic, knowing that such a person has been perverted, and sins, being self-condemned" (Tit.3:9-11 Para.).
What the apostle Paul says about withdrawing from those who walk in disobedience may seem harsh to some people; however, it is not. It is the law and will of God concerning how a righteous person must react to those who refuse to repent of evil ways and walk in obedience to God.
These scriptures are serious warnings to anyone who does not want to suffer the consequences of associating with the elect who are rebellious. The biblical instruction is clear. If one is to remain in good standing with God the Father and Jesus Christ, one must separate themselves from those of the elect who are walking in disobedience to God.
Many people continue their association with an individual of the elect or a congregation of God's people even after they know that these people hold false doctrines or are otherwise living in sin and refuse to change from their error. The following are some of the many reasons that people continue these dangerous associations:
Although there are excuses that one can make for continuing to associate on a spiritual level with the elect who are disobedient, once one truly knows and understands that one of the elect or a congregation of God's people are holding false doctrines or are otherwise living in sin and refuse to change once they are shown their error, the biblical instruction is to stop one's spiritual association with those who refuse to live in righteousness until they repent of their error.
When deciding whether or not to associate with individuals within the Body of Christ, one should try to understand what their spiritual attitudes, behaviors, and doctrinal views are. If these are found to be inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible, a prudent question to ask oneself is why would I want to associate with the elect whom Jesus is going to punish for their rebellion?
LOVE TOWARD THE BRETHREN
Many worry that if they disassociate themselves from their disobedient brethren that it shows a lack of love and concern for these individuals. This is a valid concern; however, love and concern for an errant brother or sister in the Body of Christ should always be viewed from the biblical perspective and not the world's perspective, because the two are very different and sometimes totally incompatible.
The apostle John wrote many things about how to determine if someone has love for the Father, Jesus, and the brethren. However, many do not understand that the love for the Father, Jesus, and the brethren is tied to keeping the laws, precepts, and principles of God. A person who truly keeps these laws, precepts, and principles is a loving person, but a person who refuses to keep them does not have the love of God abiding within them and is not in harmony with God:
"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. . .. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that bides him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2.Jn.vs.6, 9-11 KJV).
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1.Jn.5:2-3 KJV).
The Father's elect children must show godly love toward one another, and godly love does not compromise the truth of God. The very act of disassociating oneself from the disobedient elect for the right reasons is in itself an act of godly love, because it is done for the purpose of revealing the need for repentance from wrong attitudes, behaviors, or false doctrines to the errant elect.
Never loose sight of the fact that, when a person has agreed to the covenant terms and conditions between themselves, God the Father, and Jesus Christ, the baptized individual has embarked on a journey that will lead to eternal life or eternal death, depending on the individual's choices and faithfulness to the agreement. The decision to choose good over evil is the same today as it was under God's agreement with ancient Israel:
"And the Creator God said: that he placed before the people death and life, and he said I would that you would choose life" (Deut.30:19).
There is only one opportunity for salvation and those who venture into a covenant with God put themselves in a very serious situation concerning attitudes, behaviors, and doctrinal issues. God honors personal and group covenants and will continue to honor them as long as the elect who are part of these covenant relationships maintain their integrity.
Chose the Right Pathway to Eternal Life
Another reason why it is extremely important to choose ones spiritual associations very carefully and to place one's faith in the Father and Jesus Christ and not in a person or an organization is that Jesus says the pathway that leads to eternal life is difficult to find and stay on:
"You enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many will be going in there. Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leads to eternal life, and there will be few that find it" (Matt.7:13-14 Para.).
"Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for I say to you, many, will seek to enter in this gate, and shall not be able" (Lk.13:24 Para.).
It is difficult to find because it takes total commitment to the truth of God. In order to make sure that one has chosen the right path, one must spend much time and effort in seeking the Father's will, in prayerful fellowship with him, in the study of his word, and in meditation on the things that pertain to his way of life.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES
The seven prophetic churches of the Book of Revelation reveal many keys to establishing and maintaining a harmonious relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. One of the primary lessons that can be learned from an analysis of these seven churches is that one must maintain righteous attitudes and behaviors and reject false doctrines in order to find favor with the Father and his Son.
Although there is much that can be learned from the entire Body of Christ and there are many benefits that can be derived from associating with individual Christians and the various congregations of God, there are also many serious dangers in associating with the elect who are not in harmony with the Father and Jesus Christ. If one is associating with the elect who are truly committed to God the Father and Jesus Christ and in submission to them, one is most fortunate indeed, because this is the exception and not the rule among the congregations of God.
The Church of Philadelphia
Why is it that the prophetic church of Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation is the only church that Jesus Christ does not punish? The answer is that they are the only church that is striving for total obedience to God's law and the only church that is in total harmony with the Father and his Son.
The primary reason why the elect of the Philadelphia attitude do not fellowship with or perform a spiritual work with the elect who hold the attitudes and behaviors of the other six churches is that the Philadelphia attitude and behavior is a righteous reprimand and rebuke to the other six who hold unrighteous attitudes, behaviors and false doctrines. Simply put, there is little common ground between the righteous attitude and behavior of Philadelphia and the other six churches on which to build a relationship, because the Philadelphia church truly obeys Paul's instruction to "Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what communion has light with darkness" (2.Cor. 6:14).
Most of God's elect want to think of themselves as having the attributes and behaviors of the Philadelphia church of Revelation chapter 3. However, most are self-deluded and haven't really examined what is required in order to be accepted by God as a Philadelphian who is worthy of special consideration, empowerment, and protection.
Clearly, the vast majority of God's elect do not have the characteristics that the Father and Jesus Christ require of the Philadelphia elect, because, six-sevenths of the entire body of the elect are shown as not being in good standing with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
For most of God's people, the discovery of the identity of the Philadelphia church will come too late as the parable of the ten virgins teaches. Clearly the time to identify and cultivate the Philadelphia attitude and behavior is before it becomes apparent that one is a member of one of the other six churches.
Although it can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience to associate with and worship with the Father's elect Children, in the final analysis, one's walk with the Father and Jesus Christ is an extremely personal and individual matter. A person who is seeking to please God the Father and Jesus Christ and obtain eternal life in the Kingdom of God should be very cautious about whom they associate with inside and outside the body of Christ:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5:15-17 KJV). See Col.1:7-10.
Jude cautioned the elect of God:
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints" (v3 KJV).
During the time that Jude wrote his letter, the truth of God was being corrupted by the heretical teachings of evil individuals and spiritual leaders. This scripture shows the importance of striving to recapture the system of beliefs that were delivered to the early church. The original Greek language of Jude verse 3 gives the sense that it will take more than a casual effort to recapture the faith that was once delivered. It will take a diligent, dedicated effort.
Today, most of God's elect have allowed themselves to be seduced into false doctrines and a false sense of security through one or more of the following:
If this were not true, there would be unity of belief and a spirit of cooperation, teamwork, peace, and harmony among God's elect and their spiritual leadership.
Who is Responsible?
Ultimately, the accountability and responsibility for disunity and disharmony within the Body of Christ belongs to the elect who, through a lack of commitment to the Father, Jesus Christ, their brethren, and spiritual truths, allow self-will to take precedent over God's will.
By B.L Cocherell, file b8w1