Outline For Building-up And Equipping The Body Of Christ

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This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).

  • First Section
  1. Basic Spiritual Instruction for God's People
  1. Introduction to our Spiritual Growth series
  1. Spiritual growth is very important, not only to us but also to our Lord Jesus Christ. He has made adequate provisions in our behalf by giving special gifts and abilities to individual members of His body to accomplish this much needed task. Click to see, Introduction To Building Up And Equipping The Body Of Christ.
  2. Click to see, Explaining The Use And Expansion Of The Growth Outline.
  3. Click to see, The Importance God Places upon Spiritual Growth.
  1. The Godhead
  1. In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
  2. Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father, reigning and ruling with Him. Click to see website page, Jesus Exalted At The Right Hand Of The Father.
  1. The Holy Spirit was sent to the church to continue the education of the Body of Christ that Jesus had begun, and to empower them for the work that God’s people are to do. "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you" (John 14:26).
  2. With all of man’s supposed wisdom and acquired knowledge, he has never been able to know or understand what life is, but God does, because He created it and has revealed what we need to know about it in His Word. This is what we will be exploring in this section concerning spiritual growth. Click to see Growth page, What Life Is All About, And God's Original Plans
  3. True Unity: "Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. [There is] one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received--[there is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all" (Eph 4:3-6).
  4. The old hymn Living For Jesus, exemplifies our required commitment, and the article to see to acquire it is, Our Top Priority In Life.
  1. Living for Jesus a life that is true; striving to please Him in all that I do. Giving allegiance glad hearted and true; this is the pathway of blessing for me. Oh Jesus Lord and Savior; I give myself to Thee. For Thou in thine atonement; did give Thyself for me. I owe no other master; my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give; henceforth to live. My God for Thee alone.
  2. This is a life-style of Trust and Obey; for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus; than to Trust and Obey!
  1. Dwelling in Christ by faith for victorious living
  1. Chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John contain some of the most intimate and informative teachings of Christ, and are a good starting point for learning about spiritual life.
  1. It is not an easy task to change the way that people have been accustom to think, reason and believe, nor can it be accomplished in a short time; but this was one of the main reasons of Jesus' earthly ministry. The transition from the old covenant to the new, or the Law to Grace, or the physical to the spiritual all speak of or refer to the same thing. This transition is still in process and must be understood from a Biblical perspective or it becomes very confusing and difficult. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 1.
  2. It is interesting to recognize, not only in others, but in our personal lives just how long it takes for the facts we know to become a living reality to us, the time it takes is determined by the quickness and the quality of our spiritual growth. This is illustrated by the fact that those closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry failed to grasp the spiritual meaning of much of what He lived and taught. Therefore, about two years after His resurrection Jesus personally revealed Himself to Paul and then took him into Arabia (Gal 1:17) where Paul apparently spent about the same amount of time as the other disciples being instructed of the Lord regarding our further spiritual development. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 2.
  1. Chapters five thru eight of the book of Romans explains in greater detail what Jesus introduced in chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John.
  1. It will help us to understand spiritual progression if we keep in mind these three points. (1) It was Jesus that first introduced new spiritual life and how it should develop in the normal Christian; (2) It was the apostle John that faithfully recorded the words of Jesus, about sixty years after the resurrection of Christ, in the book that we call the Gospel of John; (3) it was to the Apostle Paul that Jesus, about 2 years after His resurrection, personally revealed more details of how further spiritual development should take place in the Body of Christ (Gal. 1:11-18). No other writer of the New Testament speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ, and the many other details concerning spiritual life as does Paul. Therefore, the logical places for us to look for information about spiritual life is the books of the Apostles John and Paul, and the person we should appeal to, to guide us, is the Holy Spirit. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 3.
  2. ROMANS 8:1-4.... THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev 7:37.] So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 4.
  1. Parts 1 thru 4 of Dwelling In Christ took us from the physical ordinances of the Old Testament that God first began to use to reveal His salvation plan for mankind, to the spiritual dimension that replaced the old physical ordinances. In part 5 we will consider another transition from how Christians are to live now, before the rapture, to how we might live during the Millennium and on into eternity. This gives a brief description of what we can expect and look forward to now and throughout eternity, don’t miss it.
  1. Most of us have wondered, probably on many occasions, what living with God in heaven is going to be like. Not so surprisingly, there is a great deal of information regarding this subject, but the following short article only makes use of a few, but very important and interesting portions of Scriptures available. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 5.
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The essential teaching that is neglected in most Christian churches is that of dwelling in Christ Jesus by faith. For victorious Christian living this is not an elective, but an absolute requirement. It is very likely that most truly born-again Christians spend the majority of their time living by their own ability rather than the power and ability that the Holy Spirit makes available to God's people. This is the reason for failure and discouragement, and the reason that we are making this a priority study. Click to see website page, New Life In Christ And How To Live It.
  2. If Jesus has become our everything as described in 1 Cor. 1:30, why does it sometimes not seem true of us? Click to see website page, Perfect Righteousness Is Ours Only By Dwelling In Christ.
  3. What provisions has God made available to us to make freedom from sinful living a reality in this life? Click to see website page, Freedom From Sinful Living.
  1. Having learned how to Dwell In Christ, let's make sure that we stay there!
  1. There are three main books to study with regards to persevering in our faith in Christ: The books of Romans and Galatians, both written by Paul the apostle, and the book of Hebrews, possibly written by him also.
  1. There has been a long-standing disagreement among Christians of all ages, as to whether a true believer in Christ can fall away or lose their salvation; the Scriptures that we will present, seems to indicate that this is a real possibility. Click to see Growth page, Persevering In Our Faith In Christ.
  1. What provision has God made to prevent Christians from continuing to indulge in sin?
  1. Has God made it possible, through Christ Jesus our Lord, for us to live as Jesus lived when He was here in a human body that is, filled with the Holy Spirit and sinless? Click to see Growth page, How Can We Who Died To Sin Live In It Any Longer?
  1. A vital element of retaining our relationship to God is communicating with Him. God has provided the way for this communion to take place, and as usual Satan has his counterfeit substitutes; we will briefly examine these two opposing ways and means in this article. Click to see Growth page, Communion With God.
  • Second Section
  1. Practical Christianity from the book of First Corinthians
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-4:21 <> In section one we learned about basic spirituality, in this section we will concentrate upon how we are to walk and conduct ourselves with this new spiritual life that God has given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17).
  1. The blending of our new life in Christ (spiritual) with our every-day walk (practical) presents us with some new issues to consider. The Bible teaches that Christianity is a relationship, not necessarily a religion, religion expresses itself by what we believe and the way we outwardly respond in our relationship with Christ Jesus and one another. Our religion can sometimes get in the way and hinder our spiritual progress.
  1. Click to see Growth page, Our Religion Can Hinder Our Spiritual Progress.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-9 <> The spiritual, but not necessarily the practical, condition or state of the Corinthian believers
  1. To affirm what we have already learned about our spiritual condition when we are dwelling in Christ, Paul states in 1 Cor 1:2a; "To the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God's people)."
  2. Evidence of God’s Devine grace 1 Cor 1:5; "[So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination."
  3. 1 Cor 1:7a.... That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace
  4. 1 Cor 1:8.... And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
  5. 1 Cor 1:9.... God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-4:21 <> In this section Paul instructs the people about the problem they were having with dissensions, factions and divisions among themselves; in the process he uses and touches upon several important issues or subjects that help to illustrate how the many details interrelate to give a better understanding of the overall picture.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-18 <> The preaching of the Gospel is proclaiming the message of the Cross of Christ, not about the group we belong to.
  2. 1 Cor. 1:19-31 <> The wisdom of God in contrast to the wisdom of men which is foolishness with God. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in the article below declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world’s wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God’s truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World’s Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  3. 1 Cor. 2:1-5 <> Paul uses himself as an example of how the Gospel should be presented and what it contains. "As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; for I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. And I was in ( passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God."
  4. 1 Cor. 2:6-13 <> The Wisdom of God and how it is received and communicated
  5. 1 Cor. 2:14-3:4 <> The carnal or unspiritual Christian: Click to see website page, What Makes A Person Spiritual?, or Click to see website page, The Difference Between Spirituality And Human Effort.
  6. 1 Cor. 3:5-15 <> The way a faithful minister of the Gospel should be understood, and how he should function.
  7. 1 Cor. 3:16-23 <> Christians are God’s temple, and it should not be corrupted with the foolish wisdom of men.
  8. 1 Cor. 4:1-5 <> Paul gets back to the subject on the divisions that they had allowed to develop among them, and defends himself against those who improperly judge him.
  9. 1 Cor. 4:6-21 <> Paul shows that the real, basic problem is that the Corinthians think too highly of themselves, and secondly, that they are thinking of men contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-6:20 <> Sexual immorality and lawsuits among Christians
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-13 <> From what Paul says in this chapter the Corinthians were tolerant of sinful practices and those that committed them and were proud of it, instead of being ashamed and doing what was needful. They may have been this way because of ignorance, but now we know better because we have God’s Word to go by.
  1. We know what Jesus expects of us, but do we really want to live this way, and, do we understand how we can? Have you ever read what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 of Matthew), or a similar account that may have been given at a different time (chapter six of Luke), and thought to yourself that it was impossible to live that way? Check out the following web pages to summarize the ground we have already covered concerning how to live for Christ. Click to see Growth page, Jesus Made It Possible For Us To Live As He Did, But, Do You Really Want To?, or Click to see website page, Human Authority And Christian Responsibility.
  1. 1 Cor. 6:1-20 <> This is an interesting chapter dealing with the subject of judgement, and is related to chapter five where they failed to practice proper judgement in regard to the person who was living with his stepmother. In this chapter they are reminded six times, "Do you not know or see," of things that they ought to know or be aware of; the last three are –
  1. 1 Cor 6:15-20.... Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never! Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. [Gen 2:24.] But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
  1. 1 Cor. 7:1-40 <> Marriage relationships
  1. The departure from the Biblical fundamentals of family life opened up the way for many of the destructive forces that have followed.
  1. The areas that we are going to touch upon in this article are highly contested in society today. We cannot expect those who have been indoctrinated into the present world mind-set and accustomed to this life style to quickly agree with what we are about to present, but if correction and restoration are to come, the truth of God’s Word must be faithfully and accurately proclaimed in order that new converts may learn the right way, and hopefully the older ones will come to their senses and gradually make the change back to a Biblical world-view. Click to see website page, Marriage, Sexuality And Authority.
  1. 1 Cor. 8:1-10:33 <> Food offered to idols, and the precautions required
  1. 1 Cor. 9:1-27 <> Paul defends himself against accusations
  1. 1 Cor 9:1-3.... Am I not an apostle (a special messenger)? Am I not free (unrestrained and exempt from any obligation)? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [yourselves] not [the product and proof of] my workmanship in the Lord? Even if I am not considered an apostle (a special messenger) by others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal (the certificate, the living evidence) of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it]. This is my [real ground of] defense (my vindication of myself) to those who would put me on trial and cross-examine me.
  1. 1 Cor.10:1-33 <> Paul warns the people further about idols by reminding them of what happened to the Israelites when they indulged in idolatry.
  1. 1 Cor. 11:1-34 <> Church order and the Lord’s Supper
  1. 1 Cor 11:1-3.... Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.
  1. 1 Cor 11:20-21.... "So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat, for in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk." So what is the proper way to celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Click the red C to see.
  1. 1 Cor 11:23-29.... For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord's death until He comes [again]. So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ's] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.
  1. 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40 <> Spiritual gifts and administration
  1. 1 Cor 12:1.... Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed.
  1. 1 Cor 12:7-11.... But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit. To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; to another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; to another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
  2. 1 Cor 12:27-31.... Now you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]. So God has appointed some in the church [for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues. Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles? Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all--love].
  1. 1 Cor. 13:1-13 <> The spiritual gifts of God only function properly when they are administered in love!
  1. 1 Cor 13:1-8.... If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
  1. 1 Cor. 14:1-40 <> The proper use of God’s gifts, and how our church services should be conducted
  1. 1 Cor 14:1.... Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ( interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).
  2. 1 Cor 14:26-35.... What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said]. But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God. So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged; for the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker's control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary], for He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God's people), the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. [Gen 3:16.] But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].
  3. For a more detailed study of this chapter, see our website page, Action Required To Achieve Spiritual Maturity.
  1. 1 Cor. 15:1-58 <> A reminder concerning the Gospel and the resurrection
  1. 1 Cor 15:1-8.... And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests, and by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing. For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold], [Isa 53:5-12.] that He was buried, that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold, [Ps 16:9,10.] and [also] that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. Then later He showed Himself to more than five hundred brethren at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Afterward He was seen by James, then by all the apostles (the special messengers), and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one prematurely and born dead [no better than an unperfected fetus among living men].
  1. 1 Cor 15:12-15.... But now if Christ (the Messiah) is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded). We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised.
  1. 1 Cor 15:21-24.... For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive. But each in his own rank and turn: Christ (the Messiah) [is] the firstfruits, then those who are Christ's [own will be resurrected] at His coming. After that comes the end (the completion), when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power.
  2. 1 Cor 15:34-36.... Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God's presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame. But someone will say, How can the dead be raised? With what [kind of] body will they come forth? You foolish man! Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.
  3. 1 Cor 15:51-55.... Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. [Isa 25:8.] O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? [Hos 13:14.]
  1. 1 Cor. 16:1-24 <> Closing comments
  1. 1 Cor 16:21-24.... I, Paul, [add this final] greeting with my own hand. If anyone does not love the Lord [does not have a friendly affection for Him and is not kindly disposed toward Him], he shall be accursed! Our Lord will come! (Maranatha!) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love (that true love growing out of sincere devotion to God) be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (so be it).
  1. 1 Cor 16:1-2.... Now concerning the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God's people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.
  2. 1 Cor 16:13-14.... Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ( your conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! [Ps 31:24.] Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us).
  • Third Section
  1. Church administration
  1. God has shown us in His Word how He intends to rule over His creation. If we have surrendered to His sovereignty, then we should examine His Word to see how we are to conduct ourselves in this world and as heavenly citizens. The word theocracy originates from Greek words meaning "the rule of God". This in turn derives from (theós, from an Indo-European root occurring in religious concepts), meaning "god," and (krátein), meaning "to rule."
  1. Policies that God has established in His Word that we are to adhere to:
  1. The way that God rules, and what He expects of us. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Theocracy.
  2. There has been so much religious froth and foam added to modern-day church policy and practice that many have become totally unacceptable to Christ; God’s policy regarding the format of our church gathering, and how it should be conducted is one of them. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Service Format.
  3. Many Christian groups and organizations have chosen the incorrect pathway of pleasing the people in contradiction to God’s Word, and have substituted the humanistic social gospel to try to correct the problem they helped create when they chose to please the people in the beginning; it’s a vicious cycle that goes round and round and never solves anything. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Discipleship Versus Human Affection.
  4. How did various Christian groups and denominations get started? Let’s examine a few passages of Scripture for a clue as to how this happened, and, if it should have happened. Click to see our Growth page, The Origin Of Christian Denominations.
  5. This is a sequel to the above article explaining the cause and the cure for this present world of darkness and confusion. Click to see our Growth page, Our Only Hope In This Darkened World.
  1. Other Website pages to refer to:
  1. Contending For The Faith Or Gospel is required by church leaders. Click to see website page, Basic Instruction For The Local Church
  2. Our prayer is for the local shepherds, that God would give them wisdom and discernment in their charge over and feeding of their flocks, and the strength to resist what does not line up with His Word. Click to see website page, The Debilitating Effect Of Tradition.
  1. See the books of First and second Timothy and Titus
  • Fourth Section
  1. Keep the church informed about the dangers Christians face
  1. One-World Government, or New World Order, or Global Governance; they all mean and promote the same thing, the attempt by Satan to gain full control over the whole world.
  1. Do not neglect to familiarize yourself with the deception that is engulfing the whole world. Click to see Growth page, Only Jesus Can Dispel The Darkness That Is Engulfing The World.
  2. Sources to refer to:
  1. There are three sources of information or knowledge available to us: (1) That which God has revealed unto us in the Bible or His Word; (2) the lies which Satan tries to deceived us with; and (3) that which is derived from human investigation either from God's Word and God's creation, or from human investigation into the forbidden demonic spiritual realm. Obviously, to believe or put confidence in anything connected with Satan is the height of foolishness since Jesus has exposed his true character, "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false" (John 8:44b). So anyone who believes what God has said should naturally dismiss Satan as a true source of information. Click to see Growth page, Global Governance Exposed.
  2. "The only global government authorized by God and His Word will be when Jesus Christ returns to planet earth at the second advent and rules the world with a rod of iron from Jerusalem. All other global government, no matter how "benevolent" its intention, is frowned upon by Scripture. Yet, the Bible teaches that God will allow evil to form a global government for three and one-half years during the second half of the tribulation for the purpose of our Lord's global judgment just prior to the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His global rule for 1,000 years upon earth. Thus, current moves toward globalism are preparation for antichrist, not for Jesus Christ, and should be opposed by Bible-believing Christians." The Emerging Global Community, by Dr. Thomas Ice. . . . UPDATE: The above was written in 2005 by Dr. Ice, so he might have a slightly different opinion at the present (Oct. 23, 2010) regarding when this World Government will commence because some information indicates that this system has already been formed, it has just not been fully implemented.
  3. Gary Kah?s book, En Route To Global Occupation, by Huntington House Publishers - 1992
  1. Rival religions, cults, movements, false teachings and practices
  1. 2 Cor. 10:3-6.... For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.
  1. Whenever God starts something, Satan immediately attempts to infiltrate, corrupt, weaken, and eventually destroy (ICWD) it. Shortly after God created all that is, the enemy began his ICWD plan; you can read about it in the third chapter of Genesis. As soon as Jesus began His earthly ministry, the enemy unsuccessfully tried his ICWD plan on Him (Lk. 4:1-13); and as soon and since Jesus established The Church, Satan has been aggressively using his ICWD plan to infiltrate, corrupt, and weaken, with an intense desire to destroy it. Click to see our Growth page entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan.
  1. The previous page to be added to our website was entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan. This page attempts to explain how Satanic deception can be avoided by being of the same mind, and how that can be accomplished. Click to see our Growth page entitled, A Christian’s Proper Manner Of Life.
  1. Gal. 1:1-14; Rev. 2:6, 15, 20-23
  1. Evolution, psychotherapy, (New Age, Purpose Driven and Emerging Church movements), the Positive Confession or Faith movement
  2. Eastern religions, Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, the cults and the occult
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. It is hoped that this article will be a convenient help to enable God's people to recognize and avoid the deception and bondage that Satan intends to bring upon the unwary. Click to see website page, Satan's Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition
  2. When we turn from trusting God to equip us to live, and rely instead on the schemes of men, no matter how educated and well meaning, we have rejected the path to true wholeness. Click to see website page, The Christian's Battle Against Gnosticism
  3. Basically, we could say that Biblical Christianity believes, trusts and relies upon what God has revealed to us in His Word; while Secular Christianity puts more confidence in human ability and understanding, and feels free to disregard or explain away the Word of God. Click to see website page, What Is Biblical Christianity?
  4. "In the 1930s, the reality of influence in the schoolroom spurred John Dewey, the father of American progressive education, to write My Pedagogic Creed. In it, Dewey depicts public education as a massive behavior-shaping tool. Dewey knew that you could sway the beliefs of a whole generation in the classroom and thereby alter the course of a nation." Click to see website page, The Battle For Truth Is Almost Lost
  5. Satan's attacks upon our minds come to us from all directions, but modern twentieth-century psychological counseling/therapy with its roots in occultism has been one of Satan's most potent schemes to lead people away from the truths and help of God's Word. Click to see website page, Spirit, Soul And Body Under Siege
  6. Never before, in the history of mankind, have there been so many and varied themes and schemes for distracting and conforming or shaping the minds of men, that mold or shape our character, or the person that we become. Click to see website page, Who Or What Are You Being Shaped By?
  7. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in this article declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world's wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God's truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World's Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  8. See the website series on "Developing A Biblical Worldview"
  1. Individuals
  1. It is hardly ever pleasant to contend, not even for the faith delivered to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is absolutely necessary and here are some Scriptures that verify the practice. 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Tim 2:15-18, 4:14-15; Titus 1:10-14; Rev. 2:2, 20-23; 3 Jn. 1:9-10
  1. By T.A. McMahon: "The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working out of "benefitting humanity" has compromised biblical faith and dishonored God. Why is that? God's Word gives no commission to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to do so are starting out under a false premise, "...a way which seemeth right unto a man," not God's way. So where can it go from there? "The end thereof are the ways of death," i.e., destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Furthermore, the problems of the world are all symptoms. The root cause is sin." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Shameful Social Gospel.
  2. By T.A. McMahon: "Why am I making an issue of this? Because the world and, sadly, much of the church are caught up in a temporal delusion: clinging to this earth rather than hoping for heaven. It's part of Satan's strategy to deceive the world into building his kingdom. For thousands of years, he has seduced both professing and true Christians into joining his labor force, with the goal of establishing his own religion, which will be headed by his puppet ruler, the Antichrist. As the intensity of his program increases in these last days, particularly in Christendom, the leaven of this apostasy has been deposited in all theological camps: charismatics, Calvinists, conservatives, liberals, Pentecostals, Baptists, left-leaning Christians, supporters of the Emerging Church Movement, promoters of the "social gospel," et al." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Temporal Delusion.
  3. The choices we make direct our path and our life toward a particular destination for either good or evil. God’s Word tells us the right choices to make, but unfortunately, some people and organizations, who are recognize or believed to be Christian, have compromised God’s Word and have brought confusion and deception into the Church. Click to see Growth page, Our Choices Can Tremendously Effect Our Life.
  4. How can we possibly hope to have confidence and be committed to Jesus unless we are convinced that we can completely rely upon Him and what He has declared. To find out, click to see Growth page, We Need To Know Him, In Order To Trust Him.
  5. The apostle Peter’s second letter gives us some good advise about what to be aware of and watch for when we attend church. Click to see Growth page, Peter’s Warnings And Encouragement.
  1. Retain Biblical Basics
  1. Spiritual rebirth, God’s salvation plan
  1. What Spiritual rebirth is; why it is needed; what it accomplishes; and how is it gained.
  2. There is nothing surer in all heaven than the salvation of every person who believes what God has declared in His Word, and trusts and relies upon Christ Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior; thus having the death penalty that he deserved payed for and cancelled by Jesus on the cross of Calvary (1 Cor. 1:30), and justified, declared righteous and put into a right relationship with God by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom. 4:25). We can forsake and forfeit this salvation (Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22), but God never will (Rom. 8:28-39). I’m a born-again child of God only through faith in the salvation provided by Jesus when He shed His blood on the cross to pay for my redemption and rose from the dead for my justification (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 3:24).
  3. Click to see, Spiritual Rebirth.
  1. Stand firm and true to God's Word, Jesus and the Gospel
  1. To prepare God’s people to stand up to this kind of last-days deception that we presently face, our churches and or personal lives need to be patterned after the model that Jesus and Paul established. Click to see our Growth page entitled, Stand Up For Jesus.
  • Fifth Section
  1. Church History, present condition, and Future destiny
  1. The Church that Jesus is building, and its offshoots. In an endeavor to dispel some of the confusion that has caused much concern among God’s people, we will in this series of articles examine God’s Word for some understanding and answers to such questions as: (1) the pattern Jesus gave us to follow when gathering together as His Church; (2) why there are so many offshoots of the original pattern; and (3) what is the basic cause for all the deception and conflicting opinions?
  1. Examine from Scripture how God designed the Church and meant it to be and function. Consider how a church is formed; also who God entrusted with the most information about the Church, and how he received it. Click to see website page, Jesus Said, I Will Build My Church
  2. Learn about the spiritual basics of Biblical Christianity and the invisible Church; how we can learn to live this way; how this enables us to rule and reign with Jesus now; and church structure and functions. Click to see website page, Biblical Christianity And The Invisible Church
  3. Consider some of the many branches or offshoots we have of the originally designed invisible Church that now constitutes the visible churches, and some of the problems this has created. Click to see website page, Offshoots Of Biblical Christianity Or The Visible Churches
  4. Examine a modern controversy, and how and why it developed. Click to see website page, The Basic Cause For Deception In The Churches
  5. See how God will respond to the choices we make, and also the example Paul gave us to live by. Click to see website page, God Makes His Appeal To Us Through The Apostle Paul
  1. Church History
  1. Most church history merely reports the facts known about that segment of Christianity that attached itself to the Roman Empire and then became apostate, and the Reformation that followed. But we need to be aware that there were groups of Christians that refused to go along with the false teachings and practices of the Roman church and remained true to Christ, and then, not only to know but learn to interpret the history of all these groups in light of the Word of God.
  2. The book of Acts
  3. Sources to refer to:
  1. Today there are numerous religions, cults, protestant denominations, movements and written agreements that are moving us back into the failed policies of the dark ages, once again world leaders, secular and religious, are attempting to bring the Church into an allegiance with world government. Click to see Growth page, A Brief Survey of Church History
  2. This is a much longer article, briefly mentioning the whole of history from the very beginning. Click to see website page, The Bible, History And Western Development
  1. Present Condition
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. By reading what Jesus had to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, we can better understand what He expects from us. Click to see website page, Evaluating The Churches
  2. We are very reluctant to consider or attempt to do anything about the truth that many Christians no longer believe in true Biblical Christianity or have walked away from it all together. Click to see Growth page, Why People Are Leaving The Churches
  3. Jesus came to make us law-abiding citizens of His heavenly Kingdom, but most Christians today are trying to apply our spiritual heritage to this earthly realm. Click to see Growth page, What Is The Composition Of American Christianity?
  1. Future destiny
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. Have you ever wondered what this life is all about and what living with God in heaven is going to be like; this is what we will briefly consider in this article. Click to see Growth page, The Reason For Our Present Earthly Existence
  • Sixth Section
  1. Eschatology or end-time events
  1. Daniel chapters 2, 7-12
  2. Matt. chapter 24
  3. 2 Peter chapter 3
  4. Revelation
  1. One world government, economy and religion under the antichrist
  1. Rev. chapters 13-14, 17-18
  1. The thousand-year Millennial reign of Christ
  1. Rev. chapters 19-20
  1. The Eternal state
  1. Rev. chapters 21-22
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. In the following article we will try to establish where we are in this plan of God's, and some of the details of it. Click to see website page, How Far Along Are We In God's Plan?
  2. The very first thing that Jesus mentioned that will be characteristic of this period leading up to and including the end is deception. Click to see website page, The Beginning Of The End
  3. The events leading up to the Antichrist's end-time exploits. Click to see website page, The Role Of Antichrist
  4. Prophecy is a very difficult and imprecise discipline, but since about one-quarter of the Bible is prophecy and we have every reason to believe that God gave it to us to understand and be encouraged by, we should spend a corresponding amount of time in an attempt to discover the true meaning of it. Click to see website page, A Brief Look At The Book Of Revelation
  • Seventh Section
  1. Obedience to God can bring trouble and persecution
  1. Matt. 10:21-39, 24:9-13; Mark 13:9-13; Jn. 7:7, 15:18-25
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The Roman Empire persecuted the early Christians mainly because they refused to participate in their religious activities and worship the gods of the empire; the global system being formed today will do the same thing for the same reasons. Click to see website page, The Reasons Christians Have And Continue To Be Persecuted
  2. As people increasingly become as Jesus described in Matthew 24:9-14, it will become extremely difficult to live as the Lord would have us to. It is easy to love kind and generous people, but when they begin to malign, deceive, cheat and mistreat you it is much more difficult. Click to see website page, Prepare Yourself For Difficulties
  1. Comfort and encouragement in difficult times
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The way that we learn to trust and be comforted is to read and meditate upon what He has promised us until it becomes a firmly held conviction in our heart that dispels all fear because we know that God is in complete control and nothing escapes His notice, and that He does indeed care about us affectionately. Click to see Growth page, Comfort In The Midst Of Difficulties


Evaluating The Churches

There are those who believe that our Lord, in instructing John to write the following messages to the seven churches, has outlined Church history from it’s very beginning to the time when it will be caught up to be with Him, just before He sends judgement upon the world. Although there may have been many other churches, some bigger and more prominent, He probably chose these particular churches because they were a good representation of the dangers that we could expect and that we should avoid. This is why our Lord pronounces a blessing upon those who read, hear, and keep themselves true to His instructions (Rev. 1:3). To each church He says "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." What He said concerning each individual church was most certainly true, but it may also describe the progressive periods of Church history in the order in which Jesus addressed these churches, as well as a sample of what we can expect to find at any given time period. When we examine each of the seven letters to the seven churches we find that in five of them there is a mixture of good and evil, and that they progressively become worse until we find the Lord Himself outside the last church knocking in an attempt to get back in. This should only be considered as the general condition of the majority of Christendom, and not for the whole of it.

From the New Scofield Reference Bible KJV:

The messages to the seven churches have a fourfold reference: (1) local, to the churches actually addressed; (2) admonitory, to all churches in all time as tests by which they may discern their true spiritual state in the sight of God; (3) personal, in the exhortations to him "who hath an ear," and in the promises "to him who overcometh"; and (4) prophetic, as disclosing in two areas the phases in the spiritual history of the church: (a) a pattern that has been repeated again and again through the centuries; and (b) the progress of its spiritual state until the end of the Church Age. It is incredible that in a prophecy covering the church period there should be no such foreview. These messages must contain that foreview if it is in the book at all, for the Church does not appear on earth after 3:22. Again, these messages by their very terms go beyond the local assemblies mentioned. It can be seen that Ephesus (2:1-7), though a local church in the apostle’s day, is typical of the first century church as a whole; Smyrna (2:8-11) characterizes the church under persecution, e.g. from A.D. 100-316; Pergamum (2:12-17), "where Satan’s throne is" (2:13; cp. 2:14-15, and notes), is suggestive of the church mixing with the world, e.g. in the Middle Ages; Thyatira (2:18-29) reveals how evil progresses in the church and idolatry is practiced; Sardis (3:1-6) is representative of the church as dead, yet still having a minority of godly men and women, as during the Reformation; Philadelphia (3:7-13) shows revival and a state of spiritual advance; and Laodicea (3:14-19) is illustrative of the final state of apostasy which the visible church will experience.

From Seiss’s Apocalypse, Rev. 4:1:

In applying the seven epistles to the successive periods in the history of the Church, a succession of pictures of growing apostasy and defection was exhibited, so contrary to current feelings and ideas, that some, perhaps, might be disposed to question the correctness of the interpretation. Some may perhaps think, that if the tendency of the professed Church is ever downward, then the Church must be considered a failure, and the Gospel regarded as inadequate to its purposes. I had not overlooked these bearings of the subject. It is also due to the truth, and to such as are honestly perplexed in adjusting our expositions to the general scheme of Providence and Revelation, that something more should be said.

Observe, then, in the first place, that so far as regards the history of the Church hitherto, it is a simple matter of fact that its course has always been in the line of deterioration; that mischiefs of different sorts have successively assailed it, and made sad havoc of its faith and life; and that from no one of them has it ever recovered, or given signs of its ability or destiny to recover. In a recent course of able Lectures on the Ages of Christendom, I find it announced, as the result of a faithful induction of the facts, that "Ecclesiastical history is, to a large extent, a history of corruptions." . . .

But I may not dwell longer upon this topic now. Whatever defections or judgments befall the nominal Church in any age, this is true, and clearly foreshown in these epistles: that God is never without His witness upon the earth. With all the waning love, and false apostles, and Nicolaitan practices of Ephesus, there were some who could not bear those who were evil; and who endured, labored and suffered for the name of Jesus, and whose fidelity is to be rewarded with the joys of Paradise. With all the poverty and tribulation and reproach of the Smyrnaotes, and the false ones of Satan's synagogue by whom they were afflicted, there were some rich in grace, faithful to the last, and destined to wear the crown of life, unhurt of the second death. With the proximity of the Church of Pergamos to Satan's throne, and the presence in it of the advocates of adulterous alliances, and systematizers of usurpation and evil, it had members who held fast to the Saviour's name, and kept the faith steadfast unto death, who are to receive of the hidden manna, and feast on heavenly bread, and wear the engraved gem of celestial privilege and honor.

Even in Thyatira, where Jezebel herself enacted her damning uncleannesses, there was a remnant who kept aloof from Satan's depths, and done the deeds of faith and charity, and made good their title to share in the judgment of nations, and to receive the morning star. The dearness of Sardis was not so pervading, but a few names were left which had not defiled their garments, which had received the truth, and taught it, and lived it, and which are to walk with Christ in white, and to be confessed in heaven. The Philadelphians, though but a handful in the midst of false ones, and dwellers among those too much at ease in worldly comfort, are still a band of earnest brothers, on whom the doors cannot be shut, at whose feet Satan's synagogue shall be humbled, and who are to be kept out of the trying hour, transferred to the celestial temple, and adorned with the name of God, and the new Jerusalem, and the new name of Christ himself. And in among the sickening lukewarmness, pride, boasting and emptiness of the Laodiceans, there are some chastened ones whom Jesus loves, and some who hear His voice, and open unto Him, and sup with Him, and whose destiny is to sit with Him on His everlasting throne. And if in these seven pictures the whole length of the Church's history is embraced, the fact stands out, in noonday clearness, that God has His saints in every age.

When we survey the characteristics of our times-the unrighteousness, the avarice, the lustfulness, the untruthfulness, the hypocrisy, the impiety, the crime, the hollow-heartedness, and the untold hidden iniquities which prevail in all circles of Church, business and State; when we consider the wickednesses which are perpetrated by people who call themselves Christians, and the shameless worldliness of professors of religion, and the wreck of all distinctive doctrinal belief, and the prostitutions of the house of God and the sacred desk itself to vanity, politics, selfishness, sensuality, and base trickery in the name of Jesus; when we look at the insubordination which is left to run riot in the great majority of so-called Christian families, and the secret vices and concealed blood-guilty crimes of so-called Christian husbands and wives, and of the utter moral emptiness, headiness and incontinence of the mass of the busiest and noisiest modern religionists; when we contemplate the goings forth of sin in these days, like Death on the pale horse, with hell following in its train, and come to count up the names of those in our congregations whom we can confidently set down as true and thorough saints of God-we are sometimes tempted, with the Psalmist, to say, "All men are liars," and to doubt whether God has not resigned His dominion over mankind, and abandoned them to be drifted, by the whirlwinds of their own passions, to irremediable ruin.

But, with all the hard things which we are in honesty and fairness compelled to write against the present population of Christendom, God has not left Himself without witnesses, and still has His true people, who have not kissed their hands nor bowed their knees to the reigning idolatry of the times. Earthy and vile as the congest may be, there is gold in it, as there was an Enoch and a Noah in the generation before the flood, and a Lot even in Sodom itself. Amid all Christianity's corruptions, there has always been some standing out against them. The pure ideal has never failed to produce some proximate realization of itself. Dreary as the annals of the Church appear, both in prophetic and historic records, the student of them still finds his path skirted with spiritual verdure; and in the distant scenery, examples of faith, purity, love, heroism, devotion and obedience, are never once entirely out of view, the loveliest often being found in the by-paths, and encountered where they would be least expected. (End of quote from The Apocalypse: Exposition of the Book of Revelation, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1998 by Biblesoft)

REVELATION 2:1-29.... TO THE angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him Who holds the seven stars [which are the messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, Who goes about among the seven golden lampstands [which are the seven churches]: I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars. I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary.

4But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent. Yet you have this [in your favor and to your credit]: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself also detest. He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. [Gen. 2:9; 3:24.]

The Ephesian church could well illustrate the period of the Apostles and early Church fathers of the first two centuries. It was a time of vigorous activity to keep the Church free of wicked men and false teachings, but all that busy engagement had a tendency to cause them to neglect something even more important -- devotion to Christ. The first step away that eventually lead to the apostasy that the Church is now in, was neglect of a proper love relationship to Christ -- when hearts become more attracted to someone or something else. Unless Jesus is our first love we cannot be true witnesses for Him nor can we reflect His light to the world and thus our candlestick is removed, therefore God calls us to repentance.

It is quite possible that what Jesus meant by their "abandoning the love they had at first" was the tendency to become more interested in the work they were doing for Christ than they were in Christ Himself. Then what is being done becomes our work and our church instead of the Lord’s work and church. Many times it truly has become the work of men, instead of being lead and empowered by the Lord in the things we do, too often it is nothing more than the efforts of men for their own glory and not for the glory of God. Jesus is Lord, and that means that He is the one that is to direct and approve all our activities, we are not to attempt things on our own without Him.

Some think that the Nicolaitans were those who crept into the Church and usurped authority and titles of lordship over God’s people, calling themselves bishops and priests. This tendency was evident in the early church and became an increasing problem down through the ages. Those who are able to overcome these worldly tendencies will be granted to eat of the tree of life.

JOHN 14:15.... If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.

8And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Smyrna write: These are the words of the First and the Last, Who died and came to life again: [Isa. 44:6.] I know your affliction and distress and pressing trouble and your poverty--but you are rich! and how you are abused and reviled and slandered by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proved and critically appraised, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life. [Rev. 3:10,11.] He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). He who overcomes (is victorious) shall in no way be injured by the second death.

Jesus found no fault with this church, not even their physical distress and poverty. It is very likely that the ten days referred to in the above passage by our Lord relate to the worst of all the persecutions, under Diocletian, that lasted for 10 years.

12Then to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Pergamum write: These are the words of Him Who has and wields the sharp two-edged sword: I know where you live--a place where Satan sits enthroned. [Yet] you are clinging to and holding fast My name, and you did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed (martyred) in your midst--where Satan dwells.

14Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people there who are clinging to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap and a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [to entice them] to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and to practice lewdness [giving themselves up to sexual vice]. [Num. 25:1,2; 31:16.] You also have some who in a similar way are clinging to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [those corrupters of the people] which thing I hate. Repent [then]! Or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it. [Ps. 78:24; Isa. 62:2.]

The teachings of Balaam are probably referred to as an example of the progressive deterioration that was happening, it is interesting to note that while the Ephesian Church resisted the works of the Nicolaitans, the Pergamum church allowed those who held to these practices to remain a part of their church.

18And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, Who has eyes that flash like a flame of fire, and Whose feet glow like bright and burnished and white-hot bronze: [Dan. 10:6.] I know your record and what you are doing, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your recent works are more numerous and greater than your first ones.

20But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols. [1 Kings 16:31; 2 Kings 9:22,30.] I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so. Take note: I will throw her on a bed [of anguish], and those who commit adultery with her [her paramours] I will bring down to pressing distress and severe affliction, unless they turn away their minds from conduct [such as] hers and repent of their doings. And I will strike her children (her proper followers) dead [thoroughly exterminating them]. And all the assemblies (churches) shall recognize and understand that I am He Who searches minds (the thoughts, feelings, and purposes) and the [inmost] hearts, and I will give to each of you [the reward for what you have done] as your work deserves. [Ps. 62:12; Jer. 17:10.] But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the depths of Satan, as they say--I tell you that I do not lay upon you any other [fresh] burden: Only hold fast to what you have until I come. And he who overcomes (is victorious) and who obeys My commands to the [very] end [doing the works that please Me], I will give him authority and power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a sceptre (rod) of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, and [his power over them shall be] like that which I Myself have received from My Father; [Ps. 2:8,9.] and I will give him the Morning Star. He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

REVELATION 3:1-22.... AND TO the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Sardis write: These are the words of Him Who has the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] and the seven stars: I know your record and what you are doing; you are supposed to be alive, but [in reality] you are dead. Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight. So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.

4Yet you still have a few [persons'] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy and deserving. Thus shall he who conquers (is victorious) be clad in white garments, and I will not erase or blot out his name from the Book of Life; I will acknowledge him [as Mine] and I will confess his name openly before My Father and before His angels. [Ps. 69:28; Dan. 12:1.] He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

The highlighted portion above seems to indicate that God writes the name of every person born into this world into the book of life, and that it remains there until such a time as this person has shown himself to be beyond redemption. There are other portions of Scripture that seem to indicate that at some particular time the names of those who receive Christ as their Lord and Savior are entered into the book of life, but this is probably referring to the fact that their name is still there.

7And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the Holy one, the True one, He Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shall shut, Who shuts and no one shall open: [Isa. 22:22.] I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name. Take note! I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and learn and acknowledge that I have loved you. [Isa. 43:4; 49:23; 60:14.] Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name. [Isa. 62:2; Ezek. 48:35.] He who can hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

As with the church at Smyrna, Jesus finds no fault with this church, not even it’s lack of power. It’s also interesting to note that Jesus promises to keep them safe from an hour of trial that would come upon the whole world at a future date, probably referring to the Tribulation period. This is the sixth church, the one immediately preceding the seventh and last church of Laodicea – the apostate church of the end times. The instructions that Jesus gives to this church are for us today in order for us to avoid the great apostasy of the now forming Laodicean church. His instructions are that we should keep His Word and hold fast to what we have been given in order to avoid the deception that would rob us of our reward.

14And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation: [Isa. 55:4; Prov. 8:22.] I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. [Hos. 12:8.]

18Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. [Prov. 3:12.] Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me. He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne. He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

This is the condition that we find in most of the churches of today, believing that prosperity through worldly practices is acceptable with God, but ignorant of their true spiritual condition.

What does all this mean to us, and what lessons can we draw from these descriptions of the churches and benefit from?

1. The church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7): The first century Church

2. The church in Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11): The persecuted Church

3. The church in Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17): The Church that began to live to close to the world. I know where you live--a place where Satan sits enthroned.

4. The church in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29): The Church of the popes

5. The church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6): The dead Church of the popes before the Reformation

6. The church in Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13): The Reformation Church that escapes the Tribulation period:

We must be careful that we are not drawn by the appealing and deceitful practices of the Laodicean church or present apostate Christendom are promoting. The danger is great, and the call of Christ is to come out from among them – not to join them (Rev. 18:4). For a list of the dangers to avoid see this website’s page, Satan’s Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition.

7. The church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22): The Church that goes into the Tribulation