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There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of religious denominations on earth: each claiming to be the Church of God, the true church, the Remnant church, the sole channel of truth. Their leaders will allow that the Savior has "other sheep" that are not of their fold: but they are quick to add, that those "other sheep" are "lost sheep" and that the Almighty is currently only speaking through them. Others, they will tell you, are sincere - but they are sincerely wrong. Pathetic, farcical, self-deluding, obnoxious, dangerous, call it what you may, that is the current picture of Christian denominationalism and leadership of our day. Anyone with half an eye can see that there is something radically wrong with that kind of reasoning. It is tantamount to saying that the Almighty is working through only one farm on earth and that farm is my farm! The Bible plainly tells us that sectarianism is carnal. The word "carnal" means of the flesh, prompted by human reasoning, something that is not of the Holy Spirit. It adds: to be carnally minded is death. That is why so many denominations are bankrupt and falling apart. Pride goeth before a fall.
In Scripture the Church, YAHUSHUA's bride, is likened to YaHuWaH 's wife, Israel! To be sure the church will have many members, who meet in many congregations: but together they comprise one church, one body, not the hundreds of sects, cults and denominations we see on the religious stage these days. Depending on circumstance church members may assemble in their thousands or in their twos and threes. Also it matters not whether that place of assembly is a magnificent Temple, a village synagogue, a chapel, a private home or a cave in the wilderness: the church is there. The word 'church' comes from the Greek word 'ekklesia' which means 'called out ones.' In other words YAHUSHUA's church is not a building of bricks and mortar. Instead it consists of believers who have been called out of human society to trust and obey His commandments. These believers may, of course, live and work in human society, most of us have no other option, but 'we are called out, morally speaking, to live lives of faith and obedience.' Or, as the Master put it in John:17:16
This calling identifies us as members of the Almighty's church: the only church that He recognizes. YaHuWaH the Father, has chosen a bride for YAHUSHUA His Son. Here are a few texts concerning YaHuWaH 's church. Notice that its members can be found anywhere on Earth, in the wilderness or in a person's home.
Neither the Pope, the Queen of the United Kingdom nor any other mortal being is the head of the church. According to the Scriptures YAHUSHUA the Messiah, is the head the Church. Popes, prelates, arch-bishops and human dignitaries of whatever title delude themselves and others if they vainly imagine that they are the head of the church. They may lead large or small congregations, but most certainly they are not the head of the church. The true church has only one head and that head is YAHUSHUA.
|Matthew 16:||16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living YaHuWaH.
17: And YAHUSHUA answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.
18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
We often refer to physical buildings (cathedrals, abbeys and spire-topped temples where believers worship) as the church. In reality the church is not a physical building. The church is a spiritual structure made up of true believers in whom the Spirit of the Most High has taken up residence. These believers comprise the Temple of YaHuWaH, the Household of Faith, the Church of the Living Elohim. They are the church, they are the Temple of the Holy Spirit The building in which they meet for worship is, by comparison, of minor importance.
Many volumes have been written about the church's name; with scores of denominations jostling with each other to prove that the name they have adopted is the correct one. This reasoning is carnal: because even were a group to hit upon the correct name, that wouldn't necessarily mean that they were the true church; or that all their members were true believers. A name is a proper noun by which a person, an organization or object is known. Designations such as the church of God, the church of Scotland, the church of England, the church of Ireland etc. are, strictly speaking not names, but descriptions. "The Queen's house," for example is not the name of the building in which the queen lives. This term simply describes the building in which the queen lives: it's her house. The correct name of the building is Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. These are names not descriptions. It is the same with the name of the church. The body of believers in various places are mostly called by the name of that place: i.e. the church of Ephesus, the church of Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philidelphia, Laodicea, Babylon etc.; or the church in thy house. These descriptions simply tell us which body of believers were being referred to. They are not names. What, then, is the church's name? I do not know. I am unable to find in Scripture a proper noun which tells me the church's name. What I do know is the church is described in various ways. such as:
|1 Peter 5:||13: The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
|Revelation 1:||11: Saying, I am Aleph and Tav, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
The only church register recognized in the court of Heaven is the Lamb's Book of Life. Only those whose names are on that divine register will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It makes absolutely no difference whatsoever - to your prospects of eternal life - whether your name is in a denominational register or not; no matter how big or powerful that denomination may be: because the only spiritual register heaven acknowledges is the Lamb's Book of Life. This mind-jolting fact must be recognized if you wish to be saved from eternal death! Another astonishing fact is that only the Savior can enter your name in that Book. It belongs to him; and only he can blot out a name once it is has been entered. The Lamb's Book of Life has been in existence since the foundation of the world. It will be seen for the first time by our eyes on the great Day of Judgment. These are unassailable facts.
|Revelation 3:||5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
|Revelation 13:||8: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
|Revelation 17:||8: The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
|Revelation 20:||12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before YaHuWaH ; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
|Revelation 20:||15: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
|Revelation 21:||27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
|Revelation 22:||19: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, YaHuWaH shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.|
When people put their faith in YaHuWaH and begin to obey His commandments, they become members of YaHuWaH 's Assembly, part of the spiritual body of Messiah. Their names are entered in the Book of Life and they are allocated positions in the church. These positions are not a matter of human choice any more than your eye had a choice in becoming an eye; or your hand a choice of becoming a hand. YaHuWaH decides your position according to His own will. It has nothing to do with an individual's preference. This fact must be recognized if you are to be of any use in the church.
7. Your Work
Having received and recognized one's position in the church and one's ability to do a particular work: a believer should make every effort to carry out that duty. Yearning after gifts or positions with which others are endowed is no way to please YaHuWaH or the rest of the church. It is tantamount to saying, YaHuWaH doesn't know what He is doing. I'm qualified for better jobs than those He has given me. I deserve better! This is self-deluding pride. Drop it! Your responsibility is to recognize your own strengths and limitations and to finish the work the Master has given you to do: not to hanker after the positions, privileges and powers of others.
|Mark 13:||33: Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34: For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35: Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning:
36: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37: And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
|John 17:||4: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest Me to do.|
The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as recorded in Numbers chapter 16 is an awesome warning about leaders in Israel who were wiped out by the Almighty for trying to assume a position of authority to which they had not been called and for which they were totally unqualified. Read that chapter - all of it and be warned.
The rebellion of Korah, however, should not be used as a gag to stifle the message of the genuine servant of YaHuWaH. Why, the Master himself, not to mention the long list of prophets, apostles and reformers of old, were all rejected by the mainstream church hierarchy as being unfit to understand and proclaim truth. Had these genuine messengers of YaHuWaH waited for the church's official sanction before proclaiming the truth, the Gospel work would not have gotten very far. They pressed ahead knowing within themselves that they were called of YaHuWaH. The true servant of YaHuWaH will have the following credentials:
In the book of the Revelation the Most High has a message to His church. The number seven signifies the whole church all over the world in every age. If you read chapters one to three you will notice that these messages are all vital. I will very briefly summarize them:
|Revelation 3:||21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
22: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
This then is the Church of Almighty YaHuWaH, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: the church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail (Mt:16:18). It is a mighty spiritual organization that is about to take over the government of the whole earth. Are you a member of this church? I say, you cannot afford not to be. I now summarize this sermon:
Divine messages to the whole church are detailed. They are messages of praise, rebuke, warning and promise. We do well to heed these messages: applying every one of them to ourselves before we apply them to others.