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BB2 01The true church is composed of all genuine believers in God, who follow Jesus by doing their best to obey the things he commanded us to do.  It is not a building or a denomination or a religion.

Anyone who believes in Jesus in this way is part of the true church.  Anyone or anything else is not.  We do not hate those who are not part of the true church, but we do hate the hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and lies of those who claim to be the church but are not.  And we hate the spiritual system of the devil which is behind them.

Jesus commended the Ephesian church for this, saying, "This you have, that you hate the deeds of the false apostles, which I also hate." (Revelation 2:6)

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The false church equates itself with God, and their buildings with his service. The delusion is so strong that the name "church" no longer means anything but a building. The name "Christian" usually means some kind of hypocritical, self-righteous church person who goes to that building on Sunday.

The church today bears no more resemblance to Jesus and his disciples than capitalism does to communism.  Yet the church says, "If you aren't doing it our way, then you're wrong." 

How can they be so deceived?  Because they rejected the Truth!  Why do they reject the truth? 

Because it is uncomfortable. "Because they received not the love of the truth for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they might believe a lie." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)

The main lie behind all false religions is that they replace God's righteousness with their own righteousness (i.e. self-righteousness).  Paul said of the religious system in his day, "They have a zeal for God, but not according to the truth. Being ignorant of God's righteousness (in Christ's teachings) and trying to establish their own righteousness (through religious rules) they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:2-3)

Some will say they have no religious rules now, because they're not under the 'law'. But everyone is under some kind of law. They all follow someone's rules.
Take a closer look to see if it's the rules Jesus gave us or if it's the rules their denomination or pastor has made for them.

They say of Jesus' teachings: "I don't have to follow those rules, because I'm under God's grace."  But ask if they can be a Christian and not go to church; if they can be a Christian and break the laws of the land; if they can be a Christian and teach doctrines which are different to their doctrines.  All of a sudden they'll become very religious about following rules; but it's their rules that they are committed to and not the rules that Jesus gave us.

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When you compare the life and teachings of Jesus with what is happening in the churches, you see that the churches have not shared much with the poor.

Instead, they suck the last drop out of the poor to build fancy temples and to live in luxury.  The most popular teaching in the churches today is the "prosperity gospel".  Most will claim that they don't fully support it, because they know it is a damnable heresy; but they turn right around and teach it anyway, saying that wealth is a sign of God's blessing and that poverty is a sign of God's punishment.  They totally ignore the fact that they, the rich, created the poverty by taking from the poor in the first place, to support their own greed. 

The communists say religion is the opiate of the people.  The kind of religion they have seen is exactly that -- a horrible drug that makes the masses oblivious to the needs of mankind.  The religious system likes it this way.  They can control their people better in this stupor.
But the most pitiful part about it is that the vast majority of so-called Christians prefer to be told lies rather than the truth, to be deceived children rather than responsible adults. 

God says, "My own people love to have it so." (Jeremiah 5:31)
The prophet Jeremiah, in a judgment uttered 2,500 years ago against Israel perfectly describes the church today. God said through him: "Among my people are found wicked men.  Their houses are full of deceit.  Therefore they have become fat and waxed rich.  They judge not the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper.  The right of the needy do they not judge either.  The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means.  And my people love to have it so. Shall I not punish them for such things, says the Lord.  Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" (Jeremiah 5:26-31)

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The churchianity system is already spiritually dead but just doesn't realise it.  Soon her buildings will be closed, her pastors will be liquidated, her services banned and her Bibles burned.  And it will be God's judgment on a church which failed to live up to the name by which she was called.

Her buildings will be destroyed for the same reason the Jewish Temple was: to get her eyes off her buildings and back onto the Lord!

BB2 05"The Most High does not live in temples made with hands." (Acts 7:48)

"God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

"So trust not in lying words, saying The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these." (Jeremiah 7:4)"

Those who claim to be God's people have forgotten their maker and build temples. But I will send a fire upon their cities, and it shall devour their palaces." (Hosea 8:14)

Too many have tried too many years to patch up the old church system.  Yet the great revolutionaries from Noah to Christ had to totally do away with the old and start anew.

Jesus refused to compromise with the Pharisees. He attacked them head-on, saying, "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  You wash the outside of your cup and platter, but inside they are full of extortion and excess; You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful outwardly but are full of dead men's bones and all sorts of uncleanness. I tell you the truth, publicans and prostitutes will go into the kingdom of heaven before you!"
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The devil's reaction to God's revolution is always a system-preserv-ing compromise.  He will ask us to wait, to negotiate, to lay down our weapon (the Truth) lest we offend people, and all for the purpose of stalling while he continues to work behind the scenes to destroy us.
But God has never been for reformation of the old rotten carcass.  He wants to bury it and resurrect a completely new person.

Jesus said, "No one puts a piece of new cloth on an old one; otherwise the new piece will tear away from the old piece.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will expand and burst the skin and be spilled and the skin will perish.  But new wine must be put into new bottles (or skins), and both will be preserved." (Luke 5:36-38)

In Bible times wine bottles were made of leather.  The leather would stretch when it was new.  As new wine fermented, the skin expanded with it.  But if old wine was left in the skin for too long, it would harden.  An old wine skin, or old "bottle" would crack if you tried to pour new wine into it.  Jesus taught that the old wine of religious tradition is addictive, and those who are hooked on their denominations will never be able to appreciate the new wine. (Luke 5:39)

What God is doing today takes "new bottles" who are not restricted by denominational ties. These new bottles have a new loyalty to Christ alone. And Christ gives them his new wine.

Our relationship with the church

There are many stages of growth in Christian faith.  Sincere people can be trapped in false folds under false shepherds, or wandering about dazed and lost, sometimes even under sincere shepherds who are trying themselves to find the right fold.

When we say "Let the dead bury the dead," we mean don't go out of your way knocking on church doors to revive them.  But if they come asking for help, we should do all we can to help them, as Jesus did with Nicodemus.

Jesus said, "I have other sheep which are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one fold and one shepherd." (John 10:16)

The one fold is the kingdom of heaven. The one shepherd is Jesus. Our fellowship is just a part of that bigger body.  If we limit our vision to just ourselves, we cease to be a part of the kingdom of heaven, and we became a part of the false church, which is more loyal to itself than to God.
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Jesus talked about a field that contained both good plants and weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30)  He said to leave the weeds alone, because in trying to pull them up, you could easily damage the good plants.  Sometimes we have to take that approach with people from other religions.

Don't rush into telling them what you think is wrong with their doctrines or with their leaders.  Just concentrate on loving them and, as opportunities arise, offer them a little more truth than they already have.  God's Spirit will convict them about specific errors if you will work on winning their hearts through love.

But even the parable of the good plants and the weeds said there would come a time ("the time of the harvest") when the weeds (or lies) would have to be destroyed.

In trying to help people in false churches and false religions, we must be careful not to let their errors confuse our spirit.  
And we must watch for opportunities to show them a better way. We must not compromise our convictions or water down our message; and above all, we must stay dropped out.
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