Where Does Christ Say We Worship, and Who?
In the Garden, a type of Temple personified, you had a man and his wife created in purity by God, and they walked with God in this paradise, worshiping (serving) God in tending to the work they were called to do: reproducing offspring and teaching them to plant gardens to cover the earth with beauty. Basically they were to re-imagine what God had done with them, and continue to follow His pattern and plan. In other words, be His imagers. After all, isn’t that the same thing Jesus asks; follow His example; imitate what He demonstrated? Yeah, God is unchanging.
But after the fall of man, and the knowledge of good and evil, the desire for self-definition of what is good or bad, man began to do his own thing. In Jewish teaching, the fall of man took place in three parts:
1) the fall of Adam in Genesis three, with Adam being excommunicated from God’s paradise,
2) the sin of the Watchers in Genesis six, (the angels that sinned with human women, bringing forth forbidden giant offspring, and then taught men more forbidden knowledge) which brought the flood, and
3) the fall of Babel (Babylon) in Genesis eleven, where all humanity, except a few were abandoned to their own desires by God.
What is interesting about Genesis 11 with the fall of Babel is that men had become self-sufficient and self-righteous in their own sight, so they had dreamed up their own way to “worship” God, altogether minimizing the commands of God, in how He demanded to be worshiped. So….they were unified in the pursuit of their own vision in building a tower in the name of God, that would in the process make a “name for themselves” in the earth. Can you say “be the Relevant Church?” Sound familiar today? Church “our way!!”
So…. God says,
Genesis 11:4 Then they said, “Come, letʼs build ourselves a city and a tower with its top unto God so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.”
What was the command of God? Be fruitful and multiply, and cover the entire earth. They resisted this command, and vowed to stay in one place, but….still “have church”, just not in the fashion God had laid out. You know, worship God against God’s word? See the deception and self- centeredness? Is it possible to please God without faithfulness to His word? Nope.
Hebrews 11:6: “Now without faithfulness it is impossible to please Him, for the one who approaches God must believe that He exists and is a rewarder of those who are diligent to seek Him.”
So, can one casually seek God and be rewarded? Can we have church our own way, declaring that it’s about God by invoking His name, yet being in direct disobedience to His word and order for His assembly, and be right with Him? To invoke the name of God without departing from the flesh and it’s self-willed nature is damning. The moral Law of Moses said it this way….
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God (upon you) in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name (upon them) in vain.
Paul paraphrases the command this way……
2 Timothy 2:19 However, Godʼs solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.”
So, are the so-called “churches” who are allowing unscriptural order, exalting instead the socially relevant things, pleasing people, and compromising the message of Christ and the Apostles, really God’s people? Absolutely not! That is far from what the word of God says. And anyone supporting those tower churches who do that bid godspeed to them, and are called the enemies of righteousness.
In Acts 13, the Apostle Paul was seeking to lead a man through the gospel who was seeking truth. There was a man known as Elymas the sorcerer, who was trying to subvert Paul’s message, the true message of Christ, and Paul says this….
Acts 13:10 and (Paul) said, “You who are full of all deceit and all wrongdoing, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness - will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?”
This truth applies to ALL who teach falsity, and every message that would hinder the true gospel from reaching any human heart who was seeking. The fact is, a false Jesus message is just as wicked as preaching another religion. Do you realize that when you hold what the scripture actually says up to evangelical modern “christianity”, it is an altogether different message, with a thousand denominations, each having their own little pet false teachings, trying to distinguish their tower from another’s. Yeah I said it. This goes for so-called pastors whose message is contrary to what was delivered by Jesus and the Apostles. But you might say, “But this guy Paul addressed was a witch, not a preacher!”
“Oh! foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
Is not Paul declaring that false teachers are operating in a spirit of witchcraft and deception? Do they not cast a spell on the eyes of those who receive their words? Do they not lead people into blindness of the truth, by putting filters on the mind, causing them to accept an interpretation of the text that is lost on the true context in which it was given??? No matter how you dress it, it is still wickedness and not submitted to Christ, and leading others into error. What did Jesus warn of more than any other thing?
Matthew 7:15-21 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheepʼs clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. “Not everyone who says to me, ʻLord, Lord,ʼ will enter into the kingdom of heaven - only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Does their teaching align with the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles? If not, the fruit is lacking. What is fruit referring to?
Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit.”
So…. Jesus says that only those who do the will of God are His ministers. Hmm. And Paul says that those who belong to Christ kill their flesh desires and refuse to be ruled by them. They actually obey God. And he goes on to say that “walking in the Spirit” equals behaving in accordance with the Spirit. Wow! There’s some Captain Obvious for us!! But isn’t it amazing how many refuse this teaching. Why? The true message costs them something. They actually will have to suffer for His name!!!
If anyone reading this doesn’t see American church as clear as day in this, they must be blind. Everywhere you look in America, there are Towers built in God’s name, and there are very, very, very few truly Christ-centered, submitted churches that actually believe, teach, and apply the scripture to govern the assembly and personal lives. This fact is evidenced by the utter lack of genuine desire in tower attending congregants to rightly know the scripture across the board. They don’t care, don’t want to discuss it, and will tell you they don’t have time to take out of “their lives” to give to it.
There are winds of doctrine blowing everywhere like a cyclone, and God is not found in them. God is a still small voice whispering, and a few with ears to hear are really hearing what His Spirit/Word is truly saying. What is the Spirit saying? Absolutely nothing apart from what the scripture has already recorded. Because the Spirit and the Word are one and the same. You do not have the Spirit if you do not desire the Word.
John 6:63 “The Spirit is the One who gives life; human nature is of no help! The Words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.”
John 3:34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for he does not give the Spirit sparingly.
So we see that the Spirit and the Word are One with each other. So then, ask yourself: “Is a church that uses people in visible roles based on speaking, singing, teaching, or musical “talent”, that do not meet the scripture’s commands for church leadership, that have not sat under true biblical leadership in submission for an extended period of time to be proven, nor behave in accordance to the biblical commands for modesty and submissive behavior toward the teaching of Christ, and do not model to others in sacrificial financial giving, as commanded in the New Covenant, nor show a strong understanding and desire for the written word…. Are these Towers or Temples that are being built? If the “pastor” is preaching the sinner’s prayer, a message nowhere modeled, nor taught anywhere in all of the holy text, and he is teaching worldly prosperity, such as in the Word of Faith form dominating the airwaves, that is in total opposition to Christ’s message of condescension of status and self-denial, and preferring the needs of others above yourself, is that a false prophet seeking to build a Tower of Babel, or is it a godly Temple being promoted? Is he a “preacher” who throws out a verse or two of text, then talks randomly for thirty minutes about everything except the work of breaking down the scriptures in context, as is the role of preachers , in order to equip the saints of God for their own understanding,…. is he a false prophet seeking a Tower of Babel, or is He a builder of the Temple of Christ. Let’s let the text tell us…….
So what distinguishes between a “false church” that is building a Tower like Babel of its own design, from the true church that is building men and women to be biblically sound disciples, equipped to spread and defend the true message?
In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul gives a discourse on why Christ instituted what is called the “five-fold ministry” of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, and what these roles ultimately are responsible in doing. So let’s unpack this portion of scripture a little.
Ephesians 4:11-16 It was He who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God - a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christʼs full stature. So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love.“
So, Jesus instituted this new head priesthood, under Himself, to equip the saints for their own work in the ministry of the Kingdom of Christ. Tell me, can you be equipped to serve Jesus and be ignorant of the truth of His word? Can you even know Jesus apart from knowing His word? The scripture says no!! Can Jesus be in a heart where His word doesn’t live and reign? No. Jesus said…
John 8:31 - "Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples.."
So is praying the heresy called “The Sinner’s Prayer” going to bring salvation to anyone? No. Is the heresy of “Once Saved Always Saved” supported by scripture? No. It’s a nice fantasy though. But the truth is, it is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that desires those things to be true, because they come from the carnal. fleshly mind, and not from the Spirit of God. Those doctrines are born of a self-centered spirit that wants self-justification for loving the flesh nature and wanting to indulge its appetites, yet still obtain eternal life without personal cost.
But Paul goes on to point out something brought to my attention through a scholar friend recently. Paul states that these five spirit-called positions are the only ones who “build” the Temple of God. Maybe that is why Paul says elsewhere that these teachers receive a far more fierce judgment from Christ. They are responsible for the equipping of others in being effective with the word of God, which IS building the Temple. What is the Temple of God in the New Covenant? Men and women who are sold out to Christ; a Temple not built with human hands from rock and mortar, but Saints who are able to go forth individually and live endowed with the knowledge and power to overcome their sin issues through the power of God within them, because the understanding of the Word of God is in them. Those who cannot are not His. They’re deceived by false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers who serve the their own desires for a Tower that builds a name for themselves. They love their titles and the tithes. They love the praise. They love when the people feed from their hands and serve their own vision. They love people who don’t know the scripture for themselves, nor desire to, because those people will do the work that gets them their vision, and all they have to do in return is notice them, placate to their egos, and tell them what they want to hear. That Jesus loves them and He is soooooo merciful, as if His mercy will ever circumvent His Word. Tower Church at its best. Oh, and don’t forget the marquee with the name-tags out front. Super important when building a name!
Paul then talks of the “unity of the faith.” What is that? Well, that means that through the one true teaching that equips saints to be overcomers, that help others to become overcomers, which in turn builds the Temple of God, that everyone will then teach the same doctrine that was delivered by the Apostles and Christ, and all will be cohesive and of one mind, one body, one Spirit, and one baptism into one resurrected Temple of God. How did Paul say this unity comes about in the text? By obtaining the knowledge of the Son of God. He goes on to say that this will create mature Christians who can achieve the full measure of Christ’s stature. In other words, by feeding and teaching the flock of God, those truly hungry for the word, (not church activities and songs and tears and outward shows), they can become Christlike, attaining to walking in true obedience as we have been commanded to do, in order to be counted worthy of being called His disciples.
Who did he say were easily deceived and bewitched by every false mouthpiece speaking to them? Immature children. Look at the last portion.
“But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love.“
How do we grow into Christ-likeness? By practicing the word. “Be doers of the word not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Notice that much overlooked facet that says “As each one does his part. But wait, I thought works wasn’t a part of it and Jesus has done it all for us? No, that’s that “other Jesus”, false gospel.
But Paul says “in love.” I don’t know about you, but when I hear people say “You just gotta love ’em like Jesus”, “Come alongside”, or “You just gotta love people”, I cringe to the core, realizing I’m once again dealing with another immature person deceived by those “winds of doctrines” Paul speaks of. I often confront it and ask them, “Well how does Jesus love them? Show me in the text where He loved in the context in which you insinuate?” You know what happens? They freeze most often. Number one, they can’t walk you through the Bible in any capacity, other than proof-texting memory verses, and those verses are horribly pulled out of context. Number two, the Bible nowhere shows the kind of Jesus image they are promoting, and number three: their entire church existence has been feelings, experiences, and second-hand information, and they’ve never been taught the scripture, nor have they had a desire for that knowledge. They love Tower fellowship in His name, void of studious discipline of any kind, which is where we get the term: discipleship. They are deceived. They unwittingly promote another gospel; the one Paul warned of in Galatians 1, that damns anyone to hell who does so. And they serve another Jesus, like the one Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 11:4.
Galatians 1:6-7 "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel— not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 "But I am afraid lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds may be led astray from the sincerity and the purity of devotion to Christ. For if the one who comes proclaims another Jesus whom we have not proclaimed, or you receive a different spirit which you did not receive, or a different gospel which you did not accept, you put up with it well enough!"
Did you know your experiences, feelings, or things you’ve seen and heard in churches are not trustworthy as proof in being of God? The Word is your only guide. Reject that, and you are lost. Anything the word, in right context, doesn’t approve is false. You cannot work on a Tower of Babel and be accepted by Christ. Do you know what? Most false teachers don’t know they are. They’re just deceived and deceiving others. They think they’re doing right. And heresy spreads like cancer, except this cancer ends in eternal damnation. It’s heartbreaking, but rarely will one repent.
What do I mean by the term “right context?” Below is a meme I posted to social media recently. It points humorously to the fact that “church people”, the promoters of Tower mentality, propagate false doctrine on social media by mishandling the sacred text. They post these proof-texted verses out of context and make the entire message all about themselves, and how their version of Jesus, the false one, is all about their success and financial gain in this world, a.k.a. the beast system. You know, the lust of the flesh (pleasures), the lust of the eyes (materialism), and the pride of life (social status).
The meme is a play on words of Philippians 4:13, saying…”I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” So what is the biblical context from which Paul was actually speaking when he made this statement? Enduring suffering and persecution!!! Boy!!, that’s exciting to the flesh, huh? I bet that would get a shout of praise and thanksgiving in church. Not! Did you know the real Jesus calls us to suffer for Him, not to be elevated in the world and have a material focused, comfy life? Look at this verse of Philippians 4:13 placed back in the context with all it’s brother and sister passages……
Philippians 4:10-19 - "I have great joy in the Lord because now at last you have again expressed your concern for me. (Now I know you were concerned before but had no opportunity to do anything.) I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you did well to share with me in my trouble. And as you Philippians know, at the beginning of my gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in this matter of giving and receiving except you alone. For even in Thessalonica on more than one occasion you sent something for my need. I do not say this because I am seeking a gift. Rather, I seek the credit that abounds to your account. For I have received everything, and I have plenty. I have all I need because I received from Epaphroditus what you sent – a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, very pleasing to God. And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Now we see how different the message is when the context is added? Paul was saying he draws his strength from the hope of Christ when he is in need, being beaten and jailed for preaching the truth, and when he is in boats that break apart in rough seas, and he is cast out in the waves amidst rocks and the elements, in the dark. It has nothing to do with God desiring to get us that big fat raise or promotion, so we can make more money to increase the amount we already don’t give to the needy believers and to the kingdom. So we can upgrade to that new loaded SUV with all the bells and whistles. There’s nothing wrong with things so long as we aren’t giving more to pursuing them than to God!! Notice the last verse, verse 19: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ.” That’s another social media favorite made to be about US getting stuff we want. Again, look at the context. Paul said that because they were doing the obedient thing and gave to the ministry in support of Paul’s work, physical needs, and nourishment. They were open-handed givers. And the return for their obedience is about God providing for their own NEEDS, not greeds. But there are a plethora of false prophet’s in cushy towers across the land promoting this same blasphemous garbage. They appeal to the people, and the people spend on building the tower. $800,000, $6,000,000, or $25,000,000 for a new building, more for ministry jets, and the finest vehicles. For what? Selling a lying message? “I believe if you prayed that prayer you’ve been born again!” I’ve seen churches spend $20k in a year on installing beautiful carpet and $8000.00 in total missionary outreach. The sign out front costs as much or more as the money spent to outreach. And they feel good about that check they wrote to the orphanage or known cause. That took two minutes by one person. But here’s the question: Have we made disciples of those in the pews of the true word of God so that they can go out and do the same for others, or is it an inward focused tower culture, where every kind of devil is tolerated in the name of “loving people”, and church disciplinary scriptures are utterly ignored as “not loving like Jesus?” God help us!
I’m not downing the good deeds, I’m correcting the message behind them. The Freemasons and Shriners do good deeds. The Mormons do good deeds. The Jehovah’s Witnesses do good deeds. But if the message is not the message of Christ’s Apostles, that is all it is: a good deed. It profits false teachers and lying doctrines.
Galatians 1:10 - "For am I now making an appeal to people or to God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Looking back at the Tower of Babel story, everyone who was party in building that Tower was abandoned and cast off by God because it was being built in direct opposition to the Word of God, and His person. Only one man (and his household) was chosen out of all in the area, and his nephew (and his household) as well. The rest were judged, excommunicated by God as blasphemers for rejecting His way, and God appointed the fallen Watchers, who had not gone into the daughters of men, to be their gods. If your church is a tower, and the text clearly defines what is, the question remains: “Will you come out from among them and be set apart for Christ, so that He can be your God, and you His people?”
In Isaiah 52, God has called for the priests of His Temple to come away from Babylon and wash their hands of anything to do with her ways. Paul reapplies this to the Corinthians for their tolerance of false teachings and ungodly disorder. John reapplies it as an entire theme in the book of Revelation, and starkly shows the consequences of eternal separation from Christ for compromising as a professing believer, as a professing church, and for teaching others in conforming to false ways.
Isaiah 52:11 - "Depart, depart, go out from there! You must not touch any unclean thing. Go out from the midst of it, keep clean, you who carry the vessels of Yahweh."
2 Corinthians 6:17 - "Therefore "come out from their midst, and be separate," says the Lord, "and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you"
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or contract any of her plagues.
What does it mean to live “holy”, or in holiness? To live a set-apart life from the world system of compromise, spiritually called Babel/Babylon. What is the price for not?
Hebrews 12:14 - Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.