And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. -- Ephesians 4: 11-16 (ESV)
The church is so lost today it cannot get out of its own way when it comes to understanding Scripture. There is an unhealthy obsession in church leadership with America. Leaders fail to realize that what they see as Eden, God sees correctly as Sodom. The church has a fanciful and romanticized vision of "reviving" a country that was never alive to begin with. I have written this before but it bears repeating. The United States of America may indeed be the best experiment in the history of carnal nations but it remains a carnal nation. That does not make it Christian, nor does it mean we ever were. As someone who used to teach American History and has also taught the Bible, let me assure you that at no point in our history were we under covenant with God. We are not the same as Israel. The church of Jesus Christ is represented throughout the entire world. Quite frankly America has become a bastion of false teaching that is crippling the body of Christ throughout the world. Today we are going to take a biblical look at the church, this government, and the correct roles of each in these last days. This is vitally important because candidate Trump has called for a repeal of the Johnson Amendment. While nearly all in Christian leadership applaud such a notion it only goes to further prove their ignorance to Scripture because such an act may very well be the impetus to bring about the one world church that is prophesied about in Revelation.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence ofthe beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. -- Revelation 13: 11-15 (ESV)
Beloved, I think we lose our way so easily in this country because of all the shiny distractions we have. There is a God who created everything and an enemy who wishes to destroy everything. The Bible teaches us that the enemy is stepping up his attacks because he knows his time is short. But just like heaven rejoices when one sinner comes to repentance, the devil must be laughing when he is able to prevent one person from hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which the Bible says is the only thing that can save someone:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. -- Romans 1: 16 (ESV)
Look at the Revelation verses though and you will see that it is indeed the church that will lead the way towards the one world religion. It will make the inhabitants worship the beast. It will perform great signs, even making fire reign down from heaven. It will in fact deceive people into false worship. We are seeing the infancy of this now. How will the church be able to convince its followers to worship false gods? It already does! Portions of the church today lead its followers to worship the false god of money and greed. Others reinforce the worship of pride and ego. Running through many of the false theologies today however is the distorted blending of this world and the church when the Bible makes it clear we are not to be a part of this world at all. Modern purpose driven teachings seek relevance to the culture even though the church is supposed to be a shining city on a hill. Sermons are geared to not challenge people to repent of their sins so as to not offend them. Yet what did Jesus Himself say His Gospel was intended to do?
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. -- Matthew 10: 34-39 (ESV)
We see this blending accelerate as the days pass on. We have seen secular and even sexual songs infiltrate worship in many churches. Andy Stanley, who pastors one of the largest churches in America, recently had a "British Invasion" weekend where sixties songs were performed during worship. Weeks before that he had his worship team performing boy band songs from the nineties, including one about being "turned on" by a girl. The newly disgraced Perry Noble famously had ACDC and Miley Cyrus songs during worship. Besides worship we have seen carnal scheme after carnal scheme to try and attract as many goats as possible under the guise of spreading the Gospel but if you need to compromise the Gospel in order to draw people then you have abandoned God along the way.
The blending we have spoken about so far is a cultural blending. Worshipping God being swapped out for entertainment. Preaching being swapped out for self help and motivation. The revelation verses however reveal that there will also be a blending of the political world and the false one world religion. Ironically one of the things that has strived to prevent such blending is the aforementioned Johnson Amendment. In 1954 then Senator Lyndon Johnson added an amendment to a bill to modernize the tax code that prohibited any 501(C) (3) from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office" or making "contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position." Basically the world was saying to the church -- if you want our tax free status, you cannot be involved in partisan politics. Let's reason together and break this down today. First of all, should the church have even wanted the tax-exempt status?
And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?" But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's." Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at him. -- Mark 12: 13-17 (ESV)
I understand this flies in the face of much of modern churchianity but the answer is no. What churches do by accepting the tax exempt status is they essentially get into bed with the very world the Bible tells us we are not to be friends with. The result then is that the world holds something over us. Jesus here and throughout His ministry was indifferent towards the political powers of His day. They were irrelevant to His message. The second question we must ask though is should we be actively seeking to remove this Johnson Amendment? Once again the answer must be a resounding no. For even though the world may have intended one thing, God always uses everything for His plans and purposes. While the modern church stretches the limits of this law every year and in fact purposefully breaks it with slanted election materials and threats of judgment for voting wrong, the Johnson Amendment is about the only thing that keeps the church and state separated. Just this past week renowned huckster false pastor Kenneth Copeland was caught saying that if Christians did not vote for Donald Trump then God would turn their kids gay. Pastors violate the law every week by speaking out in favor of Trump despite the Bible stating that we are to respect and honor the laws that govern us. It is no wonder they would relish the idea of this amendment being repealed somehow. But what would the end result look like? Now churches have to be somewhat muted but if you allow all speech then where does the Gospel end up in relation to politics? Which leads us to our next question -- should the church be in the business of changing culture and society outside of the Gospel paradigm? According to the key verses the answer is again absolutely not!
The key verses start by teaching us why God has provided the leadership within the church. Why He has provided the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors) and teachers. Was it to tell the sheep how to vote? Was it to teach the sheep how evaluate political candidates? In fact is there anything even remotely concerned with the world at all in these verses? The answer to all of the above is another resounding "no." In fact, a careful reading of these instructions shows that God is only speaking about the church. The role of leadership is to equip the saints. Equip them to do what? Run for office? Debate their friends on Facebook which candidate is closer to God? No beloved. Equip them for the work of ministry. Well then; is the work of ministry to influence culture? To bring Judeo-Christian values back to this country? To advocate for carnal laws to force spiritual truths upon people who do not even know God? Not at all. The work of ministry is to build up the body of Christ. For what purpose does God want the body of Christ built up then? So we can see revival spread across America? So we can change our representative republic into a pseudo-theocracy? No again. God wants the body of Christ built up so we can all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God; to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Well why does God want that then? So we can stand together and take a bold stance against the moral decay of society? No beloved. This has nothing to do with the world. It is so we are not children anymore spiritually, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. By human cunning and craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Yet what do we see today? A church enamored with the world and ignoring the decay within its own walls. Whitewashed tombs which look pretty on the outside but inside are filled with dead man's bones. Churches who will lock arms to demand that a world who does not believe in God behave better while they say nothing about the false gospels and hypocrisy the world sees from the church every single day. A little over a month ago the Christian world exploded in glee when it was reported that Donald Trump may have accepted Christ. Never mind that the candidate himself said nothing of the kind. Never mind that the person who was claiming this was absurd prosperity heretic Paula White. Just this past week at a meeting with Evangelical leaders, Trump joked that the only way he might get to heaven is if he is elected and does a good job. And the leaders of the false church laughed. Like it was funny that a man they claimed is saved thinks he will only get to heaven if he performs well at a job he is unlikely to even win. They laughed.
The key verses make it very plain that the role of the church leadership resides within the walls of the church and deals with assuring correct doctrine. Unfortunately, many in church leadership today wrongly believe in some fundamental bad teachings. Teachings from the New Apostolic Reformation and the Seven Mountains Mandate. These false teachings believe that the church is supposed to prepare the earth for the second coming of Christ by conquering the seven mountains of culture, which include politics and entertainment for example. They actually believe that God cannot send Jesus back until the church accomplishes this. How ridiculously unbiblical and arrogantly absurd. For every minute leadership wastes on trying to influence culture is a minute they did not spend on preaching the Gospel. Beloved, hear me well. We can work and sweat and strive to change laws to better suit our beliefs but that will save absolutely nobody. Remember, only the Gospel can do that. The Great Commission is not to go out into the world and make it a theocracy:
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." -- Matthew 28: 18-20 (ESV)
Step one is making disciples, step two is baptizing them, and step three is teaching them correct doctrine. That is it beloved. We are not called to carnally influence society but rather to spiritually stand apart from them. To offer an alternative to the sinful state that surrounds them. Leaders for the past few decades have tried desperately to try and be hip and relevant to the culture of the world instead of striving to show the world a different path. Granted, it is a narrow path but different altogether from what they see every day. What will the result be if Donald Trump is serious and somehow he manages to repeal the Johnson Amendment? Beloved that is simple to prognosticate based on the foaming at the mouth from the false leadership in the church. They will then use the pulpit to further involve the church in the maters of politics and this world. By default the church will move further away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think any honest reading of the entire canon of Scripture shows that repealing the Johnson Amendment would lead to a further blending of the church with the world, paving the way in fact for the church to promote the very obvious one world church and government we should be standing against. We should not be in bed with the government as we are let alone further that adultery.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- August 15, 2016