How to create a Religion? Yup! You got it. This will be taken from the words of the Lord Jesus directly this time. These are the words concerning the seven churches. Since the same book in 1:3 claims it is a prophecy (
3 Blessed [is] he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written in it; for the time [is] near.
I also believe that along with most scholars that ALL the book of Revelation is a prophecy and that includes chapters 2 and 3 of this book. So I stand with the majority who believe these 7 "churches" (really ekklesia's) are a prophecy of seven ages. Now remember! I'm talking about the best and the majority!
1st of all what is a religion? It is man trying to reach God or serving God. This is NOT grace which is God reaching and saving and transforming and ….. yeah! It keeps going and going! I think you get the basic picture.
#1. The first thing to cause a religion happened in the early church. It is believed that the massage to Ephesus was to the first century believers. After the decline of those times the result was Smyrna which means suffering myrrh. This situation of persecution lasted for ten emperors of the Roman Empire rulers times (the "ten days tribulation) and was to try to purge the church and bring them back to their first love. The 3rd period of time is in the meaning of the word Pergamos: this means a marriage with the world. This happened when Constantine became the 11th emperor and invited the church to be one with the world and politics. We have always fared better when the world hated us. The 4th period of time which does not end but mentions the 2nd coming of Christ as the rest of the last 4 messages of the Lord do speaks of Thyatira::the Catholic Church. The city name this time means a perfumed sacrifice. Well everyone knows the Catholics burn the incense and have a lot of death. And there is also the matter of idolatry mentioned in this epistle. The fifth age concerns a place called Sardis: which means the remains. Remains of what? Now that is a tough question but here the Lord says they have a living name but says they are dead and there is some things that remain. This is thought by most to be the Protestant Reformation and all the Protestant Churches following. It also will survive until the coming of Christ. The 6th? Philadelphia, which means brotherly love. This refers to the age of the Plymouth Brethren and how they all ministered as brothers and as a result were restored to keeping the word of God and obviously had the love of God restored …. But alas! What did they become? Laodocea, they got away from heart riches into merely head knowledge doctrine riches and became the meaning of the word Laadocea: the opinion of the people.
So now to repeat # 1: what was the main and FIRST cause of creating a religion? Easy! See ADD. 3 House Church Biblical Practices: so here's the answer: #1 Get away from that burning first love toward Christ. This is the first issue in the heart of God. One of today's famous revivals, even though they have the wrong wineskin, have emphasized returning to this love and so it has lasted longer than 5 years!
#2? Work harder for the Lord from a sense of duty! Well? Read that first epistle again. He commended them for their works ,then more work - then the word labor - then after all that if that wasn't enough He said the last were more than the first. No put down for all that from the Lord BUT when you get your heart into these things and it gets away from God Himself and the loving of God there is a problem. OUR WORKS SHOULD ALWAYS PROCEED FROM THE FIERY LOVE TOWARDS JESUS CHRIST WE HAVE WITHIN.
#3? Ignore the chastening hand of God in your life that would turn you to Him.
#4 Receive the doctrine of Balaam in your midst. This is the logical conclusion of works out of duty instead of grace and love: namely: THE ENERGY OF THE FLESH and that done out of flesh instead of out of grace. The result? Less real fruit of course. So who was Balaam? He was a guy who gave his time for money in God's service and got paid for it. When the heart gets away from God there has to be more labor and energy of the flesh to get the same results so what is the answer? You got to hire somebody and pay them with a salary to do the work of the Lord. There was no such thing as a hired salaried guy in century one. It started with Constantine.
#5 Balaam leads to the Nicolaitans, except now the Nicolaitans are not just a practice it is a doctrine. Things start out as a practice but after awhile become a doctrine. Nicolaitans means the ruling class (nico) over the common people (laitans) or laity. Wow! The Lord was right! This has become such a doctrine now that you hear the word layman taught constantly along with our concept of leadership which we surely believe. How? Well, when you need more labor to make "it" happen, whatever "it" happens to be then you've got to come up with a different kind of Christian. One who works for God and earns a living as opposed to one who works for the world and earns his living. So now this leads to a feeling and/or a concept of higher and lower class Christians. And , of course the full time preacher or Christian worker is considered the higher class and better Christian. So WE HAVE A CASTE SYSTEM IN THE KINGDOM! OK, yes we know Paul said the laborer is worthy of his hire but he took a higher road (wow! He must have had his first love: he accomplished MORE than anyone in his time and did not even serve the Lord in his part time! He was not a part time tent maker, he was a FULL time tent maker and served the Lord in His spare TIME! I guess he must have had the right way down and quite an anointing to boot!) but IF there is a traveling man (and that's what they were) who got his money from the people of God he did not get a salary #1 and never asked for it or made his needs known #2.
There's much more to these 2 chapters as spoken by our Lord himself but that's about it as concerns this subject. #'s 3,4 and 5 are not even necessary to extend a religion or maintain it but they sure help out a lot. As you can see most of us were already born again surrounded by these things. They've already been around us for a long time. Recently I found out that there have been those in the Protestant Pentecostal circles blessed of God for over a 5 year period of time and although I believe some of their experiences need more discernment and are way off, listen to what I'm saying: for hundreds of years now there has never been a poured out blessing in an area that has lasted for more than 5 years until just recently. And YES I do agree with you that in the situation right where you are and even if I don't totally agree with the way things are done GOD CAN BLESS! The secret of these Christians? Even though they still have Balaam's salaries and the Nicolaitans works and teachings they have EMPHASIED PERSONAL LOVE FOR JESUS BEING FIRST AND FOREMOST ABOVE WORKS!! HALLELUJAH!! Of course there are thousands literally being saved but that is kept secondary!! As a result the Lord's heart smiles at that! After all who is our God. Is He not mostly all heart? And is not His name and description LOVE?? For another more thorough view of how we got to where we are today into such a shallow dead weak boring Christianity as we have today, please stop and take the time to read Addendum # 2. This is also a must read.
BACK: Chapter 21 FWD: Chapter 23
Copyright © 2001 by Kevin “the NorthWest”. Non-commercial use permitted.
Kevin “the NorthWest”