Discernment

A Tale of Two Churches

Ekklēsía – the Greek word used for the assembled body of Christ. It comes from “Ek” meaning, out from and to, and “kaléō” meaning, to call. In Scripture, it’s used to reference the people called out of the world, by God, and into His eternal kingdom. AKA, the Church. 

In regards to this church, few warnings are given more than those of expected persecution and increasing deception, from a world we no longer belong to. For good reason, we find among these repeated warnings an equal importance placed on faith, truth, obedience, discernment, strength, perseverance. The implications of these concepts are best understood by looking to God’s Word for their biblical context. So I’ve compiled some scriptural references to help paint a picture:

Ephesians 6:12 We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers of darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places

1 John 5:19 The whole world lies in the power of the evil one

1 John 5:4 Everyone who has been born again (of God) overcomes this world

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ

Ephesians 4:11-14 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… so that we may no longer be tossed to and fro… by craftiness in deceitful schemes…

John 15:19 I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you

Hebrews 2:14 Jesus, through death, destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil

1 Timothy 2:6 God has ransomed the believer’s soul from the grips of death

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly

Romans 1:16 The Gospel is the power of God for salvation…

With these truths in mind, is it really any wonder the body of Christ, called out & ransomed, would be outwardly persecuted by a governed world against God? Is it any surprise the Truth of God, as fuel for growth, would also be attacked? No, both are to be expected. Thankfully, we need not fear those who simply kill the body. (Matthew 10:28)

Our enemy knows of his defeat and lack of power over the the soul in Christ. Still, this accuser of the brethren never changes his ways. He is a liar and a murderer, from the beginning! (John 8:44) Persecution & deception are but his limited attempt to destroy the human Family of God, His Church, and the Good News it proclaims. 

E.B. Elliot, in his 1840’s commentary on the book of Revelation says this, “(Christian persecution) originates from the enmity to God of a world lying under the influence of the Wicked One… persecution (is not, however) the worst or deadliest of that great enemy’s weapons against the Christian church itself, through the inter mixture of doctrines of altogether contrary spirit with the pure and holy doctrine of Christ crucified,—this was a weapon of that subtle devil, yet more to be apprehended… The corruption of the church itself.”

What Elliot calls, “contrary spirit,” the Bible calls, “a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel.” (2 Corinthians 11:4) These are the things the un-persecuted church must be watching for. Corruption by way of covert infiltration, as a means to weaken and halt that which is taking ground from the rulers and authorities of darkness. 

D.R. McConnell makes this observation in his book, A Different Gospel, “All heresies have one thing in common: their threat to the church is directly proportionate to the degree in which they appear orthodox. The most dangerous of lies is not the bold-faced lie, for that is easily detected and rejected. A half-truth always does far more damage than a bold-faced lie.” 

These two authors sum up precisely what I believe to be the spirit behind many false churches & religions in the world. One that is dangerous, deadly, deceptive, & demonic. While hundreds of thousands of Christians are persecuted every year, it’s the poison of “almost truth” and “sounds good” that is tirelessly at work against the modern Church, today.

It is through these false teachings and compromised truths, even Bible believing churches are in danger of turning into false places of worship, as many already have.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven… Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Those words are the fate of many claiming to know God, while devils masquerade as angels of light & love, sending out an army of wolves in sheep’s clothing. The mission? To build their own church, one of a different color; a church that is weak at best and completely lost at worst. 

30 Biblical Points to Test the Spirit within Your Church 


The Ekklēsía:

A false church:
Speaks the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15
Avoids offending anyone
Proverbs 26:28, Prov 28:23
Focuses on eternal treasures
Matthew 6:19-21
Promises earthly treasure
Matt 19:24, 1 John 2:16
Warns of sin, judgement & hell
Rom 6:23, 2 Cor. 5:10, Rev 20:15
Everyone goes to heaven
1 Cor 6:9-10
Teaches repentance of sin
Acts 3:19, Luke 13:3, Matt 3:8
Minimizes the need for repentance
Jer 17:9, Rom 3:23
Unpopular with the world
John 15:19
Loved & accepted by the world
James 4:4
Exposes the truth about sin
Ephesian 5:11, Gal 6:1, 1 Cor 5:12
Overlooks sin, rarely rebukes/ corrects
1 John 3:4, 6, 9, John 3:20-21
Expects persecution
2 Tim 3:12, Matt 5:10, Luke 6:22
Expects our best life now
Romans 8:18, 1 Peter 5:4, 10, Col 3:4
Divides when necessary
Luke 12:51-52, 2 Cor 6:14
Promotes universal unity/ tolerance
Matt 10:37, 1John 5:19, Titus 2:12, 1John2:15
Exalts God’s will
John 6:38, Matt 6:10, Eph 5:17
Exalts man’s authority
Proverbs 19:21, Prov 16:5, 18, Gal 6:3
Warns of false teachers & gospels
Matt 24:24, 2 Cor 11:3-4
Embraces or ignores false teachers
2 Tim 4:3-4, Rom 16:17-18, 1 John 4:1
Magnifies God’s word as truth, power, life
John 17:17, 2 Tim 3:16, John 10:35, Heb 4:12, Matt 4:4
Magnifies experience & opinion over the Word
Psalm 81:12-14, Rom 8:5-7
Denies self, lays down life for God
Matt 16:24-25, Matt 10:38, Col 3:5
Encourages love for self & self
gratification Gal 5:24, James 1:14
Powerful God centered Gospel message, includes judgement/ wrath/ man’s complete depravity Romans 1:16, Job 28:28Weak man centered Gospel message, dismisses judgment/ wrath/ man’s depravity John 3:36, Rom 1:18, Nah 1:2-3
Maintains a Biblical worldview
Col 2:8, Romans 12:2
Maintains a secular worldview
1 John 5:19
ALL scripture is relevant, useful,
sufficient Romans 15:4, 2 Tim 3:15
OT is irrelevant, seeks new revelations
2 Peter 1:3, Matt 4:4, 24:11, Jer 23:16
Scripture points to Jesus/ God, and is a descriptive account of the Gospel
John 5:39, John 1:1, Hebrews 1:1-2
The Bible is primarily prescriptive, for me, about me
1 Cor 10:6, Col 2:17
God is holy, righteous, just, & love
Is 6:3, Psalm 11:7, Is 30:18, 1 John 4:8
God is love, above all, He loves everyone
Psalm 5:6, Prov 6:16-19, Psalm 11:5
For the edification / sanctification of believers Eph 4:11-13, A comfortable place for the unbeliever/ seeker/ empty chair Rom 3:11, John 8:47, 1 Cor 2:14
Creating disciples to share the gospel, emphasize building faith & knowledge in Christ John 17:3, 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Tim 2:2 Creating invitors, where one learns more about the pastor than Christ
Matt 28:19, 1 Peter 3:15, John 3:30
Jesus is the way
John 14:6, 2 Cor 5:21
Many paths/ beliefs can lead to God
Matt 7:13-14
Preaches the Bible with proper interpretation Acts 17:11Mostly proof-text, limited scripture, no context given Acts 8:30-31
Spiritual gifts are varied, for building up the church, emphasis on the Giver of gifts
1Pet 4:10, 1Cor 12:4-11, Rom 12:6, Jam 1:17
Boasts about certain gifts over others, uses activation/ impartation & how to classes
1 John 2:27
All believers are sealed with the Spirit, saved upon their repentant acceptance of Christ Eph 1:13, Acts 2:38A 2nd baptism of the Spirit, w/ evidence of speaking in tongues, is a sign of salvation
 1 Cor 12:30
Addresses difficult topics/ passages of Bible
Hebrews 6:1-3, Hebrews 5:14
Superficial teaching, lack of meat
Hebrews 5:13
Leaders held accountable to God’s standard
James 3:1, Col 3:16, Matt 7:24
One human leader/ visionary – no questions
Prov 12:1, Prov 11:14
God is the author of life/ most sovereign 
Gen 1:1, John 1:3, Isa 45:7, 46:10, Heb 1:3
Man can decree / declare needs/ desires 
Ps 50:15, 115:3, Jam 3:6, Prov 16:33, Matt 6:8
Teaches spiritual warfare biblically
Isa 45:7, John 8:32, 10:29, 16:33, Eph 6, Psalm 34:17, Ps 32:7, Jam 4:7, 1 John 4:4
Teaches spiritual warfare by misinterpreting proof texts
Jude 1:9, Matt 6:9, 15:9, Prov 16:4, 1 John 5:4
Mankind is depraved, in need of a savior
Romans 3:23, John 3:3, Eph 2:1-3, John 8:24
Man has valuable self worth and is good 
Mark 10:18, 1 John 1:8, Rom 5:12
God heals physically, according to His will
1 John 5:14, Isa 45:7, Gen 18:14, 1 Peter 2:24
Healing is always God’s will for believers
Gal 4:13-14, 1 Tim 5:23, 1 Cor 11:30-31,
2 Tim 4:20
Prioritizes love & obedience to God
Matt 6:33, John 14:15, 23
Prioritizes a love for others, even at expense of obedience Matt 10:35, 1 John 2:15, James 4:4, 2 John 1:11
Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it labor in vain Psalm 127:1

This should go without saying, but popular Christianity is not biblical Christianity. It is the expectant & prepared few, our Lord and Savior is coming for. A bride without spot or blemish; (Matthew 25:10/ Ephesians 5:27) certainly not for the compromising church that has become commonplace among complacency.

Matthew 7:13‭-‬14 The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Therefore, be it my prayer, that we take the narrow path less traveled and live up to our name of the Ekklēsía, as a people called out of the world, by God, and into His eternal kingdom. A bright & pure Bride of Christ. (Revelation 19:8) An assembly of those who have surrendered their lives to His Will, His Glory, & His Truth, testing ALL things. (1 John 4:1) For it has been thousands of years the Church has withstood great persecution by no other means, and by no other means will great deception also be found futile. 

In godly truth and love,

Amy

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