We are so accustomed to our pagan rituals that most churchgoers can’t even recognize real biblical worship[Real Communion Services]. This is a good summary of our pagan practices in this review of Viola’s “Pagan Christianity” Kruse Kronicle: “Pagan Christianity” Book Review. The Bible call to today’s Christians is simply Standing In The Gap With Jesus
If we paid a little more attention to our Bibles we could recognize our false teachers and return to God. Please take a look at this stern warning in the book of Jude.
NLT Jude 1:The Danger of False Teachers
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. [They Denying God By The Way They Live ]
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
This passage warns us of shameless shepherds who care only for themselves, brag loudly, and flatter others to get what they want, complain, follow their instincts [not following the Holy Spirit] living only to satisfy their own desires. These teachers shipwreck the gatherings that they attend, and bear no fruit!
This is serious. If we attend a gathering with one of these shameless shepherds, the gathering will likely be shipwrecked. They can keep all the seekers at their gatherings from arriving at their true destination. They keep them from finding Christ and his Holy Spirit. They are Deceived Deceivers
Theres a very similar warning in 2 Perter 2. This is discussed in Our Dangerous False Teachers. Let’s turn our focus on what is required at real biblical gatherings.
A Biblical gathering has these eight characteristics:
1. A gathering where most believe and strive to help each other live out their Christian call – a place where all participants encourage, edify support, and correct each other [Rom 12:10, 1 Thess 5:11]
2. Where all participants seek agreement, to seek one mind, the mind of Christ [1 Cor 1:10]
3. Where each person’s spiritual gift and assignment are sought after, discussed, and encouraged and developed. [1 Cor 12:7-13 Matt 11:28-30]
4. Where each person is encouraged to both seek for themselves and provide to others help and support from others. [Heb 3:13, 1 John 3:23]
5. Where the believer gathering commands are addressed and implemented. [1 Cor 14:26-40].
6. Where unbelievers are convicted [1 Cor 14:23-25]
7. Where those struggling thru trials or losing faith are supported and restored. [James 5:19]
8. Where the Gathering is kept pure [1 Cor 5;11]
This is developed further in Believer Gathering Essentials
Deliver us from these shameless shepherds, and their shipwrecked gatherings. Help us to reach our true destination, help us to find you and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.