Bible, many churches, why?
This is not an unreasonable question
for men and women to ask. We set out below the reasons given in
the Bible why we should not be surprised at the current state of
affairs as they are exactly as prophesied in the scriptures by the
apostles nearly 2000 years ago.
The days of the apostles
In the first century there was one
group of people rightly preaching the Gospel as expounded by Christ
and the apostles. This body was known as the sect everywhere spoken
against. The purity of the first century Christian teachings was
soon corrupted by ungodly men who perverted the inspired teachings.
Consider the words of Paul - "For I know this, that after my
departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing
the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30).
And again, "In the latter times some shall depart from the
faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
speaking lies in hypocrisy" (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Here then was Paul foretelling the
inevitable "falling away" from the one true faith, and
like all of the Bible's infallible teaching it most assuredly came
to pass. Even in Paul's own times he was constantly beset by those
who taught falsehood, some even doubting the resurrection itself
(1 Corinthians 15:12-20).
How relevant that these same unscriptural
ideas concerning the resurrection of Christ are being preached from
the pulpit by church leaders in our own day!
Holding fast the truth
Paul was not alone in foretelling
the infiltration of false doctrines, Peter also warned -
"...there shall be false
teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,
even denying the Lord that bought them...and MANY shall follow
their pernicious ways" (2 Peter 2:1-2).
And so the Bible teaching is clear
and precise - many would leave the Truth
and follow "cunningly devised fables". Paul, Peter, John
and Jude were all united in their apostolic writings, warning the
true believers against doctrinal error. Not that those who seek
after the truth taught by Jesus and the apostles were left without
exhortation in the matter. John exhorted the believers- "Beloved,
believe not every spirit, but try the spirits (teachers) whether
they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the
world" (1 John 4:1) . He also wrote, "For many deceivers
are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is
come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2
John v7).. Jude wrote - "Beloved... ye should earnestly contend
for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. For there
are certain men crept in unawares...ungodly men, turning the grace
of our God into lasciviousness" (Jude v3-4).
Searching the scriptures
In order that we may test the teachings
of the various 'sects' or 'Churches' in our own day, we should heed
the advice of the Luke when he commended the Jews in Berea. "These
were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received
the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Here then is the conclusive remedy
to the situation in which we find ourselves today. Let us search
the scriptures for ourselves and discern whether the clear and undeniable
teachings of Jesus and the apostles are what we believe. In so doing,
we will not be deceived for the scriptures are the wholly inspired
and infallible word of God (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Why is it important to discern
what is the truth?
Very simply because Jesus said that
only a few would find the way of life, being led from the Truth
by false teaching. "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide
is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be that go in thereat: Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
And then, having spoken those words
during his 'Sermon on the Mount' he continued with the warning,
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (verse 15).
What is the reward for true believers?
It is for each of us to find the
narrow way which leads to Eternal life. What a wonderful prospect
is set before us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). How do we show
our love for God and belief in the Truth? Jesus said, "Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends. Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you"
We must therefore, read the scriptures
for ourselves in order that we may learn what his commandments are
and to distinguish between Truth and Error, and then keep them.
In so doing, we will be able to share, with the apostles, the glorious
prospect of receiving immortal life at
the return of Jesus to the earth (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).