In my last blog post, Spirit of ???, I ended with this scripture from 2 John:
Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” 1:8-11 NASB
This sounds ominous; yet I can understand John’s concerns for the well being of the people he loved and the Message of Christ which he also loved. In John’s lifetime he began to see the way humanity tries to take hold of a message and change it for their benefit. Whether that benefit is for profit, power, control, manipulation, and or fear it still changes the original message and can cause a ripple effect that will last centuries. Which is where we are now. Let’s first look at this scripture and then bring in what Jesus said to help you identify whether or not you are dealing with antichrist teachings or belief systems.
John warned not to “lose what we have accomplished” so that we could “receive the full reward”. Believers, back then, understood this accomplishment to be “faith” in Jesus. It is a fight of faith, all you have to do is believe and you will be saved, your belief has healed you, and we could go on with what faith accomplishes. Just do a search in scripture on the word “faith”. The full reward was understood as salvation which is, as I have explained before: eternal life. This was extremely important to the early believers and should be to us.
Next, John says anyone “going too far and does not abide in the teaching of Jesus does not have God” and the ones “abiding in Jesus’ teaching has both the Father and Son”. What was known as the “teaching of Jesus” back then? I believe, as I have blogged extensively about, the teaching is this: Jesus fulfilled the law, proclaimed, “It is finished”, to abide in Him as He is the vine and we are simply branches. Jesus was God in the flesh. The Beloved Son of our Father in Heaven. Jesus brought Grace in the New Covenant, where the fight has already been won for us. It is a message of FAITH in the one and only Anointed One. Just like when He told Martha before He raised Lazarus from the dead:
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NASB
Throughout John’s epistle Jesus proclaims just Who He is and what He will do. Jesus explained that the temple would be our bodies where He would come to reside in us through the Holy Spirit (John 16). This is the teaching we must abide in, by faith (trust). That is all. Anything beyond this teaching or anything different than this teaching shows you do not possess God. This would be antichrist or anti-Messiah. Those abiding in Jesus’ teaching do possess both the Father and Son. Please note that the first usage is God but the second usage is Father and Son which gives the picture of family. Again an abiding in Jesus, which He Himself taught.
Next John states, “If anyone brings this teaching do not receive him into your house or rejoice with them”. If people did this it would show they were agreeing with their teaching. John was reminding the people of what Jesus said to him:
“Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”” Mark 6:11 NASB
Now John isn’t saying don’t invite people into your home. Let’s make it clear there was already a war on the teaching of Christ. Most believers, back then, gathered together in houses and to allow someone that was teaching beyond what Christ taught was not to be received as “Grace”. The Greek word here translated as “greeting” is “chairo” and means: xaírō (from the root xar-, “favorably disposed, leaning towards” and cognate with 5485 /xáris, “grace”) – properly, to delight in God’s grace (“rejoice”). John wanted to make sure the message of Christ remained true, the message of Grace, and did not get muddied (Ezekiel 34:17-22).
I had promised, in my last post, I would give examples of the antichrist actions that I see happening today. As I have discussed this with my good friends (it helps me to gather my thoughts), I have realized this season is one where we all feel the Lord wants things to be very clear. I say this to warn you I will not be mincing words here; but will try to speak very clearly. I am supposed to use the scripture found in Matthew 23 because when I look at the “churches” in their buildings today it looks all too similar. I would encourage you to first read my blog post, Because of Christ, Believers in Him Are Seated in Heavenly Places, which explains why God gave what we call the five fold ministry, sometimes only known as four fold. When you read this post you understand what we see today in the “church” is not what God has desired for “church” to look like. Today’s “church” looks very similar to the temple and it’s leaders which Jesus stood firmly against; because it was in direct opposition to what He came to do and teach. I can see how this happened as we began allowing extra teachings or extrapolations of what Jesus originally taught (leaven) into our houses beyond the facts: Jesus did all the work and we rest in that work; fully cleaned; fully holy; fully accepted; fully loved; and fully a new creation in Him. Let’s look at what Jesus said back then and see how it applies today. Jesus is speaking here to His disciples and the people gathered in the crowd about the religion scholars and Pharisees:
“Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.”
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. “You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.
“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.
“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. Matthew 23:4-38 MSG
Here is my list of antichrist or anti-Messiah actions that I see today utilizing the above scripture:
- Do not let anyone teach you that you must abide in Moses’ law after you have put your belief in Christ; because He has fulfilled the law. No one, not even leaders in the church, can ever live up to fulfill the law, EVER. These are only heavy burdens placed on you that neither Christ or God our Father ever intended for us to carry. Only the Christ (Anointed One) could fulfill the law. If anyone tells you anything different they are not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- If someone tries to show you how perfect they are in their spiritual lives you probably want to run in the other direction. These are people who put on a front, “a spiritual fashion show”, to make themselves appear more holy than others. “How many hours did you pray today?”, would be a definite red flag for me. We can not make ourselves more holy because Christ is the only One that can make us holy. These people also desire or insist: to sit at the head of the table or in the place of importance; to be noticed for just how spiritual they are; to have public flattery; to receive honors; or to be called reverend, doctor, pastor, prophet. Titles do not make the person, only God does. He is the creator that put this service into you. It is simply who you are and you do it because that is how He created you. When this is who you are then you don’t need a title because it is simply a part of you (He is the Potter, we are the clay). Today, I see people pretending not to love public flattery; yet when they don’t receive recognition or are looked over they get angry or upset. This just shows their insecurity, fear, and they do not know who they are in Christ. This is where discernment is necessary in a believer’s life. God will show you.
- Ah….the PEDESTAL! This is where number two gets us all into a heap of problems. Today I see pastors, prophets (whatever title insert here) putting themselves on a pedestal because of number two, they want to be seen as important. Then people love keeping them there. This is our humanity at work here. If you have read my blog Because of Christ, Believers in Him Are Seated in Heavenly Places then you will understand we are all classmates- on the same level, which means no one is higher than the other! No human is an expert in your life. The only expert is Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. No one should ever take the place of God in your life; but I see it happen all the time. Just allow a leader or pastor to begin to say things like, “Are you sure that was the Lord?” or “You need to submit to authority because God is testing you to submit rather than listen to what He is saying to you.” These statements and others like it can begin to undermine your confidence in hearing the Holy Spirit. This is where the pedestal begins to be formed and you begin believing they can hear the Lord so much better than you. No, they can’t. You have exactly the same Holy Spirit as they do. You can hear just as well as they can. I am not saying people should not speak into your life; but do not allow them to lord it over you and do not allow someone to manipulate or control your life. This is a definite antichrist action. They are trying to take the place of Christ in your life. Save the authority for God and let Him tell you what to do.
- Humility! Another big one that I see as pretense today in many leaders within the church. Humility is simply being content with BEING YOURSELF. One of the big things my friends spoke about regarding this subject is how we see the Stepford Wives in so many churches (it could be Stepford Husbands for the men). Remember this movie, where the women are made into replicas of the “perfect housewife”? Ugh, this just makes me ill because I did this for so long. If God wanted this He would have made us all the same, like robots. But, He didn’t. We are humble when we are content, fulfilled, happy with simply being who we are. Our lives always count for something. Even when you may not seem to see it. Your life holds so much value as you simply are…..YOU. Your life was and is so valuable to Christ, He went up on the Cross for you. God created you to be you, be content in you.
- Today, so many leaders make it difficult for people to enter God’s kingdom. They call this “losing your salvation”, “you won’t be able to get to a higher level with God”, or “God won’t be as close to you” (again with levels-see number 3 above). This doesn’t mean receiving Christ; but after receiving Christ all of a sudden we are not good enough for the kingdom. Here let’s use a couple of examples, have you ever heard: “Oh, you shouldn’t read that book or see that movie….as it will cause you not to lose your salvation”; “You shouldn’t drink wine or go into a bar as that will cause you not to go to a higher level with God”; or “Don’t listen to that music because God will not be close to you anymore”. Entering the kingdom is assured to us because of Jesus’ blood; it is NEVER because of our behavior (Note number one above). If anyone is telling you your behavior will keep you from God’s kingdom it is not true; because it is only Christ’s blood that gives us entry into His kingdom and made us clean.
- Today we see many people going half way around the world to make converts only to cause them to be just like them- antichrists. This is what happens when a little Pharisee leaven has entered into the New Testament Gospel. This needs to stop one person at a time by either taking a stand or simply walking away shaking the dust off your feet. This is only perpetuated because people (you and I) are still funding this message by giving our tithes to this message. It is up to you and I to stop funding what is not truth.
- Nitpicking at scripture. Has anyone ever taken one scripture completely out of context and beat you over the head with it? They simply took one scripture, maybe not even a full sentence, took it completely out of context to prove their point and used it against you? This happens so much now that it has become “hairsplitting”. If this is happening to you, I encourage you to go look at this scripture, read all the way around it, look it up and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and discernment. Then stand.
- Tithing——oh the golden calf of the modern church. Today if anyone questions the amount of your tithe or your lack of tithe, RUN! It is none of their business. As Jesus said giving should be done in secret. If you are unable to look at the church’s finances, RUN! Big donors should not be given privileges that others don’t receive. Yet, I have found where money is a golden calf this is exactly what happens. Money has taken hold of the modern church in such a way that the teaching now is based on law: if you do not tithe ten percent God will not bless you. This is not truth in the New Covenant. This is simply teaching from a place of greed and gluttony in this time of grace. God blesses you simply because you believe, in the New Covenant. This golden calf must come down in the modern church because it has become more important than and taken the place of the simple message of Grace Jesus came with.
- Today the teaching lends to “faking it till you make it” otherwise known as: whitewashed tombs, clean on the outside. Both then and now people have desired to appear good on the outside all the while knowing that on the inside we don’t look good. This was and is the purpose of the Cross. The Cross is the only way we can be clean on the inside. The only thing we need to understand is Jesus made us clean, fully, on the inside at the Cross. We believe this truth…and we go from glory to glory in Him. It is futile to fight a battle that has already been won for us when He said, “It is Finished.” This is where we rest.
- People have been sent, by God, to tell the truth to the modern church and what happens is they are discredited, abused, lied about and shunned. For more understanding on this please read, Are There Still Martyrs in First World Countries?. These people who have participated in antichrist actions will be held accountable (sowing and reaping) for their choice not to listen, pray, and discern but instead they lie to protect their titles and their money. This in turn only continues to hurt the many that are put under the unnecessary burdens of these antichrist actions.
If you are experiencing any of the above circumstances in your “church” it might be time to ask whether or not you need to walk out of the muddied waters and head to clear water. To walk in the very freedom Christ died to give you and I. The clear water is the Gospel of Grace, The Best News Ever, or The New Covenant. All are one in the same: Jesus came to give us life, died for all of our sins for all time (just thank Him), give us eternal live, and live in us. All we do is Simply Believe.
Sidenote: I want to make it very clear I am not speaking against “the church”. What I am directly speaking against are the actions of antichrist or anti-Messiah just as Jesus stood against these actions and called them out for what they are and as the apostles did in their letters. If someone tells you I am speaking against “the church” then they may be a person who has antichrist actions. I say this because the Pharisees also grumbled about how they wanted to rid themselves of Jesus because He was speaking truth. (Note number 10)