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What Religion Is Your Church Practicing?

Dr. Howard Morgan

We are living in exciting, significant and prophetic times. God is restoring the church. Revival and renewal is breaking out in many places around the globe. All over the world, God is revealing to believers that now is the time to restore the church to her true foundation, her Hebraic roots, so that she will bear the kind of fruit God originally intended. Unbiblical and cultic doctrines and practices are being exposed and purged. Believers are growing in their hunger for the spiritual nutrition that the Bible promises, passionately pursuing the will of God. Many are extremely dissatisfied with the status quo of typical traditional church services. They do not want to be deceived by traditions, doctrines, or practices, no matter how old or how cherished they may be. They are crying out to the Lord for Biblical reality to be manifested in their lives and churches. And, God is answering!

As He is restoring the church to her Hebraic roots, to her Biblical foundations, to her Book of Acts experience with the risen Messiah, the church is becoming without "spot or blemish" (Eph. 5:27). The restored church will grow because she is being well nourished. She will be busy doing the will of God. She will be prepared and empowered to go forth to accomplish God’s purposes. She is being trained to reign and rule with Christ when He returns. (2 Tim 2:12, Rev. 5:10, Rev. 20:6). Are you part of this restoration? Are you personally being restored? Is your church? If not, why not? As the Lord is restoring the church, these and other searching questions are arising about God’s original biblical design for the Body of Christ. Believers around the world are re-examining their own lives, traditions, beliefs and churches in the light of what the Bible teaches.

We must be extremely wise and discerning to be sure that we are in biblical churches, following the design and patterns revealed in the Scriptures, so that the will of God is being achieved. Remember, satan disguises himself as an angel of light and so do his ministers (2Cor.11:14-15). Jesus warned us about those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt.7:15), and tares among the wheat (Matt.13:24-30). We must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matt.10:16) as we endeavor to fulfill God’s call upon our lives. Satan will stop at nothing in his attempts to prevent us from fulfilling God’s will (2Cor.2:11, 1 Pet.5:8). Recognizing that, we must be very bold in taking responsibility for our spiritual lives and begin to ask some important and penetrating questions. The first one is perhaps the most important one. Is my church fulfilling its part in accomplishing the will of God in my life, or is it accomplishing some other purpose?

A study of the Bible reveals to us that the will of God for His church is accomplished by fulfilling four basic objectives.

A biblical church is:

1) Evangelizing the lost: Every church should be actively engaged in local and global evangelism. Every believer is to be an active personal witness of the Gospel. New believers should be regularly added to the church. The fulfillment of the Great Commission is every Christian’s responsibility. We are either being sent or we are helping to send others. (Acts 1:8, Matt. 28:19)

2) Perfecting the saints: In order for someone to grow in spiritual health and maturity, they have to be in an environment where the Word and Spirit of God impact their whole life. This environment should provide the necessary nutrition for growth and maturity, including all aspects of biblical ministry, such as: worship, prayer, communion, baptism, study, preaching, teaching, healing, spiritual gifts, building quality personal relationships, etc. (Col. 1:28, 2:19, Phil. 3:12, Eph.4:15,16, 1Cor.1:7).

3) Training the mature: As believers reach a certain level of maturity, they are ready for the appropriate kind of discipling, educating, and equipping they need to fulfill their particular ministry. (Eph. 4:11-12, Matt. 28:19)

4) Sending the trained: Every trained member is sent out to fulfill their own call and ministry, whether locally, as part of their own church, or any place in the world. No one is burying their talents! (Matt.25:25)

A biblical church is evangelizing the lost, maturing the saved, training the mature, and sending the trained. This is its biblical mandate and calling. Every activity and event a biblical church sponsors must exist because it is seeking to accomplish these goals. Every individual who is a member of a biblical church is at one time or another involved in all the above activities depending upon their level of growth and maturity. For instance, you can be maturing in one area of your life while you are being trained in another, or you can be sent out to fulfill one aspect of your ministry while you are being nurtured in another part of your life. An example might be someone who is being trained in personal evangelism while they are first learning about intercessory prayer, or someone might be ministering to the sick in hospitals while they are being trained in worship.

A biblical church’s focus is to accomplish the eternal purpose of God. This purpose, as revealed in Scripture, is the maturation of the saints so that they can fulfill the will of God, grow into the image of Jesus and be worthy of ruling and reigning with Him forever (Matt. 25:21,23, Luke 19:17,19, Col.1:28, Eph. 4:12, Rom. 8:29, 2 Tim.2:12, Rev. 5:10, 20:6, 22:5).

Our spiritual enemy, satan, and those false ministers that are under his control are counterfeits and liars (2Cor. 11:15, John 8:44). He will use any means necessary to prevent believers from fulfilling the eternal purposes of God. When satan realized that he could not stop the early church by persecution, he began his strategy of removing the church from her Jewish roots, re-planting her into the philosophies and customs of the Greco-Roman world. He realized that he could infiltrate the church by using these worldly concepts. They formed the basis of ungodly doctrines that brought compromise to believers, influencing and controlling their spiritual life and growth. We must be ever vigilant to discern and expose any place satan has infiltrated the Body of Christ (Matt.13:24-30, Proverbs 30:19, 2Cor. 2:11, Eph. 6:11-17), causing unbiblical doctrines and practices that nullify, negate, distort or hinder the purposes of God.

These infiltration’s have created many churches that are not biblical in their doctrines or practices. Not practicing the religion of the Bible, these churches, in essence practice other religions. If a church is not functioning to attain Biblical goals, it is practicing other "religious beliefs," and is therefore a cult. Does the word cult strike you as sharp or harsh? Perhaps it should. I believe it is time to take the veneer of normalcy and respectability off of those "churches" that are non-biblical in their doctrines and practices and identify them for what they are, cults. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a cult in a way that most of us are familiar with. It states that a cult is: A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader, also: the followers of such a religion or sect. But the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines a cult as "any system of religious beliefs and ritual, also, its body of adherents". I would like us to focus our discussion on this definition because that is the one that more directly affects us as believers. Let us remember that both biblical and non-biblical churches meet in the name of Jesus for the professed purpose of doing the will of God. But upon deeper investigation and evaluation, we will discover that purposes other than the will of God are actually being accomplished in non-biblical churches.

How many people who call themselves Christians do not have a personal relationship with God, never bear any fruit for the Kingdom or God, have never grown spiritually, but will adamantly declare that they are Christians because they "go to church every Sunday?" They have been deceived into thinking that sitting in a pew and observing a church service is all a Christian does. This mentality is pervasive in our culture. If someone says that they are a Christian, the next question that is always asked is: "What church do you go to?" I think that the question that should be asked is: "What is the Lord saying to you and what are you doing about it?" The difference between those questions reveals an important issue. Are we disciples of the Kingdom of God or are we practitioners of a non-biblical religion. Are we in a cult?

In other words, non-biblical churches, churches with cultic tendencies, and outright cults, can be defined as such by virtue of their doctrines and/or practices which DO NOT create an environment where every member is spiritually nourished to grow into maturity in Christ, and where every member is NOT being equipped for their personal ministry. I believe that we should label such "churches" as non-biblical or as cultic, because they substitute "other things" for what God has designed to fulfill His purposes. These "other things" create a "system of religious beliefs and practices" that are not based on the Bible and does not bear biblical fruit. It is these "substitutes," these "other things," that we must learn to recognize, and then be bold and courageous enough to identify for what they really are.

This is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is so that people can see the issues more clearly and make their choices based on what goals they really want to attain; their own, or those that the Bible teaches we should attain. Satan has deceived huge percentages of "Christendom" into thinking that their "church" experience is normative and sanctioned by God, meeting His approval. This delusion keeps people in bondage to a demonic system that allows them to believe many things that are not biblical, and live lives that bear no fruit for the Kingdom of God. These non-biblical belief systems and practices prevent them from getting the spiritual nourishment they need to grow to maturity in Christ.

Cults are not only about people who are looking for space ships in comet’s tails, or believe that their leader is an incarnation of God. The "substitutes" do not have to be so absurdly obvious. In fact, the early signs that "other things" are being substituted, are so subtle that people do not even know that they are being drawn into the false reality that cults create. Let me give you some points to ponder as you think about cultic practices. As we study the Bible and take seriously its admonitions, we see that God has some very specific goals in mind for His children. He desires that we do His will, grow in Christ-likeness in our character, that we mature spiritually, and bear much fruit for His Kingdom, bringing Glory to His name.

The church as described in the Bible is a living organism. It is the physical Body of Christ in the earth. It exists to facilitate the fulfillment of these goals in the life of each and every individual believer. Every "cell" in this "body" is to receive proper nourishment and support so that it will fulfill its "purpose," do its "job," and provide what it is supposed to, so that the "whole body can build itself up in love" (Eph.4:16). Any church that is not working toward the spiritual maturation of each and every member is, I believe, a cult, because it is working toward the fulfillment of some other goal. It is in actuality practicing a non-biblical religion. The sad truth is that many churches are not doing the work of the Kingdom of God. They are not facilitating, fostering, and nurturing the spiritual growth of every member. They are motivated by "other things," like prestige in the community, the size of their congregation and building, their annual budget, etc. The Bible, taken literally and seriously, will challenge our motives and our goals. This is one reason why many churches reject the veracity of the Scriptures and then easily deny its right to speak authoritatively to our lives. When this happens we have a cult. Members of such congregations who would rather believe their "ministers" and non-biblical church traditions, end up deceived into thinking that they are right with God simply because they go to church and put money in the offering each Sunday.

People can be deceived on many levels and by various doctrines of demons. But the final result or fruit of the deception is always the same. People are not conformed to the image of Christ, they do not come to spiritual maturity, nor bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. On a very practical level, the Body of Christ is left weakened, divided and powerless. What we have is a non-biblical Christianity, that amounts to a huge collection of individuals who sit in buildings for an hour or so once or twice a week, observing religious activities but never growing or bearing any fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Is your church providing for its members an environment that supports the fulfillment of God’s eternal purposes in Christ, or is something else actually going on? Has satan infiltrated your church? I cannot describe all of the characteristics of satanic infiltration, as they vary according to particular individuals and situations. However, I can tell you some of those that I have identified. As you pray and seek the Lord, He will show you others, particularly as they affect your life. He will also show you how to deal with what you discover. God is not interested in breaking up churches, or destroying ministries. He is a God of redemptive love and if you are being led by the Holy Spirit, your only motivation will be redemptive love. If you cannot act or speak with that motive, do not act or speak at all. Pray until you get your heart right. Don’t let your personal feelings and emotions cloud your judgment. Cast the beam out of your own eye first, then bring your insights and convictions to the leaders of your church. Give everyone involved an opportunity to pray and seek the Lord. People who are deceived need a revelation from God to get free. Do not appoint yourself a prophet of judgement or doom. Do not gossip and slander your church or its leaders. God is a God of Love and is always desirous of granting repentance and mercy, not judgement and condemnation. Everything He does, He does for the good of everyone involved. He is well able to close and open churches and ministries. He is well able to grant repentance to anyone. Keep your heart humble and pliable. In that way, you will insure that you are building the Kingdom of God and not being deceived by the devil into working against it.

Characteristics of Satanic Infiltration and Cultic Activities and Doctrines

Tradition and Ritual vs. Personal Relationship

Many churches teach that your proper place is in a pew, observing and partaking in traditional rituals. You are taught that this minimal participation is supposed to alleviate guilt and justify you before God. What actually happens is that you are forced to be dependent on the "spiritual authorities" for your personal relationship with God. They take the place of Jesus as your mediator. This is the exact opposite of what the Bible promises you. Every believer is to have a strong personal relationship with God and be dependent upon HIM, not on any human organization, even if it claims to have divine origins. The biblical church is people, not a building or an organization, no matter how old it may be. Non-biblical churches provide virtually no spiritual nutrition necessary for spiritual growth. In fact, this is one reason why reform movements were started throughout history. Tragically, they also failed because they eventually fell victim to the same demonic spirits and strategies that create an "empire of self" instead of the Kingdom of God. This "empire" seeks to keep itself in its place of power, authority and control, rather than constantly re-adjust itself to keep its vision focused on Christ’s goal for the church. This constant re-focusing is accomplished through the ministry of the Holy Spirit who uses the Bible and the many membered body of Christ overseen by the gift ministries of Ephesians 4:12. It is these gift ministries, men and women who function in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, not a professional clergy who function because of office or title, that God designed to oversee the Body of Christ. God never intended for their to be a clergy-laity distinction. True ministry exists to see every member equipped in their particular ministry. Only when everyone is functioning in their proper capacity will the entire Body build itself up in love (Eph.4:16).

Spiritual Slavery vs. Spiritual Freedom

There are many churches whose proclamation of vision sounds very good. A pastor stands in his pulpit proclaiming his vision to "evangelize the city" and calls for everyone to get involved. This is a Godly Biblical vision. The problem begins when the strategies to implement that vision take on non-biblical characteristics. People are coerced into doing things that are not part of God’s plan fortheir lives. They do things because they think they have to, in order to support the pastor’s vision. This is where the deception enters in. The biblical mandate of all true pastors is to equip you to fulfill your ministry, teaching you how to do what God has put in your heart (Ephesians 4:11-12). Biblically based pastoral ministry to the church focuses, as Paul expressed it, on "presenting you complete (mature) in Christ" (Col. 1:28). Part of the responsibility of the leaders of your church is to help you to find your place in the work of the Kingdom. No one has the right to put you into a place that you do not fit into. The bible teaches that God "crafts" the body together, with each person fitting into the exact place they are supposed to (1Cor.12:18). God has not created any "demagogues" who can arbitrarily assign people to certain jobs so that the "work of the Lord" can get done. God will lead you and your leaders into finding the place that God wants you to be in. You will have great peace and joy in the place God assigns you, even if it is a difficult thing to do.

If a church is not concerned with your personal calling and training, but only with how you can make their church grow, you have a problem. When your calling ceases to be important to your leaders, you have to begin to question motives. Is the Kingdom of God being built or the "empire of self"? The King places great value on the gifts and calling He has assigned to you. The "emperor" only sees your value as you work to accomplish his goals. What is important to the "emperor" is how many people he can get into his church on a Sunday morning so he can feel successful and boast about his numbers. King Jesus does not ask such a person, "How many people were in your church this Sunday," but, "How many people were in My church this Sunday, and are they growing? Should it really matter to you, pastor, which building they are in, as long as they are in My Church?"

Is a person your pastor because they preach to you on a Sunday morning? Or because they hold the title of "pastor?" Are they personally discipling you? When you need to talk to them, can you? If your pastor is too busy to even talk to you, that pastor is not your pastor, he is your preacher. There is a need in this instance to train men and women who can be your pastor, who can be involved in personally discipling you.

The only vision you have to follow is the one Jesus gives you for your life; the one that fulfills the purposes of God. The only authentic "vision" for a church, is one that follows the Biblical pattern of evangelizing, maturing, training, and sending, for the glory of God. This vision builds the Kingdom of God and not the "empire of self." That is the only vision you should give your life to fulfill. When God places you in a local congregation, and He will as you seek Him, you will know that you belong there because there is opportunity for your gifts and ministry to flourish.

Godly Authority and Submission vs. Satanic Manipulation and Control

Non-biblical churches, and churches with cultic tendencies, will use subtle and not so subtle means to try and manipulate and control you, using christian buzzwords like "authority" and "submission." You will not be given the freedom to act according to your own conscience and understanding of the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you manifest too much freedom, you become a threat to the "empire of self" that is being built. You might be treated harshly and rejected forcefully in an attempt to intimidate others from following in your footsteps. You will probably be accused of having "demons of rebellion" or an "independent spirit," when you are actually expressing legitimate concerns over doctrines or practices, or following the leading of the Lord. These types of churches are extremely threatened by individuals who think for themselves, who pray and read the Scriptures for themselves, and hear from God for themselves. Efforts will be made to undermine and eradicate such behavior. They say that you must conform to the group and to the leader if you are going to be "right with God." When such churches or leaders threaten you with "judgement and damnation" because you dare to disagree with them or attempt to leave them, you know you are involved in a cult.

You must also be aware that there are people who unjustly accuse Godly biblical churches of being cults, and their pastors of being "false prophets," precisely because they are rebels who refuse to allow Jesus to be Lord of their lives. Their accusations are merely attempts at justifying their own sin. A rebel will manifest ungodly characteristics such as lack of love, bitterness, gossip, unforgiveness, and an inability to forget the past and move on with God. They will have to give an account for such behavior (Luke 12:47-48).

Division vs. Unity

Non-biblical churches and cults will try to insulate you and separate you from other believers, churches and denominations. Jesus is always working towards unity in His Body; satan is always working to divide the Body of Christ. Have you ever heard a leader say something that sounds like, "You can only hear the truth from me (or us)," or "You can only hear from God through me (or us)," or "We are the only true church and I am the only true prophet"? Listen for the word "only." Pay attention to how it is used. It can be a danger sign that a spirit other than the Holy Spirit is at work. Be sensitive to an attitude of separation in whatever form it is presented. A biblical church is in relationship with other parts of the body of Christ and is able to look beyond cultural, traditional and doctrinal differences, to see Jesus in people’s lives. Your spiritual enemy wants to separate you from other believers by branding or vilifying them and warning you about the danger you are in if you even talk to them. Separation from the rest of the Body of Christ is a satanic strategy intended to keep you under one singular insulated influence. This is fertile ground for doctrines of demons to manipulate and control you, preventing you from hearing the "whole counsel of God." The Bible clearly teaches that, in order to grow into maturity, we all need what every other "joint" in the Body of Christ supplies (Eph. 4:16, 1Cor.12). We have much to learn from and give to one another. There is great strength in unity, or in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Prov. 11:14). Only a unified church will be able to impact our society for the Gospel (John 13:34 17:21). Satan will try to prevent our attaining the unity of the Body by any means he can. Be aware of that.

Love of Money vs. the Love of God

Non-biblical churches and cults often revolve around the love of money. Money will be more important than people. Money will be exalted over God and it will become a primary focus. God will be presented as your servant, who can be manipulated by giving money to the "ministry." You can get on the $200, $500 or $1,000 prophecy line to induce the prophet to hear a "word" for you. Jesus said "freely you have received, therefore freely give." God is not for sale!

Jesus said that money has the ability to compete with God for your spiritual loyalty. You cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24, Luke 16:13). Additionally, financial openness and accountability is an indicator of the health of a church. Things done in darkness are usually done so for a reason. God’s people walk in the light. What excuses for a lack of openness do you hear?

Of course you must also remember, the Bible teaches that workmen are worthy of their hire, and they should not receive a meager wage. If your ministers are supplying you with spiritual sustenance and training, you should be sowing liberally into their lives and ministries, so that they are free from financial concerns (1 Cor. 9:7-14). The Bible has much to say about the proper place of money in the life of a believer. I encourage you to do a Bible study on this important theme.

By Whose Authority Do you….

Cultic leaders will tend to diminish the authority of the Bible in order to exalt their own interpretations or their "special revelations and mystical truths." The Bible is only spoken of as an authoritative book when it is used to justify their position and establish their personal authority. When it is convenient the Bible is used, but when it contradicts self-serving doctrines and practices, it is dismissed by one means or another. Be very careful when someone or something is exalted over the Scriptures as the final rule for spiritual life. Study the Scriptures. Examine such behavior in the light of the Bible and then pray. If you are convinced that something is wrong, it may be time to discuss these issues with your leaders. Their response to you will be a good indicator of where their heart is and whose purposes they are really serving.

Sexual Immorality

Non-biblical churches and cults often have perverted sexual practices, including celibacy in marriage and fornication with the leaders. Paul warns us about those who forbid marriage (1 Tim. 4:3). Sexual immorality in all of its manifestations is often part of the dynamic of churches when they stray from the biblical design. When you know that sexual immorality is being condoned, or ignored, you should leave immediately. The Bible only approves of one kind of sexual practice, and that is between husband and wife. God makes no "special exceptions." Any statements about such "exceptions" are intended to manipulate and control you for sinful purposes. God will never put you into a situation that compromises your sexual purity.

Here are some questions that you MUST ask yourself and your family:

Is my church really nourishing my spiritual life?

Don’t ask if your pastor is feeding you. If you are more than one year old in the Lord, you should be able to feed yourself. Your pastor and church leaders should be teaching, exhorting, challenging, comforting, counseling and training you. In short, your leaders should be your mentors who are discipling you into the image of Christ and into the fulfillment of your calling. They should be finding out about your personal vision through prayer and getting to know you, so they can nourish its development as you mature. You must ask yourself this question: Is my church supplying the spiritual nutrition I need so that I am constantly being conformed, little by little, into the image of Christ? Your spiritual diet must also include the occasional uncomfortable doses of confrontation and correction (2 Tim. 4:2).

Are you being equipped to fulfill your ministry, or are you just attending services every week? Is the ministry of your church providing you with a spiritual environment that is conducive to your spiritual maturity? Are you being sent out to fulfill your calling? Are there ministry opportunities available to you in what God has called you to?

Let’s be honest though! Are you taking advantage of opportunities when they arrive? Or are you making excuses? Perhaps your spiritual immaturity and lack of equipping is your own fault. Maybe the problem is not your church, it may be you. Could it be that your church is a biblically-based church, but that you are not a disciple? Repent! Don’t just be a churchgoer, or a do-nothing believer. Become a disciple, fulfill your calling, bring forth fruit for the Kingdom of God, so that on that day you will hear Jesus say to you, "Well done my good and faithful servant." Amen!

Do you find yourself making excuses for the leadership or others who constantly manifest unChrist-like or unbiblical doctrines and behaviors?

We are supposed to judge righteous judgment, (John 7:24) and know people by the fruit they bear (Matt. 7:16-20). Do you excuse ongoing unChrist like behavior with spiritual or psychological rationalizations? Do you allow yourself or others to be abused by immature, carnal displays? Do you love your pastor or leader more than you love Jesus? That is idolatry. Do you, does your church, practice the spiritual discipline of "speaking the truth in love," so that we "maygrow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Eph 4:15)? Paul understood the potential for rejection inherent in telling people truths they don’t want to hear. "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" he asked the Galatians (4:16).

Confrontation is uncomfortable and can be painful both to do and to receive, but sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zones and be stretched by the Lord through difficult, uncomfortable and even painful situations.

Non-biblical churches and cults use the power of position for the imposition of their own will. Jesus said that the greatest person in the Kingdom of God would be the servant of all. God gives individuals spiritual authority for only one purpose, to build up others (2Cor.10:8). The church of Jesus is built upon loving relationships, not the imposing of positional power. When loving and supportive relationships are built over time, then true loving admonition and instruction (the essence of discipleship) is desired because of the positive fruit it bears. When she was sixteen, my daughter Melanie said to me, "I love the boundaries and correction you give me, it makes me so secure and happy. So many of the kids in school don’t know that they are loved because their parents never correct them or set boundaries for them. Your boundaries and corrections show me how much you care about me and my well being."

Are you being pacified, entertained or equipped?

One symptom of satanic infiltration, is the attempt to merely pacify or entertain you rather than equip you. But you still have the responsibility to choose the kind of Christian life you want. Are you being pacified by the demonic doctrine that church attendance equals fulfilling the will of God? God is not interested in how "faithfully" you attend church services, but rather how faithfully you fulfill His will for your life. There will be no attendance award in heaven! Do you go to church because it makes you feel good? What if the pastor’s message makes you feel "bad?" Does that mean you leave the church? Do you go to church because you like the building? What if they met somewhere else? Are you entertained by the "song service?" Or, does the music ministry inspire you to worship with your whole heart? Is the preaching really dynamic and inspiring? Do you forget the message by Tuesday morning (Sunday night)? Do you ever take notes (in a real notebook, not on scraps of paper) when the pastor preaches? Maybe, just maybe, God will speak to you through him. What if Jesus gave you a surprise test and asked you to tell him about your pastor’s message on the previous Sunday? Do you think you would pass? Could you get an ‘A’?

Is your church equipping and empowering you to DO the will of God (James 1:22-25)?

Too many Christians are spiritually weak because the churches they attend from week to week are not creating the kind of environment that produces the necessary nourishment for spiritual growth. Just attending a typical Sunday morning "worship service" will not change anyone. We are not changed by hearing a message, but only by applying its truths in our everyday experiences. Don’t allow yourself to simply be an observer of a "theatrical performance" type of church service. Although there is great music and a great speaker and you feel "real good" afterwards, these kinds of services produce little actual fruit in the lives of those who are being entertained. The "come to a building and be an observer of a service" mentality is a satanic substitute for the life imparting biblical gatherings that we all need to have in our lives. We must be involved with others in situations where "every joint can supply" the spiritual nutrition we need for growth to take place. One reason that small home groups are so important and valuable is that they can provide a loving, supportive, secure atmosphere that allows relationships to grow. In this way, real changes in people’s lives can be fostered, encouraged and overseen. Loving relationships that express positive input, prayer and lots of encouragement, have tremendous potential for the personal discipleship and spiritual growth of all involved.

The Bible clearly teaches that each and every member of the Body of Christ has a ministry, and will on the Day of Judgement be called to give an account for that ministry (Rom.14:12, Matt 25:14-30). If you have not discovered your ministry, or if you have and are not being trained to fulfill it, or are being hindered from fulfilling it by church practice or teaching, you must take personal responsibility for your own spiritual life. If your church is not fulfilling its biblical role in providing the spiritual nourishment you need, don’t wait until you die of spiritual malnutrition. Like the good stewards of Luke 12 and 15, you must take responsibility to fulfill your ministry. Find a church where the sustenance you need is being ministered. Don’t be discouraged. God is restoring to many churches a passion for, and a knowledge of, the way to produce environments that provide such sustenance. We encourage you to join with us in prayer and fasting for the restoration process that is taking place around the world.

We only have a finite number of days to prepare for eternity. Let’s not waste any of them because of non-biblical and cultic beliefs and practices. I urge you to begin to investigate the answers to the questions raised in this article and any others the Lord might pose to you. Your answers to these questions have eternal ramifications!

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