Monday, December 19, 2011

Church of Philadelphia.....

I am often reminded while cruising through the Book of Revelations of the stark differences in the churches written to in chapters two and three. While in many different schools of interpretation, many different assessments have been made of these churches, there still is a pattern that arises when all seven are viewed together. This pattern often repeats itself in the course of a single church as well, and the deciding factor of where a church will remain, in respect to the description of the seven, will be decided by where the church keeps Christ. If Christ is the center, the love of loves and the focus of all worship, the church will remain without correction, with commendation and without condemnation. If Christ is let go of, all hell breaks loose....literally. I've observed that recently in our own experience we seem to have entered a time corresponding to that of the Church of Philadelphia. A small church with little strength, but remaining faithful against assault. Not the pressing persecution of the church at Smyrna, but still a constant battle pressed by a unique group of folks. These are described as those of the synagogue of Satan and further illustrated by their claim to be Jews, which they weren't. At the first glance it seems that this must be a rather easily identifiable group, running around with their SofS (Synagogue of Satan) vests on, lobbing stones of condemnation at the huddling pitiful group of holdout believers. Certainly this must be easy to recognize, but alas it is not that easy. The Scriptural teaching regarding Satan and his minions (or ministers as the passage goes) tells us that they appear as ministers of light. Shining beacons of "good" behavior and social "righteousness", yet underneath driven and identifiable by their works. (And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11:14-15) Only thing missing? Christ, His Light and His Power! Now suddenly it is much easier to identify what is going on around the church at Philadelphia. There are those who, externally, look real good and nice, seem very religious and hold fast even to the practices of law and the Jewish feasts, but those are merely the reflection of the synagogue that they originate from. Their works will always give them away. Condemnation will always be their weapon of choice, for any of your choices that they don't like. It will not be enough for them to NOT celebrate Christ's Christmas, but they will HAVE to let all know that they not only don't do that, but anyone who does is pagan or religiously ignorant. They will ignore all that Christ has redeemed to live their lives in bondage, always reaching to bring others into that same bondage.  But note carefully the description in Revelations of those from this synagogue...they SAY they are, but are NOT. Not mere gentiles trying to become Jewish by practice, but trying to identify with God's chosen people for the purpose of promoting the master of their synagogue, Satan. One such member of this synagogue, practicing in the local area is well know for her adamant stance against any connection of Christ's birth to December, ignoring much of what Scripture teaches, choosing instead to follow the cult of the messi-venti-ussellites. These hold that any birthday celebration is pagan, any use of a tree for any purpose beyond firewood is pagan, any not liking what they teach are pagan and frankly all the churches and all the pastors not meeting with their group are pagan. So how do we know that they are not right? Easy, the works. The outgrowth of this cult group is loud condemnation of all outside themselves, filthy coarse speech among themselves and beyond, and a hypocritical stance on the education of their own. They feel that any time spent in the Word of God is dangerous while in the setting of the New Testament Local Church, preferring their own Nazarene Israelite (self declared) status. At the same time, they surrender their own children to the gods of this world in the educational arena for 40 hours a week. Youth group is off limits, but boy scouts is the way to go. Worshiping God in sincerity and truth, no bueno, but cooking up their own punk fueled remedy is okay. Yes, the door is open at the church of Philadelphia in Stirling and these of the synagogue of Satan will not shut it, because its key, the key of David, is held by Christ alone. 

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