A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

          Those of us who’ve grown up in the “church” must be the first to question what we’ve been taught and test it in the Light of God’s Word for ourselves, no longer accepting the word of those shepherds who exist at the beck and call of those who pay their salaries.  Not listening to those whose entire secure livelihoods and career paths depend upon preaching and teaching things that will be acceptable to the religious majority. 
          We in the church organizations, the church denominations, are prone to accept things as routine and normal that are at best man-made and ineffective, and at worst apostate.
          Tragically, and not unexpectedly, our current versions of “church” are built mostly upon the traditions of men.

          Many of us, if we’re honest, will admit we’ve never seen one person come to Christ in our church services.  We’ve seen Christians drift from church to church, and group to group, and so the mega-churches drained all the small churches to form their memberships.  Like the marketplace economy in the 20th century, with our villages being desiccated by the movement of people living in rural areas with small populations to the large metro areas of the nation, so our small churches have disappeared, melded into the mega.
          Have some people come to Christ? 
          Yes, but what have they been brought to?
          Are we teaching these same unbiblical practices to our children, so they can grow up and perpetuate a man-made traditional institutional system that has no resemblance to historic, biblical ekklesia?   Or so they can grow up and reject this institutional, lifeless version of churchianity, and cause us to wring our hands, wondering why they’ve “gone away” from the Lord?
          Shouldn’t we make certain every day that we are listening to the truth of God in His Word, and practicing it?  Shouldn’t we be measuring our gatherings and our life with other believers in the bright light of God’s revealed Word?  Shouldn’t we have a healthy fear that we will create ways of doing things in the churches that run counter to Scripture, as man has been prone to do throughout his checkered history?
          Shouldn’t we become mighty protectors of the Way, given us by Jesus, the Word made flesh, instead of fierce defenders of our man-made systems and organizations?

          For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea…They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
            Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”                                                                    --1 Cor. 10:1-5

            You may not understand at first glance how this Scripture applies.  But sadly, many of us have come out of Egypt--in other words, we’ve been called out of this world, to go into the Promised Land, which is the Kingdom of God--yet we will be scattered over the desert, not able to enter the Kingdom of God because of our disobedience to the Word of God.
          This warning from Paul was given to believers in Christ.  Not pagans.  So as believers, we must take care not to give ourselves to things that don’t please God.  All these Jews had come out of Egypt together, and they had gone through the Sinai desert together, drinking the water and food God miraculously provided, following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  They had all passed through the Red Sea unscathed together, and had seen the power and might of God.  In other words, they had started out right. 
          Yet they didn’t all make it into the Promised Land.  An entire generation was kept out of the Kingdom by sin, and by “setting their hearts on evil things.”

            Brothers, doesn’t this concern you enough to make you fall to your knees today, seeking the Lord from His Word, and from His Spirit, to show you how we should be living as the people of God?

          It should, because one of the chief ways we displease God is by direct disobedience to His commands, in favor of obeying our own traditions.
          So we find ourselves face to face with the fact that many who follow our modern, easy church traditions will never see the Kingdom of God.  We will be kept out of the Promised Land by our adherence to weak and ineffectual man-made ideas instead of God’s wonderful provision for us in Scripture.


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