6. THE ‘OPPOSITION THAT COMES FROM WITHIN THE CHURCH...
The opposition from WITHIN...
We have been mainly facing that kind of opposition from without the church, from the world, from the heathen, from those serving false gods. Yet, the devil soon learned that opposition from WITHIN THE CHURCH can do what the opposition from without the church could never do.
The main form of opposition the church faces today comes from some who call themselves ‘apostles, prophets, pastors, spiritual Christian leaders.
When the opposition within the church is finally handled by the Lord with the final judgment of the church, we will again face stiff opposition from without. Till the "harvest of tares" (Matt. 13) has cleansed the church, we will face the most grave opposition from those inside the church.
After the initial opposition from without the church began, there also started in a small way, the opposition inside the church.
Paul spoke of Demas who had "forsaken" him.
John spoke of Diotrephes who "loveth to have the pre-eminence." This Diotrephes had indicated that he would shun John from his church, if and when John would come. Diotrephes wanted to be the only important personage of that congregation. Jealousy and envy had crept into the congregation.
Today, false prophets, claiming to be Christian, give lying prophetic words, promising even sinners great reward for giving a large offering, and thereby the false prophets are making God to be a con artist salesman of blessings, instead of the mercy and forgiveness offering of God to all who simply repent.
False prophet ministers condone homosexuality, same gender unions, abortions, euthanasia, voting for heathen, anti Christian politicians, etc.
There were disputes in many congregations of that day between the Jewish converts, and the Gentile converts. The Jewish converts had been raised with many details of law. They had dietary rules that the Gentile converts did not understand. They had rules on clothing, rules about the Sabbath, rules about circumcision, etc. Some attempted to inflict these rules upon the new Gentile converts. Many of the Gentiles resisted these added rules to the Christianity they had been taught by Paul and some of the other apostles.
The converts and fans of Peter, Paul, and Apollos each contended over which was the greatest preacher. Some tried to separate from those groups and claim a superior allegiance. This last group claimed to be fans only of Christ Jesus. They were claiming to be the super-holy group. In actuality, the divisiveness of all four groups was corrupting and hindering the church.
The church congregation at Corinth had many problems. They had terrible sins that corrupted the assemblies. Paul had to severely exhort them on many issues.
These sins inside the church continued to grow and develop. During the middle ages the church was selling indulgences that allowed one to pay money to the church so he or she could commit a terrible sin and be "forgiven" ahead of time. The right to commit adultery, theft, murder, etc. were all being condoned by the church for a price.
In our day, we find many false prophets and their heresies. There are many hypocrites and spiritual abusers. The whole set up of many denominations and congregations perpetuate a form of Christianity that is powerless and is grieving to the Holy Spirit.
In the soon coming revival of the church, there are predictions of great opposition inside the church. Many have read the following verse and assumed it spoke of sinners outside the church. However, if the context is noted, one will find that the Word is describing the conditions inside the church of the last days.
II Timothy 3:1-14
"This know that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth... their folly shall be manifest unto all men... Yea, all that will live godly, will suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."
We are currently in these "perilous" times of the last days. The Christian networks show forth some who are the ‘evil men’ and ‘seducers’. The church is corrupted beyond belief. Many saints have "hidden their heads in the sand" of denial. The sin within the church is embarrassing, and appalling. We have seen many church congregations degenerate into pits of debate, judgmentalism, heresy, pride, spiritual apathy, and even perversion.
Some are debating allowing homosexuals be their pastors.
Some are encouraging sexual license.
Some are denying the resurrection and new birth.
Some are incorporating new age and occultic practices into congregations.
Some are spiritually abusing young children, and new converts.
Some will spread lies and half truths to denigrate any one whose ministry they envy. Many a one who has been called a "false prophet" or "heretic" in these last days, are the real saints of God. Those that are truly - "false prophets" have made their messages to satisfy the "itching ears" of the hearers, and are propagating damning doctrines.
Some will "shoot the wounded" and shun the hurting saint.
Some love themselves, and are self seeking, capitalizing on the generosity of saints who believe their passionate pleas for money.
Some are taken in sexual perversions that would shock any who discover the sins.
Some lesbians are even now promoting changing God's name to "Sophia". They want to change the Word of God. They do not even have a relationship with the God of heaven, and yet they attempt to stay within the church.
Some are proud and feel superior to other saints, wanting the others to follow them as obedient sheep to a substitute shepherd.
Some have a form of godliness, but do not have the true Christian love that would empower them to true revival.
Some are ever seeking to learn, but are refusing to believe the real truth. They have allowed their minds to be so corrupted with false doctrines, debates, and arguments on small details... that they never find the simple truths of the Word.
Some attack the real children of God, and the real message of salvation, Christian love, and Biblical truth.
Some spend their time seeking to lead others into their own brand of deception. These persecute, lie about, and shun those who expose their corruptness.
II Peter 2:1-2
"...even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies... many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
The first opposition to the latter rain revival is from WITHIN its own ranks. The devil has sought to corrupt Christianity since its inception. Judas was an early convert to the false deceptions of the devil. Ever since Judas, the devil has sought to hinder the church by planting inside it those who are sin corrupted and deceived.
Betrayal by these "brothers", friends, church acquaintances, relatives, and church leaders will be a common occurrence in these last days.
"And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake."
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations (peoples) for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another..."
"Before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons... and it shall turn to you for a testimony."
The opposition that we meet from within or without, need not trouble us into despair. We are to be overcomers in these last days. If we can learn to stand against the opposition within, we will have no real trouble when the opposition comes from without. Do not shy from the opposition. Do not fall into the deceptions of the devil. Stand up and be counted for the Lord.
"...they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight because the Lord is with them."
We have a hedge of protection about us in these last day. We have the power of the Spirit to bestow upon us manifold and miraculous gifts, signs, and wonders. The devil cannot defeat us, if we do not give up. If we simply "resist" him, he is defeated.
The devil tried greatly in the former rain revival to oppose and defeat the early church. The devil could not stop what God had started. In the latter times, the devil thinks that the
and false prophets
that he has placed within the framework of the church will cause its ultimate end, but God has another surprise for the devil. When God has purged the church of these offenders, and revived the remainder of the church, He will give a revival that will astound the world. Then, the devil will use the sinners of this world to resist the Christians. This last desperation attempt of the devil to oppose and to stop the revival will be valiantly defeated by the saints.
ARE YOU PREPARED? DO NOT FEAR, THE LORD IS WELL ABLE TO DEFEND AND HELP US. WE HAVE THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, THE POWER OF THE LORD, AND THE GUARDIAN ANGELS SENT FOR OUR PROTECTION. MIRACLES WILL ACCOMPANY THE PERSECUTION. REVIVAL WILL "ABOUND MUCH MORE" THAN THE SIN AND TRIALS OF THE LAST DAYS. DO NOT DESPAIR, BUT REJOICE IN THE REVIVAL. "WHEN YOU SEE THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS... LOOK UP!!!!!!"