The Responsibility Of The True Church
By Larry Arrowood
Christianity tends to have three groups: the true, the false, and the compromised. This places tremendous responsibility upon any church that claims to be the true church of Jesus Christ. First, we are responsible to maintain truth in our hearts. Secondly, there is the responsibility to be a light set on a hill, so that those in darkness may obtain direction. Finally, we are a bridge over which the compromised church may get back to God. My text is one which has offered a bit of confusion for some, yet I believe there is a tremendous analogy for us. Due to the lengthy text from which this article is based, I will include the scriptural references and encourage you to read the passages of scripture as you go. I will liken the characters of the text accordingly: the man of God (the true church); Jeroboam (the false church); the old prophet (the compromised church).
I KINGS 13:1-6
The order of business of the worldly church to the true church is: you have something to offer us. Join us! Yet we cannot minister to the world by compromising with the world. This was the deal Jeroboam tried to make with the man of God. The deal that the church has to offer is: repentance, Jesus name baptism, the Holy Spirit, a changed life… but it must never include compromise.
Enter the third character (an old prophet)–let’s call him the compromising church. He lived in Israel where Jeroboam was king. He should have spoken out against the sin of that day, yet he had remained silent. But the silence of a backslidden church must not affect adversely the true church. Our voice must never be predicated upon the wishes of the world, rather upon the word of God.
I wonder what the old prophet’s emotions were when his sons reported the news. What memories flooded his soul? What guilt stabbed into his heart? What mixed feelings he must have experienced! For as the text unfolds, we know that he knew about truth. For he had lived in an era when Jerusalem was the place of worship. Jehovah was not just a god or another god, but the only God! He knew truth, but he stopped preaching and practicing truth. He sold his voice of truth for the favor of religious correctness. His silence on certain subjects became his refuge. His church doors remained open, but there was no message to bring change to a sinful, idolatrous society.
I have observed that the compromised church is not happy to be alone. They continue to proselyte. They seek security in numbers. “We all can’t be wrong,” they argue.” Let’s get together so we can better reach our world. We still feel God. God still uses us.”
Consider verse 15.” Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.”
Ecumenicalism is not a new doctrine–it’s been around a long time. Come home! Join us! Let’s get together! I’m cautious to not be interpreted as preaching isolationism, yet I dare not remain silent when the message of the hour is “unity matters more than truth”.
I want you to especially consider the latter part of verse 18. But he lied unto him. Here is where the message gets interesting–confusing to some. The Christian message of kindness often causes us to ignore the doctrinal demand to “try, the spirits” to see if they be of God. We dare not overlook such passages of Scripture as Galatians 1:6-10.
I am not talking about being rude, obnoxious, intimidating, nor even antagonistic. I am simply talking about drawing a doctrinal line in the sand and refusing under any circumstances to compromise a doctrinal truth. Note the words again “but he lied unto him.” This has been the favored weapon of Satan down through the years. Why do we think we can trust him here at the endtime? Try the prophets! Ask some key questions. What about baptism? What about the Holy Spirit? What about a changed lifestyle? What about the new birth?
This is not easy to comprehend, but here we see the compromised church prophesying against the true church! “How can it be?” we ask. “How can they have any anointing?’ The answer lies in the fact that: 1) God uses whom he pleases: a donkey, a rooster, a compromised church; 2) God still loves the world, and he is desperately trying to win them back; 3) there remains a tremendous responsibility upon the true church to maintain a voice of truth; 4) if we don’t remain true, God will find someone He can use.
The old prophet knew the power was gone! Truth had been compromised! Surprisingly, this did not make him happy, rather, it supported a belief he seemed to hold, remaining true is too difficult to do. Satan wins again!
I believe the compromised church still knows truth. They still miss the power. They long for the old time religion, but are unwilling to pay the price. And even though they don’t want to admit compromise, and try to get the true church to compromise, they still know what it was like to have the power of God in their midst.
What hope does the world have if the church (responsible to maintain the truth of the new birth, to hold a high standard of righteousness, to walk the narrow pathway, to be a shining light set on the hill) compromises truth? I ask you, “who were the winners in this passage of Scripture?” All lost everything! It did not have to be.
The Above Material Was Published By The Indiana Trumpet, August 1999, Page 6. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.