The Church of God

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The Church of God

The Church of God

Galatians 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

God is good to man. He does not paint a false picture of anyone or anything. Paul was directed to begin this book by giving his current credentials. He was an apostle chosen by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. After his opening words, God directed him to remind the saints of his past. He was not born a saint. He was born a lost sinner and he demonstrated that fact with his actions. He was a Jew, but he hated the church of God. He noted that he was raised in the Jews’ religion.
God showed all who would read this letter, that the Jews’ religion was so greatly corrupted at this time that it had no use for God. Is it any wonder that God had to chasten them for hundreds of years? To this day, Israel as a nation, is still stuck on the Jews’ religion. They are still walking in open defiance of the true God. It is amazing to note the mercy of God in continuing to reach out to Israel. God shows us His faithfulness to Himself. God cannot lie. He made a promise to Abraham and repeated that promise to Isaac and then to Jacob. He made it abundantly clear that He had chosen Abraham to be the father of a great nation. Israel did not appreciate the special place they were given in the world and they completely forsook God as a nation. A remnant in every generation was faithful to Him. Today as well, there are some Jews who truly believe in God and are born again Christians.
Paul acknowledged that he persecuted the church of God beyond measure. He was merciless in his pursuit of destroying true believers in God. It is interesting to note here that God directed Paul to talk of the “church of God”. We know from Matthew 16:18 and many other verses that Jesus Christ is the Head of every true church. We know that He is the builder of every true church. God continually shows us that Jesus is God. Yet there are religions today that have as one of their major goals, the rejection of Jesus Christ as God.
Paul went on and stated that he wasted the church of God. The word translated as “wasted” means “to ravage, to destroy”. Paul was intent on making sure there was no true church of God left anywhere within his reach. We know there have been many since that time that have sought to destroy the church of God and have failed. The fact that Paul was directed to call It the “church of God” does not support the heresy of the universal church teaching. All true churches make up the church of God. When we are assembled in heaven, we will be one body gathered together in one place. On this earth it is clear that there are true churches of God in different parts of the world. In verse 2 Paul addressed the “churches of Galatia”. It is also true that there are fewer and fewer true churches of God in the world today. God is purifying His body.

I Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

There are many people who have their hope in a false church. They are heavily invested in these false churches. They choose to believe the lies being told there, rather than the truth. It is high time for true churches to shine forth as lights in a dark and dying world. It is time for true churches to turn our world upside down as we read in the book of Acts. True churches need to give clear evidence of the fact that we are owned by God the Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 14 Paul acknowledged that he “profited” in the Jews’ religion above many others who were also haters of God. The word translated as “profited” means “to drive forward (as by beating)”. Paul (Saul) used any means available to him to try to shut down the church of God. He had to admit that here.
Again we see the reality of true Biblical salvation. Paul repented toward God and put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That fact changed him from the inside out. He was no longer a hypocritical Pharisee. He counted his past as dung. He was not trying to hold on to his past sins. He turned to God and God was working in him to remove every vestige of sin from his being. The Bible never teaches us to pamper and shelter sin. It commands those who are saved to put sin to death. The Psalmist stated:

Psalm 119:128  Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

Born again Christians do not hate people, but they hate all sin. The first and primary place to hate sin is in self. Born again Christians do not look down their noses to criticize others. They look in the mirror of God’s Word and let Him show them their own false ways. They not only recognize their false ways, but they “hate” them. They want to be rid of them.

Paul stated:

II Corinthians 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

I listened to a man who has verse 5 as one of his key verses. This from a man who does not know the truth and is full of false teaching from the many books he has read. He is able to quote this man and that source, and even can throw in some perverted Bible words. He is impressive to those who are not settled on the truth.
Verse 5 begins with the phrase: “casting down imaginations . . .” Born again Christians actively throw away all false ways in their own lives. They also encourage other saints to do the same.
That is a fact of God’s Word. The New Evangelical movement and the Emergent church model reject this fact. Most people love those types of movements. The devil loves them because he can keep people in his clutches through them. God is good and He keeps exposing those movements for what they truly are. Those who will listen to Him, will see the facts and they will flee from those places and get into a true church of God.
Pastor Bartel

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