Editors Note: Here is a synopsis of the Sermon for this Sabbath by Warren Zehrung at the Sabbath Church of God. I thought it appropriate for this venue. You can also hear the full sermon at the link below.
For a while in the last century it seemed that the Church of God was to some extent a well-functioning group, fitly framed together. God knew that Satan would contaminate the believers with non-believing tares (Matthew 13). Doctrine was relatively consistent and accepted throughout the Church. Many were being called; the members were being spiritually fed; and the gospel was being effectively preached throughout the world. And yet, God was not mocked – He began the process of separating out the non-believers.
1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
So it is clear that God is always doing the sorting-out of His people. If we are wise we would not be too quick to assume that we are among those who are approved. The proof of that is evidenced by how many have been deceived by heresies in the past—even the recent past. Even now, those without faith are being made manifest.
Luke 12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
The Church of God is a beautiful thing. The part in the past that was not good was the part that was not the Church—they were the not approved unbelievers. Our singleness of mind as Christians enables us to seek out the truth of God and to live by it. By communicating, praying for other Christians, fellowshipping, and showing ourselves true to God’s word, we begin to show Christianity toward others. By reaching out to others in this way, God’s truth will become clearer to all in the Church, and our fellowship as God’s children will grow. We need to encourage all brethren who are truly serving God. Preserving God’s truth is everyone’s duty.
Jude :3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
God’s truth is being forgotten and watered down. This is the problem in the churches of God today. There are many who no longer contend for the faith which was established in the Church at its inception by Jesus Christ and the apostles. There are practices in the churches that “look” religious, but they are not true Christianity.
The apostle Paul made that important point to the Galatians. Because they had turned their backs on the practice of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, they were in danger of missing out on the spiritual promises God had made to the Church. Oh, they still kept the Sabbath (in a ritualistic way) and they continued to observe God’s law with regard to clean and unclean meats to a tee – in minute exactness, but they neglected to serve the brethren in a Godly manner (Galatians 5:13). The Galatians had ceased laying their lives down for one another in favor of ritualistic religion.
Today, church members have ceased laying their lives down for one another, and substituted looking to men at a headquarters [rather than trusting God and looking to His word].
Today, church members have raised “church government” to a par with God’s authority.
Today, too many church members have forgotten how to serve one another in a Godly manner, and have simply become “seat warmers” at their Saturday social gatherings.
In place of the Christian precepts Jesus taught of forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, Christ’s love, repentance, mercy, compassion, etc. – too many church members substitute their versions of corporate pre-eminence; their rendering of the calendar; holy names, organizational loyalty and church rivalry for their religion. These are the same mistakes the Galatians made – that of an heretical substitute religion. They have moved away from the simplicity in Christ.
In today’s sermon we will be comparing and contrasting pure religion with the common heretical practices of many of today’s churches.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.