The simplicity of the gospel message, which was taught to the populist by the first generation of Christians, merely was the telling of the message they personally received from Jesus Christ and the teaching, which He give to them over the 3Â½ year period He was with them on this earth.
Following on from that first generation we start to see the simplicity of the gospel message become more and more convoluted as the intellectual theologians, adulterated the message by searching out hidden meanings, which only they as the educated intelligentsia could translate. It is this adulterate message of the true faith which has morphed into the behemoth religion we call Christianity today.
The simplicity of the good news, taught by Jesus Christ and which was to be proclaimed to every person on the face of this planet, has successfully been hijacked and it meaning disguised so that the ordinary person would not be able to receive it.
When examined, it is clear that Satanâ€™s finger prints are all over the crime scene but what, if any, warning was available about this when the church was first commissioned. In Acts 16:16 we read of an unusual event concerning a gentile girl who under the influence of a spirit of divination (Python Spirit), proclaimed that Paul and Silas were indeed the true representatives of the supreme God and encouraged all the people who heard her to listen to what the apostles had to say and believe it. The subsequent result of this incident had previously been prophesied by Jesus in his parable of the tares in Matthew 13:24-30.
To fully understand the effect of this attack against the fledgling church we need to be aware of the apostles understanding as to the uniqueness of the Church of God. The scriptures clearly states that no one could come to an acceptance of Jesus Christ unless the Father (God) called them - John 6:44 â€“ this call to be part of the Church was determined by God the Father (not the individual person themselves â€“ and not by their choice) from before the beginning of creation - Ephesians 1: 4-5; 11. The early Church understood that while the world would hear them preaching the witness given to them from God about the gift of Jesus Christ, only the chosen could accept that message and therefore the individuals who would honestly say that Jesus was Lord would be accepted as part of the Bride of Christ and become brothers and sister with Christ.
The effect of Acts 16:16 changed all of that dynamically. Using the evil spirit which possessed the servant girl, Satan started to broadcast his message of salvation to everyone. The messageâ€™s presentation to the world changed as it became more universally acceptable to everyone and not just the called elect of God.
Today there are two gospel messages being proclaimed on this earth. At first glance they appear to be compatible, but when examined more closely their differences shown they separate origins. One is the message of universal salvation open to all, which only requires acknowledgement of Jesus as a personal Lord and Saviour but does not require any action or work from the individual other than the obligatory financial support of the ministry/church and an outward religious zeal which culminates in the oppression of others.
The other is a personal call to salvation received from the Holy Spirit, this lead a person to repentant for their personal sins and their acknowledgement that they are unable to offer any recompense for their transgressions. This call bring a person to the realisation that they are totally unworthy and fully deserving of the death penalty. It produces an immediately desire within a person to change from their old practices and way of life, to want to reflect the fullness of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is on their acceptance of the gift of Christâ€™s sacrifice that they are filled with the joy of the Spirit and the certain knowledge that their sins have been cleaned.
It has to be noted that both of these calling can result within the exact same church/ministry teaching, but the true call is only available from God via His Holy Spirit.
So how can you tell if a Christian calling is genuine or false. The simple answer is by examining a personâ€™s spiritual fruit. The false call produces fruit that corresponds with the ways of this world because the spirit that controls the false call will be an evil religious spirit. It is worth noting that the recipient of such a call normally presents as very zealous, with strong personal opinions which they seek to impose on others and they inevitably will actively seek to change the local sociality around them which does not agree with their view of the â€˜truthâ€™. A point of note, the religious spirit can also be called a Pharisaic spirit (Spirit of the Pharisee) which put simply is an â€˜Iâ€™m better than youâ€™ attitude.
The main different between the true and the false is how they present within their local communities. The Christian was a false call wishes to impose their values on all aspects of the community around them. They will organise petitions, demonstrates and exercise their right of freedom of speech in an attempt to change the society around them into their personal spiritual utopia. It is worth noting that where these false Christians success they enforce a strict regime of no tolerance. They are normally politically active and will inevitable seek to influence the country they live in by backing political candidates who best reflect they particular views. The religious spirit is not tolerant, it can not demonstrate love, it is selfish and self centred and creates feeling of hate against the people who it feels are standing in opposition to itâ€™s agenda.
By contrast the genuine Christian, will not get involved in the society around them in order to change it. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they accept that this worldâ€™s society is governed by Satan and that it will require a change of ruler-ship in spiritual places before the society around them can change. That is why Christian pray, â€˜thy kingdom come, thy will be done of Earth as it is in Heavenâ€™. The genuine Christian seeks to see a change in themselves, (not the society) so that they can better emulate Jesus and allow His character to become visible in them.
The genuine Christian hates the sin and loves the sinner, there is no judgement made on the person committing the sins as the scripture shows that the slave is subject to his master and has to obey them, for good or for bad. This world is under the sway of Satan, his purpose is to present mankind, (who are made in the image of God), as unlike God as it is possible for him to get them to be like. Is it any wonder that He wishes humanity to believe they are only a higher form of animal. Satan takes pleasure in the sins of humanity, as it allows him to retain the control of this earth. The ruler ship of this earth was originally given to mankind by God, but in the Garden of Eden, Satan swindled mankind out of it, and in order for him to retain that power he has to prevent mankind from coming to the realisation that he has been duped. Sin is the drug of choice to numb the mind and self will of mankind thus maintaining their oblivion to their imprisoned state.
Jesus Christ came to release the captives and break the strong bonds which are holding them. The bonds Satan uses are the desires of the individual to continue to want to participate in the imagined pleasures that sin can offered to them. Satan is aware that when someone tries to force a change on humanity that change will be strongly resisted and therefore he systematically urges the religious spirits to continue to present the Christian gospel as a tyrannical set of rules designed to stop the individual expressing their freedom of personal choice. The truth presents the gospel much differently, it shows the life of the individual Christian as an example of how a godly life should be lived. It does not attempt to disguised or toned down the problems and difficulties that being a Christian in this present world brings. Christians are to view their lives here on earth are if they are strangers in a foreign land, they surrender they rights as citizen of the country of their birth on a voluntary basis so that they can place themselves under the authority of Jesus and claim their rights of citizenship within a new heavenly country which is coming to rule this earth forever. The only time a true Christian may legitimately exercise their rights within this present world is when it would could be considered to benefit the proclaiming of the gospel.
The gospel message is an announcement that a change of spiritual government is going to occur on this earth and that the human inhabitants of this earth have a choice to make, accept the new King and welcome Him or face His wrath for being collaborators with the enemy (Satan). It is not the Churchâ€™s job or calling to directly or indirectly attempt to make a change in this worldâ€™s governmental authorities that will be the job of the King of Kings on His return. The authority given to the Church is to free the prisoners from their chains of sins, which are represented in spiritual oppression, sickness, famine, pestilences and ultimately death. These prisoners can only be freed if they ask to be, and this can only happen when they hear the good news and recognise the authority that Jesus has to free them. The Church also has the authority to defend itself from all forms of spiritual attack, and is authorised to tear down spiritual strongholds if they are perceived as a threat to the true gospel of Jesus.
In conclusion there are two spiritual forces presenting as Christianity today, one is controlled by the spiritual authority of this world (Satan) and will prosper as it is deceptive and continues to disguises the main truth about Jesus Christ, that he will return and remove Satan from off
The other is the Holy Spirit of the Living God who sent Jesus Christ to this earth to ransom the inhabitants and to proclaim liberty and freedom to this earth from sin and death.
The writer is of the Spirit of Christ, proclaiming liberty and freedom to the captives and awaiting the return of Jesus to establish the promised kingdom on this earth.
Which spirit do you pledge your allegiance to?
William Andrews is a regular Christian preacher/speaker within churches across Northern Ireland. He lives in one of the very few dry villages in Ireland called Seskinore, has been married to Caroline for 37 blissful years and has two daughters Charlene (36) and Rachel (22). The year 2008 proved to be an exciting year for the family as Charlene got married to Dominic in September 08 and they had their first child Phoebe Rose on 30th November 2009. A second grandchild, Ruby Caroline was born on 23rd April 2013.