Monday, 12 March 2012

When the Church Becomes a Hell Hole - Literally

An off shoot thought from the previous post:

I haven't seen the film associated with this picture, nor do I particularly care to, but it caught my attention as I walked through the arteries of the London underground, because it conveys a truth. Namely that there is an evil worse than "evil" and that is evil masquerading as good (2Cor.11:14).

The only thing worse than outright wickedness is the wickedness that carries on under a veneer of respectability. That's why Jesus reserved his biggest attacks for the religious elite, because whilst purporting to be the guardians of truth and leading people to God, they were in fact leading people by the hand in to the depths of Hell.

First century Jewish worship became to the church, what Pharoah had been to the Israelites 2000 years previously. The oppressed became the oppressor.

Just as Pharaoh had seen the multiplication of the Israelites (Ex.1:7) and sought to stamp his authority on them by enslaving them (Ex.1:10-11, 5:2) So too, the Sanhedrin saw the growth of the New Testament church - the up and coming power, threatened it (Acts 4:21) and tried to stamp it out (Acts 9:1).

Just as Pharaoh had come to typify the great Serpent accusing and oppressing the Israelites, so 2000 years later, the very people God liberated had now taken Pharaoh's place symbolically as a great serpent (Matt.23:33) oppressing the nations, shutting the kingdom of God in people's faces (Matt.23:13) living for the traditions of men not the word of God (Matt.15:3-4)

Over the centuries, church institutions at various points have become the same kind of Hell holes as Pharaoh and Israel were, looking good on the outside, yet inside infected with all manner or debased thinking: witchcrafts, superstitions, liberalism and legalism etc. They ceased to listen to the word of God, putting more store on their traditions aka "ways of doing church" than listening to the renewing voice of the Spirit who wanted to show them afresh the riches of Christ for their generation. So they ossified and died.

The Living God is a fountain of life, always pouring out new wine, so there will always be a need for us humbly to make new wineskins (Lk.5:37). Yesterday's wineskin is insufficient for the task.

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