The Enemy Within

by Mike Ratliff

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15 ESV)

We live in dangerous times. Yes, there is terrorism and wars and rumors of wars and natural disasters left and right seemingly everywhere all at the same time. I live in the Kansas City area. A few weeks ago an 18-year-old recent graduate from a local High School went to a Target Store not far from where I work to buy a gift for her boyfriend. They have surveillance video of her both entering the store and leaving. They also have video of a young man following her into the store and back out. There is also video of the young lady being forced into her car then the car racing away. Her body was found a few days later. The video of the young man was so clear that they have located and arrested him. I am sure that the young lady had no idea that the parking lot of a very busy shopping area in broad daylight would be a dangerous place to be alone, but there was a young man who wanted something and would not be denied. He cared not for her wants and desires or that of her parents, relatives and friends. Instead, he wanted what he wanted and he took it. He used his anonymity to hide in plain sight so he could stalk and snatch his prey.

False prophets have infiltrated the Church since the very beginning. Also, disingenuous professors have always plagued churches. There has not been a time when the church has been free from enemies within. However, in our time the church is the sickest it has ever been. False prophets beget false doctrine, the doctrine of demons, for the false believers that flock to them. Sound Doctrine is no longer tolerated. Expository preaching and teaching is ignored or shouted down. This is happening not between Christians and non-Christians, but between professing Christians in the “name” of Christ. The Church has become polluted with the ways of the world, which demands no offense to anyone. If doctrinal disagreements happen, the resultant “debate” soon resembles some sort of all out gang war. Those holding sound doctrine will often be condemned and threatened and pressured to abjure to their opponents view using every imaginable tactic. When he or she refuses to give in to the onslaught then those on attack will escalate it to something like this, “either you ‘repent’ and apologize publicly for this (not giving in) or I will ruin you. I will warn everyone about you.” Of course those other ravenous wolves demanding that he or she give in are chiming in with all sorts of threats such as, “either you … or I will pull my support for your ministry” Again, what was their crime? They held a doctrine and presented it as the truth. Those in disagreement did all they could to silence the offender for good. They did not try to understand the point of the accused even when it was given plainly. The fact that he or she would not cave in to the pressure made them a target. Interestingly, the only and best way to end this is to simply do the Christlike thing, end the discussion and walk away. Of course, then they will be accused of being spiritually proud, etc. However, didn’t our Lord get accused of much worse than that?

No folks, these are not non-Christians doing this but supposed Christians doing this to other Christians. We can no longer disagree on anything. If we do, then we will have the thought police down upon us to make sure we knuckle under to their will. How did we get here? How did the Church become full of factious war with hit squads and secret police?

16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:16-19 ESV)

Is God judging the Church? I believe He is. I believe that the Church is lurching forward toward the culmination of a couple of centuries of bad doctrine and compromise with the World. The sick Church we have now is the product of the downgrade that began in the 19th Century. Some may even go back to the compromises that came upon the Church after the Puritan era. In any case, it is full of false prophets and false professors who will not endure sound doctrine or those who hold it and teach it. Why would God allow this to happen to the Church?

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18 ESV)

This is the key. Unrighteousness suppresses the truth. Why? The ungodly cannot endure the truth. They hate it. What does this tell us then? The Church has many ungodly in it who suppress the truth. Many are leaders. Many have ministries. Many have been in the ministry a very long time and looked great and wonderful for decades, but now their apostasy is being revealed for all to see. God always judges unrighteousness. Since the Church is being ravaged then we must believe that God is allowing this to happen for His purposes. He is judging the Church.

However, I have good news. God always works with a Remnant. There is always the invisible True Church within the visible Church that has the godly and ungodly side by side in it. The Remnant of godly believers will be the targets of the thought police who are Satan’s seed being used by God to cleanse the bride of Christ. When the attacks come upon them because they hold to sound doctrine, they must not lose heart, but keep their eyes fixed upon their Lord while continuing to run the race set before them by God.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Persecution will come. We must not lose heart, but simply continue to obey our Lord in all that we do. Soli Deo Gloria.

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28 thoughts on “The Enemy Within

  1. Oh so well said Mike!! That is exactly what is happening in the visible church today. Great post. You hit the nail on the head big time!!

  2. Amen, Mike! Man always changes but His Word never changes. It is the rock on which we are to stand and never compromise!

  3. Yes, gotta watch out for that expository preaching. It’s dangerous stuff! The Lord saved me this year, as I think I may have mentioned a few months back. Thanks to Him working through the bold preaching of Paul Washer. When I shared my testimony at church the following week there were, of course, many amens and that’s rights. I said things like “it isn’t enough that you prayed a prayer” and “You must examine yourself in light of scripture”. Sure people nodded there heads, but that was it. Most people didn’t really know what I ment.
    That was the turning point for us at the church. After my conversion, we began to pick up on the wishy washiness of the pastor’s sermons. Very much full of psycho babble, trendy statistics and collegiate level “studies”. When I had approached the pastor in private about a certain sermon followed by the weakest gospel presentation (if it could even be called that) that I ever heard, I was told I need to be careful not to be pharasaical. I was told that it must be that because I’d gone my entire life not hearing the message of repentance… that it’s easy for me to miss it now that I’m saved. NO! That’s not it pastor, you never sayed repent! You never said sin… hell… anything! argghh!
    Anyway, we had two gentlemen at our house last week. One an associate pastor and the other a deacon. They were checking to see how my walk with the Lord was. After they covered that base, they asked me what I thought of the church. So I said “Would you like me to tell you the truth?”
    “Of course,” they said.
    “well, we absolutely love sunday school. It’s usually very deep and it is set up for the teacher to exposite the passages. However, we have grown dissapointed with the worship service. The music is inconsistant in regard to being God-centered as opposed to man-centered. I love our music minister, he works hard… but it’s just too inconsistant. (The music minister’s motto is “If person in the audience can go to work on monday morning humming the tune in their head, then the music portion was successful.”) And our pastor, he truly loves people, but we don’t understand why a man with a doctorate feels he has to use wishy washy, self help topical sermons as opposed to deep, expository teaching. We’ve been going to a small home church with some friends, and we have two very gifted teachers. (both are my age…in their 20′s we went to school together). The teaching is deep, and expository. It is truly a blessing. So we’ve come to a point were we come only for sunday school, and go to our home church for our worship and preaching.”
    Their response was both humorous and discouraging.
    It went along the lines of “you really need to be careful about that expository preaching. You know in sunday school, you could bring something from your home church expository message that could cause a new christian brother to stumble. For example, Jordan, you told us that it isn’t enough to pray a prayer. What if a new believer in your class hears that… and they start doubting in their minds about the security of their salvation. There could be misunderstandings and the like. You just really need to be careful with that. Remember you are still a babe in Christ, you have a lot to learn. I remember when I was a babe in Christ, I thought I was right about everything. Blah blah blah”… I sort of tuned him out here for a sec. Then I payed attention again when he said along the lines of… “You really need to get involved with a church family fully. Either here at our church… which means sunday school and the worship service, the outreach ministries and the like, or elsewhere. It’s bad to be splitting your time like that. You need to find one place that you can submit yourselves to the pastor.”
    This wasn’t the first time I heard the implications that my spirituality was tied directly to how often I was participating at church events. The pastor said the same thing when I confronted him about his invitation message. “You know Jordan, now that you made your profession of faith public, people will be looking at you more closely. So I expect to see you here on sunday mornings, sunday nights, tuesday nights for our GROW ministry, and wednesday nights.” Argghh! Are you kidding me? Chapter and verse please to support that! Sigh. Anyway… we are kind of in limbo right now about what to do? Do we break all ties with that church? Do we continue to go to just sunday school? Do we go to all of it? Enough rambling. Anyway, be in prayer for my family. We are waiting patiently for the Lord to open a door to a music ministry position in a sound, bible preaching, bible teaching church.

    Jordan

  4. Jordan,

    Man! In less than a year you have experienced stuff I have been going through for years. Amazing brother. Your description is right. Your discernment is far higher than those who have compromised their walks with the ways of the world. Perhaps they aren’t real anyway. Keep right on doing what your doing brother. Just follow our Lord and obey Him in all things. You will be fine!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. Mike, Nothing has surprised me more than to learn that I have more to fear personally from ‘professing Christians’ than I do the world.

    I NEVER thought that Christian leaders would be so devoted to the concept of ‘unity’ that they would literally go to great lenghts to ruin a fellow believer (reputation, financially, etc) who believes scriptural truth is more important.

    I have a request. Do a post on this question: What is our Biblical responsibility when we are confronted with false teaching?

  6. Jordan,
    Always read the Word and go to the Lord in prayer. Pray for wisdom from the Lord and He will give it freely. Nothing from the Lord will EVER contradict the scriptures. May the Lord use you mightily.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  7. Mike,

    Thanks for another encouraging post. It was a God send…for I have found myself feeling weak and alone…but God! He is faithful to restore me! Through your post and Spurgeon’s (July 12)
    Faith’s Check Book…He has given me strength!

    His Word is amazing!!

    In Christ,
    Sherry

  8. Lin,

    Me neither, I was so taken off guard by this. I wish you could read some of the email I have received from some of these brethren who disagree with this. However, you are right. We do need some guidelines about this.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. Jordan:
    “Grow Ministry”?
    Mike is right about the pressure to conform. I was chair of our old church’s “Grow Comittee”, and ended up resigning. This was because of pressure to let the local “Baptist Association” come into our church and change our form of government, allowing them to “transistion” it into a Purpose Driven church, easily controlled by them, instead of the congregation. Our family has gotten so disgusted over being told what we are to do and believe (thru “wresting scripture” KJV), that we have left the Baptist Denomination, and have become Lutherans.

  10. Kathy,

    This is tragically the sign of the times we are in right now. The “evangelical” part of the church is so spiritually blind that they cannot see the truth anymore. They just see it as something that causes dissension and divisiveness.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  11. Mike, I have just recently (the past couple of months) found your site and have been reading. I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work…….I am praying for your ministry here

  12. With all the surrounding dangers as well as the gathering storm of God’s wrath, why all the positive messages from pillow prophets? Partly because they love the praise of men and partly because they are in the grip of deception.

    Many of the warning-less preaching can be likened to Custer exclaiming, “Those are friendly Indians coming over the hill!”.

  13. I regularly run into people (especially leaders) in mainstream churches who see what is going on as merely people majoring on the minors and giving too little attention to the important things. But it is far beyond that. It is about people teaching outrightly unBiblical (and consequently untrue) things.

    It is an issue of people calling good evil, and evil good; putting darkness for light, and light for darkness; putting bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; of people that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.

    It is deception on a grand scale.

    Jordan, stay on fire for the Lord. Believe me, what you have is what the visible Church has largely lost and should run back to.

  14. Mike, you could make of post of all the hate mail you receive and turn off the comment section to that post. This way they will be exposed for the nonchristian people they are.

  15. Mike,
    I’m sorry your heart was hurt. I must have missed something. I did read the blog when it was at about 75 comments. I didn’t read the blogs as attacks as much as concern, at least the ones I read. I truely hope the Lord mends all hearts that were wounded. :-) Sarah mentioned Wake and Derrick in one of her posts. I don’t see their posts on the blog. Does this mean they are no longer allowed? I ask this because I posted a reply to Wake before all of this other stranspired and do not know if he had a chance to read and reply.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  16. Rachel,

    We were discussing email I have received. I decided to remove much of the “discussion” from those posts because it would only serve to bring further division and dissension. I did not do that lightly, but after a couple days of prayer and a few sleepless nights. Wake banned himself as did Derrick.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  17. Thanks for the clarification. I’m sorry you received unloving e-mails. I’ve been there. May we both continue to grow in the Lord’s grace and may we come into all knowledge and truth. My prayers are with you.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  18. I don’t mean to be rude but i am amused- to a large extent- by most of what i’ve read here. Mem marry men in church these days and the ladies have followed too. the truth is spurned and much of the so called believers of today are worse than full time unbelievers in character. Sorry i appreciate ur hurts and all but satan is in church. It can’t be any other way. Just beleieve and hold fast to the Lord and his true word. Expect the attacks- we are appointed thereunto-but remember: He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. We shall overcome. the battle ahead is less than the ones u’ve won already, Mike, Jorda… etc.

  19. Right here, it is so obvious to me that someone is in here under wolfish pretense. I felt it all along and the wolf has been caught. Praise God

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