Be Diligent Spotless and Unblemished Found With Him in Peace

by Mike Ratliff

Διό, ἀγαπητοί, ταῦτα προσδοκῶντες σπουδάσατε ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι αὐτῷ εὑρεθῆναι ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μακροθυμίαν σωτηρίαν ἡγεῖσθε, καθὼς καὶ ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν ἀδελφὸς Παῦλος κατὰ τὴν δοθεῖσαν αὐτῷ σοφίαν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν, ὡς καὶ ἐν πάσαις ἐπιστολαῖς λαλῶν ἐν αὐταῖς περὶ τούτων, ἐν αἷς ἐστιν δυσνόητά τινα, ἃ οἱ ἀμαθεῖς καὶ ἀστήρικτοι στρεβλοῦσιν ὡς καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς γραφὰς πρὸς τὴν ἰδίαν αὐτῶν ἀπώλειαν. (2 Peter 3:14-16 NA27)

Wherefore, beloved, these things awaiting, be diligent, spotless and unblemished found with him in peace, consider the longsuffering of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist as they also do the other Scriptures to their own destruction. (a personal translation of 2 Peter 3:14-16 from the NA27 Greek text)

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post my brethren. If you prefer, read 2 Peter 3:14-16 from your own preferred translation. If you do, go ahead and read 2 Peter 3 to keep it in context. What is it? As believers, we are called to remain faithful understanding fully that the Day of the Lord will surely come. In this, our expectation as those in Christ is that we are to be gathered unto our Saviour forever. That is our blessed hope. This includes the tremendous blessing of our Resurrection, which I find dreadfully neglected in the teaching nowadays. Now, let us look at another passage that stresses these same exhortations, but has been misused for centuries to teach something else entirely. 

In our last post Slavery Freedom Faith and Fruit, the discussion, of course, centered on legalism and our freedom in Christ. As a refugee and victim of what of what we call “Churchianity,” I have been seeking the will of God in this ever since He allowed the circumstances to prevail in which the leadership at our old church in which I served as a Deacon and Bible Teacher to drive my wife and I out because I would not submit to the their plan to go Purpose Driven. My wife and I have visited and become close to many church fellowships since then, but God has never allowed us to become permanent members. Something has always kept that from happening. I will not go into details, but I am sure that those of you with discernment already know that it has everything to do with this ministry. Either they want no part of me or they want to control it. There was one church that my wife liked and it was close to our house, but one of the Deacons there was so rude to me the last Sunday we were there (and my wife witnessed it) that we never went back.

What is up with that? I am not pointing any fingers. As anyone who reads what I write knows, I fully grasp that God is Sovereign, therefore, what is going on He allows. I long ago committed myself to learning and obeying and ministering here via what He taught me through His Word and interactions with the world and the visible church.

Since that discussion on Slavery Freedom Faith and Fruit, of which I did not comment in much at all, I have been researching the controversy of the legalism and church attendance et cetera. I could make a career out of writing about nothing but that. In any case, in my own case, as most of you know, I came from a Southern Baptist background. It was hammered into me as a child that we had to be there in “Church” every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday, et cetera. When I became old enough, I had to attend Royal Ambassadors (which I detested). I was already a Cub Scout (which I loved). The R.A. stuff was like legalism on parade. I was not old enough back then to know what that meant, but I knew that it was just more religiosity (which I already hated). Later, when I became older, we had something on Sunday evenings called Training Union. It was like Sunday school, but on Sunday nights. So, on Sunday’s I was there in the morning for Sunday school then for “Church” then a few hours later we went back for Training Union then more Church. Later in the week, I had to go to R.A.’s on Wednesday night, et cetera. As an adult, all this was repeated but with more and more days during the week being taken away with meetings and gatherings and “fellowships.” When I was a Deacon, I had to give up my Saturday mornings twice a month for meetings plus all the other days we had to give up for the other stuff Deacons have to do.

All of that and all I really wanted was to open my Bible and have someone help me understand it and then later as an Adult, open my Bible before others and help them understand theirs. I wanted to pray with them and worship our God. All this other “stuff” just was a colossal waste of time that took time away from things I would have much preferred to be doing. During the 1980’s, we had a pastor who forced all the Deacons and their families to be at Church on Sunday evenings on Super Bowl Sunday. If not then there would be repercussions. During those years when Joe Montana was winning all those Super Bowls in San Francisco, I think I saw one of them because I was visiting away from home or something. What passage of scripture did this pastor use to enforce this? It was Hebrews 10:23-25. Here it is from the KJV (which is what he used).

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV)

Let us put this into context. Hebrews 10 is a continuation of the discussion from Hebrews 9 comparing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, which describes our redemption through the blood of Christ and how that is far superior to all that blood shed in the sacrifice through the Old Covenant that could not atone for anyone’s sins. Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). In Hebrews 10:1-18 we have Christ’s Sacrifice once for all. In other words, he does not have to go to the cross repeatedly. The atonement through His sacrifice was sufficient for all those He purchased through His blood.

Now we come to Hebrews 10:19-39 which is part of a larger context that runs through Hebrews 12:29. This section of Hebrews is a call to faith and endurance just as Peter’s call was in 2 Peter 3. In this section of Hebrews we see the superiority of Christ and that His salvation culminates in exhortations to faith and perseverance. Let us focus on vv19-31.

Ἔχοντες οὖν, ἀδελφοί, παρρησίαν εἰς τὴν εἴσοδον τῶν ἁγίων ἐν τῷ αἵματι Ἰησοῦ, ἣν ἐνεκαίνισεν ἡμῖν ὁδὸν πρόσφατον καὶ ζῶσαν διὰ τοῦ καταπετάσματος, τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἱερέα μέγαν ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον τοῦ θεοῦ, προσερχώμεθα μετὰ ἀληθινῆς καρδίας ἐν πληροφορίᾳ πίστεως ῥεραντισμένοι τὰς καρδίας ἀπὸ συνειδήσεως πονηρᾶς καὶ λελουσμένοι τὸ σῶμα ὕδατι καθαρῷ· κατέχωμεν τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς ἐλπίδος ἀκλινῆ, πιστὸς γὰρ ὁ ἐπαγγειλάμενος, καὶ κατανοῶμεν ἀλλήλους εἰς παροξυσμὸν ἀγάπης καὶ καλῶν ἔργων, μὴ ἐγκαταλείποντες τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, καθὼς ἔθος τισίν, ἀλλὰ παρακαλοῦντες, καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον ὅσῳ βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν. Ἑκουσίως γὰρ ἁμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν μετὰ τὸ λαβεῖν τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τῆς ἀληθείας, οὐκέτι περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἀπολείπεται θυσία, φοβερὰ δέ τις ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως καὶ πυρὸς ζῆλος ἐσθίειν μέλλοντος τοὺς ὑπεναντίους. ἀθετήσας τις νόμον Μωϋσέως χωρὶς οἰκτιρμῶν ἐπὶ δυσὶν ἢ τρισὶν μάρτυσιν ἀποθνῄσκει· πόσῳ δοκεῖτε χείρονος ἀξιωθήσεται τιμωρίας ὁ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καταπατήσας καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος, ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας; οἴδαμεν γὰρ τὸν εἰπόντα· ἐμοὶ ἐκδίκησις, ἐγὼ ἀνταποδώσω. καὶ πάλιν· κρινεῖ κύριος τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ. φοβερὸν τὸ ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς χεῖρας θεοῦ ζῶντος. (Hebrews 10:19-31 NA27)

Therefore, brothers, having boldness for entering the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, which He opened for us a new and living way through the Curtain, that is to say, His flesh, and since we have a great Priest over the House of God, let us approach God with a true heart in a full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful, and let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not abandoning the gathering together of ourselves, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and by so much more as you see The Day approaching. For when intentionally sinning after we received the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and a blazing of fire that will consume the adversaries.  Anyone having declared the Law of Moses invalid dies without mercy upon the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God and trampled upon the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, having insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who said, “To Me is vengeance, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (a personal translation of Hebrews 10:19-31 from the NA27 Greek text)

Let us reason together with honest and open hearts here my brethren. As we look at the context of vv23-25, which so many use as a command for Christian brothers and sisters to “assemble together” whenever the church leaders say so.  Here is my translation of vv23-25:

Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful, and let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not abandoning the gathering together of ourselves, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and by so much more as you see The Day approaching.

The KJV translated the Greek word ἐλπίδος as Faith, but is it? Here it is the Genitive, Singular of ἐλπίς or elpis. It is translated as “hope” everywhere in the KJV New Testament except here. The context of these three verses, then, is Christians not wavering concerning their hope in what that their faithful God has promised. What has He promised believers? As I stated above, the Resurrection from the dead is huge along with our glorification and the return of Jesus Christ. Consider Acts 23:6 where Paul refers to our “Hope and resurrection of the dead.” Look at Acts 24:15, “having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

(Acts 24:15 ESV)” We see this again in Acts 26:6 and 28:20. Look at Romans 5:2, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Consider Romans 8:19-25:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.(Romans 8:19-25 ESV)

Now, back to Hebrews 10. In v24, let us read it in the context of what we just studied. Here it is, “and let us consider one another to stir up love and good works…” Why are we to consider each other to stir up love and good works amongst ourselves? What is the motivation? It is because of the hope of glorification in the resurrection that we are to keep on another in mind to incite each other to love and good works.

Here is v25, “not abandoning the gathering together of ourselves, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and by so much more as you see The Day approaching. ” The words “gathering together” translate the noun ἐπισυναγωγὴν, the Accusative, Singular of ἐπισυναγωγή or episunagōgē, “a gathering”. The noun form of this word is found in only one other place in the New Testament, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” This gathering together in Hebrews 10 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 are obviously talking about our being gathered to Christ.

Hebrews 10:25 is not referring to Christians “going” or “not going” to church on Sunday, but to something far greater and more profound. As we put the verses in context, we see that we are to be exhorting, beseeching or comforting one another more and more as we see the day of the Lord drawing nearer and nearer. We should be about encouraging one another with the hope of the promise of our coming resurrection and what awaits us in Christ at His return. The admonition in v25 is that so many are not encouraging one another this way, but are focusing on religiosity or other things, much like today.

When I look at how this passage has been used to enforce religiosity upon people rather than encouraging them into conforming them unto the image of Christ as it really says, I can see now why the spirit of Laodicean Church (Revelation 3:14-22) that is so fully in place in our time is falling victim to deceiver after deceiver and supposedly solid leader after supposedly solid leader falls into mediocrity if not apostasy. No, we should not be surprised at this, but seek to be conformed to the image of Christ and be fully of the spirit of the Philadelphia Church (Revelation 3:7-13) as we encourage one another inciting one another unto good works as the day of the Lord is seen to be drawing nearer and nearer.

Soli Deo Gloria!

24 thoughts on “Be Diligent Spotless and Unblemished Found With Him in Peace

  1. Exactly!!! Excellent work brother! That is what I’m talking about…One Anothering is who we are in Him!

    Thanks Mike.

  2. The research I did on Hebrews 10:25 in which those who were insisting that it said that it was telling us that we had to “go to church” were without exception from groups with an extremely legalistic stripe, some might say “fundamentalist” to the point of “over the top.” On the other other hand, I did find some who I have lot of respect for like A.W. Pink who looked at this series of verses as talking about Apostasy, but as we just saw in the exegesis, that is NOT what this is talking about.

  3. Right, but it shows how quickly the ‘traditions of the elders” takes hold of most folks. Manfred, for example, I think fell into that trap, even though I never would call him legalistic or over the top fundimentalist.
    We all must, as I said to him, ask to have our eyes opened by the Holy Spirit to the Truth, while becoming blind to the “Traditions of the Elders.” Matthew 15 and Mark 7, I believe.

  4. Mickey, no Manfred is a good friend. I think anyone who has found a good Church that is not ate up with legalism is very fortunate. I suppose that is why I have not become enamored with any of the Churches we have attended sin 2006. Yes, we have friends in most of them. Yes, I love the preachers and teachers in them. I miss some of them very much, but I could see the traditions ruling when they couldn’t.

  5. This was very encouraging to me today, Mike. I have been thinking a lot about church–the building, not us. I always have it in the back of my mind but have been thinking about it more lately. Thanks so much for explaining gathering.

    Now if you could do a study for me on Hebrews 13:17 for me that would be great. :-)

  6. Dear Mike,

    Grace and peace in Christ Jesus! This is an important topic to delve into, especially in light of the current state of the visible church, but I do not think this needs to be a point of division or contention among the brethren.

    God has definitely set forth in His word how to fellowship together. IE: 1 Corinthians 11-14, Unity Ephesians 4-6, Most of 1 Timothy describes how a church is to be operated and Titus lists qualifications for elders and there are many more examples of how we are to assemble under God’s direction.

    God has also gifted the body of Christ very specifically to fulfill all of the various functions within the body of Christ.IE: 1 Corinthians 12. So, all can agree that God has designed community fellowshipping and the gathering in Christ and encouraging one another in the Lord.

    The rub is finding a truly orthodox, bible believing, fellowship where we can worship in Spirit and Truth is it not?

    The majority of people who follow this blog are endevouring to walk closely with the Lord. Each of us are in different areas of the country and in varying social and economic brackets and being used by God how He determines. This is not a “one size fits all” issue.

    Look at the seven churches in Revelation only two out of the seven where on track. The majority were WAY off, but even so it says: “But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” Rev.3:4. Also,”But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them – I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast till I come.” Rev. 2:24&25. There are many dear lovely saints in less than satisfactory churches.

    We can not judge others in Christ in this area because it is presumptuous of us to do so. God may be having a godly witness stay in a departing church to be salt and light and to be a witness to the Truth that will be made manifest in the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. Jonah certainly did not want to go to Nineveh but that was God’s plan for him none the less. God knew that he would use Jonah to show mercy, compassion and grace to this pagan culture (not unlike ours).

    But then again, God may be calling some of the beloved out. Just like on Paul’s missionary journey when he was lead by the Holy Spirit NOT to go to certain places. There is also the issue of going against your conscience in the Lord. If you are being forced to agree to things that you feel are contrary to clear biblical teachings then you would be wrong to continue in that church.

    This is a deeply personal and complex subject that can really only be dealt with by prayer and fasting on the part of the individual believer, trusting that God’s perfect Will will be done.

    Grace and peace and freedom in Christ to all the saints that fellowship here! charisse

  7. Charisse, the point of this post was not whether it is right or wrong for us to be part of a local church, but for how Hebrews 10:25 is wrongfully used to coerce people to attend as if it is commanded in that verse, which it isn’t. Where did I learn to study the Bible? It was in Bible study classes at local church I belonged to for many years. I have a very good experiences as a servant and member in local churches and some very horrible ones as well. I am not telling anyone to stop going to church or not to belong to a local church. I think we need the fellowship and we certainly need to partake of the Lord’s Supper together and hear the Word rightly divided. I know we can get the latter in many places and can fellowship in other places as well, but I still think God wants us to be part of local fellowships, but how can that mean being part of those huge mega mall sized churches?

  8. Question/thought about the churches in Revelation 2&3 – aren’t they referring to the assembly of believers in a given city, not specifically to individual buildings (what we call “churches” today)? To contrast, in any given city in America today, there are literally 1000s of buildings we call churches. So for apples to apples comparison, the letters of Revelation 2&3, if they were written today to American churches, would be written by cities: ie: NYC, Nashville, Los Angeles, not to individual buildings/denominations?

    So in that respect, yes, there are believers in each city who may be desirous of walking in an honorable manner in the midst of a city where the local assembly at large is not honorable. But I don’t think you can use those Rev 2&3 verses to say that an individual believer should stay under unsound teaching at a particular building.

    Your thoughts, Mike?

  9. Chariise;
    The judgement must begin with the leadership in the vast majority of “churches” who have departed from the very things you have pointed out, such that there are many places in this country that have no biblical fellowships available. The issue is not with those who refuse to follow these unbiblical (as Manfred aptly pointed out) social clubs. The issue will continue as long as these liberal “shepherds” continue to gather goats (along with a few true sheep who, for whatever reason, continue to attend) and herd them “in Jesus” name, but for their own profits. The bible has many more words warning us against this issue then words explaining how to worship. In fact most of the words explaining how to worship were stern corrections against the foolishness already creeping in to the fellowships of that day. As long as we continue to think of the church as a building we go to, and the professional paid clergy, trained by professional paid religion professors, (of which over 50% of them now do not believe the entire bible is the inspired word of God) we will continue to be lead further and further astray.
    Think with me for a moment, 7 churches in Asia, only 2 getting things mostly right, yet NONE of them in existence today. 7 churches recognized by Jesus in His Revelation of Who He is. Where are the rest of them? Were there only 7 there among all those early converts? Only 7, and 5 having gone quite astray?. ..And NONE left today? Why? Leaders who lead astray, and followers who depend upon men instead of the Living Word and the ever presesnt Holy Spirit.
    Until men and women of God take a stand against the goat herding, and put these leaders out of the assembly, instead of letting them take the vast majority of the offering money home as a benefit each week, this will continue. Remember, Apostles,prophets, TEACHERS, and then ministers….Not ANY left to grow the church biblically, just preachers who control by quoting partial bible verses out of context…just like their father did when he tempted Jesus! Study the deeds of the Nicolaitens whose deeds Jesus HATES! Next take my challenge and go find the storehouse every one of these places preach about during the offering…ask the pastors hand picked yes men in most church corporations to get the key and show you the storehouse. While we are at it, look up Deut.14 and the purpose of the “tithe.” Then look for ANY confirmation of a mandatory tithe in the New Covenant. This is the NEXT stronghold that needs to be torn down as these false churches must be defunded. “My people perish for lack of Knowlege.” “Foolih Virgins.”
    Once you start asking questions, and bringing scriptural examples to these many Diatrophese in the pulpits, you will quickly find out just how wonderful they really are. Peter took the correction well, i’m guessing the leadership in your local assemblies…not so well. Come humbly to them so they have nothing to attack in you, just let them argue with the Word in context. You will quickly see how humble they are. ..or not.

  10. OOPS, my last sentence needs fixing… forgive me!

    “But I don’t think you can use those Rev 2&3 verses to say that an individual believer should stay under unsound teaching at a particular building.”

    Whoops, that is not worded the way I meant. I don’t mean that YOU (or anyone else here) were saying believers should stay under unsound teaching. I meant to say “I don’t think one can use those verses…”. As in a hypothetical. Sorry, I was not attacking you or anyone here, but asking a question about whether the Rev 2&3 passages should properly be used to refer to the assembly of believers at the city level (Ie: Miami) or individual buildings (First Baptist of Miami, vs. Grace Covenant Church of Miami, etc).

    Sorry!

  11. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for rightly dividing Hebrews 10:25 and I apologize for straying from the intent of the post.

    I agree with you that mega churches are exceedingly concerning, but I know believers who are there for various reasons and have not been called out yet. I also know believers in small fellowships who are desperately fighting for them not to be taken over by the emergents. It just seems that this is a matter of the idividuals heart which only God knows.

    This is difficult and perphaps I have erred in leaning more toward peacekeeping when that was not appropriate. I am a female and certainly fallible and by no means wish to undermind you when you are correctly dividing the Word.

    In humbleness of heart, charisse

  12. MIke,

    I am thankful that you are not content to rely on others to tell you what the Word of God says – and provoke your readers to examine the text to see if these things be true.

    I have long been of a similar mind, regarding the mandatory church gatherings. I see nothing in the Bible that describes or requires Sunday evening and Wednesday evening meetings. I do see value in saints gathering together and I see the Bible portraying that and commanding it – how else could Christians be expelled from the local church (per Matt 18) or how else could elders exercise their responsibilities in the local church?

    This post on Ken Silva’s site, from J.C. Ryle puts a good bead on the line we need to be aware of, regarding our allegiance to our churc: http://apprising.org/2011/08/21/maintain-purity-of-the-gospel/

    Let us all humbly walk before our God, with thanksgiving for His immeasurable grace, for the glory of His name.

  13. Carolyn, the Church is all who are in Christ. The Greek word used in Revelation to address the “Churches” in Asia is not plural, but singular. There is just one Church with local manifestations as God wills.

  14. Mike – Amen to the statement that the Church is all who are in Christ! The New Covenant in Christ’s blood is one that assures salvation of those chosen to be in that covenant. I am watching a DVD of a debate between James White and Doug Wilson on this issue – does trinitarian baptist confer New Covenant status to person? Wilson accepts Roman Catholic baptism, seeing the New Covenant people as the visible church – many of whom are not regenerate. What a pitiful view of Christ’s sacrifice!

  15. Manfred, thanks brother. Yes, Doug Wilson and his Federal Vision heresy corrupts the doctrine of the Atonement. I applaud and we must support and pray for men like James White as they resist these false teachings in the name of Christ.

  16. Oh good then we agree Manfred! Now if we can just get the elders to thow the bad preachers out of the pulpits and buildings, and install biblical ministers in their place, we could see what everyone clamors for, a revival in our land!
    We are open to meeting whenever and wherever 2 or 3, or 200 or 300 are gathered in His Name.
    Perhaps with your broad readership, you might know of some good assemblies in N.W. Penna. where the church gathers biblically on the Lord’s day?
    Questions for everyone. Can these bad preachers be restored to the assembly as ministers again? I think not, since, as the undershepherd’s of God who claim to be lead by the Holy Spirit are leading so many astray, how can they be trusted again?
    Further, if the Elders won’t step in and protect the saints, and the Elders have the backing of the preacher, then what are the options for the laity? When there are no options for alternative churches (gathering of the saints) then what would you do”

  17. Mike, thank you, I do believe and understand that the church is all the redeemed people who are in Christ, not the buildings. Guess I just ponder how we went from a humble daily gathering in private homes, to today’s mega churches.

    Anyhow, thanks for the different look at Heb 10:25. I’ve only ever heard it used as the “going to or not going to church” verse. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder that we need to be building one another up in the truth, all the more as the day draws near.

  18. Mickey,

    Of course we are on the same side – that being blood bought by the Lord :-)

    Perhaps one of these sites can help you find a solid church nearby:
    http://www.farese.com/rbcd/usa.htm
    http://www.gracechurchdirectory.com/
    http://www.9marks.org/churchsearch/?id=922

    If “bad preachers” repent, they should be tested before being restored. In “churches” that have wolves, sheep should flea. They should flock together and seek a shepherd that is biblically qualified as such.

  19. Actually, the other 2 sites gave me the name of one church in my area. I have met the man, and will check his service out.
    One in a 50 mile radius is all I need, if he walks with our Lord. :)

  20. Beware, 9 Marks is a good ministry, but some of the churches on their site can be emergent or seeker. They do not check out or endorse the churches on their church finder. I found out firsthand while looking for a church myself. This has got to be one of the hardest things right now for the average bible believing Christian.

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