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Marks of a Christian Sect – Captivity

Captivity

 

identifying groups - not apostles fellowship- the dissection of christian sect

Sects …they would exclude you…

 

Ezekiel 1:1

as I was among the captives…

Marks of a Christian Sect: Replaces conscience

People want to be followers, members of a sect. It can be a comfortable thing when you are there conforming to the system because the system can be a replacement for your conscience.

We have the example of the Priest, Levite and the Samaritan in Luke 10:30 – 34.

And Jesus replying said, A certain man descended from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers, who also, having stripped him and inflicted wounds, went away leaving him in a half-dead state. And a certain priest happened to go down that way, and seeing him, passed on on the opposite side;  and in like manner also a Levite, being at the spot, came and looked at him and passed on on the opposite side.  But a certain Samaritan journeying came to him, and seeing him , was moved with compassion, and came up to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and having put him on his own beast, took him to the inn and took care of him.

In this short story we have the example of affiliations soothing the conscience of the Priest and Levite. They could leave a man to die on the side of the road as they went on in their religious ways. Christian sects will allow us to do this for “the betterment of the group”, going on shunning and shrugging at the plight of God’s children. The Samaritan had no system to protect. People can hide behind a system, assuming the system becomes “responsible to God”.

Examples of how a sect will replace a conscience could be when someone says they were “bowing to a church (assembly) decision”.  They could say “I was not comfortable with that… but it was decided…”  or they could say that “they have the authority because the authority is local”. Examples of systems could be some organizing body, a “presbytery”, “brothers meetings”, “elder boards”, and such things.

Galatians 5:7,8.

Ye ran well; who has stopped you that ye should not obey the truth? The persuasibleness [is] not of Him that calls you.

They were challenged to follow God and not allow some third party that would persuade them to not obey the truth.  He said of Peter “why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Galatians 2:7 – Paul chastised an apostle for putting a sect (Judiasm in this case) between a believer and God.  A Christian sect attempts to form or replace the believer’s conscience.  At best this restricts the ability for a believer to obey the truth and “Him that calls you”.

Galatians 4:9

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

  Marks of a Christian Sect: Money and Poverty

Systems like to control the message by controlling the purse strings.

2nd Timothy 4:3

Heaping to themselves teachers having itching ears.

Leadership and money go together. Almost all religious systems use money to define their leadership, and the leaders tend to be the ones who control the money for their system.

Poverty is used as a tool or a symbol. Systems may coerce money or demand poverty for acceptance or higher ranking within the system. In the Bible, steps are taken to keep “the system” from becoming a powerful machine. People were commanded to give toward the needs directly and not involve the system.

Systems take the credit for themselves, individuals make monetary contributions and the systems label the money and take all the credit. Paul accepted a gift from an assembly but only recognized the individuals behind it “that fruit may abound to their account.” Philippians 4:17

When people give directly to a need, it takes the burden away, and the snare of becoming a group. The burden is relieved without the possibility of falling into group control.

1st Timothy 5:4

If any widow have children or nephews let them learn first to shew piety at home.

The Bible encourages us to give freely of our goods both personally and collectively. However there are clear safeguards in place against this becoming a system. The apostles did not want to become the tool though which money was distributed to the poor. Paul commanded that it be done directly through some accountable and wise individuals. Acts 6

Judas had the moneybag – John 12:6, Demas loved the world and forsook Paul – 2Timothy 4:10, The rich ruler found it an obstacle to entry into the Kingdom of God – Luke 18:22. Money can become a snare personally and collectively but collectively it is often used to prop up systems contrary to the will of God.

2Timothy 3:1-5

But this know, that in [the] last days difficult times shall be there; for men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having a form of piety but denying the power of it: and from these turn away.

1 Peter 5:1-4

The elders which [are] among you I exhort, who [am their] fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, who also [am] partaker of the glory about to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God which [is] among you, exercising oversight, not by necessity, but willingly; not for base gain, but readily; not as lording it over your possessions, but being models for the flock. and when the chief shepherd is manifested ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory.

Unity instead of being a Christian Sect

If we do not want to be a Christian sect marked by having our consciance controlled by the system in contrast with the Spirit’s leading, there must be a Christian unity that we should endeavor to maintain, the unity that the Lord prayed for when He said, “that they all may be one.”

He first speaks about the apostles.

John 17:11

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Then He speaks about us.

John 17:20-21

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one;

The only fellowship that is sanctioned by scripture is the fellowship that we all can have with the apostles. This lets us have liberty of conscience.

1 Timothy 1:19

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Acts 2:42

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,

1 John 1:3

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us (the apostles): and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

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