THE DANGER OF CHURCH UNITY By ralph jackson
Revelation 13:1-8; Daniel 7:8
What is happening to the world today? There is crisis after crisis with terrorism, epidemics and wars in many countries. Innocent people are dying. They are being shot, blown up or executed by those who profess to be doing God's work. Many are drowning in the sea trying to escape war in their country. Children are left as orphans and refugee camps are overflowing. Why do the governments of the world seem to be impotent to stop the terror? Why is there not a solution to all of these crises? - Or has much of what is happening in the world today been planned and executed by those in the higher echelons who want to remove our freedoms and fully control us?
Upsurge in Muslin Extremism
The upsurge in Muslim extremism has dominated our television screens since 9/11 and seems to be rising. We have lost many of our young men and women in the Armed Forces who gave their lives for a cause that was not theirs and with the rise of ISIS/ISL or Diash, who have taken our concentration from the Taliban, it would seem they died for nothing? Should we be worried about these Muslim extremists or is there a much more extreme form of dictatorship to come? Has the preoccupation by the media with the troubles in the Middle East and Asia hidden the growth of Christian extremism, which the Bible speaks explicitly about in both Daniel and The Revelation? (Which was read in our scripture reading this morning).
In Luke 21, Jesus spoke about the coming of the Son of Man, informing us beforehand that there would be signs in the Sun, Moon and Stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring he also said in verse 26, that men's hearts would be failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Are we now in these times? I believe we are!
Paul the Apostle also writes in 1 Thes 5:3:
"For when they say: peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them as labour pains upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape."
But Paul doesn't leave it there, he continues in verse 4 and 5 speaking to the disciples and to us through the word:
"But you brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day shall overtake you as a thief. You are the sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness."
It is therefore our duty as Christian's, who are waiting for Jesus to return and re-claim His earthly kingdom, which was usurped by Satan shortly after creation, to keep vigilant and be fully versed on past history events to ensure we are not led up a religious road today that leads only to death.
Early Church Apostasy
We know from history that apostasy came quickly into the church after all but one of the disciples had died. However, God did not leave us without a rudder to steer the ship. Daniel had already been transported to the future in vision and had written down what he saw of the coming worldly kingdoms and the apostate church.
John the Apostle also, whilst imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos for his faith in Jesus, was given almost identical visions to that of Daniel and like Daniel when he saw the church, which was a Christian church represented by a woman dressed in scarlet, destroying the saints and martyr's of Jesus, he was greatly astonished and overwhelmed to see a people professing the same Abrahamic God and His Son Jesus Christ, putting to death their brothers and sisters. Daniel himself had also been so astonished when he saw the same visions John would later see, that he fainted and was sick for days afterwards. (Rev 17:6; Dan 8:27)
Early Protestant Persecution
'Throughout Christendom, Protestants were subjected to great trials and tribulation, not by Atheists, but by those professing the same Christian church that John and Daniel informed us would come onto the world scene. When the first triumphs of the reformation had passed, Rome summoned new forces, hoping to accomplish the destruction of Protestantism. To do this, a new catholic order of priests was formed: 'The Society of Jesus' or as we know them 'Jesuits'. Their founding fathers in 1534 were Ignatius Loyola and St Francis Xavier, plus a few others. When the society came into existence, it was publicized as an organization to do missionary work. However, its real purpose was the destruction of Protestantism.
Ellen White in her book: 'The Great Controversy, Page 234, 1888 edition says:
"At this time the order of the Jesuits was created, the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of popery. They were cut off from earthly ties and human interests; dead to the claims of natural affection; reason and conscience, were wholly silenced, they knew no rule, no tie, but that of their order, and no duty but to extend its power.'
The Jesuit's are the army of the Papal See. They have a general who is sworn to advance papal power by whatever means.
The following is an extract edited by the Rev John Gerard, s.j. 'Concerning Jesuits' published in London in 1902 by the Catholic Truth Society:
"The mainspring of the whole organization of the society is a spirit of entire obedience: 'let each one,' writes St. Ignatius, 'persuade himself that those who live under obedience ought to allow themselves to be moved and directed by divine providence through their superiors, just as though they were a dead body, which allows itself to be carried anywhere and to be treated in any manner whatever, or as an old man's staff, which serves him who holds it in his hand in whatsoever way he will.'
"This absolute submission is ennobled by its motive, and should be, continues the . . . founder, 'prompt, joyous and persevering; . . . the obedient religious accomplishes joyfully that which his superiors have confided to him for the general good, assured that thereby he corresponds truly with the divine will."--The Comtesse R. de Courson, in 'Concerning Jesuits', page 6.
During the dark ages the gospel had enabled those who profess belief in Christ to meet danger and endure suffering. Undismayed by cold, hunger, toil, and poverty, they were to uphold the banner of truth in face of the rack, the dungeon, and the stake. So to combat these forces, Jesuitism inspired its followers with a fanaticism that enabled them to endure the same dangers as those who upheld the truth of God's word. They were to oppose the 'power of truth' and to do so they used all the weapons of deception they could find. There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. They were vowed to perpetual poverty and humility. It was their studied aim to secure wealth and power for themselves and the pope.
Has their resolve changed or diminished? No in fact in the past couple of years, with a Jesuit pope in the Vatican, their activity, although mostly secret, has increased. Is it therefore possible they are the cause of much of the problems we face in this world today?
A Call by Pope Francis for Church Unity.
On March 21, 2013, the pope called for all religion to unite and This was repeated in June 2014. Since then there has been a considerable narrowing of the gap between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism, which has seen leading charismatic evangelicals capitulating to Rome's request to unify all Protestant and World religions.
EGW again says:
"This is the religion which Protestants are beginning to look upon with so much favour and which will eventually be united with Protestantism. This union will not however, be effected by change in Catholicism; for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change. The adoption of liberal ideas on its part will bring it where it can clasp the hand of Catholicism". (Review and Herald, Jun 1, 1886).
Wow! It is as though she had just put pen to paper today!
She also says:
"To secure such a union..the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed however important they might be from a Bible standpoint must necessarily be waived". The Great Controversy, 1884, page 444
Isn't it wonderful how we can trust God's Word? This shows all Bible believing Christians' that the prophecies given by both Daniel and John, can be trusted because they came from the Creator himself.
Let's have another quick look at Revelation 13 and Daniel 7. I'll condense and amplify for you:
A beast rises from the sea with 7 heads and 10 horns with one horn speaking blasphemy. We know these are kings or kingdoms and the little horn is a religious organisation because it called to be worshiped as a god. It was wounded (this took place in 1798 when the Pope (Pius 6th) was taken prisoner by Napoleon's General Berthier in Rome. Pope Pius died in captivity). Then in 1929, the wound was healed and papal authority was restored. Since then, it has increased in power and the whole world seems to be intrigued and in awe of the 'Holy Father'.
What is Blasphemy?
Why is the beast of Revelation 13 called blasphemous? It is because it takes over all the attributes that belong only to the Almighty Creator God.
The Name 'Father'
Every priest in the Roman Catholic Church has taken the name of 'Father'. Jesus told us in Matthew 23:9, we are not to call anyone on Earth our Father, for only one is your Father, He who is in heaven. The Pope himself has taken the higher title of 'Holy Father', a title that alone belongs to God.
Roman Catholic Dogma
Many previous popes have made wholly blasphemous statements and have enshrined them into Roman Catholic dogma. Here are just a few:
"The Pope can modify divine law" "promota bibliotheca, papa' art 2.
"We hold upon this earth the place of god almighty." Pope Leo 13
"All names which in the scriptures are applied to christ, by virtue of which it is established that he is over the church, all the same names are applied to the pope." On the authority of the councils, book 2, chap 17.
"God himself is obliged to abide by the judgement of his priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution. The sentence of the priest precedes, and God subscribes to it." Dignities and Duties of the Priest, vol 12, p27
As I said earlier in my sermon, is it any wonder that both Daniel and the Apostle John, were astonished when they viewed this Christian organisation in vision?
Protestants abandon their protest against Rome
So how and why has the 'protest' of Protestantism been abandoned in favour of unity with Rome today?
In a World of celebrity, Pope Francis, just like that of Pope John XXlll and Pope John Paul II, have all exhibited a friendly, personable and likeable character to the masses. The media has portrayed these Popes to be less aloof than many of their predecessors. Consequently, Catholics, Protestants and many of other faiths have now warmed to the new 'reachable' Pope with his message of love and call for church unity.
A Call for all Religions to come together in Unity of Faith.
A succession of ground breaking developments began as a direct result of Pope Francis's television speech to a gathering of American Pentecostal leaders at Kenneth Copelands 'Word of Faith Charismatic Evangelical Conference' in January 2014. You can watch and listen to the Pope's speech on 'You Tube'. For those of my own church, I would urge you to watch Doug Bachelor's video where he explains the implications of the Pope's words.
Pope Francis and Bible Doctrine
Pope Francis makes the claim that 'doctrines' which separate Roman Catholics and Protestants must be 'put aside' for unity of religious denominations to happen. He says we must all meet in the middle and join together. But what did Pope Paul Vl, at the Second Vatican Council on Nov 21, 1964 state?:
"The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the pricipal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one church and one church only."For it is through Christ's Catholic church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained"
"The term ecumenical movement indicates the initiatives and activities encouraged and organized, according to the needs of the Catholic church and as opportunities offer to promote Christian unity"
"When the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the unity of the one and only church."
"Every renewal of the church essentially consists in the increase of fidelity to the church's own calling. Undoubtedly it is the reason for the movement towards unity." Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol 2 pp 908,911,913.
There we have it unity as understood by the Roman Catholic Popes is not a 'meeting in the middle' of Catholics and Protestants but is the bringing back the separated brethren to its own faith which will include participation in the Roman Catholic Eucharist!
What is the Eucharist:
The Eucharist is the sacrament of the Holy Communion; the Sacrifice of Mass and the Lords Supper - as performed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Every Protestant religion that becomes united to the Roman Catholic Church will have to participate in the process of transubstantiation by which the wafer and wine, are deemed to be transformed in the actual body and blood of Christ. This is a blasphemous doctrine, which millions of Protestants refused to accept in the Dark Ages. They died for their belief at the hands of the armies of the Roman Catholic Church.
Today Protestants are repudiating their heritage without any understanding of the consequences of their march towards unity with Rome. Have they forgotten such books as:
Foxe's Book of Martyrs, (John Fox 1848)
The History of Protestantism, (James Aitken Whylie 1878)
The Bible particularly Revelation 13 and Daniel 7
(And there are many more that you can read just search Google)
Apparently these books, warning of the dangers of unity with the Roman Catholic Church have been disregarded and have become irrelevant to them. Tragically their spiritual blindness will assign their congregations to damnation when they receive the 'Mark of the Beast'.
Is there any difference between practicing Christians and those who do not believe in a Creator God today?
In 1884, Ellen G White wrote the following:
"The line of distinction between professing Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves, and are ready to join with them; and Satan determines to unite them in one body and so strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papist's who boast of miracles as a certain mark of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power, and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papist's, Protestants, and Worldlings (Atheists) alike will accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world, and the ushering in of the long expected millennium." The Great Controversy p 406 1884 edition.
(I urge every Christian. in particular our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic church, to read this book it will open your eyes to the beauty of the Bible which you may not have seen before).
Powerful Deceptions Today
The Bible says in Matt 24:24, the deception would be so great that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. Thanks be to God that those of us who are written in 'The Book of Life' (Rev 13:8), will not be deceived when Satan walks the Earth as an imposter, saying he is Christ come back to Earth which is his crowning deception (Great Controversy p442, 1884 ed). Deceptions that are crafty ingenious in their breadth, sophisticated and subtle, are the hallmarks of the last days, especially in the Christian world. That is why we are warned:
"The enemy has great power over minds that are not thoroughly fortified by prayer and established in Bible truth:" Testomony to the Churches, vol 5 p292.
An Attack on the Word of God
The enemy is attacking the very Word of God through bible institutions who produce new bibles that have been deliberately amended to promote the Alexandrian texts, which favour Roman Catholic interpretations. This is Gnosticism, which denies man needs a saviour but he himself is a god.
Today if we as Christian's use quotes from the Bible, the words we utters go unheeded. Our arguments are considered out of touch with modern thinking and scientific 'proof'. The Bible has been consigned to that of a history book with many inaccuracies and fables. But we, who are God's true messengers, must be girded with the truth written between its pages we must keep to the original texts, which are more accurately represented in the King James version of the Bible. Along with prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit, it is our sure defence against the evil that is coming on the world.
Isaiah 8:20 tells us:
"to the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them"
EGW goes on to say in 'The Great Controversy', p593:
"None but those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will stand in the last great conflict."
Can an Individual have a Direct Personal Communion with Jesus?
On the 25th June 2014, Pope Francis in his weekly Wednesday audience described the belief that nobody can have a 'personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus outside of the communion and the mediation of the church" as 'dangerous and harmful temptations (Website of Aleteia: "No one becomes a Christian by themselves", says the Pope)
The Jesuit Pontiff further admonishes the Catholic faithful as follows:
'You don't make Christians in a laboratory! A Christian is part of a people who are called 'church' and this church makes the Christian on their day of baptism, understood? And then during the course of catechism and many things, but no one, no one, becomes a Christian by themselves.."
"Our relationship with Christ is personal, but not private. It is born of, and enriched by, the communion of the church.."
"You can not love God without loving your brothers and sisters. You cannot love God outside of the church. You cannot be in communion with God without being in the church and we can not be good Christians if we are not together with all those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, one body. And this is the church."
Pope Francis is affirming the centuries old argument that only through the Roman Catholic Church there is salvation (exctra eclesiam nulla salus), He is using modern language to give the same message as his predecessors. Let's read what they said:
Pope Gregory (509-605): "The Holy Universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her, and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved." The Papal Encyclicals, vol 1, (1740-1878), p230). Editor: Claudai Carlen, Pierian Press, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Pope Pius Xl (1922-1939): "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this is the house of faith; this is the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation." ibid, vol 3 (1903-1933), p.318
Rome is Still the Same Her Doctrines have not changed.
Nothing has changed in Catholic theology. The institution of the church is supreme over the individual. However, in Protestant theology, the converted believer is counted as a Christian, even if he or she is unable to attend church.
From the inspired pen came the following:
"God has a church. It is not the great Cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and Keep His Commandments. Jesus says:
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them", (Matthew 18:20).
Where Christ is even amongst the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One, who inhabiteth eternity, can alone constitute a church ". Upward Look, p315 (letter 108,1886).
Pope Francis may be a humble man, a friendly outgoing personable person who appeals to the masses, but the doctrine he preaches, however appealing to the ear, is centuries old and has not changed. It is still the boast of Rome that she never changes her theology is still the same. If Protestants do not open their eyes to the very danger spoken of in scripture, they too will find out too late they have been snared by the devil and will join him with this church system in the lake of fire reserved for the devil and his angels.
I do not think many are aware that in AD 603, Pope Gregory stated that when the anti-Christ comes he will keep the Saturday sabbath?
Do you think that Satan knew that when the end of Earth's time came, there would be those that he could not tempt to break their allegiance to God by keeping the Sabbath of creation? So by laying the ground-work in the 7th century for the beast to persecute true worshippers of God, the Roman Catholic Church would refer to this prediction by Pope Gregory and say: "You see we knew this was coming and here we have these anti-Christ people who must be eliminated if we are to bring unity to God's people?"
Christian brothers and sisters, the world is in turmoil, but we were told before time that there would be war between nations and that mens hearts would fail them for fear. not knowing what would come in the world. But we should know that we are in the middle of a spiritual fight. We should not be fighting each other because everyone living on this Earth is our brother and sister - no matter what their colour, nationality or religion. The fight is between the spirits of darkness and God Himself, and we are the prize. Satan wants this little planet to call his own. He wants you and I to worship him. He could not get Christ to worship him, so he continues his war in the hope that one day he will win and keep this planet under his control. He obviously hasn't read the end of the book, or he chooses, like so many human's, to ignore its pages and follow their own agenda.
The Mark of the Beast will shortly be upon us. We should be well versed in the Prophecies of the Bible and become soldiers of God to combat the enemies lies and bring the good news to everyone who wants to hear. Let us talk and share the Word in faith. Let us advance in faith with Christ as our general. Church tradition and ceremonies will not save us. We cannot be absolved of our sins by a mortal man. We cannot put our trust in those who profess Christ and tell us that we have to obey church rules that are contrary to the doctrine of Christ. If we follow His Word, then many obstacles will be removed from our path by the Holy Spirit and we will be given strength, like Fletcher Christian, to march along the true path to the Kingdom of God.
Please pray for all our brothers and sisters, particularly those who are bound by dogma, which informs them they have to pay penances to be forgiven their sins. Jesus paid the price for all our sins - Past, Present and Future. It is because of His sacrifice on the cross that we are fully exonerated of all our sins.
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