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Church of The West

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by Sue J Love, Dec 5, 2017.

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  1. The Lord Jesus led me to read John 10 (Select vv. ESV).

    Is the western church in these last days what God intends for his church? Are we living up to the potential for which he created us and saved us?

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” vv. 1-5

    Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him (Jn. 14:6). He is the true shepherd, and we who follow (obey) him are the sheep of his pasture. He is also the door (the gate) through which we must enter if we want to have eternal life with God.

    There are many people who are trying to enter into eternal life with God by a way other than Jesus Christ. This other way has the appearance of being the right way, for it has many truths contained within, but they are half-truths. They cut short the true message of the gospel, and thus they give people a false hope of salvation and of eternal life with God.

    Many of these who are trying to enter into eternal life with God, or who are giving the appearance of such, are false shepherds of the people who have infiltrated the church by a way other than the true gospel of Christ. And, they are leading many people away from the truth and away from what God intends for his church, the people of God, to be.

    Jesus’ true sheep should recognize these shepherds of the people as false, and as strangers, and they should not follow them.

    “So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’” vv. 7-10

    So, what is the true way to eternal life with God? Well, it is first of all that Jesus Christ, God’s Son (and God) left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, died on a cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, and ascended back to the Father in heaven. Then, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers.

    It is that Jesus Christ, when he died, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. It is that he died, not just so we could escape hell and have the hope of heaven when we die, but in order that we, who are his, might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.

    For, you see, the life he gives us in the Spirit is not just so we can have eternal life with God after we die, but so we can have abundant life in Christ while we still live on this earth. He didn’t save us just to forgive us our sins, but he saved us to eradicate sin from our lives. He died to transform us away from lives of living for sin and self to lives which are faithful to our creator, who walk not after the ways of our flesh, but who conduct our lives (our lifestyles) according to the ways of the Holy Spirit of God.

    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” vv. 11-15

    So, who are these hired hands? They are paid professionals, business men, whose goal is to build businesses called “church,” and to market them just like any other business. So, they partnered the true church with the government in an unholy union, and they incorporated Christ’s body under the headship of the federal government, which is against God’s will.

    Since the church, Christ’s body, was now being marketed like any man-made business, it came under man’s control and guidance, rather than under God’s control and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Thus, the Holy Spirit got kicked out of most of these churches. And, they started following marketing books and humanistic teaching, instead of following God’s Word, his truth.

    In their departure from the purity of God’s Word and the purity of their relationships with Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – much of the church also departed from the true gospel, and as a means of attracting the world to the church, and as a way of not offending the world so that the people of the world would want to come to the gatherings of the “church.” So, they removed the offensive parts of the gospel to make it more appealing to human flesh.

    So, what are these “offensive parts”? They are that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They are that he died that we might no longer walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. They are that genuine faith in Jesus Christ means we die with him to sin and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, they are that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, that we are liars. For, if we walk (in lifestyle) according to our flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting these evil deeds to death, then we have eternal life with God.

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” vv. 27-30

    In today’s modern western church, so many have departed from, not only the gospel of our salvation, so that they teach a half-truth diluted false grace gospel, but from who God intended his church to be and from how they are to function under the headship of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    So many have lost the fire of the Holy Spirit and are following a man-made gospel and man-made formulas for how to build Christ’s church. So, they have put out the Spirit’s fire, because the fire offends, because it convicts hearts of sin and of judgment and of righteousness. And, that just doesn’t fit into their business and marketing plans, for they want to do what pleases their target audience, i.e. their customer base, not offend them with truth.

    So, this modern western church has become lukewarm, where God is concerned. They are neither on fire for the Lord nor are they opposed to him. So, he is about to spit them out of his mouth.

    Not only this, but they are not utilizing all his body parts in the way in which God arranged them, but they are dumping many of them in a cluster, stored away, because the gifts of the Spirit and God’s assigned roles for his body parts also do not fit in with modern business models for how to do “church.”

    But, those who are truly following Christ, although we may be few in number, are listening to his voice, and we are following him in obedience to his will for our lives. We are using the gifts he has given us, and we are fulfilling our God-given roles within HIS BODY, even though our parts have largely been rejected within the business-model church.

    And, this is God’s will for all of his church, that we would all listen to him, and that we would follow (obey) him. This is not to say that we will never sin against him or that we will have perfect obedience, but it is to say that listening and obeying are essential to our faith in Christ. For, it is us who listen to him, and who follow him in obedience, who by the Spirit are putting sin to death, who will have eternal life with God, and who will not be snatched out of the Father’s hand by the enemy of our souls.

    My Jesus, I Love Thee
    William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

    My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
    For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
    My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
    If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
    And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
    I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
    If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
    And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
    And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
    If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    In mansions of glory and endless delight;
    I'll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
    I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
    If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 5:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. I pray for all of us that we would listen to you and follow you in obedience to your will for our lives. Revive our hearts, I pray.
  2. #2 Lanolin, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2018
    Hmm what about the eastern churches Sue?

    Have they kept His word? I know in the past there was a great division or split between east and west, they went their different ways arguing over one bit of doctrine. Plus they spoke different languages one was greek and the other was latin.

    I do agree that many churches have become lukewarm and commercialised esp from america. People 'buy' into it like they shopping around for some religion. This has also happened to many churches here in nz which is sad to witness. In some cases if you find yourself in a church like that God will call you out of it to leave.

    I know of some church denoms that have totally bought into marketplace ministry and running even funerals as a business, renting out their church buildings to money making ventures like entertainment venues and coffee shops etc. one I passed the other day had signs out saying church 'free coffee' . Um shouldnt they have a sign saying church 'free salvation'? Who goes to church for coffee?! And when you go to their churches, the first coffee they give you is free and then you have to pay if you want a second.

    I dont drink coffee so wasnt lured by that sign. I dont like coffee anyway. Its a drug!
    Sent from a mobile device
    Sue J Love likes this.
  3. The church of the west is what I know. But, it isnt a location, but a philosophy.
  4. My pastor often reiterates that the Bible is an Eastern culture book, and so many of us try to understand it from our ingrained Western culture.

    In recent months, I have taken an interest in learning more about the Jewish heritage and culture, especially during the biblical timeline. I love finding more and more new ways to tie the OT scriptures into the NT.
  5. Thank you, Gabriel. That is an interesting perspective.
  6. A philosophy? Can you explain Sue?
    Sent from a mobile device
  7. The church of the west doesnt have to be located in the west. It is of the nature and character of the western church, which is what is described in this writing. It is influenced by western culture and by the business model church in the west, no matter where it is located.
  8. #8 Lanolin, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2018
    As opposed to.,,eastern culture? How is it different.
    I do live in the west part or my town but westies are not really into business models. Westies in my culture are actually more green and rugged than sophisticated easterners.

    If you just referring to north americans, then just say, because its confusing. Israel is actully middle eastern culture, I take it the centre would have been constantinople or istanbul, east of that is asia, west of that is europe. I dont think american culture and business models are particularly western, as places like hong kong and china and Japan are very into business models and making money and are eastern.

    If you mean communism vs captialism, or right wing over left wing, then be specific, cos I never think of myself as a westerner, a westie yes, but westerner, no.

    Didnt know there was a specific western culture and an eastern culture, if so theres probably northern and southern culture. Actually in the US didnt they gave a civil war in which the northern yankees won over the southern confederacy, and northern culture was more industrial over southern which was plantation and slave based.

    I mean this is from watching Gone with the Wind many times, maybe not historically accurate, but the culture of america did change. And I do recall the northern way of doing business threatened the southern way of life. Almost like town vs country.
    Sent from a mobile device
  9. In what ways?
  10. Various locations throughout the world, and even within one nation, will have different cultures, different ways of doing things, different practices. I have lived in the north USA for half of my life and the south USA for the other half of my life, so I could explain to you easily what some of those differences in culture are. I am not as familiar, though, with other cultures outside the USA, so it is more difficult for me to explain to you the differences between eastern culture and western culture, though I do know they exist. We do pick up a lot of eastern or middle eastern culture by reading the Bible, though, but I don't know how much their culture has changed since the Bible was written.

    I do know, for example, that in one country, don't remember which one, it is polite to burp out loud after a meal, whereas in American culture it isn't, though many will do so anyway. In America it is perfectly ok to hand signal someone to come to you by cupping the hand and motioning it toward yourself. In another culture, I believe, that hand motion has a negative connotation. When I lived in the north, we did not make eye contact with or wave to strangers. In the south, this is a regular practice. In the north we swept our floors with a sweeper. In the south we vacuumed our floors with a vacuum cleaner, but these were the same thing. In the north, if we said, "Come and see me anytime," we meant it. In the south, they call this being polite, but they don't really mean it. It is just something they say to people.

    So, when I say "western" am I speaking primarily of America? Yes, but more in philosophy rather than in location, for Europe is also considered the west and of western culture. I have heard many stories of people in other countries adopting the ways of western culture, so do they mean European or North American? I don't know. So, what do they mean? They mean that North American and/or European culture has infiltrated their nations and the people there have adopted the ways of the west, as they call it. So, something, a behavior or an attitude or a practice could have first begun in the west (North America and/or Europe) and then spread to other nations, and then they became what is called "westernized," even though they don't live in North America or Europe.

    So, the church of the west is of western culture, which could be primarily North American or also including Europe, i.e. it is figurative of how church is done primarily in the west, but it has spread to other nations, too. I can't name you which nations, though, but I do know, for example, that Rick Warren has taken his "purpose driven" message throughout the world and many people have bought into that message, and thus, they have, perhaps, become more westernized in how they do church.

    The westernized church is what is described in this writing. I believe we fit most closely to the Laodicean church of the last days than perhaps any other nation, but, again, I am not as familiar with other nations as I am with my own. So, the Lord has me talk about, not only what he teaches me, but what I have personally experienced and know. The point of what I was trying to say to you is that I can't say with any certainty that the church of the west is just north America, for how a large percentage of churches do church here has been passed on to other nations who have adopted similar ways. So, although I am speaking of what I know from what goes on within my own nation, and north america is part of the west and western culture, I can't say with any certainty that what I have shared does not also apply other places, which is why I stated that it is more philosophy than location.

    Anyway, I hope this helps, but if not, I would prefer that we not get off on this tangent and lose the message of the OP, for the things the Lord had me share do exist, and it is of serious concern, and we need to be aware of these situations wherever they exist and we need to respond to God's Word and walk away from what is not pleasing to God and follow after what is pleasing to God.
  11. There is a Muslim "community" in Africa, It is called "Boko Haram". What does Boko Haram mean?
    It means "anti-western". I've seen articles on the internet that disagree with this, but I've also talked
    to native Africans from the area who I have more faith in than the internet.

    There used to be a lot more cultural differences between countries. People talked different, dressed differently,
    worshiped differently, sang different kinds of music, had different kinds of art. But now some of these countries are
    becoming more and more "American". Kimono's, Burqa's Hijab's, are disappearing. Short dresses and tight jeans
    are becoming more and more common. Cell phones and the internet have taken the place of "meditation"
    and Tai Chi. Everyone wants to be "American" because it's cool.

    But many countries are becoming more like the Boko Haram. They are tired of "Americanism" taking over their
    culture and philosophy. Indeed, some Americans are tired of Americanism.

    So it is with the church also. Even though Salvation is from the Jews. ( John 4:22; )
    They themselves as a whole, did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. So God is using the Gentiles (western church?)
    to make them jealous. (Rom 11:11; )

    Even so.. the "western church" has it's problems. Like the Boko Haram, we have let society and popular
    culture define us. Divorce, pornography, drug use, alcoholism, greed, and other things are as common
    in some churches as they are out in the world. You have to be careful with that statement, of course
    new "seekers" with those problems are coming to churches for answers, so some of this is to be expected.
    But I'm not talking about new seekers here, I'm talking about people who have been "saved" for years and years.
    They say "God is love" and "He won't let anyone go to hell".

    Here in America I turn on the TV (I ask myself why?) and almost every sitcom has at least one homosexual
    character if not more. Every song on the radio is about sex. The state I live in legalized marijuana a few
    years ago. Casino's and gambling have been legal for an entire generation. But instead of being salt
    and light to a dying world... some have let the world become "who we are".

    Some have become comfortable living in "vomit" or a "pig sty". ( 2 Pet 2:22; ). Some make excuses for our sins,
    and say God doesn't have the power to change them.

    In a way, the perception of the eastern church (mysticism, meditation, isolation, etc...) has been what
    has drawn some westerners to it. Some people thrive on a regimented discipline. But over the last generation
    or so, people are starting to see the eastern philosophies have the same problems (if not more) than the
    west has. Some Muslim's themselves believe in killing and rape.. "in the name of Allah". Pornography
    and homosexuality is just as rampant in the east as it is in the west now.

    Rev 16:12; The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

    This passage if often used to say that Armageddon will be between the "east" and the west. Perhaps, but maybe it
    also means the cultures will war with each other.
    Sue J Love likes this.
  12. Thank you @B-A-C for sharing all of that.
  13. #13 Lanolin, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2018
    Hmm well I wouldnt say church of the west is european becauae american culture is very different from european culture. If thats what you mean. There are big differences between the church of england and american style churches. (Just in english speaking circles)

    Americanised culture, eg tv, fast food, pornography, the way people dress and do businessis quite different from european, which in the past was referred to as 'old world' while american was referred to as 'new world'

    So are you really trying to explain the nwo or New World Order? Where america has labelled itself a superpower?

    The roman empire was a huge empire but it fell, the british empire was once also huge but it has also withered away, the kingdoms of this world are not going to last.

    Laodiciea was an actual place in the mediterraen, the churches named in Revelation yes were west of Jerusalem or rather north, as at the time the holy spirit forbade Paul to preach in Asia.

    I did a missions course a few years ago and they talked about 'syncretism' which means when people evangelise many mistakenly evangelise their own culture instead of the gospel.

    The american world missions centre is actually quite guilty of this and so you have american style churches being planted in other countries that are completely foreign to the indigenous people. Some of them have come here in nz bringing that culture with them, but its not actually the gospel.

    Rick warren would not be considered as a kind of western church at all, he would just be considered a wolf in sheeps clothing trying to infiltrate the church and change it to how a corporation in america is run. Some churches here have adopted his money making ideas but the true saints here arent listening to him. Hes not regarded highly by many people even though hes popular with others.
    Sent from a mobile device
  14. A different thought here is the Tabernacle in wilderness built and assembled according to God's directions.

    On the East side is located the only entrance into the Tabernacle, the Holy Place and finally the Most Holy Place.

    The priests and Levites always camped on the East side of the Tabernacle.

    The three tribes encamped under the standard of Judah are also located on the East side of the Tabernacle.

    Earlier than that we see the Way into the Garden of Eden was also located on the East side.

    The sun rises in the East.

    That is the East. What do the scriptures say about the West?
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  15. Wow, @amadeus2 ! This fits!! I knew the Lord was showing me the west, and that the church had moved in that direction, but obviously that doesn't mean the church in the east had physically moved to the west, but that philosophically they had, spiritually they had, and the Lord was showing me that this move was also a departure from him, away from what he intended for his church. And, of course, what you shared here also fits perfectly with John 10, for it is about those who enter into the sheep pen by another door other than the true door, which, as you pointed out, was in the east when it was a physical door. So, thank you! I will have to look up what the Bible says about the west, because I don't know. Always something new to learn. Again, thank you! I believe you hit the nail on the head.
  16. Will have to search scriptures for what it says about the west Amadeus but yea something to think about, as you might know I can be a literal person.

    Another reference to the east is the Kings of the east bearing gifts for Jesus and following the star of the East. Matthew 2:1-2
    Sent from a mobile device
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  17. These things of East, West, North and South are part of God's order. Numbers chapter 2 describes the order in camping for the Israelites. Numbers chapter 10 describes the marching order for when they are on the move. I have no particular reference but I recall that evil frequently moves in from the North. A study of these directions would probably be fruitful.
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  18. I know Gog and Magog will come from the North, intent on doing the evil ones works.
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  19. Well Gog and Magog come from the North and do the will of the evil one in the end times.
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  20. Greetings,

    It is a little known fact that the Church flourished in the East as far as Japan for the first 1000 years while things went up and down and all around the place in the west, being west of east... centre being around Israel and later Rome. Rome loosely governed the Church in the East but for the most part it was able to be and do as it pleased and was not really of much concern to Rome.

    Not only did they flourish but the Church was unhindered by the politics and governing powers that rose and fell in the west.

    West does not originate with the USA.

    You can look the dates up but for now, the west ultimately turned into the Church based/head-quartered at Rome. What happened from there was a cultural sway that bought with it a lot of European influence and basically the attitude that permeated the Church was militant in their way of both proselytizing and inner Church interaction and relationship (dynamics). This soon brought about splits amid persecutions from the 'Church(es)' and the mentality, being militant was a lot more focussed on what we call the 'law' of the Gospel rather than what the Church in the east had maintained which was the 'spirit' of the Gospel.

    In the East, much help was given in non-violent ways to the cultures where 'missionaries' went. They became part of the community and were largely responsible for the peace and wealth in learning and economics.
    What happened in the West, however was more a take-over and succumb attitude and do it my way was the drive. The Gospel or die! type of approach. Anything that wasn't according to the Christian legal way was doomed and driven out. No real scope for tolerance and helping the masses was in their mind, it seems. Much like today, we see in the greater west, so much division and fighting between those who in times of convenience call each other brothers, but when it comes to doctrines we have learnt from men, we get stiff necked towards any who think or live differently even if they do love one another and strive to live in peace. Add to this the many clearly false 'churches' and everything has become a battle against each other rather than a unity and working together. Sure, we shouldn't expect to be one with the likes of some of the groups that claim to be Christian (Mormon's for example) but how we go about it in today's mess really needs each and every Christian to want to follow Christ above and beyond their own background and thinking and the influences of whatever doctrines their flavour of Christianity preaches and adheres to. There is, after all, only One Body and One Lord and One God and One Salvation, One Faith and One Hope . Why don't we get it??! (enter western mentality)

    The Eastern Church ended up being overseen by what we now know as the Orthodox Church In the West we still have the Church of Rome and countless other breakaways from her, making up the Protestant camp with all it's traditional and non-denominational blends, still however leaning towards the militant approach towards insiders as well as those who don't 'belong, giving little scope at all for the cultures that are slowly being swallowed up by western thinking.

    The Church in the East remained neutral regarding the state and politics, influencing them instead by influencing the thinking and hearts of the people through the help and example they gave. In the West, the State and Church soon became a partnership and we see this still happening. Even though there are many in the west who proclaim that they are not 'western' they all tend to be western in their thinking and method of both learning and setting down of rules and constitutions and the like. The Western world itself is in itself a difficulty for those who would rather be neutral simply due to the governing laws in each country being so inclusive of all regardless of religious faith choices.

    What happened to the Church in the East? The main 'thing' that happened was the increase of benefits and influence of the then fast growing Muslim religion. It was not a war or battle and early eastern Muslims and Christians lived in relative peace, even helping each other and from the Christian point of view maintaining peace while showing God's love in action as well as providing plenty of sound learning and making the Scriptures available. The Church in the East was not driven out, it faded as people chose to follow the Muslim religion and with it the social and economic benefits offered by it.

    So, when we talk about the western church or church in the west, it helps to have a little background to it all. we can perhaps also get a glimpse into our western way of doing Gospel and see that there might even be a better way.

    I personally prefer neither east nor west and to allude to the temple doors etc as a previous post did, I prefer to be in the temple, neither east nor west nor south nor north, but in the heart of it with Jesus my Lord.

    How about you?

    Bless you ....><>
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