The Church is One. The church is not an organization or a human institution, it is a living body of believers, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, born again by the power of the Spirit. All else that is called the church is not truly the church. This church is united in Christ across denominational boundaries. Pastors who are neglecting the spiritual health and feeding of the true flock of God, to serve the unconverted church members what they want to hear, will pay on Judgement Day. “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16
(Jer. 32) Verse 38: "They shall be My people" "and I will be their God." He doesn't say I hope so, maybe, if I get lucky, oh if I can get enough evangelists to work with me, maybe this will all come out right. He says "I am going to pull a people for Me." "A people that I am going to give to My Son." And He says, "they shall be My people and I will be their God." Look at this: "And I will give them one heart and one way" Now don't be angry with me, any angrier than you already are, at least. But listen to me, the 70s and 80s and all the Jesus marches, and everyone weeping and crying, "the church is so divided, the church is not one" My dear friend, let me tell you something: if the church is not one, there is a prayer out there that God the father did not answer for His Son. And this new covenant promise has failed. So I want to redirect you a little bit. I want to submit to you: the church is one, she's always been one. Have you ever sat down on an airplane or maybe met someone in a marketplace you didn't even know? And you being maybe baptist or Mennonite or this or that, but truly evangelical, truly christian, you talk to them for no more than a few minutes and you discover, BAM! He is a believer! This is a Live One! And at that moment, you'd give your life for him.
I remember one time, we were in departamento amazonas (Amazon department) in Peru and it was during the time of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the civil war that was going on there. We rode 22 hours up in the back of a grain truck under a black tarp. And about midnight, we pulled the tarp off, the truck stopped, and we jumped off into the jungle. we stayed the night just at the edge of the jungle and made our ways up to a place called "ingenio en tambolik" About halfway up, we got lost in the dark the next day. So we were praying, me and my dear friend Paco, "O God give us some direction, we're lost." If we're found in here, the terrorists owned the place, the military wouldn't even go in. And we cried out, "O God give us some direction, Help us" We heard a bell then we heard somebody talking. It was a strange conversation at first, we thought. Then we realized it was a little boy coming in from the fields with his burro. and he was talking to his burro. And so we got behind him and followed him. Then, we stood on the edge of the town, a little village with huts. And I said, Paco, if the terrorists own this thing, we're dead. But we've got to go somewhere. So we got down, walked up to a man who was drunk in the dark and said, "are there brothers here?" because everybody knows what that means in the mountains. It means a real christian. And He said, "the old woman over there." So I went over there, it was an old Nazarene woman. And I knocked on the door, I said, "I am an evangelical pastor, please help me." That old woman reached out with that lantern, she grabbed me, she pulled me inside, she grabbed Paco, took us down, her house was cut out of a cliff in the mud, and she took us down into the basement where there was some hay, and chickens and things. And she sat us there and she lit a lamp and then a little boy came in, and she called to him and said: "Go get the other brothers," and they started bringing chickens and Yucca, and everything else, risking their lives, why? Because we are One!
Stop saying all these silly things that you are saying, that the body of Christ is divided, and its a mess and its full of sin, I will not talk about the bride of Christ that way if I was you. What you've got is a bunch of goats, and tares among the sheep, and because very little biblical compassionate church discipline is practiced, they live among the sheep; they feed on the sheep; and they destroy the sheep. And those of you who are leaders in the church are going to pay a high penalty when you stand before the one who loves them because you did not have enough courage to stand up and confront the wicked.
As a matter of fact, listen to me: The average scenario in North America with regard to churches, by and large, the churches are democracies, and I don't want to get into the ifs or pros or cons of that. But here's what happens: Because the preaching of the gospel is so low, the majority in the churches are carnal, lost people. And because it is a democracy, they, by and large, govern the direction of the church. And because the pastor doesn't want to lose the great number of people, and because he has wrong ideas regarding evangelism and true conversion, he caters to the wicked in his church. And this little group of true sheep that belong to Jesus Christ are sitting there, in the midst of all the theater, in the midst of all the worldliness, in the midst of all the multimedia going, we just want to worship Jesus; and we just want someone to teach us the bible and pastors are going to pay for that.
It's true. It's just true. You're saying, "Oh you're just angry." My dear friend, do you know what it costs me to say this? It's true. Trying to keep together a bunch of wicked people, while a little flock in the midst of them are starving to death, and are made to go in directions they don't want to go with the carnal majority.
Listen to me, if my wife was at Walmart late one night, and you walked by as a man and you saw that 2 men were abusing her, men were abusing her and hurting her, and you put your head down in the name of self-preservation, and you walked by, I want to tell you something my friend, I will not only look for those 10 men, I will look for you. It is the bride of Christ, and she is precious to him. It's going to cost you to serve Jesus. It could cost you your church, your reputation, and your denomination, absolutely everything; but the bride of Jesus Christ is worth it.
And look what it says, I love this. look at (verse) 39. "I will give them one heart" "and one way" and what is that way? it's Christ and His holiness. Every true believer I have ever met spoke much of Christ, and had a longing desire to be more holy than they were; more conformed to Christ. And look: “I will give them one heart and one way" "that they may fear me always, for their own good" "and for the good of their children after them." oh what a text that is. But let's go on: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them," "that I will not turn away from them, to do them good." Now, we just read this, and so many people who are wicked, who are lost, they just go to church on Sunday, they hear this verse: "Yes, God has made an everlasting covenant with me." "He will never turn away from me; never, never." "I am secure because of God’s grace." But, they fail to read the second part. And look what it says: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them," "that I will not turn away from them, to do them good;" "and I will put the fear of me in their hearts," "so that they will not turn away from me.” The evidence that God has made an everlasting covenant with you, sir, is that He has put the fear of God in you, so that you will not turn away from Him. And if you turn away from Him, and He does not discipline you, and you continue turning away from Him, it is evidence that He has not put His fear in you, you have not been regenerated, and you have no covenant with God at all. It's true.
He says "Pay close attention to yourself" "and to your teaching." "Preserve in these things," "for as you do this, you will ensure salvation" "both for yourself," "and for those who hear you" 1 timothy 4:16 Now, let's just finish with this: this verse means almost nothing in the evangelical community today. How many pastors do you think, and preachers take it seriously. "I need to pay close attention to myself to ensure salvation for me and for those who hear me." I have a question pastor: when was the last time you examined your own life to see if you are in the faith? to see if you really know him?
You see, My dear friend, I have great assurance. When I study my own conversion, when I discuss it with other men; when I look over the 25 years of my pilgrimage with Christ, I have great assurance of having come to know Him. But even now, if I were to depart from the faith, and walk away, and keep going in that direction, into heresy, into worldliness, it could be the greatest of proofs that I never knew Him; that the whole thing was a work of the flesh. I know what I am saying is astounding to you. You think, O my! I've never heard such a thing. Read "Pilgrim's Progress" "Pay close attention to yourself, and to your teaching. Preserve in these things, for as you do this, you will ensure salvation, both for yourself, and for those who hear you." May God bless His church.