I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
A Lesson for Today's Churches
The Scene: Ten lepers approached Jesus as He traveled through Samaria and Galilee on His way to Jerusalem and the cross. They knew their personal pathetic situations were hopeless and it would require a miracle. Who should appear in their vision but the famous miracle worker they had heard so much about. They also knew enough to stand afar off or risk being stoned for violating others’ safe distancing requirements of the Law. Remember, as Jesus traveled there was always a crowd of devoted followers, the curious and the religious bigots looking for something that might give them cause to accuse our Lord of blasphemy or Law breaking. We know that at least one of the lepers was a Samaritan, an outcast from Israel and the Roman world. Leprosy is like having one’s inward sins being manifested outwardly for the world to see in their disfigured flesh. The one thing they had in common: they all cried out with one voice for mercy.
They did not come near Jesus and He did not approach them, but gave them a command from the Law to show themselves to the priests. This is where this account takes a dramatic turn as they all received a glimmer of hope and set out to find a priest. Their healing did not take place immediately, but as they obeyed the command of Jesus, the healing came upon them as they traveled. At that moment in time you could not have found a more joyous and excited band of travelers, but something was eternally different within a Samaritan among them.
The Real Outcome: Nine of the lepers continued on their merry way to find the priests, looking forward to being judged clean and able to return to their homes, families, friends and neighbors. Not the Samaritan, he immediately returned glorifying God with a loud voice and fell at the feet of Jesus giving thanks for his deliverance. His safe distance was now at the Savior’s feet and he knew it with every fiber of his being. The leper was greeted by Jesus with a question: “Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? It almost seems as if the Samaritan was too busy thanking Jesus to notice he was now alone. This was verified by our Lord when He told him to arise and go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole [Gr. sozo - to deliver, to save]. The gift of God’s faith had set him apart from the crowd and delivered him for His name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before creation.
The Many Love Lies, While the Few Seek Jesus
The Lesson from the Nine
We can be assured the nine followed the Law to the letter and were introduced back into society as bona fide citizens with a declaration of being clean. They were thankful for coming across Christ and finding that their lives became more meaningful; all without any confirmation from our Lord that they were actually accepted into the Beloved. Today’s churches are havens for those who can testify having a cleaned up life by converting to Christianity. Bodies and marriages healed, addictions forsaken, lawlessness curbed, foul language forsaken, and fellowships that help them walk the ‘straight and narrow’ in principle. One thing they lack is a deep seated love of the Savior and His Word.
As life treats them more fairly, they have no greater desire than to be included in the crowd known for being on their way to heaven. They have become religious, not realizing that God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. They have no hunger to know the God of the Bible deeper than their current comfort level. When the storms of life do come, some will forsake or change the fellowships they frequent, while others will go back to much of their former lifestyle but with a cleaner act than before. Religion has many positive aspects, but the one thing it does not possess is an eternal relationship to Christ. Also when one’s preferred religion comes to a point when it is no longer satisfactory, they may ditch the religious scene altogether. Many churches, after being forced to close their doors, found that the crowds did not return as before. Many of the religious realized that their lives were no different than when they were open, so why waste a perfectly good Saturday or Sunday morning with people they really do not know.
What is in a Name?
The Word Church Cannot be Found in the Greek Language
The word church comes from the Old English and Middle English word ‘kirk’ which means lord. The Scots used the word kirk to distinguish itself from the Church of England. This eventually became a term for the ‘lords’ house and voila, we now have the term church which the majority of Christianity defines as the Lord’s house. How does one answer the question from God found in Isaiah 66:1; “ … where is the house that ye build unto me?”? This follows the statement that the heavens are His throne and the earth His footstool. Psalm 127:1 adds: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it …”. I find it very interesting that the verse in 2 Corinthians 6:16 prior to our Lord’s call to come out from among, states that WE are the temple of the living God. See Ephesians 2:21-22 which confirms that true born-again believers are an ongoing building project by God alone.
In every instance where the word ‘church’ is found in the New Testament it is the same Greek word - ekklesia - composed of two words - ek - meaning from, or out and - kaleo - to call. Ekklesia means a calling out: not a building, organization or denomination. At least the Romans in Latin used the word ecclesia to denote their followers. The Word of God takes on a whole new meaning to a believer when one replaces the word ‘church’ with the phrase ‘called out one or ones’. Doesn’t anyone find it interesting that Jesus made the statement in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be there. The churches of today have invited the world into their midst, with a new come one, come all religion and we will get you saved.
What do we actually find? A great many illiterate in the Word while loving the fellowship and the false hope that comes with it. When Jesus said the few versus the many, the churches have bought the lie that they are among the few. But as with the lepers, only one of the ten became a worshipper of Christ. By using simple math: if the churches think they are the few but only one in ten are actually saved, will the world even notice when the rapture occurs? Caveat Emptor!