A Word to Consider

from Brother Eby

“Jesus came into the world in the time of the Roman Empire. He was crucified on a Roman cross, pierced with a Roman spear, and sealed in His sepulcher under a Roman seal. But praise God! He burst the bands of death, shattered the seal of mighty Rome, and arose the conquering Christ. And not only that, He ascended victor over all the powers of darkness. Having brought to naught the prince of this world, having brought in eternal redemption for a lost world and redeemed all back unto Himself, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High and poured out on the first few citizens of His Kingdom the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Kingdom of God was birthed and gathered from Jew and Gentile alike a vast multitude into its bosom. What a flood of light and glory and power fell upon the world in the ministry of the humble followers of the Lamb! And oh what glorious days those were! How God blessed His Gospel. Mighty signs and wonders were performed as God confirmed His word with signs following. The word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, swept the world like a prairie fire. It encircled the mountains and crossed the oceans. It made kings to tremble and tyrants to fear. It was said of those early Christians that they had turned the world upside-down. So powerful was their message and spirit, in spite of persecution, in spite of untold thousands of saints impaled upon crosses, burned at the stake, and fed to hungry lions to the thunderous applause of wild spectators, the word grew and multiplied. For God dwelt mightily in the midst of His people. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord covered the earth as the waters cover the sea. Paganism fell. The mighty Roman Empire shut up its idol temples, sheathed its persecuting sword, and sat down as disciples at the feet of Christ and His apostles.

Oh, but there was another spirit at work also. A spirit and system set in among the saints of the Lord, and the manna of yesterday began to breed worms and stink. Refusing to follow on to know the Lord, they began instituting rules and regulations, laying down laws and formulating creeds, observing days and ordaining sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas and many others. Before too many years had passed, men began to set themselves up as bishops and lords over God’s heritage in place of the leadership of the Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and truth, men began to substitute their ideas and their methods. Soon the glory and the power, the presence and the word of God in the morning-time Church began to be eclipsed, and the power of carnal-minded men gradually took the place of the awesome presence of God. Consequently, man’s carnal understanding was put upon the Scriptures, and as the Spirit of Christ fled from their midst, men established a vast and elaborate system of substitutes to take His place. The festivals of the Church were created along the lines of pagan celebrations. Costly and ornate edifices were constructed for worship. The services became ceremonialized and elaborate. Relics of saints and martyrs were cherished as sacred possessions. The Church, with its array of godly-bedecked clergy and its imposing ceremonies, assumed much of the stateliness and visible splendor that belonged to the heathen system that it had once supplanted. Christianity was now a pageant, a ritualism, a vain philosophy, a superstition, a social club, indeed an antichrist, a pot full of manna infested with the worms of carnality and death, a putrefying stench in the nostrils of God.

The Gospel preached by the nominal Church will never get the job done. It will never bring the Kingdom of God in power to deliver mankind from sin and death and restore all things to God. The Church world is using worldly means and soulish methods to promote its programs today. It is conformed into the world’s way of doing things. This is true not only of the historic denominations, but also of the Pentecostals, the Charismatics, and, alas, some groups who profess to be deeper life, Kingdom, or sonship people. Churches compete against one another, who can have the most in Sunday School, who can build the biggest building, who can win the most souls, which evangelist can draw the largest crowds, each one pointing to the success of their ministry, glorying in the size of their outreach or work, stressing how much could be accomplished with more money, and, to hear them tell it, just about the whole world is being brought to the feet of Jesus through their efforts. The Church world today is totally conformed to the world’s way of doing things. Because of that, it is really no better off than the world it is trying so desperately to save. Because the average Christian today has been brought up with a certain “other” than Christ, he is totally unable to think except in terms of established orders, sects, denominations, credentials, creeds, assemblies, Church ceremonies, Church buildings, doctrines, meetings, communions, baptisms, programs, campaigns, crusades, choirs, pastors, rituals, ceremonies, vestments, offerings, conferences, Board meetings, committees, elections, Sunday schools, theological seminaries, fellowship halls, stained glass windows, platforms, special members, numbers, and a thousand other things. Take all these things away from them and they would be spiritually destitute, totally incapable of doing the work of the Lord. But after they have spent a whole lifetime of this feverish Church activity, how many people are there who have ever taken the time to wait on God long enough to hear Him speak and divulge His will to their seeking hearts?

I declare to you of a truth that any man or woman who will take the time to seek God and God alone, hungering and thirsting after God’s mind and God’s will, that man will find himself drifting away from all the aforementioned things, and from them on to the mind of Christ. And lest any think that we are being brash or heretical to even suggest a departure from those things listed above, I invite you to carefully examine that list to determine which one of them Jesus Christ had used or even needed in His wonderful sonship ministry. It is astonishing to realize that Jesus knew absolutely nothing of any of it, yet He more effectively ministered the life of God, the power of God, the glory of God and the Kingdom of God than any man who has graced this planet. And, I do not hesitate to add, strip all of these away from a son of God, and what he will have left is Christ …only Christ.”