The “church” fought against Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other Old Testament Prophets. There came a day when God could no longer tolerate “His Church” and destroyed it. Then He started over, sending more prophets and servants to His church such as Ezra, Haggai, Malachi, John the Baptist and Jesus. Fighting against and killing the prophets and servants of God was much easier than bowing before the message and obeying it. Church was just too important to let go of. Even the early Christians found it very hard to give up the feast days, holidays, ceremonial observances and traditions of the church. They were willing to accept Jesus in place of the lamb, but church with its rituals, ceremonies, traditions and of course, friends, family and prestige; that was harder to break away from.
As long as being a Christian was easy, not a problem. “Believing” in Jesus was a whole lot easier than finding the right lamb, haggling with the moneychangers, buying it, taking it to the temple, working with the priest and slaughtering it. Christianity was easy, as long as they could mingle it with all their emotional baggage and habits that came with their church.
But after the killing of Stephen, things changed. The church was not willing to “share” itself with those who actually believed in the teachings of Jesus by their obedience. The church put up with them for a while in hopes they would “come home” and give up their nonsensical belief in Jesus. But those who stood firm for the truth riled up the church and it could no longer tolerate them.
A great persecution broke out which precipitated in the scattering of the believers who were obedient to Jesus. Since the believers in Christ were not taking seriously the message that they had to separate and scatter themselves from their church and the “pagan” institution it had become, God allowed the church to motivate them. After all, “scattering” was the theme in many of the parables Jesus taught. But the new converts were not listening, yet.
Jesus commanded those who “believed” in Him to scatter, to be separatists (ekklēsia) from their church and go into all the world teaching people to live in obedience to all He commanded. But instead, they congregated around what was familiar and satisfying: the church. Oh, they did not participate in the sacrifices, but separating, leaving the services, rituals and traditions which they were used to, that was very hard to do. They wanted an “easy” and comfortable Christianity.
The same is true today. If you do not get out of your “pagan” church, even if that church is meeting on the 7th day Sabbath, you will be lost. If your church is involved with pagan services such as Christmas, Easter, Passover or any of the other “feast days”, you will be destroyed. Keep in mind, God did not invent “church”. It was invented by the devil to stand “in the place of” God. Even the Temple services were taken over by the devil. After all, wasn’t the temple one of the places the devil took Jesus during His 40 days of fasting? Why? Because it was now the devil’s temple and church. It had been turned into a pagan system totally against God. God no longer wants you involved in the church system since it is taking your eyes away from Jesus and planting them squarely on the church. The church system belongs to the devil.
The influence of the church system was beginning to destroy Christianity. God had to find a way to scatter the Christians in order to keep them pure and spread the truth to others. Therefore, God allowed the church to persecute the Christians in order to keep them looking to Jesus and separate. The death of Stephen accomplished the job.
“One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” COL 120.
Nothing there about building a new church organization. Nothing there about showcasing church leaders. Nothing there about developing leadership positions to satisfy the ego and pride of church members. No, the true church of God was made up of individual believers whose only ambition “was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom”. How sad that the ambition of our churches today is to exult themselves and enlarge their church memberships. All churches are Catholic. None are revealing the likeness of Christ’s character.
Acts 8:1 to Acts 8:39
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Again, from here on out, the “church”, as used in the book of Acts by some translations, is not the pagan church of the Temple system, nor the system of church we understand today, but the true “Church of God”. Do not confuse it with a building or denomination as developed by the devil through the Catholic Church system and adopted by every church organization of today. Do not confuse it with rituals and services. The true “Church of God” is nothing what you imagine or see today. It was just people, individuals, who were being led by the Spirit of God to “come out” of the pagan church system in order to live righteously and do the work of God.
The term “church” meant “those who had come out”, (ekklēsia). You might say, this was the original “coming out” party. They were individuals who came out of their church and “assembled” in Jesus. Think of the “church” in Acts as people who were “assembling” in homes to share their love of Jesus and help each other to resist sin, live the perfect life and keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. They “assembled” to share what God was doing in removing sin from their lives. They “assembled” to see how they could help each other to “scatter” the good news of Jesus to those around them.
Their “assembling” had no denominational name, no man-made leader, no organization and no “doctrine”. Today we would call them a “flash mob”. “And let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, . . . For if we choose to go on sinning after we have learned the full truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:24-26. And that was the purpose of“assembling”. To encourage each other not to go on sinning, but to help each other to live as Jesus commanded: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. “If anyone hears My words and does not keep them, . . . the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” John 12:47, 48.
And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
We hold great funeral processions and spend lavishly for our dead. But how few are caring about those whom God is sending to bring them out of their dead, sinful churches and back to obedience to Jesus. God hates the churches of today. They are filled with hypocrisy and heresy. If you do not get out, He will “spew you out of His mouth”. To be a “devout” Christian is not going to church. It is living the perfect, sinless and commandment keeping life.
As for Saul, he made havock of the ekklēsia, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Saul, an agent of the official, organized church, was making “havock” upon God’s true people who were assembling, “ekklēsia”, to live for Jesus. How true that is today. Church members hate those of us who do not give glory to their church. Those of us who give glory to Jesus by living as He commands: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping are despised by the official, organized churches of today. People assembling in Jesus threaten the official, organized churches.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
And keep in mind, they “were scattered abroad” not sitting in church. Where are you going? Where have you gone to preach the Word? Have you ever gone anywhere “preaching the Word”? And what “word” are you teaching? Is it “church” or “Jesus”? If you are talking about a church, denomination or bringing people to a popular preacher, you are not of God. If you are preaching the Word of God and bringing people to Jesus, you are of God. 2 John 1:8-11.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
The Bible is our example. In it we find how we are to live. Philip preached Christ. Are you preaching Christ to people? Or are you preaching church and denominationalism? Let us get out of our churches as Philip did and preach Christ to those around us. If you are equating “church” with “Jesus”, that makes your church “antichrist”. You are taking people to church instead of to Jesus. Your church has taken “the place of” Jesus. (Remember, in the Greek, “anti” means “in place of” which is the same as to be “against” something.)
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.
Cities today do not have much joy. We need to bring them joy. Joy can only be found in Jesus. The world and the churches are attempting to substitute the things of this world for the joy of knowing Jesus, but it won’t last. Games, music, videos, TV, phones, churches, clubs, beliefs and thousands of other things are presented for our “joy”. But only knowing Jesus can bring you lasting joy. That is why the churches of today are called, “antichrist” in the Bible. They stand “in the place of” the joy Jesus wants to give you.
Can people see miracles in your life? Are they able to see any difference in you from those around you? Going to church, even on the Sabbath, does not make you different from those who go to church on Sunday. Your life has not been changed. Most Sunday churchgoers have far more “Christianity” in them than those who go to church on Sabbath and claim to be God’s “remnant” or His “special people”. Just as the pagan “Good Samaritan” was more “Christian” than the church people in the parable. Belonging to a church or religion will not get you into Heaven. Trying to “out-church” each other is not what Jesus has asked of you. He has asked only one thing of you: stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. That can only be done outside of your church today. That is the only way to distinguish yourself as a follower of Jesus.
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Simon, in his day, was what ministers, evangelists and churches are today. He was simply bewitching the people and using the sorceries of his day to do what modern churches, ministers, pastors and denominations are doing with modern technology. For a long time now, you have all been bewitched with their sorceries. It is time to come out and go to Jesus who will give you true love, peace and joy.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Oh yes, Philip did not preach church or denominationalism. He was not leading people to an organization headed by men in Jerusalem. He simply taught them about the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. Will you do the same? Will you stop talking about your church, your pastor and denomination and lift up Jesus in your life?
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
There are a few ministers and pastors today who are willing to give up their churches, denominations and positions for the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. Most prefer their bewitching sorceries and the power they hold over their church members. Most just do it for the money. Religion is the greatest “Ponzi scheme” ever devised.
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
For church members today, it is hard to read the Bible without thinking in terms of “our” church system. But if you will take the time to let the Spirit of God direct you, you will notice the people didn’t telephone the men in Jerusalem to send an evangelist. It is too easy to “read into” what we read with church-colored glasses over our eyes. They were not “called” to go down. The disciples in Jerusalem were not a “church”. They simply heard of what was happening in Samaria and sent Peter and John. Why Peter and John? Remember, Jesus spent time sitting at the well in Samaria talking to a lady. Then the town’s people invited Him to spend a few days teaching them. Now they wanted to hear more of the “Word of God”. They heard that the Samaritans had received the “Word of God” and Peter and John wanted to return to continue what Jesus had started. The Samaritans did not receive a church doctrine or any denomination, only the “Word of God”. And what was the “Word of God” they heard? They heard what Jesus had taught them, the Old Testament teachings to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. Notice that Peter and John were not sent to teach them how to become church members. They were not sent to baptize them into a denomination. Only the “Word of God” was preached. That is all Jesus taught. “On one occasion, . . . the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the Word of God.” Luke 5:1.
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
How simple. They came down and prayed that “they might receive the Holy Ghost”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our churches today prayed for the Holy Ghost in sincerity. Churches today only pray for the “Holy Ghost” as long as it agrees with their agenda. Now you understand why the churches today are void of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit doesn’t work for any church or denomination. It works for the Kingdom of God.
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
There is a lot of baptizing in the name of the “Lord Jesus” going on in churches and denominations. But obviously, that is not enough. To be a true Christian we must receive the Holy Ghost into our lives in order to live the sinless, perfect and commandment keeping life. That is how we know who has the Spirit of God and who does not.
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
The Samaritans were not asked to sign a contract or believe in any church or denomination. The disciples put “their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
That is a slap in the pocketbooks of churches and denominations who are selling degrees to students so they can receive appointments in churches and denominations. Today it is all about money, ego, pride, prestige and titles. But the churches and denominations do not know God. They are devoid of the Spirit of God. And as one can see, being baptized did not make a “saint” out of Simon. Baptism is only a “metaphor”, a symbol. It does not save anyone. Peter would say the same today to ministers and baptized church members as he said back then to Simon who had been baptized.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
The hearts of those going to divinity schools, church schools, universities, denominational ministerial schools and churches are not right in the sight of God. Unless they repent, get out and go to Jesus, receiving from Him the Spirit of God, they have no eternal life. However, a degree from man is far more enticing, isn’t it?
When I went to Pacific Union College in 1970 to become a minister, the Spirit of God came to me then and told me to forget about my studies and concentrate on the “Conflict of the Ages” series. What they were teaching at Pacific Union College was not from God. I have read the “Conflict of the Ages” series through at least 30 times. Some of the individual books within that series I have read over 50 times. But there were no “feet that bring good tidings” to help me understand what I was reading. What I was reading was being understood through church-colored glasses. God had to send me to prison in order to sit at the feet of Jesus who brought those tidings to me by His Spirit. Prior to prison, I was a very good church sitter. After my release from prison in 1997, the Spirit of God was sent to me to dictate and direct the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
That sums it up for our churches today. They are full of the gall of bitterness and bound in iniquity. If they do not repent and return to God with all their hearts and souls, they will be lost eternally.
Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
But few are willing to humble themselves and admit that they are full of gall and iniquity. After all, they have church. They are elders, deacons, board members and people of office in the church. How could God not “love” them? Like the Jews of Christ’s day, church is everything and anyone who disturbs their church cannot be of God.
But Simon was willing to repent. Are you? Few do. Your church doesn’t even tell you your sins. How can you repent from sins your church refuses to point out. All your church wants from you is your obedience and your money.
And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
Notice, they did not go on “church planting” missions. They did not go on “church building” missions. All they did was go and preach the gospel. That gospel had nothing to do about joining a church or denomination. It had nothing to do with church doctrine. The gospel they taught was the gospel Jesus taught. And what did Jesus teach? “Then Jesus began traveling throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Matthew 9:35. That “gospel” was: stop sinning (John 5:14), be perfect (Matthew 5:48) and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life (Matthew 19:17). If your church is not teaching you the “gospel” as taught by Jesus, it is of the devil.
Now an angel of the Lord told Philip, “Get up and go south on the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a deserted road.”
The Christians did not seek approval from Jerusalem for their missionary trips or activities. They did not go before church committees seeking authorization. They separated from their church, doing what Jesus commanded them to do: go into all the world and teach them to obey everything I have command you. Matthew 28:20. Therefore, they went in obedience to the command of Jesus. They were willing to rise up, leave all and go were the Spirit of God called. Are you doing that? Are you living such a pure, sinless life that an angel of the Lord would be able to direct you?
We, today, have turned the whole “church” concept on its head. Back then, the “church” supported the people in their work for God. Today, the people are told to support the church leaders in their paganistic and ritualistic activities. Back then the “church” was made up of people who were directed by angels and the Spirit of God. Today the church system will not authorize or acknowledge anyone who is directed by an angel or the Spirit of God. It is all about church leaders, church boards, church authorization, church education and church praise.
So he got up and went.
When will church members get up and go? When will church members bow before the Spirit of God and live in obedience to Him? Philip did not go to the church to ask permission to do what the angel or the Spirit of God told him. Are you waiting on the church? It is time for you to get out of your church, kneel before the Lord and surrender your life to Jesus. Then wait on the Lord as you live in obedience to His perfect Law. God will tell you what to do and where to go.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, who was a member of the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all her treasures and had come up to Jerusalem to worship. Now he was returning home, seated in his chariot, and reading from the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit told Philip, “Approach that chariot and stay near it.”
When was the last time the Spirit told you to do anything? When was the last time you were living in such a state that the Spirit of God could tell you what to do? If you are going to church, the Spirit of God cannot communicate with you. You are under the control of the devil through his church agencies. You must come out in order to hear the Spirit of God speaking to you.
So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah out loud. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
Do you understand what you are reading? Oh, sorry, you don’t read anything that isn’t “church approved”. You let the church interpret the Bible for you. Reading the Sabbath School Lesson is easier than reading the Bible with the Spirit of God. Sorry, I don’t want to disturb your “peace”. Go back to sleep in your church.
It was a good thing the Eunuch was honest and willing to learn. He did not let the Jerusalem church do his interpreting. He was probably praying for guidance and recognized the moving of the Spirit of God in bringing Philip. Very few are willing to recognize the moving of the Spirit of God. Why? Because if it isn’t church sanctioned they do not believe it is of God. How Catholic.
The man replied, “How can I unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
I wonder if the Eunuch asked to see Philip’s ministerial license? I wonder if he asked him by what authority he was teaching? Unless church members have the same humble attitude and are willing to listen and read from other sources than their church authorized literature, they will never learn. God is not in the “church”. He is outside of it knocking to be let in. But the church doesn’t want Jesus. He might ask them to stop sinning. To learn what the Spirit of God is saying to the church now, go to www.jcpm.com and read the Bible studies and watch the videos.
This was the passage of Scripture he was reading: “Like a sheep he was led away to be slaughtered, and like a lamb is silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation, justice was denied him. Who can describe his descendants? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “I ask you, who is the prophet talking about? Himself? Or someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and, starting from this Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus.
“He told him the good news about Jesus.” He didn’t tell him about a church or denomination. He didn’t tell him he had to join any special church or denomination. He didn’t tell the Eunuch that he would send authorized, ordained ministers to Ethiopia to set up a church. He just told him the good news about Jesus. He told Him how to live for Jesus. How to look into the Scriptures to find the life of Jesus. The rest was up to the Ethiopian and the Spirit of God. No church or denomination to get in the way of his salvation.
Here is a question for you. Do you know your Bible so well that you could take anyone from where they were reading in the Bible to Jesus? Or do you send them to church and your pastor? Could you teach them about Jesus from any place they were reading in the Bible? It is time to get out of your church, go to Jesus and do your own reading and studying. Let the Spirit of God come into your life and teach you. You will not make it through the close of probation and into Heaven unless you know your Bible and can teach from it.
As they were going along the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s some water. What keeps me from being baptized?”
Nothing fancy here. No big publicity stunt. No media to perform in front of. Just a little water to perform a symbolizing act that the Eunuch would surrender his life to Jesus and live for Him. No church or denomination to get involved.
So he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
I don’t think Philip was authorized or commissioned by the “church” to baptize. I don’t think he had any credentials from any organization. He was authorized by God and that is all that counts. Come to think about it, not one prophet in the Bible was “authorized” by the church organization. Get out of your church now before it is too late.
This ministry was called by God and authorized by Him to preach the gospel and prepare people for the Kingdom of God. Will you listen? Will you turn from your wicked, church-going ways and return to Jesus?
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing and did not see Philip again. But Philip found himself at Azotus. As he was passing through that region, he kept proclaiming the good news in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Are you proclaiming the good news in all the homes and towns around you? What are you doing for Jesus? Going to church is doing nothing for Jesus. All Philip did was proclaim the good news that they could stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get their eternal life. He did not point them to any church, religion or denomination. No feast days, holidays, rituals, traditions, pagan or temple sacrifices were needed to win the favor of God. Jesus loves us so much He became the sacrifice. Will you get up, get out and go proclaim the good news to all around you?