Reading: 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of religious denominations on
earth: each claiming to be the Church of God, the true church, the Remnant
church, the sole channel of truth. Their leaders will allow that the Saviour
has "other sheep" that are not of their fold: but they are quick
to add, that those "other sheep" are "lost sheep" and that the Almighty is
currently only speaking through them. Others, they will tell you, are sincere - but
they are sincerely wrong. Pathetic, farcical, self-deluding, obnoxious,
dangerous, call it what you may, that is the current picture of Christian
denominationalism and leadership of our day. Anyone with half an eye can
see that there is something radically wrong with that kind of reasoning. It is
tantamount to saying that the Almighty is working through only one farm
on earth and that farm is my farm! The Bible plainly tells us that
sectarianism is carnal. The word "carnal" means of the flesh, prompted
by human reasoning, something that is not of the Holy Spirit. It adds: to
be carnally minded is death. That is why so many denominations are
bankrupt and falling apart. Pride goeth before a fall.
||"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace"
|1 Corinthians 3:3
||3: For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as
4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of
Apollos; are ye not carnal?
In Scripture the church is likened to Jehovah's wife! It follows that if the
Almighty frowns on polygamy He must Himself only have one wife - one
church. To be sure the church will have many members, who meet in
many congregations: but together they comprise one church, one body, not
the hundreds of sects, cults and denominations we see on the religious
stage these days. This single entity, Yahweh's church, has existed since
the foundation of the world. Depending on circumstance its members may
assemble in their thousands or in their twos and threes. Also it matters not
whether that place of assembly is a magnificent Temple, a village
synagogue, a chapel, a private home or a cave in the wilderness: the church
is there. The word 'church' comes from the Greek word 'ekklesia' which
means 'called out ones.' In other words Yahweh's church is not a building
of bricks and mortar. Instead it consists of believers who have been called
out of human society to trust and obey His commandments. These
believers may, of course, live and work in human society, most of us have
no other option, but 'we are called out, morally speaking, to live lives of
faith and obedience.' Or, as the Master put it in John:17:16
This calling identifies us as members of the Almighty's church: the only
church that He recognises. Here are a few texts concerning Yahweh's
church. Notice that its members can be found anywhere on earth, in the
wilderness or in a person's home.
- "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the
||38: This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the
angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers:
who received the lively oracles to give unto us.
||5: Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my
wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
2. The Head of the Church
Neither the Pope, the Queen of the United Kingdom nor any other mortal being is
the head of the church. According to the Scriptures Jesus Christ, Yeshua the
Messiah, is the head of Yahweh's Church. Popes, prelates, arch-bishops
and human dignitaries of whatever title delude themselves and others if
they vainly imagine that they are the head of the church. They may lead
large or small congregations, but most certainly they are not the head of the
church. The true church has only one head and that head is Jesus Christ.
||23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the
head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
||15: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
16: For by him were all things created, that are in
heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they
be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things
were created by him, and for him: 17: And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.
18: And he is the head of the body,
the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that
in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
||16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ,
the Son of the living God. |
17: And Jesus answered and said unto
him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath
not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
3. The Church Building
We often refer to physical buildings (cathedrals, abbeys and spire-topped
temples where believers worship) as the church. In reality the church is not
a physical building. The church is a spiritual structure made up of true
believers in whom the Spirit of the Most High has taken up residence.
These believers comprise the Temple of God, the Household of Faith, the
Church of the Living God. They are the church, they are the Temple of the
Holy Spirit The building in which they meet for worship is, by comparison, of minor importance.
||24: God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that
he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with
|1 Corinthians 3:
||16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the
Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
|1 Corinthians 3:
||17: If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;
for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
4. The Church's Name
Many volumes have been written about the church's name; with scores of
denominations jostling with each other to prove that the name they have
adopted is the correct one. This reasoning is carnal: because even were a
group to hit upon the correct name, that wouldn't necessarily mean that
they were the true church; or that all their members were true believers. A
name is a proper noun by which a person, an organisation or object is
known. Designations such as the church of God, the church of Scotland,
the church of England, the church of Ireland etc. are, strictly speaking not
names, but descriptions. "The Queen's house," for example is not the name
of the building in which the queen lives. This term simply describes the
building in which the queen lives: it's her house. The correct name of the
building is Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. These are names not
descriptions. It is the same with the name of the church. The body of
believers in various places are mostly called by the name of that place: i.e.
the church of Ephesus, the church of Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philidelphia, Laodicea, Babylon etc.; or the church in thy house. These
descriptions simply tell us which body of believers were being referred to.
They are not names. What, then, is the church's name? I do not know. I
am unable to find in Scripture a proper noun which tells me the church's
name. What I do know is the church is described in various ways. such as:
|1 Peter 5:
||13: The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you,
saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
||11: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and,
What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven
churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and
unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and
unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
||2: And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to
the church in thy house.
||15: Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and
the church which is in his house.
5. The Church Register
The only church register recognised in the court of heaven is the
Lamb's Book of Life. Only those whose names are on that divine register
will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It makes absolutely no difference
whatsoever - to your prospects of eternal life - whether your name is in a
denominational register or not; no matter how big or powerful that
denomination may be: because the only spiritual register heaven
acknowledges is the Lamb's Book of Life. This mind-jolting fact must be
recognised if you wish to be saved from eternal death! Another astonishing
fact is that only the Saviour can enter your name in that Book. It
belongs to him; and only he can blot out a name once it is has been entered.
The Lamb's Book of Life has been in existence since the foundation of
the world. It will be seen for the first time by our eyes on the great
Day of Judgement. These are unassailable
||3: And I intreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women
which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with
other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life.
||5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will
confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
||8: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose
names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world.
||8: The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend
out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell
on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the
book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold
the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
||12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and
the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is
the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their works.
||15: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was
cast into the lake of fire.
||27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth,
neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they
which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
||19: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of
this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life,
and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in
6. Positions in the Church
When people put their faith in God and begin to obey His commandments,
they become members of Yahweh's Church, part of the spiritual body of
Christ. Their names are entered in the Book of Life and they are allocated
positions in the church. These positions are not a matter of human choice
any more than your eye had a choice in becoming an eye; or your hand a
choice of becoming a hand. Yahweh decides your position according to His
own will. It has nothing to do with an individual's preference. This fact
must be recognised if you are to be of any use in the church.
|1 Corinthians 12:
||27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in
28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles,
secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that
miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of
29: Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all
workers of miracles?
30: Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues?
do all interpret?
Multiplied millions of believers have absolutely no idea what function they
are supposed to fulfil in Yahweh's church. False teachers and human pride
has resulted in spiritual chaos in many congregations; as believers vainly try
to do tasks for which they are not equipped. They are hands trying to be
tongues, ears trying to be eyes and feet trying to do the work of hands. This
confusion is a sign of ignorance or pride or both. The Bible tells us that
Yahweh appoints to each believer a given position and duty. He also
equips that person with the ability to carry out that duty.
|1 Corinthians 12:
||10: To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy;
to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to
another the interpretation of tongues: |
11: But all these worketh that one
and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of
that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13: For by
one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or
Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink
into one Spirit.
14: For the body is not one member, but many.
15: If the
foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it
therefore not of the body?
16: And if the ear shall say, Because I am not
the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17: If the
whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were
hearing, where were the smelling?
18: But now hath God set the
members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19: And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20: But now are
they many members, yet but one body.
21: And the eye cannot say unto
the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have
no need of you.
22: Nay, much more those members of the body, which
seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23: And those members of the
body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more
abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant
24: For our comely parts have no need: but God hath
tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that
part which lacked:
25: That there should be no schism in the body; but
that the members should have the same care one for another.
whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one
member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27: Now ye are
the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28: And God hath set
some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps,
governments, diversities of tongues.
29: Are all apostles? are all
prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30: Have all
the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent
7. Your Work
Having received and recognised one's position in the church and one's
ability to do a particular work: a believer should make every effort to carry
out that duty. Yearning after gifts or positions with which others are endowed
is no way to please God or the rest of the church. It is tantamount to saying,
Yahweh doesn't know what He is doing. I'm qualified for better jobs than those He has given me. I deserve better! This is self-deluding
pride. Drop it! Your responsibility is to recognise your own strengths and limitations
and to finish the work the Master has given you to do: not to hanker after
the positions, privileges and powers of others.
||33: Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the
time is. |
34: For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey,
who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every
man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35: Watch ye
therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at
even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning:
36: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37: And what I say
unto you I say unto all, Watch.
||4: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work
which thou gavest me to do.
The Rebellion of Korah
The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as recorded in Numbers
chapter 16 is an awesome warning about leaders in Israel who were wiped
out by the Almighty for trying to assume a position of authority to which
they had not been called and for which they were totally unqualified. Read
that chapter - all of it and be warned.
The rebellion of Korah, however, should not be used as a gag to stifle
the message of the genuine servant of God. Why, the Master himself, not to
mention the long list of prophets, apostles and reformers of old, were all
rejected by the mainstream church hierarchy as being unfit to understand
and proclaim truth. Had these genuine messengers of God waited for the
church's official sanction before proclaiming the truth, the Gospel work
would not have gotten very far. Thank God they pressed ahead knowing
within themselves that they were called of God. The true servant of God
will have the following credentials:
- He will be divinely motivated. He will know within himself what he
is expected to do and he will do it - come what may. This is an extremely
difficult qualification for others to assess or even accept; especially as
there are so many religious cranks around these days; all believing that
they have a special message from God.
- He will be divinely enabled. In other words he will be qualified to
do the job. He will have the inherent ability, time, helpers and equipment for
the task. This is an easy credential for others to assess.
- He will be divinely blessed. In other words the work he has been
called to do will bear visible fruit in the lives of the members of Yahweh's
church. They will be blessed and all the families in the church will
8. Women's Place in the Church
According to the holy Scriptures women are not allowed to preach
sermons or teach in the official gatherings of the church. I quote
the Scriptures to support this increasingly unpopular but, nevertheless,
Many believers will challenge this stand. It was challenged in Paul's day.
The Apostle anticipated a rejection of this truth view when he said:
|1 Corinthians 14:
||34: Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. |
35: And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36: What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
37: If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
38: But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
39: Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40: Let all things be done decently and in order.
||What? Came the Word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?
He then goes on to reason that believers who profess to have the Spirit of
God should recognise and acknowledge that what he is writing is in fact
at the law of God.
||If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
Paul's conclusion is that believers who ignore this commandment of God,
will themselves be ignored. One can hardly imagine a more fearsome
outcome than to be disregarded or not recognised by the Almighty God.
||But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
When writing to Timothy we find the Apostle saying virtually the same
|1 Timothy 2:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.|
12: But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.13: For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
All this does not mean that women are inferior to men and that they have no place
in the work of Yahweh. The holy Scriptures provide several examples of
women prophets (Deborah, Judges 4-5; Miriam the sister of Moses
and the four daughters of Philip the evangelist. Acts 21:8-9). These
women obviously used the gift of prophecy to benefit the church; and
their messages were listened to by all who cared to hear the Word of God
spoken through them. But they did not preach or teach in the
official Sabbath assemblies. That is the point Paul is making in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
In that passage he plainly points out that women are not allowed to teach or
preach in the church. It is against God's law! Bear in mind that Corinth
was a city of Greece where democracy was born. But even there the
Greeks had to be taught divine levels of authority, of which our
misguided society is so ignorant. By divine command men have been given
more authority than women in spiritual matters like teaching and
preaching. They will also be held more responsible for the errors in the
This does not mean that men are more intelligent than women. We all
know that is not the case. Nor does it mean that men have better
characters. We all know that neither sex has a monopoly on intelligence or
holiness. What it does mean, however, is that Yahweh has authorised
men to teach and preach His Word. He has not given this authority to
women, however qualified they may consider themselves to be. I
repeat, it is a matter of divine authority not personal preference or choice.
Bear in mind that in this matter we are dealing with Yahweh's
commandments, not the fickle fashions of a deceived and wayward
What then may dedicated women do in the church? There are many things
dedicated women may do in Yahweh's work; for it is an absolutele fact
that women are every bit as intelligent, talented and spiritually strong
as men. In certain areas they are probably more able than the men folk: but
this is no battle of the sexes. I'll now list areas where Stewarton Bible
School (SBS) women are active in Yahweh's work
Young Unmarried Women
- Help in Church offices (Filing / Word-Processing / Accounts /
- Help teach the young children on the Sabbaths
- Providing musical accompaniment at Sabbath and social meetings.
(Piano, guitar, violin, banjo, mandolin and flute, etc)
- Doing special items (choir items, testimonies, poems etc.)
- Help their mothers in their own homes
- Help at Feasts - laying tables, flower arrangements etc.
Older Unmarried/Married Women
Women may rise to great hights in the social or political field. Remember
one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers (Margaret Thatcher) was a
- Teaching the children on the Sabbath
- Teaching younger women how to bring up their families
- Providing music in church services (choir, piano, violin etc)
- Senior secretarial work in the office
- Despatch literature: setting aside letters for the elders to answer
- Word-Processing letters on the school's computers
- Organising the catering facilities at the Feasts
- Keeping Church Accounts. Stewarton Bible School's Treasurer is
- Community Service: Welfare Work. Helping the aged, the young, the
lonely, widows, orphans, the sick. Our women also serve on school boards
and administrate on various community committees. Examples:
- One held the post of Chairperson of the Stewarton and District
Community Council recently, where the majority of the
councillors are not from SBS - and are men.
- Another represents parents on the School Board of Stewarton
Academy and sits on various other local committees.
Yes, there is no doubt, women can do a lot in Yahweh's church. But I
repeat: they are not allowed to preach or teach in church
gatherings when adult males are present. That is Yahweh's law. Church leaders,
misguided women and Christian denominations ignore this law at their
9. Messages to the Seven Churches
In the book of the Revelation the Most High has a message to His church.
The number seven signifies the whole church all over the world in every
age. If you read chapters one to three you will notice that these messages
are all vital. I will very briefly summarise them:
- The Speaker is the Saviour, the one who holds the fate of the entire
church in his hands.
- He knows the works of every believer in every church. Yes good works
- He praises those who have done well; especially those who have
suffered tribulation for his sake.
- But he rebukes those who have fallen away from their first love - for
him: warning them to repent or lose life everlasting. His strongest
rebukes are for congregations which tolerate the teachings of Balaam
and Jezebel, the prophet and prophetess who encouraged idolatry and
sexual sin: fornication and adultery. An awful fate awaits believers
who indulge in these sins.
- He encourages all believers to hold fast till he comes. Those who do so
will rule the nations with him during the millennium.
- He promises protection during the Hour of
Temptation which shall come upon all the world.
- Those who overcome the temptation to sin at this testing time are
guaranteed an important position in the Temple of God and in the new
- He ends with a poignant plea to those in the church who imagine that
they are fine, spiritually rich and in need of nothing: when all the while
they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. How self-deluded
can one get!
- These are the words of the Head of the Church, of the one who loves
the church, Yeshua the saviour of Mankind. Those whom he loves,
he rebukes and pleads with them to repent - ere it is too late.
- He now stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Do you hear him?
Will you let him in?
- His final promise is stunning to say the least. It is an invitation to join
him on the throne of the mighty universe. I quote it:
||21: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even
as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. |
22: He that
hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
This then is the Church of Almighty Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob: the church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail
(Mt:16:18). It is a mighty spiritual organisation that is about to take over
the government of the whole earth. Are you a member of this church? I
say, you cannot afford not to be. I now summarise this sermon:
- Denominationalism is not of God. It is the outcome of human pride -
carnal and fatal.
- The head of the church is not the Pope, the Queen or any mortal being.
The head of the Church is Jesus Christ.
- The church, the ekklesia of God is a body of believers "called out" to
lead lives of obedience.
- I do not know the divine name of the church; but I'm sure it's not the
name of a denomination.
- The official church register is the Lamb's Book of Life: and the Master is
the only one who can enter or delete names in that book.
- Every believer in Yahweh's church is given a position and duty to
perform. He/she is enabled (gifted) to perform that duty. Hankering
after the position or gifts of others will accomplish nothing. At its best
it results in confusion. At its worst it's evidence of pride.
- Every believer must finish his/her work; however humble it may
appear to be. Every member of the church - the body - is important: as
important as every part of your own body is to you.
- Women are not allowed to preach or teach in church meetings. They
do not have the authority to do so: however talented or otherwise they
may be. That is what the law of God says.
- Divine messages to the whole church are detailed. They are messages
of praise, rebuke, warning and promise. We do well to heed these
messages: applying every one of them to ourselves before we apply
them to others.
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
July 1998 ... Reformatted: April 2000