Who is leading the Church?
Who is your leader?
Who is your leader and by whom are you being led? Jesus said, "Call no man leader for One is your Leader, even Christ," (Matt. 23:10), yet within the Church systems this appears to be totally ignored. However, those who refer to themselves as Leaders would justify their position from scripture and those who are being led by men usually feel comfortable with this situation. Thus we can see that we, the Church, the body of Christ, have been manoeuvered into a position which directly contradicts the words of Jesus.
This booklet is written to examine this situation and encourage true believers to obey these words of Jesus and so make Him their only leader and come under His effective Lordship.
When we look at the differing christian organizations we see they are all built on a similar pattern. Whether we look at the Catholic Church, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist or Pentecostal Church or even those House Churches which have been more recently formed, we see they are basically structured in the same way despite endeavours over the centuries to achieve church government in line with scripture.
These attempts to achieve correct and scriptural church government have not been without much pain and at much cost. Nevertheless, other than for short periods of time, we, the body of Christ, have still not effectively removed men as our leaders so that Christ can take His rightful place.
Some 'church structures' which have tried to comply with the 'words of Christ' in this respect and have removed men from their hierarchical position as leaders have not correctly acknowledged the function of the Holy Spirit. Either the 'Word' is put in a position that is rightly due to the Holy Spirit or, rather than being led by the Holy Spirit, men are led by the soul where flesh and demons counterfeit the Holy Spirits leading.
Our problem is not one of just removing men as our leaders but in actually being led by the Holy Spirit.
The Charismatic Revolution
Since the mid 1950's, what has come to be known as the Charismatic Ecumenical Renewal, has caused those in all denominations who are born again to be given the opportunity of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This Charismatic Movement has largely not challenged the existing structures but endeavored to encourage believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit and subsequently led by Him whilst remaining in those structures.
However, whilst the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been magnified and much sought after the function and ministry of the Holy Spirit as Teacher and Guide has not been emphasized because the realization that men should not be our 'teachers' or 'guides' (leaders) has not been fully recognized.
Because of this, men's structures have been left in place and perpetuated. Even in any new structure, built for the Lord rather than by Him, we see they are usually built to the same basic pattern.
The Early Church
Some church historians identify the beginning of our dilemma as starting with Ignatius, a convert of the apostle John, who in A.D. 115 wrote seven letters to Antioch saying that there should be a monarchal bishop over the church there. One bishop above them all. He was to decide between truth and error. Here we see a man taking over the function of the Holy Spirit.
What appeared to be a good idea, possibly done with good motives, was in fact contrary to scripture. If we allow the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be taken away from us, we cannot discern Truth and error or be led by the Holy Spirit.
According to the rules of Ignatius, the Lord's Supper was forbidden without this bishop being present. He said, "let no one do aught concerning the church without the bishop."
This was not, however, the very beginning of this problem, for John wrote of a believer who 'loved to be the first among them', in 3 John 9, and Paul warned that from among the elders of the Church at Ephesus men would arise who would draw away the disciples after themselves, (Acts 20:28-32).
Indeed, John writes that when the church had just begun, many spirits of antichrist had arisen and that they had gone out from among themselves (1 John 2:18 & 19). We need to recognize that this problem is actually caused by the 'spirit of antichrist' !
The Spirit of Antichrist
The word 'Antichrist' is usually used to refer to a man who will arise in the end times who will be worshiped by the whole world and who is otherwise called 'the Beast' in Rev. 13; the 'man of lawlessness' in 2 Thess. 2:3; and the 'little horn' in chapters 7, 8, and 11 of the book of Daniel.
Although the word 'Antichrist' has been adopted as the all embracing title of this man who will oppose the saints, the word 'antichrist' is not found anywhere else in scripture than in Johns three letters.
John refers to 'the Antichrist', and many spirits of antichrist, and goes on to tell us what it is that enables us to stand against these spirits. John points us to the 'anointing within us', telling us we have 'an anointing from the Holy One and we know all things', (1 John 2:20).
He explains that the 'anointing' which we received from Him abides in us, and that we have no need of anyone to teach us, but His anointing teaches us, about all things, and is true and not a lie, (1 John 2:27).
Many believers have trouble with understanding these scriptures because they rightly recognize those within the body of Christ who have a teaching ministry. However, Jeremiah prophesied regarding the New Covenant that "they shall not teach again each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord', for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, (Jer. 31:354). We need to realize that anyone who teaches, even if he is a 'gift ministry' to the church, is not actually the Teacher. Unless what is taught is taken by the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, and revealed to our spirits we only have mental assent and mental understanding.
Christ and Antichrist.
The word 'Christ' in Greek and 'Messiah' in Hebrew, means 'Anointed One.' Jesus is the 'Anointed One' . When we are born again and become a new creation we discover Christ in us the hope of glory, (Col. 1:27). Having been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who live but >Christ= who lives in me, (Gal. 2:20). Paul tells us that if we do not have the Spirit of Christ we do not belong to Him and if Christ is in us our spirit is alive because of righteousness, (Rom. 8:8-10). Thus we find we have an anointing, this witness in ourselves, (1 John 5:10).
As John identifies the spirits of antichrist he also highlights the 'anointing within' from the 'anointed One' as our sure defense, for he says, 'greater is He (Christ) who is in you than he who is in the world,' (1 John 4:4). He tells us that Jesus Christ abides in us, by the Spirit (of Christ) which He has given us, (1 John 3:24), and so John is able to exhort us 'test the spirits' , (1 John 4:1).
Antichrist can either mean 'against Christ' or 'instead of Christ' or 'one who assumes the guise of Christ,' (Vines Dictionary of Bible Words), a good copy or counterfeit.
John links 'false prophets' to these spirits of antichrist in 1 John 4:1, and we know that many 'false christs,' (Greek:- pseudochristos), and many 'false prophets' will arise, and will show great signs and wonders, before the return of the Lord, so as to mislead, (for that is their purpose), if possible, even the elect, (Matt. 24:24). As the early church saw these spirits of antichrist released so they are to be seen still misleading many as the 'church age' draws to a close, (Matt. 24:11).
The absolute necessity for our very spiritual survival is that we abide in Him and are led into all Truth by the Holy Spirit and thus ensure we are under the leadership of Christ so that Jesus may be our Lord, our Head, and our King. THIS IS WHY SATAN HAS MOST SUBTLY DECEIVED THE CHURCH INTO THAT PLACE WHERE IT DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE 'ANOINTING WITHIN' BUT SUBSTITUTES 'LEADERSHIP BY MEN' CONTRARY TO GOD'S ORDER UNDER THE NEW COVENANT.