Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 14
The next raging battle in the religious world of the first century was the rule and authority over the Bride of Christ. Paul as usual was a leader in the warning that went unheeded: “After my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your won selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:29-30 The very men who listened and wept would arise, speaking perverse things, and draw others after them. How sad this must have been to witness. The depth of teaching the Holy Spirit had allowed the apostle to minister to the Church of Christ at Ephesus, the preachers who followed Paul, such as Onesimus, John, the apostle, Timothy and others show how much the Lord had invested in this group of the saved, yet, among them, some would divide the Body of Christ!! None had the greater mysteries revealed than the Ephesian preachers, yet, when Christ rebuked Ephesus in Revelation 2, Ephesus was spiritually defunct: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5
What was sad was that error began before the death of the apostle!! As soon as Paul “departed,” they did not even wait until Paul had left the earth. They started immediately to organize their followers and assign themselves positions that not even the apostles had held among them. They began to preach that their brethren were to “worship” them instead of Christ. They declared they were over multiple congregations, and came up with vaunted names that equaled God in identities!! They changed the organizational structure of the Lord’s Church and began to add pagan deities to their identities as equal to the Lord. These men, called “grievous wolves” were found so named even by the Lord and said to beware of them. “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf (false teachers) coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolves catch them, and scatters the sheep.” John 10:12 Whether Paul had in mind the Judaizers who had given him so much trouble in Antioch, Jerusalem, Galatia, Corinth or the Gnostics the shadow of whose coming he already foresaw is not perfectly clear. But it will not be many years before Epaphras will come to Rome from Colossae with news of the new peril there. In writing to Timothy, Paul had warned him against some who had already made shipwreck of their faith, preachers of the gospel named Alexander and Hymenaeus. These wolves were without mercy, selfish, conniving, and desperate to control the Lord’s heritage as is defined in the word “grievous.” The problem was their hearts!! “Beware of false prophets, in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old appointed to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying, the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude vs. 4. But, the most fearful description is given by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 The “mystery,” which was lawlessness or apostasy, “the man of sin was soon to be unveiled in all his naked deformity. He, No longer working secretly, but openly, this false Christianity, having been laid like the fermenting of leaven, would no longer confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and was God.” This “man of sin,” the “son of perdition” possessed the energetic power of sin and would be irresistible in they who would perish because they received not the love of the truth which Christ had advised to “buy, and sell not.”
“They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us, but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19 In 314 AD, in the Council of Nicea, the Roman Catholic Church made its debut in all her filth and devastation. Armed with the agreement of Rome and its political power, they would no longer need the gospel of Christ, the apostles of Christ, nor the Church of Christ. The “seeds of destruction” had surfaced and the world would never be the same; after her coming.