“The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.” Acts 11:26b (HCSB)
The word Christian means “like Christ.” The word “Christ” literally means anointed one. The word Christian refers to someone who believes in, and wholeheartedly trusts in Jesus, not just someone born in a Christian family or nation. John 1:12 says “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God” (NLT). To be a true Christian requires one to be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3:3). So, to be a Christian isn’t just a label, it is a state of being in Christ through being born again and walking wholeheartedly after Him.
Sadly, so many who bear that name, no longer look like Christ, or follow His teaching, or even seek to obey Him. Likewise, just because a building has the word Church in its name, doesn’t mean it is the “ekklesia” that Jesus said would assail the very gates of hell (Matthew 16:18). Just because a person has the title Pastor, Bishop, Superintendent, Apostle, etc., does not mean they are like Christ. In fact, many are false, yes, they are many imposters, who have infiltrated and have eroded the true seat of authority in the church. These imposters are hindering, and harassing the true work of God in His church! They do whatever they can to block the move of the Holy Spirit. If you are under one of these imposters, whether it is in the UMC or any other church or denomination, you do not need to submit to their rebellious leadership. If they are requiring you to do anything that is contrary to the word of God, you do not need to obey. You must choose to obey God instead of men (Acts 4:19)! Instead of fighting them or the religious system, leave! You are resisting many wicked spirits operating behind these false leaders. Understand that your struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), though the devil definitely uses men and women who are willing to compromise truth.
There are many spirits operating in the “church” today, and of course I am talking, besides the Holy Spirit! There are religious spirits, Jezebel, medusa, perversion, legalism, and more, all seeking to control, defile, manipulate and restrict the Holy Spirit from operating in our midst. What we need in this hour is discernment and the ability to distinguish spirits!
Ask God to increase your discernment and level of discerning of spirits, especially in regards to your own local congregation. Ask God to expose every place that is false, any leader who is not born again, or seeking to walk with and obey Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. If you are in a “church” where the pastor is not preaching the word of God, or the Holy Spirit is being quenched, denied and/or hindered, please leave quickly and head to a true church where the word is preached and the Holy Spirit is welcome! Cry out for God to raise up a body of believers across our city and beyond, who look like Christ!