Jesus said to follow Him. (AD 27-29)
Jesus was baptized and the Spirit came upon Him. (Matthew 3:16) We must be baptized. (Acts 2:38)
Jesus was tempted, tested, by the devil. (Matthew 4) We must be tempted and tested. (Matthew 5)
Jesus began His ministry of calling people to Himself, making disciples, teaching and preaching the Gospel, practicing the Gospel.
Jesus instructs His disciples on the cost of following Him.
Leave your home and come with Me (Matthew 19)
Forsake your former life and follow Me
Leave your families and follow Me (Luke 14:26)
Give up all you have or you cannot follow Me (Luke 14:33)
If you love your life, you will lose it (Matthew 10:39)
Jesus walks with His disciples, teaching and showing His Gospel.
Jesus sends His disciples to do His Work (Matthew 10)
Jesus continues to minister, teach and preach.
Jesus is crucified. (Matthew 27)
Jesus ascends to His Father and sends His disciples to continue His Works. (Matthew 28) We are to make disciples, baptizing them, preaching the Gospel, teaching them to all He commanded. (Matthew 28)
========= A very abbreviated history leading to the Great Apostasy =========
AD 1 The Church of Jesus Christ, The Body of Christ, had no buildings, little money and no wealth. The Church was a Movement.
Jesus said to make disciples; collect no money except to make your journey.
The penalty for becoming a Christian was often death.
The Church grew exponentially.
AD 49 The Church expanded into Greece. The Church became a philosophy to many. The Church grew and size and influence.
AD 313 The Church expanded into Rome and it gained recognition. It grew in power and popularity. It obtained wealth, buildings, property and influence. It became an institution.
AD 380 The Church expanded into Europe. It was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It grew in wealth, stature, power and influence. It had become a culture.
AD 1607 The Church reaches America.
AD 1681 The Church became corporate. It had became a business and incorporated. It became regulated by the government.
The Corporate Church grew. It needed money to support growth and expansion, which meant the Corporate Church needed more people.
AD 1777 The state of Virginia granted tax exemption to houses of worship.
AD 1894 The corporate church was granted tax exemptions by the Federal Government.
AD 1954 The Federal Government regulated what a church could and could not say in order to retain tax exempt status.
The church continued to grow, and in order to attract more people the Corporate Church lowered its membership and doctrinal standards. More people became 'members' and gave more money to support more growth.
The Church corporation is complete with leaders, boards and membership and a business model.
Local churches compete against one another for members (customers). The church is selling itself in "three line slogans".
The Church members now have choices and have become religious consumers. Church people can shop around for the religious brand and standards that best suits them. (2 Timothy 3)
The Leadership (pastors and preachers) have become CEOs, disciples have become church leaders, growing their 501(c)(3) business models.
Record numbers of pastors quitting because of stress, burnout or are being fired by their congregations (some stats say 1500 - 1700 leave "the ministry" each month).
Church debt in America soars; church foreclosures soar.
AD 1968 The church ordains homosexuals as clergy.
AD 1972 The United church of christ ordains homosexual clergy
AD 2010 The Lutheran church ordains homosexual clergy
AD 2012 The Presbyterian church ordains homosexual clergy
Internationally, churches that have ordained openly lesbian or gay clergy include the Church of Scotland, the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Norway, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Iceland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Methodist Church in Britain, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the United Protestant Church in Belgium, the Swiss Reformed Church, the United Protestant Church of France, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Anglican Church in Canada, the Old Catholic Church, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and the United Church of Christ in Japan.
AD 2020 The church is losing and has lost influence. The church in 2020 is losing members.
AD 2020 The church is teaching and living a different Gospel than that of the Apostles.
We, The Church, The Body of Christ, must be prepared. We must be doing those Works that Jesus commanded.
Your Brother and Co-Laborer
(Note: This article is NOT an indictment against The Church, The Body of Christ.
This is a brief view of the 'track' or history of the emergence and growth of the FALSE CHURCH around the world. It is a sign of The Great Apostasy which Jesus warned about - the breaking of the 5th Seal of the tribulation.
There are many faithful, Gospel teaching Churches in America and around the world. But, the facts remain, we have entered a time of Great Apostasy and we need to be prepared, for Jesus' return is near.)