Where Most False Churches Lost Their Charter or Franchise
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich to the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:1-4
The church is a family. I do not mean all Christians, but the local body of believers like First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, is a family. Do not forget that. I will come back to that thought at the end of this chapter.
Most churches are really not churches. A church must earn the right and qualify to be called a real church. Most Baptist churches are not churches. In fact, there are very few real churches. I will go a step further. Many of the churches in America called First Baptist Church have lost their franchise and are no longer churches.
1. A charter or the right to be called a church can be lost. A local church is like a franchise. God gives us the right to be called a church. Certain conditions must be met in order for a McDonald's restaurant to be allowed to keep the McDonald's sign over its building. Certain conditions also must be met in order to keep the Kentucky Fried Chicken sign over a building. If those conditions are not met, the right to be called McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken will be lost. It is possible for a group of people who once were a church to cease being a church in God's eyes.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 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 2:4, 5
God told the church at Ephesus to straighten up or they would not be a church anymore. They might still meet and have church services, but God threatened that they would lose their franchise or charter. In other words, they would no longer be a church.
There is something that a church can do to cease being a church in the sight of God. In verse five we see what exactly that it was that caused them to be on probation with God as a church. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works. What are the first works God gave the New Testament church to do? Jesus was going back to Heaven, and was on the mount. He met with the disciples and He gave them the first command.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you aiway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19, 20
The first command to the New Testament church was soul winning. God was telling the church at Ephesus that if they continued not being a soul-winning church that they would no longer be a church, and would lose their franchise.
I was talking to a preacher one day about soul winning. We were preaching on the same program, and after the meeting was over he said to me, "It was good to have such a blend on this program. Your church is a soul-winning church, and my church is more of a Bible teaching church rather than a soul-winning church. It was nice to have two different types of churches represented here in this meeting?"
I said, "We do not have two types of churches represented on this program. Yours is not a church."
He said "Why?"
I took him to Revelation chapter two and showed him what God said to the church at Ephesus. The truth is, a church that is not a soulwinning church is not qualified to be called a church.
There are literally thousands of churches in this nation that at one time were soul-winning churches, but they became enchanted with the so called "deeper-life" movement, and are no longer winning souls. A church that is not a soulwinning church is not a church. It can call itself a church all it wants, but God says it has lost its candlestick, or charter.
2. Often the charter is lost because the church is not coming out of this world. Most churches cease to be churches or lose their charter, because they did not come out of the world. That usually happens before they quit soul winning.
3. So to be coming out is as much a requirement of being a New Testament church as assembling. You must assemble to be a church, but there is more. You must be called out of something in order to be a church as well.
The word church is the word ekldesia. ek means out of and Idesis means called. The word ekldesia means called-out assembly. It is not just an assembly. It is a called-out assembly. The word paneguras in the Greek meaning assembly. The word ekklesia is not just an assembly. It is leaving a larger assembly and going to a smaller assembly.
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: Acts 7:38
This was referring to Moses. The church was in the wilderness. The Israelites could have assembled in Egypt and not have been called a church. If all of the Jews had come together and met somewhere in Egypt, they would not have been a church. They would have been an assembly, but they would not have been a called-out assembly. God told Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses went to Pharaoh and said, "Let my people go."
Pharaoh refused, so God sent the plagues.
Finally Pharaoh said, "Stay here in Egypt and sacrifice to your God."
Moses said, "No, we cannot do that."
Pharaoh said, "Then, do not go very far."
Moses said, "We are going to go as far as we are supposed to go."
He said, "Then do not take your wives and your children."
Moses said, "Not one hoof of one animal is going be left here."
If they had assembled in Egypt they would not have been called a church, because the word church is a called-out assembly. That shows us two things.
1. A church assembled in the world is not a church.
That is why many charismatic churches are not churches. They live like the world. They are assembled in the world. They dress like the world, talk like the world, sing like the world, wiggle like the world while they are singing, and use the beat of the world in their music. They are in the world. You are not a church unless you come out of the world and assemble.
2. A church that brings the world out with it is not a church.
A church must leave the world. It means that a church must leave the world's music, the world's dress, the world's lingo, the world's fun, and the world's pleasures. These unseparated churches and their preachers like to say that being a Christian does not make you a "dud." It does to the world. We are not to bring with us the values and activities of the world.
A man came to my office one time and said to me, "Dr. Hyles, I have a plan that will save America."
I said, "Let me hear it."
He said, "I am going to go to Hollywood and become a movie star. I am going to become the idol of the American people and a hero to the young people. At the peak of my success I am going to announce that I am a born-again Christian and that I want all my fans to become born-again Christians too. All America would get saved."
My Bible says that even if one would rise from the dead, they would not believe. That is not God's plan. Too many big churches today are popular because they give some Bible and allow the people to stay in the world. They are not really churches because you must come out of the world in order to be a church. The out of part is just as important to being a New Testament church as the assembly part.
It is not an assembly in the world. It is a called-out assembly. so to be coming out is as much a requirement as being an assembly in order to be a New Testament church.
No group of people have a right to call themselves a church if they are not out of the world. People sometimes get a little upset with the rules at First Baptist Church and transfer their membership to other churches. Actually, they often transfer their membership to a Baptist country club. People will hide behind different facades, but the real reason is our soul winning and separation.
From what are we supposed to come?
1. Out of the world.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15
John 17:6 tells us that we are to come out of the world. Many years ago I had a young college football player come to my church in Texas and preach. He was a good fundamental preacher, but he decided to play professional football. They had a chapel service for about fifteen minutes before each game and called it "church." That is not church. This man said to me, "I can become an All-pro football player, and God will use that." God does not need our athletic talent or physical strength. God does not need our beauty. God needs us to give Him our lives, but He also demands that we come out of the world.
2. Out of the Catholic church.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication... Revelation 17:1, 2a
A whore in the Bible is a symbol of false religion. The tower of Babel was an effort for man to work his way to Heaven. False religion started under Nimrod, and was the beginning of what would become the Catholic church. The word waters in the Bible often symbolizes nations. The word Catholic means universal.
The Bible tells us that this whore wanted to commit fornication with the kings of the earth. That means that whatever church this is referring to is a proponent of not separating church and state. She wants to control the state. If you go to South America, you will discover that the Catholic church controls the government. Go to Italy and you will find the same thing. In fact, in any nation where the Catholic church is strongest, you will find the union of church and state.
And the woman wasarrayed inpurple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Revelation 17:4
Go to the Vatican City, and you will see this right before your eyes.
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Revelation 17:5, 6
The Catholic church has probably killed more people than all the wicked kings in the world put together.
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. Revelation 17:9.
Rome is the City of Seven Hills. This is a church that is the union of church and state. It is a church that is wealthy. It is a church that is all over the world or universal. It is a church that is headquartered in the city of Rome.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people. that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not her plagues. Revelation 18:4
I am weary of television evangelists interviewing Catholic priests on their telecasts. It is of the Devil. The Bible says to come out of the Catholic church.
3. Out of Protestant churches.
The whore has a bunch of harlots for daughters. At the Reformation a bunch of little harlot denominations came out of the whore. Who are they? Methodism. Presbyterianism. Episcopalianism. Lutheranism. No church is a church that came out of the mother of harlots. The New Testament church came from Jesus Christ Himself. I dare you to find a person that can prove that Baptists came from the Catholic church. We did not. Protestant churches are not churches. For one thing, they do not baptize. How can a church be a church if it disobeys the second thing that Jesus told it to do which was to baptizing converts in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!
I was preaching in Minnesota on a Monday and Tuesday, and I went to the restaurant next to the motel for breakfast. I got a newspaper, and in the headlines it read, Catholics and Lutherans join together. That is one of the daughters coming back home to mama. Eventually all of the babies will come back home. They are already coming back. The National Council of Churches is basically a reunion of the children with their mother.
4. Come out of liberal and worldly churches.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? II Corinthians 6:14
The word unequally is an interesting word. It comes from two words which means coupling or uniting something together which is a different sort. God is saying not to be unequally, or coupled up with a different type, or in other words, do not be yoked up with unbelievers.
(1) In II Corinthians 6:15, the Bible says not to be coupled with an infidel. An unbeliever is somebody who is not saved. An infidel is somebody who is not faithful to Jesus and to the Bible. Do not be yoked up with unsaved people. Do not be yoked up with denominations that do not think that Jesus is the son of God, and the Bible is the Word of God. It does not mean to hate them. If they get hungry we should feed them. If they are cold, we should clothe them, but we are not to yoke up with them in the Lord's work. We must not be yoked up with people who are unbelievers. We must not be yoked up with people who are infidels.
(2) In II Corinthians 6:16, the Bible says not to be coupled up with idols. The word idol means the likeness of God. We are not to be yoked up with people that have likenesses of God. We are not to have any likeness of God and Jesus is God.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:17-18
At the beginning of this chapter I brought out the fact that the church is like a family. God the father said, "I will be like a daddy to you, if you will come out from among them."
The Catholic church.
The National Council of Churches.
The Hollywood crowd.
The Charismatic crowd.
God said that if we will do that, that He will come to our house. That is why they call the church God's house, because the Father is there. He said that if you do not come out, you are not a church and He will not be like a father to somebody who has not come out.
A small child from a Catholic family came to the First Baptist Church one Sunday morning. After church the child went back home and the child's mother asked, "Did you go to God's house this morning?
The child said, "Yes, I went to God's house, and God was home this morning."
The local priest went to their house and warned them about sending their children to First Baptist Church. The mother was scared, so she sent the child back to the Catholic church the next Sunday. When the child came home, she asked again, "Did you go to God's house today?"
The child said, "Yes, but God wasn't home today."
That child was right, because God said that we must come out from among them before He would be our father. All across this nation Baptist churches are losing their charters. They do not believe in soul winning any more. Something else has happened, too. The Holy Spirit came and took their charter away. There were signs on the front, but God does not see those signs. They are not listed on Heaven's directory of churches.
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