by Marty Purvis
God has blessed each of us with a unique understanding of Bible prophecy. He has also blessed us with a knowledge of scripture that few people have. However, along with this blessing also comes challenge. The challenge is that God has entrusted us with the promotion of this knowledge He has given to us. Jesus told us, �Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.� (Matthew 28:19-20) Satan knows that he is about to lose the largest battle in the universe, so he will fight with any means at his disposal to prevent our knowledge from being shared. The article �Should I Join Another Church?� shows how Satan has used denominationalism as one method to prevent new information about God's prophecies from being revealed. Unfortunately, denominationalism is not the only roadblock preventing the story of Jesus' soon return from being shared. A number of powerful forces are lined up to oppose any sharing of faith in a church environment. Denominationalism, traditions, control, fear of cults, skepticism and many other factors combine to make it much more difficult to share with people attending other churches. However, if it is difficult for us to share our faith now, how much more difficult will it be to be witnesses for Christ when Satan begins to directly control politics and religion?
The most significant challenge; however, is not based on these external factors. Each of us also responds to internal needs and motivations. With God's help, we can control our actions, but the internal issues are more difficult to deal with. We all have fears that we will be rejected by our peers. In spite of our confidence in the end-time message, our feeble attempts to share this message often are greeted with rejection or apathy. But, we cannot allow the actions of others to cause us to stop sharing the fact that Christ is returning soon. You may ask, �How can I boldly share this message with other people? I am not an extrovert. It is so much easier to quietly let other people testify to the gospel.� Many times after we have concluded a conversation, we think about the way we could have shared Revelation's story. Then, we feel guilty because we believe we have not shared our faith the way we thought we should.
Thankfully, God has created people with many different personality types. (Remember, there are twelve tribes.) A number of individuals have been blessed with an extroverted personality and often they have no qualms about discussing their beliefs and Bible prophecy with other people. While they can comfortably share the message of Jesus' soon return with other people, this causes them to have a problem with organized religion. Because they actively promote their understanding, they are the first people to be excluded from organized churches because they are the most vocal in sharing their faith. There are also other personality types that God has wonderfully created. Certain people prefer stability, others are striving for acceptance while others are very uncomfortable speaking to other individuals.
An individual's personality has a direct impact on the type of witnessing they utilize and ultimately their comfort level in a church setting. Many extroverts do not feel comfortable worshiping with people of other faiths because they cannot listen to points of view which are at variance with their understanding without responding. They feel compelled to present their position, even when it conflicts with the views of the church majority. Other individuals are silent when points in opposition to their own are discussed and do not feel the same intensity. A looming controversy will be this: As end-time events approach, it will become more necessary to take a stand in opposition to the accepted understandings that organized denominations uphold. For the people that are introverts, the thought of defending a personal stand on an issue before other people is one that evokes fear.
The article �Should I Join Another Church?� addresses one option available in response to denominationalism that is going to become more important as end-time events draw near. A home church may be the only option available to maintain a healthy Christian perspective. However, there are a few risks with a home church concept that should be carefully considered. Individuals who know Revelation�s story have been entrusted with a message that must be shared. A home church may provide an excuse for people already facing rejection to withdraw and not share the gospel message. The gospel commission that Christ gave leaves us no room to shirk our responsibility of spreading the end-time message. If your choice for a home church causes you to divert from the gospel commission, it may not be the best option for you.
Everyone at some time in their life has had to deal with emotional rejection. The typical human response when facing this type of rejection is to either retreat and �lick our wounds� or respond more aggressively to people who have rejected us. Neither of these responses are Christ-like. While we cannot help feeling hurt if we are rejected, we do have control of the actions we take in response to rejection. Each person who is convicted of the end-time story must be prepared to respond to emotional and social rejection when he or she begins to share the end-time message. There may be a period when there is internal turmoil due to this rejection. If a home church is started during this period of turmoil, the timing may not be appropriate. The hurt feelings due to rejection may overshadow any positive results of a home church setting.
It will be necessary to suffer emotional rejection for the sake of truth. Typically, we first try to share our Biblical discoveries with our fellow parishoners. In fact, like Martin Luther, we may try to change our church. However, very few of us has the capability to do that. In an attempt to witness to the church, God's followers will be rejected. We can rejoice that the Holy Spirit will give us strength to handle any rejection we receive. In addition, if you are open to the Holy Spirit's leading, you will make the decision that is best for you without the emotional baggage of rejection.
A home church can be started for wrong reasons. If the reason to organize a home church is based on a perceived need to separate from the people who are hurting us, this alone is not an appropriate reason. As end-time events progress, people will continue to be ostracized because they will proclaim a message that other people do not want to hear. A number of inappropriate reasons can also be given to support separation from an organized church: the evils of society; the imminence of the Christ�s return; a government that they do not want to support; or preparation for survival during coming catastrophic events. If these are the driving forces behind your decision to organize a home church, perhaps you need to reconsider your motives and be sure that your decision is prompted by the Holy Spirit.
The story of the ten talents in Matthew 25 outlines a principle we should consider. One servant did nothing to share his talents that the Father had given him and instead foolishly buried them. If we home church for the previous reasons, we are mimicing the foolish servant and hiding our abilities to share with other people the good news of Jesus� soon return. One thing about the home church concept � it does not take long for the fruits of our decision to be revealed. If we are witnessing to others, if our home church group is growing, if other people are blessed by our actions and if the home church program is contributing significantly to spiritual growth, then we can know that a home church is having an impact and is the route we should pursue.
When considering the options of a home church, all believers in Jesus Christ need to consider these questions: Do I have a burning desire to share my faith with other people? Have I attended other churches in my area? Do they fulfill my needs for spiritual growth? Does my church environment allow me to share my faith with individuals in that church?
A story that was recounted in the October, 1994 Day Star shows what can happen when these questions are considered. Donald Murray was attending a Sabbath-keeping church whose understanding of future prophetic events was different than those he held. So, he began to search for a church in his small community that was open to serious Bible study. Although the church did not worship on the seventh day of the week, they did have an atmosphere of humble, honest Bible study. Ultimately as a result of Don�s sharing his faith, Pastor Robert Elder and several members of the Emanuel Evangelical Church in Petosky, Michigan began Sabbath worship services.
The �social gospel� is a concept which holds that through the Christian ideals we uphold and the witness we maintain, people will be attracted to what we believe. However, the social gospel has already proved that enough souls cannot be won to Christ and fulfill the gospel commission He has given us. However, the social gospel can achieve one thing. If you choose to ignore the boundaries of denominationalism, you can attend many different churches, meet new people and become known as a person who knows Bible prophecy. Even if a church has a different understanding of the day of worship or Bible prophecy, each church has individuals who are searching for Bible truth. You may be able to witness to individuals now or, if they do not wish to listen, when global catastrophes occur. In whatever direction the Holy Spirit leads you, keep your avenues of communication open. Be generous with other people, but be true to the convictions the Holy Spirit has placed in your heart.
�I am a shy person. How can I share my faith with others when I am afraid to talk about my faith?� The following Bible texts show how we can have the strength to witness to other people even when we are not extroverted. First of all, God will give us the words to say at the appropriate time. �I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. �Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.� � (Matthew 10:17-20) But, perhaps this is not what you are concerned about. You may be concerned about talking to the person in your row at church or sharing with a friend or neighbor. �How can God help me then?�
If we truly desire it, God will provide us with the strength to witness to anyone that we know. Acts 4:24-31 gives us an example of what happens when we pray to God for power to be led by Him. Christ's followers were concerned when they learned that the priests were out to do them ill. Here is what they did: "When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. �Sovereign Lord,� they said, �you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: �Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.� Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.� After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
If we are fearful of approaching other people to present the gospel of Jesus, all we need to do is pray for the boldness of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. Note the three points: 1) They prayed to God, 2) They asked for boldness and the Holy Spirit, and 3) They asked for the power in the name of Jesus. If we do have faith that Jesus can open our lips, and pray in faith, our prayers will be answered. David tells of what can happen if our relationship with Christ is right: When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. (Psalm 138:3) Remember, David was considered to be a great warrior, but in this verse he attributes his boldness to God.
If you are considering your options to share your faith, you may wish to consider attending churches of various denominations. Attending a variety of churches is not risk-free. The prophetic views which WUAS promotes are at conflict with those of all organized denominations. It takes a combination of strong convictions about a message, �thick skin� and Holy Spirit power to participate in churches that do not hold the same views on the day of worship or prophetic understanding. However, if we do have a concern for the souls of people around us, we need to consider all options for sharing the gospel. We can draw close to Christ through prayer, Bible study and sharing our faith with other people. A home church can allow us the opportunity to pray and have Bible study. One of the many ways to share our faith is to enlarge the number of people we know through church attendance. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you that the seventh day of the week is the appropriate day to worship and you have chosen the home church option, God has given you an opportunity to reach many people who choose to worship on the first day of the week. Continue to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and you will be guided in the decisions that are best for you.