As an American, the focus will be kept in this area of the Christian church; because there are some areas in the world where true believer's are living out their faith and suffering for it greatly. But, here in the U.S., even in the poorer areas-we would be considered rich compared to the majority of 3rd world countries.
Ministry in America to a great degree is an institution, a business; and is run that way. If we were able to watch the first 120 in the upper room, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and the first disciples in the original fellowships, we would see no connecting comparison-they would be that diametrically opposed. In the verses below, Jesus gives His scathing account of what Laodicea had become, and what I feel describes the American churches today:
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
A sad commentary indeed-totally deceived. Believing they were rich, but in reality bankrupt. Increased in all material goods, wants and desires-unable to see they were functioning now as empty shells with no true value that matters for eternity. In God's eyes they were wretched to look upon-poverty stricken under His penetrating gaze.
I believe this is the description of many well to do churches today-who preach the prosperity gospel, the social gospel. It is another gospel, that Paul warns against.
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
There are those in this circle who can write and sell books on how to have your best life now; and never mention the name of Jesus once-but label it a "Christian" book-millions are buying them, but for some of us-we see it for what it is, another gospel.
The test of authenticity is watch, listen and observe what their stand is on issues such as:
1. Adultery/same sex marriage/living together without being married. Pay attention: do they ever preach against these issues?
2. Drug/alcohol addiction-again what is their stand on it? Do they believe in abstinence-do they drink, take drugs. Do they ever preach what the word of God says about it? You'd be surprised to know how many don't because they are partaking themselves.
3. Pedophilia/incest-again the question-do they ever preach about it, and against it?
4. Elder abuse/assisted suicide-I've found almost no one who ever touches on this in any churches. It's almost completely ignored-out of sight, out of mind.
A simple definition for those who do not preach against any of the above:
"don't offend anyone". Today if you preach against these issues, you will offend everyone at some point, and learn to follow Jesus alone, and preach the word as Paul says to-regardless of who it offends, or become a Laodecian.
In order to get up in the ranks in many of these mega ministries-you have to do a lot of manipulating, groom yourself to look "sellable", and become what was described in the last blog-a false front. By the time your done-the original faith you may have had in Christ in the beginning, is long gone, and so is the Holy Spirit. But, the world and most baby Christians who don't know the authentic Christ, and don't read or study their bibles, like what they see and hear, and follow it, and they end up being the blind leading the blind. The majority of churches throughout the country have fallen into this as well-and when persecution increases, and if we are here when more ungodly laws are put into place that we will have to either rebel against, or face jail, or worse; I wonder what many of these lukewarm Christians will do. I sadly suspect many of them will openly deny the Lord, and give in to the world system.
I believe the remnant will continue to go underground, not being willing to compromise. As the immoral laws that are passed and government and social structures continue to crumble, the true sincere Christians will be recognizable in their steadfast walk in the midst of it, but won't be seeking recognition or fame. When the one world system goes into place, and the ability to make money stops because the currencies change-and the mark on your hand or forehead is put in force in order to buy or sell anything-that's when the rubber will meet the road. It's a question everybody needs to be asking themselves now, and make up your mind who your following. With many warnings given in the last 40 yrs., with nothing happening yet, now few are listening. Peter spoke of this also:
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
As in the days of Noah, they did the same, mocked in unbelief until the day finally came, and Noah and his family went into the ark-and God shut the door; leaving everyone else to perish. We, the remnant; are pleading with all of you to come to Christ now, before the last day of God's patience and mercy runs out.
Peter goes on to explain why the Lord tarries:
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
He waits for that one more soul who would turn around and heed the gospel, and believe. Jesus loved you unto death, the death of the cross; and this is why He tarries. Do you know Him as Savior? Don't wait, today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may be too late.
Yesterday, February 12, 2019 a historic event took place. Pope Francis just co-signed a document with Al Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb (once named “the most influential Muslim in the world”), titled “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”
The alliance between the Pope of Rome, and the Muslim Imam is one of the greatest signs that we are close to the end of days. Take stock of the seriousness of the hour and make the decision now to turn to Christ, repent of your sins, and ask Him for the strength to live as you should, and die in faith when the time comes. Perhaps you'll live a long life full of goodness and joy-I truly hope this is the case- but be prepared to face whatever may come, and do it now while you have the time to strengthen your soul. But if we are here when the mark of the beast is implemented-please do not take it, and don't let anyone talk you into it. Losing your eternal soul in hell is not worth it.
Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
If your in a church that's lukewarm, that does not preach the true gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, I hope you will come out of it, and find one that does, or pray and ask the Lord to help you find good teachings on Youtube-and spend time in your bible yourself, and develop your relationship with the Lord on your own. We aren't told to follow people-we're told to follow Jesus Christ-it's He and He alone we will stand before when this life is over.
Below is a commentary from the Expositor's bible on the Laodicean church, which has interesting viewpoints to add to this blog.
Please, do not be among those who are told by Jesus:
The seventh epistle is to Laodicea, and here there can be no doubt that we have the picture of a church in which the power of the world carries almost all before it The church is addressed by Him who describes Himself as the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, upon which immediately follows a charge as to her condition in which there is no redeeming point. Only later do we see that there is hope. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one, and miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. To interpret the boasting of the church given in these words as if it referred to spiritual rather than material riches is entirely to mistake the meaning. Worldly wealth is in the writer’s view. The members of the church generally have aimed at riches, and have gotten them. Possession of riches has also been followed by its usual effects. The seen and the temporal have usurped in their minds the place of the unseen and the eternal. Perhaps they have even regarded their worldly prosperity as a token of the Divine favor, and are soothing themselves with the reflection that they have made the best of both worlds, when they have really sacrificed everything to one world, and that the lower of the two. The last picture of the Church is the saddest of all.
Yet is Laodicea not altogether without hope. Behold, says He whose every word is truth, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. Even in Laodicea there are some who, inasmuch as they have fought the hardest battle, shall be welcomed to the highest reward. He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with Me in My throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with My Father in His throne. Beyond that neither hope nor imagination can rise.
The epistles to the seven churches are over. They present the Church to us as she appears on the field of history. They set before us the leading characteristics of her condition partly as she was in "Asia" at the moment when the Apostle wrote, partly as she shall be throughout all time and on the widest, as well as the narrowest, scale. These characteristics may be shortly summed up as in the first group of three, love to the Redeemer, yet love liable, and even beginning, to grow cold; persecution and trials of many kinds; preservation by the secret grace of God and in the hidden life: in the second group of four, yielding on the part of the majority to sins associated with unchristian doctrine; formalism in religion; weakness in the midst of trial, even though not accompanied by faithlessness; and lukewarmness, springing from a preference of the things of time to those of eternity. To these characteristics, however, have to be added, as more or less accompanying them, many of the active graces of the Christian life: labour, and patience, and faith, and charity, and works, whatever makes the Christian Church a light in the world and the object of her Lord’s care and watchfulness. In reading the seven epistles, we behold a lively picture of the Church of Christ in her graces and in her failings, in her strength and in her weakness, in her joys and in her sorrows, in her falls under the influence of temptation and in her returns to the path of duty. The characteristics thus spoken of are not peculiar to any particular age, but may mark her at one time less, at another more, at one time individually, at another in combination. Taken as a whole, they present her to us in her Divine ideal marred by human blemishes; we are prepared to acknowledge the necessity, the wisdom, and the mercy of the trials that await her; and we learn to anticipate with gladness her final and glorious deliverance.
One brief concluding remark ought to be made. The epistles now considered ought to be sufficient in themselves to show that the Apocalypse is not a series of visions intended only to illustrate one or two ideas which had taken a strong hold of the Apostle’s mind, or one or two great principles of the Divine government in general. St. John starts from the realities around him as much as any writer of the New Testament. It is true that he sees in them eternal principles at work, and that he rises to the thought of ideal good and of ideal evil; but he is not on that account less true to fact, less impressed by fact. On the contrary, his very depth of insight into the meaning of the facts makes him what he is. He who would write a philosophy of history is not less, but more, dependent upon the facts of history than he to whom a fact in valuable simply in its individual and isolated form. It is the present therefore that stirs the writer of this book, but stirs him the more because he beholds in it principles and issues connected with Him who was, and is, and is to come, the covenant-keeping God, the Judge of men, the unchangeable I AM.
Hence also the mistake sometimes made of thinking that the purpose of unfolding the principles of the Divine government could not be a sufficient motive to St. John to write.l Every cruelty to the saints of God which he witnessed, every cry of oppression which he heard, supplied a motive. We may not feel these things now, but the iron of them entered into the soul of the disciple whom Jesus loved. We need more prophets like him to make it ring in the ears of selfish wealth and of ease indifferent to the ills festering around it, "For the spoiling of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord."