Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sobering thoughts: the prophecy of our Laodicean church

The Tribulation will be a time of devastation and woe like no other in human history. That is not a possibility, it is a promise from Jesus. He said in Mt 24:21-22 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened."

How bad? Half the people alive when the Tribulation begins will be dead before the Tribulation is half over. Rev. 6:8 says given to the horseman to kill a fourth part of the earth by sword, famine, pestilence and beasts. When the 1st judgments (seal judgments) are over, a quarter of the world will be dead. After the Seal Judgments are the Trumpet Judgments. Rev. (9:15). A third of the world is killed through those. There is no number given as for how many are killed in the Bowl Judgments that occur in the second half, but Jesus did say that if He had kept it going longer all flesh would be dead by the end.

There was recently much ballyhoo made over the 7 billionth baby. Our global population is at this moment, 7 billion. Half the population dead in the first half of the Trib means 3.5 billion people dead in 3.5 years. That is a billion people a year. That is 83 million people a month. That's 27 million people a week. That's like saying the entire population of Tokyo, dead this week. Seoul SK, next week. Mexico City, the week after, and on and on and on with the death. More will die in the second half.

So why do I dwell on this if I want to encourage? Well, I do want to encourage, but I want to focus for a moment on God and His holiness. He is perfect, holy, sinless, and glory itself. He hates sin, and He punishes for sin. His wrath is great! "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev 6:16). This apostate church in America focuses on love, and unity and tolerance, wealth-health, they fail at church discipline because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Well, allowing false teachings into the church because you don't want to hurt feelings is saying you allow offense to Jesus because you don't want to hurt satan's feelings! We have Joel Osteen speaking in the name of God saying we can get our best life now, AND a good parking place at the mall, too, if we follow his 7 steps for finding our full potential....

Preacher and missionary Paul Washer said he'd like to create a book cover with himself on it, standing like Osteen, with the title "Your Worst Life Now: why you have no potential for anything and you're completely depraved". I laughed, as did the video audience, but he has a point. We forget the power of God with all this talk of being radical and purpose driven. Gradually, we have made God in OUR image.

We have Jentezen Franklin urging us to fast and that our fast is the key that will unlock heaven and shut the gates of hell. It is statements like that, against a HOLY AND JUST GOD, who alone has the key to heaven and hell, indicating a grievous spiritual-heart condition that make Him so wrathful! This isn't a partnership, and Jesus is not our psychologist. He is not our bank account. He is not our grocery store. He is not to be mocked, spoken of in vain, nor ignored.

So at the Tribulation, He will be impossible to ignore.

I am not reveling in all this death. But I revel in a holy God. I understand my position before Him and I know it is only His power and grace that lifted me out and not my own effort, merit, thoughts, 7 steps, or fasts. It is Him and Him alone in charge. The Tribulation is a time when He will remind everyone of that. As a culture, we have forgotten how terrible sin is, our sin. I understand the justice required for our Holy God to punish the wicked. My gratitude extends to Him every day in relief and wonder that He saved me. Not because I have a low opinion of me, but because I have a high opinion of Him. Because I have an understanding of my depraved sinful condition, and I am amazed that He even would want to have anything to do with me in that condition! "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:1

But He did, He picked me out of the mud of my own depravity and He washed me, lovingly. And He did that for the American Christians who now set Him aside on their way to buy Jentezen Franklin's newest book about "recovering your passion, recapturing your dream, restoring your joy." What about God's passion? Jesus's joy?

The Book of Revelation opens with letters to 7 churches authored by Jesus. At the time John recorded them, there actually were 7 churches named The Church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7); The Church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11); The Church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17); The Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29); The Church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6); The Church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13); The Church at Laodicea. Laodicea is the only church in which Jesus had nothing good to say.

It is thought that in addition to the 7 churches being real churches in John's time, the churches also represent the church age, and that Laodicea represents the last phase of the church on earth and the coming of Jesus, in other words, us. Lamentably, He stands outside the door and knocks, an uninvited and unwanted guest to the very church He died for. (Rev 3:20). He may be reading the sign we pinned there, "Gone to the Mall".

The prophecy of the Laodicean Church is found in Revelation 3:14-22. The Laocidean Church is known as "The Dead Church".

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:   “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—   I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Laodicea is charged with being so spiritually blind they bask in their wealth (Rev 3:17), needing Jesus for nothing and unaware of their condition. In that verse Jesus quotes the church as saying, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing." Does that sound like today's prosperity gospel-laden churches, or what?!

"Your Best Life Now"
"It's Your Time"
"How to be Happier 7 Days a Week"
"Become A Better You"

Where is Jesus? Outside the church, knocking to get in. (Rev 3:20)

 This church was also spiritually arrogant in its self-satisfaction. Jesus charges them with being naked, a symbol of worthlessness and shame, having no garment of righteousness on them to cover themselves! They are charged with being lukewarm, apostate, naked, worthless, unrighteous, rich, so rich they exclude the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit! This spiritual condition is an abomination to a holy God.

Serious, serious stuff. Before you embark on the latest fad infiltrating your church, before you buy a book telling you Jesus will make you rich, before you accept a jet setting preacher's words in the latest book saying if you 'give big, you get big', before you cut back on missions giving in favor of a new children's playground or a church van, THINK! This church is us. It is an unsaved church, proud and about to receive a blistering rebuke from a Holy God.

Our holy God will vomit this church out of His mouth. Read Rev 3! We're almost there. *I* feel like vomiting our church out of my mouth! Imagine how Jesus feels! For these sins and for all the sins of the world done in His name and out of His name, the world will be judged. If you mourn the Tribulation deaths, good. If you are unwilling to let your mind think on it for a moment, good. But think on this: our position before a holy God is low, He raised us up with His blood. Honor that blood, honor that cross, fight for your church! Fight for your faith!

5 comments:

  1. http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/business/black-friday-brawl-at-buckeye-walmart-11252011

    I thought you might like this, it is about police using excessive force. Didn't you do a thread about police before?

    I believe this man, that he was trying to protect his grandson from a mad crowd, and even if he was shoplifting--he didn't need to have his legs swept and his face smashed into the cement floor.

    What do you think?

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  2. What do you do if you go to a Laodicean church? Our church used to be known for teaching the Word. But now we are using Beth Moore studies, we are offering exercise classes for the women to "beautify their temples," we are offering cooking classes for the MEN (bbq classes). We have a million activities, but they are getting farther and farther from the Word of God. Craft classes, shopping classes, exercise classes, etc.

    Half the women at our church are addicted to twilight and if you say it is bad, you are legalistic.

    We do not do any outreach anymore, no money goes out toward evangelism, we do not help in our community.

    I feel like we are a country club instead of a church.

    When we have big events, thousands of people come, new people--but lately it has been about entertainment and not evangelism. People do not hear the plan of salvation nor are they given an opportunity to respond to it.

    The thing is that I grew up here, when it was thriving and fruitful. The people here are my family and I love them.

    I am not getting fed and I get depressed everytime I go and see people go through the motions with no real change of life or heart.

    Can I please get some prayer and clarity?

    Leah

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  3. Anonymous of the police brutality comment, thanks! I heard of the incident...Yes I did an essay on excessive oppression from law enforcement. I'll look into the article tomorrow :)

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  4. Hi Leah,

    Your question is one that I see being asked on other forums and on blogs almost every day. I listened to and read the transcript from a Paul Washer sermon this week. In it, he said,

    "Because the preaching of the gospel is so low, the church is basically the majority of it are carnal lost people and because it is a democracy they by and large govern the direction of the church. And because the pastor doesn’t want to lose the great number of people and because he has wrong ideas regarding evangelism and true conversion, he caters to the wicked in his church and his little group of true sheep that belong to Jesus Christ are sitting there in the midst of all the theater, in the midst of all the worldliness, in the midst of all the multimedia going, “We just want to worship Jesus and we just want someone to teach us the Bible.”

    That is how I feel. It is how you feel. It is how the majority of born again, bible believing Christians feel today.

    The believer is called to belong to a congregation of believers...and it is depressing to think of the church hunting and time spent and emotional upheaval and false starts one has to go through to find a good church. And sound doctrine isn't revealed all at once, you just get settled in and get invested when you find that leadership or the pastor secretly holds to some beliefs that infringe on the most essential doctrines...and you have to decide what to do all over again. It's hard.

    Here is an essay outlining things to look for when searching for a church:

    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA121

    I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Jesus asked if, when He returns at the end of the Tribulation, if the Son of man will find faith upon the earth. (Luke 18:8). That same question could be asked now, 'Will we find faith in a church?'

    As hard as I think I have it, I think on the first generation believers. The Corinthians, who had made such a mess of things, with people fighting, getting drunk at the Lord's table, and sin going on (1 Cor 11)...a ruckus to be sure, but the didn't have the option to leave and go to the church down the street. There *were* no churches down the street.

    I am writing this message as much to myself as to you and the other readers out there. I wish I could stay home and listen to Paul Washer, or Steve Lawson or John MacArthur or Phil Johnson of Don Green. I wish I could study my bible myself on Sundays. I wish I could put on Pandora radio and sing traditional hymns all day on Sundays

    But the church is the:
    Only institution Christ promised to build and to bless (Matthew 16:18).
    Gathering place of true worshipers (Philippians 3:3).
    Most precious assembly on earth because Christ purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 1:5).

    more on what the church is at the link below--
    http://www.gty.org/resources/Questions/QA128/Im-having-a-hard-time-finding-a-good-church-in-my-area-Is-it-okay-to-make-media-ministries-my-church

    I recommend prayer and listening to the Spirit on whether you stay or whether you go. If you're married then you and your husband can spend quality time at an appointed time doing devotionals together, or with a brother or dad or family member. If there is literally no other suitable church in your area, perhaps starting a bible study group in your home...

    Here are some resources
    when is it right to leave a church?
    http://www.gotquestions.org/church-leave.html

    Church finder info
    http://www.gotquestions.org/church-finder.html

    I'll pray...for you and we can pray that the Lord comes soon!! He received a crown of thorns, but He gives His bride glorious crowns, and one of them is the Crown of Righteousness, for longing for His appearing! http://gracethrufaith.com/selah/spiritual-life/how-to-win-your-crowns/

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  5. It is important to remember that no church is perfect, no pastor is perfect, no board of elders and deacons is perfect. We live in different times and for those of us who are older these changes are difficult. I also miss singing the old hymns, using a hymn book so I can read the music and harmonize, and as tech savy as I am, I am still uncomfortable with it being used in church (my children and grandchildren are not - they grew up with it in almost every aspect of their lives and it is normal for them!). Elizabeth is correct - God has called us to worship him together as a body of Beleivers, not as individuals sitting alone in our homes. Cults can get started when one or two people become dissatisfied with their church and decide to go it on their own. No one person has all the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts have been given to individuals to be used together within the body. We cannot use our gifts if we are watching a television program or listening to a sermon via radio or CD, etc. We can be salt and light within our church, not just in the world. There are reasons we need each other:
    Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
    Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
    I Corinthians 11:18,19 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.
    I Corinthians 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

    If your church is truly heretical or apostate, find another one - but don't stop meeting with other Believers!

    10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete

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