As we fast approach the end of days my heart aches for the church. It deeply grieves me to see her stumble and fall prey to the world. Spiritual eyes reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yet, in all of her various forms she is still the church of the living God established by His Son, nurtured by the Spirit, and ministered to by each of her members. It’s instructive to see that Jesus Christ first addresses the seven historical churches in the book of Revelation prior to the unveiling of the great struggle between the powers of evil and the risen Lord. These timeless messages are for all the churches in every age from the first century to the coming of Christ in glory to defeat Satan and his host of wickedness. As Christ walks among the churches He is holding her messengers in His right hand (See Revelation 1:20) and with all seeing eyes He is continually giving her comfort, commendation, exhortation, and rebuke. It was Christ who established His church and indicated that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. (See Matthew 16:18) Simply put, all the false doctrine, all the schisms, and all the host of wickedness will not destroy the church. Jesus Christ loves the church referred to often as His Body.
Many in these days have abandoned the church writing her off as the apostate church. In their arrogance and pride they no longer feel a need for the church and her ministry, but simply go it alone or with a select group of friends that they can sway to their own way of thinking. Yet, Christ must remain the Head of His church giving it direction and gifting its members to minister one to another in love and encouragement exercising their individual gifts for mutual edification. (See Romans 12:3-8) Furthermore, Christ has gifted certain individuals in every local church to pastor the flock put in their charge as shepherds not lording it over them but allowing each to use their individual gifts for building up the body of Christ. (See I Peter 5:2-4) Admittedly, if more churches understood and used their spiritual gifts for mutual edification then our churches would be much stronger and not so easily led astray. (See Ephesians 4:11-16) If they understood all the “one another statements” in the New Testament and exercised them, then more would find it easier to grow from one degree of glory to another, becoming all that Christ intends. Moreover, every person Christ gives a gift and puts in the church is sorely needed and indispensible to the growth of His church. (See I Corinthians 12:14-30).
As I stated before not all churches are the same; some will be good and it will be a great joy to witness the strength of Christ working through these churches to the glory of God, while others will surely be classified by Christ as being the ugly allowing false doctrine to infiltrate their ranks causing them to have very little spiritual strength as they face a world of encroaching evil. Then there are the churches that are clearly classified by our Lord as being bad and in danger of losing their status as a church. (See Revelation 2:5) In this later church a faithful remnant may be present, perhaps unwilling to speak up and use their spiritual gifts to help their local church return to receiving a better classification to the Glory of God. If you find yourself in a church that could be in danger of losing their status as a church it’s very possible that God will use you to help them return to their first love instead of casting all their love on wealth, prosperity, and the love of self. Moreover, this love of self has caused many to no longer trust in God to deliver them from their peril of emotional and psychological problems, thus casting their love upon the world and their so called remedies. True love for God the Father and His Son coupled with faith will always lead to good works. Therefore, set an example for this church by showing your good works of service one to another loving them deeply from your heart. (See Matthew 25:31-46) But if the church refuses to repent then the candlestick will be removed. (See Revelation 2:5) And to have the candlestick removed clearly indicates that they are no longer recognized as a church. Void of all Spiritual power and severed from Christ as the Head then those of the faithful remnant must follow God’s lead elsewhere.
No matter which church God places you, be confident that He will give you the necessary gifts to help your brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is absolutely essential that in your ministry to others that you too are being mutually encouraged to continue your growth in Christ realizing that you are not perfect and will be often times humbled by those of lesser stature. The word encourage means to come along side, to make eye contact, if necessary give a holy hug, to communicate with for the purposes of building up; and when we communicate it is with our whole self. It typically begins with our God given voice that has an array of different inflections and tones to allow others to see you heart and your genuine concern for them, but it also includes listening to others allowing them to express their deepest feelings. Moreover, here is the beauty of interpersonal relationships and true fellowship, that is, coming together face to face, we validate what we say with our body language that makes up eighty percent of what we say. Wow! Yes, eighty percent of what we say. It very quickly allows you and others to discern if what is being said is truly from the heart. Simply put this cannot happen to its fullest extent over the internet, email, or social media. Friends, we live in a day of deception so plainly demonstrated on the social media sites where people can use a different photo of their self or none at all. They can project a completely different image of who they really are proven many times by those who have been arrested and convicted of the most heinous crimes, but were later found out to be on Facebook telling the world that they were God loving Christians.
Dear friends, we need the church to help us stand firm. Satan himself is doing everything possible to destroy the church of God to keep you as a mere infant tossed about by every wind of doctrine. (See Ephesians 4:10-16) Only in God’s visible church can people be held accountable to put off the old life and put on the new. Only in the visible church can your spiritual fruit be truly observed. Only in a visible church can God’s children receive a message from its leaders and have it validated by other spiritual leaders allowing you to focus on that one beautiful truth all week long, motivating you to continue your spiritual growth and allegiance to Jesus Christ alone. Again, that is the problem with social media and YouTube where there is no way to really validate their good fruit, which allows charlatans and false prophets to flourish in our day. Furthermore, with so much misleading and false information coming at you at the speed of light it is very difficult to stay focused on the one truth that God wants to give you. Therefore, let me encourage you to find a local church to discover the beauty and power of corporate worship; to experience God’s love flowing through you to others; to join others in their works of service for your mutual edification.
Finally, let me implore you to separate yourself from those who would join Satan in tearing down Christ’s church, by seeking to divide and destroy its members – pitting one against another. Come out from those who in their prideful arrogance say that they have no need for the church. I foresee a time when there will be a great polarization that takes place by separating God’s faithful remnant from the world wide church made up of every known religion all working together to build the kingdom of the beast. As the world gets more evil God’s true children will grow even more righteous in Christ Jesus bearing every manner of spiritual fruit. I find it more than interesting that the current Pope, Pope Francis said, speaking to the United Stated Congress, “But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps.” Well, I strongly disagree, because I believe that God looks down from heaven and only sees two groups of people, the sinner and those who have decided to follow His Son Jesus Christ allowing their selves to be made righteous by His blood. Indeed I foresee a time when all true believers will separate themselves from a very evil world no longer participating in their worldly games and social activities. They will no longer be led around by the nose through their mews and social media, but will truly come out from among them and be separate. These true believers will come forth from every denomination making up the true spiritual body of Christ forsaking many of their traditions but holding tenaciously to the simple truths that binds them together.
Let’s be clear about one thing, the church is not the building where people worship! In the midst of the great apostasy (for which I have written and spoken about greatly) those of the faithful remnant may well find their selves meeting together in homes and from house to house. Yet, let me be abundantly clear if this happens there will be a sufficient number of believers utilizing their various gifts along with spiritual leaders both feeding the flock and being an example to all in righteousness, love, and sound doctrine. (See Titus 1:5-9) In the midst of the great distress you will want to be a part of a local body of believers who are praying for you and encouraging you to stand firm against all the abuses of this society. Please join with a body of believers today believing that Christ has not abandoned His Church, but will return in glory for His Bride “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”(Ephesians 5:27). Amen
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