This is that...
I was recently in a meeting with a group of pastors who were lamenting the sad state of the church. You could hear the sadness and frustration in one of the pastor’s voice as he related how people don’t even respond to nor take seriously the sinner’s prayer anymore. He said it used to be when one came to the altar, they came with sincere repentance to such an extent that their lives were changed in conduct towards serving Christ with whole hearts. But, now, he related, the sinner’s prayer is meaningless and you rarely ever see them again. Most of the pastors in the group seemed to feel the same way as they each expressed similar concerns.
There is scriptural support evidencing a rebellion from the things of God, and it seems that the rebels are those who have been faithful in church attendance in the past who are falling out as well. This is that which the Bible described would happen in the last days. Jesus described it like the days of Noah where people were busy about their lives not seeing the signs of the end coming upon them. Although there are various interpretations of the scripture found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 where a falling away is interpreted as the departure of the church, but also a departure from the church. It’s difficult for me to believe that the church will go out with a dull Ker plunk. I really believe the church will go out with a bang, and one of the chief scriptures that support that for me is Ephesians 5:25-27 which states:
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
He is coming for a glorious church, not a defeated church. Throughout the New Testament we see promises for a powerful, glorious church. Jesus emphasized several times that the gift of the Holy Spirit was for the church to equip it, teach, comfort, and guide the church. He said that the church will do greater works than He, but the important thing is, He is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle.
I don’t think anyone of us can deny the fact that there does seem to be a falling away of sorts in the church. There are so many who are attending church for whatever reason, but living their lives in great forms of failed discipline. Technically, I suppose, they are not falling away from the church, the building, but their spiritual fervor is certainly lacking. Within many of the traditional, mainline denominations, we are even witnessing an acceptance and tolerance for the obviously sinful acts. We find that Presbyterians approved a gay clergy policy allowing them to serve in their denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America also approved gay clergy, and an Anglican leader says that gay bishops are OK if they remain celibate. A couple of other church pastors in America have admitted involvement in sinful sexual acts or have denied several accusers claims he coerced sex from young men. Another pastor says he has favor with God and man, and is happier than ever after coming out of the closet and admitting he is gay.
It’s apparent that the church is under attack and it’s no wonder that with these sinful behaviors prevailing in the church that we see people turning away, or falling away from the church. A recent poll says religious influence is waning and the generational group called “Millennials,” is the least religious group in America’s history according to another study. The concern that the pastors have about the sinner’s prayer being meaningless is proved by a recent article that states that most evangelicals believe that good people are heaven bound. There’s no need for change as long as you are a pretty good person, is what they believe. The church is really in trouble, and that can be very discouraging if we decide to camp on that thought only, but there is hope and there is the promise of a glorious church for which Jesus is returning. Please keep reading!
Enter in the remnant. Throughout the Bible, we see the remnant mentioned—and this remnant is special to God.
God identified the Hebrew nation, the children of Israel, as His, but often it was a remnant, a subgroup of the whole, who earnestly sought after God’s perfect will and desire, and it was upon this group that He promised to protect and bless. I believe that the modern church, or body of Christ, will follow this model.
The secret for entering into and becoming part of this select group is really no secret—Jesus laid it out clearly when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” Matthew 6:33. He tells us to seek the kingdom, and He also tells us to pray for the kingdom in Matthew 6:10.
Most Bible prophecy teachers believe that the last two of the seven churches described in the Book of Revelation will co-exist. All the churches represent certain eras of the church age and the last two represent that last age of the church before the church is caught away. That’s where we are now. Look at how these churches are described in Revelation 3:7-22 and see if you don’t agree that you can see both existing now.
Here are the characteristics of the Church of Philadelphia:
- I have opened a door for you that no one can close
- You obeyed my word and did not deny me
Here are the promises to the Church of Philadelphia:
- I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world
- I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown
- All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it
Here are the characteristics of the Church of Laodicea:
- I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold
- You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Condemnation of the Church of Laodicea:
- Since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth
- I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference
Here is the promise to the Church of Laodicea:
- I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends
- Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne
In these last days, I do see the Philadelphian church rising in power and glory to complete His will on earth as the kingdom comes to the church just before the rapture. I also see hope for those in the Church of Laodicea that at least some of them will catch what is happening with the Philadelphians and move to become part of that remnant group.
I believe the church is going out with a bang, just as it started with a bang as described in the book of Acts—as it came in power, it will go out in power; magnificent power! And I want to be in the thick middle of it. The church was birthed on that Day of Pentecost described in Acts 2 after being conceived in Jesus in the bowels of hell where He took from Satan the keys of hell and death. Just as Eve was taken from the body of the first Adam, the last Adam formed the church spiritually from Himself, He Himself being the first born from the dead, or hell. We are His body and He passed authority onto us to function in His kingdom using kingdom principles here on earth. Where Eve failed and was deceived by the serpent, Satan, the church will pass the test victoriously—the remnant Philadelphia that is.
That day when what looked to humans like chaos breaking out, Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”
‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’
Now look at what James says:
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:7-8.
James is talking about two different rains—the early and the latter. I believe that the early rain was the initial outpouring when the church was birthed into existence and I believe that just before the harvest will come a latter rain—the late rain that prepares the crop for the final harvest at the end. That’s where we are now. We are in amazing times!
For those of you who are looking at this on the internet, you’ll see three short videos from prophecy teacher Perry Stone. Please view them and do so in order.