As we continue our teaching on His Remnant Church, I would like to detail five problems I find in the “church” in these last days. These problems are evidenced in the Letters to the Seven Churches found in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. So, we will take a more detailed look at these churches and find, in most of them, evidence of apostasy, and yet we also will see His Remnant Church revealed.
Christ’s Revelation gives us a clear description of the church in the last days in chapters 2 & 3. His letters are to seven churches that existed in Asia Minor at the time of the writing of the Revelation. The seven churches are representative of the church throughout history, and yet there are characteristics of each of these churches evident in the “church” today. Unfortunately most of these characteristics are not desirable. However, there is evidence of a remnant group in these two chapters who stand fast in the faith in the end times.
Christ prophesied in Matthew 24 that in the last days false Christ’s or Anti-Christ’s would appear to deceive many. Matthew 24:4 & 5 “’And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.’” We find evidence of this today in the various cults and false Christianity in the world today. Jesus also prophesied in Matthew 24:11 & 12 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Here Jesus warns of false prophets within the church itself, and the resulting confusion they cause. This speaks of Doctrinal error these false teachers bring into the church resulting in powerless, worldly congregations that tolerate and even embrace sin, which eventually causes them to “grow cold”, fall away, become apostate. These prophetic words of our Lord are born out in the letters to the seven churches. In them we find five distinct problems that turn the church away from Christ, five things that Satan uses to destroy the church by making it un-impassioned, irrelevant, institutional, spiritually insolvent and ineffective.
Four of these churches are addressed in chapter 2 and the remaining three in chapter 3. The first church is the church at Ephesus, and while this church is commended for its ability to discern who are or are not true messengers of the gospel, and the fact that they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans (the Nicolaitans wanted to establish a priestly order placing the power of the church in the hands of priests and bishops and even a high priest; but the New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers), still there is a problem with this church.
In Revelation 2: 4 Christ tells them “you left your first love”. This isn’t just sad, it’s shattering. This church where Paul had labored for three years establishing their faith, where Timothy had instructed them in sound doctrine, and were John himself had been their teacher, was no longer passionate in their love for Christ. Somewhere along the line their joy was gone and with it their pure love for Christ. Their hearts had grown cold and what was left was legalistic religion. So this is the first problem that arises, the people who are the church lose the joy of their salvation. They just don’t love Jesus like they once did, they’re not talking to Him in prayer, they’re not listening to Him by studying His word, there’s no worship there anymore, just a broken relationship and unless there is true repentance the church has begun a steady decline into apostasy.
In Revelation 2:12-17 we find the letter to the church at Pergamos. This is actually the third of the letters to the churches and in it is described the second problem embraced by the church. Christ tells them, “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name,” So they are still identifying themselves as Christians, but he says “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” So what is the doctrine of Balaam? Very simply it is compromise. Balak allowed the children of Israel to participate in pagan parties and rituals which caused them to fall into immorality and idol worship, they intermarried with the women of Moab destroying the separation God had established, and they disregarded God’s laws and did what was right in their own eyes. This then is a picture of what happened to the church at Pergamos, they compromised in the name of tolerance, they let the world in, they quit preaching against immorality, they began to let things become idols in their lives and they tolerated sin. And of course, what was once pure faith became religiosity and rote worship in an institutionalized church.
So this is how it happens, when you quit loving Jesus Christ with all your heart and mind and soul (Problem 1 ~ a broken relationship because you lost your first love), you allow worldly things to come into your life, you’re not really separated from the world anymore, what you believe becomes compromised because you have allowed tolerance to compromise God’s word, you have chosen to “pick and choose” what part of the Bible you believe (Problem 2 ~ Compromise), and the next thing you know, your following those who teach another gospel, a false gospel. And, the question becomes, did you ever really know Him? Did you ever really believe and trust in Him? If not, why not today? Contact us and we will show you how to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
False Prophets and false teachers have corrupted the Gospel throughout the history of the “church” leading people away from a true relationship with Jesus Christ. We will continue with the third and fourth problems found in the “church” in our next teaching on His Remnant Church.
Jesus is Coming Soon! Are you ready?