We have been looking at 5 problems I see in the “church” in the Last Days… 5 problems associated with the letters to the seven churches found in Revelation chapters two and three. These problems exemplify a regression from the true church in Acts, to the apostate church which dominates the world today. This then in fact is the fifth problem in the church in the last days; Apostasy.
Corrupted and compromised by worldliness, this church is devoid of the presence of God. Somewhere along the line it abandoned all pretense of Biblical Doctrine, it renounced the authority of the Scriptures, it ridicules Bible Prophecy, it denies the Second Coming, and denies God’s covenant relationship with His chosen people Israel. The church at Laodicea in the Revelation is representative of the Apostate church.
In the letter to the church at Laodicea, found in Revelation 3:15-20, Christ says “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.”
There isn’t a mention of even one person in this church that has remained faithful to God. Not one, and in fact, we find Christ on the outside of this church knocking at the door. Christ hasn’t even been invited into this church. So I ask you, can it really be a church at all without the presence of Christ? Jesus Christ says “If any man hears my voice and opens the door then I will come in and dine with him and he with Me”, it only takes one, just one person to desire fellowship with Jesus Christ. Yet there is no one within the walls of this church that desires a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says they are neither cold nor hot, he says they are lukewarm. The picture here is of water. Cold water is refreshing, and hot water has the ability to cleanse, but lukewarm water is neither. It’s tepid, stagnant; it has no quality to be desired. Christ says because of this, he will vomit them out of his mouth.
This isn’t a church; it’s a country club, a social club, some sort of charitable organization, perhaps some sort of a political organization, whatever it is, it has no resemblance to the church in Acts. This so called church is apathetic, they have become worldly, they are completely focused on temporal things and so declare, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing”, but Christ says that they don’t realize that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. These people may still call themselves “Christian”, but they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They believe in a “Higher Power”, or may even say they believe in God (even the demons believe, James2:19), but all that is left here is a form of godliness as described in 2Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
This “church” is filled with people who are only interested in wealth, power, health, and self-promotion. Many of these “churches” may be sincere in their desire to improve the lives of people by what they teach, but they teach tolerance and inclusion of all religions and moralities, saying there are many paths to God, yet Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6. The message of the Cross, the sacrificial shed blood of Christ, and repentance of sin, are offensive to them. And so however sincere they may be, they are sincerely wrong, and are sincerely leading people down the broad path of destruction, which at the very least will usher them into the Tribulation and at worst, to Hell.
So here is the regression of problems evident in the church down through history, leading us to where we find the majority of “churches” today.
- First, they leave their first love, the beauty of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Second, they compromise, let the world in, they tolerate sin.
- Third, they tolerate and follow false prophets and false doctrine.
- Fourth, they die, the glory of God has departed, and they become Spiritually Dead.
- Fifth, they are Apostate centers of religiosity that may look like a church, they may have a form of godliness, but they are powerless because they don’t have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
However, there is still hope in these last days, for Christ still is at work in the world through His Holy Spirit. And there is a remnant of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit of Christ, who are alive in Christ, who refute false prophets and false doctrine, who refuse to compromise with the world, and who have a vibrant, growing, and intimate, relationship with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is His Remnant Church, and like the Church in Acts, it is the True Church in the Last Days, the Church that Loves Him and is awaiting His return. As we continue this series, we will examine the scriptural evidence for His Remnant Church!