Sunday, February 15, 2009

When Christ Rejects a Church

When does Jesus Christ reject a church? Answers to that question are found in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of The Revelation. In Revelation 2;1-7, Jesus speaks to the Church of the Ephesians. Jesus makes the following statement:

Revelation 2:4-5 4 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

Jesus warns the church that they have left their first love – the love for Christ! With all the activities that occupy the time of a church, it is easy to get side-tracked with its love. Jesus needs to be the central focus in the life of a church. It is love for Jesus that provides motivation to follow Him in the life of a church, as well as the life of a believer. When the emphasis is placed more on the programs of the church, rather than the Person of Jesus, a church, as well as a believer, can fall into the same trap as did the Ephesians’ church.

In Revelation 2:12-17, Jesus speaks to the Church of Pergamum. Jesus makes the following judgment:

Revelation 2:14-16 14 “But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.”

Jesus warns the church that they are wrong in tolerating error and outright heresy in the church. To inject anything of the world, or any religious traditions which do not have a biblical base, is to promote humanism and man-centeredness in the Christian faith. This action by a church makes it anti-Christ in its practice, and heretical in its teaching. Pro-abortion and supporting a gay-lifestyle are two such practices which are contrary to the Scriptures. Christ opposes such humanistic expressions; churches should follow His example.

In Revelation 3:1-6, Jesus speaks to the Church of Sardis. The problem this church had related to spiritual deadness. Jesus declared,

Revelation 3:1-2 "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”

Programs with no life, business as usual, form with no substance – these are the characteristics of a church that Jesus will reject. Do you belong to a church like this? Is your church spiritually asleep; is everything running alright, but you have no real life? Heed the warning of Jesus:

Revelation 3:3 3 “Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”

Jesus is coming soon. Is your church ready? Are you ready? Repent and return to Jesus.

Are You Ready?

First, there will be a shout – a loud cry of command – that will be heard around the world! This cry will make the hair on the back of the neck rise to attention. The mouth will get dry and the heart will beat faster as all the souls of mankind will hear the cry. It comes from the voice of an archangel and it calls all of creation to attention. And with this majestic voice of an archangel, calling all saints to attention – and sending terror into the hearts of the unrighteous – you also have the clarion sound of a trumpet – the trumpet of God! This is no secret happening; all of creation responds to God’s call. It is the trumpet call of God for the gathering of all saints: those who had died and now reign in heaven with Christ, and those saints alive on the earth. It is a call to the gathering, as the glorified Christ gathers His saints into a victorious force. With this glorified force of all of God’s elect, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords comes to the earth to bring final judgment against Satan, his demons, and all the children of wrath who fight with their god, Satan. Fire from heaven will destroy all the forces of evil, and the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur.

I Thessalonians 4:16-18 16 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

1 Corinthians 15:52 52 “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

Revelation 20:9-10 9 “And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

God, sitting on a great white throne, will judge the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. The works of men will be judged: those works done for the glory of God will be honored; works done for self-glory will burn in the wrath of God. A final book is checked. All those souls who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb of God will be received into God’s Presence; each soul who was unwilling to repent of their sins and ask for God’s mercy paid for by Jesus on the Cross will be thrown into the lake of fire to die an eternal death – forever separated from the Presence of God.
Revelation 20:11-15 11 ¶ “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Are You Ready?