State of the Church: Introduction. "Love growing cold"

Part 2: Are you tending your anchor?
Part 3: The numbers aren’t good
Part 4: Carnal Carnival, & the greatest sin pastors commit
Part 5a: When carnality leads to spiritual abuse
Part 5b: Is your church spiritually abusive?
Conclusion: Spiritual Leaders and Humble Relationships

This blog is an apologetics, discernment, prophecy and encouragement blog. That means that after prayer and study, and through strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I contend for the faith, distinguish between truth and error, and I encourage the brethren. It means I have a very dogmatic worldview, a biblical world view. To me, things are black and white, either truth or untruth, narrow or wide. I have this view because that is the view that Jesus gives us and by use of the gifts, His Word, and the Spirit, I employ it.

My heart and ministry is for fellow believers. I pray for the lost and I witness to them in word and in deed, but the ministry given to me by the Spirit is to believers. In this apostate, false, and dangerous time, there are many who are failing, falling away, going out from us, or simply are goats and they don’t know it.

These are times when we are told by Jesus that love will grow cold. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12). This is what I call a see-saw verse. The first half of the verse depicts a condition of increase and the second half of the verse depicts a decrease, and the whole verse is causal. One causes the other.

I believe the timing of that prophecy is during the Tribulation but we know that the conditions of increased sinfulness and decreased love will reach painful proportions just prior to the Tribulation as birth pangs, and thus the resulting conditions of cold-heartedness will increase also.

M. Vincent explained the word “cold” from the Greek in the verse this way: “spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind.” The word ‘love’ in the verse is the Greek word Agape, the ultimate kind of Christ love, or divine love. Lawlessness means sinfulness. Therefore the verse doesn’t speak just to coldness of unbelievers, in my opinion, it speaks to as much to believers. Unbelievers do not have Agape love in them to begin with. The prophecy depicts a dark time with an ultimate end as the loveless Laodicean Church (Revelation 3:14-22). Paul prophesies, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thess:2:3). This is a church so apostate that Jesus stands outside it and knocks to come in. (Rev 3:20). The further apart from God we are, the less love we have. We are heading there now.

Clarke’s commentary says, “The love of many shall wax cold – By reason of these trials and persecutions from without, and those apostasies and false prophets from within, the love of many to Christ and his doctrine, and to one another, shall grow cold. Some openly deserting the faith, as Matthew 24:10; others corrupting it, as Matthew 24:11; and others growing indifferent about it, Matthew 24:12. Even at this early period there seems to have been a very considerable defection in several Christian Churches; see Galatians 3:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1, etc.; 2 Timothy 1:15.”

See? It is about believers growing cold in their love.

Here is something to consider- the downward effects of choosing to get on the seesaw (or choosing to stay on it). Love grows cold because we do not study the Word and thus drift away from Him. (Hebrews 2:1). Or we privately believe the Word is insufficient, and seek carnal means to please God. Either way, we open ourselves up to destructive heresies brought by false pastors, false teachers, false prophets. It’s like flies to honey. Or Beelzebub to the unwary.

Destructive heresies are a disease. (2 Timothy 2:17). Once infected, we find we like these false teachings (2 Tim 4:3) and so we will clamor for more. Because the people clamor for more, the pastors give us more- poison which tastes good (“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20). Pretty soon, the parasitic nature of false teachings by the pastor and the carnal acceptance of them by the sheep meld us into this dance of death, and we happily all step onto the broad path. “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13b).

You can’t have a failing church if you have aware sheep, or a vigilant pastor who feeds them good food. One or the other, or both, must be missing.

Because we believe prophecy completely, we know that this will happen and is even happening now. But we can ask ourselves, why does love grow cold among believers? That is the premise of this series: to explore the why and to identify if the why has come to your church…

For there to be a solid Christian, one must believe the bible is the only authority, it is inerrant and that it is sufficient. It is my contention that the problems in the church today, particularly ‘love growing cold’, is because of the believer’s rampant lack of belief in the bible’s sufficiency.

It is a mirror that is hard to look into. We must examine ourselves, look at each of our own actions to determine if we are the cause of the problem or if we are bystanding and letting the problem grow without doing anything about it.

What then does it mean that Scripture is sufficient? This definition of Scripture’s sufficiency from James Boice’s book “Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace” explains that “sufficiency means that the Bible is sufficient for the church’s life and work. It is able to draw unbelievers to Christ, to enable me to grow in godliness, to provide direction to my life and to go beyond myself and beyond the church to transform and revitalize all of society.” Boice says, “It is possible to believe that the bible is the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and yet to neglect it and to effectually repudiate it just because we think that it is not sufficient for today’s tasks and that other things need to be brought in to accomplish what is needed. That is exactly what many evangelicals and evangelical churches today are doing.”

I agree completely. In the next few blog entries, I’ll look into this relationship of growing belief of insufficiency and love growing cold.

My hope is to highlight the practical conditions that fellow believers may see or experience. What does it really feel like, look like, when love grows cold? What are the effects of destructive heresies? I want to lift our eyes from our individual lives looking outward at prophesies that affect unbelievers, to the prophesies that affect believers. Us. Hopefully through the next few entries we can ask ourselves, me included, have we left our first love? And is that leaving because we no longer believe the bible is sufficient for all good things?

After all, that is one of the charges Jesus made against the church at Ephesus, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4). Let it not be so! But if it is, how do we spot it? Stay tuned.

Part 2: Are you tending your anchor?
Part 3: The numbers aren’t good
Part 4: Carnal Carnival, & the greatest sin pastors commit
Part 5a: When carnality leads to spiritual abuse
Part 5b: Is your church spiritually abusive?
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