Posted in laodicean church, persecution, state of the church

Jesus Vomits: State of the Church 2015, part 3

The State of the Church 2015, part 1
The State of the Church 2015, part 2

Four years ago I assessed the State of the American Church in a multi-part series, writing from my own perspective in my own opinion based on Bible prophesies and warnings. (The links are on the right sidebar, scroll down.) How is the American church doing now, four years later?

Four years is not a long time in an adult’s life. But in the church’s life, these past four years have been like dog years. According to this canine aging scale, a large dog’s age compared to a 4 year old human would be 34 years now since I wrote the last State of the Church essay.

It has been a whirlwind of satanic activity and visible decline since the last time I’ve had an opportunity to prayerfully discern the State of the Church.

At the end of part 2 I’d said that persecution seems like it is about to begin in America. We have already endured soft persecution such as adverse legal judgments, employment firings, vandalism, and public marginalization. Is hard persecution about to begin? Will we be able to retain our Constitutional right to Religious Liberty?


Developments in the US conspire to put a chilling effect on freedom of worship

In the previous essay I’d outlined the abominations God had told Israel not to perform, else He would punish them by vomiting them out of the Land. I had shown how rampant these same abominations are in America, a nation that has been uniquely blessed in history. Jesus judges nations. Thus, America should expect to answer for squandering her blessings from the Lord and to be punished for performing sins that the Lord hates.

But what about the Church? The world always does these things, and though America’s crimes are very great as a nation, how is the church doing? What is the state of the Church in America?

There is a difference between the church as the Bride of Jesus and the church that calls itself the church. I hate the false church. I love the true Church.

The Master’s Seminary: Why I Love the Church. The true church will become brighter than ever. Persecution always does this. Far from chilling evangelistic activity, putting on ice any religious freedom always warms it.

However to pagans, we are all the same. Catholics, Mormons, Christian cults, and Protestants are all “the church” to them and that is the “Jesus” that they see. So the false church that calls itself the church is sinning against Jesus by doing abominations in His name.

In Leviticus 18:21-23 the LORD said He would make the land vomit out its inhabitants if they failed to follow His statutes and did abominations. The abominations for which Jesus said He would vomit them out of the land included the famous list of sexual sins, lying with a neighbor’s wife (adultery) lying with a man as a woman (homosexuality) and lying with animals (bestiality). It also includes warnings against sacrificing children to Molech (abortion).

In Revelation 3:16 Jesus again reiterated that He expects that church to do good works, else He would vomit them out of His mouth. In Revelation 3:17 He says,

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Whoever is naked is not covered in the righteous robe of Christ. Blind means mentally blind. He is speaking to a church that has become not-His-church.

Source for original photo

This church is naked, apostate, self-deluded and unaware that Christ stands apart from them and is not in their midst. Yet they were still apathetic, not having zeal to remain in Christ’s statutes.

Therefore since they were apostate and unsanctified, they had allowed the world to enter in. The same sins that Jesus warns against have flooded the church, or the organization that calls itself the church. Divorce is high among Christians in the church. It is a myth that 50% of Christian marriages fail, but the Christian divorce rate is still uncomfortably high. Porn is a problem among Christian men as it is for worldly men. Abortion rates for those claiming a religious affiliation are also high.

When the world sees a church that does the abominations Jesus warned against, then the world doesn’t see Jesus nor do they see a peculiar people set apart for His name. The world sees an ineffective abominable religion filled with worldly people that makes no difference in lives and blasphemes the name of Jesus through their abominable acts. No wonder Jesus said He would vomit the Laodicean church out His mouth.

So whether we are discussing the uniquely blessed nation of America or the visible entity that calls itself the church in America, we are deserving of all the bile that Jesus can heap upon us.


EPrata photo

Look at 1 Peter 4:7, which says

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

The end of all things started at the cross. Peter begins that passage by reminding the saints that the end of all things is at hand. We should be reminded of that also. At the cross, Jesus enacted his final prophetic plans. Never mind the time span, as far as tasks go, there are just two left for God to accomplish- build the church to its completion and defeat satan at Armageddon. The end is at hand.

Now look at 1 Peter 4:17,

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Then Peter continues after verse 17 with that momentous passage about Christian suffering. He begins to wind it down with this truth- it is time for judgment to begin at the house of God…

Pulpit Commentary explains Peter’s statement about judgment

The beginning of judgment is the persecution of the Christians, as our Lord had taught (Matthew 24:8, 9, and following verses); but that judgment is not unto condemnation: “When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32); it is the fiery trial,

Persecution makes the false Christians leave church and it quickens and toughens the true believers. In this way Jesus uses the evil for our good and His glory.

When Peter says “it is time for” the word time there is not chronos, clock time, but kairos, the season, the tipping point, the crucial moment. And for the last 2000 years, nation by nation, continent by continent since those words were written around 67AD, He has been purifying His church. He does this through through trials and suffering at His providential crucial moments. The church at Rome, Jerusalem, the 7 churches in Asia Minor, Europe, China, Soviet Union/Russia, Egypt…His purifying judgment in the House of God has been ongoing, and now in my opinion from what we see, it seems to be America’s turn.


Retaining our religious liberty in the future days will become increasingly impossible. This will purify the church because the apostates will either toe the carnal line or depart the faith altogether. Judas was revealed as faithless. Demas loved the world and after a time, departed the faith (2 Tim 4:10). Many who loved the show of the miracles departed when Jesus taught the hard things. (John 6:66). It is to God’s glory when the tares depart under their own volition, because to allows the light of His true disciples to shine more brightly.

This is the best illustration of a tipping point I’ve seen. Though it isn’t related to religion, it deftly shows in one drawing what happens when persecution comes (in my opinion).


Wikipedia explains, in Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king of Ephyra. He was punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill to nearly the top, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action forever. The false members of the American Church are operating under their own strength. For a while they can roll the rock up the hill. However they cannot get it to the top and too weak in strength, the rock rolls back down again. It falls away.

The Christians are not operating in their own strength. When they get their rock up to near the top, they have the necessary strength to roll the rock to the crest and beyond because we are operating in Jesus’ strength. As the rock rolls downhill, the snowball effect means it gathers steam, becomes stronger and faster, and becomes larger as it picks up other Christians along the way. The tipping point separates the weak and false from the strong and true.

Here are a few reasons why I believe the tipping point for persecution in America has arrived.

–Oregon bakers ordered to pay homosexual couple $135,000 AND was issued a gag order to stop talking about their faith, (restrict freedom of speech and impose a financial burden)

Church vandalism in Texas. Not a mosque and not a synagogue, which are often in the news for having been vandalized, but a vandalism at a Baptist Church in Texas sparked by their church sign. What had the Church put on their sign? Simply “Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right.” The sign’s message provoked a particularly blasphemous and shocking scrawled message. In addition, two churches in Texas were burned by arson this week. (spiritual hatred expressed in real, physical terms)

–A newspaper announced subsequent to the SCOTUS decision that they won’t publish any letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. (restrict freedom of speech, remove Christians from the public forum)

More ominously:

The National Review reported, “For Churches That Won’t Perform Same-Sex Weddings, Insurance Begins to Look Iffy The president of the nation’s largest church liability insurance group announced that essentially it does not cover a church that is being sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding. The article stated,

“July 1, David Karns, vice president of underwriting at Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company (which “serve[s] more than 8,400 churches”), wrote an “all states” agents’ bulletin addressing same-sex marriage. ‘… There is no coverage for any judgments against an insured.” In other words: Churches, you’re on your own.”

(impose threat of or real financial burden heavy enough to close churches or make weak ones be quiet because they have a mortgage to pay)

Therefore, churches carrying a debt load are soon going to discover the price that a bigger building carries, especially if or when their tax-exempt status is stripped from them. Worse, challenges against churches and Christian Colleges to their tax-exempt status are already beginning. Money will be an issue. It is just the same to satan if he closes a church due to fiscal issues than in striking the sheep with false doctrine, like in Galatians. A closed church is a closed church.

Speaking of Christian colleges,

–Christian Colleges are discovering that since homosexual marriage is constitutional in all states, that challenges to their prohibitions for same-sex co-habitation are groundless. A Christian college that accepts government funding but refuses to allow a same-sex married couple to live in housing for married students would be “on the edge of the indefensible”, said one challenger. He is right, it IS legally indefensible. Hope College and Belmont University already decided to offer same-sex couples health benefits. (pollute the place where seeds are sown and Christians are grown.)

Most ominously, since the June 26 decision, an aggressive hate campaign against religious freedom has been launched. It was encouraged by the Oregon decision of the gag order against the couple that bakes cakes.

Gay-rights groups, allies to push back on ‘religious liberty’ arguments

“Some people want to convert the crucial principle of religious freedom into a license to discriminate against others and deny Americans essential services,” the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said at a press conference Tuesday. “That’s a corruption of a noble concept, and we don’t intend to stand for it,” he said, announcing the group’s “Protect Thy Neighbor” project. The project will fight legislative efforts to let businesses and even government offices use religious beliefs as “a justification to discriminate” on matters relating not only to homosexuality but also reproductive rights, such as paying for all kinds of birth control.”

They are challenging the very concept of religious liberty. The ‘Protect Thy Neighbor’ project will become a groundswell in a short time. What they don’t know is, denying our freedom to worship and evangelize only spurs the true believers to greater, more focused and more intense action. It has been this way each time persecution began in a nation.


[Supreme Court Justice] Thomas additionally warns that the Court’s “inversion of the original meaning of liberty will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty.” Further, he argues that the decision will threaten religious liberty by creating an unavoidable collision between the interests of same-sex couples and some religious organizations. (Dissenters opinions explained here)

That tipping point. It’s that collision, and the world always seemingly ‘wins’ (until Armageddon). As of this moment, religious liberty in America is at serious risk. Why do I say this? One reason the SCOTUS decision shook us is that it was 100% unattached from any part of any law or precedent. It was just simply a personal decision made from personal biases and personal will of the majority of the judges. (so said one of the Justice dissenters, and he should know).

If judges can birth a non-existent “right” (gay marriage) that means they can abort an existing right (religious liberty).

They will obliterate it by first watering it down and chipping away at it (i.e. the newspaper refusal to publish letters to the editor, the Oregon judge’s gag order…) then they will obliterate it by redefining it totally out of existence. You will be shocked to see how fast this will happen. You will be inspired to see what the true believers do in response.

In the Conclusion, the remedy and call to arms.

The State of the Church 2015, part 1

The State of the Church 2015, part 2  

Posted in expository preaching, laodicean church, topical preaching

Are you hot, lukewarm, or cold? Your approach to the bible will reveal the answer

‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:15-20).

Often forgotten in the prophecies are the warnings Jesus gives to the churches in Revelation. As with many prophecies, there is a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment. The 7 letters to 7 churches that opens Revelation were actual letters sent to actual churches and actually read as warnings, encouragements or indictments against them. The second reason the letters were sent was to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history from then to now, and instruct them/us in God’s truth. Illustration: “To the Church in Laodicea”, Stephanus Garsia Placidus (11th cenury).

The last verse is the one I want to point to. Jesus is not ‘knocking at the door of your heart’ in this verse. It is obvious He is knocking at the door of the church. The church had become (and will become, like it is now) so pale and non-Gospel oriented that Jesus is outside it! Just think of Joel Osteen’s church at Lakewood and you have a perfect fulfillment of the kind of church Jesus is warning about here. Mr Osteen never preaches sin or wrath or judgment because he doesn’t want to offend anyone, wanting to stay positive. But how can a person repent if they don’t know they are sinning? He refuses to put a cross on his stage, because it might prove an “obstacle to anyone who might come.” But if they are not coming to the cross, what are they coming to??? Jesus is standing outside Mr Osteen’s church, knocking to get in.

That sad indictment is repeated over many parts of the body of Christ today. I pray you find a good church that has solid beliefs, and participate there. If your pastor stands on the foundational principles of the faith, and preaches them- support him. He is a rarity these days, and precious. Treat him like he is.

The decline of belief is symbiotic. If you attend a church like Lakewood for any length of time, even if you were hot for Jesus at first, you will fade into lukewarmness having remained unfed from the full counsel of God. A steady diet of corn flakes won’t sustain your body, and a steady diet of prosperity optimism won’t sustain your soul. You need meat! A well-rounded diet!

If the full counsel of God is preached, His perfect message of sin and wrath/mercy & redemption is held up and you will grow in Christ-likeness. Without the cross preached, who are the Lakewood/Laodicean congregants going to look like? Man, not God.

Therefore don’t shy away from sermon messages that preach “hellfire and brimstone.” Don’t feel proud because your pastor avoids the difficult passages in the Old Testament. If he doesn’t preach them, and you really cannot find a solid, well rounded church in your area, then the wonderful internet can bring any kind of solid, convicting sermon to you.

Above, unhinging a scripture verse
from its context leaves us ripe
for scripture-twisting interpretations

Look for a preacher who preaches the bible book-by-book. This is called expositional preaching. This simply means that the pastor is explaining the meaning of a passage in scripture verse by verse embedded in the historical and cultural background. Preaching that preaches a topic by choosing a subject and finding scripture texts that support it is all right, but there is a danger of getting weaker and weaker in the explanation of the topic. The worse case of topical preaching is Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer (who isn’t even biblically qualified to be a preacher because she is a woman,) and Beth Moore (ditto). Once you release the scripture from its context, you risk twisting it to suit man-made interpretations. It is the difference between shaking out a tapestry in the wind and letting one ribbon flutter. The ribbon of scripture needs to be attached to something, i.e, the context of culture and history and the other text surrounding it.

Most pastors have a church website nowadays where audio of their sermons can be found, or the website hosts literally thousands of sermons by preachers who preach expositorily. also has many good preachers in video.

The warning by Jesus is a prophecy, also. Are you in a church where “you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing?” Or are you like the praised church of Philadelphia: “you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name… you have kept My command to persevere…” (Rev 3:3b-4a). The Church at Philadelphia was praised for staying true to Jesus, persevering patiently. How did they stay on course so well? How does any church stay on course today? They stayed in the full Word. (Ps 119:105). Stay on the path of the word, and His light will guide your way.

Posted in laodicean church, revelation

Sobering thoughts: the prophecy of our Laodicean church

The Tribulation will be a time of devastation and woe like no other in human history. That is not a possibility, it is a promise from Jesus. He said in Mt 24:21-22 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

How bad? Half the people alive when the Tribulation begins will be dead before the Tribulation is half over. Rev. 6:8 says given to the horseman to kill a fourth part of the earth by sword, famine, pestilence and beasts. When the 1st judgments (seal judgments) are over, a quarter of the world will be dead. After the Seal Judgments are the Trumpet Judgments. Rev. (9:15). A third of the world is killed through those. There is no number given as for how many are killed in the Bowl Judgments that occur in the second half, but Jesus did say that if He had kept it going longer all flesh would be dead by the end.

There was recently much ballyhoo made over the 7 billionth baby. Our global population is at this moment, 7 billion. Half the population dead in the first half of the Trib means 3.5 billion people dead in 3.5 years. That is a billion people a year. That is 83 million people a month. That’s 27 million people a week. That’s like saying the entire population of Tokyo, dead this week. Seoul SK, next week. Mexico City, the week after, and on and on and on with the death. More will die in the second half.

So why do I dwell on this if I want to encourage? Well, I do want to encourage, but I want to focus for a moment on God and His holiness. He is perfect, holy, sinless, and glory itself. He hates sin, and He punishes for sin. His wrath is great! “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:16). This apostate church in America focuses on love, and unity and tolerance, wealth-health, they fail at church discipline because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Well, allowing false teachings into the church because you don’t want to hurt feelings is saying you allow offense to Jesus because you don’t want to hurt satan’s feelings! We have Joel Osteen speaking in the name of God saying we can get our best life now, AND a good parking place at the mall, too, if we follow his 7 steps for finding our full potential….

Preacher and missionary Paul Washer said he’d like to create a book cover with himself on it, standing like Osteen, with the title “Your Worst Life Now: why you have no potential for anything and you’re completely depraved”. I laughed, as did the video audience, but he has a point. We forget the power of God with all this talk of being radical and purpose driven. Gradually, we have made God in OUR image.

We have Jentezen Franklin urging us to fast and that our fast is the key that will unlock heaven and shut the gates of hell. It is statements like that, against a HOLY AND JUST GOD, who alone has the key to heaven and hell, indicating a grievous spiritual-heart condition that make Him so wrathful! This isn’t a partnership, and Jesus is not our psychologist. He is not our bank account. He is not our grocery store. He is not to be mocked, spoken of in vain, nor ignored.

So at the Tribulation, He will be impossible to ignore.

I am not reveling in all this death. But I revel in a holy God. I understand my position before Him and I know it is only His power and grace that lifted me out and not my own effort, merit, thoughts, 7 steps, or fasts. It is Him and Him alone in charge. The Tribulation is a time when He will remind everyone of that. As a culture, we have forgotten how terrible sin is, our sin. I understand the justice required for our Holy God to punish the wicked. My gratitude extends to Him every day in relief and wonder that He saved me. Not because I have a low opinion of me, but because I have a high opinion of Him. Because I have an understanding of my depraved sinful condition, and I am amazed that He even would want to have anything to do with me in that condition! “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1

But He did, He picked me out of the mud of my own depravity and He washed me, lovingly. And He did that for the American Christians who now set Him aside on their way to buy Jentezen Franklin’s newest book about “recovering your passion, recapturing your dream, restoring your joy.” What about God’s passion? Jesus’s joy?

The Book of Revelation opens with letters to 7 churches authored by Jesus. At the time John recorded them, there actually were 7 churches named The Church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7); The Church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11); The Church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17); The Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29); The Church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6); The Church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13); The Church at Laodicea. Laodicea is the only church in which Jesus had nothing good to say.

It is thought that in addition to the 7 churches being real churches in John’s time, the churches also represent the church age, and that Laodicea represents the last phase of the church on earth and the coming of Jesus, in other words, us. Lamentably, He stands outside the door and knocks, an uninvited and unwanted guest to the very church He died for. (Rev 3:20). He may be reading the sign we pinned there, “Gone to the Mall”.

The prophecy of the Laodicean Church is found in Revelation 3:14-22. The Laocidean Church is known as “The Dead Church”.

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:   “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. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Laodicea is charged with being so spiritually blind they bask in their wealth (Rev 3:17), needing Jesus for nothing and unaware of their condition. In that verse Jesus quotes the church as saying, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” Does that sound like today’s prosperity gospel-laden churches, or what?!

“Your Best Life Now”
“It’s Your Time”
“How to be Happier 7 Days a Week”
“Become A Better You”

Where is Jesus? Outside the church, knocking to get in. (Rev 3:20)

 This church was also spiritually arrogant in its self-satisfaction. Jesus charges them with being naked, a symbol of worthlessness and shame, having no garment of righteousness on them to cover themselves! They are charged with being lukewarm, apostate, naked, worthless, unrighteous, rich, so rich they exclude the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit! This spiritual condition is an abomination to a holy God.

Serious, serious stuff. Before you embark on the latest fad infiltrating your church, before you buy a book telling you Jesus will make you rich, before you accept a jet setting preacher’s words in the latest book saying if you ‘give big, you get big’, before you cut back on missions giving in favor of a new children’s playground or a church van, THINK! This church is us. It is an unsaved church, proud and about to receive a blistering rebuke from a Holy God.

Our holy God will vomit this church out of His mouth. Read Rev 3! We’re almost there. *I* feel like vomiting our church out of my mouth! Imagine how Jesus feels! For these sins and for all the sins of the world done in His name and out of His name, the world will be judged. If you mourn the Tribulation deaths, good. If you are unwilling to let your mind think on it for a moment, good. But think on this: our position before a holy God is low, He raised us up with His blood. Honor that blood, honor that cross, fight for your church! Fight for your faith!

Posted in laodicean church, prophecy, regeneration, repent

Where’s the beef?

Remember this Wendy’s commercial from the early 1980s?

I used to love Clara Peller, who was a breakout hit for several years in the ad cycle. Good for her.

In the world in general there is a steep decline in civility, modesty, and behavior that would comport with what the Lord advises is pure living. With all the millions of Christians claiming that they are Christian, you would think that there would be more modesty, cleaner language, more purity, stronger families, and higher regard for Godly things. There is a terrible disconnect and it all has to do with transformation.

Philippians 3:20-21 reminds us that we have a bodily transformation to look forward to: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

But before we get there, 2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us that after submitting to the Lord, our transformation of mind and spirit is an ongoing process- “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”[emphasis mine]

We would expect such an ongoing transformation. When we first believe, He sends the Holy Spirit to indwell our body. A supernatural occurrence begins to start the transformative process- the transfer of a divine being from heaven to our flesh. If you really mull through all the ramifications of this, it is mind-blowing. God sends a part of His very self to be planted inside our body which then works as an engine of transformation to His likeness.

Paul reiterated the transformative process in Romans 12:2- “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Our minds AND our bodies are being transformed by the Spirit into Jesus’ likeness.

What this looks like on the ground is a slow or a fast but a visible process where people eschew the same activities, recreation, language, and thoughts they had before. A beer-drinking, porn consuming, profanity laced man will become a gentle, moral, and upstanding husband or bachelor. Initially, the transformation is hard for the new believer but it gathers speed and becomes easier as His holiness spreads in us like a tapestry being enlarged, thread by thread. After a while, we notice that our eyes can’t stand the same television shows, books, movies, and computer activities we used to enjoy. We notice that not only has our own language cleaned up, but hearing it from others is jarring. Not only do we notice that our character is being transformed but being around unbelievers is a strain as the things they say and do hurt our gentle soul because they are an affront to God. Friends drop off, new ones are made. You begin to eagerly look forward to church, not counting it as a trial but a joy. The Spirit is transforming you.

When you repent, you renounce yourself. You allow Christ to become in you more fully every day. Now, reformation is not regeneration. Reformation is a fleshly effort in our own strength to change our ways. Due to our sin nature, permanent reformation is impossible. We will fail. If we could reform ourselves to the extent necessary to become acceptable to God, then we would not need Jesus.

Regeneration means we are being knit by a divine, supernatural process into a new creation. But it doesn’t happen spontaneously. When we are saved, we are always saved. But are we growing? The writer of Hebrews acknowledged that even after some lengthy period of time, some Christians were not growing. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12). They should have been strong enough to have been teaching others at least the basics (‘first principles’) by then, but were disappointingly still ingesting milk and not strong meat!  Do a self-check. Are you still on milk of the Word and not the meat?

When I say that regeneration is not spontaneous I mean that it takes effort of the Christian to apply himself to the process. Once you are saved you are always saved, but as for growth to produce good fruit, if the new Christian never reads the bible, never or rarely attends strong worship or listens to bible preaching, never studies, haphazardly prays, or only occasionally does any deeds, they won’t grow. They may have heard the word, but they are not doers of the word- in the aforementioned things.

James 1:21-27talks about being a doer. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

This is the age of the Laodicean church. There are many who are hearers only and worse, what they prefer to hear is false doctrine that tickles the ears. They are not growing, and in truth, many of them are even deceived as to their natural state. Thinking themselves saved, they are not. If you never confess your own sins, thinking that your initial confession and forgiveness covered it all forever, you will not be regenerated. James urges us James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” We all sin daily but if we confess daily then we are purified and the gratitude for this purification makes us submit even more to the Spirit’s work in us. It is a cycle.

Jesus said that there are true disciples and false disciples. (Mt 7:21-23). Many won’t make it into the kingdom, they will realize too late that their hearts deceived them. Check yourself. It is pretty simply really. “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” Do you have a fluffy exterior, big and laden with condiments, but if you peek inside, is there little to no meat? Has there been spiritual fruit borne of your deeds lately? Or not? If not, there is a problem.

Take another look at the commercial. Except let this script run through your mind:

“It certainly is a big church.”
“It’s a very big church.”
“A big, busy church.”
“It’s a very big, busy…[lifting the top to peer at what is inside]…church”
“Where’s the Gospel?”
“Some churches give you a lot less Gospel on a platter of tolerance.”
“Where’s the beef??”
Announcer extolling solid doctrine, un-watered down and meaty.
“Where’s the BEEF?? I don’t think there’s anybody back there.”

I hope you are asking yourself the important and ever-pertinent question- where’s the Gospel? Look at your church. Look at yourself. Are you on meat? Do you feel yourself being regenerated, part of an everlasting cycle of doing, hearing, growing? Or not? Ask yourself now. You don’t want to find out you belonged to a Laodicean Church when it is too late to change the outcome…