State of the Church 2015, part 1
State of the Church 2015, part 3
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 1 I’d said that persecution seems like it is about to begin in America. We have already endured soft persecution such as legal judgments, employment firings, vandalism, and public marginalization. Is hard persecution about to begin? Will we be able to retain our Religious Liberty?
This essay outlines why I believe it is. In addition. I further believe the persecution is going to be worse than we imagine. Again, I’ll offer a reason why I believe this.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
|The Great Wave of Kanagawa, Japanese woodblock, 1832
Jesus was dictating a letter to John regarding the Laodicean church. Jesus knew their works, but hated their indifference in doing the works. He hated their apathy, their laziness, their self-conceit, their self-delusion. He said He will VOMIT. It is the strongest physical act. Pulpit Commentary aptly stated,
Vomiting is used as a figure in which to express the abhorrence of Christ for those who lacked zeal in his service!
The Lord’s abhorrence of the Laodicean church’s works was described in the most graphic physical terms. This is not the first time such a reaction is promised from our Lord. Look at two verses from Leviticus 18,
and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. (Leviticus 18:25)
But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, … lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. (Lev 18:26, 28)
His promise is a condition, IF you do X, THEN Y will happen. It was one that was spoken to the Old Testament saints but its principles are applicable today, given that Jesus reiterated it in Revelation 3:16.
In addition, we read in Luke 12:48,
But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
In that passage, Jesus is preaching about the Bridegroom returning, and the virgins with the lamps. The section from which this verse is taken is titled “You must be ready.”
Gill’s Exposition says of the verse,
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall, much be required: the more knowledge a man has, the more practice is expected from him; and the greater his gifts are, the more useful he ought to be, and diligent in the improvement of them:
In the Old Testament God destroyed sinning nations. Do we not believe He is coming again to judge the nations? (Psalm 110:6). If much was given to a man and much will then be required, what about a nation to whom much was given?
America has been uniquely blessed. Our founding was based on the principles of religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. The Puritans instilled biblical principles in the succeeding generations, and exhorted them to holy living. As for our works, our first universities were seminaries in which the point was to train up Christian men to go forth and witness. We became a sending nation of missionaries all over the globe. We grew rich and used that money for Holy endeavors, building churches, printing bibles, supporting missions overseas, exporting radio and television programs, etc.
|The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914
America has enjoyed a unique length of time free from persecution, or even trouble. Except for one battle in the War of 1812 and Pearl Harbor, until September 11, 2001, this nation has been largely free from military invasion on these shores. Religious persecution of Jews is unknown and congregations of other religious persuasions have been free to worship.
To America, much has been given. For a while, America rose to the task of much having been required. But like the Laodicean church, America has grown fat, lazy, lukewarm. We have said, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (Revelation 3:17a)
Calvin’s Commentary says of Luke 12:48,
48. To whomsoever much hath been given. Christ shows by another circumstance, that the more highly favored disciples ought to be visited with severer punishment, if they despise their calling, and abandon themselves without reserve to every kind of licentiousness; because the more eminent a man is, he ought to consider that so much the more has been entrusted to him, and on the express condition that he shall one day render an account of it. In the same proportion, therefore, as any of us is endued with higher gifts, if he does not, like a field which has been cultivated at greater expense, yield to the Lord more abundant produce, the abuse of that grace which he has profaned, or uselessly withheld, will cost him dear.
This is why I believe that our persecution in America will be WORSE than we think, because we have abused His grace. We have received an unusual-for-biblical-history reprieve and have been the beneficiaries of a long period of peace. We have grown hollow inside the church. We have become lazy, don’t take the word seriously, gotten rich, sought more riches, and have supplanted truth for the world in many cases. We have squandered His blessings, and we will pay for this because now the American section of the global church is an abomination to Jesus. The winds of satan easily blow down a hollow house.
In Leviticus 18:25-28, Jesus promised the Israelites that He would vomit them out of the land if they ‘did any of these abominations.’ What were the abominations they were not supposed to do as a nation?
And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.
In America, we not only do these abominations, we are defined by them.
1. Do not lie with your neighbor’s wife. California passed a “no-fault divorce” act in 1970, sparking a revolution in divorce in America. Prior to 1970 in CA, divorce was an adversarial process through which one party had to be proved at fault, such as adultery. After CA passed no-fault divorce with other states following suit, and without one party having to publicly declare a shameful act of adultery, divorce became easy to obtain and therefore the stigma of adultery was diminished. Today, adultery is not only accepted as a likely given within marriage, adultery is even the basis for television entertainment programs. (Mistresses, Wife Swap, Mad Men…)
2. Do not offer our children to Molech. Molech was a false god who required parents to place their babies in the Molech-statue ‘belly’ and burn them alive. Child sacrifice is an abomination to God. Yet in America since abortion was legalized, there have been about 55 million babies killed. By the age of 45, one-third of American women will have had at least one abortion.
3. Do not lie with a male as with a woman. We all know of the June 26, 2015 decision by the Supreme Court legalizing homosexual ‘marriage’ in all 50 states. The highest court has institutionalized perversion by redefining marriage, thus creating an abomination out of what was supposed to be a holy picture of Christ and His bride.
4. Do not lie with an animal…America is the largest importer, exporter, producer, and the fourth largest consumer of pornography in the world. Enough said about that.
Despite the military peace and spiritual blessings we were given these past few hundred years, America still slid from Puritans to Mistresses. We have used this time of peace and prosperity for self-indulgent, licentious endeavors. We have not only ignored God in the process, but we’ve purposely spit in His eye. Given what we know about our holy God, He will have something to say about that.
In part 3 I’ll look at two other scriptures, some recent news, and in the Conclusion, the remedy.
1 Peter 4:7, The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
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?
State of the Church 2015, part 1
State of the Church 2015, part 3