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Churches and people are often opposite of what they claim to be.

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  • Churches and people are often opposite of what they claim to be.

    I have noticed that churches and people are often, if not always, the opposite of what they proclaim to be. If someone claims to be humble ,they are usually not humble at all. If someone claims to not be a sinner, they are often the worse of sinners. If someone confesses that they are a sinner, they are often the most righteous among mere men.

    Lets us look at the seven churches Jesus spoke about in The Revelation:

    Revelation 2 New International Version (NIV)

    To the Church in Ephesus


    2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

    These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2I know your deeds,your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

    4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

    7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

    This is not easy to see, but we need to also consider these words of Paul to see where this church is:

    Col 1 TLB

    20 It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him—all things in heaven and on earth—for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood. 21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. 22 He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you—nothing left that he could even chide you for; 23 the only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him to save you.

    So when Jesus tells the church at Ephesus : 4 Yet I hold this against you; that means they are not standing in the presence of God in the Holy of Holies covered by His blood. Jesus confirms this when He tells them this: If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

    This church thinks itself a hard working and alive church, but instead it is dead because it has strayed from trusting Jesus to save them and is trusting in its efforts instead. We know this to be true because Jesus tells them: You have forsaken the love you had at first. When we are confessing our sin and trusting in Christ to save us we have great love for Him for shedding His blood for us and forgiving us. When we start trusting in our own efforts we stop having that love for Him.

    So this church professed to be alive and hard working, but instead it was dead.

    To the Church in Smyrna


    8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

    These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful,even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

    11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

    This church thought themselves to be poor and others looked down upon them as being poor. But Jesus clearly says they are rich. Many who claimed to be followers of God slandered them. But Jesus did not scold them or hold anything against them. They are truly rich.

    To the Church in Pergamum


    12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

    These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

    14Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    17Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

    There are many in this church that are not covered with the blood of Jesus for He has somethings against them. They think they are doing well, but they are not. But there are some in this church that are trusting in Jesus to save them and Jesus speaks to them in verse 17.

    To the Church in Thyatira


    18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

    These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds,your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

    20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

    24Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

    26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    So we see see in this church that there is a woman who professes to be a prophetess, but she is NOT. There are many following her to destruction. BUT there are others who are saved that do not follow her.

    So we see here that some claim to be prophets, but are lost. And some follow her thinking they know "the deep secrets of God" but instead are lost. The ones on the "outside" and not following the group and are being looked down upon are the ones that are saved.


    Revelation 3New International Version (NIV)

    To the Church in Sardis


    3 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

    These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief,and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

    4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    So there are those in this church that profess to be alive, but Jesus tells them they are dead. There are some in the church that are not following the group and looked down on, that are covered with clothes of white. That means their sins are forgiven and they are saved.

    To the Church in Philadelphia


    7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

    These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

    11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    We see here that this church thinks themselves to be weak ( and of course we are all weak). BUT they are strong in their trusting Jesus to save them. Notice Jesus has nothing against them. This is a church I would like to be apart of.

    To the Church in Laodicea


    14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

    19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

    21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    This church thinks itself to be rich and doing well. They look upon themselves as God's special forces. BUT they are not even saved.

    This passage also brings light to this situation:

    Matthew 25
    The Sheep and the Goats


    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    We see the true followers of Jesus asked when did they ever serve Him. They see themselves as sinners.

    We see that the goats thought they were doing really well and asked, when did we not serve you Lord.

    So we see that the ones who professed to be righteous were not saved and the ones who professed to be sinners were saved.

    Lou Newton
    Last edited by Lou Newton; June 2, 2017, 12:51 AM.

  • #2
    Do you agree, disagree, do not understand; please make a comment so I know what to cover with more detail etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      Lou, I like the connection you make to Col 1:20. I surmise that if Jesus has something against us it can always be reduced to the basic fact that we are not walking in His grace. We should never depart from the doctrine of grace, it is our lifeline to the one who gives us life. But I also think this immediate reduction risks skipping important aspects.

      We are saved by grace, but not to the exclusion of works. There are works of faith and works of the flesh or the law. James tells us faith without works is dead. Works are an evidence and outworking of our faith which is wrought by the finished work of God in Christ. They build character and bear fruit.

      In contrast Paul teaches that works of the law (without faith) cannot save because the flesh is weak and thus the law only condemns. Therefore we absolutely need grace.

      These are complementary doctrines.

      The Spirit is the one said to be speaking to the churches in the Revelation letters. What we're seeing in the Revelation letters are archetypes of the body of Christ in various states, and I believe the warnings are applicable to the individual and the congregation. The Spirit corrects us when we err. If we continue to rebel there are consequences that effect the man or woman, and also the congregation - we see this in other teachings: Paul's letters to Corinth and Galatia; sin in the camp; tolerating sin in the church; keeping corrupting company; parables of leaven. God will indeed save His remnant: no one can thwart the will of God. Yet the warnings are true for all men, whether or not they will hear and obey.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great expose Lou. I think you covered it well. I agree with Barry too.

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