WOTD – As I scrolled through Facebook this morning, I saw the same themes over and over again. Church attendance is drastically down across the board, there is a growing gap between sound doctrine and many false teachings in our churches and biblical colleges, and more importantly, it just seems like the worship of a Holy God is no longer a priority for the majority of the world. It was just like overnight, the world decided to move on from a powerless religion to embrace something else.
It would seem that if this period of time in Church history were to be categorized by a Star Wars movie, we would be living out “The Empire Strikes Back”. Yes, we all know that Jesus is victorious in the end and that the remnant will see “The Return of the Jedi” one day, but we must all be honest enough to own up to the fact that we may be entering the season of the Great Tribulation. And if that is the case, we should all rejoice that Christ may be coming back soon while at the same time mourn for the many who are being deceived into disbelief.
Here is a Word of the Lord. 6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” 8 And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
Found in Rev. 14:6-8, we see the progression of what will happen before the Lord’s return. Here we see two angels giving two separate messages to the world. From the bottom of my heart, the first one has already taken place. There are literally thousands of pastors and messengers of Christ who are pronouncing this message even if they don’t fully understand it.
As the people in our churches fall away (or continue to embrace the new [powerless] gospel hybrids of “Jesus plus…”), those that remain faithful to Christ’s Word are pleading the warnings placed on their hearts proclaiming that there is only one true Gospel and it is all about holiness and our ability to give God glory as the Holy Spirit fills us with the nature of God and it spills out through our lives as we love others over ourselves.
And participating in this “glory” thing is not just something that you do by accident. It is an intentional surrendering of your wants and desires to take on His wants and desires. It is to take off our wisdom to embrace true Wisdom. It is to realize that the world’s way does not have the ability to fully and completely embrace the Truth that God has provided in His Word. They are in contrast.
The first message is being given as we see the religion of a powerless Christianity take on an antichrist spirit as we push the presence of the Holy Spirit out of our tabernacles and cathedrals thus leading us inevitably to the second message.
You see, the first message is a warning. The second is a declaration. And as we enter the tribulation, it may be this second message that (when sounded) marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation written about in scripture. And what is that declaration? It is the Fall of Babylon.
If you study the Word of God enough, you will realize that there is only one thing that can fill the definition of the whore called Babylon. For to be called a whore in scripture means that you must first be an adulterous, and before you can be an adulterous, you must be united to someone. In short, Babylon is the description of something that has seen and known the True God by partaking of His holiness and Goodness yet has decided to leave that which is Good and holy only to intertwine itself with that which is sin.
Therefore, hear the Word of the Lord. The start of the Great Tribulation will be the Fall of the great whore called Babylon. And the only entity that can fill the role of Babylon (Rev. 18) is the religion of Christianity. What this means is that for a short time, God will give control of His church to Satan as a response to a holy people making the free choice to replace what is good with that which is evil. And Satan will be content manipulating the church for a period, yet the time will come where Satan will ultimately destroy it. Now you might argue that “the gates of hell will not prevail” and your are right. What we fail to understand is that the Church is a people, not an organization. And God is going to raze the idol of the “religion of Christ” to the ground thus fulfilling the prophecy that everything that is perishable must be made imperishable (even the Church).
This is hard for a proud people to accept, but these things must take place before Christ’s return. John even prophesied that the Saints of God would be conquered during this time when he wrote, “7 It was also given to him (Satan) to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” Rev. 14:7 Just like the climax of a good movie; things are going to get very bad before the victorious end.
Does scripture really tell us that Satan is going to take over the religion of Christianity for a short time and then destroy it? If you believe that the harlot represents the organized church, then scripture answers the question for us. In Rev. 17:16 states, “16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.”
So how can a merciful God destroy His own church? In reality, it is just another act of mercy and redemption. Just as God cast out Adam and Eve from the Garden in order to save them, God is going to give those of us who know better to have yet another opportunity to repent and change our ways. Sadly, no matter what God does to punish us in love, many will remain too stubborn to accept His rebuke and come to a place of surrender and repentance. All throughout the Book of Revelation we see that the people of God will refuse to repent and glorify His Name (the holy nature of God).
So why did I share all of this today? It is with a heavy heart that I feel we are on the cusp of that second message being proclaimed. Like a giant battle of chess, Satan has a firm grasp on Christianity. It is becoming more powerless by the day as people (who know better) continue to adulterate God’s holiness to suit the world’s desires. When you read about the fall of the Church in Rev. 18, we see that it is a specific and quick moment that takes place when it falls. The time is coming soon when Satan will grow tiered of the power He has been given in Christianity. And the remnant of those who remain in Christ will infuriate Satan to the point where he will use His power to destroy Christianity as we know it.
This short period of time will be where the Holy Spirit will give direction to those in Christ saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” Rev. 18:5 Like Lot and His wife, when the second message is finally given, the faithful in Christ will be called to leave the religion of Christianity (and their identity in it’s denominations) to avoid the wrath that is to come on her. In short, God is going to bring judgement on His church first and he is going to use Satan to fulfill His vengeance.
There is only one Way to God. Praise the Lord that He does not give up on us. That he loves us enough to cut off our leg if it means that we can live with Him forever. God’s wrath is always bathed in love. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. You can’t be holy and embrace immorality at the same time. It can’t work because in Christ there is no darkness at all… How do we know the churches across the world are about to fall? Because many of the faithful have already been forced to leave.
And it will be the faithful who stand alone in the wilderness outside of the organized church who God will use to share the second message when the time comes. Yet many in the proud and glorious traditions of our great faith will not heed the call of the meek and humble. And in one major event in history, the church as we know it will fall.
Prepare yourself chosen of the Father, there are still some great churches with uncompromising pastors, however, many of these great shepherds are dying off or being run out of the Church. As we move forward, we must make sure our identity in our denomination is one of unimportance compared to our identity in Christ. For the time is close at hand where our denominations will no longer match that of Christ holiness, and when that time comes, who will you serve?
When your ready, we are here. Thousands of pastors and seasoned saints who have already been called out into the wilderness. We are in every town. We are outcasts from our religious communities. For we preach a Truth that is no longer accepted in mainline Christianity. We have little strength, yet have kept the Word of the Lord and have not denied the glorious Name of Christ. The way of holiness. Rev. 3:7-13
I tell you the truth, it will be much harder to find fellowship with us after the fall of Christianity takes place. Therefore, heed the warning of the first message. If your denomination or local church is embracing teachings that are outside of Christ, take a season to test and rebuke those things in your fellowship. However, heed the Spirit’s leading. In most cases, (as Satan gains further control) we will not be able to change the sinful things entering the church from all sides. Things like homosexuality, social justice, new age philosophy, psychology, and the acceptance of sin in the body of believers are just a few examples of compromises that may be irreversible when accepted by a local body. If these things are present, the time will come where the Spirit of God will say, “It is time to leave and seek out a true holiness fellowship”. And as one who has already followed that path, it will be the most painful thing you will ever do.
My passion and my call is to help those in Christ as they enter this time of transition. When I left the organized church, I was alone, and it took me many years to recover from the pain of that spiritual divorce in my identity. I was a Nazarene and had the love of many mentors and felt the pride of an entire denomination. But when I embraced the simpler title of Christ follower, I found no one to walk that path with me.
I know this is a super long post. But if you are ready to let go of something that the Spirit has left and are humble enough to seek out his presence at great cost, I will do whatever I can to minimize the pain of that transition. We are not alone. As the weeks and months go by, more and more people are leaving a dying religion to embrace the Word of God afresh. New fellowships are being created that bring reform and life-giving hope to those who have become denominational refugees.
So what do you say? Are you ready to take off the yoke of trying to save a dying denomination to embrace the peace found in a life-giving/power-filled fellowship that is functioning outside of the organized church? We can’t offer you a piece of paper to get you into heaven. We don’t have fancy buildings or glorious church programs to brag about. All we have is a pastor, a mourning in our hearts for what is taking place in God’s Church, and a deep desire to seek out God’s holiness in His Word and live it out.
Again, sorry for the long post. It just feels like someone who is reading this is at the point where God is trying to give them permission and direction to leave what is dead to embrace what is alive. If that is you today. I pray that you have the courage to obey the Lord’s Word for you today.
Since this has obviously turned into a sermon, I might as well end it with a blessing. We may be living out “The Empire Strikes Back”, but the Return of Christ is near!!! Therefore, let us focus on the prize set before us as we face the coming tribulation.
One day, we will get to see the victory that takes place as Christ destroys sin and darkness and the Bride will be given to the Bridegroom. As it is written, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready… ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” Rev. 19:6-9
May the peace of God rest with you and the joy of the Lord fill your soul with gladness.