Haggai 2:2-3 ESV
“Speak now… and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?’”
Let’s ask these questions today of those of us who live in America, who are followers of Jesus Christ. And, those who live in other parts of the world, you can do the same. But, America is where I live, and it is what I know.
Who among you saw God’s house, his body, in its former glory?
I am 70 years old, born the last day of 1949, so I can remember the church in America, at least a large part of it, really on fire for Jesus Christ, where the true gospel was taught, where holy living was stressed, where true evangelism was practiced, and where sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obedience to Christ were a normal part of our everyday lives.
I can remember that we had Sunday School Classes and church services Sunday mornings, and worship services on Sunday nights, which were true worship services, where the scriptures were taught. And, we had Wednesday night Bible study and prayer meetings, and home Bible studies in various people’s homes throughout the week where we actually studied the Bible, straight from the Bible, and not from books written by mere mortals.
And, this is where we had true fellowship in the Spirit, and we cared for one another, and prayed for one another, and we encouraged one another in our walks of faith throughout the week, too, on our own.
I can remember communion services where people broke out into spontaneous singing of praise to God via the hymns, and where people wept in humility and repentance during the communion service, which was a very solemn time of prayer, of confession, and of making sure our hearts were pure before God.
I can remember church gatherings where we shared testimonies, not of our salvation “experiences,” but of our walks of faith, and of what the Lord was teaching us and how it was changing our lives. The body of Christ ministered to one another spiritually with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and with scripture, and with testimony, and with prayer and encouragement.
And, I can remember times of true revival, too, where people were truly broken before God in true contriteness of heart and mind, and where they repented of sin, got their hearts right with God, and where it truly changed their lives from that moment forward, no looking back.
How do you see God’s house, his body, now? Is it the same?
It is totally different now. I am sure there are small congregations here and there that are still like what I grew up under. But, I am convinced, from what I have seen and heard and experienced, and from what I have read and/or viewed, that those are in the minority.
I believe the majority of America’s church, or what is called “church,” looks nothing like the early church, or even like the one I grew up under. For one, the church is the body of Christ with Christ as the head, and with the Holy Spirit as our counselor and guide. I grew up under that kind of church.
But, once the true church decided to incorporate under the US government, then it shifted to a different focus. Now it was being run like a business, and it was being marketed to the world just like any other business. And, now it was becoming worldly, for it was trying to attract the world to its gatherings.
Over time, the Holy Spirit got pushed out of most of these gatherings in favor of entertainment, the ‘big show,’ appealing to the “felt needs” of the people of the world, and for worldliness and godlessness, etc. The “church” was now just another entertainment and social venue which was just a clean-cut (mostly, though not all) version of what the world was offering.
Pastors now had to be entertainers, comedians, and clowns in order to attract large crowds of people from the world. And, the Bible had to be replaced with movies or with books written by mere mortals, some of which incorporate other gods and other religions in their teachings. And, worship services had to become huge stage productions for entertainment purposes.
And, since the “target” audience for the “church” was now the world, using worldly means and methods to attract the world, they also diluted the true gospel of our salvation to make it more palatable and acceptable to human flesh. For, they don’t want to offend anyone with the truth. They just want everyone to be “nice” and to make everyone feel good about themselves.
Again, not every congregation calling itself “the church” fits this pattern, but it does appear, at least here in America, that what I have described fits the majority. And, so God has been warning this idolatrous and adulterous church of pending judgment if she did not repent and obey him.
Haggai 2:4-5 ESV
“Yet now be strong… Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”
So, the Lord is encouraging his faithful ones here to not lose heart over the apparent demise of the church, overall. We are not to give up hope. But, I am not talking here about institutional Christianity. The church is not a building called “church.” It isn’t Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian, either, or any other denomination or non-denominational organization of men.
So, even though most “churches” (or what is called “church”) right now are not able to gather in person, that is not the true demise of the church.
So, I am not suggesting that we hold out hope that the institutional church will be able to gather again one day, as though that is a victory of God. It isn’t! Not if they are operating in the flesh of man, and they are ignoring the commands of God, and not if they have turned God’s house into a marketplace and they are living in idolatry and spiritual adultery against God.
I believe God wants the doors to those “churches” permanently shut! For, he has shut those doors in order to lead his people back to him, and to the cross of Christ. He has shut those doors to bring his people out from among the ungodly so that he can nurture them in his ways, like in the days of old.
So, what the Lord is calling us to do during this time is to do the work of the Lord in rebuilding his church – his body – to what it should be, which is to be for the glory and praise of God, and which is to be a holy temple. And, we are to offer up to God spiritual sacrifices pleasing to him, which is giving him full reign in our lives to lead us to do his will for our lives (Rom. 12:1-2).
So, we need to be revived. We need to be strengthened in our walks of faith so that we can do the work God has called us to do, and so we can help in the rebuilding (spiritually) of God’s church, Christ’s body. And, we need to be sharing the true gospel of our salvation with all who will listen, too.
Haggai 2:6-7 ESV
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.”
I believe with all my heart that God presently is judging his church here in America, and perhaps in other nations, too. And, he is also shaking nations, too. And, the purpose for all this is that his house, his body, would be for his glory, and that it would no longer be a house of prostitution where his people are “making nice” with the world and with worldliness, and with big business, and with the government, too.
For, I believe that through this judgment God intends to revive his adulterous and his idolatrous people who have turned his church into a marketplace, and who have become unequally yoked together with the ungodly. And, he wants to bring them back to him as their only God, and he wants to return them to being “the church,” the body of Christ, with Christ as the head, and not be what is falsely called “church” these days.
But, not every “shaking” is with physical weapons of warfare such as with guns and bombs, etc. God allows us to go through spiritual warfare, too, to test our faith, and to bring us back to him in full surrender. And, although Satan is our primary enemy who is coming against us, Satan has many people serving him, as well, who are coming against us, too, in many different ways. We need to be alert to those ways, too.
So, I am going to share a couple of articles with you and one video (1-3) for your discretion, and for your spiritual discernment. These are not from Christians necessarily or from a Christian perspective, but they are from people who are thinkers, one of which I know is an investigative journalist, who are examining what is being presented to them, and they are questioning whether or not it is truth or a lie.
I believe their findings have much credence logically, and that they have the potential of fitting with Bible prophecy, too. So, I am just going to ask that you prayerfully consider what these people are presenting, meaning that you inquire of the Lord if it may be true. For, I believe many people are being deceived and that they have the potential to fall into a trap of the enemy if they are not wise, and if they are not seeking the counsel of God.
Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer
Lyrics by Margaret Becker
Music by Keith Getty
“Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I’ll follow, though I’m worn…
May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.
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