The State of The Church

Isaiah 62:1-3 ESV

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

What is the present state of the church? Well, let’s first define what church (ekklésia) is and what it isn’t. The church is the people of God who have been called of God out from the world and to God. It is the universal (total) body of believers in Jesus Christ who are called into God’s eternal kingdom.

The church is NOT a building, NOT a denomination (Baptist, Methodist, etc.), NOT a business, NOT a civic organization, and it is NOT a corporation under the state. So, even though these structures and these organizations are called “church,” they, in and of themselves, are NOT the church.

The true church (body of believers in Jesus Christ) presently is under persecution from Satan and from his many followers and messengers (prophets, priests, preachers, etc.). And that persecution takes on several different forms depending on the spiritual lives of those who claim to follow Jesus with their lives.

Deception

The first type of persecution of the church, and the most predominant in America, is via deception. But it isn’t just true believers who are being deceived, but it is also a massive number of people professing faith in Jesus Christ in lip service only who are also being deceived.

For one, the church was deceived into believing that they had to unite with the government in an unholy union in order to not have to pay taxes. In America, the church was already tax exempt. But what this union did was bring in government worship and government influence into the church.

Then they convinced the church that they had to become more like the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings in order to “win the world,” but to what? Not to Christ. Not to genuine salvation from sin. For, they compromised with the world to attract the world to their gatherings.

They were then deceived into believing that they also had to dilute the gospel and to remove from it the parts that offend people. They had to alter the gospel message to make it more palatable to the world and to human flesh, because the cross is an offense to those who are perishing.

And since what they are building now is not God’s building made up of living stones with Jesus as the chief cornerstone, but what they are building are kingdoms of men/of humankind on this earth, they don’t want to offend the people on this earth for they want them to join their kingdoms.

So, they began teaching a gospel absent of true repentance and absent of any requirements for obedience to Christ and for submission to him as Lord, and they reduced the gospel to some kind of acknowledgment of Christ which would then guarantee them salvation and eternal life with God.

Then they did a total flip-flop. Now the predominant gospel being taught is teaching that we are NOT to repent of our sins, and that we are NOT to obey Jesus Christ or his commands, and that we are NOT to submit to his Lordship over our lives, for they call that “works-based salvation.”

So, this leaves much of the church in a state of spiritual apathy and lethargy focused more on entertaining and being entertained, patronizing the flesh of humans, patterning their gatherings after fleshly desires, and living to please the flesh guilt-free in place of living to please God, in true repentance, obeying their Lord, and submitting to his will and purpose for their lives.

All-Out Attacks

The other main type of persecution against the church right now is mainly focused on those who would not be deceived, who rejected the lies, who are living the truth, who are walking in the Spirit in righteousness, who are exposing the lies, and who are persistently proclaiming the truth.

Satan wants to silence them/us, so he is either attacking us physically, or he is scheming against us with his lies against us, and his false accusations, and his attacks against our character and/or against what we are teaching. And like he did with Jesus, he is trying to discredit us or what we are teaching.

So, we are being called crazy, hyper-religious, self-righteous, intolerant, judgmental, hateful, prideful, etc., and we are being accused of teaching what is false, i.e., of teaching works-based salvation, i.e., that we must work to earn our own salvation, which is against Scripture (Eph 2:8-9).

But those of us who are truly listening to the Lord and who are following the teachings of Scripture (in context) in truth are not teaching works-based salvation. But we are teaching that our salvation and our faith in Jesus Christ involve works, but they are the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk (in conduct, in practice) in them (Eph 2:10).

We are teaching what the Scriptures teach regarding our salvation, and that is that those with genuine God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ submit to Christ as Lord. The believer in Jesus dies with Christ to sin and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).

We are teaching what the Bible teaches when it says that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and when it proclaims that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).

We are proclaiming what the word of God says when it teaches that Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we might now become slaves of him and of his righteousness, and that if we remain living in sin, enslaved to sin, and if we are not walking according to God’s Spirit, in obedience to our Lord, we will die in our sins (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21).

So, because so many who profess the name of Jesus are buying into the lies and they are being deceived by the enemy of our souls, and because so many believers in Jesus who are following the Lord in obedience are being persecuted for their walks of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord will not keep silent. He will keep sending out his messages through his servants.

And this is because Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. So, he will keep sending forth the truth of his word until his persecuted ones who are teaching the truth are heard and believed and until his church living under deception is revived and renewed.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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