The Last Church
So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3-7
There has been much discussion as of late regarding the Christian's role with respect to the ungodly tyranny we see rising up in our land. The question is do we obey God, or government when the latter seems to be increasingly hostile to the former. Corresponding to this issue is the state of the pulpit in these last days. The question many are asking is, what if I attend a church that has sound teaching in all things, except Bible Prophecy?
A growing number of churches and denominations either don’t touch the subject with a ten-foot pole or they teach a corrupted version of it. This is a tragedy given how interconnected Bible prophecy is with not only every book in the Bible but also every major biblical doctrine. When you disconnect eschatology (the study of last things) from the other theological doctrines, you effectively neuter (to a large degree) the power of the Gospel as a whole. However, the more I thought on this issue, an important question came to mind-
If God truly loved us as much as He says He does, then wouldn’t He use whatever tools He had at His disposal to bring the lost to salvation?
If the answer is yes (it is), then what are the tools at God’s disposal?
First, would be God the Holy Spirit (HS) ministry, who has, since Acts 2, been restraining evil and drawing all men unto Christ. After one comes to a saving knowledge of faith, the HS then seals the believer guaranteeing them eternal life (Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30). Lastly, part of that restraining ministry of the HS is by convicting the world in truth until the Rapture of the Church (John 16:5-15, 2 Thess. 2:7).
The second tool would be God’s holy word, the Bible, which is nearly 30% prophetic in nature. What is of more importance than the number of prophetic passages, is how God disperses this through nearly every book of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13). Clearly, God intended prophecy to become the supernatural icing on every theological cake so to speak.
Lastly, God uses the Church, (ekklesia- Greek) as His witnesses and ambassadors to a fallen world. The Church is not a denomination, but rather, is the corporately single, universal body of believers whom Christ Himself is building (Matt. 16:18, Colossians 1:17-18). We are made up of both Jew and Gentile, and through Christ, are made into a new creation.
God the Holy Spirit is in perfect harmony with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit testifies to all men not only the timeless attributes of God’s holy nature but also to the issues pertinent to the day in which men live. For instance, in Noah’s day, the pressing issue was the coming judgment of the flood. In Moses' day, it was deliverance from Egyptian bondage and the 40-year transition into the Promise Land. In John the Baptist's day, the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. As historically and biblically important as all these issues were in their day, the pressing issue of our day is the impending seven-year Tribulation (i.e. the 70th Week of Daniel) and all the events that either precede it (the Rapture) or sum up its conclusion (the Second Coming).
Knowing that God truly loves us and wants all men to be saved, what is the ultimate purpose of the Bible?
The Bible is God’s way of communicating to us His sincere desire to restore the relationship lost that was severed by the fall (Gen. 3). In order to do that though, there has to be redemption. In order for that redemption to take place, God had to become a man and fulfill His own perfect law to do something we never could, conquer death and hell. In order to do this, one would have to live a sinless life (in which the wages of sin are death) and then die as a perfect and willing sacrifice in order to provide a way through the consequences of sin. Jesus Christ is "the way" through the impenetrable and perfect law of God. Since we humans, by our own default fallen natures, cannot, not sin, thus we were without hope…until Jesus.
This is where the prophetic nature of the Bible kicks in.
At the fullness of time, God the Son stepped out of heaven, took on the flesh of a man, lived a sinless life, and then died as the perfect sacrifice on the cross. All of this had long been prophesied about (Gen. 3:15, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Gal. 4:4-6). Had the Jews believed and trusted the Old Testament Prophets, they would have known when the Messiah would come and not crucified Him, thus allowing the Kingdom of God to come earth through the nation of Israel.
However, we know that is not how it played out.
The only people who knew and anticipated the Messiah's coming were the Gentile Wise Men, and a handful of faithful watchers. Ultimately, Jesus was rejected by His people and that generation. But through that rejection, God opened up salvation to all mankind. Jesus loved us so much that He willingly subjected Himself to beatings, torture, and humiliating death on a wooden cross all to provide a path to salvation and redemption. That is love at a level we can’t even really fathom. The closest we see of this in Scripture (aside from Christ), is through Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only begotten son Isaac in the earnest belief that God would also raise him from the dead (Genesis 22:1-19). Even that was only ever meant to foreshadow what God the Father would later do with the Son.
Nevertheless, everything in the Bible is there to either directly enforce the reality of this great love, or indirectly reinforce this truth. As Jesus told this parable of the Lost Sheep to the crowd around Him, He emphasizes the reality that the Good Shepherd would leave the ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep and that all of heaven rejoices over the one sinner who repents.
Aside from love, the prophetic word is one of the most powerful tools God has at His disposal. God the Holy Spirit uses both the Bible and the Church to illuminate truth to a lost and dying world. God also designed the Bible to do what no other book in all of the world can do, which is, to tell us what will come to pass before it does. This is not to tickle our ears or satiate our curiosity; this is to demonstrate God’s omnipotent power over time and space. God tells us things ahead of time to demonstrate that He has absolute control over the past, present, and future. In fact, Bible prophecy is designed to be every bit as evangelistic as any other theological doctrine. It even has the distinct advantage of being unmistakably verifiable. We can look at fulfilled prophecy and KNOW the Bible is true.
…The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10
Now, when churches refuse to teach prophetic scripture as they were intended to do, they are guilty of either willfully holding back God’s demonstrated love for us, or perverting it. If the Bible’s ultimate purpose is to communicate God’s great love for us and restore us back to Himself, in whom this perfect love is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, and the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, shouldn’t prophecy be preached in every pulpit in America?
Will God hold those ministers, ministries, and denominations who mock, diminish, and pervert God’s prophetic word accountable?
And that should be a terrifying thought for those who are shrinking back and not doing what God called them to do. We are called to be salt and light in the day and age in which we live (Matt. 5:13-14). To not be the salt (preservative) and/or light (illuminating the darkness) in an age of such supernatural convergence is to risk having the blood of the people on our hands by not watching or warning (Ezekiel 33:1-6). It is like living near the coast, and knowing a terrible tsunami is headed your way, but you don't want to bother to warn any of your neighbors about it for fear of ridicule or embarrassment. To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
The Bible very clearly warns us we are in the last days (Heb. 1:1-2). The Bible very clearly warns us that in these last days, perilous times will come (2 Tim 3). The Bible very clearly tells us that many of "the faith" will become scoffers and skeptics (2 Peter 3). However, because a growing number of churches refuse to hold the moral high ground, and warn their congregations, their communities, and the society at large of the coming judgment, they have proudly resigned themselves to gather the gleanings, rather than the fields ripe with harvest.
We know that the last days are going to come whether we like it or not. Christendom cannot bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth any more than we can end human suffering and poverty. However, Jesus has instructed us in the Parable of the Minas, to occupy until He returns. In so doing, we become the salt and light in our communities and slow the corrupting effects of this mystery of lawlessness. But because churches are growing silent and refusing to take a stand, we are seeing wickedness rise, and with it, its atrophying effects across our society as a whole.
The reason there has been much discussion regarding the Christian's role with respect to both the rising tyranny and a nation in decline is that a growing number of churches refuse to proclaim God's prophetic word. Many denominations have traded the power of one of God's greatest evangelical tools, Bible Prophecy, for soft-serve, non-offending sermonettes on how to live our best life now.
Even more, denominations are trading in the Gospel which saves, for the government-sanctioned woke Social Justice Gospel. This political correctness might momentarily save you from political and media fallout over holding to absolute truths, but it will not save you from the eternal hellfire. When the pulpits boldly proclaim biblical, prophetic, truth...nations rise. When pulpits allow themselves to remain silent, neutered, and muzzled...nations sink into chaos, despair, and tyranny. Therefore, let us take heed unto Jesus' final words to the last church of the last days.
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”