“There are a few left in Sardis …and they are worthy.”


It is joy for me to introduce to you a guest blogger for this weekend’s post. I’m sure, if you have visited Possessing the Treasure before or Slice of Laodicia or other godly Blogs across the Internet, you have read comments by “bruisedreed.” The following post was written by my friend “bruisedreed” and I believe it is timely, relevant and fits very well with our current study of the Compromised Church. As you will read, “bruisedreed” is actually Elizabeth Patterson Scott. The subject of this post is one that is vital and needed in today’s suffering church.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

“There are a few left in Sardis …and they are worthy.”

by Elizabeth Patterson Scott

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Rev 3:1-6

There is no doubt that the church in America is compromising. The compromise is complex. It is not enough to just say, oh the leaders in the church are selling out, they are not being faithful to the Word. The reason is this: there are a few left in Sardis. There are a few ministers left, who have not compromised, and are not going to compromise. I am married to such a man. Continue reading

The Compromised Church Part 3 – Ungodly Discernment


by Mike Ratliff

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:1-6)

One of the most tragic aspects of the Compromised Church, which is a product of its emphasis on numbers, baptisms. relavance, and worldliness is its complete lack of correct theology pertaining to salvation and assurance. Those who are believing they became part of the Kingdom of God in these churches are, for the most part, responding to a doctrine of salvation based upon some form of works righteousness which is the belief that one’s standing before God is founded and maintained by works of merit. These works begin with walking an aisle at an invitation then praying a sinner’s prayer followed by baptism. Assurance of salvation is then always looking back at that moment as when the believer chose to be “saved” by obeying the call at the invitation. Continue reading

The Compromised Church Part 2 – Spiritual Blindness


by Mike Ratliff

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

Over the last several months, perhaps even over the last few years, I have become aware of a disturbing phenomenon in the Church in America. Perhaps you have noticed it as well. The phenomenon I am writing about is willful ignorance in our spiritual leaders. Continue reading

The Compromised Church Part 1 – Humanism


by Mike Ratliff

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. (Job 23:13)

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:5-6)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Humanism: A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason

Reformed Theology – the theological system which emphasizes the omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone

If you haven’t done so already, please prayerfully read the scripture I have placed at the beginning of this chapter as well as the definitions for “Humanism” and “Reformed Theology.”

God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is Just. He is immutable. That means He does not change. He spoke His truth at the beginning of creation and that truth is still the truth now and will be for all eternity. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His thoughts and ways are not as ours are. In fact His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. When I say “ours” I am speaking of all mankind. There are no exceptions. God said this to Isaiah and Isaiah wrote it down. It is given to us in the Bible which is the perfect Word of God. Continue reading

The Compromised Church – Introduction


by Mike Ratliff

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

The discerning believer knows that something is “just not right” with the Church in America these days. He or she may not be able to pin down exactly what is bothering them, but red flags of warning are ever before them as they observe the American Church change radically at an ever-increasing rate. Even though some “Church leaders” claim that more are being brought into the kingdom than ever before, something is not right. Continue reading

Ten Shekels and a Shirt


The following sermon is one of my personal favorites. I am in full agreement with Brother Reidhead's assessment of "Pragmatism", "utilitarian religion", "Expediant Christianity" and Humanism. The spiritual bankruptcy of the church today is the product of the very things Brother Reidhead preached against here. However, primarily, this sermon is one of personal repentance. Prayerfully listen to or read this sermon or both at once :-).

In Christ

Mike Ratliff Continue reading

Humility


Those reading this who are familiar with my Bible studies, books or my posts and comments in the blogosphere know that I write a great deal about humility. Why is it important? Is it possible to please God and not be humble?

Genuine humility is a marker of a regenerated heart. The non-Christian can generate a form of humility, but it is actually pride pretending to be humility. Many believe that timidity is a sign of humility when actually it is pride in negation. The genuinely humble believer will not be timid. Instead he or she will be bold yet broken before the Lord.

In this article Bill Williams explores the attributes of genuine humility. Please prayerfully read it.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 14 – Conclusion


by Mike Ratliff

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:37-39)

As we end this study of the Pilgrim’s Heart, let us take notice of the vast difference between the self-focused Christian, the Soul-led, and the God-focused Christian, the Spirit-led. The former is fleshly. He or she may very well be a genuine Christian, but they struggle mightily with besetting sins and are still focused on self-gratification as a means of fulfillment. His or her heart is relatively hard or callous towards God. The latter is not nearly as fleshly. He or she is a genuine Christian, and besetting sins are actively fought via mortification. The Spirit-led believer seeks to obey God and deny self. He or she has learned to take every thought capture so that sin does not have a chance to take root. His or her heart is relatively tender towards God. The Spirit-led believer, in his or her obedience, is Spirit-filled. That means he or she walks and obeys God by His grace. These fundamentals are the basis for all aspects of the victorious pilgrimage. Continue reading

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 13 – The Discerning Heart


by Mike Ratliff

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

Several years ago, I was sent to training by the bank I was working for. It was a Microsoft NT Networking class. The teacher was great. I learned many new skills and honed old ones. I became part of the network rollout team after I came back from training. One of the things the teacher taught us was how to get under the covers of the operating system. He called it looking under the hood. He made it clear it was impossible to do proper diagnostics without digging into what was happening under the covers. Continue reading

The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church


by Mike Ratliff

Without a doubt, God is in the process of cleansing His Church. There is a very visible division becoming more and more apparent, to the discerning Christian, between the counterfeit church and the genuine Church bought by the blood of Jesus.

In many cases the differences between the two are subltle. However, there are also glaring and distinct differences. The article, The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church, traces the history of this division as well as its causes. Please prayerfully read it and have a blessed weekend and Lord’s Day.
In Christ

Mike Ratliff

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 12 – The Disciple’s Heart


by Mike Ratliff

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35)

During all my Soul-led years as a born again believer, I read the passage above (Luke 14:25-35) innumerable times. I had an understanding of it, but I have found since I became Spirit-led that I was wrong all along. I had assumed someday I would learn to enjoy church enough and develop a deeper love and devotion to the Lord through that. Boy was that stupid! Continue reading

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 11 – The Assured Heart


by Mike Ratliff

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

When I was a teenager in the Youth Group at the Baptist church our family attended in Oklahoma, I remember hearing several of the leaders say things like, “You can know for certain you’re saved if you know that you that you know” I guess they went on to infinity with it. I never really grasped what they were saying at that time. However after I was saved, I had a sense of assurance that I have never doubted. Until recently, I did not understand where that was residing or how it worked. Let’s take a close look at our common salvation and on what we are basing our assurance. Continue reading