Laodiceans

by Mike Ratliff

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16 ESV)

I have heard numerous sermons and read even more teachings on Revelation 3:14-22, which is is our Lord’s letter given to the Apostle John to be sent to the church at Laodicea. I have written and taught on this passage myself numerous times. In any case, there are two aspects of it that we will look at in this post that point directly to the apostate mess that is going on right now in the “visible church.” I just returned from a week in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. I found it incredible that both cities are full of very large, ornate church buildings while all around those very same building was what could only be described by John Bunyan as “Vanity Fair.” I won’t go into detail about the aggressive panhandling in Philadelphia as well as the very obvious racial hatred projected against us as we walked to and from our hotel into the historical area of that city. However, I did recognize much of the rhetoric coming from one of their “demonstrations” as Black Liberation Theology. Interestingly, I witnessed none of that in Washington, DC. Instead, what I saw there was pure hedonism in every form projecting itself in every way imaginable. 

I had a lot of time to think and pray about how to put these two seemingly different “experiences” together in relation to this post. In our flight home yesterday I read about the first half of the book of Jeremiah. I was about five or six chapters into it and I already knew what I was going to write about in this post. I think my wife sensed it as well. I stayed away from the internet and work the whole time I was off and spent as much time as possible with my son and wife, but she could tell when I got back into the groove. She reached over and started patting my leg. She knows that my primary love is for God and His Word and she can sense when I get into that teaching or preparing to teach mode. I have been working on this post in my mind and heart ever since.

In any case, what Jeremiah was called to do was be the prophet to warn of God’s coming judgment to apostate Judah. They were still very religious. They still offered their sacrifices and held their festivals, but they also mixed in worship of other “gods” that called for the sacrifice of their own children. Jeremiah was threatened. He was beaten by the priests and told to shut up. He was put into stocks. When the Babylonians did come and fulfill the judgment he had prophesied, he was still despised by the apostates. The point is that God would not allow him to quit. He had to continue to preach. He had to continue to tell the truth. Even if only a few listened, he had to remain faithful. The religion that he preached against was the religion the people wanted. It was man-centered. Now keep that in mind as we look at the four Greek words that are key to understanding Revelation 3:14-22.

The first three are ψυχρός or psuchros, which the ESV translates as “cold,” ζεστός or zestos, which the ESV translates as “hot,” and χλιαρός or chliaros, which he ESV translates as “lukewarm.” Here is Revelation 3:15-16 from the ESV, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Here is Revelation 3:15-16 from the Greek New Testament, “οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, ὅτι οὔτε ψυχρὸς εἶ οὔτε ζεστός· ὄφελον ψυχρὸς ἦς ἢ ζεστός· οὕτως ὅτι χλιαρὸς εἶ, καὶ οὔτε ζεστὸς οὔτε ψυχρός, μέλλω σε ἐμέσαι ἐκ τοῦ στόματός μου.” Here is a word-for-word translation of the Greek text, “I know of you the works that neither cold you are nor hot. I would cold you were or hot. Thusly because lukewarm you are and neither hot nor cold, I am about you to vomit from the mouth of me.

The word ψυχρός not only means cold, but “frigid cold, sluggish, inert with cold.” This is the cold of death. In a metaphorical sense then, the ψυχρός are spiritually dead since they have an an aloofness to Christianity. They are lost and do not care that they are lost. On the other hand the ones our Lord described who are ζεστός actually means to be so hot as to boil. In a metaphorical sense, then, this would describe Christians who are fervent in their faith. These are genuine Christians who are spiritually alive. Who the the χλιαρός whom our Lord is so disgusted with that He is ready to vomit them out of His mouth? This word means “tepid, warm, a mixture of cold and hot.” The “church” at Laodicea was a mixture of professing Christians who were simply religious, but who were lost. They had some real believers, but they tolerated the apostates. They tolerated the worldliness. They tolerated the compromise and this created the lukewarmness, which was nauseating to our Lord. Many were professing Christianity, but were not Christian at all. This is apostasy, which is: Professed Christianity but a denial of its basic truths.

Now we come to our fourth key word for this passage. Actually, it is not found directly here only indirectly. In the ESV version of Revelation 3:14 our Lord says, “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.” The city where the church is is Laodicea or, in Greek, Λαοδικείᾳ, however, the people there were called “Laodiceans” or Λαοδικεύς or Laodikeus. This word is comprised of two words: λαός, which means “people” and δίκη, which means “law, right, custom, and even prescribed punishment (depending on the context of course).” Combining these words together gives us the concept of “the law or custom of the people” or “the people ruling.”

As I stated earlier, what we have going on now in the “visible church” is this very thing. Everything is backward or upside down. It has all become people-centered. People have the authority instead of the Word of God being the authority. This is why someone like Rick Warren can strip mine the Bible, twist it like a pretzel and make it look like it supports everything he is doing and saying when it most certainly does not. The entire “seeker” movement is built upon or based solely upon what people want. This is Laodicean to the core.

What I witnessed in Washington, DC was an entire social system built around the worship of the god of self-indulgence. What I witnessed in Philadelphia, PA was a very bitter part of society demanding their “right” to what they considered what was being withheld by others simply because they were a different Race. It was still a “false gospel” based on something other than the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. None of it, nor any other man-centered ideology in between these extremes use the Word of God as their authority because if they did, they could not stand. These things are based on what people want rather than what God says.

Before I left for my trip I was beginning to read about Presuppositional Apologetics after listening to two separate podcasts that talked about it. It was as I heard it boiled down to its finer points that I realized that I have been practicing a form of it for quite some time now without knowing it. In any case, my form is that my belief system is not just a category that is isolated from all other parts of my life. No, my faith is my life. My walk with God is where I am centered and all I do, think, say, and how I do my job, et cetera is based on this. This is why when some come to this blog wanting me to back off certain points or to “widen the gate” broader than what the Bible actually says, it isn’t going to happen. This is what I am praying that all reading this will commit themselves to do as well, via the work of the Holy Spirit in them of course.

We are all sinners. None of us are perfect. We sin. We must come daily to the throne of grace, confess our sins, seeking forgiveness, and by the grace of God, turn in repentance from those sins. It is God’s Word that is the objective truth He gave us that we can trust to always be right and that the Holy Spirit will use to transform us as we learn to walk before the Lord as living sacrifices. Forget perfectionism. Forget keeping the Law to earn Heaven. If you are in Christ it is because of the Grace of God and so, your call from now on is to be that disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are all called to be.

Soli Deo Gloria!

34 thoughts on “Laodiceans

  1. Mike, Amen and amen! Thank you. Glad you had a good trip, but it is always good to have you back! God bless you, my brother!

  2. ” This is why someone like Rick Warren can strip mine the Bible, twist it like a pretzel and make it look like it supports everything he is doing and saying when it most certainly does not.”

  3. That’s right Kathy, when people have the authority instead of God’s Word then a man like R.W. can be perceived as some great Christian leader, but no great Christian leader would do that to God’s Word nor deliberately disobey what it says, which is exactly what he does.

  4. ” This is why someone like Rick Warren can strip mine the Bible, twist it like a pretzel and make it look like it supports everything he is doing and saying when it most certainly does not.”
    Before there was Rick Warren, there was Bill Gothard, whose “teaching” did the same things, and softened people up for the current heretics and false teachers.
    Great points, Mike, and also consider that this “operation” results in personal financial, political, and popularity gains as the Word of God is made subject to mans’ “editing”.
    Yes indeed, sometimes we are required to be that sacrifice which suffers for Truth’s sake. May we all be strengthened in Him for such purposes!

  5. Hi Mike,

    I live near the DC metro area, so I am intimately aware of what you are talking about. Although the sun may be shining and the temps a clear 75 degrees, the streets are oppressive.

    I appreciate what you said: “…my belief system is not just a category that is isolated from all other parts of my life. No, my faith is my life. My walk with God is where I am centered and all I do, think, say, and how I do my job, et cetera is based on this.”

    Amen.

    Colossians 2:6-7 says it this way:
    “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

    Compartmentalizing Him, reducing Him to a theory without practice, relegating Him to the equivalency of a spiritual checklist is not worthy of the blood He shed on our behalf.

    He is either our All or He is nothing.

    Glad you’re home safe and sound:)
    -E

  6. Thanks E! Glad to be home. I was stationed at the Bureau of Naval Personnel when I was in the Navy from 1973 through 1976 until I was medically discharged. Our building was just up the hill from the Pentagon. In any case, I worked in Foggy Bottom for a Life Insurance Company from 1977 into 1980 until I left for good. It sure has changed! My son works at GWU hospital in the ER. He is in the last year of his 4 year residency.

    Thanks for your great comment!

  7. Mike your post brings up a question that I have been struggling with for some time.You wrote:

    The “church” at Laodicea was a mixture of professing Christians who were simply religious, but who were lost. They had some real believers, but they tolerated the apostates. They tolerated the worldliness. They tolerated the compromise and this created the lukewarmness, which was nauseating to our Lord. Many were professing Christianity, but were not Christian at all. This is apostasy, which is: Professed Christianity but a denial of its basic truths.

    Ok, so you went on to point out how this is going on in the PDL churches for instance. But Mike, even solid churches have this same problem. There are a host of reasons why (decades of “decisional regeneration”, etc) but the fact is that I go to a very solid church and we have the very same problem. There are people in our pews who have been attending church for 20, 30, 40 years and who still are no different than when they first began attending. One of these people is my own relative. One reason my relative keeps attending is because it looks good for their job. Here is my question: Do you ask these folks to leave the visible church? Do you assume they are saved unless they walk out of their own accord and turn away? Most pastors these days haven’t a clue (even Bible preaching pastors) what the state is of the souls that they preach to week after week. As a result unsaved people by the scores are sitting in our churches. They may even attend some church functions. They may even serve in some capacity. Yet they are spiritually dead. And this is the trouble: we all assume (including the pastors and elders) that everybody is saved that attends regularly. therefore no one is ever confronted with their ongoing lifestyle that is completely worldly. No one wants to say that these folks need to take a good long hard look at their lives in light of scripture. No warnings are given from the pulpit that would perhaps wake up these pew-warmers. In fact, all too often, the congregation is addressed as a whole, like in the prayers thanking God for saving US through Christ. Therefore these lukewarm, spiritually dead people are sitting there nodding all the while, never thinking perhaps that those very words do not apply to them, for they have never truly believed in and trusted Jesus Christ for salvation. They are not born again from above. Their lives have not changed one bit, their hearts have not changed one iota. They don’t know any more about Jesus today than they did 10 years ago, and they don’t care that they don’t know! They don’t love Him and seek Him, yet they profess to be Christians. They sit there and listen to the sermon and it might really be a good, biblical one, but they leave and by the time they are out of the parking lot they have forgotten it and gone on to the next thing. By Friday they are sitting at the bar, drinking to drunkenness. They hear the word every week but their stony hearts have no place for the word to sink in and take root. They don’t know it and no one around them knows it either. And it doesn’t seem as if anyone cares to know. It is heartbreakingly sad.

  8. You are right Julie. What you are describing is the sad state of what we know of as “church” in our time. There is no discipline. There is no confrontation. No one wants to offend lest they appear to be self-righteous, et cetera. On the other hand, our job is not to separate the wheat from the tares or the sheep from goats. That is going to be done at the judgment. Our job, our role, is to preach the Gospel fully and never compromise whatsoever in this. The fact that people can be “members” of a church while showing none of the real marks of Christian is something that we should work to not allow, but how do you do it? It must be through church discipline. If that is lacking then what you have is apostasy… If your church is solid yet you have these unregenerate within your ranks then what you must ask is why your leadership allows that.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. That’s a great answer you wrote to Julie, Mike.

    You describe the great compromise, and it starts in the leadership. I believe it was Paul Washer who said something pertaining to this issue of dealing with men’s stony hearts.

    If I get the details wrong, please forgive, as only the gist matters. In a sermon, he was relaying the story of how when he was a young man, he was in a mens’ shop picking out a suit, his first “preacher’s suit,” and an elderly gentleman came into the store. He took one look at Paul and said, “Son, you’re a preacher, aren’t you?…” And the story goes that the old man proceeded to tell him how he used to preach in the church across the street, and would spend weeks, months even, plowing the earth of mens’ hearts, that there might be a possibility of having them softened and made ready to receive the gospel…

    But that view is not commonly taken these days. And we are reaping the results of same. But knowing what mens’ hearts are made of, including our own, may we take no other view. Hearts must first be tilled. Then there will be a possibility for sowing…trusting that another will come along to water the seed. Then we will be able to put our confidence in God, Who enables it to grow.

    But this is not done. Instead, men have resorted to gimmicks and methods and schemes. None of these “apps” produce the lasting fruit that marks of a true disciple.

    -E

  10. Julie, I hear and feel your sorrow. One of the things that I find is that pastors seldom remember their purpose. God says it is to care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, and sustain the one that’s standing. He must tend God’s flock for Him. The sheep are those who are His, (yes strays will come in once in awhile) but shepherds are to preach to the sheep. The assembly is intended for believers, not unbelievers, so that they may be strengthened and equipped (mainly through the Word through the Spirit) but also through the care of the shepherd, to go out into the world and preach to the lost.

    God also places a burden of responsibility upon the sheep themselves. We are to wash one another’s feet, which is the act of humbly removing the daily dirt of the world off of one another’s feet. Most people don’t want to do this because they will most likely be labeled as critical or judgmental. They espouse the lie that judging is unloving. But that is contrary to God’s Word. He says judging (true Biblical judging) is loving. The people who sit in the pews week after week without any sign of fruit are comfortable. They shouldn’t be. If the preacher preaches the whole Word of God, book by book, to God’s sheep most of the ‘sitter’s will become uncomfortable. If the pastor attentively examines the ‘sheep’ who are in the pews, they will become uncomfortable. If the true sheep will wash the feet of those who are sitting beside them, the sitters will become uncomfortable. They will either leave or stay, but you will have humbly been obedient to one of the very last (and therefore very important) instructions our Lord gave us before He left to be with the Father. And if they stay, you must continue to wash their feet until they are saved or until they leave, or until the Lord returns. Carry on, dear one. Your heart is His and He will take care of those who are His – He is the Good, the Great and the Chief Shepherd!

  11. Mike, I wrote an article on feet washing about 10 years ago. The link is here. http://www.wordcenterministries.org/WORD_Center/HIStory_files/HIStory%20Event%2022%20Web.pdf (page 225) If you would like to pass it on to Julie that would be fine. I didn’t want to break any protocol on your site. It’s just that she is obviously in turmoil and God has provided her answers in His Word and I thought it might help her.

    Good blog, BTW! I believe the apostasy is drowning the church even as we speak. It must come before the anti-christ is revealed… perhaps Paul is not just giving us a time chronology, but a cause and effect detail as well? The anti-christ could not rise to power and be revealed (even as the ‘nice’ guy of the first 3 1/2 years) if the church were zealous for the glory of God!

  12. Great points, Mike. Julie – what you described is the state of the visible church. Laodicea is comprised of mostly lukewarm Laodiceans, but there is a remnant holy people, which is the Body of Christ – the invisible church. Therefore, the visible church is made up of the saved and unsaved alike, but the invisible church is only made up of believers. There are local churches comprised of mostly lukewarm attenders, and there are local churches who may only have few lukewarm attenders. The former is a result of heaping up teachers to scratch their itching ears, while the latter might be expected in any solid, bible-believing church as no church can be assumed to be comprised of all believers.

    In Revelation 3, Christ is speaking to individuals of the church who, for the most part, have need of nothing. Their self-righteous deeds blind them and their hardened hearts keep them from a knowledge of the truth, so as Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” We also see Paul address this in Philippians 3: “18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

    God has called us to repentance and to be zealous for good works. Most in the church today try to sit on the fence, having one foot in heaven and one foot in the world – but little do they know that Satan owns the fence. We cannot serve 2 masters. By the regenerating and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, we must deny ourselves, pick up our own crosses, crucify our flesh with its passion and desires, put on the yoke of Christ, submit to His lordship, and follow after Him daily in supreme devotion. When we fall, we get back up by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by pursuing the holiness of God through His Word, prayer, and Christian fellowship, He will conform us to Himself thus perfecting a Bride, His Church, that is holy and blameless.

    As Mike said, we must continued to preach the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the power of God that will draw men to repentance, and should members of the local church continue in habitual sin, church discipline must ensue for the sake of repentance and reconciliation. Keep in mind, however, we must not pluck up unbelieving non-members of the local church unless they influence the Body by their wickedness.

    In the end, however, permitting rampant sin to run amok in the local church gives great evidence of a compromised church. For the sake of relevance and cultural conformity, the visible church at large has been given over to Satan. May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to draw His children out from among her.

  13. That’s a very good description of what is going on in the visible church E. The “quick fix” is so popular yet look what it has produced–man-focused, wishy washy nonsense that is not Christianity at all, but man-made religiosity where the goats and tares can sit comfortably in the pews…

  14. Wow, where you talk about the professing christians being mixed in with the apostates in church and tolerating them and tolerating the worldiness within the churches, that hit me. Every church we have been in has been exactly like this. I hope I am understanding this.And much of the message is that we should tolerate and love and show grace etc. We are attending a new church and havent “joined” because the preaching is more like giving a speech. A couple of Sundays we didnt even open Gods word. We have attended there because the bible study hour is incredible.A lot of digging into the word of God. We have had a very hard time finding solid biblical preaching in the pulpit. I dont know if there is a connection but many of these churches have very young pastors who are not rightly dividing the word. They are taking Gods word and using it to fit a message they want to tell. It is very sad. But to be honest, I am feeling like we too have tolerated the worldiness and the apostates within our midst. Both my husband and I have taught truth and have had “professed christians” scold us for not toning it down. One phrase is “add a little sugar” to your teaching. We just couldnt do that.
    I know we are to stand firm and teach truth. That is our desire. This teaching on the laodicean church is very good. A real eye opener for me. Thank you so much. Here is my question – Do we stay within the churches like this and speak and teach truth or do we leave and not participate at all in these churches? Is the message to leave these churches? Please help me with this as I really want to make sure I am understanding this.
    Thank you
    God Bless

  15. That’s a tough one Leigh. Look at Jesus’ command in the passage. He is saying, “open the door!” “Let me In!” “If you do that, ” I will come in and dine with you, et cetera.” This is a wonderful promise, but it must start with our own personal walks and progress into our ministries and the very churches we attend and are part of. I feel your pain. I would suggest that you start by sharing this message with the pastor of the church you are interested in. If he gets hostile then move on. If God causes Him to hear the truth and change and repent then praise God.

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  17. Hi Mike,

    Wonderful article! Your very last sentence really is all we can do in these times–“be that disciple of the Lord Jesus…” with our eyes fixed on Him and loyalty to His word our priority. It does cost one some friends, and perhaps even being asked to leave a church if you show too much loyalty to the word…, but how can one do anything else if one is truly joined to Christ? We are compelled by the Holy Spirit to give glory to Christ. We are drawn to His word and we need it to live. The Lord is our life.

    What of all the others who go to church services week after week and may or may not be saved and may or may not show fruit? It is what it is. You keep serving Him. You keep praying for God to bring people into your life that love Him and want to talk about Him. You depend entirely on Him as He leads you on that narrow road. You realize there may be a lot of alone times. And we praise Him that we are not in darkness, but have been graciously saved by His grace… when so many are stiil in darkness. We grieve for them, pity them and remember them in our prayers.

    God bless you, Mike.

  18. Thanks for that Diane and that was a very apt description of my sister… I am part of a discussion group of the other CRN writers and this is coming up more and more as very solid pastors are being run out of their own churches because they won’t compromise. I wrote a series on this several months ago as well. I think the real church may evenutally have to separate from the visible church in some way.

  19. A few rambling thoughts:
    1) In my experience, big churches are big because they do things that make them big. This almost always translates to the majority of those who are there being cultural-christians (tares) and lukewarm at best.
    2) When a church is making an obvious effort to be a comfortable place for unsaved visitors, leave. The only way an unbeliever can be completely comfortable is if God isn’t there.
    3) When a church is making no effort to maintain holiness in its’ congregation (no church discipline), then that means they are more concerned about growing than they are about glorifying the name of God.
    4) Historically speaking, the separation of tares and wheat is usually brought about by persecution. So I guess persecution isn’t all bad!

    Like I said… a few rambling thoughts.

  20. One church we belonged to, a Baptist church, went PD.
    Around that time, I was astounded to hear the actual discussion being made about offering new visitors a washing machine if they attended our church. And this was made by the “leadership”.
    What an idol we have made of being popular and well-liked!
    The “Offense of the Cross” can truly be seen.
    May we be willing to “Go outside the gate with Him”.

  21. What a great article and SO MANY good comments! Thanks to all! WE belonged a to a church with a true Pastor for 8 years. SIn was preached, HARD! People were always reminded to examine themselves in light of the scriptural standard of holiness. No concessions were made to make the unsaved comfortable. Our time together was about the Word, singing praise, testimonies, and in-depth Bible study and teaching. There were a lot of people who came, talked about how wonderful the church was; great preachin/teaching friendly, joyful lively singing, thriving. THEN, the Word would hit a sin they loved and the next thing we knew they were gone. It was as God centered as out pastor knew how to make it. BLESSED times!
    Then a younger man took over….things started going man-centered, slowly at first then gaining greater speed. There was no church discipline at all…if there had been WE would have been disciplined because we would not accept the many “changes” to accomodate the man-centered gospel and were accused of causing “division among the brethren.” Holiness became synonomous with social works, love became synonmous with tolerance, and ANY kind of discernment , or defining of right and wrong became “judmental or legalistic”. After about two years of this “mixture” we left.
    It was not new people coming in who created the mixture these were men/families who had been there for years, they had “amened” the pastor when he preached, sang hymns in loud joyful praise with the rest of us and even talked in fellowship times of the deepening “apostasy” in the “visible” church. The terms visible church and the true church made up of a “remnant” were commonly taught and discussed in our midst…. IT WAS HEARTBREAKING AND CONFUSING!!!

    BUT…it was STILL a “mix”. We didn’t do anything “official” as far as an assembly for worship for several months after leaving. We now meet with a few families in our homes, because we know of no church in our area which is not totally dominated by the man-centered gospel……
    I say all that to say this…….we didn’t quit being a part of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ becasue we didn’t know what building to go to. The Lord Jesus Christ himself never left us…..He is the GREAT SHEPHERD of our souls and his care for us has never ceased. We have no regrets for leaving…… The Word still feeds us and we cry out daily for the spiritual bread of the minsitry of the Holy SPirit in our lives ” That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. ”
    ALLthese struggles require much prayer, much study of the Word, and there is no magic formula to tell us what to do but we have been truly blessed, we know now that the Lord Jesus Christ called us out.

    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said *, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be *a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons *and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. “

  22. Amen Stella Marie! Very well said my sister. This is exactly where I am as well and I hear pretty much the same thing from people all the time. They are devastated that their “church” left them or pushed them out, et cetera. Well, our Lord has not forsaken us. Amen!

  23. Wow, Mike, do you think you hit it right on the head this time!? Everyone, thanks so much for your GREAT responses. So true and so helpful and encouraging.

    Mike you are right that discipline is key. And along with that, church membership of which the discipline flows out of. However some churches don’t even have membership/discipline as a part of their church government structure. It is not that they don’t believe in discipline they do, but it very rarely done. My church has an odd combo of church govm’t from a variety of differing denominations, which makes discipline pretty tricky. People’s lives are not open to the leadership so they don’t know about them. There is a unwillingness to wash feet as Sharon said. Sharon thank you for your great comments and I will follow your link and read it. It is very timely as my ladies bible study group has been going through the gospel of John and chapter 13 was about that very thing. It was eye-opening to read again about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, inclu Judas’.

    I cannot but believe that our country is under God’s judgment and that is why there is only a remnant, why there are so many unregenerate in the churches, why some men won’t lead biblically, why there is a lack of good preaching, etc. etc. Thank goodness for the web so that we can find this out and realize it’s not “just me”!!

  24. Although I am saddened when I read about the suffering that so many of you are experiencing during this apostasy, I get excited when I remember I Peter 5:9. “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” I am always encouraged when I remember there are brothers and sisters throughout the world who are faithfully suffering and waiting for His return. And that someday we will all be gathered together!!!

    And then I get really excited at His promise in verse 10, “After you have suffered for a little while the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” And Jude says that He is able to keep us from stumbling until that time and that when He gathers us we will be able to stand before Him in the presence of His Glory!!! Blameless!!! With great joy!!! WOW!!!

    He’s coming dear ones, soon, and in the meantime He has assured us we are not alone in our suffering, but the true family of God is accomplishing faithfulness throughout the world!!! Accomplishing suffering faithfully!!! We may not know where those pockets of true believers are in this world, but we know they are there because He said they are!

    In His great love and mercy He has revealed perhaps a pocket or two to each of us (like Mike’s site) and so I say to each of you, “Glad to know you, brother or sister!” and “Let’s continue to stand firm and accomplish suffering faithfully!!! He is coming for us!!! We will soon all be together – with Him forever and ever and ever and…!!!”

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