by Mike Ratliff
1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:1-5 ESV)
When I preached in a small Baptist Church in northern Missouri several weeks ago the title of my sermon was, “Are you ready to meet God?” The main theme of that sermon was who Jesus Christ really is and what He has done to redeem His people from the wrath to come. Well, God’s wrath is coming. His wrath burns against all sin. Only those who bear the mark of His Son will be rescued. I have been part of some discussions lately where we all agree to an extent that the growing apostasy in the Church seems to be a precursor for the soon return of our Lord. Since the Church seems to have abandoned its mission to a large degree, and instead, has become Compromised with the World and its ways, then we see only two alternatives. Either God will send another Reformation / Revival / Restoration or this Church we see now is the beginnings of the apostate church similar to the Church of Laodicia.
14 “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. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22 ESV)
I believe that we are experiencing a blend of the two. Yes, much of the Church in our time is Compromised, but there are also growing numbers of God’s people being drawn out of it into the truth just as I was. I receive countless numbers of emails and comments on this blog from people who are where I was 3 or 4 years ago in being drawn from darkness into the light. That is joyous to this Christian! Praise the Lord for He is doing this. Sadly, however, those still in darkness in these churches can be quite hostile to this movement. Also, there are those who have abandoned orthodoxy completely and gone after what is “cool” or “new” or “whatever” as long as it isn’t tainted with orthodoxy. The hostility from these fellows against the truth is also quite severe.
Those drawn from the darkness into the light have one thing in common. They are grounded in the Word of God. They love the truth while standing and walking in it by the power of the Holy Spirit. This brings conflicts from those in darkness, but it doesn’t matter. Those in darkness are tied to their religiosity as if that is what saves them. Those in the light are religious, but only as an expression of their love and faith and obedience. These are being set apart by God as a Remnant. Why? God knows and we must simply obey and trust Him in all things. Jesus is coming back. Are we ready?
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)
Who is “the least of these my brothers” that Jesus is referring to here? This is referring to other disciples. The sheep on His right are commended for receiving and caring for “the least of these my brothers.” Who are Jesus’ brothers? Aren’t they His disciples? We see that in Ephesians 1 that those God saves are predestined to be Christ’s brothers. Therefore, Christians must be kind and caring to all, but especially other believers. This is a mark of genuineness. On the other hand, those who are on Jesus’ left think they are Christians, but they do not receive and care for “the least of these my brothers.” Why? This proves their disingenuousness.
The more I write about theological issues and Church issues and obedience issues the more I find that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is very loving or caring to those who speak the truth from God’s Word. In this last week I have been called a fascist, a liar, evil, satanic, and the Devil incarnate. Why? I write what the Bible says and demand that those who don’t like what I write respond via scripture instead of invective and ad hominum. None of these people are willing to do this. Instead, they throw fits of rage and will not participate. What does this tell us that those who oppose what the Bible says, are claiming to be God’s people while reviling those who proclaim the truth as liars who twist scripture? They treat them as if they are satanic and evil. Aren’t we coming to the end of these last days? Are we ready to meet God? I believe we shall behold our Lord very soon.
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