by Mike Ratliff
1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. 5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before 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 (NASB)
When I preached in a small Baptist Church in northern Missouri several years 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. Even though it has been well over ten years since then, I am convinced that 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 and that was the theme of our last post, Laodicea, the apostate church. 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 Laodicea.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore 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 will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame 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 (NASB)
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 in 2004-2006 when God began the process of drawing me 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 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 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, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46 (NASB)
Who are “these brothers of Mine, even the least of them” that Jesus is referring to here? This is referring to other disciples. The sheep on His right are commended for receiving and caring for “these brothers of Mine, even the least of them.” 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 “these brothers of Mine, even the least of them.” 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. There have been instances when 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.
Soli Deo Gloria!