Welcome to Laodicea

46_WillinglyIgnorant

What is it about Bible prophecy and end times dialogue that sets some Christian’s teeth on edge? The reason I’m asking the question is because I can’t remember a time when apathy regarding the Lord’s return has been so widespread. If we were talking about a pagan view of the last days…the previous statement wouldn’t seem so provocative. We are discussing apathy of so many in the Church…..that is why the matter is of deep concern. A few months ago, I defended the importance of Bible prophecy and it’s not my intent to review the subject. What I want to bring to our attention today is a ‘heart’ issue. I want to make a clear distinction between those who ‘love His appearing’ and those who to be blunt…..couldn’t care less.

Just like some people in the the 1st century church, we also have people inside the church now who are lukewarm, complacent, and slumbering. Welcome to Laodicea:

Many inside of our churches today aren’t watching and waiting…….they are scoffing.

Is it just me, or have you also noticed a growing disconnect between some professing believers and those of us who are longing for the Lord’s return as well? I know spiritual apathy has always been around, bu the level and fervor of the scoffers inside the church is reaching a fevered pitch. This lukewarm condition inside the church captured my full attention after I read an article on the Christian Post that was about prophetic events and our time. While I found the article interesting, it wasn’t what captured my attention. It was all of the comments following it that stunned me. I understand just because a media outlet has the word ‘Christian’ in it’s name, it doesn’t necessarily make every article biblical. I’m simply highlighting the fact that a majority of the readers of these publications would most likely call themselves a Christian.

I rarely look at the comments at the end of articles in secular media because it is there where you will find the most vitriolic, hateful, crass, and demeaning words one person could ever write to another. It is just the sad reality of our day and a clear lens into the condition of the unregenerate human heart. Occasionally I do read some of the comments that follow a piece in so called ‘Christian media’ simply to get the pulse of where we are as the body of Christ.

As I started reading the comments referring to the end time article, I was stunned. I decided to research other very recent articles written about Bible prophecy in recent weeks and what I found was the same complacent, slumbering, faithless mindset that I found comments below the original article. It wasn’t necessarily the apathetic nature of the comments that stuck me….as much as the sheer numbers of self professing ‘Christians’ and their animosity toward other believers that was so sad.

I believe the growing disconnect among a growing number of some ‘Christians’ toward those of us who love His appearing is a direct result of being lukewarm. Remember who the Lord is addressing…..the church in Laodicea, these weren’t outsiders. These were people who named the name of Jesus, stood during the same worship time, and perhaps prayed alongside other believers.

“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.

Revelation 3:14   ‘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. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 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. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so 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 eat with him, and he with me. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Can you hear the tenderness in Jesus’ words? Isn’t it just like our Lord to reprove us with stern words of warning just as any loving Father would? The point is that He is telling those in the 1st century Laodicean church the same thing He is telling people today:  I’m standing at the door now. I want you to know Me and I want all of you….not just on one day a week. You are smug in your prosperity and self reliance……not even aware that you have nothing apart from Me. My return is near…..are you ready? Can’t you see the Lord reaching out to those He loves with mercy and asking them to repent and turn to Him?

Our God is a jealous God and He won’t compete for attention. Lukewarmness is a symptom of a heart that may be content with ‘religious activity’ and all this life has to offer. True lasting contentment is found in Christ alone.  That is why Jesus is imploring the lukewarm of John’s day and now in our day to get off of the fence and throw open the door to Him. What is on the other side of the door? Nothing less than the fullness of God through the person of Jesus and His presence. He promises the repentant lukewarm ‘believer’,  I will be with you, I will know you, and you will be with me on My throne. How do we conquer and overcome? It’s not by religious activity, piety, or human effort. It can only be done by the work of the Holy Spirit of God living in and through us. His mercy and grace extends to us even now……he is ready to answer anyone who calls on His name by faith.

Now let’s look at how different the heart that’s been regenerated and sanctified by the grace of God differs from the heart of the lukewarm person who claims to be a believer. Some of these are statements I’ve read by ‘professing Christians’ and I’m paraphrasing:

“This is nightly news or newspaper eschatology!” “This Great Tribulation stuff is silly…..it all happened in the 1st century.” Every time something happens….the doom & gloomers come out of the woodwork.”  These things have been going on for years….here they go again trying to sell books and get rich.”  “It’s been 2,000 years & people are still falling for this tripe.” “People have been saying we are in the end times for 100s of years…..when haven’t we not been?” “Funny how many people believed the end times would be in THEIR lifetime…..it’s terribly egocentric.”

Far from being edifying……the previous statements are clearly indicative of a lukewarm heart focussed on the here & now instead of the will of God. These are not the railings of a worldly person who thinks Christians are out of touch, but the railings from the heart’s abundance of of a lukewarm Christian.

By contrast, the heart that’s centered in God’s will and walking by His Spirit will be known by it’s fruit. it is the heart that prays:  Come quickly Lord Jesus. It is this kind of believer that is in this world, but not of it. It is this kind of believer that can look at the world news headlines and know…….surely His coming is at the door.

I want to close with this friends:   I expect pressure from the world and in reality, isn’t that the way it’s always been for the follower of Jesus? What I am coming to expect now…….is increasing pressure from inside. The time we live in is very unique. Not only are we feeling pressure from the world, but now more and more ‘Christians’ are also turned off because we expect the rapture of the church as a real distinct possibility at any moment. Scoffers in the world wagging their fingers at the notion we believe Christ’s coming is at the door is one thing, but the fact that many of those doing the finger wagging are ‘inside’ the church is very telling.

2 Peter 3:1  This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Since we live at a time when so many are scoffing at the fact that Jesus will return soon……it encourages me to be ready all the more. It makes me want to reach out to those who are stuck in the lukewarm mire right now. Some of you may be asking, “Isn’t that casting pearls…?” I would say no…….unless our loving admonishment is met by a continued ‘unrepentant’ life pattern by one claiming to be a Christian. Then it may be time to move on and lovingly warn others while continuing to pray for those people before. Jesus stands at the door and knocks. We have the truth of the Bible when we tell people with confidence:  In His own words….Jesus said He was coming soon three times in Revelation 22. Nothing cuts through the mire of the heart like the Bible does.

It is a loving thing to bring a brother or sister to repentance, but repeated scoffing and hard-heartedness toward the things of God is another matter all together.

I want us who love His appearing to get in the practice of encouraging one another as we see the day approaching. I value your prayers if the Lord is leading you to pray for this ministry. I’m mindful of other ministries, writers, and friends who are not welcome in Laodicea. Many in the world and inside the church don’t want to hear that Jesus is coming back for His people & judgement will follow. Keep on faithfully proclaiming the gospel and the soon return of the Lord.

All for Him,

Howard

About Howard Green
Howard uses end time Bible Prophecy to proclaim the gospel and to exhort believers. He focuses on end time prophecy because it points to repentance, salvation, and holy living through Jesus. 2 Peter 3:11 What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God...
  • Nat

    2
    Peter 1:4: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to
    life, he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that
    through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” He is returning as a LION !! His VICTORY is with him! The world’s end is our King’s revealing! Believe that he is and in his return his reward is with him! Must believe that he is and that his reward is with him! Every day between now and the rapture of his bride is our FRIDAY! Rejoice. Put a smile on your face and praise to your lips. To be in his presence continually is all that matters. He said he will come for us when most think not. He has never lied to us, and his track record with prophecy is 100%, so rejoice and be glad that soon we will be in his presence! It never says to study to show everybody else on the planet approved. NO, it says to study to show thy SELF approved. It does not say to pray that everybody is counted worthy to escape the tests, NO, it says for you to pray about yourself that you, yourself are counted worthy to escape all the things, etc. Cheer up Christians who are watching and waiting! You should be so excited and happy that everyone who meets you should ask what in the world are you so happy about? Because my Jesus is ALIVE and is coming back to take me with him for all Eternity any minute ! We are just here visiting. This is not are home. Our citizenship is with our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. I’m happy and secure in the knowledge and FAITH ( Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him ) that my Lord is King of King and Lord of Lords. You may get the roll of the eyes and the looks of “she’s crazy” but guess what they will remember when they have to make a difficult choice during the tribulation, like take the mark of the beast or get their head cut off? They will remember your words of faith. Who knows maybe your greatest “witnessing” will done just after you rapture! YSIC Nat

  • Richard O. Mann

    Even so come Lord Jesus.

  • Magdiel

    Many Christians are awaiting the persecution and they don’t realize that it is here already. Just say the truth about homosexuality and other perversions and you’ll be in trouble being accused of hatred. The end times is here indeed!

  • Lizzy

    Thank you for sharing this. I am amazed at the number of Christians who are saying we will go through the tribulation and then link that with persecution. While it is true that we do experience persecution, the seven year tribulation period is the wrath of God poured out upon mankind for rejecting Him and His Son Jesus Christ. And while it is very true that many will be saved during the tribulation period through the evangelistic ministry of those specifically chosen by God from the nation of Israel, it is also true that God’s redeemed children before the tribulation are not appointed for wrath as explicitly expressed by Paul twice in 1 Thessalonians, and both of which are related to Christ’s return for His beloved children.

    9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

    9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

    Keep in mind that 2 Thessalonians addresses the attack upon Christ’s return through the heresy that His day has already come, and then gives specific signs of His return, one being the great falling away from the faith. Thank you for encouraging us to look expectantly for our Lord’s soon return. God bless you:)

    https://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/not-appointed-for-wrath/

  • Patricia Klein

    Reading your insights was VERY affirming! It felt like I was listening to myself talk. I also related to the consequences that come with teaching and warning others with the WHOLE counsel of God and frequently relate to the heartache Noah must have experienced as he built the Ark of escape while warning those around them to confess and repent before it was too late. Like today, his exhortations mostly fell on deaf ears:( I look forward to reading more of your insights via your blogs, Howard – well done, good and faithful servant!

  • Gary Lee Fennimore

    Thanks Howard. JESUS and all the Apostles has warned us repeatedly to not be misled about HIS appearing and the forthcoming tribulation. Luke 21:8 states “And CHRIST said, See to it that you be not misled; for MANY will come in My Name (apostates), saying “I AM” (YWWH) and, “the TIME is at hand” (date setters); DO NOT GO AFTER THEM.” Also, in 2 Peter 3:10-18 please notice the repeated phrase “THESE THINGS” all over these verses. “These things” are very things that Howard is speaking about. Each of us are to understand them, eschatology, thoroughly so as not to be misled as indicated in verses 16-17. “Knowing this beforehand” and “be on your guard” are not complacent nor sentimental statements to dismiss as inconsequential. These are vital to each of our preparedness for standing before our LORD and giving a full lifetime account about our part in HIS Body, the Church. Also, understanding “these things” in 2 Peter 3 will allow you to be blessed; Revelation 1:3, because you will see them coming true and be at Peace yet Primed for CHRIST in your face.

  • Courtney

    Thank you, Howard, and appreciate your encouragement who are looking up for Jesus to come and longing with all our hearts for His soon return. Even my children, who are 7 and 8, are longing for Jesus to return. They pray everyday for the rapture to be soon and for many we love to be saved before the rapture. I think it’s remarkable how much the Holy Spirit pours out to those hearts who are ready to receive His truth in the times in which we live today. I look forward to sharing your article. God bless.

    • Children seem to understand the gospel so easily….what a witness your children are to even the adults around them. Thank you for sharing our ministry with others, God bless you.

    • The faith of your children speaks volumes….loving the gospel, their unsaved loved ones, and His appearing. God bless your family and thanks for sharing CTT with others.

  • DW

    AMEN, Howard! Laodicea is a disgusting place to be. My heart resides in ‘Philadelphia’ and I’m going home ASAP! All we can do is continue to warn them–it’s up to them whether or not to listen.

    • dasaro

      DW..I feel the same way you do about the Church of Philadelphia!