"Sleep On...", Whispers The Fallen One...
"It has always been this way", or so say many preachers today who are in denial over the time in which we live. Deception has overtaken the Church and the parishioners have been lulled to sleep. It is the sleep of death. A spiritual slumber from which only a very few will ever awaken. It is true that unlike the days of the Roman Emperors, we do not have Nero, marrying his homosexual lover at a state affair. It is true we don't have gladiators killing one another in the Colosseum. It is true nominal Christians are in the high office in the American Government and we have churches in every city across the nation. Many Christians are active in the communities. So how can things be so bad?
These scoffers do not see the emerging pattern of obvious prophetic fulfillment. It is apparent that as the prophecies of Christ's return become more and more apparent the Church goes into deeper and deeper deception. Partaking of the worlds system and ensuring that they have a part in it, they have swallowed the most important and subtle lie that the world and the ruler of this present darkness tells them. Namely, that you can be part of this world system and still be saved. Yet Jesus said to come out the world as he has seated his true Church in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6). We who are truly born again are seated with Christ in heavenly places and are not to be taken in by the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
This is possible because it was predicted. Consider this for a moment; Jesus told us of enormous changes in the end times, Israel would be restored to the promised land, a World system of Governance would arise, Commerce would be king in the last days, Christians would be persecuted in large numbers and many would fall way from the faith and teach doctrines of devils. We see these things in abundance today, yet if you ask most Christians about the prophecies of the bible and the relevance to themselves, you find that they have been filled with such non-sense and outright lies that they are UNABLE TO DISCERN THE TIMES. This is why Jesus told us to watch and pray. Like Israel during the time when Jesus walked among them, the people were clueless to the fact that it was the time of their visitation. They too, were in rank deception and it was not possible to awaken the vast majority of them. Their minds were the property of the world system and the prince of this world. They could not see the truth because they were in gross darkness.
The main rule that Christ gave to his disciples is to love one another. This love is not some warm, feel good, emotional kind of infatuation. It is more of a deliberate, willful choice of actions rather than emotion. The choice to give when a brother in Christ is in need. The choice to make sacrifices for the kingdom of God when worldly wisdom says what you are doing is utter folly. It is the Love for God and the Love of the truth that drives one to make these sacrifices for Jesus and his spiritual brethren. This is one of the true marks of a genuine Christian. It not raising your hand in some IRS Corporate Church or saying 'Amen' to the preacher, or using the vocabulary of the modern 'Church' world. This love should not only encompass other believers but lost souls as well. OF great importance as well is being awake. This means watching, praying, preaching, and most importantly letting your light shine before men. The sleeping Church will miss out because she is not doing these things, especially watching and praying.
The sleeping Church is in big trouble with Christ. She is not ready when the LORD Comes. Like the Lover in the Song Of Solomon, 5:2-8 reads;
I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
Here we see that the bridegroom knocked on the door while she was sleeping and she gave excuses as to why she did not want to be bothered. She could not find her beloved. The Song Of Solomon is surely a story of love in the ancient world but is has relevance to the Church in the last days when Christ comes for his Church and finds it sleeping and making excuses, the result was that Jesus went away. Is this how the end time Church will greet Christ's return? Probably. The parables of the last days that Jesus used consistently showed a Church that was not ready, sleeping (as in the parable of the 10 Virgins) or mistreating the servants put under their care (allegorized to beating and mistreating in Matt 24:42-51) devoid of the Love that evidences true salvation). Each of these seem to indicate that at the end of the age, the LORD will have appeared to have delayed his coming, In other words, they will been taught that he was coming earlier than he actually comes, leaving them to say 'My LORD delayeth his coming...'. If we look across the Gospels we see a pattern emerging, we see that the main concern that Jesus wanted to portray in these parables was not that He would come before the Church had a chance to prepare but that she had made preparations, waited and waited and became impatient and went into a spiritual slumber, and the LORD came while she was asleep, not watching and unprepared.
A rapture or catching away of the bride of Christ is a solid Biblical teaching. However, this catching away before the tribulation begins is not a doctrine that is taught in scripture. It is a doctrine that is widely taught in America's Churches, to comfort the rich, luxury addicted Christians and to make them believe the lie that they will not experience tribulation and serious persecution for their faith. But Christ and Paul are abundantly clear that this catching away in not before trouble begins on earth. What do you think will happen when it becomes REAL costly to be a Christian and you are still here when the Anti Christ is revealed? It does not take a lot of imagination to see what most Church members will do.
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." (Matt 24:10)
The LORD gave us all the clues, warnings and threatenings possible on what will transpire in the last days. He warned us. The assemblies in America and throughout much of the western world have already committed apostasy. Some of the more clear evidences of this are:
Admitting Homosexuals into their ranks
Permitting rampant divorces in the congregation and refusing to reprove open sin.
Teaching that there are other ways to God than through Jesus Christ.
Being unequally yoked with the Government, allow it to tell the Church what not to teach to gain tax-free status
Refusing to teach the need to be watchful in these times and not showing believers what the scripture says to be watchful for
These are just some of the ways the assemblies of the those who claim to be Christians are behaving in these times. One need not look far to find some of these assemblies that do not acknowledge the ultimate authority of the Bible in Christian belief. Still others believe that Christ's Resurrection was not a literal event. These are no longer the doctrines of a few fringe denominations but are the teachings of some mainline denominations and churches.
Could it be that that Jesus was right? Could it be that he really knew the hearts of men and that he knew that the shepherds would begin to do evil? Lets see what the early Church Fathers taught about how Christians should behave;
"Watch" over your life: "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh." But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time; for in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate; for as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.
Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by the curse itself*. And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead: 7 but not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him." Then shall the world "see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven." - The Didache ( Chap.16)
I quote from this second century document to show how the early Church leadership was admonishing the the Church on watching and obeying the Gospel. This is not a new teaching. It is not heretical to admonish the Church today to do these things, especially in light of the events that are transpiring today. So how can so many Christian Leaders (more like celebrities) teach 'worldly prosperity' and the acceptance of homosexuality and the close Church relations with the Government, (spiritual whoredom) which is controlled by the prince of this world? How can they NEVER teach watchfulness? That answer should be obvious, but if it is not, then I will spell it out for you. You are witnessing the great falling away, the great apostasy, If you cannot see it then I must tell you that YOU are deceived, just like Jesus said the vast majority of Last Day Christians would be. Included in that number could very well be you if you do not wake up, be watchful and obey Christ.
To those who are wake and doing the work of God. He promises To make us overcomers and that we will rule and reign with him. God promises to Look after our every need and if we trust him completely our cares are put in the hands of one who is faithful to his promise.
* The meaning is obscure but probably should be translated 'By the accused one himself ', referring to the manner of Christ's Crucifixion and the fact that he was made a curse for the remission of sins.