The Apostate Church

A lesson from my friends at Mission Venture Ministries
(Also available in Portuguese and Spanish)

THE APOSTATE CHURCH

“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.” (Revelation 3:17)

The church has changed so much in recent years and has “left her first love”. An astounding number of churches today, teach doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1 – “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons”).

We see in Revelation Christ’s rebuke of the church at Laodicea, the “lukewarm” church, which reflects the likeness of the church of the last days. (Revelation 3:16 – ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth’).

The candlestick of this church is still in place (note Revelation 1:20 – “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches” and in (Revelation 2:5  – ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent”), but it has become a neutral church, “neither cold nor hot” (Revelation 3:15 – “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot”).

The reason for its lukewarm witness is because it has become “rich, proud and increased with goods”. The churches may have acquired large and beautiful facilities, developed special programs of many kinds, featured a variety of theatrical performances, and even gained a measure of political power. Yet, Christ calls it poor, blind and naked!

Not all churches become like this, of course, but the apostasy of the end times is leading many away from “our first love”, and that is the real danger. The desire for large congregations can easily lead to compromising biblical standards of doctrine and practice. Paul instructs Timothy to “remain in Ephesus, in order to instruct certain men NOT to teach strange doctrines” (1 Timothy 1:3)

The warnings to the churches shows us that the development of such complacency in any church, be it large or small, is the neglect of these three doctrines – the sufficiency of Christ, the inerrant authority of God’s Word, and the special creation of all things by God.

The letter to this church ends with the sad picture of Christ standing at its door, seeking admission (v. 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.) and continues in (v. 22 – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches”.

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6 responses to “The Apostate Church

  1. Matthew 5:14-16
    14″You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

    The darker the night gets the brighter the lamps will shine out into the darkness!

  2. These apostate churches, have thrown away their first love, Jesus Christ, and replaced Him with a naked spirituality. They’ve given up the battle and have laid down in the camp of the enemy. The cause of Christ has been hurt far more by people who profess to be knowledgeable Christians, and yet through their very ignorance of the scriptures do more harm than those who ignorantly and arrogantly proclaim there is no God.

    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

  3. My husband and I were discussing yesterday that now in church we almost never hear this blessed but painful truth:

    Jesus Christ came to save sinners.

    You can hear how to build your self esteem.
    You can hear how Jesus wants to give you more stuff.
    You can hear how to better love the earth.
    You can hear how to better love each other.

    But forget being taught that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Forget being taught the need for an actual experience of God’s converting power.

    Apparently we now believe Jesus came to help really nice people be even nicer.

    Trouble is, my Bible still says He came to save sinners.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your current church experience, Linda. Yours, too, Seeking Disciple.

    Just to put it out there: I pastor a Nazarene church that some here would consider “emerging,” and I still preach repentance, forgiveness of sin, the availability of new life in Christ and having our heart cleansed by the Holy Spirit, etc. They’re a part of every Sunday’s message, but the past two Sundays (our 10th anniversary was Sept. 19) the messages have been especially focused on these themes. We were dead in our sins, but now God has made us alive in Christ Jesus! Those who belong to Christ have nailed the desires of the sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there! Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

    So don’t give up hope. There are many Nazarene churches out there faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  5. By “in the church” I wasn’t referring just to Nazarene churches.

    It is common custom now among those who once were evangelical or holiness in our area.

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