Monday, September 23, 2013, 8:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee” in my mind this morning. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ezekiel 21 (ESV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2021&version=ESV I AM Against You In Revelation chapters 2-3 we read the Lord Jesus’ letters to the seven churches. Actually, the whole book of Revelation was written to the churches. In these letters, God/Jesus encouraged and/or strongly exhorted the church. The letters were much like a spiritual report card. They listed both the positive and the negative aspects of these churches. To those whom God/Jesus had something against, he warned them that they must repent, turn from their wicked ways, and turn to follow God and to walk in his ways. If they did not repent, and if they chose not to obey him, he would bring upon them various forms of divine discipline and correction, i.e. he would judge them for their refusal to repent, to turn back to God, and to obey him. We still have these words today to encourage and to strongly exhort the church, as well as to warn and to call for repentance and obedience. If we, the church in America, do not listen to his words, and we do not repent and turn back to God, we can expect that God will do what he said he would do. We can expect his divine sword of judgment against us. Why? I believe that God/Jesus is against the majority of the church in America today. Why do I believe that? Well, for one, God himself has revealed these things to me through the study of his word and through opening my eyes to see what I did not previously see. As well, I have personally experienced and/or observed what is going on in today’s church, so I speak, as well, from personal knowledge and experience. And, I have read the writings of others who are renowned in the faith, and I have listened to many sermons on this subject, so I know I am not alone in my beliefs concerning the church in America today. I believe God/Jesus is against the institutional church in America for several reasons, but I believe it began with the inception of the 501 (c) (3) non-profit incorporation status for the church, which took place in 1954 under the Internal Revenue Act. What this did, basically, is bring the church underneath the authority of the United States Government, with it as its head in place of Jesus Christ. You can’t have two heads. The church was thus brought underneath government regulation, instead of the regulation of the Holy Spirit of God. This, brothers and sisters, is in violation of the First Amendment of our constitution – our legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ said Thomas Jefferson. Most importantly, it is in violation of our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, with him as our only husband and head. Another reason God/Jesus is against the institutional church here in America is that the church has been turned into a huge theatre, i.e. into places of entertainment. They put on great concerts, have wonderful stage productions with all the lights and cameras; they are centers for all kinds of sports, crafts, parties, and fun and games, etc. In other words, going to church is much like going to the circus, or to the movies, a sports’ game, or to a live stage production. Not all churches operate this way, mind you, but the majority of them do. Church is now supposed to be fun and must be entertaining or we will go someplace else where it is more fun and more entertaining. It is never to be boring, and woe to us if we should even mention sin, repentance and the need to obey Christ and his commandments. Also, because the church has come underneath the U.S. government under the 501 (c) (3) incorporation status, it operates more like a business than it does like Christ’s church. Many pastors spend hours upon hours reading books on how to market their churches and grow their businesses, and they are all becoming clones of one another. They use the same gimmicks, advertisements, manipulations and lies that often accompany marketing a business in order to attract a large audience of people. So, the word of God takes second place or is barely even mentioned anymore. Humanistic teaching has replaced the truth of scripture. The gospel is diluted. Sin abounds! And, the church loves it that way! With Breaking Heart So, what should our response be, as believers in Jesus Christ, to the moral decline of today’s institutional church? Should we praise it, support it, and participate in it? I believe this is the “Babylon” that God/Jesus is calling us out of (See Rev. 18:3-5). If we do not come out from her, I believe we will take part in her sins and her punishment. We should be weeping and mourning and grieving over the condition of today’s church here in America, and we should not be ashamed of our groaning, but should do so publicly. And, when people ask us why we groan, we can tell them it is for the church, and because of the moral and spiritual decline of the church, and because of the judgment God/Jesus is bringing against the church here in America. We should not be like the people in Noah’s day just having a big party, but we should be on our knees in humility and repentance before Almighty God, and we should remember that we were bought with a price, so we are not our own to do whatever we want to do without regard for God and his will for our lives. The Sword Shall Be Drawn Our government and military (though perhaps not all), and their allies, have been forcefully taking over the other nations of this world, and have been bringing them underneath the control of the New World Order. They have looted, raped, killed the innocent, stolen, robbed, and slaughtered perhaps millions of people worldwide, and all in the name of humanity, mercy, democracy and Christianity. And, they are on an all-out campaign against Christ’s true followers and witnesses, too, and they will soon come against their own, though this might already be happening here in the US, only a small scale presently. Our government in these United States is our Judas. They have sold us out, and we will soon see the reality of that. They are the “great Satan” Iran accused them of being. They are the “great prostitute” of Rev. 17-19, and she will be brought down, and that is why we must flee the institutional church so that we do not share in her sins and her punishment. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is showing me many forms in which this judgment will take place. In some respects, it will be like history repeating itself all over again. We will come underneath a dictatorial form of government, our constitution will be defunct, we will see an increase in biological and chemical warfare, we will be under martial law, the church will suffer great persecution, and many will be killed for their stand for the true gospel of salvation. We, as a nation, will be under occupation of a foreign government, but we should not be afraid. There will be outbreaks of diseases that will kill large numbers of people. There will be much shedding of blood. There will be famine and economic hard times. The institution of church will be destroyed, but the true church will be revived! Amen! And, many will flock to Jesus Christ and to his gospel when the church is renewed. Hallelujah! Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer / Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion, Loving, forgiving, tender and kind, Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking the wandering sinner to find. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save. O to be like Thee! while I am pleading, Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling, Fit me for life and Heaven above. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.