This Article gives us the condition of the Church, the Body of Christ today.
|Today we want to teach on the subject of the church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. First I need to get us in the right mind set, when we say church, I am referring to the complete body of Christ, the Universal Body of Christ, we are not referring to a church, nor any local congregation, but the Church of Jesus Christ worldwide. I have learned many things about the church by studying the Nation of Israel. The Nation of Israel is the wife of Jehovah God, and the church is the bride of Jesus Christ. The Nation of Israel is not the church, and the church in not the Nation of Israel. We know that there are many Israelites in the church because the church began with 120 Israelites. Israel as a Nation has not accepted Jesus Christ as her Messiah at this time, but the bible tells us in Romans 11:26 that there is coming a time when all Israel will be saved, this will come to pass at the second coming of Christ. The Israelites that are a part of the church are called Messianic Jews, they have accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah, they make up about 5% of the Jewish population. Israel is considered estranged from God and the church is considered apostate from Christ, the book of Revelation clearly teaches this, alone with many of passages of scripture. Consider 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 which states, Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; This tells us that before the Rapture of the Church and even before the coming of anti-christ, there is coming a falling away of the church from the teachings of Christ.1 Timothy 4:1,2 says; Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. The bible has already revealed unto us what to look for in the church during the last days, or the latter part of the church age, the time that we now live in. Consider Jude 1:17-19 which declares; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. It breaks my heart to inform you of this, but more than half of the professing Christians in the church today are not born again, when was the last time you heard a message from the pull pit about the new birth? Let me just remind you right here again that when we say the church, we are referring to the universal church, the church worldwide, not just the two or three churches that you are familiar with. The book of Acts shows us what the church should be, in power, the book of Revelation shows what the church is, in need of repentance. Jesus tells five out seven churches to repent in the book of Revelation. The seven churches in the book of Revelation represent the total church age, from Pentecost to the rapture. Just allow me to say right here that I am not condemning the church, I am a part of the church, I am here to inform ,not to condemn, that is part of our problem, preaches are not informing the church. Some people will condemn me for exposing the errors of the church not realizing that people are interring into eternity separated from God. God knows the condition of the Nation of Israel, and He has a plan for Israel, God knows condition of the church and He has a plan for the church. Revival is coming to the church according to Joel 2:28-31 Revival is on the way, but have you asked the question, why do we need revival? Why does anyone need reviving, it is because they are sick and weak, they need new life. My friend that is the condition of the church today.
Though Israel is away from God at this time, God has a remnant in the earth to keep Israel in the plan of God until He gets ready to move on the Nation of Israel again. So you could say that there are two parts to the Nation of Israel, there is natural Israel, and there is the remnant Israel, all making up one Nation. Now the Church, there is the Ladocian church of Revelation 3, which represent the church that is in the world today, and there is the remnant church, a group of saints that God has set aside to keep the church alive until He sends revival, all making up one church. Now I called the church that is in the world today the Laodicean church of Revelation 3, why did I say that? Because according to scripture, that is correct. Let’s examine the church in the book of Revelation. Revelation 1 gives us the introduction to this book. It tells us that Jesus is the author of the book, and that Jesus gave the book to the apostle John through a variety of vision to send to the seven churches, that number seven tells us that the revelation is for the total church from Pentecost to the Rapture, the total church age. Again Jesus is the author. He is talking to His church, His bride. In Revelation 1:10 Jesus says. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, referring to the visions, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. Again these seven churches represent to total church age, from Pentecost to the rapture. These were seven real churches that existed during the time that John received the revelation. The churches are listed in an order that placed them in the earth during a particular time period. Jesus is speaking to the church from Pentecost to the Rapture by way of these 7 churches. For instance, the church at Ephesus For instance, the church existed from about 36-100 ad, it is called the loveless church, because Jesus tells them that they had lost their first love, referring to Himself. All seven churches could be found during this time period, but the church at Ephesus was the dominant church during this time period, the same is true during each time period, all seven churches will be present, but a particular church will dominate each time period.
The next church listed is called Smyrna, it started about 100-313 ad, this was a good time period for the church for Jesus praised this church period. In five of the churches mention, Jesus tells them to repent, except this church Smyrna, and Philadelphia, so most of the church’s existence, it has had a need to repent. Next we have Pergamum, it existed from about 313-600 ad, next we have Thyatira that existed from 600-1517, next, Sardis it started about 1517-1648, next we have Philadelphia, it began about 1648-1900 Jesus also praises the church during this time period. When I first began to study the book of Revelation, I thought that the rapture should have taken place during this time period because Jesus had so many good things to say about the church. I finally came to realize that the rapture could not take place during this time period because that would leave part of the church here on earth, the rapture is the taking away of the complete church from earth to heaven, I was not taking in consideration that there are some Smyrna and Philadelphian churches present during the Laodicean time period. That brings us to the Laodicean church that begun about 1900 and is the church that is in the world at this time. The rapture will take place during this time period, bringing the church age to a close. Let’s examine what Jesus has to say to this church, the church that is in the world today. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
We can easily see that the Nation of Israel has not been perfect before God, but the church has been less than perfect before Jesus, we can see Israel’s fault because we read the OT, but we cannot see the church’s fault because we don’t read the book of Revelation, and because we are a part of the church. I could say a lot about what Jesus has said to the Laodicean church that is in the world today but I am just going to point out verse 19, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Here Jesus confirms His love for us but He says that repentance is in order. He says in the next verse that He is standing and the door of each saint’s heart, and if any of us will open our hearts He will come in and fellowship with us. Let me say this again, every single church that is in the world is not a Laodician church, there are some Smyrna and Philadelphian churches in the world today, but this Laodician church is the dominant church during this time period. Revival is in order and I believe it is on the way. You would have to say that this Laodician church is greatly in need of revival, or new life. Revival is for the sick and weak, not for the healthy and strong. I believe that God is going to use the remnant part of the church to ignite a fire on the Laodician part of the church. We have learned that the bible as divided the church age into seven distinct time periods, and that Jesus has given us the condition of the church in each of these seven time periods. Laodicea represent the last time period, the Rapture will take place during this Loadicean time period, bringing the church age to an end, removing the church from earth to heaven, it is described in 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 beginning with verse 51, it reads Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. After the church age, three events take place, one on earth, two in heaven. The Tribulation is the event that takes place on earth after the church age. The two events that takes place in heaven is the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Dr. Bernard A.Jones