By W. G. Guy
The condition of the Church, also to be known as “The Body of Christ”, has no resemblance today of the way it was as described in the Book of Acts during the first century. In fact, the church today does not even resemble the church as it was just sixty years ago.
Christians are supposed to be representatives of the Kingdom of God as His sons and daughters. Instead they are representatives of their selves, their church denominations, organizations and man’s personalities. Churches today are more like cult institutions that organize under a man, a denomination, or a doctrine. As a result we have a church that is in decline from the godly, righteous, spiritual representation of the Kingdom of God. We can identify this as APOSTACY, a condition that the apostle Paul prophesied would be prevalent prior to the return of Christ.
2Thessalonians 2:3 – 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 deteriorated condition of the church actually prepares the way for the coming of the man of sin referred to as the antichrist. Actually the apostle Paul foretold the condition of the church in these last days; and he described it very accurately:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Since most people have difficulty understanding the King James language of the Bible with the language of today, the following is an updated and enhanced version of what Paul stated in the above prediction using the Amplified Bible as the base, (with explanatory enhancement provided by this writer in non-italicized words).
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – But understand this, that in the last days there will set in perilous times of great stress and trouble – hard to deal with and to bear. For (so- called Christian people) will be lovers of self and utterly self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive blasphemous and scoffers (rejecting the ways of the Lord and His Word), disobedient to parents (by turning away from their more godly role models and lifestyle), ungrateful (having a sense of entitlement), unholy and profane (in word and deed). They will be without natural human affection [callous and inhuman] – (embracing the unnatural acts of homosexuality and same sex marriage), relentless – admitting of no truce or appeasement (ruthlessly promoting their godlessness and justifying their cause), They will be slanderers – false accusers, (lying to achieve their immoral objectives and calling their opposition all manner of defiling names), trouble makers (upsetting the normal course of affairs of people); intemperate and loose in morals and conduct (flagrantly demonstrating their intolerance for moral conduct by their “in your face” immorality), uncontrolled and fierce (resorting to violence to protest against right living), haters of good (by demeaning those who try to promote propriety). They will be treacherous betrayers (whom you cannot trust what they say), rash (resorting to unbelievable wicked agendas) and inflated with selfish conceit (which cannot not be reasoned with by the truth or facts). They will be lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements (immoral forms of entertainment) more than and rather than lovers of God (whom they profess). For although they hold a form of (and confess a godly) piety of true religion, they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it (failing to recognize their sin and need for repentance) – their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession. Avoid all such people – turn away from them.
We need to recognize that these types of so-called Christians are not permitted in the Kingdom of God, thus they are not really God’s children or representatives.
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Note that these behaviors of the flesh sum up the behaviors listed in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Thus they show themselves that they are NOT God’s children but have only a form of godliness, possibly because they go to a church, but they deny the changed life that they should have.
So how did the condition come about, and why does this condition persist? With all this we can see why the church is in decline because it isn’t what it is supposed to be! How did it get this way? It begins with the lack of preaching of the Word of God and the gospel of the Kingdom in dealing with sin, repentance, and living in righteousness and holiness. It is exasperated by the focus of selfish indulgence that appeals to the lusts of the flesh and material blessings. It is the result of accepting the subtle lies of the devil offering us the kingdoms of this world if we would focus our worship on the idols he offers – (like he tried to bribe Jesus with in Luke 4:5-7).
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 – Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
This happens when we no longer hunger and thirst for truth and end up rejecting it by incorporating false doctrines and components of mystical godless religions.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 – And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
The “easy believe-ism” of today that is found in many churches just doesn’t make you a true Christian child of God. Look what was required when the church began as listed in the Book of Acts:
Acts 2:37-38 –37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Sin and repentance is rarely preached in many churches today, and many consider that it is no longer is needed as a component of the salvation message if and when the need of a salvation messaged is proclaimed.
Notice what Peter required after the people heard and accepted the truth – REPENT and be BAPTISED. This has practice has been misunderstood, mis-applied, and even ignored in many churches today. Repent means to change, to no longer live in sin and the way of the world. Sin is no longer really dealt with in most churches today, thus sin is tolerated, even excused. Change is shown in -
2 Corinthians 5:14 –Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
To be baptized is a physical act symbolizing the dying to self (denying selfish and fleshly lusts), having placed that old “self will” on the cross with Christ, also referred to as being crucified with Christ:
Luke 9:23 –And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Romans 6:11 – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then burying that old self-centered lifestyle, symbolized by going down into the water, and then rising up out of the water to enter into a new lifestyle that shows forth holiness, (being separated from the vile things of the world), and living as a child of God and representative of His Kingdom in obedience to Him.
Romans 6:13 – Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Being a Christian should be evident by a life patterned after Christ. A life that has not changed and does not represent Christ is not a true Christian life. If that life continues to live according to the dictates of sinful flesh, it shall not see the Kingdom of God. That person is deceived by the lies of the enemy and needs to repent and walk in fellowship and obedience to Christ and His commands.
There are multiple reasons why sin is not addresses in many churches: one common reason is that preachers don’t want to make people feel bad or convicted by being told they are sinners that need to repent; it makes people uncomfortable. They prefer to preach what people want to hear, appeasing them and making them feel good about themselves. They think this will draw more people into their congregations since they feel that a negative message about sin and a need to change is what people don’t want to hear and may drive them away.
Another very common reason is that churches fear for their own existence, so much so that preachers fail to identify certain sins that are deemed to be political; like homosexuality, same sex marriage, abortion, etc. They fear loss of their church’s 501.C3 tax exempt status which is a means that the government uses to control the message of the church. This government control is also exercised when a church is incorporated since only the state can issue approval for a corporation. Thus when a church is incorporated it is actually a franchise of the state – thus the state is the head of the church and said church is no longer free to preach the true gospel of the Kingdom and of Christ.
Through such government control, the enemy has muted the church and limited its effectiveness – all in the name of “political correctness”. To preach against certain sinful behavior is against the law and punishable by the government, and can even be prosecuted as a “hate crime” or “hate speech”. Thus the government is control of such churches; this is a ploy of the devil to derail the gospel message. Churches that subscribe to such controls ARE NOT churches of our Lord Jesus Christ; they are churches of man because man is the head of such a church and not Christ.
Please recognize that there are two kinds of churches on the earth today: the one that Christ is building and that properly reflects Him with His character and nature. Then there is the other one that man is building which reflects man’s personality, character and nature – which is still in need of redemption and is not truly of Christ. One is controlled by man as the head, and the other is controlled by Christ, the Head. This effort of man to build His church is identified in Matthew.
Matthew 7:21–23 – Matthew 7:21-23 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It high time for the church to get right with God and clean itself up and prepare for His soon coming.
Romans 13:11-14 – And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Failure to do so will mean many so-called Christians will not be qualified to go with Him when he calls His children home. Those not ready are like the five foolish virgins whose light went out and didn’t get to go.
Matthew 25:6-13 – And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh
We all want to be prepared when that trumpet call sounds!