Welcome to Leaving LaodiceaThe Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
One of the most frightening truths is the fact that many who claim the name of Christ, who profess salvation, are actually lost and on their way to eternal separation from Him. How can that be? How can someone be so duped into believing they are saved when, in fact, just the opposite is true? The answer is found in our understanding of the difference between regeneration (being born again) and conversion (exercising faith and repentance). Conversion must follow regeneration for true salvation to take place. If the order is reversed, nothing eternal happens.
Often, with good intentions, we focus on getting someone to convert to Christ by emphasizing their need to recite the “sinner’s prayer”— which focuses on faith (Romans 10:9-10) and repentance. But without regeneration (being born again), the converted individual (who prayed a prayer) is not saved. They have made a verbal assent (faith) to a code of ethics or a religion or a way of life, but without a supernatural change in nature. And it is only the change in nature (regeneration) that leads to salvation. Sadly, the converted, yet unregenerate sinner, becomes another unsaved, baptized, deceived, church member.
This is exactly what Jesus spoke of in His Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13) and warned about at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Consider carefully His words:
Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”
So what are we to do?
Peace seems like such an elusive commodity today. After all, it seems we are surrounded by ever-increasing chaos and turmoil with no end in sight. What are believers to do in a climate like we are facing today? We are to strive to experience the peace of God. Note, not peace with God, which is something quite different. But the peace of God. It is a peace that only comes from Him, the peace He also experienced while on earth, the indescribable, supernatural peace of God.
Paul tells us exactly how to find this peace. Consider the following:
Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and (the promise) the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
But what kind of peace is that? And how can I experience that promised peace? Is it something I muster up myself? Or is it something I internalize myself? Or does it, like faith, come from outside of myself? And, if so, how can I obtain this peace of God?
Great questions. But the answer is simple. The peace of God is a gift from our Lord, left to each of us as a part of our inheritance in Him. It is the peace Jesus personally experienced while on earth, facing untold trials, tribulation, betrayals, and spiritual attacks. And He gives us, as a gift, this very peace as a promise— a promise so wonderful it cannot be described or even understood.
The following article is from Jan Markell with Olive Tree Ministries. She speaks with such wisdom regarding the uncertain times in which we live and the failure of the church to be the church. I pray you will read this and vow to be different. After all, from a Biblical perspective, we are not living in uncertain times, but in exciting, prophetic times.
So many write to me expressing shock, and even horror, at the tide of our times here in 2020. They see America crumbling under the weight of sin, debt, violence, immorality, and strong delusion. Right is wrong, black is white, evil is good, and good is evil.
We Are In the Center of the Storm
People of faith are in the bulls-eye so to speak! Churches are inconvenient. The remnant of true believers is growing smaller while the Laodicea churches are mushrooming! Many churches have not even re-opened yet, and some are saying they won’t until 2021!
Many don’t even know how to think about the future much less plan for it. People write about “uncertainty”. Will things get worse? Probably. How can we plan ahead if the turmoil is going to continue?
When you read anything, including Scripture, there’s something that happens that is called the theater of your mind. It is in the theater of your mind that you take descriptive text and add details to make the story more personal, more alive, more kinetic. For example, consider this simple description: “It was raining. As he walked to the car, he pulled his coat tight around himself and quickened his steps.”
Now, what scene are you seeing in your mind? And what details have you added to make this descriptive statement more descriptive? How hard was it raining? Was this a rural setting or a side street in New York City? Or was the man on his front porch walking across his lawn to his car, or was he coming out of a restaurant or an office building in downtown Chicago? Did this take place in winter, maybe mid-January? Or was it in early Spring, during the first week of May? What was the color of his coat? How old was the man? Was he dressed in a tuxedo like he was heading to a wedding? Or was he tired, in worn-out overalls, on his way home after spending twelve hours in a wheat field on a John Deere Harvester? How do you see this in the theater of your mind?
There is no right or wrong answer. You are the one who adds these secondary elements to what you read and paints black and white text with a pallet of colors you make up in your own mind. We all do this. Everyone does this when we read descriptive text.
In the history of the church, there seems to always be confusion about the Lord’s Supper. What does it mean? Why do we participate? What happens when I do? Let’s be honest, many find the Lord’s Supper somewhat confusing. I often hear people say, “I don’t understand what the Lord’s Supper means.” And, in our narcissistic church culture, where it’s all about us, this is usually followed by “So what’s the point of the Lord’s Supper anyway?” We know it’s something important, really important, but we’re not sure why. And we know it’s something we’re supposed to do because Jesus commanded us to, but again, we’re not sure why. Which presents even more questions.
What does it mean?
Is it really all that important?
Why should I participate?
Are there any reasons why I should not participate?
What happens when I do participate?
And why all the controversy and confusion?
Sometimes the Lord’s Supper is called communion. But communion with who? And how is that communion experienced by taking a sip of juice and eating an unleavened doughball?
In other words, there must be more to this than what many believers have experienced. And, if so, how can I understand what it all means?
Let’s cut to the chase. We are living in troubling times. Right now in California, for example, pastors are being threatened with fines and imprisonment for holding church services indoors. Yet, riots and demonstrations are not restricted but encouraged. How is that possible in our nation? And many Christians, who should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder for the truth, are scattered like autumn leaves afraid of their own shadows. Is this what following Jesus is all about? And what does following Jesus in real-time mean today?
Is it an emotional decision we make one time that lets Jesus season our life for the better?
Or is it, like Bonhoeffer said, a “call to come and die”?
Or maybe something in-between these two extremes?
Whatever it means, those following Jesus in the Scriptures seemed to have different lives than we do today. And why is that?
In this message, we will look at the accounts in Matthew where Jesus invited those He encountered to “follow Him” and see what that actually meant. And I think you’ll find it is more than a simple mental assent to a moral code or set of personal principles. No, following Jesus is a life-altering event that literally changes everything— about everything.
Consider the following:
Matthew 4:18-20 – And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Does this sound like what happens when we decide to follow Jesus? But there’s more…
Matthew 4:21-22 – Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
And there are dozens of more examples that show us clearly what following Jesus in real-time meant back then, and also means today. So join with us as we discover more about this life with Christ and the joy that comes from following Him.
For years I have followed Hal Lindsey and have listened to his take on world events. Now, at 90, he still has his finger on the pulse of what is happening all around us and how it fits into Biblical prophecy. This short post is no exception. I received the following yesterday and wanted to share it with you. It is titled, Global Upheaval, and speaks of the sinister, satanic foundation behind much of what is happening globally today. Read and be blessed— and forewarned.
The world changes. Sometimes it changes quickly. The two world wars of the 20th century created massive upheavals, as did the Black Death pestilence of the 14th century. Some upheavals are caused by new technologies, such as the printing press, the internal combustion engine, the telephone, or gunpowder. Sometimes political revolutions cause fast and massive change, and sometimes big changes come from simple ideas, including bad ones.
Today, several of those things are happening at once. With Covid-19 as a trigger, we see revolutions all around us. Technical revolutions that should have been for our good have been subverted. Ideas that history has repeatedly proven wrong and dangerous, are rising with a new sense of inevitability
One of the unique things about this year is that these massive societal upheavals are global. Most of history’s revolutions have been localized, but the changes going on now are going on everywhere. And they are all moving in a specific direction— the direction laid out in the Bible thousands of years ago.
For decades now, government and corporate surveillance of citizens has been growing, but mostly hidden. The pandemic has made the invasion of privacy suddenly seem laudable. To keep the virus in check, the world is rapidly building the infrastructure of the Antichrist. That means building a surveillance infrastructure that will allow governments to watch every move their citizens make and be able to use Artificial Intelligence to interpret those moves.
Covid’s economic destruction is wreaking havoc on capitalism everywhere, making citizens of all nations increasingly dependent on government. That’s what antichrist will need— a population full of people depending on government rather than their own hard work and creativity.
To bring new benefits and more relief to the public, governments are printing money hand over fist. This can only go on so long before it brings its own disaster. The mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13:16-18 means that, in the future, world leaders will give control of the entire global economy to the Antichrist and his cohort, the False Prophet. They will do that either because of a global economic collapse or their fear of one. (But it won’t work for long because the Bible describes at least two more economic disasters after Antichrist comes to power.)
Bible prophecies also say that near the time of Christ’s return, there will be increased levels of anti-Semitism and of the persecution of Christians. Back in the 1960s and 70s, ideas like free speech and inclusiveness were primary tenets of campus liberalism. Not anymore. Today we have something popularly known as “cancel culture.”
And if you want to be canceled fast, just quote one of the Bible’s less popular passages— Old Testament or New. Another way to do it is to identify with Israel, or tell the real story of Israel’s formation. People are losing their jobs because of Sunday School lessons taught 20 years ago.
How should we respond to these things? Like Christians. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” But you will not respond in love if you are hysterical with fear. So, follow an instruction given in the Bible hundreds of times— “Fear not.” In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Live in His peace. Love your neighbor. Pray with expectation. He’s coming soon!
In the 1930s, if you were a Jew in Germany, you would be faced with unforeseen challenges, that would only get worse. And if you were a Christian during the same period, you would have to make the same choices many of those brave men made, to follow Christ or the Reich. This choice is now thrust upon each of us who are called by the name of Christ. Will we follow His commands or cower to the oppressive power of the State? And just like Bonhoeffer and the members of the Confessing Church, we must stand or fall together. So yes, we are living in Bonhoeffer’s Germany.
Recently, the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, denied an appeal for a Nevada church to allow additional worshipers to join in-person services based on building capacity during the virus. Nevada has placed a 50-person cap on all places of worship, no matter the capacity of the building. But that cap doesn’t apply to casinos, movie theaters, and restaurants. Does something seem amiss?
And in California, churches must meet outdoors and limit the number of participants. Plus, there are no potlucks or fellowship dinners allowed. No singing, even in small, home groups. And all of this is happening while riots and demonstrations are permitted and encouraged by the same government officials, yet ordinary citizens must comply with Covid19 restrictions. Why? Because our governmental officials state the demonstrations are “too important” to regulate. So how are we to respond to this hypocrisy?
Our response is simply saying, “Enough!” This is exactly what some churches, including Grace Community Church in California and their pastor John MacArthur, have done. They have publically said, “Enough!” But they have said it with grace and respect. And they have not said it quietly or behind closed doors. Boldness seems to be the great need for the church today.
Remember the poem found in the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem that speaks of the times in which we live. It is titled “First They Came.”
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Grace Community Church published a position paper on why they will not adhere to the Governor of California’s decrees to limit worship and curtail freedom of religion. It is a paper that communicates the rationale behind civil disobedience from a Scriptural perspective. We, at the Church Without Walls, have modified and adopted this statement as our official position. In this message, we will talk about the ramifications of standing for Him alone, even if you have to do it alone.
Join us as we stand in faith together.
One of the four requirements found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a cryptic command to “seek” God’s face. Note, not His hand, nor His blessings or grace, but simply to seek God’s face. What does that mean? And how is that done?
Think, how do we begin the process of seeking God’s face? What does the Scripture say about that? Is it something I should be doing? Are there any requirements or things we first must do to be ushered into the presence of God? What is it like to “behold the face of God”? Is that even possible? If I do seek God’s face, won’t I die? And if I actually do experience the presence of God, how will that experience change my life?
It’s maybe not as simple as we were led to believe.
In Psalm 24, we find the requirements God demands to have unhindered intimacy with Him, or to seek His face. These are not suggestions, but are aspects of our sanctification that allow us to “be holy, for I am Holy” by experience (1 Peter 1:16), and not just theologically or positionally in Christ.
Note the question and answer in Psalm 24:3-4:
Question: Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
Answer: He who has clean hands (outward holiness) and a pure heart (inward holiness), who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
Also, note the distinction between outward and inward holiness. It’s the same distinction we find in the Sermon on the Mount. For example, let’s look at Matthew 5:21-22:
Outward: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'”
Inward: “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”
And there is so much more we can learn about God’s requirements or standards that must be met to have the kind of intimacy with Him described as “seeking His face” and finding it.
The following is a sobering, all-important message from Dr. James Dobson regarding the future of our nation and the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. I have decided to post it here in its entirety. You need to read the entire article.
And be warned, the future of our children and grandchildren are at stake. What will we do?
From Dr. James Dobson, August 2020 – www.drjamesdobson.org
As I write this newsletter, voters across this nation are only a few short months away from the next general election. What an ominous time this is for our 244-year-old republic. Its future hangs in the balance. The choices we make on November 3rd will send this nation down one of two dramatically different paths. The wrong decision will be catastrophic. I agree with former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who said recently that the next election will be “the most important since 1860.” He also warned that if we appease or ignore the violence and anarchy occurring in the streets, it might be the end of civilization as we have known it. Those are sobering words coming from a man who has stood at the pinnacle of national power.
Mr. Gingrich referred to the significance of 1860 because that was the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president. I’m sure the Speaker would agree that the following election of 1864 was also critical to the future of the nation. Lincoln and his opponent, Maj. Gen. George McClellan, were in a hotly contested campaign for the White House that could have gone either way. The “war between the states,” as it was called, had been raging for three ghastly years, and the entire nation was staggered by reports from the bloody battlefield.
Lincoln was running for a second term, and he campaigned on the promise of finishing the war and preserving the Union. These were momentous times for the young nation. During the first week of January 1863, the President signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
Democrats and their presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. McClellan, initially campaigned on a “peace platform,” pledging to end the war and send soldiers home. As the election approached, he talked more about negotiating to let the South establish a separate government whose cornerstone would be slavery. If McClellan had been elected, there would have been no foreseeable end to the inherent evil of buying and selling human beings and treating them like cattle. Thus, the Civil War was a struggle for the soul of America.
The summer before the election, the war was going badly for the Union. Lincoln, in fact, was convinced he was going to lose the election. He wrote the following memorandum on August 23, 1864, asking his Cabinet to accept the grim prospects for his re-election. These are his words
This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such grounds that I cannot possibly save it afterwards.
No wonder Lincoln dealt at times with depression. Clearly, the Union was a hair’s breadth away from losing the war. But then, the tide began to turn. One historian wrote, “The political landscape shifted dramatically when Gen. William T. Sherman took Atlanta in early September. This major military shift, coupled with the severe internal strife within the Democratic Party, solidified Lincoln’s chance at victory.”
As you know, Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans won the election of 1864 in a landslide. McClellan was defeated by more than 500,000 popular votes and 191 electoral votes. An estimated 78 percent of Union soldiers cast their ballots in favor of Lincoln. McClellan took just three states: Kentucky, Delaware, and his home state of New Jersey. Less than two months after Lincoln’s inauguration, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. He is said to have been the “last casualty” of the Civil War.
Something About Us
This is a collection of the many questions I have struggled with and the answers I have found regarding the relationship between authentic faith in Christ and much of what is portrayed today as Biblical Christianity. Especially with the coming darkness looming over all of us, including the church.
Come with me. It should be a wild ride!
To find out more about us and what we believe, just continue reading…