Welcome to Leaving LaodiceaThe Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). And a few verses later He adds, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).
Which raises a few questions:
What is the “kingdom of heaven”?
Is it the same as the “kingdom of God”?
And, if not, how is it different?
Why is Matthew the only Gospel writer that uses this phrase?
And how does this all apply to me today?
You will find the answer to these questions will change the way you live your life from this day forward. It will have a profound impact on your future and your eternity.
Are you intrigued? Interested? Maybe a little curious? Good. Then keep listening.
In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents the Beatitudes that introduce His teaching about living in the Kingdom of Heaven. But there are some truths about living in His Kingdom that we sometimes forget. For example:
External things cannot satisfy internal needs. Got it.
And things are not always what they seem to be. Got that too.
True happiness and true blessedness cannot be found in a fallen, cursed world. Uh, if you say so.
Everything we see and touch in this world is temporary at best. I know, but let’s get all we can while we are here.
And if that wasn’t enough, in Matthew 5:4 Jesus said,
“Blessed are (who) those who mourn, (why) for they (those who mourn) shall be comforted.”
But that raises a few questions:
What does it mean to Biblically mourn?
What are we supposed to be mourning about?
And why is mourning a good thing?
To find out about the blessing that comes from Godly sorrow, keep listening.
We’ve worked real hard to redefine what worship means today? And, in doing so, we’ve made it more about music or style or a feel-good experience than what it has historically meant in the past. But what does “worship” really mean?
According to Webster’s Dictionary (1828) worship means: “To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission. It means to declare or attribute dignity and worth. Worship is to show profound reverence and adoration.”
And this has nothing to do with a style of music or what I’ve seen in church most of my life. Which brings us to the question: Did you worship last Sunday? Did you honor your Lord with extravagant love and extreme submission? Did you boldly declare His dignity and worth among the congregation? Did you show, by your very actions, your profound reverence and adoration for the Lord last Sunday? And if you did, what was that like?
And if you didn’t, or if you’re not sure, then keep listening.
In Psalm 56, during a very dark time in David’s life, he wrote the following:
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; (therefore) I will not fear. What can flesh (or, man) do to me?
James Montgomery Boice said: “Man can oppress, slander, hurt, hate, maim, and murder me, for starters. But, of course, that is not the answer David is giving us in Psalm 56. His answer is: Nothing!”
And he’s right. What can man do to me? Nothing. Absolutely nothing? Why? Because “God is for me” (Psalm 56:9). Do you want to know how to live in the midst of fear? Do you want to know how to not let your view of God limit you because He is too small. If so, then keep listening.
In Matthew 5:1-12, we find a paradox known as the Beatitudes, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. And in reading them today, they seem illogical and out of touch with real life. Consider these questions:
How can you be blessed when you’re in mourning?
How is being poor in spirit a good thing?
In fact, how is being poor ever a good thing?
And how can you possibly call the meek blessed?
I always thought the strong were the ones who had it all together. Is that not true anymore?
But these teachings of Jesus are not about life in the now, but about life in His Kingdom. They speak of the realities of living with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. And, by the way, they’re not a paradox. They’re realities of life that transcend our feeble existence on earth. They are, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”
Want to know more about living in His Kingdom? Then keep listening.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus covers many subjects which all show us how to live in the Kingdom of our Lord. Over and over again, Jesus revealed to us the new realities of the life of faith in His Kingdom. Some of them include:
How to find true joy and happiness in the midst of suffering and turmoil – Matthew 5:3-12
How to find our true purpose in life – Matthew 5:13-16
How we are to now relate to the Law – Matthew 5:17-20
Then Jesus talks about the internalization of the Law.
He deals with anger, murder, strife, and unforgiveness – Matthew 5:21-26
Adultery, fornication, porn, and sexual sins – Matthew 5:27-30
Marriage and divorce – Matthew 5:31-32
Honesty, vows, oaths, and pledges – Matthew 5:33-37
Our “rights” and “privileges” – Matthew 5:38-42
And how to respond to those who hate us – Matthew 5:43-48
And that’s just in one chapter. There’s so much more for us to learn about how to live with Him in His Kingdom.
Are you interested in discovering more about life in His Kingdom? Then keep listening.
In closing his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul said the following to one of his “fellow laborers” in the faith, a man named Archippus.
Colossians 4:17 – And say to (who) Archippus, “Take heed (or, consider, discern, to see with the eye, to watch carefully) to the ministry (or, service) which you have received (how) in the Lord, (why) that you may fulfill (or, to render full, to complete, to bring to effect) it.”
Archippus probably struggled, much like Timothy, with insecurity, timidity, and a lack of boldness. Paul reminded him that his ministry was from the Lord and his calling and purpose in life was to fulfill what God had created him to do. And nothing more.
Do you ever struggle with the same thing? Do you ever wonder why you have such a hard time getting beyond your past and present failures? Do you sometimes feel God had a plan for your life but now, because of your disobedience, He has passed on by never wanting to use you again? If it was possible to move beyond that crippling thought, would you be interested in finding out how?
If so, then keep listening.
In the closing verses of Colossians we are introduced to a list of names, a list of those beloved and commended by Paul. And in the midst of those names we find Mark, Luke, and a guy named Demas. We can basically summarize their lives this way:
Mark – started out weak but finished strong.
Luke – was always growing in his commitment to Christ and others.
Demas – started out strong and finished… horrible!
And if you have ears to hear, you can find your spiritual life embedded in the lives of these three men.
Are you interested? Maybe intrigued? Then keep listening.
Twice in the Proverbs we find the following warning:
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished – Proverbs 22:3.
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished – Proverbs 27:12.
But what does this mean? And does this warning still apply to us today? Absolutely— and even more so than when it was written so many thousands of years ago. In fact, it’s a vital warning to the church today.
Want to know more? Then keep listening.
There is a passage in the letter to Philemon that sums up the entire Easter, or Resurrection Day message. It tells the timeless story of Christ in a letter from Paul (representing Christ), sent to Philemon (representing God the Father) who was the one wronged, about Onesimus (representing you and me) the guilty, runaway slave, that Paul calls his son in the faith,”that is, my own heart” (Philemon 10).
If then you count me as a partner (or, companion, partaker, comrade, one who shares in everything), (then) receive him (how) as you would me. But if he has wronged you (or, hurt, damaged, injured, to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin against) or (what) owes anything, (then) put that (or, reckon) on my account – Philemon 17-18.
What a wonderful Resurrection story found in Philemon. Do you want to know more? Then keep listening.
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…