Welcome to Leaving LaodiceaThe Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
Do You Remember?Let me ask you a couple of questions:
What do you forget in the dark that you remember in the light? What about the Lord’s Word and character do you fail to remember daily? How has He shown Himself faithful to you? Do you remember?If you want to discover more about true worship through remembering, then keep listening.
Matthew 16:24-26 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him (1) deny himself, and (2) take up his cross, and (3) follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"Note the order. First, there is the desire to "come after" Jesus. This is followed by the list of conditions to "deny" yourself and then visibly and publicly show others your self denial by taking up your cross. And finally, after the conditions are met, the desire is fulfilled. Only then does Jesus say, "follow Me." Which raises a few questions. Do you follow Jesus? Have you died to yourself? If so, in what way? Can others tell? Are there areas in your life you have refused to die to? And if so, what are you prepared to do about it?
Exodus 30:25-30 - “And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests."God then tells His people the importance of what He has just commanded them to do.
Exodus 30:31 - “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.' "But there's a warning. What has been deemed holy by the Lord is not to be used for personal pleasure or gain. Man is not to benefit from what is reserved for God alone. He said, "This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me (not to you) throughout your generations" (Ex. 30:31). The Lord knew then, as He knows now, how easily we can turn worship into something we like and forget about the One it's designed to honor. We play the worship music we enjoy, preach the sermons that make us feel good, and anoint anything we feel like anointing. Our times together to worship the Lord often digress into something that makes us feel better about who we are and not about Who we belong to. Listen to the warning God gives about making a profit from what belongs only to Him.
Exodus 30:32-33 - "It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people."You are not to pour My oil out on whom you desire nor make some for yourself using the recipe I have given you. This is for Me and Me alone." He said, "It is holy, and it shall be holy to you." God gave the same command and warnings about the incense. After detailing the specific combination of spices He desired, God then tells His children exactly where to place the incense and why.
Exodus 30:36 - “And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you."This incense is to be placed where God has chosen to meet with His people, a most holy place. And "it shall be most holy to you." It is not to be used in your home, sold on Amazon, or used in any other way God has not specifically prescribed. Why? Because its purpose is to prepare a place for God to meet with man - a most holy place. And not to make your car smell better. Again, there's a warning.
John 4:23-24 - “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true (one who cannot lie, real, genuine, sincere) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit (human) and truth (reality, the essence of a matter); for the Father is seeking (to look for, search, strive to find) such to worship (to kiss, adore, fall or prostrate before, pay reverence) Him. God is Spirit (Holy Spirit), and those who worship Him must (what must be done from duty) worship in spirit (human) and truth.”Which, as usual, raises a few questions. What is worship? What’s the difference between worship and true worship? What is true worship like internally? What is true worship like externally? And what does true worship look like today? One last thought, in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the first question goes like this: Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: The chief end of man is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. Did you catch that? We glorify by enjoying Him forever. So, do you enjoy God? Do you love your time with Him? Is that time the highlight of your day? Do you know how to worship Him in spirit and truth? If not, then keep listening.
Luke 22:31-32 - And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."Jesus didn't tell Peter he would deliver him from the temptation, the sifting. He promised Peter that after he fell and recovered and returned to his faith, Jesus would use that experience to encourage and strengthen others who were struggling in the same way. That's why, in John 21, we see Jesus restoring Peter by saying, "Feed My lambs" (John 21:15). Even after Peter's epic denial of Jesus, his ministry was not finished. In fact, it was just beginning. And so it is with us. Does this thought encourage you? It does me. If you want to learn more about your usefulness after your failure, then keep listening.
1 John 3:11-15 - For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love (agapaō) one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his (Cain) works were evil and his brother’s (Able) righteous. Do not marvel (wonder, be surprised, astonished), my brethren (fellow believers), if the world (kósmos) hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) you. We know (eidō) that we have passed from death to life, (how) because we love (agapaō) the brethren. He who does not love (agapaō) his (personal) brother (fellow believers) abides (rest, make their home) in death. Whoever hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) his (personal) brother (fellow believer) is a murderer, and you know (eidō) that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Anger + Hatred = MurderJohn also equates anger and hatred with murder. And he states that "no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." This is a profoundly important point. Which raises a couple of questions:
Have you been angry with a fellow Christian? What was the cause of your anger? Was it the holiness of God? Or some personal preference about which you felt slighted? Are you still angry with that person? And if so, why? Did you know that, according to the Scriptures, you are guilty of murder? Why? Because the one you hate and murmur about was created in the image of God. And to hate someone created by God, who is also made in the image of your God, is to hate God. You cannot love the Creator and hate His creation.The Scriptures call this murder. Are you confused? Do you think hatred and murder are two different things with two different penalties? Do you want to know what the Scriptures say about anger and murder? Then keep listening.
Change is Not Always for the BetterBut something changed. Not just with Peter, but with all the disciples. They had excitement and passion that can only come from belief while on the boat. But once ashore, it seems more like calm reservation. In fact, John goes out of his way to tell us what the disciples weren't thinking. It was his way of trying to explain the strange way they approached Jesus.
John 21:12 - Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.There are life lessons to be learned in these fourteen verses. Profound lessons. Are you interested? Then keep listening.
Proverbs 18:2 - A fool (dull, stupid, arrogant) has no delight (pleasure, desire) in understanding, but in expressing (venting, revealing, disclosing) his own heart.We watch these pundits shoot their mouth off about any and everything that comes into their minds as if it dropped from the lips of God. As if they, and they alone, had the keys to all truth. They consider themselves wise in this age because of the platform we've given them. That's right, we've elevated them to where they are by giving heed and importance to the words that come out of their mouth. We, by our continued involvement in watching them vent the foolish bile that flows from their heart, have given credence and credibility to what they say. If we watch and listen to them, their platform inevitably grows. And if we turn away from their foolishness, they will soon be gone. We hold the power to their influence in our lives, not them. Maybe it's time we began to use it. This proverb sums up their life and motivation quite well. Their delight is not in understanding the issues of today or the truth of those issues. Their delight and pleasure comes from venting what they think or feel or what seems right in their own eyes. They tirelessly promote their agenda and twist the facts to support their talking points. They assume that they alone are the standards of truth and we are too simple to understand the facts ourselves. We obviously need them to tell us what to think and what to do. Yet we forget the Proverbs call these type of people fools— dull, stupid, and arrogant. As Forest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does." But is he talking about us? Or them?
Toxic Verbal WasteThe words that come out of a fool's mouth are designed to stir up fights and foster controversy. There's no value in speaking truth unless it pushes forward the agenda. Consider the following:
Proverbs 18:6 - A fool’s lips enter into (to go in, to bring) contention (strife, controversy, quarrels, disputes), and his mouth calls for blows (strikes, or a slap to correct insolent behavior).That's exactly what happens with the media today. They pour out the anger and hatefulness in their heart, criticizing everyone and everybody who does not think like they do, and create contention for the sake of stirring up controversy. But, as the Proverbs say, what they need is a punch in the mouth, a fist in their face, a belt in the chops. A classic John Wayne moment. But maybe we need the same thing. Maybe we need a slap in the face for listening to the dribble that comes out of their mouth. Maybe we need a wake up call. Maybe we need someone to slap us back to reality. Maybe we've become just as arrogant and stupid as they are by listening to the arrogant and stupid things that come out of their mouth. Maybe we also delight in contention, quarrels and strife. Maybe we're no better than they are. Maybe we've got blood on our own hands.
Truth One: God is SovereignIn your times of trouble, remember these encouraging words:
Proverbs 15:3 - The eyes of the LORD are in every place (He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and so much more), keeping watch (beholding, guarding as from a high tower) on the evil and the good.After all, He is sovereign. And nothing catches Him by surprise. As someone once said, "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?" Rest in this truth today.
Truth Two: Actions MatterHow important is prayer and a life of striving to live righteously before Him? It's the key to becoming the beloved and delight of the Lord. Consider the following:
Proverbs 15:8 - The sacrifice (offering) of the wicked is an abomination (disgusting, unclean, wicked, horrendously offensive) to the LORD, but (by contrast) the prayer of the upright (straight, just, pleasing, in a moral and ethical sense) is His delight (pleasure, will, deemed acceptable).It gets more intriguing.
Proverbs 15:9 - The way (path, journey, manner of life) of the wicked is an abomination (disgusting, unclean, wicked, horrendously offensive) to the LORD, but (by contrast) He loves him who follows (to chase, run after, pursues) righteousness (blameless in conduct, integrity).Note the distinction. The difference between becoming His delight or being horrendously offensive to the Lord is the condition of your heart. Wickedness brings pain and rejection. Living upright, holy and righteous, as He is upright, holy, and righteous, bring His pleasure and delight. And He loves the one who pursues, in both actions and attitude, His righteousness. You see, actions do matter. And just in case you're not yet convinced your actions and attitudes have eternal consequences, look at who gets their prayers heard:
Proverbs 15:29 - The LORD is far (distant, remote, far away) from the wicked, but (by contrast) He hears (to listen, have regard for) the prayer of the righteous (just, those blameless in conduct both morally and ethically).God hears the prayers of those who live like Him. But for the wicked? He's moved on, out of town, not interested. That's scary.
Truth Three: We Don't Have All DayLooks like it's a choice we make to determine which team we want to play on: the righteous or the wicked. I don't know about you, but my desire is to live righteously for Him and to become His delight. Is that your desire also? Are you chasing after Him in hot pursuit? Then let's get to it. We don't have all day. Maybe this will give you something to shoot for this week. After all, nothing else really matters, does it?
1 Corinthians 14:1 - Pursue love (agápē), and desire (zēlóō - to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, to lust, covet) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.Then you must cultivate a vibrant prayer life. This takes time and effort. But the rewards are life-changing. And finally, you must be willing to fast. Why? Because the Lord links fasting, for some reason, with prayer and spiritual fervency. They seem to come in a package. Two for the price of one. Do you want to know more about growing deep in your intimacy of the Lord? Do you want to begin living in the realm of the gifts the Spirit has given you? Do you want to let Him manifest HImself to the world through you (1 Cor. 12:7)? Great. 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…