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Christ Knocking at the Door

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(2nd. Period of Church History—Smyrna

A Persecuted Church - Continued)

1. Leaders were invited to watch the wholesale baptism of entire regiments of
soldiers in Constantine's army. Christianity was forced upon unwilling subjects
at sword point: baptism or death! The unholy alliance of church and state
resulted.In the early part of the third century, the Pergamum church was married
to the world. Political and civil authorities now lauded true believers, who had
been previously persecuted. Constantine assumed leadership of the church;
pagan temples became Christian churches; heathen festivals were converted
into Christian ones. Idols were named after so-called Christian saints. Many
Christians who had suffered were now welcomed to the imperial palace and they
swallowed the bait, sacrificing allegiance to Christ, and becoming locked in fatal
union with compromise. Constantine was now called Pontifex Maximus and
assumed leadership of the church. Out of this alliance between the Roman
emperor and the Christian church came the birth of Roman Catholicism.

VII. The Dispensation of the Kingdom or Millennium.
(Christ's Second Coming -1000 year reign on Earth, which ends with The Great
White Throne

7th Period of Church History: The Laodicea Period

The seventh and final congregation sets forth the final season of the church
from A.D.1900 to the Rapture. This phase in history has so far seen two world
wars, the rise of international communist conspiracy beginning in 1917 to it’s so-
called decline in the 1990’s, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the wars in the Middle
East, Desert Storm, (War with Iraq, and a world wide wave of terrorism) and
political revolutions, with upheavals hitherto without parallel. In the religious
world it has seen in China, Africa, Soviet dominated Asia, and in other places
throughout the world, more martyrs for Christ than in any previous century.
Liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, unbelief, and skepticism have invaded the church to
the extent that many of Protestantism’s largest denominations openly deny the
fundamentals of the faith.

Nevertheless the true body of Christ, not those who are perishing, are
anxiously awaiting His glorious appearing (Our Lord Jesus Christ) and the event
described as the Rapture of the Church from a world we know and experience
everyday as we interact with the hopelessness and sadness of those who have
no hope living (existentially) from day to day, moment by moment in spiritual
darkness. Many, who attempt to express the feelings of mankind without hope,
existing but not living, have often described it as the best of times and the worst
of times at the same time.

The church should be the place where the present hope of Jesus Christ’s
soon appearing and the future hope of His second coming to establish the
Earthly Kingdom for Israel is proclaimed. Is this happening in every church

Before the cross, there was a barrier between God and man; sin. (Is 59:2) But
since the cross, we now have bold access to the "throne of grace”. (Heb 4:16)
Jesus said, "No longer do I call you servants...but I have called you friends”. (Jn
15:15) When Jesus cried out, "It is finished" (Jn 19:30) another accomplishment
was the "unity" about which He prayed to the Father in John 17. It would now be
a new relationship between God and man. For the one who was "justified by faith
in Christ" (Gal 2:16) we are now "in Christ" (2 Cor5: 17) and it is "Christ in you"
(Col 1:27) since the believer now has "been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I
who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20).
Thus, many Christians speak of a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ.
The "agent" of this relationship is the Holy Spirit. Where there always used to be
a kind of "ambiguity" about righteousness or wickedness and one's standing
with God, now there is "certainty" because "the Spirit Himself bears witness with
our spirit that we are children of God." (Rom 8:16) And, if a person doesn't have
the Spirit of God, he is not His child. (vs9), simple as that.

And thus, Jesus' words begin to have meaning, "The kingdom of God does not
come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed,
the kingdom of God is within you." (Lk 17:20-21) Note this paragraph well,
because it is the "key" to the "Church" age.

Within some churches that claim His name, are those who say that Christ’s
Kingdom can be established here on earth during His absence. This movement
takes various names: Kingdom Now, Dominion, and Reconstruction. The basic
premise is that mortal man can accomplish what only the immortal LORD can
perform. They believe that society must be reconstructed by Christians to
establish the kingdom of God on earth before the personal return of Jesus Christ,
although this is a simplification of all the views espoused by the proponents of
dominion theology, its teachings are removing the fire from evangelism and
replacing it with dying embers.

Today there are many Christians who are bent on changing society through
government programs, lobbying activities, civil disobedience, and pressure
groups. No place can be found in the Bible that says this is the mission of the
church of Jesus Christ. The mission of the church is witnessing to lost souls
about the redemption provided by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has
been given to us as a seal of our salvation. He empowers us to be witnesses of
God’s provision for salvation through Jesus Christ, and to live holy lives in
accordance with the Father’s will. This mission is being replaced by those who
believe the kingdom of God can be established here and now by our human
activities.   (See Chapter 2 on False Teachings for more on Dominionisim,
Reconstructionism, and the Charismatic restoration dominionist).

Yet we know clearly from God’s word that if there is any power exhibited in
our acts of service to God it is by the volition of the Holy Spirit acting within the
parameters of God’s will. We cannot call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to do
anything apart from the will of the Father. Attempts to do so emulate the sin of
Simon the sorcerer who sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit so he could
use it at will. It wasn’t the offer of money alone that marked his sin, but the desire
for power.  We are warned that this age would be one marked by great deception
and lawlessness, with many bringing in the false doctrines of demons with lying
signs and wonders. (2 Peter 2:1-3).

The final church mentioned in the book of Revelation is the lukewarm church
of Laodicea, the church that will be in existence, but totally unaware, and
uncaring, when Christ returns for His Bride at the rapture. The Bride of Christ is
composed of those who have been led in the triumphal procession of faith in
Christ that have been redeemed through His precious blood, and through whom
God spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Himself. For we are
to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are
perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life).
(2 Cor. 2:14-16).

There are no words of commendation for the church of Laodicea. Nothing is
said about their good points, suggesting that there were none. The ancient city of
Laodicea was wealthy. The city’s banking assets were known throughout the
ancient world. Many of the world’s rich cashed huge bank drafts there. After the
great earthquake of A.D.17, the city refused financial help from Rome, choosing
to rebuild itself. This was a self-sufficient city and a church likewise, that was rich
in its own eyes but ignorant of her spiritual bankruptcy.

As the letter begins, Christ identifies Himself as “the Amen” (vs. 14). “Amen”
expresses certainty. Our Lord often used “amen” at the beginning of a solemn
pronouncement. “Amen” can be translated “verily” or “truly”. “Verily, Verily, I say
unto thee” (John 3:11, etc.). When “Amen” is used as a title for Christ, it indicates
His authority to bring about His promises and threats.

In this portion of Revelation 3:14-22 the Laodicean assembly is unfolded as
one neither hot nor cold and therefore about to be spewed out. It thinks itself to
be rich, but in the penetrating sight of Christ it is wretched, miserable, poor, blind,
and naked. Yet it is encouraged to accept this chastening as an act of love, and to
therefore repent. It is hard to escape the impression that a correlation exists
between the above description and the lukewarm-ness on the part of today’s
professing church. In the face of today’s rise and spread of atheistic communism,
which now threatens the entire world, in spite of the claims made by politicians
that the cold war is over, much of Christendom still calls for peace at any price.
The Bible is put out of US public schools, and clergymen who call themselves
Christian support the act. Ethical standards are being cast away for moral
relativism; few Believers raise their voices against it; (the conspiracy of silence)
and some clerics have become so corrupted that they even champion the new
immorality (homosexuality) with a brazen lip and glib voice. Unbelief and
skepticism are found thriving within Evangelical portals, and the believers in
various denominations so overrun call for (tolerance) & no discipline. Prominent
Protestants are calling the Reformation a mistake and yet the ecumenical
movement is seeking union with Rome.   (See Chapter 2 The Evangelicals and
Catholics together in the third millennium).

Homicide is on the increase, (much of it is the hopelessness of the Aids
sufferers’ ending their own misery) and ministries continue to provoke the
populace to action in opposition to the death penalty calling capital punishment
murder. Sin has so abounded that it is no longer beheld with horror and dread.
Instead it makes for prime time TV viewing as the cops and robbers fight it out
and kill each other while TV cameras roll recording the actual events as they take
place. The attitude of the Laodicean church in this world of growing infidelity and
lawlessness is one of unprecedented nauseating lukewarm-ness. How much
longer will the Lord of Glory withhold judgment?

Dave Breese in the Prophetic Newsletter of March 1995 made a simple re-
examination of the list of deteriorations, which have come upon our society as
we move to the end of the age.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural
affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those
that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers
of God, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; from such turn
away,”  (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

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