“CHURCH” is a badly misunderstood word! It has come to mean (Acts 2:1—47). There could be no Church until it was purchased with Christ’s precious blood (Acts 20:28).
Paul’s greetings to the churches: Romans 16:5, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house.” Colossians 4:15, “Greet the brethren who are in Loadicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.” Philemon 1:1 “To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house.” So it is clear that a church is not a building but a group of people that are called by God out from the world.
“WHEN IS A SAINT A SAINT?”
Another word that has suffered badly at the hands of the church through the ages is the word “SAINTS”. This word is used all through the New Testament. Most people think it means either a very pious and good person or someone who’s died and been declared a saint by the Pope because of his exemplary life. But neither of these is the Biblical definition of a saint. The Bible teaches that every true believer in Christ, whether living or dead, is a saint in the sight of God, whether he acts like it or not. The book of Romans is a letter of Paul to most provably his converts from Asia Minor who lived there. And this is his greetings: (Romans 1:6—7), “..among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God to be saints.” (Romans 15:25—26), “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleases those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.” (Chapter 16:15), “Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.” Read: I Cor.6:1—3 / Psalm 116:15 / Acts 9:13 and verse 32.
When the New Testament mentions “The whole world” it means only the Roman Empire world. Luke 2:1, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that ALL THE WORLD should be registered.” Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of through the WHOLE WORLD.” Acts 17:6, “These (Christians) who have turned the WORLD up-side down have come here too.”
The Church of Christ started from Jerusalem and it spread out to the Roman world.
I’d like to make a very brief summary of Church history. There were no Church buildings for more than 3 hundred years. There was no well organized Church then. During the intense persecution, the Church secretly gathered together in small groups in caves or in homes studying God’s Word. The book of Revelation from chapter 2 to 3 is the message from the Lord Jesus to the 7 Churches located in Asia Minor which is Turkey and Greece today. These messages are parallel to Church History.
EPHESIAN church was the Apostolic Church. It has a short lived of freedom in spreading the gospel. It came about that they have the routine in doing the ministry but lost their first love for the Lord Jesus. That was the reason why God allowed severe persecution to His own church paving the way to Smyrna. (Rev. 2:4) “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
SMYRNA Church is a vivid picture of the persecuted Church and lasted for more than 3 hundred years. Christians were victims of the “ten percenters”. These people reported Christians to the Roman government and were rewarded with ten percent of the “heretics” properties confiscated. The believers were thus wiped out financially, and ended up martyred or in prison. (Rev. 2:9), “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich).” Christians were the targets of persecution because they refused to worship the Roman gods or to pay homage to the Emperor as divine. They were also persecuted because their belief in Jesus Christ as Savior does not conform to the godlessness of a sinful world.
PERGAMOS Church was the Imperial Church. Constantine abolished persecution and made Christianity the State religion, forcing all people in his Empire to be baptized while he himself was the highest pagan priest. (Rev.2:15) Jesus said, “Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” Nico means to conquer laity are people. How are you going to conquer a nation or people? By a military chain of command: General; Colonel; Major; Captain; Lieutenant; Sergeant; Corporal; Private. Religious chain of command: which is the deeds or practices of the Nicolaitans is first the highest in authority the Pope; College of Cardinals; Arch Bishop; Bishop; Priest; and then laity. The first Pope actually was Constantine and not Peter. Peter had never been in Rome. There is neither historical fact nor Biblical record that Peter had been in Rome. They only made up the story and it was only a legend. It was Paul who was in Rome as a prisoner when he wrote letters from there, but Paul had no mention of Peter. Peter was not even the prominent leader of the Church in Jerusalem; it was James the half brother of the Lord Jesus. Peter has his mother-in-law that means he was a married man. Check it out in Matthew 8:14. Peter was not infallible as Popes claimed to be because he was rebuked by Paul in front of the congregation for being a hypocrite. (Galatians 2: 11-14) How can then Peter be the Pope?
THYATIRA Church, the counterfeit Church. (Rev. 2:20), The Lord said “you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Verse 23) “I will kill her children with death.” This was the time when God allowed to annihilate the Catholic Church. The Muslims massacred the idolater Christians in the Mediterranean world to fulfill God’s warning in Exodus 20:1—5, to punish the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation that worship other gods. The total conversion of the Christian Church to paganism was on the third century A.D. The mass destruction and the murders of the idolater Catholics by Muhammad and his army happened on the six century exactly the third generation of the parents that became idolaters. The churches that became a harlot also became the Babylonian religion.
Bubonic plague, so called from the buboes or swelling on the bodies of the victims and carried to humans by fleas from the sick rats, attacked the lymphatic gland system. From Sicily the Black Death swept the Western Mediterranean littoral in 1347, raged in Italy, Spain, and France in 1348, reached Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Low Countries, and England in 1349, and Scandinavia and Poland in 1350. Plague hammered Europe again and again in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and continued its ravages, though with diminished intensity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. If Muhammad and his army had spared idolater Catholics from destruction, then God is a liar. If the Black Death in Europe that ravaged the idolater Catholics did not occur then God’s warning would be a lie. But God never lies. Christians should learn a lesson from the past. Idolatry is a grievous sin before God!
SARDIS Church was the reformed church. The Protestants church was reformed but there was no transformation. During the Dark Ages, are a period in the history of Europe of intellectual darkness, deurbanization and a loss of literacy. The Bible was prohibited. Even the priest themselves are ignorant of the Bible, until some have discovered it like John Wycliffe, Marten Luther and few of those who knows to read and understand Latin, and so it happened that they protested the many wrong doctrines of the Catholic Church. Protestants were massacred by the thousands and those who have escaped reached America. America was founded by the Protestants. Although they routinely attend Sunday services yet they treated slaves as animals, not human being. The Klu Klux Klan was church members and most of them were officers in the Church. They were active in the Church, believing that they are still saved even if they kill people. They hated people who are different from their race. That was the result of Calvinist’s teaching that “once saved you are save.
(Rev. 3:2) Christ said “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
In the picture is D.L. Moody preaching during the great revival.
PHILADELPHIA Church was the time of the great revival. It was the great missionary era of the Church. God opened the door of opportunity to spread the gospel. Believers awakened to the millions who had never heard the name of Jesus, and many missionary movements began during this period. During this period the Church sensed its need for spiritual revival when God sent men like Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Spurgeon, and Moody (to name a few) across England and America. (Rev. 3:8), “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Only two churches who have not been rebuked by the Lord. The Church of Smyrna and the Church of Philadelphea.
LAODICEAN Church: Compromise and Apostasy. This is the Church of this generation. (Rev.3:15—17), The Lord Jesus said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.” The damnable heresies of health and wealth doctrine and self-esteem teaching from these mega TV star preachers produces greed and pride on millions of their followers. These preachers become very rich, believing that it is the blessing from God when they extracted money from deceived people.
This is the last message to the 7 Churches and after this is the rapture of the Church and right after the rapture is the 7 years of tribulation under Anti Christ. Just read your Bible.
For those of you who believe that ALL Christians will be taken in the Rapture, I hope and pray that you are right. On the other hand, if one believes that way, and feels no need to change his backslidden, lukewarm, compromising, unwatchful, worldly, or fence-straddling ways, WOE BE UNTO HIM, if he suddenly finds the Rapture happened and he was left behind.
When are we going to live holy lives? in heaven? Or here while on earth?
Hebrews 12:14, “Without holiness no one can see God.”
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