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If you are a Christian, you may be familiar with the passages from Ezekiel where the Lord leaves His temple and His city, Jerusalem. He gives the people of God, the people of His own possession, the sons and daughters of Abraham, over to its enemy. This is Judah, keep in mind, who had witnessed what happened to the Northern Kingdom, Israel, but instead of taking heed, became worse:

She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD (Jeremiah 3:8–10). 1

So, the question I would like to ask in this post is, would the Lord ever respond in a similar way to His Church, His chosen ones? Before you answer, please consider this: Jesus gave notice to the churches in Revelation that an unpleasant future lay ahead unless they repented of their actions. Since this is not an in-depth study of those chapters, here is a brief listing of His warnings:

He alerted the Ephesian church that unless they repented of their behavior, He would remove His lampstand from its place. Since the lampstands represent the churches (Revelation 1:20), the Ephesian church would no longer be a “church.” A church ceases to be a church when it no longer serves its Master with genuine love and dedication. “There is hard evidence that nominal Christianity dies a natural death within a generation or two and consequently disappears completely from the scene. The members may still come together, but they meet for social and not spiritual purposes.” 2

He warned the church in Pergamum that He would personally come and war against some of their members unless they repented of their actions.

Jesus cautioned the church in Thyatira that He would throw a woman, whom He calls Jezebel, into a sickbed unless she repented and cast her “children” into great tribulation, even striking them dead. Yes, the New Testament God kills people.

He told the Christians in Sardis that unless they woke up and repented, He would “come against” them at an hour they did not know.

As for the infamous church in Laodicea, Jesus wasn’t even present in that group of people. He was at the door, knocking, trying to gain entrance.

Therefore, we have strong and adequate scriptural evidence that Jesus will indeed punish a church or even leave it if they are sinning and do not repent. So, do we know if He has departed from any churches operating today? Is he punishing any? Are there any true Christians in those churches?

Let’s be honest. We just don’t know. A remnant may remain of which we are not aware. In sinful Israel and Judah, prophets were speaking. And remember that when Elijah told the Lord he was the only one in Israel who had not forsaken His covenant and worshiped Baal, God replied, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

And how about your church? Is it possible the Lord would want to remove its lampstand? Is it possible “that you have abandoned the love you had at first”? (Revelation 2:4).  Of course, it is. Are there any teachings that are a stumbling block to believers as there were in Pergamum? Please do not think that impossible. Are your works “complete in the sight of my God”? (Revelation 3:2). Have you prospered and think you “need nothing” as those in Laodicea? Do not think such conditions have not been occurring in your midst. Paul warned the church in Rome, “So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you” (Romans 11:20b–21).

Humbly pray for your church.

Humbly pray for the Church.

We earnestly want Jesus to find faith on the earth when He returns (Luke 18:8).

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

2Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, p. 116). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

 

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