Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
What are the heavenly instructions to the believers when God stops coming to church? In Matthew 23:37 – 24:1 we have God’s instructions concerning his departure, and therefore the removing of his glory from the temple of Jerusalem. This was clearly envisioned by the Prophet Ezekiel and reported to Israel in Ezekiel 10:4,18; 11:22,23. (See our last lesson entitled, “Departure From the Temple.”) And this has continued to be done down through the church age, as true, local churches degenerate into nothing but social meeting halls, as they depart from the preaching of the gospel!
The Lord spoke to both the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia using the term synagogue of Satan. (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9). And he threatened the removal of the candlestick from the church of Ephesus! Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. And since the candlestick IS the church, (Rev. 1:20), he meant that he would un-church them! That is, he would remove both their opportunity and ability to be effectually used of the Holy Spirit any more. Then he is seen as standing outside the door of the church, calling to any individual believers left therein who still have a heart for him. And he invites them to come out to him, and abandon that which he has already judged as unfit for his presence!
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
And we must always remember that the instructions of John chapter fifteen are part of our gospel. It sets forth the Father as the vinedresser who systematically cuts off any, and all non-fruit bearing branches! And he also purges those branches that bear fruit, in order that they may bear more fruit! This is essential! For the very glory of God is at stake! John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
But the fruit of the believer is not the bringing of another into christian belief! Only the Holy Spirit can do that! John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. The fruitfulness of the believer is his own maturing in righteousness to increasingly display the character of Christ!
In Galatians 5:19-21 the Apostle Paul first lists out the works of the flesh. And then in contrast, he lists out the workings of the Holy Spirit within the believer’s nature, which reveals his Christ likeness. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
For the Holy Spirit within the heart of the believer will always act like Himself, manifesting the holy character of Christ! Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
We must remember that we are being brought into the presence of the Great King! He is every other king’s Lord! And these lesser kings required those females of their bride to be cleansed and purified before they could come into their presence! (See Ester 2:3,9.) How much more should the Bride of Christ be cleansed and purified in order to stand in His glorious presence? … as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27).
That word, purgeth in John 15:2 is the same Greek word, clean in John 15:3. And this pruning is acted out by the apostles when they saw the resistance of the Jews to the gospel they preached! Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
Dear Reader, just because your granny is buried in the graveyard out behind that spiritually dead organization, is no reason for you to remain there, allowing your soul to become as dead as her body! Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17,18).
And so, just what is the answer to our question concerning God’s instructions when he abandons a religious order? He tells us to Take Heed! And what is the need of this? Read carefully these following verses of this chapter and notice what they have in common. Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Did you see the same re-occurring word? – It was “deceive!” We need to be aware of great deception when the Spirit is removed from a religious order! For the Holy Spirit must move out in order for the unholy spirits to move in! Satan is called an angel of light. (2 Corin. 11:14.) And the very next verse speaks of “his ministers.” Does it surprise you to hear that Satan calls men into the pulpits, ruling souls by guilt and pity? Most religious practice across our nation is conducted as such, through the inordinate affection, or fleshly emotions of those attending.
And know of a certainty that it is eventually seen to be God who sends the “strong delusion,” by the removal of the power of the Holy Spirit, in order that satanic forces may begin their rebellion against God’s constituted authority, within the hearts of the Christ rejectors! 2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (restraineth) will let, (continue to restrain) until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The Holy Spirit’s empowering the gospel is the great deterrent to the arising of the anti-christian forces of darkness. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
But once the gospel has begun to be rejected by the peoples, the birds of the air come to scoop it up, leaving no public word, except within the hearts of the believers. Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
And then the famine set forth by the Prophet Amos, becomes the famine of the land! Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God (that is the revelation of the gospel) should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. Only when the “testimony” – the preaching of the gospel – is removed, can the beasts of darkness arise to darken the hearts of them which believe not! Remember in that 2 Thessalonians 2:12 verse, (just listed), it is those who believed not the truth when they had opportunity, who are strongly deceived by God’s effectual delusion!
The key to the end of time, is not national Israel, but the gospel! Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. And the last stage in the history of all gospel rejecting individuals, or nations, is an hour of great darkness. It was at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry after he was rejected. Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. And it has been in every nation where the gospel has been sent. And it shall be finally when the entirety of the nations have rejected its witness! Revelation 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Be careful with your soul, dear ones. Affix them only to Christ. The Lord God is very serious concerning your relation to his gospel witness! If you have to deny every other person on earth, cleave to Christ above all! Matthew 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Are those really your family who would take your soul to Hell? Is that one really your friend if they would separate you from Christ?
And are you really willing to lose your own eternal soul for the gaining of earthly things, which bring no lasting pleasure or satisfaction? Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Remember God’s words to the rich, builder of bigger barns. Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
True religion is only about one thing! – coming to Christ! He alone is salvation! He alone can provide soul rest! Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
For salvation is not in a program! It is in a person – THE Person of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God! John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. To know and see him by faith is to see and know God, the Eternal Father – the I AM! John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed