Judgment begins with us.....and if it begins with us then let us as Christians first become those who are pure in heart and who walk upright in obedience to His word before going out to correct others.....
What judgments should the church expect from the Holy Spirit? Revelations 2-3 addresses the seven churches of Asia....these are the judgments I believe are the ones the church must come to address and repent of before we can claim to be His Bride...IMHO...
I enjoyed this teaching on the seven churches....http://randalldsmith.com/the-end-of-the-world-seven-deadly-sins-revelation-2-3/
These are excerpts from that teaching.......
(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) - the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4). Neglected priorities-placing other things more important or above God: 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: … 4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. …”
(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10). Fear of persecution-people fail to witness to others for fear of persecution: 2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: .. 10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life…”
(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) - the church that needed to repent (2:16). Compromise of principles-allowing false teachings, etc: 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: … 14 ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 ‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth… “
(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) - the church that had a false prophetess (2:20). Tolerating immorality: 2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: .. 20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. ..”
(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) - the church that had fallen asleep (3:2). Spiritual Apathy:3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. …”
(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) - the church that had endured patiently (3:10). Dwindling Stability, where we won't push to deliberately build the body of believers:
3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: …8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. …”
Faithful, but barely hanging on – that is the truth behind thousands of churches and literally MILLIONS of anemic and sickly Christians.
Alzheimer’s Christian: Remembers only selectively what God has done before, but fails to be able to connect with what may be happening in the Kingdom around him today. Autistic Christian: Stuck on a phrase and often inappropriate in responses. Unable to connect to anyone that has no special training to understand them. Epileptic Christian: Not in control of all energies expended. Seems passionate but strangely disconnected from the body, randomly expending great energy not directed by any leadership or head. Leprous Christian: Unfeeling toward other parts of the body and infectiously causing a spreading numbness of insensitivity that kills good growth. Obese Christian: Ready to sit and eat with no real intent to get up and DO anything, they become expert food critics of the messages they hear. Burned Christian: Because of an experience that often has nothing to do with the current body they are in, they are in constant need of careful handling and touchy care. Anorexic Christian: Unable to see themselves as God says they are, they continue to self inspect for every flaw, totally overtaken in their own issues. Heart Diseased Christian: Unable to function normally because of other contributing behaviors that have weakened their endurance.
(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) - the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16). Lukewarm/Luxury Distraction-focused more on themselves: 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…”
1 Peter 4:17
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
So I humbly submit this topic not to condemn but to bring awareness to our need to judge ourselves rather than what others are guilty of in their walk with God.
Your thoughts please....
I want to give God praise and glory for restoring my hardened heart to a heart of compassion for others again...I lost my compassion soon after my husband had passed away.....I was a faithful servant prior to that to minister to others in prayer, in giving, in encouraging, in many ways...but after his passing people would call crying and asking for prayer, needing a temporary place to stay, help with whatever and i just couldn't and wouldn't any more....I told them I was the one that needed ministering to and to not call anymore.
Several years later I was a hard hearted person who was always angry and always blaming others for my situations....I could care less if someone was in need...I took care of me. Then the day came when I lost my job, my car got repossessed, my mother passed away, my daughter turned to drugs and started living on the streets, I got bound up in gambling and alcohol, got 3 DUI's in a 8 year period, was falsely accused of saying something I didn't say and it caused me to be held back from graduating my nursing program for 3 months, my home got broke into and I was robbed, I fell down the stairs and severed my right butt cheek muscles and sciatic nerve causing debilitating damage (couldn't walk 10 feet without severe pain), and my fiancé turned bitter towards me........This all happened this past year.
I didn't think I could bear to have anything else happen to me...I would call and cry out for help...nope..no one...no one had the time to minister to me and my needs....I suffered a huge mental and verbal abuse from my fiancé one night and after he left I fell to my knees and CRIED out to GOD...Help me!...Forgive me of my sins, I have made a mess of my iife turned from you and refused to have COMPASSION on others who were hurting. I refused to be used by you to minister to others....Father forgive me!!!! I had made Jesus my savior in my life but I have never made Him my Lord.....Jesus....I give you the deed to my life...you are now the Lord of it and it is yours to do what you want with it....I SURRENDER All to you. I had finally broke down...I had nothing left. I was so bankrupt of every blessing He has ever given me and now I had nothing more to lose and everything to gain when I surrendered and repented and asked Jesus to be my Saviour AND my Lord.
As I prayed that prayer I began to feel His presence in the room....and God spoke to me...."I have been waiting and longing for you to return to me....NOW it is time....that prophesy given you 32 years ago is now fulfilled and the manifestation of it will be seen soon....Now REST in me and let me renew you, restore you, cleanse you and heal you....I will do it...Be obedient to all I instruct you to do and I will undo all that has afflicted you"...
Well, the very next day I was contacted by a Lady Evangelist from Pakistan via Facebook messenger...she was friends with my cousin who ministers in Africa in the mission field. She asked me to speak to her women's prayer group via Skype....that was like WOW....so this has been a couple of months ago...but God has been putting people and opportunities in my life right and left to minister to the needs of others.....AND GUESS WHAT....my Compassion is back....I literally feel the pain and suffering, the joy and excitement, and the gratitude of those who I am led to help.....and the sheer joy I feel when others are blessed....it blesses me to see them blessed. My heart of stone has become a heart of flesh again...and it is where My Lord and Saviour now resides!
I still have many personal needs but as I am reaching out to others in need my needs are being met.....
Thanks, Jesus.....you are an awesome Lord and I am glad you have the deed to my life.
Hello everyone. I'm a long-time member who pops into Worthy when I have the time. I'm a strong believer who has done my best to support the body of Christ for many years.
Now I'm having a major problem, and I hope my fellow Christians can help. I'm trying to keep this anonymous.
We recently moved to a new town. In need of a new church, we asked a local friend if we could join her church. She was excited for us to join. On our first visit, we were slightly disappointed to find a very small church (I mean like 10-12 members) which had used to be much larger before it started dying out. Everyone in leadership was older than 45. Very conventional, very repetitive, and very very routine.
We're not the sort of people who reject small churches because they're small. We are not "customer" type members who want a church to please us. We believe in serving where we are needed. The pastor kept saying he was praying for growth, and he said that we seemed to be an answer to his prayers, so we agreed to stick around and see if we could help.
By help, I don't mean that we want to teach a class or sing on the worship team. I simply mean that we wanted to make some friends, get involved in some fellowship, and labor where we might be needed.
Unfortunately, in the past several months since, we've come to see why this church can't grow. There is so much immaturity that it's stunning. The pastor and his wife get into arguments during worship practice, then they talk about each other before service, and they're still in a bad mood during service. I've actually witnessed the pastor's wife come stomping into the fellowship hall, complaining about the pastor to another member, and start slamming dishes while she set up coffee and donuts. This should give you some idea of how the sermons go.
This is the church's behavior across the board. There is always some petty spat going on between members, and it usually leads to some new childish policy. Church members come together for 2 or 3 hours Sunday morning, go through a well-worn routine, and then leave. We've invited people out to lunch, and we got no takers. When we asked about setting up a home group, we got a list of excuses that people were too busy or couldn't go across town. All these months later, we are no closer to having real friends there.
We're not being fed, we have no friends, we feel like we're surrounded by children, and we never know when we're walking into another soap opera. And we can certainly forget about teaching a class or singing on the praise team because the old members are doing just fine without us.
Church leaders tell us over and over that it's a sin to criticize pastors. I am sure that this pastor is depressed and overwhelmed. The last thing we want is to judge him. But what are we supposed to do? He's always too busy to meet with us. If we just stop going, we're quitters. If we tell him he may need counseling, we're critical.
How do you take someone aside for a (loving) conversation about a problem when they're too busy for coffee, too overwhelmed for more bad news, and probably unable to do change anything?
I’m not sure how I feel about this and maybe it’s just because of my ignorance so please don’t be offended or take it the wrong way. The church I’m currently attending has couple of associate pastors and during service when they pray (opening prayer/during service/communion/etc), they read off prewritten prayers (in their own words). It’s okay that they prepare prayer for service ahead of time and have prayers prepared as well but reading straight off the paper? I don’t know.... For some reason it bothers me more than it really should. I feel like as leaders of the church it’s kind of strange for them to do that. From time to time, members from the congregation (those who hold somewhat a leadership role within the church) do the praying and they all take their written prayer and read them striaght off the paper. There’s somewhat of a leniency towards them, for pastors to do that? Its kind of their job or rather part of their job (it’s our job as well to pray but that’s a different topic). Personally I think it’s weird and strange for pastors to do this. I’ve never seen pastors (other members) do this at other churches (the church I’m currently attending is Presbyterian if that changes anything). To me it’s like a surgeon bringing in notes during surgery. It’s fine if they prepare, write down what ever they need to do before the actually surgery but to bring it in the operation room? It just feel half hearted or not prepared. To come up I’m front of the congregation during services with a piece of paper, especially pastors, it’s unsettling for me. I have a negative view of this and don’t really know how to or what to feel about this.