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Besides the history of Israel as biblical precedent, the apostle Paul provides compelling New Testament instruction concerning why God would judge so harshly. Having praised the church at Corinth for remembering him and his teaching as he had presented it, the apostle could not praise them for the “instructions” he now, wrote in their failure to properly reverence “the Lord’s Supper“ when they met together for that purpose (1 Corinthians 11:1-2, 17-22, NKJV). They had ego driven divisions and factions when they met; some were selfishly eating their own food ahead of and not sharing with others leaving a hungry person while another came to the meeting drunk.
Such behavior showed not only contempt for “the church of God,” but Christ who is the holy Object of the memorial supper He instituted (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)! Paul is very clear, “whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Thus, we are to “examine” ourselves thoroughly for sin to the end of confessing and repenting from it before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We do this to avoid eating the bread representing the Lord’s body and drinking from the cup with His blood “in an unworthy manner” and bringing judgment upon ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-29, NKJV).
The guilty may not, but God plainly takes the sacrifice of His Son that has saved us from our sins very seriously (Ephesians 5:1-7)! As a result, the apostle reported in his time that many were “weak,” “sick” and dead from divine judgment for their disrespect of the Lord’s body and blood while practicing sin. And we can be sure this has been the case for every guilty soul until now, because “God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:34-35, NKJV)! “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” by the Lord who calls us to repentance and chastens to help us avert eternal condemnation “with the world” if we will (Romans 1:18-2:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, NKJV).
“Lest you come together for judgment” is the spiritual reality the apostle Paul sums up his Lord’s Supper instruction with; warning the Corinthian church and every other to this hour if they would pay heed (1 Corinthians 11:33-34, NKJV). The evidence of history is that many churches have not given heed either to the apostle’s warning about proper reverence for the Lord’s Supper or his instruction from Him on the order of their assemblies. Already during and after the first century many local churches became the pride of sinful flesh and manmade religion; their leaders also driven by selfish ambitions to pursue and relishing power and control over them (3 John 9-11).
Furthermore, as foretold, these men (and wickedly now, women too) in sin have purposely drawn away especially the gullible and weak among Christ’s sheep after themselves and made membership in their local church false proof of true salvation (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Timothy 3:6-9; 2 Peter 2:12-22). Something is wrong when like a drug addict people have a need to go to church, take their favorite seat, hear their pastor preach, the music team sing their favorite song or irrespective of gifting, work in their desired humanly invented position. Something is also wrong when pastors need to be up preaching to “their people.” This is textbook co-dependency God never intended!5
As houses of ill-repute, all manner of evil, impropriety, vice, false teaching, dysfunction, torture and murder of enemies in sin to name only a few things have been practiced and tolerated while the Lord’s Supper is featured and regularly taken as their grand display of Christianity in them! Arrogant, defiant and obstinate; those that are guilty in our times reached critical mass in much of the foregoing and practicing disorder in the Lord’s house. For they not only have rejected the Lord’s order of mankind from creation to be practiced by Christian men and women He gives through Paul, but the place, use and order of spiritual gifts in their assemblies as well (1 Corinthians 11:3-16, 12:1-14:40).6
The question is not why God would judge guilty local churches so harshly by shutting them down, but why did He take so long given how widespread the wickedness among them is? Is it not again the longsuffering of our God that in grace waits as long as possible for repentance since He knows when He finally does judge, it will not be a lightweight slap on the wrist (2 Peter 3:9)? As with Israel’s past judgments, He also knows His faithful though not guilty, will nonetheless, be impacted. He waits making the way and opportune time to minimize that impact (Ezekiel 9; Luke 21:20-24). The Lord’s Coronavirus judgment came suddenly and invisibly out of nowhere first in China last fall and then, upon our shores this past January en route to spreading fatally over the inhabited earth.
In the frantic mix of government solutions to fight the spread of the plague, churches along with others that host public gatherings were required to shut down. As the Lord also led me to write previously, the upside for Christians and their local churches that will survive is the fact He has provided opportunity for soul searching and repentance as needed.7 Too, the Lord has graciously given all an advance look at the near future and reality check about just how important the local church really is in His grand scheme of things. In a moment, churches can be no more as happens to our persecuted brethren in many places. Recognizing this, should not leaders be intentional about lining up the churches they can still serve with God’s will, way and Word as it is written?
(Thoroughly grateful to God to remain employed full-time in His service, I will be taking Sunday, September 6th off as my Labor Day rest. Lord willing, my next post will appear on September 13th. Enjoy your Labor Day and if you are looking for work, seek the Lord who is merciful for help.)
5 I write about this tragic spiritually, mentally and emotionally unhealthy reality of local church life which crosses ethnic and cultural lines in a March social media post
that I repeated and added to in the April 5, 2020 post, God Is Speaking, under the category, Call To Repent. We are to absolutely ever need only Christ (Deuteron-
omy 31:6; Psalm 23; Acts 18:9-10, 23:11; 2 Timothy 4:16-18; Hebrews 4:14-16)! Also pastor, you do not own His authentic sheep, they belong to Christ who “pur-
chased” them “with His own blood.” You sir, are a shepherd under Him if He appointed you and steward that must give an account (John 10:11-16, 21:15-17; Acts 20:
28; 1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV). Consequently, you should fear lest you through wickedness be found the cause of even one of Christ’s sheep being “scattered,” “lost” and
devoured by that spiritual wolf, Satan (Ezekiel 34:1-10; Mark 9:42-48, NKJV)!
6 Contrary to the deceit planted by Satan and slowly cultivated by professed Christians over the past century, God has not changed His order of mankind from creation
as I also maintain in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. A print copy or digital download of the book is available at major internet booksellers such as
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
7 See God Is Speaking.
As the Lord led last week, I wrote to exhort and encourage His faithful as we go together through this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus pestilence upon the world as judgment from Him. The exhortation was to go to and remain in God’s Word as His foretold days of judgment continue to unfold and escalate; the encouragement to draw comfort and hope from God and through His Word in the process.1 Today, the Lord would rebuke and instruct those who profess to know Him, but are incredulous there is any judgment from Him because it has included their being put out of their churches as supposedly His house. However, this is not the first time God has done this in judgment.
Incredulity that God would ever put professed Christians out of His house should not be among folk that claim to be so in touch with Him and His Word. But this haughtiness arises exactly from the fact some of those who have this false thinking do not actually know God in Christ (Matthew 7:21-23) or His Word (1 Corinthians 15:34). Others know what the Word says on the topic historically, but choose for whatever motives to willfully ignore it. For not only did God evict His ancient people, the Jews (our example in everything) from their meeting places with Him, but He destroyed those places in wrath because of their sins (Jeremiah 7:12-15, 52:12-13; Mark 13:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11)!
So, where do Christians that are guilty of the same kind of sins that led to God forcefully evicting the Jewish people from their designated meeting places with Him get off thinking they are somehow in a better position in His eyes to avoid this? Yes, with them in Christ we have “a better covenant, which was established on better promises,” (Hebrews 8:6, NKJV). But nowhere in the New Covenant or God’s related promises does He take sin off the table as something He will no longer be concerned about. Truly, the Christian has a greater accountability before God for sin because we believed the Gospel of Christ to be saved from it (Luke 12:47-48; Romans 6:1-7; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
Neither the Lord nor His apostles make His Church about physical buildings, but the people who purposely assemble to Him by faith (Matthew 16:13-18)! Whether it was the Lord with His disciples or them after His departure, buildings were only mere tools used to facilitate the purposes and activities involved in meeting together (Mark 14:12-17; Acts 1:9-14, 2:40-47, 18:5-11, 19:1-10). Nowhere in the New Testament is anyone commanded or instructed by Christ to build Him an edifice as part of a sacred, required meeting place with Him for worship or any other purpose since He had taught true worship of God going forward from Him is “in spirit and truth,” (John 4:19-26, NKJV).
Moreover, the overarching eternal reality of the Church Christ builds and Heads with each soul assembled to Him by faith is relational and spiritual (Luke 23:39-43; Ephesians 1:3-14, 22-23). Too, the body of each believer on earth is a temple of God (John 2:19-21, 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20). With those already in Heaven we are at one and the same time as Paul teaches both “the household of God” the Father as spiritual family and a house for His everlasting abode. Not only is each one in Christ both family and a house, but as Peter also instructs, we are together “being built up a spiritual house;” in it serving as a “holy priesthood,” (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-6, NKJV).
We are God’s house! Even so, God in His wisdom provided the means for His redeemed to temporarily meet together while on earth at the Jewish Temple, in homes, previously constructed buildings and those built for that purpose to this day. Christians have also met outdoors and because of persecution, literally underground!2 The buildings were and are His house too, because He owns everything and to the extent real Christians assemble in them to carry out the biblically commanded mission of Christ. The buildings are all temporary because the existence of and Christ’s mission for mortal Christians in this present age before His return are (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
Indeed, as the Lord led me to launch this year writing, only the individual Christians in local churches with ears that heard what the Spirit said to seven first century churches of Asia will be found standing in immortal glory at His return!3 None of those seven churches of Asia with many others of history remain, underscoring the reality of their temporary nature. And while persecution has had much to do with why local churches have disappeared from existence in their times, when His biblically rooted purposes are no longer primary through disobedience, corruption, wickedness and apostasy, the Lord Himself will shut them down as I am a witness and even destroy the buildings as foretold among the ways He judges (Revelation 2:1-7, 17:15-18:8, 19:1-4).4
1 Read the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
2 Most of the preaching and ministry along with teaching and training of His disciples by the Lord Jesus was done outdoors. Mountains, forests, fields, caves, waterways,
deserts, prisons, the catacombs of Rome--you name it beyond buildings, faithful Christians have assembled there in the Spirit, with the Lord to this hour and will do so
until the end!
3 See the two-part post beginning January 5, 2020, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the August 23, 2015 post, Babylon Is Falling!, under the category, Bible Prophecy. Also, read the reposts of my own experience with the judgment of God upon
local churches and prophecy He gave me concerning them beginning on August 30, 2015 with When Strong Men Of God Weep, followed by Death Of A Church--One
Year Later and Praise For The Lord God Almighty! These were all posted under the category, Glory To God!
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