CHURCH IN THE END TIMES

The following article by Roger E Olson October 10, 2020 “What Should “Church” Be Like? Answering the Question” is excellent, it is reproduced here in its entirety.

Jesus builds His church

I believe a true Christian church should be one where God is very busy changing lives and influencing its social environment with compassionate actions.

I believe a true Christian church should be countercultural in the sense of resisting accommodation to secular and pagan culture while communicating the gospel in ways people of the culture can at least understand (but without letting go of anything essential to the gospel).

I believe a true Christian church should be an extended family where at least members and regular attenders know each other, share their lives with one another, share their property with each other (not as a common purse necessarily but with genuine generosity), and love one another in spite of differences of race, gender, ethnicity, economic and social status, educational level, etc.

I believe a true Christian church should be one where the preaching and teaching covers the whole of God’s revelation including judgment, conviction, repentance, and conversion—including the call to take great risks for God’s kingdom.

I believe a true Christian Church should be one where the people know the Bible well and are led by the teaching leaders into deeper understanding of its implications for being in the world but not of it.

I believe a true Christian church should select as leaders and teachers only persons deeply committed to Jesus Christ as God, Lord, Savior, and Coming King. The leaders should be broadly and generously orthodox in terms of belief in the Trinity, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, salvation through Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone without neglecting works of love.

I believe a true Christian church should practice loving discipline of members and regular attenders who fall into sin and who do not repent and seek to change.

I believe a true Christian church should require members (including leaders) to avoid worldliness in the sense of ungodly entertainment, conspicuous consumption, immodest dress, membership in organizations that require beliefs and/or ceremonies contrary to the sole Lordship of Jesus Christ (idolatry), sexual immorality, divorce (except in cases of abandonment, abuse, or adultery), identification with hate groups and ideologies, violence (except for self-defense or defense of vulnerable people under attack), gluttony, and extreme individualism manifested in lack of faithful participation in God’s people and their mission.

I believe a true Christian church should never hide its Christian identity.

I believe a true Christian church should preach and teach the Word of God, the gospel, faithfully and in all its dimensions and aspects, live life together in love, worship God enthusiastically, train members and attenders in Christian discipleship for everyday life, reach out to help hurting and vulnerable people live human lives, care for the environment, expect miracles to happen especially in response to fervent prayer, pray for the sick and the hurting, hold members and leaders accountable to their Christian callings, speak truth to power prophetically, encourage members to seek and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and never be ashamed of Jesus Christ even for the sake of attracting visitors and others to fill empty pews or seats.

Finally, I believe a true Christian church should celebrate the sacraments of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper regularly.

HOUSE CHURCHES IN KENYA

The following email was received from Charles Otieno. Charles lives in Migori Kenya. Charles is one of three House Church leaders that I have connected to in Kenya through this website http://www.livingeternal.net. I am pleased to say that I have played a part in connecting them and supporting their ministries.

My next project for the Kenya House Churches is to equip each, Charles, Alfred, and Samuel to participate in Zoom Meetings with me and other parachurch organisations that can help them grow in the Lord and understand the times (last days) and the church model as described in the Book of Acts. Charles demonstrates in his email that he does. In addition, they can start using the PowerPoint Sermons I provide on my other website http://www.powerpointsermons.net. Sermons to prepare the church for end times and Jesus’ second coming. I would appreciate help with this project and you can help by using the donations link on the Home Page.

Shalom pastor Ron and brothers and sisters in Christ.

Last week was a week of atonement (Yom Kippur).

I’m in agreement with you. We are called to go and make disciples, and this is the heart of our great commission given to us by our saviour Jesus Christ.

The church’s marching order is to go and make disciples of all nations, NOT going to build up denominations/instutional church models.

Our command by Jesus, is all about disciples making disciples, resulting in winning souls, and bringing a great harvest for Christ Jesus into His kingdom.

We are to go and build up the ecclesia which Jesus also established, these ecclesia are independent house assemblies, acting as real families.

The ecclesia (House assemblies) are the most effective way of reaching and ministering to the people, and each and every one of us should be taught to understand.

We are in the last part of making preparation for the church group pastors and church leaders meeting, which will kick off tomorrow, October 1st

We are expecting all our 8 church group pastors, 8 church elders, and 8 church secretaries from all our eight church groups in attendance. So it is going to be a large meeting.

Blessings, Charles

HOUSE CHURCHES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Global Catalytic Ministries (Transforming Muslims Worldwide Through Jesus Christ) is on the frontlines in Iran leading an explosive movement of Christianity. As I write this email, GCM is leading a movement of house churches over 700 strong and growing all over the Middle East!   It is one of the Church Movements that is making a difference for the Kingdom of God and is worthy of your support.

Actor Jim Caviezel of The Passion of the Christ film has just released a new film called INFIDEL. It’s based on the true story of Christian persecution in Iran.

MEGA CHURCHES ARE NOT GOD’S IDEA

Darrin Patrick, a megachurch pastor, author and speaker, has died. He died of what appears to be a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to a statement from the church. No official cause of death has been released.

Sadly this is not the first, I know of four in the past two years. Jarrid Wilson at 30 years of age was probably the most tragic. One has to ask what is the reason for this large number of suicides. Read what Darrin Patrick had to say about celebrity pastors -” It was recipe for disaster“.

Patrick had been a rising star among Reformed evangelical circles and was serving as vice president of the Acts 29 church planting network. He was fired from Journey for what church elders called misconduct including “inappropriate meetings, conversations, and phone calls with two women” and an abuse of power.

Darrin Patrick

Patrick talked about losing his church in a podcast interview that was published this week. He talked about being part of a group of young pastors who became celebrities with book deals, speaking gigs, fame and money but little spiritual maturity.

It was a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Patrick said his early success led to an obsession with keeping up his image rather than his soul. “I was spending a lot of energy creating and sustaining my image,” he told podcast host Charles Smith. “It’s so subtle; I am trying to influence people for the gospel—you have to have a social media presence, you have to speak at conferences.”

Patrick said he eventually became isolated from many of his friends when he was pastoring Journey Church. “I stopped pursuing friendships,” he said. “Another way to say that, I stopped being known. And that was the beginning of the end.”

MEGACHURCH MODEL IN DISARRAY

After the suicides of two young pastors of Megachurches, one in 2018 and one this year, Rev. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, surprised his congregation earlier this month with an announcement that he is stepping away from his ministry for a season because he feels far from God, tired in his soul and needed to recuperate mentally and physically.

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“From January 1 (2020) to April 1. I am walking away from every responsibility I have as pastor,” Wesley announced in his sermon on Dec. 1.

“You can’t pour out of an empty cup. It is very dangerous for your pastor to be on empty,” he told congregants.  “I need to take care of me.

In a sermon entitled “Selah” on the value of rest, Wesley noted how common pastoral sabbaticals are in white churches while pointing out how rare it was in black churches. He argued that many black pastors don’t take sabbaticals because they are afraid attendance might dip and affect the bottom line or the church may just function just fine without them.

The journey of Francis Chan from a Megachurch in California to starting a successful House church movement and more recently to a ministry in Hong Kong demonstrates God is taking His church back. The end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. Take a look at my recent post Thailand – Free in Jesus Christ to see the Book of Acts church in action.

STUDY SILENCED FOR SUGGESTING KIDS BECOME TRANSGENDER DUE TO SOCIAL INFLUENCE

A mainstream study by a Brown University professor is under fire from transgender advocates for suggesting that some children become transgender due to social pressure or influence, and not because they are born that way.

The study by Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown’s School of Public Health, was published in PLOS ONE. Brown University since has pulled a press release about the study, according to the magazine Science. The study examined why some children experience transgenderism, which is sparked by a condition known as “gender dysphoria.”

“In on-line forums,” Littman wrote in the study, “parents have been reporting that their children are experiencing what is described here as ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,’ appearing for the first time during puberty or even after its completion.”

The gender dysphoria among the children “seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe.”

In other words, these children identified as transgender only because their friends did, according to the study.

“Parents also report that their children exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity,” Littman wrote.

She surveyed 250 parents of children who suddenly developed gender dysphoria and found that “21 percent of parents reported their child had one or more friends become transgender-identified at around the same time,” according to the now-pulled Brown University press release.

Bess Marcus, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, wrote in a statement that he had heard from university community members who argued the study “could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.”

“[W]e believe firmly that it is also incumbent on public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives and to recognise and articulate the limitations of their work,” Marcus wrote.

God will not tolerate children being deceived and abused this way. His return is imminent at which time His wrath is poured out on the unrepentant. Make sure you are in the centre of God’s will for your life right now, if you are unsure, get on your knees in prayer. Much of the denominational church is apostate, accepting the world’s take on transgenderism and gay marriage, so come out from them. Find a group of like minded believers and do church as in the Book of Acts. There are plenty of Home Church Groups you can connect with e.g wearechurch.com (Francis Chan)

RESTORE THE GLORY OF GOD

 What the church needs most right now are God-appointed leaders who are jealous for His glory.

Years after Samuel’s ministry was established, David rose to restore the glory of God back to its rightful place (see 2 Sam. 6).

Image result for picture of King David leading the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem

‘Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.’ 2 Samuel 7 :25

When God-appoints men to leadership, their first agenda is to make sure the glory of the Lord is restored and dwells where it belongs.

The ark did not belong in the Philistine camp, Abinadab’s house or Obed-Edom’s house (see 2 Sam. 6). It belonged in the temple of the Lord. David gathered all the choice men in Israel with an eagerness and a zeal to restore that which was lost.

I believe the highest priority on God’s heart for 2018 and beyond is the restoration of His glory in His church.

True leaders are always seeking to find grace in God’s sight, and like Moses, they will not lead without the presence of God.

The greatest concern of a godly leader is for the church to be separated from the world and wholly consecrated to God. A true leader’s longing and desire is to see the glory of God and have it restored among His people (Ex. 33:15-18).

It is not popularity, bigger buildings, increased attendance and more money that has priority in the hearts of godly leaders. It is the glory!

Men who live close to the heart of God know that it is only His glory that will change everything.

It’s time for the glory, the manifested presence of God, to return to our churches, our personal lives, our homes, our thinking, our conversation and our conduct. The glory of God will break us from going through the motions, and make everything new, fresh and alive again.

Here are some mindset changes we must make to recover the true glory of God:

  1. Don’t be impressed by the trappings of the production of the church and fooled by its big names and big conferences.

Elaborate buildings, large numbers of people and an increasing flow of cash have fooled much of the modern church. The church did not begin with that focus, and yet somehow, modern church principles have put the emphasis on attendance, buildings and cash.

Another meeting, another offering, another song, another convention, another banquet, another special speaker, another concert, another project, another program … and so ‘church life’ continues, but the changed life remains scarce. If the horse is healthy, the cart will be pulled. If the horse is unhealthy, making the cart more attractive is useless.” —Roy Farias

I’m afraid there is a large gap separating the culture of the modern Western church from the heart of God as revealed through Jesus in the Gospels and through the early church.

How do you convince a believer that what they have is a counterfeit if they’ve never witnessed the real? I’m afraid so much of it is New Age gobbledygook and psycho-babble tainted with false motives and a desire for filthy lucre at the root of our agenda. We have so irreverently cheapened and merchandised God’s sacred gifts and grieved the precious Spirit of God. Let’s stop this mess! This is not Kabod (the heavy glory). This is Ichabod—further evidence that the glory has departed.

Holy is the Lord.

  1. Restore the culture of the kingdom of God.

The sad truth is that in much of the church world, the culture of the kingdom of God has been lost to the culture of hype, greed, religious politics, a Hollywood Jesus and the professional business of the church to such an extent that many churches resemble a political machine or a corporation more than God’s culture.

God’s culture begins with the family, the home, making disciples through life relationships, reaching and caring for others with the gospel and the love of God.

The true disciples of Jesus are losing their taste for the shallow and superficial, and are separating themselves from those entangled in the appearance of spirituality. Many people have become disenchanted with the church because of hurt, misuse and abuse, religious politics and leadership caught up in the things of the flesh. People are looking for depth in the Word and in their relationships, a free-flowing move of the Spirit, personal empowerment and leadership that does not play political games.

Word received by John Fenn, World Wide House Church Network.

“See what I see, many small churches and ministries investing in relationships, walking in love, pouring their lives into each other; this is where the Spirit is moving today. There is a revolution taking place in my body, a revolution of relationships, discipleship and love. This will affect whole communities and economies.

See what I see, many churches all over the world in which people are accountable to one another, working through conflicts, walking in love and growing as my disciples. That is where my Spirit is moving today.

Many are running to and fro asking, ‘Where is the next move; what is the next season of the Spirit?’ And I say to you that it is under their very noses. They stumble at the supernatural work in their midst and refuse to humble themselves and be taught because they seek the sensational and that which appeals to the outward man. They fail to recognize the true move of God because it must be spiritually discerned. —John Fenn

  1. Return to the preaching and practice of the cross.

The cross-less gospel is the greatest lack in Western Christianity today and the reason for many of the church’s failures and the biggest reason why it is becoming increasingly difficult in many places of the world to tell the difference between a real Christian and non-Christian.  Listen to the following quote from a hero of the faith who knew God deeply and experienced His glory:

“The way into the glory is through the flesh being torn away from the world and separated unto God.” — Smith Wigglesworth

I believe God’s promises are true, and I am all for instilling hope in people, but sometimes the best thing the church can hear are the warnings, rebukes and roadblocks of what is actually hindering revival, the glory of God and His promises from coming to pass.

There is a new gospel and new so-called national prophets—really, wolves in sheep’s clothing. The false prophets Jesus warned would lead many astray in the last days. They speak peace to all those who have itching ears for something new and exotic and they cause them to trust in a lie, and subtly supplant within their hearts rebellion against the Lord (Jer. 28:15-16).

adapted from article by Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries