This is post # 2 of 3 on the prophecy and function of the end-time church. The book of Revelations gives a clear picture of the churches we can expect to see and are experiencing today as we hurdle toward the end times. The church of Ephesus can be compared to many of today’s mainline denominations. While professing Christ, they deny the spirit and its gifts and lack the zeal associated with their first love. Remaining culturally relevant is more important than Biblical truth. This church will leave/forsake/lay aside their first love. Unfortunately, the other churches mentioned in Revelations share negative traits with Ephesus, compromising with cultural norms and indulging in corruption and sexual sin. They choose spiritual death over vibrant worship and study.

The lukewarm church of Laodicea (Revelations 3:14-22), in particular, draws Christ’s attention. It is clear that God expects us to choose to be with Him or against Him; there is no middle ground. Accepting His entire Word, teaching, and obeying His commands is the only path. To do otherwise is to reject Him. The choice is ours, and if we don’t choose, He will “vomit” us out. But, as with all the churches, if we turn from our wicked ways and return to Him, He will allow us to enter into His throne room. What a gracious and loving God.

The churches at Smyrna (Revelations 2:8-11) and Philadelphia (3:7-13) are the churches Christ will seek upon His return. These are the churches that, although persecuted by the world, stay with God and profess Christ through the travails. In the end, these churches are victorious and the ones of which He asks, “Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith?” (Luke 18:8). If the end-time church is like Smyrna and Philadelphia, it appears the answer is yes.

Christ, our purposeful leader, expects our best because He gave His all for us. When He returns for His bride, the church, He anticipates finding a church without wrinkles or blemishes (Ephesians 5:27), a church that mirrors His perfection. What does this end-time church look like? Thankfully, Paul has given us a glimpse. He describes the church as Christ’s body, the fullness of Him, with Christ as the head (Ephesians 1:22 & 23). It’s a church built on the solid cornerstone of Christ, where we are not strangers or foreigners but fellow saints (Ephesians 2:19 & 20).

As fellow saints in the Kingdom of God, we are not mere spectators but Kingdom messengers. Paul reminds us that Christ has given us gifts, which are activated by the Holy Spirit. “And He (for emphasis, He Himself) gave (a free, spiritual gift to those He chose) some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” (Ephesians 4:11). These are not passive roles or gifts. They are meant to be used. They signify that we are to “occupy until I return.” (see prior post 8/19/23 & 1/27/24) We are not to sit back and wait for rapture, but we are to actively exercise these gifts.

To what end, you may ask? “For the equipping (Greek katartismon; perfecting) of the saints for the work of ministry, to build up (edify) the Body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). As Kingdom workers, we have a job to do to reach, teach and release the harvest field to harvest even more. What a daunting yet exciting prospect for each of us as leaders with jobs in the secular and Christian worlds. “But I do not have the gifts outlined by Paul,” you say. Yes, you do. While you work at the local food shelter, the local thrift store, or any occupation, you share Christ with clients and fellow workers (evangelism), or you help build/edify fellow believers in their walk (teaching). These are also a form of being an apostle or one who is sent out.

Finally, in verse 13 of Ephesians 4, Paul tells us we are to do this work “til we all come to the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” That little word, “til” (Greek mechri) means we are headed to a divine, predetermined endpoint. We are to continue growing, learning, and exercising the gifts God has bestowed on us through His Son until we arrive at that end. As long as we are alive on this earth, we are not finished. Keep exercising those gifts as the purposeful leader you are called to be.

The next post will pick up the discussion of “unity” in the Body of Christ.

Segments of this post were inspired by Derek Prince’s book, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting (1973/2023; Whitaker House). If you have not read this treatise, I highly recommend it as it was also the founding document of Intercessors for America (IFA).

Kevin Uncategorized

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