[b]The Church Is A Remnant[/b]
God called Israel out of Egypt, told them His covenant purpose, then put them through a succession of tests. Moses told the reason for this "Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 13:3).. The tests were severe and the qualifications high. Six hundred thousand men besides women and children were called out, but when the testings were finished, there were only two left, all others had broken the covenant and did not enter the Promised Land, God swore in His jealous wrath that they would never enter His rest. "So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest." (Hebrews 3:1) Many are called, but few are chosen.
The history of the Bride in the Old Testament is a study in remnants. Every generation of the church has begun in revival and ended in apostasy. The vast majority have followed the Law, but out of every generation there has emerged a faithful minority. These have been the vessel through which God could pour Himself again. The torch of truth was never extinguished, for In every apostate generation, the divine flame passed to another remnant. This generation will he no different.
Many times God allowed the population of the nations to be drastically reduced because of the apostasy. But total destruction was never the plan. There has always been the seven thousand who refused to bow their knees to Baal, these are those whom God says are the salt of the earth. Upon this faithful despised minority the hope of a lost world has ultimately rested. The prophets all wrote of the remnants. Isaiah cried out against apostate Israel, but saw hope for the future in the remnants. "The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God." (Isaiah 10:21). Jeremiah said the remnant was a few of many. "And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)" (Jeremiah 42:2).
Ezekiel said God would judge the harlot, but a remnant would be left "For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it." (Ezekiel 14:21-22). Joel saw a remnant in God's deliverance.
By leaving a remnant God was saying that His harvest was incomplete and will be gathered through the remnant. This has to be a very encouraging truth to those of us who have lived to see the close of another generation, with its accompanying apostasy. In our lifetime we have witnessed the great Pentecostal church reduce herself to a "form with out power." In her haste to accommodate Rome she has dropped such Bible terminology as "born again." But God said, "there must needs be heresy, that the truth might be manifest." The truth that is manifest is not simply doctrinal truth, but rather the true believer. Everything produces after its kind. Every life is known by its fruit. In the midst of this liquor drinking, theater going, truth denying, truth selling, ecumenical hodgepodge, that calls itself the church, the remnant of God will shine as the stars in the firmament.
Each remnant is a part of the whole harvest. The remnant is always a Piece of the original. That means it is the fabric of that which was born in the Upper Room. It is always Christ. On that day when the original was born the Apostle Peter stood and cried; "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." (Acts 2:16). The most casual glance at that which was born on the day of Pentecost will reveal that what men call Pentecost today is not THAT. You never find in the original an effort of any kind to unify with that which was not truth. That church born in the book of Acts was not a civil religion. They never once believed they were here to make the world a better place. Their gospel was not designed to change the world, it was designed to change men's hearts.
Are we in the Apostolic succession? No man is in the Apostolic succession who is not in the Apostolic spirit. The Apostolic spirit was a spirit of self denial, self suppression, courageous faith, valiant soldier like determination, to speak the truth and live it. We trim, we modify, we adapt, yes that is what we are. We are not Apostles we are adapters. I knew there was a word somewhere in the language that would exactly express our present spirit and service. We adapt the Gospel to the age, We preach to the times. We do not stand back in those eternal truths which belong to all ages, whose thunder should bring into reconciliation every antagonism and discord. Yet we claim to be the off spring of that born on the day of Pentecost. Those ministers bore scars for medals, they took honors in the school of suffering, they graduated in the dungeon and in the wilderness. Wherever this gospel is preached it must create antagonism. We have not only agreed to shut up the unpleasant, to confine the disagreeable, but also to crucify anyone who does not comply.
Christianity is still the religion of the cross. The moment Christianity became respectable it became one of a multitude. Christianity must never have a second, she must not even be at the top of the list. She must be the ruler, the one, and her uniqueness must be at once her strength and her beauty.
In answer to the question "Lord are there few that be saved?" (Luke 13:23) Jesus replied, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many will seek to enter in and shall not be able." Another time, Jesus referred to this straight gate and said, "few there be that find it." This comparative few are the remnant and they are called in scripture the elect and overcomers. These agents of God are being singled out as spoilers. They alone stand in the way of the unifying of all religions, and for this they have become the object of religious hatred and ridicule. On every side we see the formation of a "world church" and pressure is being applied to both church and preacher to comply. The crisis is worldwide - God is sifting the church. Every man will have to choose between the Harlot and the Bride. Harlotry sells what you believe. To consort with the harlot is to be a part of her.
From Exodus to Revelation, the story is the same, a minority within the majority, the quantity reduces to quality, out of the many, a few. Multitudes followed Jesus, but finally it was reduced to a few. Multitudes were saved in the period of the Acts, but when you come to the churches in Revelation, the story is different. To study the message of Christ to those Churches will lead to the knowledge of what is wrong today. The churches had been tested with false doctrine and spiritual fornication, the results - a decline in their spiritual life. No fact of history is more certain than this, false doctrine has been the plague of Christendom for the last two thousand years. False doctrine has been the chosen tool of Satan in every age, to stop the progress of the Gospel of Christ. Paul's greatest fear was expressed in II Cor. 11:3. "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Paul was saying, I fear lest your minds be corrupted by the reception of false and unscriptural doctrines. I fear lest you should take up as truths principles which are not truth. I fear lest you should depart from the faith once delivered to the saints. The fear expressed by the Apostle Paul is painfully instructive. Who would have thought that under the eyes of Christ's own Apostles there would be a danger of departing from the faith once delivered to the saints.
A forsaken love for the things of God is the root cause of apostasy. The favorable things Christ said about those churches would not avert the judgment - they must repent. Their works were not the works of love. The danger to the churches today is not from without, but from the Spirit of Harlotry within. Caught up in a "success syndrome" she has sold the truth for a crowd. The results, the church has become a theater where "tares" come to be entertained, instead of a "House of Prayer" where the Children of God come to be instructed. The problem is compounded by the fact that, the pulpit does not have the courage to deal with the specific sins of forsaken love. To them this would be negative.
Paul the apostle said, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed." This is the test of our relationship with God, our love for Christ. David declared, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." (Psalms 16:11). The man truly born of God needs nothing but Christ, but the theatrical church of today demands something other than Christ, they must be entertained. This fact alone says, the neo-pentecostal church is filled with "tares" and not saints.
The second message God sent was to Smyrna - They were under pressure to yield to infidelity. Christ told them their love would be tried and exhorted them to be faithful to death. All through the Bible we have the record of God's testing of His people, and always, the test was to prove them. "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no." (Exodus 16:4). "And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." (Deuteronomy 8:2). Only those who were found faithful in the testing would not be hurt in the second death.
It is in the testing that the many is reduced to the few. Preachers have prostituted themselves by selling the truth for a "mess of pottage." When told they could not continue their program, on a so-called Christian television network if they preached against the heresies of Rome they chose to be silent on the issue. In that decision they forfeited their right to be a spokesman for God. Such men go on presenting themselves, and advertising themselves as "men of faith," but the truth is such men have no faith. Faith is living what you believe. The faith of the three Hebrew children was not demonstrated in the fact they were delivered from the fire, but in the fact that they did not bow to the idol.
The third message was to Pergamos where the doctrine of Balaam had deceived the people into acts of prostitution. Wherever a mixture is allowed there is spiritual fornication, God's name has been taken in vain. The one requirement of Christ's Bride she must be found faithful. The church was orthodox in creed, but their orthodoxy could not save them unless they repented and abandoned their idols.
The fourth message was to Thyatira. Satan had brought the Old Testament doctrine of Balaam and Jezebel into the New Testament churches and this seductive teaching was being tolerated in the church. We face the same today, spiritual fornication is tolerated so physical fornication shows up in our children.
Spiritual death had come to many in Sardis and many others were ready to die. To the few who had not become a part of the apostasy He promised not to blot their names from the Book. Again it is the remnant, the few of the many, who have not succumbed to the false prophets and their teachings. The sixth message to Philadelphia, they had survived the crisis and had a little strength left.
Finally, the spirit of harlotry seems to be more pronounced in the church at Laodicia than in the others. Here in this last church, which surely is what we are witnessing today, we see a culmination of all the false, and wickedness found in the first six. Their love for Christ was lukewarm, they were spiritually blind and naked and did not know it. The spiritual defilement that corrupted these churches is wide spread today. The Pentecostal and fundamental churches tolerate a spirit of worldliness not recognizing the fact that, there is no difference between the world church and the worldly church. Both have been corrupted by the spirit of harlotry. Instead of getting at the cause of their deadness they resorted to attractive programs, entertainment, new techniques, theatrical evangelism, sermons that offend no one. Being of the world the world hears her but Christ is not there.