Friday, January 6, 2017
Relations between Philadelphians and Laodiceans, and the Future of God's Work
Some see the need for the Church of God to preach the gospel to the world and the Ezekiel warning to Israel with greater power than we are doing now. The Church is preaching the gospel to the public, but not as effectively and as extensively as we need to be doing. Our growth is too slow to reach the majority of the people at the rate we are going before the tribulation begins.
What is the solution? How can we do God's end-time work with greater power and effectiveness?
Some may think, "We cannot preach the gospel with power because we are divided into many scattered groups and fellowships. We need to come together and have unity - then we will successfully preach the gospel with greater power."
Unity is fine, provided you don't pay a price of compromise with God's law and way of life to achieve that unity.
But unfortunately, in this Laodicean era, most groups are not Philadelphian. And it is only the Philadelphians who are promised an open door for preaching the gospel (Revelation 3:7-8). See my post titled "Philadelphia's Open Door - Does It Apply to Individual Members?", dated September 17, 2014, for evidence that the open door refers to preaching the gospel. Here is a link:
Philadelphians should never try to increase their power to preach the gospel by combining with Laodiceans IF such combination requires compromising with God's way of life and the teaching of the Bible.
If no compromise is required, fine. We can cooperate. We can share copyrights. We can share TV studio facilities. We can pray for each other. We can share information and advice.
But Philadelphians who follow the Bible teaching of recognizing and submitting to top-down governance by those God has appointed and made known by the fruits should never compromise with God's government by placing any part of their work or the tithes and offerings God has entrusted to them under the authority of someone chosen by the voting of men.
"But we need to unite and come together to preach the gospel with power. We need the added resources that Laodiceans can contribute, and thus we need to combine with them", some might say.
No, we don't. We don't need man's help to preach the gospel, we need God's help.
"So he answered and said to me: 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts' " (Zechariah 4:6).
Remember the lesson of Gideon's army. God did more with Gideon's 300 men than the original 32,000 could have done by their human power alone (Judges 7:1-8).
And Laodiceans have little more than human power to contribute to preaching the gospel to the world, for God does not promise them an open door.
This is what Christ says to Laodicea: "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:16).
But to Philadelphia, Christ says: "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name" (Revelation 3:8).
Philadelphians need to remain separate from Laodiceans, not combine with them.
If Laodiceans come to Philadelphians and submit to the top-down governance that Philadelphians have and are willing to learn from Philadelphians, fine. That may be a first step towards the repentance Christ commands Laodiceans to practice (Revelation 3:19).
And if Laodiceans want to remain separate, yet cooperate with Philadelphians, as I said before, there may be ways to cooperate with them without compromising with God's law. But we should never combine and be unequally yoked with them. We should never be with unrepentant Laodiceans in or under the same corporate, legal structure, while they practice governance by the voting of men - not in any way.
If Laodiceans want to come to Philadelphians, submit to top-down governance, and be taught by Philadelphians, fine. Let them come to us. And that may happen to a degree if God shakes up the Churches of God through trials.
But we should not go to them and compromise with their ways (Jeremiah 15:19).
"Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you' " (2 Corinthians 6:17).
"Thus says the Lord: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit' " (Jeremiah 17:5-8).
We should never trust men, even Church of God ministers, to select a top leader by voting, but should trust in God to choose our leaders and make His choice known by the fruits. This is the pattern in the Bible.
Just as true Philadelphians should trust in God to choose our leaders, not trusting in the judgment and voting of man, so we should trust in God, not man, to give us the resources and ability and open doors to preach the gospel to the world.
Here is a link to an additional post in this blog that is related to this subject:
"Does the Church of God Need to Unite to Do a Powerful Work?", dated July 19, 2013, link:
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
CHAPTER 8 - GOVERNMENT IN THE CHURCH OF GOD