Warren Wm. Coles
"Ye that love the Lord (Jesus), hate evil," but "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching" (Psa. 97:10; Heb. 10:25).
Conditions in the Evangelical churches in general are so bad that a substantial number of saints in Christ have withdrawn in sorrow and disgust. I find this common where ever I travel in the U. S., Mexico, etc. TV and terrible temptations are besetting and defeating Christians on a grand scale, so that wide spread lukewarmness has set in. Worse yet, very many men who claim to be called of God to shepherd a local church flock, whether they are called elders or pastors, proudly function without being qualified. They are living a lie. Still, church members "heap to themselves teachers, haying itching ears." In many cases, we have the deadly combination of "itching ear people" paying for ministry by professional preachers and teachers with itching palms.
What are we to do? "The weapons of our warfare" may change the situation in some communities; a church may be revived.. In other circumstances, establishing a house church may be the inspiring solution. For years I have advocated doing this and would still encourage this where feasible by faith. However, if you traveled as I do in ministry to English and Spanish-speaking people, you might reach my conclusion. Evangelicalism is so far gone into lukewarmness and apostasy that the best many of us can do is to find one or two other families and a single Christian or two to meet regularly for worship and prayer. "The end of all things is at hand; be ye, therefore, sober and watch unto prayer" (I Peter 4:7).
Notice that God tells us to "assemble and exhort MUCH MORE as ye see the day (of Christ's return) approaching." Yes, we "see the day nearing." I Thes. 5 reminds us that Christ will come to the worldlings "like a thief in the night." Paul contrasts our preparedness: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that they day should overtake you as a thief..." The Lord Jesus wanted us to be ready, so in Matthew 24 and elsewhere He gives us sign after sign that we may "see the day approaching." He showed us how to recognize the last generation and how to act in the very last days of this age.
The most important thing of all is to meet often with saints of like mind to worship, pray, study, testify, encourage and correct. If you have had the habit of gathering with Christians a couple of times a week for many years, that is not enough fellowship now for you to keep "on fire for God." There are too many besetting sins and temptations, too many false church leaders and too much lukewarmness to allow for a casual getting together just a couple of times a week. "Families who pray together stay together." "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"- but since that is not likely practiced where you are, the next best thing is to get together very often.
God's eyes are always on the faithful remnant. Malachi 3:16-18 is surely God's Word to us as it was in that generation: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." Praise the Lord! "ASSEMBLE MUCH MORE". . . "EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS."
by Warren Wm. Coles, Bible teacher by grace. 515 S. LaGrace St, Paw Paw, MI 49079
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June 8, 2005