Feeling Spiritually Dry and Far From God?- Analysis of Condition of Church
One morning, when I sat reading the Bible at the window, I saw these verses: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). These verses which describe the scenes of the last days aroused my reflections. When pondering these verses carefully, I thought of the present situation of the religious world. Our Christians’ faith and love have become cold. Many of us follow Satan’s evil trends like worldly people, pursuing wealth, rank, and material things. We are wrapped up with the secular world when striving for houses, cars and careers, so that we are unable to extricate ourselves from all the pains of life. And even many religious leaders, pastors and elders also pursue the world. Some of them take advantage of churches to open up factories; some of them scramble for the lectern, raise envy and strife, and form factions; some of them steal God’s sacrifices, embezzle and forcibly occupy believers’ offerings, etc. Now most believers have only a godly appearance but not a godly essence. We are only Christians in name, but in reality, we are not following the way of the Lord, so when we do something against God, we don’t feel guilty. Even when we pray to the Lord Jesus, we cannot obtain peace and joy. As a result, we become dark and depressed in the spirit, and cannot feel God.
I stood up to look out upon the scene, and saw a withered winter jasmine. I couldn’t refrain from feeling somewhat misty-eyed.
Now brothers and sisters are trapped in sin and have no path to practice; we are thirsty in the spirit, but our churches have no good shepherds who can water and supply us. While the preachers also have no light and no enlightenment, so they can only preach some clichéd doctrines and theories, such as loving our neighbor, loving our family, maintaining original faith and not leaving God, and so on. We receive no edification of life from them, so that our spiritual conditions become worse and worse. As a result, some believers treat gatherings as a procedure or even do not come to meetings anymore; some churches have to close down, for the meeting attendance numbers are way down.
These phenomena of today’s churches reminded me of the end of the Age of Law. At that time, the temple was in chaos, and turned into a den of thieves where cattle and sheep were sold and money was exchanged. Priests committed sins but heavenly fire no longer fell down to burn them; although believers violated commandments and laws, they were not punished. This was because the Holy Spirit had done a new work in other places: The Lord Jesus was spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and preaching the way of repentance everywhere. So, at that time, the people were bereft of God’s guidance who stubbornly stuck to the laws of the Old Testament in the temple and did not accept the work of the Lord Jesus. Is there any difference between the situation of the religious world at present and that at the end of the Age of Law?
The next day, I sent my knowledge of the desolation of the church to my Facebook friend Jack, who is also a Christian. Later, Jack responded to my message:
“After reading your message, I thought of some scriptures: ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to me’ (Amos 4:7-8). ‘Behold, the days come, said the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah’ (Amos 8:11). Now believers are becoming indifferent in their faith, and preachers have nothing to preach about. In fact, within this lies God’s will. When God causes famine to befall the religious world, those who sincerely believe in Him and love the truth are forced to look for a church with the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Afterward, he sent me another message:
“God’s words say: ‘God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine, people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community will suffer severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him.’ ‘For this reason, since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist.’
“I think of Canaan’s famine. At that time, only by walking out of the area of famine and coming to Joseph for food could people survive the disaster. Another example: When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, the temple had become desolate. Only through leaving the temple and accepting the gospel of the Lord Jesus could people gain God’s salvation. Just as Peter, John and others, they accepted the watering and nourishing of the Lord, and thus had new light and the path of practice. As a result, they not only had gained the work of the Holy Spirit, but had obtained the Lord’s redemption. Likewise, now the whole religious world becomes seriously desolate, and God wishes that we can take the initiative to look for His footprints. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). It is also prophesied many times in Revelation, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (See Revelation 2-3). The Lord’s words make it very clear that when He returns in the last days, He will still speak words, and that He has reminded us to actively search and pay attention to listening to what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. Therefore, what we should do is not only pray to the Lord, but be a wise virgin to open the door to welcome Him. We should find a church where there are expressions of the truth, and where the Holy Spirit is at work; when listening to the way they preach, we should consider whether it can supply our spirits, whether it can resolve the problem of our sins, and so on. The Lord once said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). Therefore, only when we find the words and utterances of God can we receive the watering of the living water and the provision of life, and solve the desolation of our church. Only in this way can we be brought into the kingdom of heaven by God and obtain eternal life in the end.”
After I read Jack’s messages, my heart could not calm down for a long time. I thought: “That’s right! The Lord said it so clearly in His words. ‘Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (See Revelation 2-3). Why did I not think of this? It seems that if I want to get out of this trouble, I need to actively seek and investigate the church with the Holy Spirit. Only then can I regain God’s supply and guidance, and thoroughly free myself from the desolate condition of the church.”
At that time, with a relieved smile, I began to type to reply to him …