Death of the Harlot Church

Are you ready to weep over the things Jesus weeps over? Jesus wept. He was angered at the hardness of their hearts. Are you willing to speak up and speak out about the same things He does?

If you are truly one with Him then you will sense not only His joy and His peace, but you will also sense His urgency, and His dissatisfaction with those things that claim to represent Him, but do not.

I know that there are many who will say that God never sees us as anything other than the spotless Bride of Christ, all He sees is how wonderful we are and He loves us no matter what. And they will quickly dismiss anything that suggests that God is not 100% satisfied with things the way they are.

I think those with some maturity will see things differently. When I look at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapters 2 and 3, I see another side of the Lord

Jesus – One Who has eyes that burn with fire, Who stands in the midst of the candlesticks, and says, “I know your works… but I have this against you.” “You have lost your first love.” “You endure those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, and the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” “You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, yet teaches and seduces My servants.” “Strengthen the things that are ready to die, because I have not found your works perfect before God, and if you do not watch I will come upon you as a thief.” “You say that you are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, but I see you as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, and because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

This Jesus cannot tolerate hypocrisy. This Jesus will go out of His way to curse an unfruitful fruit tree who claims to be something that it isn’t. When you read what He had to say to the believers in Asia, you do not get the sense that He was all that pleased with how things were going. Yes, He praised them for the good things whenever possible, but the overall tenor of those prophetic declarations reveals a divine dissatisfaction, and an unwillingness to allow things to continue on without some kind of correction, rebuke, and adjustment back to the way He wants things to be.

There is a mass exodus of people leaving churches today. The significant thing is that they are not so much leaving one church and then joining another; there has always been a lot of that, and that will always be the case. What is significant about this mass exodus is the numbers of people who are leaving their churches and not going back. They are not looking for another church to attend.

How do you explain that? I believe I can sum everything up for you in one word: dissatisfaction. They are dissatisfied. Dissatisfied… and that’s an interesting word, because it is the same word I used to describe how Jesus felt about those churches in the Book of Revelation – dissatisfied. Not content to just let things continue. It doesn’t mean everything is bad, but overall it was an appalling state of things.

Just take a look at the church in Ephesus. Jesus said of them, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary” (Rev.2:2,3). That sounds like a good church. That is the kind of church that would televise its services, would be really active in the community, doing good and preaching the truth. That is the kind of church that would be reaching out and growing and really making a difference.

But all of that is leaves dear friends. We might look at a church like that and think they are doing pretty well, but Jesus looks at this and acknowledges all the good things they are doing and says “Nevertheless….” Nevertheless! “Something is missing. You have lost something. You have lost your first love. The work of the Lord became more important than the Lord of the work. You have a lot of leaves, but you don’t have any fruit. I am not satisfied. In fact, I would rather you shut down altogether than have you continue to do so many good works in My Name when you have forgotten what it means to love Me and put Me first. Repent and go back and do the first things over again. If you do not repent, I will come, and I will take away your candlestick. That means you will no longer be able to give or receive light. I will no longer be in your midst, and I will no longer consider you as having anything to do with Me.”

That is very sobering. It is a wake-up call. The Ekklesia in Ephesus underscores that Jesus is seeking a specific outcome from those who are gathered in His Name. He will be patient. He will encourage you. He will warn you. He will work with you. If you repent He will take you deeper and deeper into His Purpose. But sooner or later, if you do not provide light, He takes the candlestick away; if you do not produce fruit, then He just takes the life away. He cursed the fig tree and it withered and died. When the judgment of God comes, the meetings will continue, and the preachers will continue to preach, and the programs will continue to function, and the money will continue to be collected and spent, but there is no Light, no Life. It isn’t that Jesus has left them; He says, “You have left Me, your first love. You seem to be getting along and having a good time without Me, so off you go. Keep playing church. But I have removed your candlestick.”

If you were part of the Ekklesia in Ephesus, and you heard this warning from the Lord and you repented, then well and good. But if your friends in Ephesus did not heed the warning to repent and return to their first love, what would you do? You’d be sorry and you’d agonize over the situation and you’d plead with your friends to listen and obey the Lord – but if they still didn’t repent, would you stay and go down with them into the darkness? Not if you have any common sense.

Jesus said the servant will be where the Master is. If Jesus says, “My glory is departing. I am no longer welcome here. I am leaving,” then all faithful servants will say, “Well Lord, if You’re leaving then we’re leaving too. God forbid that we should continue alone and apart from You. God forbid that we should continue to support something that has come under Your judgment. We are the servants of the Lord – we are not the servants of the pastor or the servants of the church.” To the people you would say, “I love you and I pray for you, but it is time for me to go. I have to follow the Lord.” That is what a faithful servant would say. When the Master gets up and walks out, then we will get up and leave also.

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2017-03-06T09:42:26+00:00 By |Ekklesia, Fellowship & Church|

About the Author:

CHIP BROGDEN is an author, teacher, and former pastor who shares "real, simple, truth" about a Christ-centered faith that is based on relationship, not religion. Learn more »

22 Comments

  1. Norman Dec 8 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Thank you again Chip for hitting the nail on the head. Loving the Lord of the work rather than the work of the Lord! I was thinking recently of Enoch walking with God. What did they enjoy in one another? Who did most of the talking? Did they walk a lot of the time in silence? Did they hold hands? Did they sing or dance together? Thinking about Enoch’s relationship with the Lord, unencumbered by 21st century appliances, technology, possibilities, knowledge, I find it easier to be relieved of focusing on the work of the Lord and find myself wanting to delight in my creator, redeemer saviour and Lord. God bless you and Carla and thank you for being so helpful to me in my walk.

  2. eve Dec 8 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Yes I got up and walked away too from those parent elders that would have me go to their brand of church that is I can see in discernment, is not working for the love of Christ but for their love of prestige and money.

    The same ones who closed my old church that was faithful and in fact just recently a man was touched and brought to tears as he realised Jesus is real in that same church that they then closed down as in their brand of church ideals it was not growing so then not considered successful so not worth saving.

    Am I feeling rushed to attend another church…no.

    I will go where the Lord asks me to go… and no other place.

    Ej, so saddened to see others who are not able to be so discerning and return back to the false fold of this parent church.

    I thank the Lord that I can see the truth, even though it hurts to do so.

    Parts of the UK are getting so dark but yet God has a plan 🙂

  3. Becky McLendon Dec 8 at 10:27 am - Reply

    This addresses the unrest and anguish I feel in my soul when talking and walking among those in the institutions, including non-denominational brothers and sisters. I pray that this square peg will be able to speak a message sharpened and tooled by the Holy Spirit that cries “Let My people go” that they can find Me and be led of me on My arm up out of the wilderness into My Glory ! Otherwise they will continue being inoculated by the subtle but deadly deception that they are OK and have My Favor simply because they look successful in all their endeavors!”

  4. Lila Dec 8 at 10:45 am - Reply

    I am so reminded of the book of Judges–Ichabod, the Glory has departed–when the Ark, the presence of God, was captured by the Philistines, the materialists who worshipped wealth and power. Also in that same book, Samson did not realize that the anointing had departed after he fell asleep. What a picture of Christendom–Ichabod and the church-that-fell-asleep, not realizing that the Glory of God has departed from them!!!

  5. Raphael Fagbohun Dec 8 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    This blessed me bro. This is the situation of the Church in this time. I see this everywhere in Nigeria, I Africa and in the whole world over. It makes me to cry, “Come Lord Jesus”

  6. thea Dec 8 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    The first scripture that came to my mind as I was reading this article was simply “Ichabod”, the glory of the Lord has departed. So very sad. We must choose to be in the yoke with Jesus; every day.

  7. sherry Dec 8 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    The very reasons I left it all behind is in Revelations 2 verses 2-3. Being a hard worker for the Lord and also patient that one day all the bad would work itself out, well that day never came and people were being hurt and manipulated more and more and lies after lies from the one at the pulpit were being believed by the elders because he was bringing so many people in and money was coming in to pay for idolatry and all believed bigger is better and they didn’t want to get rid of the evil one doing all the harm and false teaching in fear of a church split or an all fallout. After a while and much prayer the Lord opened my eyes to truth and I started to see false apostles, liars, and more evil. I patiently waited on the Lord to fix it but He didn’t, so I had to decide to walk away to not look back. I did not go kicking and screaming and would someone please listen to me and what the Lord was telling me through His word, I knew my efforts would be futile and I would not be heard. In fact I would have been kicked out, so I just quietly left out the back door and after 4 months I was starting to be missed. This told me that people did not matter to the one at the pulpit. Every man made temple may not be this way but this was my experience. As far as I know the church is still growing by leaps and bounds with about 3 million $ in debt for idolatry, but people there continue to praise the Lord for His faithfulness to grow the church. The vision the people has is so twisted compared to scripture. Nothing is really compared to scripture, it’s all based on the vision of the preacher and what he want’s for his empire, not what Jesus want’s.

  8. Jason Mitchell Dec 9 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Good word Bro. Chip!!

  9. Felicity Symington Dec 9 at 1:46 am - Reply

    It is so TRUE what you’re saying that is exactly how I feel. If JESUS is no where to be found in a church body who is playing church, but The Love of Jesus is no where to be found. I won’t no part of that church. My heart is so warped up in My Lord and all I won’t to do, be is with My Lord following His Lead. Thank you Chip I agree with you wholeheartly. God Bless You for your courage and boldness to speak as our Lord has prompted you for a season just like this. The Church is seekIng JESUS first, as He is our first and forth most LOVE. SHALOM JESUS SHALOM BE YOURS ALWAYS IN JESUS NAME. AMEN.

  10. Mary Dec 9 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Going through a difficult time once a few years back, when I had believed I was in the palm of God’s hand in my work, having come out of the institution and found new eyes for the church where she is: suddenly everything stopped, as if the devil had sent out spoilers to every aspect of ministry, just to finish me off. This made no logical sense to me at all: I thought I was seeing fruit in that situation and felt I had the presence of God. Walking with a heavy heart, I passed a pear tree laden with ripe pears, a black crow seated on each one, pecking. The phrase sprang up in my mind “they are spoiling perfectly good fruit”.

    So as I struggled with the reality I now had, the difficulty of continuing when just about everyone had me down as the bad guy, of course I needed to hear from the Lord. I was sitting eating grapes, my legs dangling over the armchair, praying “so what’s going on Lord? Why have you allowed this all to be stopped?”. Clear as a bell I heard in my spirit, “It is radical pruning”.

    I stared at the now empty grape-stalk in my hand, and I got the message, all in that split second. I am a bit of a gardener, and I know what pruning is for. It looks a bit painful and severe to cut big healthy branches off the fruiting trees, but there was a point to it: it was to bring forth better fruit.

    I have heard many preach a feel-good message that we can bypass the painful pruning process and still be used of God, that suffering has no place among His children. But to bypass spiritual pruning in our walk would result in a lot of “leaves” as you say, but no apparent fruit. And if there is no fruit, it is fit only for the fire.

    We can all rustle up a good show that everything is in order, that we are truly spiritual men and women: but it takes the hand of God to bring forth fruit. It is the hand of God that we need to submit to, which separates us from the lukewarm lovers of pleasure. The hand of God can be trusted to do what is right: what to take away from us so that we will bear better and more abundant fruit.
    Thank You Jesus.
    Love, Mary

  11. Laina Dec 9 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Your words are very inspirational and provkes the soul to move on towards love and good deeds.

    I see this warning to those of us who’ve already left the institutional church. We can begin to feel we’ve arrived and become comfortable just because we have left the organizations that call themselves the church.

    But we are not immune from following the old patterns of church. We can fall right back into same ‘ol same ‘ol if we aren’t careful.

    I recently listened to a small segment of teaching from K P Yohanann from GFA. He kindly challenged the Western Church to stop focusing their efforts on reading books upon books about God and to stop going to bible study for years and years on end learning about God and Jesus, but rather instead we must get to KNOW Jesus, not just learn ABOUT Him.

    We in the West have a tendency to learn so much about our Lord without knowing our Lord and loving Him to the point of obedience. Jesus said if we love Him we will obey Him and we will deny ourselves, carry our cross and follow Him.

    Your words of warning about leaving our first love comes upon us slowly so that we don’t even recognize it’s happening/happened. We’re so busy being about the Lord’s work that our love and devotion begins to shift off of the great and mighty Lord of all creation and moves towards what we can DO FOR Him instead of IN OBEDIENCE TO Him and we begin to leave our first love.

    Thank you so much for the reminder of the warnings Jesus lovingly left for us so that we would not perish with the world, but instead there awaits a wondrous reuniting with our Lord on that great and powerful day when He comes for His bride.

    May we all repent and weep over our sin and again return and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love one another in the same way we love our own selves.

    Let’s pray for God to grant his salve for our eyes, and let’s pray for the gold refined by fire, and the white clothes to cover our nakedness. Let’s be earnest and repent.

    How grateful and thankful I am that I feel His chastening – because I feel His love!

  12. Sherry Dec 10 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I would like to thank you for this article. This paragraph, especially, spoke to my heart…”You’d be sorry and you’d agonize over the situation and you’d plead with your friends to listen and obey the Lord – but if they still didn’t repent, would you stay and go down with them into the darkness? Not if you have any common sense.” Herein lies my dilemna. 3 years ago, about this time of the year, my eyes were finally opened. I really want no part of the institution anymore. But I struggle. I struggle because my spouse is very content in the “church”. His job entails that he work every other weekend so he is fine if I don’t go to services on those Sunday’s. However, he wants me with him those Sunday’s he doesn’t work. Both morning and evening services. I’ve gone but last Sun evening I refused and he was not at all happy. I’ve tried, for 3 years, to explain the change in my life. I’ve asked the Lord what to do. My dh sees the change in me and doesn’t understand. I’ve prayed for 3 years that Father would open his heart and eyes but I’m coming to the realization that it is probably not going to happen. I guess I need to know how to go forward when my spouse has no interest . To be quite honest, I feel trapped.

    • ilene wood Dec 11 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Sherry, keep going for his sake. You know the Word and Life of Christ, be there for him so that he sees your love and respect for him; do it as unto the Lord. And keep praying for him, and for that church.
      Keep your head up, your heart filled with the Spirit, and keep God’s Word. Walk in life and by faith, not by what you are seeing.
      I know it can be hard going to a lifeless church, been there. Sometimes I feel as if the life is drained out of me from going [like the church was a vampire]. I had totally quit. But now am back because the Lord has sent me there, and under His leading I am not sucked dry! I remain in Him, and pray over myself, because there has to be some sort of spirit at work there that is getting to us to try and make us ineffective, so, keep talking to the Lord about it and that you are open to Him for His leading/instruction.
      I send my love to you, and hope to see you get through this thing too.

      [In other words, look at it from the Lord’s eyes, in another perspective, His.] 🙂

      The Lord bless you.

      • Chip Brogden Dec 12 at 11:11 am - Reply

        Well, I can’t wait for the podcast. I have to answer this now. I’m not comfortable telling someone to go to church because their spouse wants them to. That may or may not be appropriate. There are too many factors involved to make that kind of a blanket suggestion. The marriage needs to support both people, and asking one spouse to give in to “keep the peace” doesn’t address the underlying issue of why one person gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. You should be able to love, respect, and pray for your spouse without giving them their way – especially in matters of conscience. If that’s not happening then it suggests a deeper issue in the relationship that appeasement does not address.

    • Chip Brogden Dec 11 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Sherry… I think I’d like to answer that on this Friday’s edition of CrossWind because it really involves two overlapping issues that are relevant to what I’ve been talking about lately: relationships and coming out of church. I’ll post the link when it’s ready. In the meantime, don’t give up!

    • Cathy Aug 17 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      I am one who left completely — not called into any other church/movement/denomination. I am the only one in my Catholic family to have left completely. I could write a long story of heartbreak and sadness, but I’m not ready to right my story — although I’m beginning to think it will help many; I leave it in God’s hands for now, He will know the right time.

      What I will say is keep praying. The first, most valuable lesson I learned in this journey is from Emmet Fox: Prayer changes things. Fox, and many others, will also let you know that often things will get worse before they get better. My life has been a textbook case in this for three years. Do I believe these are tests from God? No, I honestly do not. But I do believe that evil works overtime in the hopes that you will stop searching, stop praying, blame God, and give up.

      Don’t give up. In the midst of my mess some amazing things have begun to happen in my life, starting this year. Is my son still an alcoholic? Yes. Are my brothers and sisters still deep in Catholicism? Yes. Am I worried or fearful? Sometimes. But then I always go back to prayer — if I have no words of my own I will open David’s words in the psalms and I make them my own.

      Although I have not had to go into a church I did not let go of my membership in my parish. I have not felt drawn to do this and I have certainly let my Father know that I would have no problems going back there were I so led. The Bible that led me out of the Catholic Church was given to me at a small Catholic prayer meeting that I went to every week for two years. I didn’t learn a lot there and certainly had no idea that I would ever truly open that book. That bible is very worn now, with tons of post-its and other page markers.

      Be blessed

  13. ilene wood Dec 11 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    It seems funny how pastors does not believe it is them, it is always the other guy.

    • sherry Dec 11 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Ilene,
      Yes you are right. Those at the pulpit and others in the fold blame every bad thing on the TV preachers and false churches like the cults, but they themselves will not repent for harming the people of God themselves because how the church operates today is good and there is nothing to repent of. This is why we have to know the word of God for ourselves. We have to seek wisdom and discernment when it comes to Gods word in order to rightly divide the word of truth.

  14. Kendall Richard Albright Dec 12 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I have found since leaving the harlot church system that I now have the freedom to actually walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruits of the Spirit in my daily encounters with people that God brings my way. I have fellowship with believers wherever I go. and Enjoy the Great Promises of God He has taught me in His Glorious Word. The Scripture verse I encountered yesterday which gave me real opportunity to rejoice was 1Peter 2:9. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” This is something I can put into action with these great gifts that are mentioned here. Wow isn’t this wonderful. Now we as the ekklesia must go in Peace and serve the Lord.

  15. Albert Apr 26 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    for the past 2 or so weeks my eyes have been continually opened, however leaving the institutional church will be a next to impossible feat for me at this point because my parents are forcing me to go, primarily my mother and even if I try to explain everything I learned to her, she will have none of it, because she’s very stiff-necked and clings to her own beliefs, I guess I will still go but while my body will be in the church building, my mind will be elsewhere

  16. Randy Harrell May 11 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Hey brother Chip I have left the institution but my wife has not but I just can’t talk to her about it I know what believe and see I have battling churchianity for years but now I am done with false church but my wife just doesn’t understand what in the world I’m doing

  17. Wendy Apr 13 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Wow. ..this makes you as a Believe examine yourself, to see whether you are in the FAITH and still truly connected with your first love. ..
    HELP Jesus

    Wendy

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