Hello, dear friends and welcome to another podcast. In my last two podcasts, I started a discussion on the Last of the Last Days. I am continuing the discussion today with today’s podcast which I have titled, Church Who Are You.  The summation of those previous podcasts is this - you and I are living in the last days or the end times. And the question I posed in those podcasts and again, is this - what are you going to do with it? Will you be a participator or a spectator?

I will repeat a statement I made in one of those podcasts or both - you and I were born, and we have been prepared for such a time as this. This is the hour of the Church. We need to make it our finest hours. By way of a quick recap, in the book of Revelation 2:14 - 15, Jesus warned the Church against the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. I explained that the doctrine of Balaam or the counsel that Balaam gave to the King of Moab who was seeking to destroy Israel was to entice Israel into compromise by enticing them with the Moabite women and to live with idol worshippers. The result was the destruction of 24,000 of the men of Israel by a plague. It was not what was outside of them that destroyed them, it was what they were brewing inside of themselves. It was who Israel kept company with what they looked at, how they entertained themselves.

Jesus also warned against the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. According to early church fathers, these were people who professed to be Christians but lived licentiously. They were a group of leaders who advocated worldly compromise to avoid being persecuted by the pagans around them. Going back to the question I posed earlier, you and I have a decision to make. Go with the flow of the world or refuse to compromise. There is no in-between, no demilitarized zone. Riding the fence is not an option. The Bible says be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind. That tells us that we are always conforming to someone – we are either conforming to our Lord, Jesus, or conforming to the devil as represented by the world’s system. Did you also know that we may be resolute in faith in some areas, and yet compromise in others? This is why the Bible warns in 1 Corinthians 10:12 – that, therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
God also warns in James 4:4 (NASB) You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

In one of the final words Jesus spoke to the church, He said, in Revelations 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. The scriptures were not written to cause us to live in fear but to preserve us. In these last days, there will be evil in the world but there will be glory in the church. Neither is God trying to keep anyone out of heaven. He proved this by giving His only son for us. The issue we are faced with is about ensuring that we live the way we are designed to live on this side of life. It is about living victoriously, occupying, dominating until He comes. When Jesus comes for the church, we will not be escaping by the skin of our teeth, we will be leaving triumphantly. Romans 5:17, says, for if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. This is because God has an identity created for the Church of the last days. It is in our spiritual DNA to live at this time and to live victoriously, like others before us.

2 Peter 3:10-11 (NIV)  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything was done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives. That is my question for you today – what kind of person ought you to be? Or in the frame of a recent teaching, Christian, who are you? I remember reading the review of a movie called the Bourne identity many years ago. It was the story of a man suffering from extreme memory loss and attempting to discover his true identity. On his journey to discover who he truly was, he finds he can trust no one’s account of who he was, including the CIA. If we do not know who we are, we will be whatever the world tells us we are.  They have labeled us as intolerant, hypocrites, holier than thou, homophobic, etc. They have tried to shame us such that we are stepping away from God’s standard to what is popular, mainstream, and culturally and politically acceptable. We have let the world lead us to compromise, we have compromised our identity and we have been marginalized where it matters. 

The solution to compromise is only one thing –the knowledge of the truth: absolute truth.  Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free - John 8:32. We must go to the Maker and to His manual. It is time to adhere to God, to the standard of His Word and to our identity. Mark Hankins said - Your destiny is connected to your identity. Who are you child of God? 1 John 3:2-3 says, Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. In the amplified - 1 John 3:2-3 (AMPC) - Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.  And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless). 

You know what they say when little Johnny looks just like his daddy – we too look just like our brother Jesus – we are His spitting image, like Father, like son. God’s intention and expectation is for us to look and live just like Jesus not only in our spirits but in how we live and operate in this realm.  Mark Hankins says that God put in Christ everything He wanted you and me to be. Who are you child of God? The first answer to that is this. You are the Church of the Living God. You are the Church. The Church is known as Ekklesia in Greek. The English word does not convey the meaning intended by the Greek word. Ekklesia was not a new word when it was attributed to the Church. It already existed. And the hearers knew exactly what the Church was meant to be when they were called church or Ekklesia.

In Matthew 16:16-18, Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. The Church or the Ekklesia is to be built on the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and the gates of hell itself will not overcome the Ekklesia.  What was the Ekklesia? Ekklesia is a Greek word that was used for the prestigious public assembly of Athens. They determined laws, debated public policies, formulated new policies, argued, and ruled in judicial matters, elected chief magistrates, of the land, and decided who should be banished. To be called from society and invited to participate in this public service was a great honor and only full citizens were eligible. The Church is people - Christians, not a building. We as Christians, have a calling to formulate public policies, decide judicial matters, direct the affairs of nations, etc. Next podcast we will look at how we as the Church should take our rightful place.