LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE

 

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Revelation 18:4–5

 

The angel with great authority declared that Babylon is fallen. This tells us that a ministry with the everlasting gospel will effectively show from the word of God that all religions and churches other than the church built by Jesus Christ are fallen. They have no standing with God.

This message will not be popular or well received by humanity in general. The only people that really will accept this message are God’s people. We saw the 144,000 that followed the Lamb in chapter 14 and learned that they were God’s people under the sixth seal who understood the truth that the church is the result of the atonement in Christ, not the works of even sincere people building on their ideals of a church. The voice from heaven marks the time of the end-time revival and we find that it has become necessary to preach the message again that Babylon has fallen because, this time, there is even more in the name of Christian religion that has given over to the spirit of apostasy.

In addition to declaring that Babylon is fallen, in the end-time it is necessary to call God’s people out of the Babylon in which they find themselves. There are those that lived under the sixth seal and through the seventh seal that have experienced the truth of the biblical church and were and are now faithful to that truth. But, in the approximate 200 years since the Lamb appeared on Mount Zion, movements have come and gone that proclaimed themselves to be the church of God. Today, while the biblical church exists in those that are redeemed from sin, there is very little of a visible expression of that church. In fact, over that 200 years there has been continual conflict and division to such a degree that the visible church has become almost as obscure as it was during the reign of Papalism and the Reformation.

Yes, there are actual congregations scattered here and there across the world that go by the name church of God that truly are part of the body of Christ. But the reality is that right now there are more of God’s people trapped in the confusion of Babylon religions than are actually part of free congregations.

The prophet Amos saw a similar condition in the apostate Israel of his time. He wrote in Amos 9:9, “Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.” He was using the example of sifting grain to describe the scattering of Israel after the Assyrian conquest in 722 BC. He is saying that after the destruction of apostate Israel only a small remnant would remain in the land. Here is a precedent that can be applied to Babylon. Within the varieties of its religions, both Christ-less and apostate Christian, there is indeed a seemingly insignificant minority that truly seeks to worship the true God and have a right relationship with Him.

The message of the angel with a loud voice is now followed by the voice of God speaking from heaven. Verse 4, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” We know this is the voice of God because He is speaking to those He calls MY people. Also, this is a voice from heaven that is God saying He has remembered the iniquities of Babylon.

Church movements have come and gone that proclaimed a “Come out” message. The application of the message certainly was applicable in their times. However, since this particular plea is found in the 18th chapter and follows the message of the everlasting gospel in chapter 16 and its effects on the harlot, the beast and its horns in chapter 17, we find that there is a very real need for this come out message during the end-time revival.

In the past the “Come out” message often was preached in a manner that was judgmental, accusatory and condemning. This was because of the zeal felt by those movements in the past. Under that zeal, the message was generally preached as, “Your church is wrong and you are going to hell if you stay in it.” That may have had some degree of effectiveness in those days but that is not the true nature of the come out message as it is to be presented in the end time revival.

God calls His people out of all Babylon religions with great compassion. God says that the sins of Babylon have reached to heaven; in a sense, this is God saying “enough is enough.” God is again sending His judgment on Babylon; He wants His people to leave so that they will not fall under the same judgment as Babylon.

Set aside the religious zeal and calmly read what the voice from heaven says and you will see that the come out message is actually a message of reason and appeal.  There is simply one hard fact that people must face when they understand the everlasting gospel: Verse 5, “For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” There is no need to pound people over the head, call them names, or do any kind of threatening. The sins and iniquities of Babylon alone give sincere God-seeking people a real reason to leave the part of Babylon they may be in.

When God reveals the nature of the true church to a person, some spiritual lights turn on in his spirit. This is not limited only to people in Christian religions, it is also true with people in Christ-less religions. All religions attempt to approach God by whatever definition they think of God. While the gods of Christ-less religions are false gods, there is still the one and only true God who reaches out to all people on the face of the earth. So, with a person’s consciousness of a god, the true God can and will communicate with him in such a way as to impress him with the need for true worship and his inability to achieve such worship in a Christ-less religion.

And yes, among Christians in apostate Christianity, God can and does impress them that there must be more to Christianity than just a profession, a list of beliefs, and a church organization.

God’s come out message to these people starts with two points. First, come out so that you will not participate in her sins; and second, God does not want you to share in her punishment. In a very real way Babylon religions are actually in league with sin. This is shown in the fact that they ignore sin; they redefine sin; they excuse sin; they cover sin. Babylon religions offer no real redemption and deliverance from sin in this life. Accepting doctrines and practices of any religion that does not offer the new birth by the blood of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is to participate in the sin of that religion. It is a false religion and offers a false salvation—which is no salvation.

Babylon religions bring people under God’s condemnation. The judgment of God is poured out on these religious systems and people that are tied to those systems place themselves under that judgment. God does not want to condemn people. Jesus taught in John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Religions that reject Christ and apostate Christian churches that reject practical salvation from sin (real holiness) are under God’s condemnation because they keep people from receiving what God has made possible for them. People that remain in Babylon religions make a choice in which they effectively deny God’s love through Jesus Christ as Jesus said in verse 18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Jesus places some serious responsibility on His people that come out of Babylon in verses 6–7, “Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’”

You will recall what Jesus said to the disciples just before He went back to heaven in Acts 1:8, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here in the end-time revival we are truly at the end of the earth. Jesus needs living witnesses who understand the errors of Babylon and how the everlasting gospel revealed those errors to them and called them out.

Jesus needs people that have been in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and the likes to testify of the truth of salvation in Christ to those in those religions. While people that have always been Christians can witness to these dear people, they might view our witness as a prejudice. A person that has been in those religious has credibility with them we do not have even though we bring the same message.  They know the subtleties, cultures, and contexts of those religions that we cannot comprehend.

The same thing is applicable even among Christian churches. We can preach the everlasting gospel to them but because of our familiarity with the message, we may be viewed as prejudice, overbearing and judgmental to those that hear the same message. Someone that has been there and has experienced the double-think of apostate doctrines can speak to them in a way that can reach people as he was reached.

God’s instructions are to repay Babylon double. This is very important because if we do not repay Babylon double, no one will be rescued. What constitutes this double? It is two opposites of Babylon’s works. First: Truth. The unvarnished and accurate teaching of the Word of God. Second: Love. Truth without love is a heavy hammer that destroys. Truth with love reaches directly to the heart and moves people. It is a sad thing when God’s people pound others with the truth as if it were a sledgehammer and have no love to draw people. Remember: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God is love. Where there is God’s love, the hardest and most stern truth becomes a soul-saving appeal to salvation and holiness.

Verse 7 shows us that Babylon has no defense against truth and love. “She says in her heart, I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.” In other words, “I am content with the religious luxury and pleasure I give to my followers and nothing you can say will ever change me.” And this is something people that come out of Babylon will see for themselves. They rejoice in the truth that has freed them and they have a passion to reach their friends and relatives in Babylonian captivity but they soon find that all too many of them are as much devoted to error as they themselves are now devoted to truth.

Verse 8, “Therefore the sorrows of death and mourning and famine shall overtake her in a single day, and she shall be utterly consumed by fire; for mighty is the Lord who judges her.” Those that leave Babylon to follow the Lamb with the everlasting gospel will have no more use for Babylon. Babylon is defeated in their hearts and destroyed by the truth of God’s word.