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Wake Up, O Sleeper, Rise from the Dead

Wake Up, O Sleeper, Rise from the Dead

by David Kyle Foster
www.virtueonline.org
April 22, 2021

Many of us have read Jesus' letter to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22 and have rightly understood it to describe the end times Church -- the Church that we see in the West today. We are rich and seemingly do not need a thing, when in fact, we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. As a result, we are under the discipline of the Lord but are unable to recognize it. Like the frog being cooked in the slowly heated kettle of water, many are unaware of God's judgment and chastisement because we spend little time pursuing Him, listening to His voice and receiving discernment and wisdom from Him.

Instead, we demand to be entertained and flock to superstar leaders who "tickle our ears" (2 Timothy 4:3-4) with false doctrine and unbelief. And because of our compromise and complacency, we have become powerless and are in darkness.

It's just as God said to His prophet Ezekiel.....

My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

Part of the problem with God's people both then and now is adultery, both spiritual and physical.....

I am the Lord. You have not followed My decrees or kept My laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you. (Ezekiel 11:12)

To this, God says...

Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. (Jeremiah 2:19)

I will hand you over to your lovers, and it is they who will punish you......I handed her over to her lovers......I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards.....Since you have forgotten Me and thrust Me behind your back,
you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.
(Ezekiel 16:39; 23:9a, 24c,35b)

In Ephesians, it says that we are in desperate need of hearing, sight, holiness and a willingness to truly repent for our compromise. Materialism, an independent spirit, pride and gross immoralities are typical rather than atypical in a huge swath of those who consider themselves to be a part of the Body of Christ.

There is considerably more than a hint of sexual immorality and impurity (Ephesians 5:3) inside the church today. This should alarm us, considering v 5: "no immoral, impure or greedy person -- such a man is an idolater -- has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God." As Solomon said in Proverbs 8:13: "To fear the Lord is to hate evil!"

The Holy Spirit exhorts believers in vv 11-12:

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

Today, homosexual behavior, the sexual abuse of minors, adultery, promiscuity, the use of pornography, and all forms of fornication are rampant among clergy and other so-called believers. Even among those who do not commit such detestable practices, a huge swath of the shepherds of the flock do little to nothing to call people to holiness or to equip the Church to minister to the epidemic of sexually bound and broken people. And what is worse, many wink, nod and even encourage those who practice immorality. In truth, there is no fear of the Lord! (Proverbs 8:13a; Romans 3:18) In truth, we have corrupted the biblical understanding of "grace" in order to excuse lawlessness.

Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)

It is important to understand that doing nothing in the face of gross immorality in the Church is perceived as tacit approval by those who commit such sins. Yet so many ignore God's command found in 1 Corinthians 5:13: "Expel the wicked man from among you!" lest their blood be on your hands! (Ezekiel 3:18c; 33:7-9; Acts 20:26-31)

Jesus warned the hypocritical shepherds of His day......

Woe to you blind guides....Woe to you teachers of the law...you hypocrites!...You blind guides! You clean the outside, but inside (you) are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Mt 23:16a, 23a, 25).

The most egregious example of this during the last fifty years is those who molest children and teens and those who protect such predators, even sending them out among the flock to practice their evil trade on more victims. This is indeed an unspeakable evil.

For example, recent scandals have uncovered child predators in the Catholic Church as well as prelates who protect them. This should be a wake-up call to us all! And yet, such predators are sometimes elevated to the highest ranks of the clergy by those who are aware of their crimes. And worse still, many of these known sex criminals are secretly moved to other parts of the country to perpetuate the human carnage by destroying the lives of even more children.

Silence is itself an appalling crime in this matter. When Pope Francis was recently exposed by the highly respected Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, (who had everything to lose and nothing to gain by this exposure), for covering up the sex crimes of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Pope's response was to refuse comment -- a response that lost him all credibility among the Catholic faithful and observers worldwide. Pope Benedict had previously imposed sanctions on McCarrick over the same charges but to date, Pope Francis has not scheduled a canonical trial in the matter.

Where is the concern for the victims whose lives have been forever scarred? It seems to have fallen victim to seared consciences among the shepherds of the sheep. Even the various dioceses that house records that could corroborate the accusations against McCarrick and other abusers have refused to open their archives for examination.

One impressive exception to the cover-up in the Catholic Church is the Catholic TV network, EWTN, especially the reporting of Raymond Arroyo on "The World Over Live". Considering the fact that EWTN has since its inception been the most faithful and supportive media voice for the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, their honesty in exposing this corruption at the highest levels is most impressive.

Sadly, however, a recent request by Robert Bennett, former head of the highly experienced lay panel, (The Bishop's National Review Board), that investigated the last Catholic sex abuse scandal in 2002, asking for the Board to be reinstated so that this latest clergy sex abuse crisis can be investigated, has been ignored by this silent Pope.

Bennett requested permission from the Pope (through Cardinal DiNardo) to create a "Lay Independent Inquiry Board" in light of the bishop's refusal to open up their diocesan records, and considering the inability of Church clerics to properly respond to any sex abuse crisis. Understandably, there is outrage by Catholic laypeople to the way things have been mishandled by the Church as well as a great sense of betrayal by those who have been sexually abused by clergy.

In a move that shocked and surprised everyone, Pope Francis was recently charged by Archbishop Vigano of defending practicing homosexual clergy who have committed the bulk of the serious sex crimes against minors and adults. It is well known that Pope Francis reinstated Fr. Julio Grassi in Buenos Aires, (after Pope Benedict had removed him from ministry), until Grassi had finally been sent to prison for his sex crimes against minors. The Pope also stopped the investigation of sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, which "World Over" host Raymond Arroyo pointed out was tantamount to undercutting mercy and justice for the victims of the abuse.

Cardinal Muller recently pointed out that despite the Vatican's refusal to do so, "the only justice for the victims is that the perpetrator must be dismissed from the clerical state. If you are a good shepherd, you cannot ruin the sheep," he added.

According to numerous reports, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, was removed from office in 2017 by the current Pope because he was not merciful enough to sexual abusers. Cardinal Muller's response to that charge on a recent broadcast of "The World Over Live" was that such as claim is a misunderstanding of the priorities of biblical mercy, which should first and foremost be extended to the victims.

State Attorneys General that have begun investigations into clerical abuses in the Catholic Church have uncovered tens of thousands of instances of sexual abuse of minors in each state that they have examined! Additionally, tens of thousands of abuse cases have also been discovered in Europe and other continents. And yet, the church continues to stonewall secular authorities who are trying to put a stop to these unspeakable crimes and bring justice to the victims.

The focus of the Roman Catholic Church, (as well as Protestant churches found to protect child abusers and to cover up clerical crimes), has been to defend the "machine" at all costs. Empty public spectacles of sorrow and declarations of concern for the victims have been a sham in light of the cover-ups and in light of the priority given to protecting the coffers, the leaders and the business of the church.

Where is the mercy? Where is the justice? Where is the ministry of healing for the victims? Where is the genuine sorrow for them? It is an atrocity that victims have been forced by the Church to battle against lawyers for the slightest hint of admission of guilt, and for compensation for the lifetime of pain and therapeutic help produced by the predator priests and cover-up prelates.

The Protestant church is also filled with denials by abusers, cover-ups by churches, resistance by church lawyers to admit guilt and to appropriately compensate victims. They are, in effect, tying millstones around the necks of the victims and throwing them into the sea (ref. Luke 17:1-2).

Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino recently wrote that one of the problems faced by the Church today is that we have lost our hatred of sin. He points out that Proverbs 8:13 says that the fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil, or sin. Morlino added, "Things are seriously wrong and the Church needs to respond and do our part." He then called for a systematic investigation of the files of every Catholic diocese.

The Bible is clear regarding the commission of sexual sin and those who encourage it. The Apostle Peter called such people false prophets and false teachers whose condemnation and destruction has been long hanging over them. He writes:

They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; seducing the unstable......an accursed brood. Blackest darkness is reserved for them....for they appeal to the lustful desires of sinful human nature and entice people....promising them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity....If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them. (2 Peter 2:13-14, 17b, 18b, 19a, 20-21)

And to those in the Church who tolerate such immorality, Jesus declares......

I will cast (them) on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with (them) suffer intensely, unless they repent of (their) ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds......To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. (Revelation 2:22-23, 26)

The Laodicean church today does not realize the danger it has put itself in, not only for enabling child abuse, but for all of the sexual immoralities that it harbors within its ranks. In countless cases of adultery, homosexual behavior and other immoralities committed by influential church leaders, offenders have been quickly returned to their clerical office, sending a clear message to the world and everyone else that the victims are nothing more than collateral damage in the pursuit of power and position.

Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Romans 6:7-8)

Truly, our modern "Laodicean" church has lost its fear of God and its hatred of evil.

But what of grace, you may ask? Let's let the Apostle Paul answer that question...

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?...For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.....
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(Romans 6:1-2, 23; 8:13-14)

So again I say, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!
(Ephesians 5:14b)

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Dr. David Kyle Foster is the author of Transformed Into His Image, Love Hunger and Sexual Healing and is the founder/director of Mastering Life Ministries (www.MasteringLife.org). A major revision and expansion of Sexual Healing (The Sexual Healing Reference Edition) is now available.

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