We are seriously nearing the coming of Jesus for His Church, at any moment now the Master will return and take His Church home. All of the watchmen and lady-watchers are posting and sharing their heart and love for Jesus on many social media platforms. They are saying so many wonderful things about their love for the Lord and their excitement for His soon return. I felt it prudent to post a blog that dealt with the reality and plight of many ‘so-called’ believers in Jesus, who, this close to the Rapture, may not even realize that they are not even saved. While it’s true that the world will know we are Christians by the way we love, it’s equally true that our love for the Lord is directly reflected in our love for others, particular our brothers and sisters in Christ, the household of faith.
Be Generous and Do Good: “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:6-10
I am a pastor in my late 50’s, I have been in the ministry for almost 40 years now. I have seen, done, and grown a lot in and for the Lord over the years. I am so thankful to have been able to serve Jesus all my adult life and in the many ministry capacities that I have. As a young man in my teens, I forsook my plans for ‘my’ life and yielded to Jesus’ call on my life; which really belongs to Him. One of the things that I have noticed in my journey of faith is the criticism that we minsters get from the laity; it’s not only unwarranted, but it’s highly inappropriate. In my years of service, I have made many mistakes along the way, far fewer than the good things and accomplishments I have done in Christ. It would seem those ‘so-called’ believers who are younger or weaker in their faith tend to take shots at church leadership, judging them or making harsh statements to their face, behind their back, or posting it on a social media platform. This is not okay in the sight of the Lord and it hurts the body of Christ immensely. I have learned that if we love Jesus, we are going to love what Jesus loves; and Jesus loves His Church and the many people who would be included within it. Our first thought must be love and when it’s not, usually what comes out doesn’t reflect God’s love or His nature, which is to love others, even when they are not the easiest to love.
Jesus said it this way, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” – Luke 6:31-33
This most simple and basic command, if properly followed, would eliminate the negative gossip, slander, and blast posts that so many ‘believers’ put out there. You would think that many of these people still believe we are living in the OT. I get that people in the church have been hurt by pastors and visa versa. I have hurt a few people myself and apologized for it, profusely; but it doesn’t change the fact that we need to love, forgive, and be restored to one another. We don’t have to associate or fellowship with these forgiven folks, no more than we should allow the enemy to gain a foothold on our life, causing bitterness and strife to continue.
Jesus also said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:43-45
- The Apostle John stated that we will know that we are Christians by the way that we love one another. Our love for God will become our love for people, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
If we are holding bitterness and unforgiveness toward the church at large or individuals within it, then we need to forgive them and release them to the Lord, thus releasing ourselves in the process. Too many believers are still unforgiving. Some who have been hurt by the church have disassociated themselves from the church and as a result, have hurt themselves and those under their stead, because the church is God’s holy institution where His Word goes forth, as does His people, to be a witness and to minister Christ’ love to a broken world. We are not to refrain from local church fellowship or the support of it; this is God’s Church, He loves it, He loves us, and we are to be part of this precious community of believers. Hebrews 10:24,25 It would seem that many who have separated themselves from the church have done so because of abuse or hurt by the church, or the leadership therein. I am so sorry for that and for you who have denied yourself the very thing that Jesus provided for you in the healthy fellowship of other believers. The bottom line, you have to forgive them and all who have offended or hurt you. You have to release them, and yourself, from that bondage of sin and degradation.
Jesus said it this way, twice!
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:12, 14
The main reason so many of these ‘so-called’ believers are so harsh against the church, or their responses to others, or who are quick to criticize, has more to do with their hurt and pain caused them by others. They hurt and they have been hurt; we all have. We all need to forgive and release so we will be forgiven by the Lord and released from the consequence of our sin. People who are quick to hurt, are usually hurt themselves.
Knowing God Through Love: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:7-11
I recently posted a ‘point of clarity’ response on a Christian YouTube channel in regard to what the host of the channel was proposing in the possibility of believers who are not watching for Jesus’ return, will not be going with Him when He does return. It was a good post that you can read for yourself on this blog site titled ‘Is Jesus Returning for Me or Not?! The post was appropriate and loving, not giving offense to anyone. It was a kind word of biblical clarity that we pastors are used to giving to folks when needed. One of the subscribers posted a response to my post that was very harsh, rude, and inappropriate. I felt a negative spirit coming off that response and I prayed about it. I have been in this business for more years than I have been alive so I did what most mature believers would do, I deleted it and prayed for the person who posted it.
The Spirit reminded me that we, as Christians, all represent the Lord in what we say and do. While I don’t want to get into some kind of internet debate over the issue stated, I do believe that this person who harshly rebuked me represents many in the body of Christ who have taken it upon themselves to be self-appointed judges over others; they are as critical as they are angry, bitter, unforgiving, and possibly not even saved. Worse than that, they may not even know it. This is a horrific plight for a person to be in; but one that can be remedied if properly assessed and dealt with.
The tile of this blog is ‘The 50% theory,’ it comes from Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25.
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” – Matthew 25:1-13
This parable is all about the Rapture of the Church; anyone who says otherwise needs to go back to seminary. The ten virgins represent the body of Christ, the Church. The five wise virgins are those believers who are truly saved. The five foolish virgins are those who think that they are saved, but who are not. The lamps are the vessels that hold the oil, representing the Holy Spirit, that is, the salvation afforded us through Jesus. A person who has an empty lamp is not saved, but they look like they are saved. They may be part of a local church and participate in the activities and ministries therein, but they are just not saved.
I remember leading a ministry detail on a monthly outreach to the Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles on Skid Row. There was a lady on our team who loved serving; she was all about the work and volunteerism of ministry, but she herself, was not a believer. When I pressed her on the salvation issue, she rebuked me and quit the team. I felt bad for her. The Lord reminded me that not everyone who worked on Noah’s ark, rode in it. So it is with the body of Christ. People hang around the church and get involved in all sorts of ministry ops, but in the end, none of that can save a person; only Jesus can save, not the works that we do for Him.
Jesus said it this way, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:21-23
In context, this passage occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment when all non-believers who have been suffering in Gehenna Hell, up until that point in time, are brought out of Gehenna Hell and who will stand before the Lord, one by one, at this judgment, where they plead their case pointlessly. From there they will be cast into the Lake of Fire, the second death, where they will consciously suffer for all of eternity, along with the rest of spiritually lost humanity, including the devil himself, and all of his demonic hordes. This is by far the most scariest verse in the Bible. I thank God the Holy Spirit has conformed our salvation and sealed us unto the day of redemption.
Sonship Through the Spirit: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, (Daddy) Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” – Romans 8:12-17
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells us that the bridegroom, representing Himself, was delayed, and all of the virgins ‘slumbered and slept.’ This represents the business as usual that we all do in life, going about our routine and living our lives to the fullest. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just what we do on this side of the veil. The difference is that five of the wise virgins kept oil in their lamps. This means that in life, as we live it, we need to maintain our salvation and walk with Jesus. We live our life, but we do it with Jesus, not without Him.
Too many ‘so-called’ believers do life without Jesus; for them, He’s more of a symbol or token of their spiritual identity than He is anything else. The way they actually live their lives reflects their true distance from the Lord and their testimony (or lack thereof) of Him. These are those individuals who see themselves a basically good, but in reality, do not rely upon the Christ for anything, except when they are in trouble, or in a crisis.
Jesus goes on to say, ‘…at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.’ – (vs.6-10)
This ‘midnight cry’ represents the Rapture of the Church, the moment when Jesus, the Bridegroom, comes for His bride. All ten of the virgins awoke, the five foolish asked the five wise to share their oil with them. This revels how we can’t save others no more than they can save us. Only Jesus can save and it’s His Holy Spirit who regenerates our spirit, bringing us to faith in Christ, and saving us from the consequence of our sin. More than this, our salvation also affords us a place with Christ in Heaven! The five foolish virgins had to ‘go to those who sell’ which infers that a person can still be saved after the Rapture; but it will be too late for them to go in the Rapture. When a person is truly saved by God’s grace through their faith in Jesus, they are ‘Rapture ready.’ However, this won’t help trib-saints to go in the Rapture after it happens, but they can still be saved. The phrase, ‘the door what shut’ speaks to this fact; the Rapture occurred and the five foolish virgins were left behind, shut out from the Bridegroom’s wedding because they were not a part of it; they just thought they were.
Jesus goes on to say, “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” – (vs.11-13)
The idea of the five foolish virgins returning with oil speaks to the fact that a person can still be saved after the Rapture; thank God! Their request for the doors of heaven to be opened to them after the Rapture will be denied because at the time of the Rapture, they were not saved; Christ ‘did not know them.’ Jesus then commands us to ‘watch’ because we don’t know the day or hour of His return.
In this parable there were five foolish virgins (unsaved) and five wise virgins (saved); all of them had vessels for oil, but only five actually had oil in them. The 50% Theory (the title of this blog), proposes that only 50% of the Church is actually saved. While I would agree that 100% of the true Church of Jesus Christ is saved, I would argue that not everyone in the church at large, is saved, perhaps even 50% of the people who associate with the Church in some form, may not even be saved. God only knows, it’s not our place to judge; but based on some of the posts and responses I have seen from the ‘people of God’ over the years, I sometimes wonder and ask the question of the Lord, ‘Are these people even saved?’ How far does God’s grace really go?
I was talking with, praying with, and encouraging a brother in Christ who is in deep physical and emotional pain. His body is riddled with sickness and pain; he has questioned suicide as a possible solution to his dilemma. Don’t judge him or people like him, when you’re in the fire, it’s hard to think clearly. This is when other believers need to come alongside and support them, bearing their burden with them, and praying them through. When a believer is down, this is when the enemy comes in for his attack. I told this brother that killing yourself will only make it worse. He told me that he could kill himself and still go to heaven. I asked him why he believed this. He quoted the verse, ‘nothing shall separate us from the love of God.’ I challenged him on this belief, stating that I didn’t believe that the Apostle Paul, in that passage in Romans 8:35-39, was referring to suicide. Paul, of all people, was in a lot of pain in his life and told us the same in his writings. He kept the faith and trusted in the Lord through it all. I told this brother that I would never preach that suicide was okay, and worse, I would never do that. Yet so many people, because of their fear and pain, take their own lives in a variety of ways, thinking that they will escape their temporary fate, only to find a worse one awaiting them. I am not saying that everyone who commits (or has committed) suicide is going to Hell, but I am saying that it doesn’t seem consistent with God’s plan. Ultimately the Lord God only knows, He will be the ultimate Judge over each person, but wagering eternity on the temporal act of suicide in an effort to escape a temporary pain in exchange for an eternal one doesn’t seem consistent with trusting in the Lord or His Word.
We need to trust God no matter what, not kill ourselves in an effort to achieve some form of what we perceive to be, a temporary relief in exchange for eternal suffering in Hell. If this were the case, everyone suffering would take their own lives, thinking they were going to Heaven. I don’t believe it. Don’t you believe it either.
NOTE: If you are reading this after the Rapture, you might be tempted to take your own life; please don’t. It’s better for you to suffer, even dying of thirst, hunger, or sickness than to take your own life in an effort to escape the tribulation. It’s a trick from the enemy of your soul, who wants to keep you from Heaven, which by the way, you still can obtain. It’s not too late for you to be saved.
John the Revelator said it this way, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” – Revelation 7:9-17
The people John is describing here are post-Rapture tribulation saints who have come to faith in Jesus; they are from all over the world. They didn’t kill themselves, but were either killed or died as a result of the conditions they were exposed to. The ‘palm branches’ speak to them being part of this special group of trib-saints, who enter into Heaven during the duration of the seven-year tribulation. They are assembled under the altar of the Lord, where they will remain sequestered until the remaining number of trib-saints are received. Without exception, all of these precious saints have received Jesus into the hearts as their Lord and Savior. They were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, just like all true believers in Jesus were before the Rapture.
If you are reading this after the Rapture, you should thank God that He gave you a second chance for salvation. Most ‘so-called’ believers who think that they are saved, and who die in their sin, never get a second chance. They just wake up in Hell fire and damnation, realizing that they were not saved, even though they thought they were. Jesus said that there will be ‘many’ of these poor unfortunate souls. However, you have been given this great and awesome gift of a second chance for salvation by our great and awesome God, Jesus Christ. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it; there really is no other choice. God will be with you in the power of His Holy Spirit, guiding you and comforting you during this season of trial upon the earth. If you die in Christ after the Rapture, you will be ushered under the altar of the Lord in Heaven to await your resurrection when Jesus returns to the earth in His glorious Second Coming at the end of the seven-year tribulation. It should be noted that trib-saints are not part of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where the bride of Christ, the Church, will be celebrating during the seven-year tribulation. I have heard some weird teaching from YouTube preachers who say otherwise and create a doctrine of Eschatology that is not consistent with God’s Word.
You might ask, how did I get placed in the ‘five foolish virgins’ section of the Church? The harsh answer, it was by your choices and your attitude that reflected your heart, the heart of an unbeliever. Even though you were among true believers or had formally belonged to a believing church, you somehow strayed in your faith. You thought you were saved, or would always be saved (eternal security), and you conducted yourself accordingly; all the while you lived your life according to your own rules, not the Lord’s, or by His Word. In essence, you were a wicked person dressed up like a Christian, but who didn’t bear the true fruit of repentance or keep the fruit of the Spirit in your life. This would explain the way you treated others in the manner you did.
The Psalmist said it this way, “But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 Seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? 18 When you saw a thief, you consented (ran) with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. 19 You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.” – Psalm 50:16-21
One of the worse things we can do is to create God into our image and believe that He accepts our sin as a part of our lifestyle; when He doesn’t. We all struggle with sin, but thanks be to God who gives us the power to overcome our sin by His Holy Spirit. He cleanses us from the former things and redeems us by His Spirit of grace and mercy. This is a work of the Lord, through Christ’ sacrifice on the cross. Only Jesus can save us, and He can still save you if you have been left behind. Jesus loves you, it hurts Him when you reject Him; but it’s not to late to repent of your wickedness and to turn to Jesus, placing your faith in Him for your salvation.
I recently watched a YouTube video where a brother in Christ, a watcher, who stated that the C-19 vaccine was the mark of the beast. He stated that because of the magnetic properties associated within the vaccine, it was the mark of the beast. This video no doubt freaked a lot of people out, but it’s just not true. I will agree that there is something very nefarious about this vaccine, which may have magnetic properties and even glow under a black light, but I don’t believe it’s the mark of the beast nor do I condemn those who have taken it. I do believe that the C-19 vaccine is a precursor to the mark of the beast, but it’s not the actual mark and to say otherwise will only create havoc in the hearts of simple believers in Jesus who might think that they can not be saved. Such harsh words from people of God will only hurt the body of Christ, not help it. We need to encourage one another in God’s Word, reminding them that we have hope and redemption in Jesus. He has given salvation to all who would call upon His name. As far as The 50% Theory goes, be it truth or just as theory, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Joshua 24:15c My lamp is full and I am watching for the Lord’s return. I pray for the mockers and scoffers who criticize me and folks like me, that they will repent of their wickedness and come to faith in Christ and be part of the ‘five wise virgins’ group, no matter what the percentage is. Our lamps are full and we are watching for the Lord’s soon return.
As a pastor, I have learned to love people in ways that I thought I never would. The running joke among my family is, ‘We love everyone, it’s our policy.’ While it may seem that our love for others is our acceptance of their sinful behavior, it’s not. We love them because Jesus loves them. We want to show them God’s love and give them an opportunity to be saved, and if necessary, use words to do it. I have been hurt by people over the years and I have hurt a few folks myself along the way, which I am very sorry for, and have apologized. My mistakes are my opportunities to learn what not to do the next time, as are all your mistakes. Sometimes people who are quick to criticize others forget that they bleed too. The old proverb applies here, ‘People who live in glass houses don’t throw stones.’ The reality is, we all live in glass houses, we are all susceptible to pain and criticism, and we all need to forgive those who have hurt us. This is what qualifies us to be forgiven by Jesus. This is the only way our lamps can be made full by the oil of the Holy Spirit and where we will experience forgiveness, redemption, restoration, and a genuine heart for the Lord. This is part and parcel to the Christian life experience and to be positioned with the five wise virgins, no matter what their percentage is.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Central Missouri. He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.