Let’s face it, we all came into the truth for the wrong reasons. We wanted a place of safety, we wanted blessings, we wanted a family; we didn’t follow the truth because of an innate love of God or truth or goodness; we came because in some form or another, God dangled a carrot in front of us and we grabbed at it.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In the world, we were carnal. And our natural man could not be tempted by spiritual gifts, for the natural man thinks those things are foolishness. So God had to build a bridge; something that would appeal to the carnal mind, and yet one day lead to a spiritual mind. He had to lure us out into that good pasture with sugar lumps, and hope that once we got there we’d stay because we liked it.

But the problem is, if you come because of the sugar lumps – the promise of rewards, be they in the form of a place of safety, friends, answers to prayer, whatever it is that brings you into the church – then you’re there because of those things. You’re in the church and obeying God – and all that is good – but you’re there for the wrong reasons…

The Kingdom of God will not be made up of people who are seeking refuge from the plagues of revelation; or of those who are seeking a more fulfilling life. It will be made up of people who love truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

This portion of 2 Thessalonians is talking about the great falling away in the end time (2:3). And it is describing a church body that is being deceived by the mystery of iniquity (vs 7), which was already happening in Paul’s day. And it concludes that this man of sin will deceive the elect with unrighteousness; in other words, will tell them lies that will lead them to think that sin is not so bad; and that these lies – these plausible, believable lies – will cause many to fall away BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T LOVE THE TRUTH.

There is the key – the people who fall away are the people who didn’t RECEIVE the love of the truth. This means that they weren’t BORN with the love of the truth; but at some point they should have RECEIVED IT, and they didn’t. And those who didn’t, fell away and became false Christians.

Everyone comes into the church for the wrong reasons. Because everyone comes into it as a carnal being – that’s the whole point. When God calls you, you are entirely self-serving and generally wallowing in every form of sin imaginable. By calling you, He offers you something you want; something that means more to you than what you have. Being a carnal being still, this thing must be carnal – physical in nature…

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Sometimes He even uses food. And so you follow him away from your cesspool and into the better life He is preparing for you. And God blesses you for awhile. Maybe a few years, maybe a few decades. He allows you to enjoy the rewards He promised you – lets you nibble on the bait.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

But God isn’t done yet. Your carnal self gradually should be replaced as you receive the spirit of God, and your mind is transformed into a carbon copy of God’s mind. At least, that’s how it should work. While God has you distracted with these wonderful things He used as bait, He uses that time to get you to make moral concessions to Him while you’re focused on something else.

And so while your carnal self is gradually replaced by a spiritual nature, that part of you which is spiritual may realize you actually like doing things God’s way. You start to receive a love, not of whatever it was you came here for, but a real love for the TRUTH. Now that you are spiritual, you can actually receive the things of God, and spiritual promises can entice you and and spiritual reasoning can convince you, when at first they meant nothing to you.

But at some point, God has to know why you are following Him.

Most people on Earth would follow God if He paid them enough. If He scared them enough, beat them enough, begged or pleaded with them in the right way, practically everyone would obey God. But God doesn’t want a kennel full of people who are whipped into doing things His way. And so to sort those who love truth from those who love… well, prophecy, blessings, a feeling of belonging, protection from the apocalypse or anything else… God uses disappointment.

In 1831 William Miller began preaching about the second coming of Christ. He was convinced, based on evidence which was quite reasonable and which any of us might easily have believed, that Jesus would return sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. It was published and grew in popularity so rapidly that between fifty thousand and a half-million people were “Millerites” by the time 1844 rolled around. Bearing in mind that the U.S. population at the time was about 20 million, that’s perhaps as much as 5% of the population eagerly anticipating the return of Christ in 1844.

Many didn’t plant gardens that year, or fruit trees, or build houses, because the world was ending. They sold their houses (although what use they had for the money when the world was about to end is beyond me)… still, they were seriously ready for the return of Jesus. They thought so, anyway. A key point of the message was the parable of the ten virgins;

Matthew 25:10-12 And while they went to buy [oil], the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

The interpretation being that once Jesus returned in 1844, no one else could be saved; so it put a great deal of impetus on people to get their acts together by a (quite literal) deadline. This carnal fear of death encouraged a lot of people to do spiritual things and God’s church got a good start in those days.

But of those half-million people, how many were there because they loved truth? How many just didn’t want to die in the holocaust written in revelation? How many truly wanted to do the right thing, and how many just thought this sounded exciting, or everyone else was doing it? God had to know.

March 21, 1844 came, with people sitting on their rooftops eagerly awaiting the coming savior and their promised reward; and it went without incident. Dates were revised and April 18th was the new day to wait on the Lord. After that passed without even a peep from heaven, October 22, 1844 – the day of atonement that year – became the new date. They waited all night, all day, and all the next night for the armies of heaven to ride out from the clouds.

Speaking of that day, Hiram Edson recorded: “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before….We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.”

Such was the earnest hope those hundreds of thousands of men and women across the nation held. And God disappointed them. All of those people lived the rest of their lives without Jesus returning, or even so much as a sign in heaven to show them God hadn’t forsaken them. But for the point I’m making here, the interesting part happened afterwards.

After “the Great Disappointment” as it became known, the harmonious “Millerite” group fractured into several different sects; each coped with the disappointment in different ways. The schisms led to the Seventh-Day Adventists, Advent Christians, and several other branches which became, in turn, the true church of God.

These schisms all dealt with the disappointment in their own unique way. Some revised the dates again, and then yet again, to explain that Jesus was still coming… it was just going to be another 3-5 years. Others expected it “any day now”. Others, unable to deal with the idea that their beliefs were in error, redefined them to say that Jesus DID come back, invisibly, to rule the Earth. Others said that the prophecy was fulfilled in Heaven, not on Earth. Yet another faction said that the “door was shut” and no one else would be saved, but that Jesus wasn’t coming back yet.

Some theorized that the world had entered the seventh millennium-the “Great Sabbath,” and that therefore, the saved should not work. Others acted as children, basing their belief on Jesus’ words in Mark 10:15 “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Millerite O. J. D. Pickands used Revelation to teach that Christ was now sitting on a white cloud, and must be prayed down. Probably the majority however, simply gave up their beliefs and attempted to rebuild their lives.– Wikipedia, “Great Disappointment”.

The majority simply gave up their beliefs and tried to rebuild their lives… think about that statement. What part of the church do you suppose that portion comprised?

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

It was the part of the church who didn’t love the truth! God hadn’t changed! The law hadn’t changed! The Bible, the world, nothing that matters had changed. But God hadn’t returned on their schedule, so this way of life wasn’t worth leading!

Those people were there FOR THE RETURN OF CHRIST! They were there because they didn’t want to miss a CARNAL opportunity to be saved from the bad stuff in revelation – and when it became apparent that Jesus wasn’t coming back then, perhaps not ever, THEY HAD NO REASON TO STAY!

Had they been there because they loved the law, like King David did, they would have stayed! I’m not saying it was easy, let’s be fair, that sort of a let down could not have been easy to swallow, BUT IT HAPPENED FOR A REASON! It happened because God had to know whether 500,000 people were there for SPIRITUAL reasons, or whether they were there for the free food!

Exodus 16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

God brought you into the truth with a carnal motive. It’s the only way God CAN bring you into the truth, since you’re a carnal being. And whatever that carnal motive was, whatever it was that you loved (or feared) enough to follow God into the truth, GOD MUST TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU!

If you joined the church to be blessed because someone promised you the blessings of Leviticus 26, then after you’ve enjoyed them for awhile, God will REMOVE them and see if you’re there for the blessings, or because you love Him.

Job 1:9-11 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Satan said “Duh! Of COURSE Job fears God – you’ve BRIBED HIM! You PAY him to obey you! If you stop paying him, Job will stop obeying you!” – so God said in effect “fair enough, I’ll stop blessing Him; do what you want”. And to make the story we all know short, Job didn’t stop obeying God. God knew after this trial that Job WAS in this for the right reasons, and Satan had been wrong. But many people, when God stops ponying up the cash, they stop obeying God.

Every person ever considered for the kingdom of God has undergone this experience, even Jesus had to go through this in his last hours.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

God had been with Him His entire life. And Jesus depended on God. And so in those final hours, Jesus had to stand alone, without God to hold His hand, so that all could see that Jesus wouldn’t betray the truth even if He were forsaken by God; even if the thing He loved most disappeared. Jesus wasn’t there because of the church, or because of the company of God the Father; Jesus did what He did because it was the right thing to do. So He responded to the test, in effect, with the words of Job:

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

If you don’t approach the truth with that attitude, you won’t be in the kingdom of God.

If you joined the church because you loved belonging to the church, God MUST know if you will still serve the truth even when everyone you love turns against it. And so every church, in every era, IN EVERY LIFETIME has suffered disappointment.

Jesus was “supposed” to return after his resurrection; then in the life of the apostles; then before the death of John; no doubt dozens or hundreds of dates were set after that which we don’t know about, but we know there was a great disappointment that Jesus didn’t return in 1,000 A.D.; and 1844; and 1914; and 1944; and 1972; and 1985; 1996; 2000; Jesus was believed by some, or many, to return on each of these dates. He never did.

The imminent threat of doom is a good motivator. God has used it to build His Church many times. But it can only build a carnal church. Carnal threats and carnal blessings can’t build any other kind. So He uses those threats and blessings to start a church, starts those minds on their way to becoming spiritual, gives them some time to incubate in a comfortable environment, and then splashes cold water on the hopes of any who need it. God must know why you are in the church; why you dare call yourself a member of the Church of God.

Disappointment is the best way He has of telling. If you’ll continue to follow God after the thing that brought you into the truth is destroyed, and if no deception or easier way out will turn you from the straight and narrow, then odds are you’ll continue following God indefinitely. No other kind of person can be entrusted with the immortality, the divine nature and a place in the throne room of God.

Disappointed? Deal with it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

If you enjoyed this article you need to check out our comprehensive Bible Study Course! Learn how to study your Bible and get the answers to life's most important questions directly from God's word!

Post navigation