Friday, September 29, 2006
This written by a man who was shortly going to die. But Paul emphatically proclaims in verse 12 "for I know Whom I have believed". Consider the ambiance surrounding the great apostle as he is led of the Holy Spirit to pen this last letter. No praise music but his lips. No sermon tapes but his memory. No encouraging phone calls. No uplifting e-mails. And his own beheading drawing ever closer and he says "I am now ready to be offered".
Offered? Paul still refers to his own life as an offering to the Lord Jesus and heaven gazes downward to watch as Paul finishes his course and remains faithful to His Lord. The savagery of Paul's death is repugnant and abhorrent to the angelic hosts, but it is a brilliant jewel in the diadem of God's Risen Son. The son of Benjamin's tribe will soon see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the same One he met on the Damascus Road years ago.
Paul is led out of the cell and unceremoniously escorted to the awful place of death where the executioner waits to fulfill his role. This is no fictional story, this actually happened. Paul kneels before the blade that will momentarily transport him into the place that is "far better". Can you hear Paul speaking to his Savior just before he leaves this earth?
"Jesus, I know You wait on the other side for me and I am faithfully coming. I give my life as a sweet smelling savour, and may the closing of my life bring you glory".
Oh but do not mourn, rejoice. At the moment the sharpened iron slices Paul's earthly neck he is, in the twinkling of an eye, transported into the very presence of the Reigning Lord Jesus Himself. His reward, his crown, the vision that Paul has desired since that day on the Damascus Road, Paul is home. You see Paul has not died - his Lord has abolished death. He who hath the Son hath life.
The inheritance Peter revealed is now his. Brothers and sisters, believing followers of the Life-Giver Himself, there is no more death. No sting, no grave. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. There is no earthly day or event that is worthy to be compared with that day. When a man born blind asks what is the color red like, how can we reply? He has no reference point. He cannot understand what color itself is, much less comparing colors.
The Apostle Paul has now seen the unspeakable, the unimaginable, the indescribable. And so shall all who are of the tribe of the Lion of Judah. Looking unto Jesus...
Monday, September 25, 2006
If we assume 10 as the perfect revelation of the gospel and with 0 representing atheism, the devil starts by teaching 9.5 as an acceptable possibility but not denying that 10 is the present standard. He then starts presenting 9.5 as an alternative to 10, and finally he calls 9.5 a "10". Through the same careful process he progresses to 9, then 8.5, and then a solid 8 and he calls it a "10". Along the way he patiently waits as believers debate the issues, and time and talk usually erode the differences and the church settles in on 9, and even those who are at 10 acquiesce in tolerating and sometimes joining with the brothers who now teach that 9 is in fact a "10".
Now the "8 is now 10" men accept the "10 is still 10" teaching as viable and they expect the same treatment for their point of view. But the Evil One has established a doctrinal beachhead from which he now prepares his next assault. And when the "10 is still 10" crowd attacks and exposes the "8 is now ten" teaching they are considered unloving and critical, which is another tactic of the devil. Like a soldier who straps a child with explosives and sends him into the midst of his enemies knowing that they will be hesitant to shoot at a child, so the devil straps his heresy on the lips of brothers in Christ so as to discourage others from attacking that heresy that is sometimes inexorably tied to certain brothers.
So here it is. When the devil wants to dilute the gospel he doesn't automatically say that "all religions lead to God". He knows that would meet with fierce resistance so he shoots a little lower and says that some men can be saved "through Christ" even if they have never heard of Him. He condescendingly insists that Christ is still the only way and these poor souls will be given the blood of Jesus after they die by a compassionate act of a Heavenly Father. And like a magician who stealthily gets you to look away from the true deception, he gets you to ponder the Romans 1 "without excuse" phrase while drawing your attention away from the Romans 10 "how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard" clear admonition. And then he tells you that 9.5 is really the same as 10, and the two are actually compatible so why disagree.
Now remember, he is not going to be satisfied with 9.5, that is only another launching point and stepping stone which doubles as a doctrinal bus stop at which Satan stops long enough to pick up more passengers.
Heb.2:1 - "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."
And so, brothers and sisters, we have tragically arrived at the slippery slope at which we now find ourselves. And because the gospel has been so diluted in so many ways it has become unsophisticated to embrace the proven and historical teaching of the glorious plan of salvation through the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Pray and remain faithful. Do not debate with these doctrines of devils, that is exactly what the devil desires, debate. Present the revelation of Jesus Christ as the only Savior who by faith in Him alone can save and from those who reject that we must remove our fellowship and pray that they will repent.
Finally we must glorify God and His Word not as something we ourselves have discovered and created, but humbly as His Truth, His glory, His salvation, His power, His strength, His cross, His resurrection, His return, and His life which is eternal.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Eph.4:4 - There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling.
Ti.2:13 - Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
To bring democracy to a middle east country which becomes a west-friendly, thriving, capitalist, democratic country who votes to be exclusively an Islamic nation and not allow missionaries in.
A person is freed from the addiction of drugs through the help of a secular support group. He then lives a productive life and dies at the age of 80 without Christ.
A person spending their entire life helping to comfort the lepers of India but never telling them of eternal redemption in Jesus Christ.
Letting a person pray to "accept Jesus" without making him aware that he is giving everything to Christ.
Creating a church service contoured especially to step by step bring a person painlessly and without discomfort through a series of well orchestrated and manipulative hoops that result in him reciting a prayer followed by a blanket of assurance.
THERE IS ONLY ONE HOPE, JESUS CHRIST
Recently I was communicating with a man who believes that the emergent church ministry has some enlightening teachings that are breaking down outdated doctrinal barriers. He seemed like a sincere Christian who wanted to seek the truth but he had allowed himself to be drawn into new and groundbreaking teaching that was intellectually exciting but, sadly, a departure from sound doctrine.
Now, one teaching that he espoused was what I considered one of the most dangerous of all. He believes that people can go to heaven through other religions if they are sincere and good people because they are really following Jesus, they just don't realize it. If there ever was a convoluted departure from Biblical truth it is that, and the Apostle John calls it the spirit of anti-christ. How can a person who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh die and go to heaven? I asked him what would be the reason for missions then and he replied that we should still go preach Jesus to the world because the gospel is "their best hope". Their BEST hope?? Do you see the verbally slight but doctrinally colossal shift away from the truth?
Jesus and His gospel is not "their BEST hope", it is their ONLY hope. That "best hope" teaching is the spirit of anti-christ that is gently but systematically finding its way into today's church. This is the most serious debate in church history, especially since the Antichrist himself stands at the door. And while this expansive gospel pervades the modern evangelical world, preachers by the tens of thousands either espouse it, don't care about it, or are completely silent about it. Only the Lord knows the ramifications of this strange fire, but God will not dwell in a house of worship where the Antichrist, the enemy of His Son, is allowed to teach. Where are the men of God calling for a solemn assembly to fast and pray? Even the Biblical men of God gather to preach to each other and not put on sackcloth and ashes and repent before a holy God.
Eph.2:12 - "That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having NO HOPE, and without God in the world.
Do you see what God says? In the Old Testament the Gentiles were without hope in this world because they were strangers from the covenant of promise. What was the covenant of promise? It was the Abrahamic Covenant that God made with Abraham that contained the promise of the coming Messiah. There is no after death salvation for anyone outside the covenants that were fulfilled in Christ. Look at what God said in verse 13.
Eph.2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Paul says in Ephesians 4 that "There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, even as you are called in ONE hope of your calling, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father...". Mark it down in your Spirit, anyone who says that there is salvation in any other name than Jesus is a lying spirit.
Acts 14:12 - "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN, given among men, whereby WE MUST BE SAVED."
While we need to speak out about this evil spirit that gains momentum daily in the hearts of people, we ourselves need wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
We need to identify the preachers of this false gospel to warn people without letting it matriculate into personal attacks. That can be subtle.
We need to keep our personal relationship with Jesus as a priority in the midst of this Spiritual battle.
We must realize that our weapons are Spiritual, the Word and prayer.
We must remain broken and humble. Anger can be the Lord's, but let us speak the truth in love.
We must remain solely committed to the teaching of the Word of God, never the reason of man.
And finally, we must never sacrifice the preaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the ONLY HOPE FOR THE WORLD. Lifting Him up, seeking His face, looking unto Him, giving Him the preeminence, and walking in Him should be our battle cry. As soldiers of light let us put on the His armor, the armor of light, and forever glorify Him as the only hope for the world and continually embrace Him as OUR ONLY HOPE.
Amen and Amen. Praise the Lord.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
President Ahmadinejad prayed out loud and quoted the Holy Koran before he spoke.
President Bush did not pray or quote the Holy Bible.
I just thought that perhaps Iran is more of a Muslim nation than we are a Christian nation. And I just thought that Muslims are more open and bold about their faith in any genre whereas we as Christians reserve our prayers and Bible quoting for church. And I just thought that deceived Muslims are willing to die for Allah and many Christians are not willing to live for Jesus. I just thought that Iran had broken down the wall between church and state and we should applaud them because many Christians want that here. I just thought that Ahmadinejad was not ashamed to pronounce Allah as the one true God before the nations of the world and President Bush was afraid of pronouncing Jesus as Lord before the nations of the world and offending.
Oh just forget it...I just thought...
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Jesus. Yeshua. Joshua. This post may seem simplistic but in reality it is the deepest of all. The Incarnate God who named Himself Yeshua is THE glorious mystery of eternity. The angels don't completely understand. The demons believe but tremble. Most of the world has heard Your name but remains woefully ignorant of who You are, Lord. Visual in human form and yet present everywhere. Living in the heart of every believer yet sitting on a throne in heaven. Creator of all and yet succumbing to death. Savior and Judge. Friend and Master. You Lord Jesus are the glorious enigma that only Your Spirit can teach to a seeking heart.
Before the worlds were made Jesus was. Not just existing but reigning in splendor and glory. With no universe? Go ahead all you theologians, explain that. To say it is out of our league is an infinite understatement. It seems that before the Second Person of the Godhead was born in Bethlehem and took the name Jesus, He was The Word. And so Jesus IS The Word and The Word IS Jesus. He is so perfectly glorious and august, that all the preaching, songs, thoughts, and human knowledge about Him just "touches the hem of His garment". He is easy to find but past finding out. His enormous deliverance confounds the Evil One and His everlasting keys have unlocked prison doors and set believing captives free. And His freedom is complete and forever.
You, Lord Jesus, will be forever heralded in the expanse of heaven as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And Lord, we ourselves get bound with the things of this world and so often fail to take in the daily fragrance of the Rose of Sharon. Jesus is everything to us. Our breath, our thought, our sustenance, our beginning, our end, our everything. The world needs the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will never understand abortion, homosexuality, immorality, nor can they. They need Jesus. And Lord you did not come to reform the world, you have already told us the fate of this wicked world. You came to offer the full forgiveness of our sins, the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb.
Now everything must center on the Person and work of Jesus the Christ, not his moral teachings, not His miracles, not His travels, but totally Who He is and What He has done...FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD. Jesus Himself said that if He is lifted up He will draw all men to Him so why do we ever get caught up with moral/political issues when the Lord has commanded us to LIFT HIM UP?? We should urgently, lovingly, clearly, but decisively lift up Jesus Christ as the ONLY way to eternal life, Christ and Him crucified. It's Jesus and only Jesus. The suffering Lamb of God. The Savior of the world. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah. We allowed a man like Mel Gibson to make an astounding movie about Jesus when it should have been the committed evangelical community that made a better movie with God's Word to accurately explain to a lost world the implications of what they were seeing. Instead we just criticized him but were not exhorted to get the complete message out.
Is it not time Jesus that we present You to a lost world in such a way that they would sense our passion about You? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Forgive us, Lord, we have made you an appendage and not our life, our movement, our very being. The past is You, the present is You, the future is You, it is all You.
Monday, September 18, 2006
What have I just described? A daycare? A strawberry festival? A circus? No, that is a description of the modern day local assembly of believers who meet in a building incorrectly referred to as the church. But when a true Christ-seeker immerses himself in the New Covenant Word of God he will see many common threads that dispel those fleshly descriptions I mentioned. One theme that is not addressed much today is the numerous references to death, both Christ's and ours. Without a Spirit-filled understanding some of the verses may seem morbid and doctrinally gothic, but without DEATH there can be no LIFE!
Without the death of Jesus the Messiah there can be no salvation for anyone. And not just His death but His substitutionary death meaning He must have died and offered His sacrifice freely to us. And if by the power and leading of the Spirit of God we embrace His death we receive His life and, conversely, we ourselves must die completely. What enjoyment can we derive from the very corpse that nailed Jesus to that wooden altar and was judged "guilty". There is "pleasure in sin for a season" of course, but after we have tasted the goodness of God why would we dig up the empty shell and openly parade the enemy of our Lord? By faith the seeking disciple must go to Golgotha, and reckon himself crucified. Dying, dying, dying,...death. Who will deliver me from this body of death? I am crucified with Christ. I am dead and my life is hid with Christ in God. There can never be a resurrection without a death. No newness of life until the old man is dead. And we not only have excused the behavior of our old man, we've developed a living relationship with the man of death that would have cast us into hell if left to himself. The flesh is the enemy of our Savior and he must die. Crucified and buried. And we must awaken every morning with the tomb intact with the decaying sarcophagus still dead and the resurrection life of our Savior exploding inside our hearts.
The life of this world is actually death, and the death to this world is actually life. He who has the Son has life and he who has not the Son has not life. Everything about this world is an enemy of the Master who we embrace and follow and on an appointed day the King of Life will appear and we will know even as we are known that HE IS OUR LIFE FOREVER!!!!
So die...and make room for Him.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Today there is another social gospel that has been birthed and now flourishes in most evangelical churches. This preaching centers on meeting the needs of poor and rich alike, I call it the "me gospel". It accepts the doctrine of original sin as a statement of faith doctrine but never brings it to the pulpit, so instead of sinners becoming anxious about their sin as they sit in the pew, they let the car salesman disguised as a preacher try and convince them that Jesus is what they need to iron out some of the difficulties they are experiencing in their lives. And the salesmen attempt to make Jesus relevant, so, if the audience is affluent they project Jesus as a worry remover. If they are poor they project Jesus as a wealth builder. If they are having marital problems they project Jesus as a counselor. If they have low self esteem they project Jesus as a motivator. That, my friends, is nothing more than the new social gospel at best and flat out lies at worst.
What did the Holy Spirit come to earth to accomplish? In John 16 the Word tells us that the Spirit will REPROVE the world of sin, righteousness, and of judgment. Paul says that we should, "Preach the Word...reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine". Reprove? Where do you hear any reproving from most pulpits today? Jesus didn't come to strengthen marriages, as a matter of fact he is the cause of some breakups. Some people take a financial step backward after coming to Christ. And the question surfaces that is one of the most profound ecclesiastical inquiries of our time. Can a person be saved without being convicted of his sin? Is a person saved who "accepts Christ" because he has been told Jesus will heal his marriage (etc.)? That gospel is as dangerous as any, and in fact it is using Jesus not preaching Him!
Hell is not judgment for people who had a bad marriage, or were not successful, or were overweight, or were not sexually creative with their spouse, hell is God's judicial punishment for unforgiven sinners and His offer of salvation is wholly based on the forgiveness of sins through the Sacrificial Lamb, His Son. No other message can save, but today so called preachers by the thousands are offering a false, social gospel that claims that the Sin Bearer will solve your earthly problems and the only things that you will have to forsake are the things you already don't want! Blasphemy at the core! This is a false gospel being spread WITHIN the accepted parameters of evangelical circles by polished, prosperous orators who have learned from seminaries how to attract a crowd and not how to please God.
It is the last days, brethren, and we are witnessing the prophesied falling away that is a falling away from Jesus Himself. If the average church removed all its programs for one year and only prayed and preached, so many people would leave it would default on the bank note that was borrowed from the anti-christ bank system. Today's preachers have so addicted the sheep to cotton candy and self help instructional messages that they would suffer pangs of withdrawal that would send most scurrying to another venue. And when the preacher's salary took a major hit he would abandon the sheep/bill/fold for greener($) pastures.
And finally many people who on some level see this horror, struggle to leave the church that they know God has left. Earthly relationships are hard to leave even when confronted with the Holy Spirit's leading. Choose you this day who you will serve. There is a massive opportunity to honor God. Take it or leave it.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Demons and devils are whispering, suggesting, shrieking, and lying in the spirit realm and as these parasites attach themselves to earthly hosts are we caught listening unawares…and on purpose? Can we not hear the Spirit warning and urgently calling unto our Spirit’s that “ENOUGH OF THE GAMES, IT IS ALL COMING TO AN END”. Do you ever hear that? Do you believe that? On and on we go through the same old tired religious chit-chat with little urgency, little passion, and no tears.
Are we even listening to the voices calling from hell “GO AND TELL MY BROTHERS” or are we too busy listening to each other’s problems and the sin’s of others? Is there an unsettling in your Spirit that says “BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY” and with that eternal voice of many waters are we propelled into a life changing journey to seek Him and seek His? Oh brothers and sisters would Jesus do what we do if He was here again? He was God and He prayed! He was God and He fasted! He was God and He wept! He was God and He was poor!
When do we hear the historical groans and sufferings of our Messiah? Are we even listening? Paltry and pathetic is our time with Him, and our devotion to this world is breathtakingly disgusting. The angelic beings are engaged in the final war in preparation for the glorious entrance of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and can we not even hear the sounds of the last eternal war, coming with the fury of the Creator Himself? Death in millions, wars and rumors, diseases without cures, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, corruption in government and God’s house, the study of sex in the world and the church, pornography pumped into the theatre and the home, children killed in the womb and out, and do we not hear God calling us to Himself?
The church is a playground for professing Christians to learn how to enjoy the very life God rejects. Success, finances, sex, diet, career, and not the world, the CHURCH??!! Books, teachings, videos, classes, retreats, workshops, and we still can’t stay married. Counseling based on the study of humans not God. And all the while are we listening to Jesus commanding us to tell His message as He has told it to us? The grocery clerk, your doctor, co-workers, your relatives, your neighbor, and everyone is walking toward a bottomless abyss with little if any warning. Do we not hear their hopeless situation? Are we even listening to the voice of Almighty God?
Finally, are our ears keenly bent to one day hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
This particular Scripture is possibly the most well known one in the New Testament because it succinctly and powerfully presents the redemptive plan and purpose of God the Father. If you look closely you can see so many Spiritual elements in that one verse. God, God's love, God's grace, God's Son, faith, hell, and eternal life, all wonderfully unfurled against the backdrop of a sinner's question. Spurgeon said it was the one verse that could be preached every Sunday morning until Jesus comes. Now the scripture teaches (Heb.2:15) that sinners are subject to bondage all their lives because of a fear of death. Look at the world and notice that everything people do centers on extending and enjoying this earthly life. People exercise to enjoy and extend this life. People try and eat healthy to enjoy and extend this life. People take medication to enjoy and extend this life. People take vacations to enjoy and extend this life. People reduce stress to enjoy and extend this life. The entire mind set of lost people is to enjoy and extend this life. And now it has taken hold of the church.
The average local assembly lists a host of "ministries" that center on enjoying and extending this life. Exercise ministry, stress reduction ministry, finance ministry, single ministry, couples ministry, etc.. Where is the eternal life ministry, dedicated to the study, embracement, and preparation for the life to come? One of the basic truths in God's Word is that we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. Think about the implications of that truth. But the church by and large has relegated those type of Biblical teachings to some type of metaphorical imagery and not practical, lived out truths that have a priority in our lives. And along comes the new evangelicals. Call them whatever you want, neo-orthodox, neo-evangelical, neo-liberal, neo-fundamentals, or more recognizable as purpose driven, seeker sensitive, and emergent movements. These streams of "Christian" thought encourage new and culturally reflective behavior that claim to be more effective in reaching the world Spiritually, but in so doing they have been stripped of the Spirituality they claim to be spreading. And like those who rejected Copernicus, these new evangelicals have rejected the Christ(sun) centered theology of the Bible and have embraced a man(earth) centered Christianity. They reject a Spiritual theology and embrace a carnal theology. And ultimately they completely devalue eternal life for an earthly life and they openly and proudly admit it and proclaim that God Himself desires us to mix with the world.
What does it take to receive eternal life? I mean think about it, what does it take to receive eternal life, because if you get that wrong you've lost EVERYTHING! Jesus said, "Count the cost" (Lk.14:28) before you become a follower of His. Count the cost? What cost? We've been taught that salvation costs nothing, but that is not what Jesus said. Yes, there are no works involved in becoming a follower of Christ, but there is an enigmatic "high cost" for every true believer. Jesus also added, "he be of you that forsaketh not all that he has" (Lk.14:33) cannot become a follower of His. We have so devalued what it means to become, by faith, a follower of Jesus Christ that these statements straight from God's mouth seem archaic and legalistic. How many sinners, if just before they recite the sinner's prayer, are asked "Are you ready to forsake all?" would repeat that simple, meaningless, and vain repetition? Oh no, they want to go to heaven and also have Jesus help fix their earthly problems, so they say the magic words and - poof! - it's painless and quick. No cross bearing, no forsaking, no persecution, and no counting the cost, and indeed many times they're counting the dollars!? And then we start out on a project to convince them that they are saved. As Jesus passed Matthew He calls out "follow Me" and Matthew leaves his tax station and begins to follow Christ. Now imagine others running up to Matthew as he walks with Jesus and they keep telling him "You know, you are following Jesus!" over and over to give him assurance. He would think they are crazy, he knows he's following his Lord.
Now let us look at the early church, what did they preach and what did the Holy Spirit commission them to do? Peter's early sermons centered on the resurrection to such a degree that the Sadducees took them into custody, today church leaders are pleasantly invited on talk shows. But in Antioch the Apostle Paul stood up and preached a Christ centered sermon that was mostly rejected by the Jews, and as they held out salvation to the Gentiles many believed. And the Scriptures correctly state, "and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed". Notice it did not say, "as many as needed help with their finances, or needed marriage counseling, or anything in this present life". By the way, as you will take notice, the Word was spread through preaching, not feeding the poor. The Word itself is powerful and all those humanitarian efforts are good but when not held strictly in conjunction with God's message of redemption they are worthless. So what is the devil's motivation concerning Adam's race?
Rick Warren, a nice and affable man, says that God told him that as long as he was striving to help people who were in need of earthly goods it was alright to join with anyone who would work together. Muslims, Hindu's, Jews, atheists, and even open and militant homosexuals were Biblically approved by God as true yokefellows in humanitarian efforts. Now this is not a new thought process, but it is new in evangelical circles. First, think about the message that sends the people who receive the aid. They realize this food comes from Christians, Muslims, Hindu's, and a host of other concerned people and so they are grateful to them and all their gods. Talk about your mixed signals! But what does Scripture say about that? Paul clearly instructs us to keep light from joining with darkness, that is Bible 101. The devil will let you feed people, he'll let you help the poor, he'll let you fight abortion, he'll let you rail against homosexuality, and all of these things are used of God as the means to an end. But when we leave out the main reason why Jesus came, to purchase eternal life for whosoever will, we are nothing but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. And the devil waits for the well fed sinners to join him in hell.
Now eternal life can only be fully realized when held up against eternal death. Think about it. Imagine if you had been invited to a church and you heard the gospel for the first time. Now during the week you contemplated these things in your heart and you began to get serious about the question of "Who is Jesus Christ?". And on Thursday morning a car ran a red light and you were killed and instantaneously you "awakened" in hell. Forever. This is THE question of the ages, because if it is true than NOTHING else matters. If a person who dies without Christ spends FOREVER in a place of torture FOREVER and he stays there FOREVER consciously being tormented FOREVER, well, if that is true and we say we believe it, then what are we waiting for? Why are we not flooding the streets nightly handing out tracks? Why are not all evangelical churches open for urgent prayer every night? Why are we not purchasing air time on MTV to warn these young people? Why are we saving up God's money so we can travel around the world enjoying the sights of this passing world while millions starve? Where are the tears? Where are the all night prayer meetings? Where are the constant flood of overseas missionaries being sent?
You see, we ourselves have been caught in the hedonistic web of Martha's world and we no longer have the time to seek Jesus with "all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our stength". These emergent men have completely devalued eternal life in their teachings, but have we not devalued it in our lives? Well what is God saying to us? Let us be dilegent in confronting the miserable slide away from God's Holy Word, but, let us beg God to break us and reform us into His image, lighting a Holy Spirit fire that will urgently move us out of the life we've carved in this world and into the eternal life that God is calling us into...NOW!
P.S. - Don't you just hate it when you come to a party, kick off your shoes, find a comfortable chair, and get ready to enjoy a good emergent/purpose/seeker rebuking and somewhere in the middle of the party we accidently step into the Holy Spirit's line of fire? They ought to give us a warning about these things!
Friday, September 08, 2006
Life. What is life? Does a rock have life? It was created by the Life Giver and it exists, but does it have life? In the scientific arena "life forms" act in a variety of ways. Some breathe, eat, swim, fly, hear, see, and thousands of other varied behaviors. What then ties all plants, bears, birds, bacteria, fish, microbes, man, and all other life forms together? They all reproduce, rocks do not.
But there is something different about man. A man has a consciousness about a purpose, a God, and an afterlife. A polar bears never stops, looks around, and wonders "Who am I?". "Where will I go when I die?" "Is there a God?" But all those questions haunt man because we were created in God's Spiritual image, and we are a Spirit inside a body who was separated from God through Adam. Not only is there a faint but residual knowledge of God, God Himself draws us, unlike all other life, and we are lost until regeneration.
But when John refers to the Word of Life and eternal life he isn't speaking just of the type of life that separates us from animals. He is speaking of the life that comes directly from God only through Jesus Christ - The Word. And this eternal life IS Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." John said, "He who hath the Son hath life". Paul proclaims, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear...". The Scriptures give us a limited view of what we will be in heaven. I Jn.3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him...". So life is in Christ and real life can only be found in Him. Oh Blessed Jesus, we never knew life until we met You. I thought life was having fun, partying as the world puts it. Drugs, immorality, drinking, and all the things of death that masquerade as life were my life...and then He revealed Himself to me. My mother was choir director, I went to VBS, and I was confirmed. But I never knew life because I had never known Him. I hope you never get so sophisticated and theologically proper that you can never rejoice in just knowing Him. Take some time out from chasing the emergents and all the ecclesiastical three ring circus and simply, but oh so deeply, worship Him for Who He is and that He has granted His life to you and me. To say I did not deserve it is to take more credit than I deserve. I have life, real life, eternal life, and this life is in my Lord and Savior...Halleluiah!!
So right now, like a hot air balloon moored to the earth, untie your mind for a while and soar into the realm of the eternal! All the books written about Jesus; all the discussions about Jesus; all the sermons about Jesus; all these things put together cannot even touch the hem of His garment about who He really is. Jesus promises a "new heaven and a new earth", but the one everlasting constant is Him. "So shall we ever be with the Lord" and "To be with Christ, which is far better".
Careful now, don't let the Spiritual air out of your balloon. Why do we worry about anything when we have eternal life? Why do we accumulate the things of this world when we have eternal life? Why are we entertained by this world when we have eternal life? Every morning we should pause and reflect on the distinct possibility that we may see Jesus, the Risen Christ, today. Not an exaggeration, not hyperbole. That one day sails on the ocean of time, coming ever closer to your harbor, and the Captain of your salvation will come for you. Are you still soaring? Once in a while let your balloon descend to this earth just long enough to invite someone in with you and then return to the life giving heavens where our Master lives. This world seeks to pop your balloon, and many of God's children are content to sit in their balloon, tied to the earth. God wants to breathe His Spirit into your balloon again and lift you off of this carnal world. Are you a little frightened? Are you scared of heights? What if you crash? Good, good, good! Jesus wants you to completely trust Him and not yourself. Real faith can seem dangerous! Aren't you tired of the "same old"? If something doesn't change, we will be in the same place next year at this time.
Remember, no one wants to climb into a balloon that is just like theirs - tied to this world. Everyone is really looking for a balloon that can FLY! In the coming year why don't you and I cut the ropes, shout for joy, and begin a fresh journey that will not only change our Spiritual altitude, but will glorify our Blessed Hope who remains high and lifted up. On eagles wings let us rise to meet the One for whom we long. As the song says, "There's more to this life than just livin' and dyin'!". I believe with all my heart that Jesus, in the powerful voice of the Holy Spirit, is calling His Bride to "Come up, hither!". The pitiful and lost world needs to see -
I Jn.5:20 - And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. THIS IS THE TRUE GOD, AND ETERNAL LIFE!
Monday, September 04, 2006
These words of Jesus announced the closing of one dispensation, or time period, and the opening of another. The law of Moses was now fulfilled, and the good news of Jesus Christ was here. God had come as a man and He would pay the price for all of man's sin, and "whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life". God has shown incredible grace and mercy to a sinful and rebellious creation, paving the way for all who believe on Jesus as Lord and Savior.
But just as that period of time was fulfilled, this period of infinite grace is rapidly coming to an end. Just as God closed the door to the ark that would save Noah and his family, God will close the door to salvation. One day, maybe soon, the last person will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the invitation will be withdrawn and no one else will be let in. WHAT A SOBERING THOUGHT! Have you ever pondered the notion that God could have closed that door before you and I were born again? It should frighten us and at the same time fill our hearts with resounding praise for our Father's grace and longsuffering!
Time. What is time? In its scientific definition it is the measurement of motion. But Spiritually, it is a sacred and precious commodity that even in Christian circles is being poured out on ourselves. Let us ask ourselves this piercing question: Is there anything we spend less time on than alone time in prayer with our Lord? Well time is running out. Watch the news and see Israel making pacts with its neighbors. See pestilence sweeping whole continents. Although 250,000 Africans die every month from AIDS, malaria is the number one killer. Watch the world try and create peace by the fallen cunning of man's mind. Watch a Christian president represent democracy as the new gospel. Watch the evangelical world solicit funds and promise a slot machine return. Watch pseudo-Biblical scholars teach that the New Testament hints at another chance for dead sinners. Watch as slick salesmen market a new and appealing gospel that induces a self-aggrandizing response that resembles more of a multi-level sales force than a separated, crucified, and blood washed body.
Look at Rev.6:8. God says there will be a pale horse, ridden by Death, followed by Hell. Now look at the power that was given to him. This Arch-demon will cover the earth killing with the sword, hunger, death, and the beasts. We are covered with violence, both with war and violence among all peoples. Thousands of our brothers and sisters in Adam will die today of hunger. Death will visit millions, both in and out of the womb, but I draw your attention to the last phrase in the verse, "with the beasts of the earth". Look how many deaths are related to animals. AIDS(monkeys) - Malaria(mosquitoes) - Madcow(cows) - and many bacteria. And now we are being told that if the bird-flu ever spreads it could be a world wide pestilence.
Although there is coming a period of time on this earth that will be, according to Jesus Himself, more horrible than ever has or will be, the dark events are beginning in embryonic form to unfold now. Not just demons, not just arch-demons, not just principalities, not just powers, not just rulers of darkness, not just spiritual wickedness in high places, but Lucifer himself is beginning to personally take charge of these last days. The apostle John revealed that," (The)Antichrist shall come, even now are there MANY antichrists, where we know that it is the last time".
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a war. Not a physical war, not moral vs. immoral; not conservative vs. liberal; not Christian vs. Muslim; not an American war; not Iraq, Iran, or any other country, it is a vicious war, unseen by human eyes, and the pathology of this war is infinitely more savage than all the wars of human history combined. It is a war that will see THE Antichrist make his appearance and deceive THE ENTIRE WORLD(except for a very few). This is a war that began in heaven between God Almighty and Satan himself, and its conclusion has begun. The end of this war is coming, but it will get far worse before it is over.
What is our place in this war? Paul says,"We do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds". No guns, knives, missiles, bullets, tanks, or any manmade instrument of war can be used in this war. The name of Jesus; the Blood of Christ; The Word of God; and most importantly PRAYER. We must drop to our knees, not just figuratively, but literally in warfare praying. God is beginning to raise up a remnant of believers that are now in Spiritual bootcamp. They are separating from this world and seeking to be used of God both here on earth and in the Spirit. Believe it or not, the "in the Spirit" part is the most difficult.
The time is now. We are living in the very last days and we must not waste the time that our Heavenly Father has granted us. The souls of men hang in the balance, and unless there is a great revival in the church millions will be lost that might have been reached. And there will be no chance for revival if there is no revival of prayer. I encourage you, whoever you may be, ask God to start a revival of prayer in your own life. At this point it is counter-productive to look at others, we are all "captured" by the culture and we need God's power to escape. Not until then will the world see the glory of God revealed through His church. There is inherent power in the truth, but there is also added power in a Spirit filled vessel as he or she spreads the truth. And this is never to draw attention to ourselves in any way for we must never hold men's personages in admiration. We must continually and deeply keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, for in Him we live and move and have our being. And if the entire world falls away from the truth let us not be moved from serving Him who IS the Truth!
PRAY - PRAY - PRAY Try rising 1/2 hour earlier in the morning specifically to pray and let the Lord start in you and me a revival of prayer that will be used of the Spirit of God to draw a host of believers to follow.