America’s Spiritual Decline

The spirit of Antichrist has been in the world at least since God said the seed of woman would bruise Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15). God’s curse was the beginning of a great earthly struggle between good and evil. In the beginning, it focused on preventing the first coming of Jesus. It is now focused on preventing the Second Coming of Jesus. It will continue until this world is destroyed by fire (Matt. 24:35; II Pet. 3:10).

The Antichrist won’t be revealed until the church is Raptured, but the spirit of Antichrist is already here (II Thess. 2:6, 7; I Jn. 4:3). It is anti-God, anti-Jesus, anti-Truth, anti-Christian, the Apostasy, the falling away, the departure from the faith, the emerging church, liberalism, humanism, globalism, inclusiveness, replacement theology, non-Christian religions and the like.

Among other things, this wicked spirit will lead to perilous times, blasphemy, fierceness and despising those that are good in the last days (II Tim. 3:1-4). It will make the world more dangerous (wars, nuclear weapons, more deadly pestilences etc.). Humanity will become more despicable (ungodly or contemptuous of God). People will become more brutal (behead people, burn people alive, cut babies in two); and society will become more intolerant of those who serve God at the end of the Church Age (persecution).

Instead of a worldwide revival with the church converting the world, the people on planet Earth will move farther away from Jesus until all that will live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (II Thess. 2:3; Rev. 3:16; II Tim. 3:12). Christians all over the Middle East are being persecuted right now and it is a growing problem in the U.S.

Jesus, the Disciples, Paul and many of the early Christians were persecuted. A pastor that I know recently preached on “Preparing for the Coming Persecution.” Rev. Franklin Graham recently said that he is concerned about “persecution in this country” [the U.S.]. He added that, “We’ve already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse.”

About two weeks ago there was testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that the U.S. received about seven million immigrants in fiscal 2014. They came from many places, but most were Hispanics and some were Muslims.

God loves all of them. He wants all of them to know that Jesus died for everyone’s sins. He wants all of them to accept Jesus as their Savior and to go to heaven.

But it should be understood that seven million immigrants, plus the multiplied millions more that are expected to arrive in the next 3 to 4 years, are going to impact the already failing spirituality of the U.S.

No one can deny that there are places in the world where the church is growing, but the U.S. is not one of them. Many pastors say that they think the Apostasy has already started in the U.S. They see very little difference between most of their church members and the lost. Apathy and moral failure are already widespread in U.S. churches.

This is the point: The growing persecution and spiritual decline of America is bad enough already, but it is going to get much worse in the future. It is difficult to say how many Muslims are coming into the U.S. when people are saying the number is much higher than our government is letting on. And Pres. Obama has already said he will increase it even more. It is sad to know that Syrian Muslims are being brought in, but Syrian Christians are being refused entry. Bringing non-Christians in and keeping Christians out changes things.

Increasing the population of Muslims is going to mean more mosques; more demands to stop monitoring mosques, more demands to stop profiling Muslims; more demands to bring in extended families of Muslims; more demands for Muslim prayers before Congress, at city council meetings and the like.

It will mean more demands for Sharia Law: more attempts to get rid of the Bible, portray Christians as hate-mongers and extremists, send Christians to sensitivity training, get rid of chaplains in the military and the like; more demands to change school textbooks, lunch menus, etc. and perhaps more terrorist attacks, especially on churches.

Muslims are coming (and being brought) to the U.S. for many reasons, but the primary reason they are coming is to fundamentally transform the U.S. into a Muslim nation.

I have been to Mexico and seen many faithful Hispanic Christians. The vast majority is nominal at best. About 75-80%, say they are Catholic. They say they are Catholic because their parents were Catholic or they believe they were born Catholic. But their Catholic beliefs are far from traditional mainline Christianity. In many cases, their beliefs have been blended with ritualism, magic, voodoo, varied Indian cultural practices and the like.

Several years ago, a missionary took my wife and me to a Roman Catholic Church in Mexico and a voodoo ceremony was being performed in the church. I am not against legalized immigration (and I don’t blame anyone for seeking a better life), but I am saying that letting 25-30 million people with many kinds of strange beliefs come into the U.S. in the next 4 to 5 years (and not letting Christians in) will decrease the percentage of true Christians in the U.S.

Understand that the Bible is not wrong. Every jot and tittle will be fulfilled including what it says about persecution. Understand too, that what Islamic terrorists do in other countries (behead Christians, burn churches, burn people alive, cut babies in two, sell people into slavery) they will also do in the U.S. Their threats to raise the Islamic State flag over the White House and to blow up the White House should be taken seriously.

The spirit of Antichrist is already here and a flood of epic proportions is on the way. It will further weaken the U.S. spiritually and we should be concerned for our Lord, our children, our grandchildren, others and ourselves.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Crunch Time

Near the end of a ballgame when the score is close, the announcer or coach often says it is “Crunch time,” signaling that the end of the game is near and it is time for the players to play harder if they want to win.

Just before taking a final exam it is not unusual to hear a student say it is “Crunch time,” meaning the end of the course is near and the pressure to make a good grade is great. Concerning Bible prophecy, crunch time has arrived in several areas:

A war with the Islamic State could be shaping up. About two months ago it was reported that the U.S. is stockpiling weapons, supplies, and mine resistant vehicles in Kuwait in preparation for a war with the Islamic State to liberate the city of Mosul in Iraq. About two weeks, ago it was reported that about 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been sent to Kuwait to participate in the attack.

A few days later, many were stunned when someone in Washington said there will be an attack in April or May before the weather gets hot. Then, following a meeting with senior military officers and diplomats from several nations, newly appointed U.S. Sec. of Defense, Ashton Carter, promised a lasting defeat of the Islamic State.

More recently, Pres. Obama, who has vowed many times that he won’t put boots on the ground in Iraq, said he is open to changes in his request for the authority to use military force against the Islamic State. The U.S. is in an evolving situation that could soon reach a boiling point.

Concerning Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, for twelve years the West has been trying to get Iran to give up her desire to build these weapons. In Nov. 2013, the P5 + 1 (U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) signed an agreement with Iran to settle the issue before July 20, 2014, but it didn’t happen.

They extended the negotiations until Nov. 24, 2014, but they still failed. They extended the negotiations until Mar. 31, 2015 to settle the main issues and until June 30, 2015 to settle the little details. But with about five weeks to go on the main issues, the two sides aren’t even close to producing an agreement (unless the U.S. allows Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and many are saying that is going to happen). Iran is threatening to quit the talks and Israel is saying Iran could have nuclear weapons as soon as this coming June and no later than March of next year.

Israel can probably solve this issue in about one week and some think 12 years of fruitless work on the part of the West is causing her to run out of patience.

A war between Israel and Syria with Damascus being destroyed in one night could be looming. In Dec. 2014, there were two different reports that Russia asked Hezbollah and Syria to draw up plans for an attack on Israel. Russia didn’t ask them to attack Israel, but Russia asked them to draw up plans: 1) In case the west attacks Syria, and 2) In case the west keeps imposing sanctions on Russia for her invasion of Crimea.

In Jan. 2015, Hezbollah said their organization is ready. In the past, Russia has threatened to get involved, if Syria and Israel get into a war. A war with Russia, Iran and others attacking Israel could be nearing zero hour.

About Feb. 8, 2015, a Division of Syria’s Main Battle Tanks, armored weapons, thousands of Hezbollah foot soldiers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanded by an Iranian General left Damascus and headed toward Israel’s border with Syria.

Syria said these troops are clearing our rebels that are fighting against Pres. Assad in Syria’s civil war. Israel believes they are taking up positions inside Syria close to Israel’s border in preparation for a regional war with the Jewish state.

On Feb. 22, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told his cabinet: Iran has opened a first front against Israel by arming Hamas in the south (Gaza); a second front against Israel by arming Hezbollah in the north (Lebanon); and a third front against Israel by assembling a force inside Syria on Israel’s northern border.

Some say Syria, Hezbollah and Iran will lay low for a while to build bunkers, dig tunnels, lay mines, bring in more troops, weapons, fuel, etc. Others say Israel may attack before she is attacked. But either way, it is crunch time and several very important prophecies may soon be fulfilled.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

 

Editors Note:

Daymond refers to a war between Syria and Israel in which Damascus will be destroyed. This Prophecy is found in Isaiah 17, and we believe it to be a part of a Great Middle East War which is also prophesied in Ezekiel 28, 35-37; Amos 2; Joel 1; Jeremiah 49; Zechariah 9-11; Zephaniah 2; and includes those enemies of Israel named in the Psalm 83 prayer. We believe this war precedes or is the impetus for the Gog of Magog war prophesied in Ezekiel 38 & 39. While these wars may, or may not, precede the Rapture of the Church, it is important for the Believer to have knowledge of, and an understanding of, these prophetic wars. The reality of these conflicts should cause the follower of Christ to more earnestly seek to reach out to others with the good news of the Gospel in these Last Days.

Dr. Tuck Whitaker

True Grace for True Disciples

David Wilkerson was truly a modern-day prophet, calling people to repentance, and especially calling out the “church” for its apostasy. He was unapologetic in his criticism of the false teachers and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” and “Word of Faith” movement and of those who expect favor from God without submitting to His will. Our excerpt today is from his message “True Grace” from 1993.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

According to Paul, we are not walking in grace until we have broken from worldly corruptions. Unless we are endeavoring through the power of the Holy Spirit to lead godly and righteous lives, looking for the Lord’s coming in our every waking moment, we do not know God’s grace.

Many Christians want forgiveness, but that is all. They do not want to be delivered from this present world, because they love it. They are attached to their sins, not wanting to give up the pleasures of this earth. So they cling to a doctrine that says, “I can live as I please — as long as I say that I believe.”

They do not want to hear about obedience, repentance, self-denial, picking up their cross, taking on the yoke or burden of Christ. They simply want to be excused on Judgment Day — to have all their iniquities overlooked. They expect Jesus to open up the pearly gates, put His arms around them, and lead them down a golden street to their reserved mansion, even though they have never broken from the spirit of this world!

Paul writes, “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” (Romans 12:2). We are to break from this world completely and be conformed to Christ alone!

Words of Grace for Strength

Unfortunately, the “church” today is filled with “Christians” who reflect the very attitudes that David Wilkerson spoke of 20 plus years ago. More than ever before the church has adopted the ideas and appearance of the world. Rather than being separated to Christ, the church has embraced materialism, and humanism in a culture of tolerance and compromise. In today’s culture, man’s will rules supreme.

Those who call themselves “Christian” in many cases are no different from those who claim to be atheist, or agnostic. Not only have they not broken from worldly corruption and desires, they have no intention to. They speak of a god of love who will not condemn anyone to a literal Hell because of his love for man. Unfortunately, they are half right. God is a loving God, but it is they who condemn themselves to Hell because of their unrepentant disobedience to His will.

So, the problem with many who identify themselves as “Christian” today, is that they believe Jesus is the Son of God (but even the Demons believe this), and that He loves them (which He does), and that He died on a cross and rose from the grave (which He did), but they have never truly repented and turned from their sinfulness, they are still living worldly lives. Because this is the state of their belief, they believe Jesus is God, just not their God. Their gods are all of the worldly pleasures and things they will not turn away from. Ultimately then, they are their own god, which means they have completely bought into Satan’s lie. They have not placed their faith and trust in Jesus  as their Savior, faith and trust in Him alone as the means of their salvation. Their faith and trust resides elsewhere, as a result it resides nowhere of significance and eternal import.

True Christianity requires one to have experienced God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is conditional on man accepting the gift of Grace which Jesus Christ provided and paid for by His finished work at Calvary. By accepting the free gift of Grace, man acknowledges his sinful state, the debt he owes, the need for repentance, the price which was paid, and the need to surrender his life and his will to the sovereign will of God. When one accepts the gift of Grace, he is acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his life, he is forgiven and becomes a follower or disciple of Christ. It is at this point that obedience, repentance, self-denial, picking up his cross, and taking on the yoke or burden of Christ becomes important in his life. This is what it means to experience True Grace, he has become a disciple of Jesus Christ. One can only do so because he has faith and trust in Christ to carry him through.

Disciples of Jesus Christ expose and reject ungodliness, they have broken away from worldliness and worthless pursuits, they do not tolerate or compromise with unrighteousness, they Study the Word of God so that they may live in obedience to God while pursuing God’s will for their lives. Disciples of Jesus Christ are indwelt by His Holy Spirit who opens the Word to them as their teacher and comforter. The Disciple of Jesus Christ desires a closer relationship with Him as he longs for and looks for His return. True Disciples of Jesus Christ have experienced forgiveness and deliverance because of True Grace. And, that is the reason for the transformation which takes place in their lives. True Disciples do not just believe in Jesus, they know Him as their Lord and Savior. True Disciples have counted the cost of walking away from the ways and values of the world, and have counted it as nothing when compared to the incomparable riches of a life with Christ, a life in Christ.

Do you know Him? Are you His disciple?

Whatever Happened to John 3:16?

Quite literally, every day we learn of another example of man’s inhumanity to man. News organizations, both traditional and Internet-based, daily report on the atrocities and unspeakable evil which permeates, affects, touches, or in some way influences the lives of nearly every person on planet Earth. We are being constantly made aware of new and terrible diseases, or the resurgence or mutations of age-old maladies which are increasingly affecting numbers of peoples all over the world. And, weather events and natural disasters continue to increase in severity and frequency.

However, those of us who consider ourselves to be a part of the True Church, the Body of Christ, point to prophetic Scripture and declare that the Bible says these things are to be so as we approach the end of days. We of course do so by sharing these things from our pulpits, or in our weekly Bible studies, or through books we write, or (more and more frequently) through blogs posted on our own websites and those of others.

News organizations detail the latest atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the rest of the Middle East; Boko Haram in Africa, Russian separatists in Ukraine, the Iranian proxies (Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon), Al Qaeda in Yemen and Libya, the PLO in Israel, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Muslim extremists in Europe, and rising anti-Semitism worldwide. We hear about Chinese belligerence in the Far East, the nuclear aspirations of Iran, North Korea, and India, and increasingly, the failure of the United States to articulate any real understanding of, or implementation of, foreign policy.

In the US domestic news, we also read and see evidence of the growing influence of Islam, the continued proliferation of secular humanism in our institutions of learning, the insidious and intolerant assaults on Christianity and traditional family values by progressives (formerly known as liberals), and the militant minority LGBT community.

Lately, as I follow these news sources and then read the blog articles and comments of those in the Christian community, I have begun to see what I consider to be a disturbing trend. Many, though certainly not all, of these comments, articles, and posts focus on the condemnation of the individuals, groups, or countries committing these egregious acts without commenting on, or attributing, the ultimate reason for these evils to the very fact that we are living in a world which is ruled by the prince of the power of the air, and the rulers of darkness of this world, which is of course, Satan and his demons.

In fact, many in the Christian community have become so intentional in their desire to “expose” the hatred and evil inherent among those who are doing Satan’s bidding in these days, that they have forgotten not only the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and Great Commission (Mark 16:15), but in fact, the words of John 3:16. Even while acknowledging that we are living in the Last Days, that the Rapture of the church is imminent, and that a time of great Tribulation is approaching mankind, which will culminate in Christ’s physical return to the earth in power and great glory, we are failing to do the work which we were first called to do; proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)

Remember this verse? It is one of the best-known verses in the Bible. In fact, for most of us it is the very first verse we ever committed to memory. John 3:16 clearly and simply declares the Good News of the Gospel.

Let’s break this verse down a bit, “For God so loved the world” tells us that the creator of the universe loves His creation. However, the “world” here is not descriptive of the cosmos, or even the earth itself, but of all mankind. So the Scripture is saying that God loves all men, even those who scorn or reject His love. When I read “God so loved the world,” I can individualize that to say that He loves me. Yet, the same can be said by every other individual on the earth. This then means that the whole love of God is available to every single soul who has ever lived. Understanding that, the blessed truth here is this; no matter how far one distances himself from God, no matter how little one thinks of God, or no matter that one never even shows any love for God, it makes absolutely no difference to the very fact that God loves them.

Let’s continue, “that He gave His only begotten Son” is describing the fact that Jesus Christ became the sacrifice required by a Holy God to pay the sin debt of the entire world (read mankind). We must understand here that it was not Jesus’s death that turned God’s wrath and anger away from man, but rather it was God’s love for man which appointed Jesus Christ’s death. This then demonstrates that God loved men before He sent Christ to pay their sin debt. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2)

This brings us to the last part of the verse, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now then, “whoever” means whoever. There is nothing complicated here, there is no mystery here, any and every man who believes that Jesus Christ paid his sin debt can have eternal life.

Believing in Christ means that we acknowledge that He alone could be the perfect sacrifice which a Holy God required. It is acknowledging Him as our Savior, and surrendering to Him authority in our lives as our Lord. It is the act of acknowledging His will as our own as we become His disciples.

God hates sin, and God certainly does not like the wicked state of the world in which we live. But God loves men, and Peter tells us that He is not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)

So, the purpose of my article is this:

We who are disciples of Jesus Christ, who make up the Body of the True Church, which is the Bride of Christ, need to examine our attitudes as they relate to men and sin. When we stand in our pulpits, or sit before our computers we need to remember that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that but for the grace of God, we ourselves could still be in need of redemption. We need to humble ourselves as did the Apostle Paul when he wrote; “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus Christ came to save sinners, mankind; no matter what their nationality, no matter what their race, no matter what their religion, no matter what their sexual orientation, no matter what political office they may hold, no matter whether they are rich or poor, no matter what the circumstances of their life are, Jesus Christ paid their sin debt and we have the responsibility to share that Good News with them. No matter what the cost may be.

Reread the Book of Acts, up until his conversion on the road to Damascus in chapter 9, the church considered Paul (Saul of Tarsus) a terrorist. Yet, look at what Christ did with his life. Take a hard look at your life and examine what you might have become had it not been for Christ’s intervention and your salvation. Think about what Christ could do with the life of a world leader or even a would-be terrorist who found redemption in Him today.

Please understand this, I am not asking that we cease our efforts as “watchmen on the wall” or that we quit proclaiming the imminence of Christ’s return for His Church. I am not even suggesting we quit commenting on current events and their relationship to the end times.

What I am asking is that we refocus on that which is the most important task we have been given, to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Share it in every message you preach, every study you lead, and every article you write. Is it not truly what we have all been called to do? Is it not really the reason we have become watchmen?

Yes, Jesus is coming soon, and we need to share the Good News so that many more will be ready for His coming.

No-Go Zones

Shortly after the Muslim terrorist attack that killed 17 people in Paris, France there were a flurry of TV programs and articles about No-Go Zones (also called Sensitive Urban Zones, mini-caliphates or little caliphates).

These are Muslim towns, communities and villages that non-Muslim city officials, police, firemen and others often avoid in France, England and other parts of the EU. But these No-Go Zones quickly became a subject that some politicians and media personalities didn’t want people to discuss.

Saying “No-Go Zones” is about like saying “Islamic terrorists” or “Muslim terrorists.”  Some won’t admit that there is such a thing. Some prefer to be politically correct, cater to the Muslims and hope that the public will ignore the fact that these places actually exist. It is like the Fort Hood incident that was called “work place violence” instead of a Muslim terrorist attack.

Others know that “No-Go Zones” exist because the subject can be Googled, anti-Islamic movements have sprung up as a result of their existence, governments have published lists and maps of these areas, there have been articles and police reports about these areas for years, etc.

But some people don’t want No-Go Zones tied to Muslims or the Islamic religion in any way. They don’t object to calling these areas poverty zones; areas of low education, areas of high unemployment, areas of despair and things like that, but they strongly object to using the words “Muslim” or “Islamic” in connection with these dangerous places.

Part of the problem is Globalists and their satanic desire for a one-world government and a one-world religion. They categorize people as “citizens of the world” instead of citizens of a nation or citizens of a religion. They want to pull people out of their religion and into a politically correct religion. They want to integrate the cultures and religions of the world; and they are trying to do this by opening borders and encouraging immigration.

Another part of the problem is that many Muslims are taught to place their religion above their citizenship. Being a Muslim is more important to them than being in a nation, a world religion or a world government (unless it is an Islamic world religion or world government). So when Muslims cross those open borders to re-locate they don’t assimilate.

They flock to Muslim neighborhoods where they are taught to cling to the habits, values and religion they grew up in. They are taught to convert the nation they are in and not to let that nation convert them. They are taught that every true Muslim has a responsibility to convert the people in their area in one of   two ways: through violence or through population growth, persuasion  and domination.

There are many more parts to the problem but I will just mention one more and move on. Islam is not a religion of peace in the sense that the world thinks of peace. Islam teaches that Muslims are at war with non-Muslims. It teaches that there won’t be peace on earth until the whole world is converted to Islam.

So when Muslims say they are a religion of peace they mean they are a religion that wants to bring peace to the earth by converting everyone on earth to Islam. Violence (threatening or killing non-Muslims) is an acceptable method for establishing peace (an Islamic one-world religion and government).

I have not read the Koran, but I have read an untold number of articles about the Koran and what it teaches. The Koran was written over a period of years, and it is my understanding that some of the earliest passages clearly teach peace. And some of the later passages clearly teach violence.

So there are contradictions in the Koran and I have read that when there is a contradiction in the Koran it instructs those who read it to go by the last passage on the issue. Since the later passages teach violence against non-Muslims, this means the violent passages supersede the peaceful passages.

I have already said that Muslims can use violence or they can use population growth, persuasion and domination to convert the world. Most Muslims choose to use population growth, persuasion and domination, but some choose violence. Some establish terrorist cells. Some recruit people to join terrorist cells.

Some attend mosques with radical clerics that preach jihad. Some want to keep non-Muslims away from where these activities are going on so they deliberately turn their neighborhoods into No-Go Zones. The violent and the non-violent are intermingled and that makes for a very dangerous situation.

The U.S. president is pro-Muslim at best and a committed Muslim at worst. He has Muslim advisors, Muslims in Homeland Security, a Muslim in charge of the CIA, allowed a Muslim in the country that is establishing a Muslim political party and who knows what else?

According to a recent report, the FBI knows of at least 22 Muslim areas (communes or compounds) in the U.S. that are recruiting trainees. The FBI knows that these trainees are being taught guerilla tactics, Islamic doctrine, anti-Americanism, how to use weapons and more.

In times past, some of these groups have been infiltrated and investigated. The FBI has issued reports that say they are dangerous. But, as far as I know, the infiltration and investigation has stopped because the U.S. government refuses to call these people terrorists.

All of the Muslims in these compounds may not be terrorists, but some of them are. So, in my mind, there is no difference between the 22 No-Go Muslim compounds in the U.S. and the No-Go Zones in France and other countries.

Prophecy Plus Ministries

Daymond & Rachel Duck

daymond.duck@yahoo.com

 

Editors Note:  We at Rafter Cross Ministries and EvenSoCome are equally concerned about the growth of Islam and the proliferation of radical Islamic terrorist organizations. We are concerned about the involvement of some of these groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR in the present administration of the US government.

However, first and foremost we recognize that those of the Muslim faith are deceived by Satan and are in desperate need to have someone share with them the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to hear how the one true God desires a relationship with them based on love rather than fear and punishment.

With this in mind, we call on all true disciples of Christ to be certain that we (like Christ) love the sinner even while we deplore his sin. Pray for those who are caught up in and dominated by Islam, Pray that they find the redemption provided by Jesus Christ at the Cross.

Dr. Tuck Whitaker

Discipleship: Fully Committed to Christ

In Luke 14:25-33 we find a passage that describes what is required to truly be a disciple of Christ.

“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘”If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”’

Many would consider this passage as some of the “hard sayings” of Jesus. At the point in His ministry at which He made these statements, He had been attracting great crowds which followed Him everywhere to hear His teaching. Yet many of them were following Him expecting temporal reward or at the very least, reflected glory for themselves. And so, Jesus delivers to them this message in order for them to understand what truly would be required of anyone who desired to be His disciple. Additionally, He shared with them examples of counting the cost of being His disciple.

When Jesus spoke to them in verse 26; “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” the implication was not that they would truly hate their own family or themselves, but in fact, that as much as they loved their families, they must love Jesus infinitely more. And in verse 27; “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple,” He is saying, in order to be His disciple, not only should one be willing to face unspeakable persecution and suffering, but one willingly commits to following Christ even if it means his death. In verse 33 Jesus said; “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Again, the inference is that if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to put our love and service to Him above all of our material possessions. My friends this is a total commitment that He is requiring. You must follow Him completely or not at all. It is all or nothing. Jesus Christ is either Lord over everything in your life, including your life itself, or He is not Lord at all.

To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ one must count the cost. One must realize that sacrifice is required, suffering and persecution is to be expected, and we very well may be required to forfeit our very lives. In teaching on discipleship I often say it is not for the weak at heart. Again, remember Jesus told us in John 15:20; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” and they crucified Him.

So, we have looked at what Christ says is required to be a disciple, but how does that relate to being a Christian? Let’s look at Acts 11:28; “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” In this passage, which is telling about Barnabas taking Paul to Antioch, disciple is synonymous with Christian. I’m wondering if that puts a whole new light on your understanding of your relationship to Christ. Let’s look again at the words of Christ, this time in Mark 8:34; ‘“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”’ There are three imperatives here:

  • First, is self-denial. This again is putting Christ before anything, anyone, and everything in your life;
  • Second, is self-sacrifice. Again, being willing to suffer and lay down your very life for Jesus Christ if so required;
  • Third, Jesus said “follow me” and there have been volumes written about the meaning of those two words, but the short version is this, having embraced self-denial and self-sacrifice,
    • commit to the life of a disciple by studying the Word of God,
    • grow more Christ-like by living by the Word of God,
    • share the Word of God with others,
    • and defend the Word of God without fail.

Here then is the bottom line. Jesus, the very Son of God, was born into this world to become the Christ. At Calvary He took on the sin debt owed by all humanity, paid it with His own life, was buried, and resurrected Himself into life. By His victory over sin and death, He has offered to all mankind the free gift of salvation and eternal life for all who will believe in His finished work at the cross and recognize Him as their Savior, and Lord of their life. In understanding this, we comprehend that discipleship as a Christian is voluntary. In accepting Christ’s gift we willingly are giving over our will to His Will. In that respect, becoming a Christian and a disciple is intentional.

Unfortunately, there are many who call themselves Christian, yet have not counted the cost. They never really surrendered their will to His Will. If you take an honest look at your life, can you truly say that you have surrendered your will to Christ? If not, you must seriously question your commitment. Are you truly following Christ? Are you His disciple? Again, if not, there is no better time than now, no better day than today to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and surrender your life and your will to Him.

True discipleship begins at the cross of Christ. It requires sacrificial devotion to Christ without compromise, it requires putting the needs of others ahead of one’s self for the sake of the gospel, it is an absolute commitment to God’s Will in the disciple’s life.

Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Transformed and Sanctified by the Word, Jesus Christ

The following excerpt is from “The Hour Has Come” by G. Ray Jordan. Published in 1948, this work of Jordan’s is an examination and commentary on Jesus Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17. Again, it is as relevant for the believer today as when it was first written. As followers of Christ in these Last Days, we are living in a time of ever-expanding immorality, compromise, tolerance, and wickedness. It is increasingly more perilous for the Christian to live a separated life, however it is the Word of God which transformed us that will sanctify us.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” – John 17:6-19

Christ is thinking of a much nobler purpose and a far greater challenge when he insists those who are his devoted disciples cannot follow “the way of the world.” Here is something so spiritually superior it has to do with the divine difference. Jesus makes it quite plain when he declares that “the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” These friends are to be one with him in spirit and purpose. They are not to be controlled by the social, moral, or ethical standards of society or of any merely human group. The spirit of heaven has touched them. These men are not perfect. But they have seen the stars, and never again can they be satisfied with things of the earth.

When the intimate friends of Jesus began to understand him, to love him and eagerly give themselves to him, something magnificent happened to them. Their faces were turned in a different direction; their hearts thrilled to a higher devotion. Their wills were given to a new objective; their desires were set toward a divine purpose. The customs of society never crushed them after that. They refuse to be slaves to the codes of any earthly kingdom. Their lives were literally transformed. Spiritually they were born again. Any description less vivid fails to tell the full story of what happened to them.

Saul of Tarsus was captivated by the strange Man who went to a cross rather than abandon his hopes and surrender his ideals for life. Saul could do nothing less than give him his heart. His mind, his will, and his emotions were all affected by the spirit of this man who had been crucified because he would not compromise. He saw the devotion Christ manifested as the hope of humanity. A new power came to him. He urged his comrades not to conform to the standards of those about them. They should never succumb to the sordid moral conditions of the cities in which they lived, nor conform to the low ethical ideas of the Mediterranean world.

But mere lack of conformity to popular customs is not sufficient. Christians are to be transformed. There to be changed by the spirit and power of God. This is a radical experience. Only God can bring it to pass. As we yield ourselves to him, we find a power greater than our own which works in and through us. Obviously this is a far cry from simply refusing to abide by certain social customs. Those who decide to become divinely different by offering their wills to the heavenly Father on the highway to real greatness, even to God-likeness.

Here’s a sweeping experience which affects all of life because it has to do with every possible personal and social adjustment. A Christian treats himself differently because he is transformed. He thinks of Christ’s way rather than the world’s for dealing with any situation which arises.

Words of Grace for Strength:

Transformation is change, an event, which for the Christian was accomplished by Christ’s finished work at Calvary. Transforming his life from one of sin and death, to one which has been redeemed and justified into holiness and life. A part of Transformation is the process of Sanctification. Sanctification is also change, initiated by Christ at Calvary, which is then followed through by the faith and actions of the believer in his desire for a growing, continual, obedient relationship with God. This is accomplished through the study and application of His Word to the believer’s life. Transformation is being placed in Christ, while Sanctification is the ongoing process of being separated or set apart in holiness to God so that the believer might become more Christ-like.

True disciples of Jesus Christ today can be identified by their desire for Transformation and Sanctification in much the same way as those who walked and talked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. It is all a function of will. Those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ have heeded the instruction of the Holy Spirit through the Word given to the Apostle Paul, as written in the book of Romans:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1&2

The true disciple of Jesus Christ no longer operates under his own will, but has placed his will subservient to the Will of God. Because of this the disciple is no longer operating under his own power, but is dependent upon, and operating through, the power of God (Philippians 3:10, Ephesians 6:10 & 11). The power is there for any disciple to tap into by turning to God in wholehearted faith and obedience. If we do not choose to seek out and use that power, it is our fault alone if our lives are more difficult than need be.

We are living in troublesome times, terrible times. This world is full of corruption, deceit, hate, avarice, and lawlessness. Because of compromise, tolerance, and inclusiveness, society in every country is breaking down due to a lack of principles, morals, and rule of law. Wickedness prevails in most of the world as it spirals out of control under the influence of the prince of the power of this world, Satan himself.

The true disciple of Jesus Christ recognizes this, and in obedience to the Will of God, takes up the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13) to be able to make a stand for Jesus Christ in these Last Days. The promise of victory for the true disciple of Jesus Christ is found in the passage above (John 17:6-19), and that our Savior not only has given us into the hand of His Father, but has asked His Father to protect us from the evil one (Satan) and to sanctify us through His Truth. Jesus identifies the Word as Truth. John 1:1-3 identifies Jesus as the Word. It follows then, that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are sanctified by God through Jesus Christ. Make sure to note that in the prayer of John 17 Jesus asks that we be kept from the evil one, not necessarily taken out of the world when faced with evil. We are meant to fight for the cause of Christ, and our Lord made sure we are equipped to do battle, if we just take up the armor and tap into the power. As always the provision of the Lord is abundant beyond comprehension.

We are living in the Last Days, and as it is the Lord who appoints the times and seasons,we as disciples should be acutely aware of both the time and season. So, as we live in these Last Days, we must do so in the Will of God, by the power of God, and we should do so remembering the words of the Apostle Paul to Titus.

Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

EvenSoCome