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?

Sanctification, It Is Work!

In the series of articles entitled “Words of Grace for Strength” it is our practice to take an excerpt from an article, book, or sermon written sometime in the past, which in its message or teaching, is as relevant today as when it was first written or given. While undoubtedly the excerpt stands on its own, the goal is to confirm its relevance for today, and perhaps to embellish its importance and understanding to the reader so that he might be better able to apply the teaching to his life and personal growth in Christ Jesus.

The excerpt today is from “Things Which Become Sound Doctrine” written by J. Dwight Pentecost in 1965. The excerpt is from his teaching in the section on Sanctification.

God’s purpose for His child is that he should live in Jesus Christ. God desires to reproduce Himself in His children so that He might be glorified through His children. And when we present ourselves, or sanctify ourselves, or yield ourselves to the Spirit’s control, the Spirit will reproduce in us His own fruit, that we might live to the glory of God.

This practical holiness will manifest itself, as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18, in our growth in grace and knowledge. Peter says: “… grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” We often refer to this as progressive sanctification – where Christ, who formed in us by the Holy Spirit when we were born into God’s family, is being reproduced in us, more and more, by the Spirit’s control. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, “… we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (or, literally, are being changed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Paul emphasizes in that passage that there is a work of the Holy Spirit by which we are progressively being conformed in our daily experience to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are being changed into the same image, going from glory to glory. Our position before God is that we are sanctified, set apart unto God; our experience is that we are being sanctified in daily life, by the Spirit’s power, as we grow in grace and in the knowledge, and as we are controlled by the Spirit of God.

The child of God recognizes that no day is lived in practical righteousness and holiness. We stumble and fall, in thought, word, and deed. There is sin of omission, and sin of commission, and we stand convicted before a holy and righteous God. The Apostle John has given us a solution to this problem in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus Christ can be reproduced in the life of the child of God because the spirit of God can convict the child of God of his unholiness and can bring him to the place of confession so that sin might be forgiven and the believer might be restored, and that the Spirit might continue his work of reproducing Jesus Christ in the life of the child of God.

But is there no termination to the struggle? Must we always be subject to Satan’s snare? We recognize that as long as we’re in the flesh, we are living in an unredeemed body. We are living with an unredeemed sin-nature within us which may manifest its fruit unless we live by the Spirit’s power. But the word of God reveals a third precious truth concerning sanctification, and that is our ultimate sanctification. The apostle John so clearly presents this truth in 1 John 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; for we shall see Him as He is.” Observe carefully what John wrote. We will be like Christ in that we will be sinless, we will be deathless, and we will be brought to maturity in spiritual things. We will be like him. But when? When we’re old, and gray-haired? No! When He shall appear. It is the coming of Jesus Christ to gather His own to Himself that will bring us, God’s saints, to a realization of the position which is ours. At the coming of Christ – when the body of Christ is been completed, when the last redeemed one has been brought into God’s family – we will be translated out of this sphere of sin and into His glory, and we shall be like Him then our experience will confirm to our position throughout the unending ages of eternity.

Words of Grace for Strength:

When an individual makes the conscious decision, that they  are standing condemned before God because of their sin nature, needing to accept and acknowledge Jesus Christ as redeemer and Lord, they become justified in God’s sight. This is the first position of the redeemed in the eyes of God. Justification. In other words, because Jesus Christ’s finished work at the cross (His death, burial, and resurrection) offers to everyone who accepts the payment of sin debt; the redeemed individual no longer stands in judgment before God. And so, everyone who accepts the free gift of Salvation, offered through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, experiences Redemption, and Justification.

However, even though we are justified through Jesus Christ, we still possess our old sin nature. We may not necessarily want to sin, but it is still our nature to do so. This is the reason we need Sanctification. What is Sanctification? It is Holiness, the act and process of being set apart unto God by obtaining the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Positionally we were Justified and Sanctified in Jesus Christ when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. But because of our sin nature we find ourselves continually falling short of the Holiness we were first placed in. However, by continually communicating with God through prayer, confessing our sin, and diligently studying His Word, we can continue the process of Sanctification.

Sanctification is not an event, it is an act bestowed upon the believer by Jesus Christ, and is a process in which the believer should be constantly involved in order to become more like Jesus Christ. What this means for us is that throughout our lifetime as Christians we continually need to be growing in Jesus Christ, growing both more Christ-like and more Holy. If we are not persistently pursuing Sanctification our Christianity does not simply go dormant, rather we begin to fall farther and farther away from God because we are not in an active relationship with Him. Sanctification is a hard and continuing work, but it is certainly work which we can do in Jesus Christ for our benefit and His good pleasure. When we are properly following Jesus Christ, not only will we be becoming more like Jesus Christ, we will have the proper attitude and desire to serve Him among men.

The last paragraph of Dr. Pentecost’s teaching above tells us that our Sanctification process will come to an end when we see Jesus. 1 John 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; for we shall see Him as He is.” It is never a function of our life, the span of our lives or the amount of effort or obedience to the Lord that decides when we see Him. It has nothing to do with our times nor our timing. It is all about Him, and the timing established in our Lord’s will as to when each of us is called home individually, or the Father tells the Son to step out onto the clouds and call to His Church, to His Bride, “Come Up!”

I don’t know about y’all but I’m ready for that day. So let’s work our sanctification till Jesus comes and work it fervently…because Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

Following Hard… or finding it Hard to Follow?

So you say you are a Christian, and in fact you can point to a day in your life in which you acknowledged your sinfulness, repented of your sinful nature, and asked Jesus to be your Savior and the Lord of your life. Undoubtedly, every day since has been filled with ease and pleasure, right? What? No?

Is it possible that your faith has brought suffering rather than the happiness you expected? Have you been rejected by family members or friends? Has your relationship with Jesus Christ caused you to have to sacrifice something or someone important to you? Have you been reviled or persecuted because of your faith in Jesus Christ?

Did you know that Jesus Himself told us this would happen? In John 15:18-21 we read;

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 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. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

Remember, Jesus was mocked, lied about, beaten, spat upon, scourged, stripped naked, and in fact, Jesus Himself was abandoned by all of His disciples except John when He was nailed to the cross.

So, there is something here that we all need to understand as followers of Christ; we need to be prepared to face the fact that in all likelihood, sometime during our life, we can expect to suffer for our faith in Christ. Many of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ in various parts of the world today are in fact doing that very thing; suffering rejection, persecution, vile depredation, and even death. We may not all be required to face death for Christ, but the Apostle Paul warned Timothy;

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, when the Holy Spirit was given to indwell the disciples, they began to recall all that they had been taught by Jesus when they walked with Him, and so began to speak boldly all the things that they had learned and witnessed. In Acts 5 we have recorded the story of John and Peter’s persecution for having refused to obey the edict of the Sanhedrin not to speak about Jesus. And Acts 5:40 records the fact that they were beaten and once again instructed not to speak about Jesus. However, in Acts 5:41 we read;

“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

How does one possibly develop an attitude of thanksgiving for having suffered persecution? Quite simply, it happens when one goes beyond merely accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, and commits to doing the work that is required to become a disciple. In his letter to the church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul instructed the believers there;

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

This is the act of Spiritual growth! Walking in Christ involves daily living by His Word; being rooted in Him requires the study of the Word; being built up in Him involves constructive growth in understanding doctrine as defined in the root of the Word; all this will establish you in your faith in Christ, enabling you to rejoice in every circumstance with thanksgiving.

Wow! You say. That sounds an awful lot like work. Well, yes it is. Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ requires hard work, and because of the ever-present possibility of suffering and persecution, it isn’t for the faint of heart. But, the work is rewarding and the results are eternal.

So, as a believer in Jesus Christ, where do you begin to become a follower of Jesus Christ, one of His disciples? Actually it begins with your faith in Jesus Christ. The realization that you could not redeem yourself, and that by accepting God’s free gift of salvation through Christ’s finished work on the cross, you have acknowledged Christ as your Savior, and as the Lord of your life. This means you have yielded your will to His Will. When you have yielded your will to His Will you have actively begun the process of becoming a disciple. The Apostle Paul described this transformation as the “renewing of your mind.” In writing to the church at Rome the Apostle Paul encouraged the believers there;

“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)

So, Paul says after we give ourselves to God, the first work we must do is to renew our mind and by doing so, we may prove or know God’s Will. We do that by not being conformed to the world, but rather by being conformed to the Word of God. In other words everything that you learned or thought you knew before you became a Christian, must now be examined and filtered through the Word of God. This may involve unlearning some things and getting rid of old thoughts, replacing them with thoughts that are centered on Christ.

Renewing your mind, and becoming a disciple is a process not an event. When you accepted Christ as your personal Savior, your Salvation resulted in Justification in the sight of God. Discipleship is the process of Sanctification, which is daily endeavoring to grow more Christ like. Discipleship is a lifelong process, one never completes the process this side of heaven.

Discipleship is doing the work of learning to follow Christ. What does that work involve?

  • Jesus Christ discipled the 12, and hundreds more, in fact at Pentecost there were no less than 120 of His disciples present. Paul discipled Timothy, Titus, Tychicus, Luke, Phoebe, and countless others; Peter discipled John Mark among others; John discipled Ignatius, Polycarp, and others, Priscilla and Aquila discipled Apollos as did Paul, Polycarp discipled Justin Martyr and Onesimus (who was also discipled by Paul). And so down through the centuries this process has continued. I have been discipled by Dr. Jimmy Moody, Dr. Charlie Dodd, Dr. Mal Couch, Dr. Eliseo Solorio, Doug Pabody and others. What is the point here? If you truly desire to become a disciple of Jesus Christ find a more mature disciple of Christ’s and be discipled by them.
  • Discipleship is disciplining yourself to learn the Word of God and making yourself accountable to a discipler who loves you and Jesus enough to encourage you to do the hard work.
  • Daily read and study the Word of God and in so doing ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you. As you learn the Word of God be obedient to what you learn. Obedience is part of the hard work.
  • Memorize passages of Scripture. Committing them to your mind will not only allow you to share them with others, but more importantly they will become the foundation on which you stand and the compass by which you navigate through life.
  • Pray. Pray for understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and others. The Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. In other words we should always be in an attitude of prayer, ready to talk to God about anything and everything. Remember in your prayers to give thanks for all that Christ has done for you and is doing in you.
  • Develop a Scriptural understanding of stewardship, realizing that all you have and all you are belongs to God. This will allow you to properly allocate your time, talent, and resources as God leads.
  • Involve yourself in a local Bible believing, gospel preaching church (here’s a hint, the more intimate and family like the congregation and staff are, the more likely it is that you will find true disciples and disciplers there). Get involved in every Bible study available to you in the church, and look for ways to serve the body of Christ in and through your church.
  • Oh, and one more thing! As you grow as a disciple, become a discipler. Make yourself available to a believer who is less mature in his or her walk with Christ than you are and begin to teach them the things you have learned from the Word of God as a disciple.

Discipleship is more than just learning how to follow Christ, it actually involves following Christ no matter what the cost. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said; “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Bonhoeffer was martyred for Christ. I think I mentioned before that discipleship is not for the faint of heart. In fact, are you aware that all of Christ’s disciples who became His Apostles were martyred with the exception of John? I have often wondered if John was spared martyrdom because of his appearance at the cross during Christ’s crucifixion. Among the other disciples I named above in this article; Timothy, Titus, Tychicus, Luke, John Mark, Ignatius, Polycarp, Apollos, Onesimus, Justin Martyr, and Dr. Eliseo Solorio were all martyred for the cause of Christ.

Remember, Christ promised we would suffer, but He also said;

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

I like that promise, “I am with you always.”

Let us be busy as Disciples following hard after Jesus Christ, let us not fear those things which may befall us because we, like Paul, can say;

“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

Even when the following gets hard… Especially when the following gets hard… Follow Hard after Jesus!

Gog’s Evil Thought

Isaiah prophesied that war will break out between Syria and Israel at the end of the age. He said that Damascus, Syria will be destroyed forever in one night (Isa. 17:1-14). Damascus has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, but it has never ceased to exist as a city in one night because no army has ever had the ability to destroy it in one night. It will cease to exist as a city in one night in the future and it will take a very big bomb to do that.

Concerning this war, Isaiah used the phrase, “In that day” three times in chapter 17 (verses 4, 9 and 10). “In that day” is a Bible phrase that refers to the end of the age. This war will take place at the end of the age.

Ezekiel prophesied that a Russian leader will think an evil thought (Ezek. 38:10), assemble a group of allies and attack Israel in the latter years and latter days (Ezek. 38:8, 16). This war will take place after Israel has returned to the Promised Land and is dwelling safely (Ezek. 38:8).

Some say “dwelling safely” means after the Antichrist confirms the seven-year covenant with many for peace in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27). But it doesn’t have to mean that because Israel is dwelling safely now under the protection of God who will not allow her to be defeated (Amos 9:15).

Having said that, the Bible does not tell us which war will happen first: Syria and Israel or Russia and Israel. But based on the fact that none of the nations that share a border with Israel (the so-called inner circle of nations) are mentioned in Russia’s war with Israel (the so-called outer circle of nations) many prophecy writers, including myself, believe the war between Syria and Israel will happen first. Some even think Syria’s war with Israel could lead to Russia’s war with Israel.

As we follow the news, Russia is like a wounded bear. She has a controversy with Israel over some missiles she shipped to a facility near Damascus a few weeks ago. Israel believes those missiles were destined for transfer to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Russia says Israel attacked them. Residents near Damascus reported hearing about ten loud explosions. Russia demanded an explanation from Israel and sent a letter of protest to the United Nations. Russia even posted a statement on the nation’s Foreign Ministry’s website that reads:  Moscow is gravely concerned about this dangerous turn of events, the circumstances of which require explanations. In any case, there is no doubt that the use of force in international affairs is unacceptable and deserves to be condemned.

Russia also has a controversy with the U.S. and EU over sanctions they have placed on Russia because of the bear’s annexation of Crimea. Those sanctions along with the plunge in oil prices have destroyed Russia’s already fragile economy.

So the bear is wounded and thinking about lashing out. And it has been reported that a French official is saying Russia has asked Hezbollah and possibly Syria to develop contingency plans for a war with Israel. The report says Russia hasn’t asked Hezbollah and Syria to attack Israel.

But Russia has asked them to be ready to attack Israel, if the U.S. and EU keep applying sanctions. Do you get the point? The Bible predicts a war between Syria and Israel at the end of the age and Russia has apparently asked Syria to develop contingency plans for a war with Israel.

I recently asked, “Is Mr. Putin Gog?” And I said, “I don’t think anyone knows.” Is Gog’s “evil thought” possibly Russia telling Hezbollah and Syria to develop contingency plans for an attack on Israel? Most prophecy writers would probably say no, but we know it could lead up to it.

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

Reprobate Mind

In late November 2014, the Atlanta Business Chronicle ran a story about Atlanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Chief Cochran holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and a master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He has 27 years of experience in the Shreveport, LA Fire Department; was the city’s first African-American Fire Chief. Later he became the Fire Chief in the Atlanta Fire Department.

He then left his position to serve as Fire Administrator in the Obama Administration, worked with FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security; held several positions in community and professional organizations; and more. Chief Cochran has obviously proven himself to be an outstanding individual.
Chief Cochran accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and became a member of the Galilee Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA at the age of five. He grew up poor, attended church, developed a strong faith, became a committed Christian and turned into an exceptional citizen and role model—especially in the black community. If more people were like Chief Cochran, America wouldn’t be having the violence it is having today.

Chief Cochran’s fame didn’t cause him to turn away from his faith or stop him from taking a strong position on Christian issues. He wrote a book in 2013 titled, Who Told You That You Are Naked (available at amazon.com), that verifies this. Simply put, he condemned homosexuality, marital infidelity and relationships with multiple sex partners.

His Christian teaching caused the gay community to go bonkers (slang for bananas, nuts, irrational, mentally disturbed, etc.). Some of those I grew up with would say it caused them to go buck wild or to be unrealistic. And some of those I worked with would say it caused them to act like they were about three digits short of a five digit zip code.

For example, it was reported that some in the gay community claimed that Chief Cochran wouldn’t put out fires at gay homes. Really! Are we to believe that when a house catches on fire in Atlanta the Fire Chief knows whether it is occupied by gays or not and based on that he decides whether the fire should be put out or not? Is this not irrational, buck wild or unrealistic?

Anyway, Chief Cochran was accused of undermining the public’s trust in him for writing that book, and he was suspended from his job for one month without pay. Some would probably ask, “What happened to his freedom of speech?”

Much could be said about that, but right now I want to recall what Paul said, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2-3). The time will come when unsaved people will not tolerate true Bible teaching. If America hasn’t already reached that point, it is quickly reaching it because Christians are rapidly losing their freedom of speech.

Concerning the last days, Paul said, “men shall be . . . without natural affection” (2 Tim. 3:2-3). The fact that speaking the Word of God is off limits and rejected, that a godly man is persecuted for stating only what the Bible teaches and the fact that an unnatural lifestyle is boldly celebrated and treated as normal are all signs that the world is in the last days of the Church Age.

In one generation, the depraved have become more depraved and many are telling the true church that expressing God’s truth is unacceptable. These are signs that God will soon bring the Church Age to an end. If society doesn’t want Christians to give them the Word of God, He will soon remove the Christians and let them see what happens when His Word is universally rejected.

Paul also said, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:28). Many of those without natural affection don’t want to know God, so He has given them over to what they do want.

That is to say, He has allowed them to be free from Him and to have a reprobate (worthless, corrupt or godless) state of mind. And there are consequences from that: Their lives without God and their faulty thinking have made them slaves to sin. They are free from God, but enslaved to sin.

Just think about it: The leaders of a major American city would rather suppress the truth and be lied to—than to hear the truth. If that isn’t reprobate thinking, what is? Let’s hope it doesn’t last long and that many gays come out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light before it is eternally too late.

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

Has God Left America’s House of Prayer?

Greek experts say the English word “apostasy” means to withdraw, stand away from, fall away from, or depart from the faith. Bible prophecy experts say departing from the faith is a sign that the end of the Church Age has arrived. They base this on something Paul said:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).

Apostasy is as old as the church, but professing believers who teach heresies will be a major problem in the organized church when the Rapture is near.

In 1893, the U.S. Congress gave a charter to the Episcopal Church to build a cathedral in Washington, DC. That Cathedral quickly became the location of religious services of national significance. The funerals of several U.S. presidents, senators and congressmen have been held there.

That Cathedral also became known as America’s “National House of Prayer.” Monthly prayer meetings have been held there including prayer for our nation during WW II. Special prayer services have been held there including a prayer service for our nation following the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack on the United States.

On Nov. 14, 2014, a Muslim prayer service was held at America’s “National House of Prayer.” Many prayer carpets were spread in the sanctuary; hundreds of Muslims turned their back on the cross; hundreds bowed toward Mecca and said, “There is only one god, he begets not (doesn’t have a Son) and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle” (Jesus is not God’s Servant and there are not Twelve Apostles).

Christians believe John was an apostle. He wrote five books of the Bible including these words:

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 Jn. 2:22).

The apostle John also said:

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 Jn. 4:2-3).

The Muslim denial that God has a Son is a lie and nothing less than the spirit of Antichrist in America’s “National House of Prayer.” It is a doctrine of the devil that was organized and promoted by church leaders who have departed from the faith. It is no wonder that the Episcopal Church has lost more than 40 percent of its members since the middle 1960s.

I have presented this as an example of a church falling away from the faith to the group of Bible prophecy lovers that I have the honor of meeting with each week. I wrote this article to share their responses with those who read this.

One very perceptive lady said, “This tells you the temperature of that church.” She was referring to the fact that Jesus told the church at Laodicea:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16).

The church officials that put that service together are a perfect example of people who would say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17); people who know not that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked; people who know not that they are spiritually poor; people who know not that their nakedness must be covered with the righteousness of God’s living Son; people who are blind to the fact that He is the only way to be saved and worshipping Allah condemns multitudes to hell.

One very perceptive man said, “It reminds me that President Obama said, ‘We (the people of the U.S.) are no longer a Christian nation.’”

He is right. America has fundamentally changed and clergy like those wretched, miserable leaders at the Episcopal Church in Washington, DC are a major contributing factor. Clergy that should be defending the faith have been seduced by evil spirits (1 Tim. 4:1). They call Jesus Lord, claim to preach in His name and claim to do many wonderful things like this odious event, but Jesus doesn’t know them (Matt.7:22-23).

Another very perceptive lady said, “It is obvious that before those church officials invited the Muslims to blaspheme God He had already left our National Cathedral.”

She is right. God will not share America’s “House of Prayer” with Allah. Here is fundamental change we can believe in: Either Allah goes or God goes and it is quite possible that God has already left. It is quite possible that future prayers in that defiled place will not be answered.

During the service a woman shouted out, “Leave our churches alone.” She was escorted out of the church shouting, “Why can’t you worship in your mosque?”

Church officials thought it was okay to allow Muslims to blaspheme Jehovah during that service in America’s “House of Prayer,” but it was not okay for a Christian to stand up for the faith at that time. Can those church officials honestly claim that they were sharing the gospel with their Muslim guests?

No one can deny that we should have order in the church and everything should be done for the glory of God. But worshipping Allah wasn’t done for the glory of God. And the problem wasn’t the woman who shouted out.

The problem was the religious church leaders who foolishly scheduled a service and allowed a Muslim imam to come into the church and say that “God has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and there is no god like Allah.”

If those church leaders don’t condemn the heresy that occurred in that church, their hearts are not right with God and they are a part of the spirit of antichrist that prevailed there.

Oh, I know they said they were trying to promote tolerance among faiths. But that was only to appear godly and to try to justify their decision to ignore the Scriptures and compromise the faith. Paul spoke about this:

“This know also, that in the last days . . . . people will have a form of godliness” (2 Tim. 3:1-6). It is easy to understand why Jesus will spew out the lukewarm.

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

Armageddon: A Global Goal

Before the battle of Armageddon can take place three things must happen:

1) World leaders must divide the land of Israel and scatter the Jews (Joel 3:2).
2) The Antichrist must confirm a covenant for seven years of peace in the Middle East (Dan. 9:27) .
3) There must be a world government (Dan. 7:23; Rev.13:7).

Concerning the division of the land of Israel, in early Nov. 2014, the new EU Foreign Affairs Chief, Federica Mogherini, traveled to Israel where she insisted on the urgent need to divide the land of Israel. She traveled on down into Gaza and said, “This [a Palestinian state] is the ultimate goal and this is the position of all of the European Union.” She even called it a “global” objective.

Her remarks reminded me of something Pres. Obama said at the UN on Sept. 23, 2012. He was talking about dividing the land of Israel and he said, “The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own…The question isn’t the goal that we seek — the question is how do we reach that goal?”

If dividing the land of Israel is a “global” goal (and a goal of the EU and the U.S.) then the battle of Armageddon is a global goal. This is true because God said, “I will also gather all nations [global], and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat [for the battle of Armageddon], and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” (Joel 3:2).

Rather than looking at this issue through the certainty of God’s Word and His determination to fulfill every jot and tittle of it, world leaders are foolishly trying to appease the unceasing Islamic hatred of Israel. If these world leaders don’t back off, and the Bible indicates that they won’t, the world is on a guaranteed path to the battle of Armageddon.

Concerning a covenant for seven years of peace in the Middle East, the UN, EU, U.S. and others continue to try to force Israel to sign a peace treaty. To be honest about it, I expect more war before there is a peace treaty. But the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations calls for the UN to maintain peace and international security (this could also be translated peace and international safety); and world leaders simply refuse to give up on the idea of a peace treaty.

Years of failed negotiations have caused some to grow weary of the process. Some are ready to try to force a treaty on Israel and the PA whether they are willing to agree to it or not. A treaty that is forced on people against their wishes will not guarantee peace and safety.

Concerning the existence of a world government, three world leaders recently talked about this in the same week.

Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, called for global governance (world government), global taxes, global standards, rulers, governments and dictators with global tax collecting responsibilities and a digital system to track all of this. His idea of world government clearly fits the kind of money-tracking world government the Bible says the Antichrist will establish.

America’s Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, said, “We are seeing a new world order . . . . being built. There are many questions, foremost among the American people: What’s the role of America in this new world that is evolving? Should we have a role? What is appropriate?” This shows a glaring ignorance of Bible prophecy. The evolving world government will be Satanic and there shouldn’t be any doubt about America’s role.

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin urged the international community to establish a new world order to prevent future conflicts (to establish peace and safety). This is another statement that shows ignorance of Bible prophecy. The Antichrist will rise to power promising to prevent future conflicts, but he will go forth conquering and to conquer.

So the globalists have their goals (divide Israel, peace and safety, world government, etc.), but no matter how powerful they are, they are no match for God. He has His goals and they will find this out when they see Jesus coming to the Valley of Jehoshaphat to rescue Israel.

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