Whom Do You Fear in These Last Days?

Undoubtedly, the evidence is, for Christians this world is becoming more dangerous on a daily basis. Persecution of those who have a true faith in Jesus Christ has increased by an estimated 400% worldwide in the last 24 months alone. Yet, the True Church continues to grow, and is doing so in the places of greatest persecution. North Korea, over the past decade, has consistently been documented as the most hostile toward Christianity, yet it is estimated that the Church has grown from 200,000 to 400,000 faithful, during that same length of time. These numbers are not anomalous, almost the same type of growth has been experienced in China, India, Iran, and much of the African continent. The Church of Jesus Christ is alive, growing, and in spite of the suffering and persecution is living expectantly, longing and looking for His imminent return for His bride.

However, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ are boldly making a stand for Him in these Last Days. Many Christians (especially in the US), for divergent reasons, are “playing it safe” hoping to “slip under the radar” and avoid suffering and persecution. Rather than trusting God, they have developed a fear of man which is by extension, a fear of Satan. Jesus Christ promised that He would neither leave us nor forsake us, and that we should have no fear of what man might do to us. (Hebrews 13:5-6) In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised that we would be blessed and rewarded for having suffered persecution in His Name. (Matthew 5:10-12) Jesus also told us that we can expect persecution because He was persecuted. (John 15:20) And, Paul told the Christians in the Philippian church that it was granted to them not only to believe in Jesus but to suffer for Jesus. (Philippians 1: 29) If you are granted something, it means it has been given to you or gifted to you, in other words, it is a privilege that you have received. So, we should count it a privilege when persecution comes, but rather than trusting God for their lives, many are caught in the snare of fearing man. (Proverbs 29:25)

Fearing man results in a failure to do what is right, what the Lord desires, in being obedient to His call on your life. It is yielding to your human nature rather than trusting in the Holy Spirit to protect and empower you in Jesus Name. Oftentimes a fear of man is the result of sinful pride in our lives. It manifests itself in thoughts like; “if I try to share my faith with them they will make fun of me,” or “I could lose my job if I don’t compromise,” or “Jesus understands that I’m not that type of a Christian.” These examples of prideful thoughts or actions show a concern for self, and fear of what man might say, rather than a fear of God.

Del Fehsenfeld Jr., the founder of Life Action Ministries, said there were 12 warning signs for the believer that they fear man rather than God.

• They are unwilling to pray aloud.
• They wear immodest or suggestive clothing.
• They become defensive when confronted about their actions.
• They are unwilling to be honest about their failures.
• They are critical of others; trying to find fault.
• They are greedy, seeking material wealth and reputation.
• They are unable to make clear decisions.
• They are harsh with their children and family in public.
• They are constantly fishing for compliments and commendation.
• They are always trying to “one-up” other people’s stories.
• They are unwilling to follow Christ in believer’s baptism or to verbally witness for Him.
• They display different behavior depending on whom they happened to be with.

Fear of man is quite simply a denial of Christ, weather it is a result of pride, or willful disobedience in giving Christ His rightful place in your life. The tent evangelist, Dr. Dolphus Price, said; “Many will go to hell because they are afraid of what their friends might say if they give their life to Christ.” The English preacher William Gurnall wrote; “We fear man so much, because we fear God so little.”

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ needs to return to a healthy reverence for, and fear of God. (Psalm 89:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) We need to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, about who we should fear and why. (Luke 12:4-9) Ultimately, the man who puts his trust in Jesus Christ is eternally safe no matter what he might face.The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to Timothy wrote; “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Again, this is a promise of a privilege given to the one who has given his life to serve Jesus Christ, and it is certainly no reason to fear man.

Paul goes on to encourage Timothy; “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4: 2-5)

These words to Timothy in that day, are the words of Jesus Christ to us for today. Because the evidence is clear that we are living in the Last Days, we need to set aside the fear of man, and share Jesus Christ with absolutely everyone we can in obedience to His call on our lives. We need to convince people of the Truth of Jesus Christ in our lives, we need to rebuke those (false teachers and false prophets) who are not teaching the Truth of the Word of God, and we need to exhort new Christians or weaker Christians with patience and sound teaching of the Word. Many in this world have already turned away from the truth, many will not be redeemed because they have already given themselves over to Satan. But, we still need to evangelize everyone, because only God knows the condition of a man’s heart. We need to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives, and continually watch, long for, and love the imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds as He Raptures His Church!

Remember, a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) and the crown of life (Revelation 2:10) awaits. So put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-16), and having done all to stand; Stand Therefore!

EvenSoCome

Press on!

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:8-14

Recently, I have looked at this again in a different light. The Apostle Paul said “I press toward the mark,” as if he hadn’t accomplished enough in life already! During our Wednesday evening services, I, the pastor with very little experience concerning end time events, have begun to teach on this very subject. Realizing that the Bible, percentage wise (nearly one-third), is more prophecy than anything else, and understanding that out of all of the writings of the major religions of the world, our Bible is the only book with enough bravery to predict the very future that we are living in today.

When I was growing up we might have seen a sign of the Lord’s return every so often, but now…every day we are watching the signs unfold right before our eyes! To me, as I am witnessing it, this is one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had in my life! All of the things we have studied and heard about in our churches for years are coming to pass! But, I have started seeing and hearing of some things that are very alarming to me. Certainly people are afraid. But, even more alarming is the talk of Christians being afraid. Why? The reward that we pray for, the eternity that we wait for, the great reunion we are wanting with our loved ones, and even more important the One who died for us all, is near. How could we as believers be afraid of the time we live in?

I understand that there could be a time of persecution like we’ve never known. I know we may be driven underground to have church. We may not be able to pray in school ever again. Abortion may be an everyday occurrence with no shame. The institution of marriage may not honorable like the bible spoke of in Hebrews 13:4. Oh wait…most of this is where we are now! Now instead of making a stand and preaching on the street corner, we have practically gone into hiding. We don’t witness unless we are alone with someone and they open the door. Have we not already gone into hiding?

Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, that the coming of the Lord would not come until there be a great falling away. I have heard many teachings and ideas on this passage, even so, why would we think for any reason we should slow down in the practice of personal evangelism as we see these things happening? Instead of hiding what we hold as the dearest treasure in our hearts, we should be spreading it like never before! I look at the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the Philippians like this…Hey guys…we may have made a difference to some degree… We may have some great accomplishments… We may have the right to just sit back and wait on the Lord to take us… But! Paul said, of all my accolades, I count them all as dung, and I am still pressing toward the same mark I started after when I fell on my face on the road to Damascus.

Paul, while sitting in prison was pressing. Paul, while going from courthouse to courthouse being falsely accused was pressing, while in the storm and shipwrecked, he was pressing. While being beaten and stoned, he was still pressing, when he was on the chopping block about to lose his head, he was still pressing. Even more shocking to me than the folks who are afraid of what’s going on in our world today, as far as end time events go, are the folks who have gone into hiding and have quit pressing!

Hey church…wake up!!! We are in the greatest evangelistic era we could possibly have! Yes people’s hearts are hard, and yes people are on a moral downward spiral, but it is amazing to see some of the people who are the hardest, are realizing the signs of the times themselves! Let’s go and press harder than we ever have because;

Jesus is coming soon!

God Bless

Life, In Christ!

Humanly speaking we are all born with an innate fear of death, no one really wants to die, yet the Scriptures tell us; “it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Why is this? I am fairly well certain that everyone is familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis, and their disobedience to God by eating the forbidden fruit. Adam’s disobedience to God brought sin into the world and caused sins curse to fall on all men for all time. Romans 5:12; “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” So then, inherent within all of us is a sin nature, we are all predisposed to sin. Romans 3:23; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And because of that sin nature we are condemned to die. Romans 6:23; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” So even though we are condemned by our sin, through the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ at Calvary, we have the opportunity to experience eternal life.

The Word of God teaches us in Hebrews 9:22; “without shedding of blood there is no remission,” and in 1 John 1:7 we are told that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. So Jesus paid our penalty, our sin debt; He died our death. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for every sinner who was ever born or will be born into this world. So then the only way to experience eternal life is by accepting the free gift offered to us by Jesus Christ. The gift cannot be bought, we can only come into possession of it by accepting it freely from the giver, and it is Christ’s gift of grace to us.

In Ephesians 1:7 the apostle Paul tells us; “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” And again in Colossians 1:14; “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” The very reason Jesus Christ was born into this world, was to become the perfect sacrifice before His Father so that we might be redeemed from the sin debt of death we owed and given the opportunity to accept His free gift, which is eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The Scriptures tell us;

John 3:16-18 “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

There is only one way to be saved from eternal death, and given eternal life, and that is through Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus himself said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus also said in John 5:24; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

This brings us back to the beginning of our teaching in this article, fear of death. In understanding the truth of Scripture, it is obvious why men fear death. Without a relationship in Jesus Christ, having accepted His free gift of salvation, man condemns himself to eternal death. But in Christ Jesus we are given the promise of eternal life, through His gift. We read in 1 John 5:12; “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” So, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we have life and therefore have no need to fear eternal death.

In fact even temporal death should hold no mystery or fear for those who are in Jesus Christ. Because as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Did you catch that? We should be “confident,” and in fact “well pleased” if we no longer inhabit this earthly body, because we get to be with Jesus.

Now then, because we have been given life by Christ, and have no reason to fear death, we ought to live our lives In Christ. Living our lives In Christ means that rather than fearing death we embrace it in that we are dead to the world. In other words the things of the world are not important to us and should have no influence in our lives.

What things are these?

Read to the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22; ‘“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”’

Luke 9:57-62 records the words of Jesus to others in regard to what is required of us In Christ. ‘“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”’

Also in Luke 9:23-25 this is written; ‘“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”’

So in the words of Christ Himself we discover what is required of us In Christ. The list of things which we are to be willing to give up not only includes material possessions, reputation, and even family, ultimately it includes our very lives. Daily taking up your cross is literally daily putting self to death so that the life which you live, is life In Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” In his letter to the Romans he also wrote; “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

If we are dead to self, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, then we are given life by God through the Holy Spirit. Read Romans 8:1-11; “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Life, In Christ, is evidenced by the willful subjugation of our will and our very lives, to the will of God and the call that He places on our lives. Obedience to Jesus Christ through the instruction of His written Word gives us the boldness to live life In Christ. It is only through living our lives boldly In Christ will we be able to Stand for Him in these Last Days (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Life, In Christ, is living without fear of death, temporal or eternal, because we have been given the gift of life through Christ. In fact, like the Apostle Paul we should be willing to say; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Life, In Christ, may involve ridicule, derision, persecution and suffering (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:15-16; 1 Peter 5:10) but if we endure it we are promised the “Crown of Life.” Revelation 2:10; “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Do you know Jesus? 1 John 5:20; “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

Do you live; Life, In Christ? Settle the matter with Him today!

The Rapture is imminent, Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are near, and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome