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

American Revival; National or Spiritual, is either possible?

This may well be the most personal post I ever put up on this blog. As a Preacher, Teacher, Pastor, and Ministry Director I dedicate much of my life to the study of God’s Word. I love all Scripture, but I have a particular interest in Eschatology, the study of End Times Prophecy. In light of this, I truly believe it is a fact that we are living in the Last Days, and in fact the very end of days.

As I prepare the “Signs of the Times” update to share each Sunday morning with our church, and on Tuesday here on the blog, I look at the condition the world is in politically, morally and spiritually. I see the conflicts which rage on every continent as man’s inhumanity to man demonstrates itself in all types of violence, consuming lives because of; political differences, ethnic differences, moral differences, religious differences, or just plain old greed. In the Middle East, God’s chosen people, the Jewish Nation of Israel, is surrounded by people’s who clamor for her to be wiped from the face of the earth, and finds herself increasingly abandoned by the United States.

Here in the United States of America we find ourselves internally in the same conflicts found in the rest of the world. As a result of the policies of this present administration, there is an increasing intolerance towards Christians, emerging class warfare because of an ever-growing economic divide, and escalating racial tensions on a scale not seen since the 1960’s. The moral decay in this country rivals that of Rome under the emperors Nero and Caligula. Abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, the legalization of mind altering marijuana, and an entertainment industry in which pornography has become its largest moneymaker. We have a failing educational system which has embraced compromise and tolerance rather than exceptionalism and competition. Our schools teach our children that there are no absolute truths, no wrong answers, and that they are not personally responsible for their own actions.

The corruption within our national government has grown to epidemic proportions. We have a President who is ruling by executive order circumventing Congress at every opportunity, who routinely lies to the American people without repercussion or consequence, and an Attorney General who not only breaks the laws of this country but refuses to enforce them as well. We have an EPA rife with internal corruption yet by executive order have been given unprecedented power, an NSA, again by executive order, which is spying on the American people, and an IRS which is being wielded like a bludgeon against conservatives by the President and Democrats in Congress. Under this administration the US military has been weakened while the DHS, the IRS, the BLM, the TSA, and other government agencies have been militarized as domestic security forces.

Early in his first term as President, Barack Obama stated that we were no longer Christian nation. Personally, I don’t believe we ever were. I do believe that this nation was founded on Christian ideals and principles and that the 10 Commandments are the foundation of our legal system. I believe that at one point in time the majority of the citizens of this country at least worshiped as Christians whether or not they actually had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But, as far as I’m concerned, I believe the Bible clearly teaches that the only “Christian nation,” are those people who have accepted the free gift of Salvation provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary, and who are described in Scripture as the body of Christ, whose Citizenship is in Heaven, and not anywhere in this world. That having been said, I find great sorrow in the fact that few “churches” in America today are preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, they have become social institutions, or proponents of a word of faith prosperity gospel, or a humanistic self-help gospel, or are embracing the idea of the united inclusiveness of all religions, or some other form of theological error. Regardless, Ichabod, “the glory has departed” has been written above the door frames of the majority of these “churches.”

I was born a citizen of the United States of America. I have loved this Country, I have served this Country, and I have helped to build this Country. I grew up in a small town, played baseball and was a linebacker on my High School football team. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance everyday in school, had prayer before ballgames, and sang the National Anthem. The doors on our homes were always unlocked, and our rifles and shotguns hung in gun racks in the back windows of our pickup trucks because, we just might be going hunting after school. I was a cowboy, tended cattle, hauled hay, and competed in rodeo. We had picnics on the Fourth of July and watched fireworks, celebrating the freedom we enjoyed living in this great nation, while all the time understanding that freedom isn’t free, and had been dearly paid for by the men and women of our military.

I was proud to be an American, proud that I lived in a country where I could vote my conscience, vote for and have respect for those who would govern and lead our country, speak of and worship openly my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and instill in my family these same ideals. But as an American, I have watched this Country’s heart and soul destroyed from within. Liberalism and socialism took root in our institutions of higher learning, and has now usurped power in our government. This has resulted in the fact that we have been forced, in the name of compromise and tolerance, to exchange liberty for security and freedom for socialism. As a nation we have turned our back on God, demonstrating the same sinfulness and wickedness found in the world in the days of Noah and Lot. Repentance is no longer preached from our pulpits, Salvation has been replaced with self-help, and teaching of the Second Coming of Christ has been supplanted by Preterism. The majority of people in this nation no longer worship the God of the Bible, but instead worship at the altars of self, sport, entertainment, or money.

In light of all of these things the question must be asked, is there any hope? Can America be saved?

As a Christian, as a blood bought born-again child of God, as a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will tell you there is always hope. Hope that true followers of Christ, men and women with a biblical worldview, would speak up, be elected to office, and in other ways stem the tide of spiritual, moral, and political decay. However, as a student of Bible Prophecy, because I do not find the United States in End Times prophetic Scripture, I must admit I truly believe America’s time has passed. But, although I do not see a patriotic national revival, I still hold out hope for and am fervently praying for, a Spiritual revival in America.

Once upon a time in America, we were a nation who at least honored God. Today that is not so, for we have allowed the enemies of God to gain a place of prominence in this nation. The enemies who trouble America are neither imported nor homegrown. We find that enemy identified in Ephesians 6:11 & 12. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We as followers of Jesus Christ must recognize that even though America may be lost, her people do not have to be. Our enemy is Satan, yet Christ Jesus has promised us the victory.

It is our responsibility, to share with the people of this nation and in fact the world, the truth of the Gospel. We must tell them that Jesus paid their sin debt, and ours, at Calvary, and by their confession and repentance, making Him the Lord of their lives, He offers them eternal life. And we must tell them of His imminent return for His Church, the body of Christ. We must do this because the Word of God tells us that this world is not going to get any better. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Paul warns Timothy; “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!  Certainly this is a description of mankind today.

Once again I will tell you we are living in the Last Days. In Ephesians 5:16&17 Paul tells us we should be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” What is the Lord’s will? It is His will that all men would accept His gift of Salvation. 2 Peter 3:9 says; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” We must be sharing the Gospel message of  our Lord Jesus because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

Until He comes to rapture His Church we need to keep praying for a spiritual revival that will not only sweep this nation but the world because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

Long ago I adopted Ezekiel 22:30 as my life’s verse; “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”(KJV) And, it is my prayer even now that God will make me that man, and continually work a spiritual revival in my heart and mind, so that I may continue to be the preacher, teacher, and leader servant that He wants me to be. I will also be praying for Him to revive the spirit of every Christian who has remained true to Jesus Christ, so that we might see many souls redeemed in these Last Days. Will you join me in this prayer?

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome