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

What About Persecution?

Usually, for our Sunday article, it is my practice to quote a passage from a message or book written within the past 100 years or so, and then to make commentary as to its relevance for today. Today however, it is the constant reminder, by way of the media, of stories dealing with Christian persecution which has caused me to write. Because of much unbiblical teaching, emanating from many pulpits, in “churches” which have compromised on the Word of God and are now preaching “another gospel” I felt it necessary to put forward this brief excursus on persecution.

Words of Grace for Strength

From the very beginning, the true Church of Jesus Christ has faced persecution. Acts chapters 4 and 5 speak of the very beginning of that persecution in the ministry of the apostles Peter and John, and we find at the end of chapter 5 these words:

Acts 5:34-35
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

Act 5:38-42
And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It is estimated that between 100 million and 150 million Christians worldwide face some type of persecution on a yearly basis, and depending upon whose report you believe to be most accurate there are between 55,000 and 100,000 Christians martyred each year. Some have even estimated that more Christians have been martyred in the first 15 years of this century than all of the previous 20 combined.

Christian persecution is found on every continent, and in every country, and is perpetrated by many religions as well as atheistic and intolerant totalitarian governments. In some places the persecution is subtle while in others it is horrifically overt. Christian persecution is found in many forms; such as slander and libel, confiscation of property, false accusations, imprisonment, kidnapping, slavery, beatings, dismemberment, torture, rape, and in varying degrees of severity up to and including murder by means of shooting, stoning, and beheading, burning, and even crucifixion.

Beginning with John and Peter’s first persecution, and with Steven’s death as the church’s first martyr, the church age has been marked by suffering, persecution, and martyrdom of the followers of Jesus Christ. All of the apostles, with the exception of John, were martyred as were most of the New Testament disciples named in the books written by Luke, Peter, John, and Paul.

Throughout the successive centuries the persecution has only grown, and as we live in these last days, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ to Rapture His Church, we can expect its intensity and frequency to grow exponentially. Jesus Christ was Himself our suffering Savior, and He was persecuted even unto death. We who are His followers, should at no time be surprised when we too are persecuted. Jesus promised us; “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.” John 15:20a

Looking back to our text in Acts 5, we find that those who are persecuting the apostles are the Sanhedrin. Later in the book of Acts we find the followers of Christ being persecuted by differing groups of Gentiles and most especially the Romans. Throughout the succeeding centuries Christians have faced persecution from many different religions, ideologies, and governments.

Today Christian persecution comes at the hands of Islamists and various other religions; from communists, socialists, progressives, and other political ideologies; from atheists and agnostics; and from the radical LGBT community as well as other social activists such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. In fact, I’m certain many of you would agree with me when I say, active Christian persecution emanates from our own White House and the administration which now occupies it.

But, I believe we who are followers of Christ, His True Church, have actually forgotten who our enemy really is. In John 14:30 he is called “the ruler of this world,” in Ephesians 2:2 he is called “the prince of the power the air,” and Paul names him as the devil in Ephesians 6:11. In fact, in Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul warns us to; “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.” Whether it be religions, governments, or ideologies, these and the mere mortals who lead them, are no more than pawns in this great spiritual war.

Today the True Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, is involved in this spiritual war for the universe. Satan’s goal is to corrupt, marginalize, render ineffective, and destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. It is also his goal to destroy God’s chosen people, the Jews and their nation of Israel. Ultimately, Christ Himself will win the war. But, until we are relieved of our duty by either death (which the apostle Paul calls “gain.” Philippians1:21) or Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we are to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and make a stand for the cause of Christ.

Once again as we look back to Acts 5:41, we note that John and Peter rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer for Christ. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:14 that if we suffer for righteousness sake we are blessed. And James writes in James 1:2 that we should count it all joy when we face trials. Contrary to what is taught in many “churches” today, this is the normal Christian life, to be continually facing persecution for our obedience and fidelity to the cause of Christ. Like so many saints before us, who had also counted the cost, we must be willing not only to suffer, but to lay down our life in the service of the cross.

There is an old gospel song titled “I came here to stay.” I don’t know who the author is, but I believe this song should be on the lips of every Christian as we are involved in this spiritual battle. The chorus of the song says;

Run if you want to, run if you will,
But I came here to stay.
If I fall down I’m gonna get right up.
Because I didn’t start out to play.
It’s a battlefield, brother,
not a recreation room.
It’s a fight, and not a game.
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay.

Know your enemy, know the battlefield, face persecution without fear, rejoice, and having done all to stand, stand therefore!

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!

The Indestructible Compulsion of Faith

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

The Apostle Paul, as he went about the work of proclaiming Christ, certainly had a tough time of it physically. Bearing persecution, physical pain and almost constant danger, continuing his mission and ministry until at the end he was preaching and teaching from a hole in the ground in a Roman prison awaiting execution. And why? He had met the risen Christ on the Damascus Road and felt compelled out of love and obedience for His Lord and Savior to preach Christ, and Him crucified, no matter the cost to himself.

I would not expect many, if any of us who preach and teach the Bible, who proclaim the Gospel, who sound the call of Biblical prophecy through our teaching, to face and endure the physical hardships Paul did. But any of us could be faced with similar circumstances at any time. And I do hope many, if not all of us sense the importance of, and live out our ministry with a similar indestructible compulsion of faith that Paul exhibited.

A hard world needs hardened men and women to bring the Word of God, the mind of Christ and the power of the Spirit to it. People in ministry, hardened in the crucible of their faith, unshakable in their belief, resolute in their want to serve the Lord through the preaching and teaching abilities which with they have been gifted. Hardened men and women, hardened to face the rigors of the world, but not hardened of heart as the world is.

It is not always easy to hold to a Christian faith and worldview in the face of the rising defiance to the Word of God and His Sovereignty which we see the world engaging in, and which we see the world growing more bold and vocal about daily. As we see a supposed god of peace bathe the world with his satanic and demoniacal brand of sinful madness many call religion. Yet in us is One greater than he who is in the world. We are hardened for battle with the indestructible faith in a Lord who cannot be bested, even in the worst of times.

I do not expect any of us to have the impact, that lasting impact, which Paul has had. But I do not expect us to have experienced a dramatic Damascus Road type experience with the risen Lord either. Paul in many respects was a unique individual for a unique time and season. The physical pain he bodily endured for the spiritual privilege he was granted, experiencing an extraordinarily intimate relationship with Christ, created an uncommon balance in his life.

To whom much is given much is expected. But we are not called to be a Paul, nor a Peter, John nor James. Nor are we called to meet a certain quota or produce a level of results. We are called to be faithful to His command to “go”. The Spirit will take it from there, using us as the divine will of God would have us be used, just as He did with the apostles.

So, let’s go forward with the compulsion of Paul, let’s go forward with the love of Christ. For even those of us who fall doing battle, even if today, are victors eternally in Christ.

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

 

 

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

Suffering and Glory!

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

St. Peter returns here to what he had often touched upon in this epistle, namely, to exhort the Christians to behave with patience and integrity under their present severe persecution; to which purpose he uses the following arguments: –

First, He intimates that it was not a strange or unusual thing for the people of God to be persecuted.

Secondly, That if they suffered here as Christ did, they should hereafter be glorified with him.

Thirdly, Besides the prospect of that future glory; they had at present the Spirit of God for their support and comfort.

Excerpted from “The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” a commentary by Adam Clarke 1831

Words of Grace for Strength!

In the USA, the attitude for most who claim to be Christian, is to look on suffering and persecution as strange and abnormal. It seems to come as a surprise when we face adversity of any kind. But the Apostle Peter writes that we should consider it normal as a Christian. Why should we be treated better by the world than was our Savior? The Apostle Paul warned Timothy “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 So, Christians should expect persecution, especially those who are making an active stand for Christ in these Last Days. Satan is not concerned with those who are on the sidelines of Christianity or those who only give lip service to faith, his attacks are reserved for those who are actively opposing him, those who are not only watchmen on the wall but who are soldiers of the cross, fighting him and his demonic agenda.

Peter writes that in suffering for Christ we will be glorified with Him. That should be the goal of every believer, to rejoice in the suffering because of the honor it will bring. When as Christians we are ridiculed, denounced and reproached for what we believe, when our convictions are rejected, we should rejoice in the privilege of sharing what Christ suffered as a Man. We may even receive physical wounds and scars for our commitment to Him, but even so, how much greater the rejoicing when we see Him and receive from Him our reward for having suffered in His name. We need to understand how absolutely satisfying our lives can be, how exciting it can be to live, how rewarding eternity will be, when we are sold out to Jesus Christ and are willing to endure anything to bring honor and glory to Him.

The evidence in a Christian’s life of true obedience to Christ is not wealth, health, or living “your best life now” but is in fact of facing persecution and suffering. This is the true sign that the Glory of God rests upon a Christian, because it is evidence of being in the fight. While we know every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He empowers in an extraordinary way those who are completely devoted to the cause of Christ. These are those the Holy Spirit is enabling to make a difference in a lost and dying world, and they experience His presence and power in a way that others do not. They, like the early believers are able to rejoice that they are “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41

And yet, while the Christian can and should rejoice in the personal suffering faced is evidence of God’s glory upon a life well lived for the Lord and is the uniform of the soldier of Christ; it is not outside of personal obedience to pray for the relief of the suffering other Christians experience. A true Christian soldier will neither run from the fight the Lord has placed before them nor avoid to support other Christians in battle, in an effort to bring some measure of relief to fellow soldiers. After all, living in the True Church, His Remnant Church, requires us to  look after and fight for each other as well.

As we are living in these Last Days, as suffering and persecution is beginning to be to be in evidence in His Remnant Church in America, as well as the rest of the world, it is time for those who are in Christ to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

The Rapture is Imminent! The Tribulation will follow! And;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

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