This Present Apostasy

The last days in the time of the return of our Lord Jesus will be a time of apostasy. We read in 1 Timothy 4:1; “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in latter times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” By “doctrines of demons” is evidently meant teachings that evil spirits will promulgate through those men and women who are under their control, such, for example, as the teaching of modern “spiritualism,” which might more properly be termed “demonism.”

The marvelous growth of belief in the “occult” in our days seems to be a fulfillment of this word of prophecy. On every hand men seem to be departing from the faith once delivered to the saints and giving heed to all manner of evil spirits. We are further told by Paul in his second epistle to Timothy that those days shall be “grievous times.” He says, “but know this that in the last days grievous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traders, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof” (2 Timothy 5:1-3).

These words present to us a remarkably accurate picture of our own time. If one should take up in detail each item in Paul’s characterization of the last days, he would find it marvelously fulfilled in our own day. This naturally leads many to suppose that the Lord’s coming is very near to hand. However, we should always bear in mind that earnest men of God and students of the Bible have often thought in bygone days that the coming of the Lord was very near. Luther, for example, thought this centuries ago. These men of the past were not mistaken. The return of our Lord was very near. Those who were mistaken were those who thought it so far away that they let it have no effect upon their lives. But at the present time, the multiplied iniquities of our day, the apostasy into damning error and unbelief of many professed and hitherto apparently sincere Christians, and of many professedly evangelical preachers, and of numerous professors of theology in seminaries built at great sacrifice by Orthodox men and women for the promulgation of truth and not for the breeding of error, the increase of lawlessness on the part of great corporations on the one hand and on the part of the oppressed poor on the other hand, the mutterings preceding the storm of wild anarchy that seems likely soon to break, all these things are signs of His coming which may be very near at hand. Men’s hearts are “fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world” (Luke 21:26).

Many of the greatest statesmen of England, America and Germany have forebodings which they scarcely dared to put in words of what lies just a little way ahead of the nations of the earth. But in such days as these our hearts should not faint nor fear. “When these things begin to come to pass” we should “look up and lift up our heads, because our redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). The darker the day grows, the nearer at hand is the dawn, and just at the moment when things seem unendurable, the brightest, gladdest day the earth ever saw is breaking.

Excerpted from: The Return of the Lord Jesus by R. A. Torrey, D. D. Copyright 1913

Words of Grace for Strength

Reading Torrey’s description of the apostasy he recognized at the time he wrote the words quoted above, Christians, true followers of Jesus Christ, should recognize how much farther the “church” has fallen into apostasy today. A century has passed since his writing, and with it once godly nations, which at one point contained countless local church bodies, have turned their backs on God because the truth of the gospel is no longer preached from the pulpits in those churches. The spiritualism and occultism which he recognized as invading Christianity in his day, have now so polluted the “church” that the message of the gospel is unrecognizable. The “church” has replaced repentance with tolerance and compromise; sanctification with indulgence and permissiveness; and righteousness with irreverence and outright blasphemy. The false prophets and false teachers which dominate the “church” pulpits today are offenders rather than defenders of the gospel, which are either twisting the Word of God for their own benefit, denying its sufficiency and authority, or ignoring it altogether.

Of the 85% of people in the US who claim to be Christians, research has shown that only 9% affirm a true saving faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, true biblical Christianity. So in truth the “church” is populated with “Christians” who really are not, because they have no relationship with the one who paid their sin debt at Calvary, Jesus who is the Christ, the son of man and the Son of God, and in fact, very God! Having no relationship with Christ, they certainly are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore do not and cannot understand the prophetic Word of God. Therefore, many who populate the “church” today are operating under the false notion that what they “believe” or are “comfortable with,” will assure them a place in heaven without having to repent, confess, and turn away from their sin before God, acknowledging Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As troubling as that is, it is not something unexpected, at least from the Lord’s perspective. Look at the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus proclaims to all those who made a false profession,  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:23). Even in the Olivet discourse He states many did not do for Him as they did not do for others (Matthew 25:45). Jesus Himself makes clear that there will be many who either proclaim the Lord or claim to serve Him who will hear the words of the Lord disavowing them and judging them in condemnation. No sadder words could be heard in that time of the Lord’s great majesty and power.

The prophetic words of the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 5:1-3 have indeed come to fruition. Those things which Christ prophesied would “soon come to pass” in His Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 are indeed doing so. The convergence of all of these End Times prophecies should indeed cause us to “look up and lift up our heads.” While only the Father in heaven knows the “day and hour” (Matthew 24:36) in which Christ will return for His True Church, certainly we are nearer to that day than was Torrey, and exponentially nearer than was Paul.

Those of us who are true followers of Christ in these last days, those of us in the 9%, have a responsibility to be obedient servants of the cross of Christ, proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with absolutely everyone who will listen. While we are not all called to be Preachers or Teachers, we are all called to be ministers of the gospel. The fact that we see the convergence of End Times prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes, should be the impetus for a growing urgency within us to do just that. The Rapture of the Church is imminent, and soon to follow that, the return of Jesus Christ in judgment.

EvenSoCome

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

Nearing Midnight – And the World Keeps Turning and Tilting

This week in our Signs of the Times commentary, we begin with a brief comment on the weather before we move to the major story of the week. In the US there were no significant or catastrophic weather events, but  drought conditions continued in Texas and in California, Kansas and Oklahoma. Something we now see cropping up is the specter of multi-day dust storms due to the excessively dry conditions. Parts of Kansas experienced a two day dust storm; last month Lubbock, Texas had a three day dust storm. People are beginning to compare conditions to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, mentioning the creation of the “Great American Desert” across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, real “Grapes of Wrath” type conditions. Given the severity of some of our weather events over the past few months, it is a blessing that America is not involved in Middle Eastern peace negotiations at present.

Middle East – The major story this past week has been the visit of Pope Francis to the Middle East. It was a trip viewed as quite significant and had much symbolism. It can also be seen as being an event which moves end times prophetical events further along:

  • Pope Francis began his trip in Palestinian controlled territory, signaling his sympathy and support for the Palestinian cause
  • He hugged and kissed the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who recently signed a unity agreement with the terror group Hamas; he referred to Muslims as dear brothers
  • The Pope publicly called for a “State of Palestine” which would be within the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. He used the term “State of Palestine” several times at differing locations as he spoke across the Middle East; even using it in his Bethlehem homily, showing both his own church and the Muslims that he favors creation of such a state in the Promised Land of Israel
  • The Pope invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinean President Mahmoud Abbas to a prayer summit at the Vatican in early June

Through all of his trip, the Pope spoke:

  • As if Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews.
  • Emphasizing that the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the Holy Land.
  • Noting that the Dome of the Rock reminds him of the three great faiths — Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
  • Noting that Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe they were created by God and are destined for eternal life.

In doing these things, Pope Francis is showing he has been influenced by the views of many Middle Eastern Catholic bishops who deny Israel’s right to the land and is fueling the anti-Semitism that exists within the Roman Catholic Church. We are seeing the blending of politics and religion in the region that the End Times prophetical events will come to pass. We see the move toward a one world religion, and it clearly appears that the unification of world religions is an agenda topic of Pope Francis.

While the Pope was visiting the Holy Land, there were other signs of the coming one world religion. Bishop Tony Palmer, the man who delivered “the protest is over” message to Kenneth Copland is continuing to call for the unification of all “Christian” denominations, calling for all Protestant denominations to sign the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which is supposed to be the official end of the protest. He calls for a new day of Christianity, effectively calling for Protestants to live in a post-Protestant world. And you know who expects to be the head of this unified church. This is all part of the growing pressure on evangelical Christians to embrace Catholicism as one more Christian denomination in an attempt to make ecumenicism within Christianity one of the driving forces behind a move to a one world religion.

The American State – Tolerance continues to go down a bifurcated path in American society. President Obama makes a speech at West Point this past week, citing terrorism as the number one threat to our country, stating it repeatedly, but refusing to name the source of the threat or its ideological roots. Once more, a pattern of refusing to acknowledge or allow discussion of jihad or Islam and the connection to terrorism. Meanwhile, Stacey Dash, an actress of African-American and Mexican descent, known for her support of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election, was hired by Fox News to provide cultural analysis and commentary. Dash, well known for her conservative views, is savagely attacked on social media sites by liberals and members of the black community; being called crazy, a turncoat, self-hating and useless. Apparently, your race does matter to your politics among the tolerant left in America.

On the economic front, the U.S. gross domestic product dropped 1% in the first quarter of 2014, many economic analysts felt it would have dropped 2% without all the increased spending on Obamacare, raising concerns in some of another recession being upon us. But many mainstream economists shrugged the drop off, calling for 3 to 4 % growth in the second quarter with no real reasoning behind these claims, blaming the current reports on a severe winter. All this while exports dropped around 6% in the first quarter, there are growing concerns of stagnant retail sales (in a country that has 3 to 8 times the retail space per capita of anyone else), we have a reported unemployment rate of just over 6%, yet 1 in 5 households have no one working, and many cities have rates in the mid-teens. Does this make sense to anyone?

Domestically, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned under the pressure of the scandal of delayed care for veterans as a result of enrollment practices for benefits. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney resigned as well, one can imagine the toll it takes on a person having to defend the administration’s position on all sorts of scandals.

On the foreign policy front, the President’s announcement that troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 9,800 by the end of 2014, and to zero by end of 2016 signals the end of about 15 years of war and demonstrates another American foreign policy failure, one of which four American presidential administrations can share in. A speech yesterday by Defense Secretary Hagel that China was a destabilizing influence with its territorial ambitions was met with harsh criticism and condemnation by Chinese officials, demonstrating the strained relationships with China that mirror the strain between the US and Russia. We make speeches, while others lay claim to more and more territory in outright defiance to the US, and seemingly, little intention to curb their territorial appetite based on the wishes of the United States.

As you think of the fact that America has no place in Biblical prophecy in the End Times, why should it be a surprise that we as a nation have leaders who refuse to acknowledge and address what is going on in this country. We will continue our slide from importance into irrelevance in the course of world events in the prophetical stage now being set.

Russia/Ukraine –A top Kremlin adviser accused the US of trying create a military conflict between Russia and Europe over the Ukraine, stepping up the war of words between the US and Russia over the Ukrainian situation. He called the situation in the Ukraine chaotic, and a de facto war. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter killing 14.  Meanwhile, US Defense Department officials are claiming that Russia troops are pulling back from the Ukrainian border, while we also denied US mercenaries are operating in the Ukraine. They accuse us of war mongering, we accuse them of retreating. Sounds like we are dealing from weakness once again.

European Union –European Union leaders are meeting to determine how to stay in power in the wake of European Parliament elections that have been described as a drubbing for the mainstream parties. The number of members of the parliament that are from “Eurosceptic” parties (United Kingdom Independence Party and National Front in France) has doubled. The power of Brussels (home of EU) is bothersome to many, especially in the UK, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. But calls for “less Europe” will be hard to realize, and many of the leaders (Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France and Renzi of Italy) believe the movement will lose force when the economy improves and unemployment drops.

The world is turning, but the world does seem to be tilting a little more each day. Yet, as the True Church we know these things (or at least events in general) must move inn this direction, the world must slide towards the abyss and get to the point that only the return of Jesus Christ can save humanity from itself, from its since and defiance of a most holy God. Stand your ground, stand firm for your beliefs, preach Christ, and Him crucified, and take heart.  Because we know that…

Jesus is coming soon!

 

 

 

A church structure, or the Structure of the Church!

Everywhere you turn today you see incredible buildings where people assemble once a week to “worship.” In fact for the past 1800 years or so, men have been building edifices for people to gather in, purportedly to honor God. The civilized world has continually sought to build physical places for God, without scriptural understanding. God doesn’t want a house to “dwell” in, He seeks the hearts of men for His dwelling place. As we continue to study the Church established in the book of Acts, and the formula and pattern established in Acts 2:42, we will look at what God desires of us as compared to man’s actions. The church built by Jesus Christ, established in Biblical Doctrine, has evidence of three more characteristics, Fellowship, Breaking Bread, and Prayer. Doctrine having been covered in a previous article, we will look at Fellowship which I believe is incorrectly practiced and understood in most “churches” today.

In Acts 4:46 we read that the believers worshiped together daily in the Temple, and from “house to house.”  The Church established in the book of Acts met in the homes and the courtyards of homes of the believers in Jesus Christ. This arrangement continued for the first two and a half centuries of the Church’s existence. But, by the latter half of the second century AD, doctrinal error began to enter the Church. The Gnostics and Nicolaitans and other false prophets (warned about by John, Peter, James and Paul) had spread their false doctrines and had also embraced many pagan practices so that many “churches” gradually departed from New Testament Doctrine. Local “churches” became institutionalized by uniting under the direction of regional “bishops” and unscriptural organizations. The simple worship arrangement initiated in Acts was being replaced by ritual, system and practiced religiosity.

In 312AD, Roman Emperor Constantine was said to convert to Christianity (The veracity of this can be debated in another article), and after having done so began the process of organizing the “church” for the benefit of the state. Under this religious system specialized places of worship began to be built which separated the worshipers from the “clergy” in yet another example of unscriptural practice. While Constantine is said to have helped establish and grow the “church,” in reality his introduction of paganism into “Christian” worship, in fact and effect caused the True Church to virtually go underground.

Today, meeting to worship in a building constructed for just such purpose is the norm, however this was not in the original design for the Church. In fact, I believe for several reasons, it is antithetical to the mission of the Church. First of all, it is ludicrous to believe it is right to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions, to construct buildings which are utilized once or twice a week while there are millions of people who have physical and spiritual needs. In order to construct and maintain these places, the financial resources which should be used for missions or church planting are swallowed up by mortgages and salaries which usually display greed and excess rather than love and hope. Spiritual growth is replaced by growing “membership” numbers to feed the financial monster that is the “church.”

Secondly, the mission of the Church is to develop the body by feeding them spiritually. Discipleship is the primary responsibility of the Church as they meet together. Evangelism is supposed to happen continually in our daily lives, and once someone becomes a follower of Christ they are brought into the fellowship of the Church Family to be fed and fortified. This is the example of the early Church in Acts 2:42-47. Building impressive buildings and “programs” to attract men to attend is antithetical to the pattern found in this passage. It has been my experience in ministry that people are hesitant to attend “services” where they feel like they must meet the expectations of the “membership” or fit in to the formality of the practices. Additionally there is a strong perception in these mega churches that they want you to attend to solicit you to “give sacrificially” to their work. People have the thought that “they only want me for my money.”It has also been my experience that people are more willing to attend an informal Bible Study in someone’s home or horse barn than a fancy “church” structure because they do not have to impress anyone.

In much of the undeveloped world this is where you will find the Church meeting today, and actually the house church is God’s ideal for every culture. In contrast to today’s magnificent cathedrals, mega churches, and church campuses, not to mention the institutional “churches”, denominations, para-church organizations, and ministerial associations, the New Testament records no attempt by the Apostles to form an organization of any kind for building the Church of Jesus Christ. God’s unit on earth for transmitting the faith was the local church and the Apostles were content to work within that framework, and to the early Christians the congregation was the divinely ordained unit on earth through which God chose to work. The model Church in Acts is the only unit to which God promised perpetuity.

The “church” has gotten far away from the model in this respect. Fellowship happens when people worship together as family. Church happens when believers are united together is such a way as to care about one another rather than the facility in which they meet. In these Last Days we need to be aware that people need Jesus, the body of Christ needs to grow in the Word together, the Church is Christians obedient to the Word and;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Silence In The Church

The Bible teaches that there will be a one-world government during the Tribulation Period (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7). It will be led by a blaspheming Satan worshiper that many call the Antichrist (Rev. 13:5-6). His reign will be marked by war and multitudes will perish (Rev. 6:2, 8). The unbelievers who follow him will be caught up in idolatry, murder, sorcery, sexual immorality and theft (Rev. 9:20-21). Those who become believers during the Tribulation Period, including many women and children, will be subjected to the most intense persecution the world has ever known (Rev. 13:16-17).

I know the Word of God must be fulfilled, but it seems to me that a Holy Spirit indwelt church should try to restrain this approaching evil. It seems to me that the church should warn people loud and clear about the dangers of Globalism and its much-desired world government. If Christians are the light of the world, why don’t we shed light on the darkness that is descending upon the earth (Matt. 5:14; Zeph. 1:15-17; I Thess. 5:5)? I know that there are many Spirit-filled light-shedding preachers doing that, but the silence of most of the church is very troubling.

In a recent article, I wrote about Pres. Obama’s desire to fast track a new trade agreement (treaty) with the Pacific-Rim nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This treaty would surrender the sovereignty of the United States, subordinate the United States Constitution to other documents, integrate the politics and economies of about a dozen nations, create a trading block of nations patterned after the EU, fast track the North American Union and be a major step toward world government. I mentioned that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was blocking a vote on the treaty at the request of union leaders who believe the TPP will cause their members to lose jobs to other countries.

Just recently, I read that Hollywood and the Gay Lobby are expressing strong opposition to this treaty. As I understand it, their concern is not the loss of American sovereignty, the destruction of the U.S. Constitution, Satan worship, persecution of believers or anything like that. Their concern is that the list of participants in the TPP includes the tiny nation of Brunei and the fact that the sultan (he is also the Prime Minister) of Brunei recently announced the implementation of Sharia Law.

You see, Sharia Law is anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights, etc. Adulterers, rapists and sodomites (homosexuals and lesbians) can be stoned to death. Women who get an abortion can be flogged and women who get pregnant outside of marriage can be jailed. Some can even be beheaded.

I can understand the outcry of union leaders about the TPP because they are rightly concerned about the loss of jobs. I can understand the frantic protestations of Hollywood and the Gay Lobby about the TPP because they are rightly concerned about being flogged, stoned, jailed or beheaded. But I can’t understand the lack of concern in the church. A government worse than Hitler’s is rising, some of the unchurched are complaining, but most of the organized church is totally silent.

Oh, I know some will say the organized church doesn’t know about the TPP because NBC, CBS, PBS and others are not reporting it. True! But since the union leaders, Hollywood and the Gay Lobby knows about the TPP, wouldn’t you think someone in the organized church would know about it? Shouldn’t the organized church oppose the TPP because it will lead to a satanic world government? Shouldn’t the organized church oppose the TPP because it includes a nation that has implemented Sharia Law and that allows for the persecution of Christians, the abuse of women, the kidnapping of children, the destruction of Bibles, anti-Semitism and more?

Could it be that the organized church has been taken over in part by highly educated people with much learning and little knowledge of spiritual matters? Could it be that even though the Holy Spirit revealed this coming wicked world government (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7) these highly educated leaders don’t even know what the Bible says on the subject? Could it be that many of them have made themselves willingly ignorant of some things in the Bible and they are not being led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9)? Could it be that their silence means they are unknowingly aligned with the future goals of the Antichrist? Whatever it is, concerning the TPP, I have found myself aligned with Harry Reid, the labor union leaders, Hollywood and the Gay Lobby. That is a scary thought to me and I sure wish some of the leaders in the organized church would speak up.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

What The Meek Do Inherit

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of God, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day.

In the meantime, he will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace meekness brings.

Then also he will get deliverance from the burden of pretense. By this I mean not hypocrisy, but the common human desire to put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty. For sin has played many evil tricks upon us, and one has been the infusing into us of a false sense of shame. There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression. The fear of being found out gnaws like rodents within their hearts. The man of culture is haunted by the fear that he will someday come upon a man more cultured than himself. The learned man fears to meet a man more learned than he. The rich man sweats under the fear that his clothes or his car or his house will sometime be made to look cheap by comparison with those of another rich man. So-called “society” runs by a motivation not higher than this, and the poorer classes on their level are little better.

Excerpted from A. W. Tozer -The Pursuit of God (1948)

Words of grace for Strength:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

The world looks at the meek person as a fool, yet one who is meek in the Lord is strong and wise in God’s eyes, and has achieved a level of peace and inner calmness that is lost to, and frankly incomprehensible, to the world at large; because the world confuses meekness with weakness. Matthew 5:5 has Jesus proclaiming the blessedness of the meek and their inheritance of the earth. Imagine the freedom of placing all of our cares and concerns at the feet of our Lord, and caring only to hear from Him one day “Well done, good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:21. Imagine the freedom of being able to ignore the taunts and jeers, the “tsk, tsk, tsking” of neighbors and colleagues, of even possibly family and friends, knowing your strength, security and salvation is sealed in the Lord. What power, what freedom! And you can well imagine how agitated it will make those lovers of the world to see and know you have rejected their value structure, you believe worthless what the world holds dear and is willing to pay the greatest price to get, the turning from and defiance of a Holy God. We will inherit the earth one day as we rule with Him at His Second Coming, but for now our inheritance is that the earth is powerless in its hold on us, if we are in Christ.

Meekness is power and strength under control; it is living a disciplined life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Our example is our Lord Jesus, He who has at His fingertips the ability to create worlds and destroy worlds, because He as the Son of Man is still the Son of God, and therefore is; Very God. When we read the passages which describe the torturous beatings and scourging He endured during the trial before His crucifixion, when we read of the scorn and cursing He endured, and then read how after all of this He is compelled to carry His own cross up the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, and then we read how they nailed Him to that cross, and hung Him there between heaven and earth to die.  Nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He begged for relief, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He cried out declaring His guiltlessness, nowhere in the Scripture is it recorded that He showed any weakness, but throughout the entire time of His trial and crucifixion He was the perfect example of meekness. Jesus Christ who possessed all of the power in heaven and earth subjugated all of it to the will of His Father. Meekness is not weakness, but instead is subjugating our will to the will of our Father in heaven in the understanding that any power or strength that we may have come solely from Him, and that He in our meekness will enable us to endure anything, all things, for the cause of Christ; because we are in Christ.

We of the True Church, His Remnant Church, have that meekness at our command and at our fingertips if we just allow the Lord to work in our lives through His will. If we will enjoy and use that portion of the inheritance already realized, as we await the glorious inheritance to come, we can exemplify Christ like meekness. We will need that meekness as we move forward in a troubled world which is spinning more out of control daily. We will need it to face the onslaught of persecution that is coming our way. It may seem ironic that the very thing that will get us through those times, meekness in the Lord, is the very thing that may attract the attention and attack from a sinful and defiant world. It is not irony; it is God at work in us. For as He told His disciples; “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 and again He said; “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.”  John 15:18-20

Friends in these Last Days we need to not only understand meekness, but to be examples of it, and we need to remember these words the Holy Spirit gave to Peter; “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:13-17

Knowing that in displaying meekness, the strength and power given to us by Jesus Christ will enable us to endure whatever may be in store for us, until He comes for us. Patiently living disciplined obedient lives, we find no reason to be anxious because…

Jesus is Coming Soon!

Signs of the Times: Our Financial and Economic Slide Continues

This post will have no deadlines, no time-frames, and no predictions of what will happen when, at least I will try to stay away from that sort of talk. There, that probably drove most of the readers away, so only those truly interested will be reading from here on.  With that being said, there is much going on that can have an impact on the US economy, in the shorter term as well as the longer run.

Russia and China – let’s face it, neither likes the US, and haven’t for some time. It seems our allies and/or enemies have tolerated us, but that degree of tolerance, and the willingness to do so, is diminishing. In recent weeks, Russia and China have engaged in some international trade that has all the appearances of leaving the US out of the picture. Russia, the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and China, quickly moving toward status as the world’s largest economy, have signed a deal by which Russia will provide gas over 30 years in a deal worth around 400 billion dollars in value. This is an ironic way to speak on valuing the deal, as both countries are also setting up to settle their international trade in their own currencies, cutting the US Dollar out as the settlement currency. We have already talked about the financial and economic impact of such moves in earlier posts. If you read the recent post on worldwide famine here, you know that an economic disruption in the US could trigger food insecurity across the US. On the world scene, players like Russia and China are finding the United States less relevant (and certainly less feared and/or tolerated), this could begin to equate to domestic shifts that seemed impossible just a few years ago. Surprised? I am a bit surprised at the rapidity, but I have read the book of Revelation in the Bible, this does seem to line up with a role for the US in End Times Prophecy. Go look for our role there (Spoiler alert: you will not find one).

Domestic US – look at what is going on here, a brief scan will suffice:

  • We are becoming increasing brutal to our homeless population, and those down on their luck. US cities are passing laws making it illegal to feed the homeless, shutting down ministries that attempt to do so, and bulldozing the temporary living space (“tent cities”) these unfortunates dwell in trying to cope.
  • Businesses are closing in rates faster than new businesses are being created. That smells like more and more recessionary activity within our economy. Some economists expect the US economy to be in a depression for the next five years, a bad one. (OK, one predictive statement crept in, sorry). Corporate profits and retail sales volumes seem to be dropping as well. Sears is closing stores and those who follow the company and retail industry are talking about  Sears  survival. Sears?
  • In 1 of 5 American families, no one is employed. Household debt continues to rise. People are buying things they cannot afford, and it isn’t things they don’t need, it is necessities that are being purchased.
  • During the decade of the 1990’s, twice as many mothers were employed full time than there were mothers who received Food Stamps, today more mothers receive Food Stamps than the number of mothers who have any kind of employment.
  • US industrial production is dropping and manufacturing jobs keep disappearing. You know the type of jobs where things get built and sold, where value is created and wealth is accumulated.
  • Western banks are showing revenue declines. George Soros is thought to be unloading his portfolio of bank stocks.
  • Home ownership rates are dropping, real estate sales declining, unsold home inventories building. There are lots of homes for sale and fewer buyers.
  • There are more people living on social security disability in the US than there are people in Greece.

I could go on, but you see the picture, which is not only not pretty, it is getting downright ugly. There is no American dream, no promises of prosperity we can hold on to, the slide continues, improvement does not seem to be appearing on the horizon.

For the Christian, it is not a surprise but a sober reminder of the truth of the Word of God and the need to turn to Him in obedience. We cannot solve our problems, we are proving that daily. In these difficult times, which grow harder daily, it is only through steadfast faith that one can make it through without losing one’s temper or sanity; one’s mercy and compassion for others; one’s desire to help other believers and pray for and evangelize those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as we do.

Is there good news in all this? Stay faithful, stay obedient, wait eagerly, possibly anxiously. Because…

Jesus is coming soon!