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

Speak the Truth in Love, Becoming an Effective Witness

In these Last Days our responsibility to be witnesses for Jesus Christ grows more important than it perhaps has ever been. We are living in a time when civility, morality, and godliness have been abandoned and are in fact ridiculed. As followers of Christ we must be boldly standing for the Truth of Scripture and Speaking Truth in such a way as to show mankind that Jesus Loves them and desires a relationship with them.

How do we do this?

• First we must be willing to let Christ have complete control over us to the point that we can say as the Apostle Paul did; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Paul understood that by surrendering his will to Christ’s will, he would be used of God to bring others into a relationship with Christ. In Romans 12:1&2 Paul wrote; “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.”

In order to be Witnesses for Christ we must be willing to let Christ not only use us, but have preeminence in our lives. We must be willing to personally live within His will, turning away from all sin. The allure of the world should not cause us to desire to turn from our calling, because Christ has replaced self in our lives. We must give Him absolute lordship over our desires, thoughts and actions. Daily we must be growing in grace, desiring to be more Christ-like, having the Mind of Christ, in order to accomplish His will for our lives… to be Witnesses.

• Second we must have a Christ-like love for Lost Souls. In Romans 5:8 we read; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ shed His own blood for the Lost, and at one point that included you and I. How much less should we love the lost? 2 Peter 3:9 tells us; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Jesus desires that all men to come to Him, and we should have that same desire.

Too often we tend to turn away from being a Witness because of the way someone looks or acts. My Grandfather, R.H. Marlin, once said: “If we understand and believe that God is the Blessed creator of all things, then we can never see anyone as ugly or unredeemable. Everyone’s Soul is important to Jesus, because He loves us, we must love them.” Jesus Loves the Lost! So must you and I if we are to be effective Witnesses.

• The third thing we must do to be effective Witnesses is to have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. God’s Word is what brings men to Christ, it is the instrument He has provided to us, which He uses to convict sin, reveal Christ, and regenerate a lost Soul. In Romans 1:16 Paul writes; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” So, we are told to know and use the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are instructed to; “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can only be “rightly dividing” the Word when we are actively studying the Word.

We need to know how to use Scripture to show those who are Lost:

o They need a Savior (Romans 3:10-12; Romans 6:23)
o Jesus is the Savior (John 14:6; Romans 5:8-11)
o They need to accept Jesus as their Savior (Romans 10:9-13, 1 John 5:13)
o That the Savior can meet their needs (Romans 8:1; Hebrews 13:5&6)
o That they can live successful lives In Christ (John 20:31; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 4:4; Galatians 2:20)

Remember the words of the psalmist, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) It is never too late to begin to memorize God’s Word.

• A fourth thing we need to do to be an effective Witness is to have a consistent prayer life. We must Pray for wisdom as we witness, we must Pray for guidance as we witness, we must Pray for the words to speak as we witness, and we should always Pray for a greater desire to be Witnesses. We need to Pray for the Lost, about the Lost, and to see the Lost turn to Christ. We must be warriors for Christ in Prayer!
(Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14&15, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

• A fifth thing, is that we must have a heart to serve Christ. A good Witness will have a servant’s heart. This means we are willing to show the lost the same unconditional Love Jesus expresses toward us. We must be willing to meet them where they are, where their need is, however difficult it may be. When we have a servant’s heart as Witnesses, Souls will be saved, lives will be changed, and Christ will be glorified. (1 Peter 4:7-11, Galatians 5:13&14, Colossians 3:23&24)

• The last thing we must do to be Witnesses for Christ, is to know that until He returns to establish His kingdom, He has commanded us to do so. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8

Because of the times in which we live, because we all have family and friends who need the Savior, because the world is filled with lost souls in need of the Savior, because the Rapture of the Church is imminent, because Tribulation will soon envelope the world, because His Second Coming will soon follow; we need, more than ever, to be Witnesses of and for Jesus Christ!

Because He alone is Salvation, because He is the Hope of the Church, because He alone judges the nations, because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

The Church of Jesus Christ ~ Part 1

In our first teaching series on this blog we made a careful examination of the state of the “church” in the world today. We established the fact that most groups, gatherings and fellowships; whether independent, denominational, or institutional, that identify themselves as “churches” today, do not resemble in any way shape or form the Church as it was established by the Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles. However, we do know that there remains today; groups of believers, true followers of Jesus Christ, Christians who have experienced true redemption and follow sound biblical doctrine.

These Christians are bound together in Christ through prayer and study of the Word, and are dedicated to one another in Christ through fellowship, making provision for one another as needed. And while most “churches” identified in the world today have no resemblance to the Church established by Jesus Christ, those who have remained faithful to the doctrine and identity of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts are the remnant Church today; His Remnant Church.

In this teaching we will begin to look at the Church established by the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. In the last half of Matthew 16:18 Jesus said; “I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” And so, in Acts 2 we read of the Holy Spirit falling on or indwelling the disciples who were gathered together praying. The power that they received from the Holy Spirit resulted in the birth of the Church, the Church of Jesus Christ. This Church built by His Holy Spirit, which Christ had already promised the gates of Hades (read Satan and his demons) shall not prevail against.

We need to understand the power in this promise. Quite literally, the Church Jesus Christ builds, which is established in the power of, and possessing the Holy Spirit of God, cannot be overpowered by Satan or his hordes of fallen Angels. But do you see the caveat in this statement? I can’t build His Church, you can’t build His Church, and no man can build His Church. Jesus said He would build His Church, and we need to get this point because the only Church Satan cannot touch, is the one established by the plan and for the purpose of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the New Testament we are taught that the Church is the body of Christ, and the bride of Christ. Therefore the True Church can only be made up of people who are “In Christ,” that is; people who have recognized their sinful condition, repented for and turned from that condition, having accepted the free gift of grace provided by Jesus Christ through His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection, establishing Him as Savior and Lord of their life. Understanding this, we know then that the Church is not an institution, it is not a denomination, and it certainly is not a building. Unfortunately, historically this fact seems to have been lost, and what men would identify as the “church” today… isn’t the True Church of Jesus Christ at all. The “church” identified by the world today is polluted or diluted by the fact that all of its so-called members are not “In Christ.”

In Acts 2:41-47 we have the pattern used by the Holy Spirit to establish the Church of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 2 & 3, in Christ’s letters to the seven “churches” in Asia Minor, we find examples of the pattern both followed and abandoned. Our goal in this teaching will be to examine and perhaps rediscover the pattern established by Jesus Christ for His Church. We will utilize the Word of God in the New Testament and only the Word of God to do so. For if we add anything such as creeds or traditions then we corrupt God’s design for the Church of Jesus Christ.

We teach because; Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome