Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Church Divided

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, this fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them,

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12: 22 - 30

It has come to my attention over the years that the Church is suffering and reeling from within its very own congregations, who are being led into liberal assumptions of Bible scripture. The subject of whether or not to accept the gay community into the Church has become so controversial that it is most likely to bring disaster to every church organization and that, by design.

The Scripture stated above gives us insight to what Christ Jesus would tell an unbelieving people about the consequences of lack of discernment. These people (religious unbelievers known in Christ’s time as Pharisees), were trying to accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Of course, our Lord can see the dark, demented hearts of these false accusers and gives the spoken word of wisdom. The dumb and blind possessed by devils were not the only ones guided by Satan. Later on, in this passage of scripture, Christ warned them of the consequences of blaspheming the Holy Ghost when His works were attributed to the dark works of Satan. This is exactly what the Church is guilty of today. Church denominations have made the grave error of attributing the works of Satan as the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by Satan strategically placing his Pharisees within the local churches with the gay agenda on the planning board.

In this day and time, Church denominations across the country are forced to deal with the growing appreciation of gays and lesbians that yearn to be accepted by all society, including the local Church. I have to be blunt and admit, Satan has a winner this time, or does he? It has always been my assumption that when an individual decides to come into an organization with intentions of joining that institution, the individual is questioned about his or her intensions and is encouraged to meet the criteria of that particular institution. As an example, I visualize an individual attending a Mason or Shrine organization with the intensions of proselytizing them into another agenda. Of course, I say this in jest because we all know that this would never take place. I have all ideas, that individual will find themselves standing on the outside street sidewalk with broken dreams of joining that organization. This demonstration attests that this organization firmly believes in adhering to the program previously accepted, unlike the local Church today. When it comes to Church, we are supposed to accept any persons without question of moral character? If this be the case, we will have to consciously make an effort to apologize to the drunkard, the prostitute, and the pedophile that attends the local assembly and in some cases, hold offices within the Church. I do not believe that Christ Jesus will be so gracious as to accept a person on the grounds that the individual has in his or her possession an unrepentant heart of their sins. This is the very reason for the Church to begin with. It is designed by God to be a beacon of morality, justice, and social order. This is an institution ordained by Jesus Christ and along with it to guide it was given the Holy Bible.

Yes, the Church is under attack, no doubt, and Satan seems to think that he will surely win this battle. This might seem to be the consensus of those on looking. There comes to mind one very important verse of scripture that refutes this analogy, Matthew 16: 18; “….and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This verse assures us that no matter what Satan throws at the Church, it will survive because, and within every denomination there is that faithful remnant that refuses to give into the pressures of this world. This very well could be the fiery test God allows every now and then to purge His Church from worldly corruption. God seems to have an uncanny way to expose the Pharisees that inundate and plague the Church in every generation.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Responding to God's Call

Have you ever heard God speak to your heart? According to Scripture, God calls on our hearts before we call on Him. Not the other way around.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” John 6:44-45

It is taught today by many preachers, evangelists, and Sunday school teachers, that if anyone calls upon the name of the LORD, He will save you. The Scripture does say that and He will save you, if He is the first in making an attempt to speak the truth to your heart. The problem with this way of teaching is taking the process of salvation out of text and creating a false atmosphere of putting the sinner in charge of the salvation process. The truth of the matter is, that if you seek God before He seeks you, you could be putting the cart before the horse. This in turn, creates a vacuum within the individual, empty without God, because it wasn’t the Holy Spirit of God that instigated the calling process. This type of Salvation is instigated by emotions caused by loud music and loud shouting resulting only in head knowledge. In reality, it had nothing to do with the heart. God only deals with the heart. Satan deals with emotions and can persuade people into believing they are saved. It is very hard for me to understand why a sinner would call to God when he or she doesn’t know what God can do for them to begin with. The reasoning just isn’t there. This practice of an individual asking God to save them just by saying the magic word or reciting the sinner’s prayer is known as the error of “easy believeism”.

Pastors, evangelists, and all sorts of church people use this form of evangelism to get masses moved and motivated to accept Christ as their Saviour on false ground right in the beginning. God is not in this and is nowhere to be found. When an individual is calling for God to save them on their terms, they will continue to search for answers every Sunday morning; they are wells without water, clouds with no rain. Satan devised this practice to dupe many people into believing they are saved when in reality, God was never calling on them to repent. They are still unsaved and dying in their sin. There was no repentance to be witnessed and individuals are not sorry for their sinful ways because they will turn right around and go back to the sin they say they turned away from.

“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2Peter 2:17-22

I remember the time when I was a sinner and without God in my life. I figured I didn’t need God or anything He had to offer me. I enjoyed my sin and didn’t want anything to disrupt my agenda. Needless to say, I now see I was wrong. However, one day God’s Holy Spirit started dealing with my heart with that small still voice. I was scared because I didn’t understand how God works and I started to run for my life. I didn’t understand God was calling me from a life of sin and eternal death. But by His mercy and grace, I surrendered one day, yes surrendered to God and His Son, Jesus Christ and accepted Christ as my LORD and Saviour. My life has never been the same since. But, He sought after me! Not the other way around. I never had to get saved again in all my life because it ‘took’ the first time God saved me. I have witnessed countless people go to the altar at the front of the church every service trying to get saved. This is a very disturbing sight, to say the least.

Pastors today keep preaching that anyone can be saved and all you do is just come to the front of the church and ask God to save you. Well, it doesn’t work that way. On more than one occasion I have witnessed certain individuals coming to the front of the church to get saved again. They stated in their own words that they had been playing church all along and thought they were saved only to discover they never were. But by the grace of God it was revealed to them to call upon the LORD with a repentant heart and turn from their wicked ways once and for all times. All I can say about these incidents is that I hope and trust they truly were saved. Because if they continue to perform this practice of going to the altar on different occasions, especially during revivals where the emotions soar, they send the message that you cannot really know for sure that you are saved. This is the trap of Satan. He wants people to be in doubt of their salvation thus robbing them of the joy of being one of God’s very own. And not only that, but, they will never understand that God has to do the calling. We cannot call ourselves to Salvation.

“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12

This is the way salvation of God works. First, an individual must recognize the fact that they are a sinner lost and without God in their lives. Only God can reveal this fact to the person. Second, a lost man will naturally and repeatedly reject God trying to go around God without having to face Him. This is called being under conviction, proof positive that the Holy Spirit of God is dealing with the individual as a sinner. For a fact, man will do anything to try to get out of dealing with a Holy and righteous God. Jehovah God is a living God and demands that we turn from our sin and repent to Him that we accept Him and His Son Jesus because it was Jesus that was crucified for our sin debt that we could never pay for ourselves. In short, we unconditionally surrender to the LORD of HOSTS by accepting Jesus as LORD. Jesus loved me and died in my place to give me the gift from God, His Salvation and eternal life with Him. This is how I was saved from a life of sin and damnation. I accepted God and His Son, Jesus on His terms. There is no other way.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

According to Scripture, it is impossible to come to God and His son on our own. The process of Salvation requires someone who knows us personally. Christ is that person to bridge the span from God to me and you with a personal invitation. I eventually accepted the invitation and came to God willingly and with a thankful heart that He thought enough about me and loved me to give me eternal life. I had achieved or done nothing to deserve this gift and am forever in His debt.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Seventh Trumpet

Have you ever wondered when the Rapture of the Church would take place? I have, even though Christ told His Disciples that no man can know the day or the hour of the LORD’S return, but we can discern the seasons. Christ instructs us to watch and pray. Even though the time of the Second coming is secret with God the Father, Christ divulged the seasons with them and gave many clues as to what would be happening when the clouds rolled back and revealed Christ in all His glory. This is where we have to use our heads and think like a detective and sniff out the clues for ourselves. As we read the passages, we can determine what has already happened, what is happening, and what is yet to take place. Be sure to read over this very carefully as to not miss any clue. Christ and the Apostle Paul explicitly warn us to not let any man deceive us but to look to the Scripture for ourselves for the truth of matters.

“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying; tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diver’s places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand :) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:3-22

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church of Thessalonica and comforted the Saints with this letter because someone had started a rumor that Christ had already come back and they had missed the Rapture of the Church. Paul told them it was not so because there were certain events that had to take place first.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” 2Thessolonians 2:1-5

So Paul gives us three clues on top of what Christ gave His early Disciples. First, there will be a falling away. But just what does Paul mean with this statement? As Christ described the coming events to His Disciples He told them that they would be hated and sought after like criminals, even though they had done nothing wrong. This persecution will make many decide if they really want to follow after somebody that will get them and their family killed. In the last days, when the Beast of Revelation appears, and we will see him and know him, Christians will be hunted down and killed just because of their belief and faith in Christ Jesus. Men and women will turn against us, even our neighbors will tell the authorities where you and I are hiding. This sounds a little like the Holocaust of WWII doesn’t it? According to Christ, there has never been a time like this and will never be again once it has passed.

“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:6-10

So we can read for ourselves that the Beast will appear right on time according to God’s time table and make war with the Saint’s that are still living at the time. Not only will the Beast make war against all Christianity but everyone will be forced to take the mark, possibly a tattoo of some sort again like the ones issued to the Jews of the Holocaust.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:16-18

You might be saying at this point and time, but to be sure the Rapture of the Church has taken place by now! Nope, not right yet. That is right; the Rapture of the Church is not in the beginning of the Great Tribulation as many preachers, evangelists’ and Sunday school teachers have been teaching for many years now. They are probably unaware that they are teaching false doctrine or at the very least, error. You might ask, but why won’t they tell the truth and warn us? To be honest and tell it like it really is, most of the preachers, teachers, and evangelists, have gone the way of Balaam, you know, the prophet for hire? That’s right, they have been bought off by the masses with the money to tickle their ears and have forbid them to teach anything that will send the sheeple (the flock of God) into disarray of the establishment. Didn’t Christ and the Apostle Paul warn us of false teachers and those that would deceive us? Well, for the most part, we have been deceived all these years and this is the reason I am warning you now!

No, there will be no Rapture of the Church before the Beast of Revelation appears and yes, we will be persecuted like the Apostles and Saint’s before us were during the reign of the ten wicked Emperors of Rome. You might be asking at this time, but who will make it through this horror? My answer is the Elect of God. God know His own and will protect them no matter come what may, just as He protected so many during the Blitz of England in WWII, and all the bombings of Nazi Germany. Not everyone was a Nazi despite what we have been told. And God protected so many in all of Europe during both WWI and WWII that proclaimed Christ as their Saviour. Why cannot God protect you and me when the Beast comes on the scene? And just what if God wants us to die for Him, would you count that an honor?

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me; Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13

It could be the will of God for us to give our life for Him as to prove our loyalty to our LORD and Saviour just as it was required of the Saint’s that was put to death in the Roman coliseums as sport for the masses. We have to remember, God is no respecter of persons and what was required of those Saint’s in the past is no different for us who are alive today. God treats all His children the same and we can rest assured, He has reasons for what He allows, whether or not we as human beings understand.

You might be asking, but where does the Rapture of the Church take place? Well, we have some very good clues as to where it might take place. As Christ has told us before, no man knows exactly when and where it will happen. Let’s look to the Scriptures for the clues.

The Apostle Paul gives a clue when he described the process in which we will be raptured (caught away) at Christ’s appearing.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1Corinthians 15:51-52

Do you see what I see? Paul says “at the last trump.” The last trumpet sounding is the clue we need to determine the time of the Rapture. But just how many trumps are there? Well according to the Revelation, there are seven.

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” Revelation 8:6

But, we need to keep in mind that the sounding of the trumpet is just not a single event. Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about how the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days blowing the trumpet once every time thay circled the city walls? Well, this blowing of the seventh trumpet is somewhat like that performed at Jericho.

“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7

Do you see what I see? “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel”, is what the Apostle John says. So, we can see that this sounding is over a period of time. The time it takes for Christ to gather His own, the Bride, in Rapture, to be with him forever and right in the middle of the Great Tribulation.

This will take place where the two prophets of God are killed by the Beast and where God brings them back to life. This is the Rapture of the Church according to John.

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” Revelation 11:11-13

This is where the Seventh Angel sounds the trumpet for days to come and we who are born-again Christians will see Christ Jesus and receive our glorified body.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

When the world finds out what is happened, it is really going to get bad. But we as God’s Elect will be with Him and protected from any more harm from the world.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18

You might be asking, but just who of us came out of the Great Tribulation? The Scripture is very clear on this matter.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead (unsaved) lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6

Do you see what I see? Yes, the Scripture says there is only one resurrection for the Righteous Saints. “This is the first resurrection.” I cannot understand why so many people will not accept this Scripture. I have heard many different versions of the proceedings of the resurrection and Rapture all my life. But when I read this for myself, it was settled that God knows what is best for His Church and what happens is just what happens. Either way, we are all winners who take a stand for God and His Son, Christ Jesus. Come what may, we are the over comers who side with the King of Glory.