The King’s Pride

October 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the greatest nation on the planet at the time. He had hanging gardens and a 90 ft tall golden statue of himself. One night, the king had a dream that none of his magicians could interpret. When he called on Daniel to help him understand the dream of the chopping down of the large, beautiful, fruitful tree; Daniel responds fearfully:

The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged–it is you, O king; for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth.’In that the king saw an angelic watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze around it in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him,”this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king:that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. (Dan 4:20-25)

Even with the foreknowledge that this would happen, it doesn’t change the outcome or God’s decree:

Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. “The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ “Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. (Dan 4:29-34)

After the time was completed, the king was restored. This was his response: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Dan 4:37)

It took God bringing the king to the point where he was a wild beast before he was humble enough to acknowledge God and His sovereignty. Will your pride lead you into the same situation? Nebuchadnezzar had built a great kingdom and he attributed all to himself. He took the glory of God for himself and took for granted God’s grace and mercy. Will you allow your pride to do the same to you? Will you steal the glory of God for your own? Will you ignore or deny the things that have happened in your life to bring God glory in order to make it your own? Maybe it’s not a kingdom that you’re claiming. Maybe it’s a status that you’ve achieved. Maybe it’s prestige or fame or an idol. Maybe it’s an image you’ve made for yourself. Is your own glory worth more than God’s? Will you allow your pride to bring you low? What will God have to do to humble you? Will you not hear the warning of Daniel and break away from your sins? Will you repent of your sins while there’s still time?

Sermon Sunday – Samuel Davies – The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance

March 18, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance

by Samuel Davies, May 22, 1757

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent!” Acts 17:30

We here find Paul in as learned an assembly as, perhaps, he ever appeared in. We find him in Athens, a city of Greece, famous all over the world for learning; a city where Socrates, Plato, and the most illustrious philosophers of antiquity, lived and taught. We find him in the famous Court of Areopagus, or Mars-Hill, where the wisest men and best philosophers of this wise and philosophical city were met together.

And how does the apostle conduct himself in these critical circumstances? Why, instead of amusing them with a learned harangue; instead of confirming them in their idolatry, and vindicating himself by publicly professing that he worshiped the gods of the country, and sacrificed at the established altars; instead of this, I say, the apostle boldly, though in a very wise and kind manner, exposes their superstitions, calls them off from their idols—to the worship of the one true God, the Maker and Ruler of heaven and earth! And, having asserted these fundamental articles of natural religion, he introduces the glorious peculiarities of Scripture revelation, and preached Jesus Christ to them as the Savior and Judge of the world. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Samuel Davies – The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Philpot – Israel’s Departure and Return

March 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Israel’s Departure and Return

Preached at Providence Chapel, London, on Tuesday
Evening, July 17, 1849, by J. C. Philpot

“O Israel, return unto the Lord your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord—say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously—so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses—neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods—for in you the fatherless finds mercy.” Hosea 14:1-3

Our text is rather a long one; but it presents such a connected chain of blessed truth, that if I were to attempt to make it shorter, I could only present to you broken links and scattered fragments. As it stands, it is complete in itself—a beautiful and blessed exposition of divine truth. But it is only so as taken in its connection. Tear it asunder; take separate verses; and the beauty and sweetness of it are lost. I shall, therefore, as our text is long, and contains much matter, proceed at once to consider its contents. And I think that we may observe in it three or four leading features. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Philpot – Israel’s Departure and Return…

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…

Joe Wilson and the church

October 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A few weeks ago, Republican Senator Joe Wilson made the news when he shouted “You Lie!” during a speech given by the President to Congress. The news media was all over this and, because they are pretty much a liberal bunch that blindly follows the current administration, made a lot of noise about what Senator Wilson did. To them, it was an “outrage” that anyone would do that to the President of the United States. Of course they forgot how the Democrats treated George W. Bush while he was in office, calling him a “liar” and other derogatory terms without respect for his office or remorse after they did it. I can’t say that I’m surprised that this is how they looked at it, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Continue Reading Joe Wilson and the church…

Blog – Arm Yourself – All religions lead to heaven

July 27, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | 8 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In modern times, it has become commonplace for people to say that all roads lead to heaven and that all religions are pretty much the same. Many say that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe something. If you believe something and you live by that belief, then you will find yourself in heaven. This means that a good Buddhist, a faithful Hindu, a pious Muslim, and even a staunch atheist will be accepted into heaven (according to 65% of “Christians”).

The question is, is this true? Continue Reading Blog – Arm Yourself – All religions lead to heaven…

The name of God is blasphemed because of you

November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Christianity | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rom 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Rom 2:2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

Rom 2:3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Rom 2:4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Rom 2:5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

Rom 2:6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

Rom 2:7  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

Rom 2:8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

Rom 2:10  but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Rom 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.

Rom 2:12  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

Rom 2:13  for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

Rom 2:14  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

Rom 2:15  in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Rom 2:17  But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18  and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20  a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21  you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?

Rom 2:24  For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

Rom 2:25  For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26  So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

 

I know this is a long passage. To be honest, I could have made it longer by putting up chapter 1 as well. The therefore at the beginning of the chapter connects it to what Paul was talking about in chapter 1. At the end of the first chapter, Paul talks about those who have turned away from God. They knew God and turned their back on Him. They didn’t/don’t honor Him as God and now they speculate foolishly about God and His creation. They call themselves wise, even though their fools. They worship the creature instead of their Creator. Because of this, God has given them over to their lusts. He’s allowed them to drift farther and farther away from Him because that’s what they wanted. They have gotten so far from Him that “women have the natural function for that which is unnatural” and “the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Paul then goes on to give a list of things that describe these people.

 

In the second chapter, Paul continues explaining and gets to the heart of the matter. It is something that grieves me to see happening today. Paul continues talking to the hypocrites and tells them that the name of God is blasphemed because of them. They have been judging others and practicing the same sins they’ve been judging. This doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t judge. I know many will throw out Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. But, Jesus also said, in John 7:24, “judge not by appearance but by righteous judgment”. We are to judge with righteous judgment, and that judgment only comes from God. When we line up our lives and those of others to the Word of God, if there are discrepancies, we have a responsibility to point them out with the right attitude. We don’t become their judge and we don’t hold it over them, but we do let them know the truth of their predicament and what could happen if they continue to live in sin.

 

Paul also says that it’s not someone who calls themselves a Jew that’s a Jew. It doesn’t matter if you do the rituals. That’s not what makes you a Jew. If you call yourself a Jew and transgress the Law, you are no better than a Gentile. But the one who has had his heart circumcised by the Spirit is a Jew. Someone who calls themselves a Christian and does all the outward things to “prove” they’re a Christian but doesn’t obey the gospel, isn’t a Christian at all.

 

There are numerous people today in the church who live like this. They go to Sunday school and church on Sunday. They are there on Wednesday nights. They can pray out loud in front of others like nobody’s business. They can speak the “lingo” and have all the right Christianese phrases, but they hearts are far from God. They can mimic their pastors and teachers, but don’t know (or care) whether what is coming from them is correct. They feel good about themselves and want others to feel good about them. They chase prosperity and health and teach others to do the same thinking that they’re fulfilling the great commission. They judge others and practice the same sins. They think that they are above the judgment of God and are arrogant and self-righteous. They boast in the Law or in their own works. They know God’s will and choose not to obey it. They are confident that they’re living a righteous life and get upset when someone gives even the slightest hint that they might not be.

 

The most horrible effect of this, other than the fact that they’re deceived into thinking they’re Christians, is the fact that God’s name is being blasphemed because of them. The name above all names. The name by which every man, woman, and child will be saved. The name at which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The name that is so holy to the Jews that they won’t even write it out. This name is being blasphemed because of those who call themselves Christians and don’t live like it. Paul tells the Romans that they non-believers are watching them and blaspheming the name of God because they see “believers” acting just as immoral and unholy as they are. Sadly, it’s still going on today and it seems to be even worse than ever.

 

I’ve talked to many friends who are waiters or waitresses at restaurants and they all agree that Sundays are the worst day to work. It’s not because of the fact that they miss church. It’s because of the “church crowd”. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that the “Christians” who come from church are some of the most rude, obnoxious, ungrateful people to serve. They don’t tip well (if they tip at all), and they have an air about them like they’re royalty. How does this look to those servers who aren’t Christians? They see the attitude of the “church-goers” and how they are treated by them, and have a horrible view of God and the church because of it!

 

There have been numerous times over the years of those leading a church being caught up in a sexual scandal. The world sees this and scoffs. To their eyes, God obviously isn’t powerful enough to help His people stay away from that. They see pastors/clergy/preachers as hypocrites (and they are) because they preach truth, righteousness, and chastity in the pulpit, and then disobey what they’ve just preached.

 

Another reason the name of God is blasphemed is because of the false prophets, false teachers, televangelists, and prosperity preachers. People like Peter Popoff talk all about God and say the right things in their “crusades” and bilk thousands of people out of millions of dollars a year. When it was shown that Popoff was a fraud, he wasn’t the one that was affected. It was God’s name that was blasphemed and Christianity was ridiculed. Popoff was just “another one of them preachers”. The same goes for the numerous (and the numbers seem to be growing) prosperity preachers. People like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Bill Winston, Jerry Savelle, Benny Hinn, and many others preach a man centered message that skews the truth of scripture and portrays a false Jesus. They teach that Christians should be healthy and wealthy because “it’s their right as Christians”. They teach that we have some sort of “mandate” from heaven to be rich and healthy. They teach that God needs our permission before He can take action here on earth. It’s all false. There is nothing in scripture that supports this. People who preach this type of message sound like a broken record. They preach the same messages and same scriptures over and over again. They take scriptures out of context to support their false teaching and constantly ask for money to support their ministry so that their followers can be “blessed”. But where does all the money that gets “sown” into their “ministries” go? I’m sure that some of it goes to good things, but is a 6 million dollar mansion necessary? Another more recent example of this is the Lakeland “revival” that took place in Florida. Todd Bentley, the leader of the revival, claimed that thousands were saved and healed. There were even claims that people rose from the dead. There was no documentation to show any of this. In fact, there were some cases of people dying because an expected healing didn’t come. And the shenanigans that went on just gave non-Christians another reason to blaspheme God’s name.

 

There are many instances of false prophets as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say they’ve had a “Word from the Lord” and it hasn’t come to pass. Many of these people are the same ones that preach the prosperity message. There are others though. I lost track of the number of times that I heard someone say that God told them that John McCain and Sarah Palin would win the election because “they were raised up for such a time as this”. One prominent person who “prophesied” this was Dutch Sheets. In case you’ve been in a cave somewhere, that didn’t happen. So, according to the scriptures, those who “prophesied” this are false prophets. So what was the response of Mr. Sheets when his “prophecy” didn’t come to pass? It was because God’s people didn’t stand up and vote like they should have. Mr. Sheets said that this election was not the will of God. Um…whose will was it then? Doesn’t scripture say that God is the one that puts kings and rulers into place and takes them out? First, as a false prophet in the Old Testament, Mr. Sheets would have been stoned to death by the nation. Second, if I understand Mr. Sheets correctly, he’s saying that the reason the “Word” that God gave him didn’t come to pass was the fault of God’s people. Where is this in scripture Mr. Sheets? If we look in the Bible where would we find this? As a matter of fact, let’s just look at the book of Genesis and the “Words” God gave.

 

In Genesis 3, God tells Adam and Eve of the seed of the woman. Women don’t have seed. And yet, in God’s time, a young virgin woman conceived by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word came to pass, even though Herod tried to kill all the kids two years old and younger. Even though many other things tried to thwart the plan of God.

 

In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He will bless him and make him out of a great nation. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that He will give him a son of his own. Abraham had a son just like God promised, even though Abraham tried to do it on his own. It didn’t thwart God’s plan that Abraham had Ishmael. The promised child was still born. God’s Word still came to pass. God’s will wasn’t dependant on His people.

 

In Genesis 28, God gives Jacob a promise that his descendants would be given the land that he was resting on and that his descendants would be a great nation. That’s come to pass too, despite God’s people.

 

In Genesis 37, God gives Joseph two dreams. Both of them consist of Joseph’s family bowing down to him. In Genesis 40, Joseph receives the interpretation of two dreams. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh. All of these things came to pass. Jacob and his sons ended up bowing to Joseph when he was made second in all Egypt. The cupbearer was restored to his position while the baker was hanged. There were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Not only that, but the famine helped bring Israel into Egypt where another one of God’s plans was fulfilled. In Genesis 15, God told Abraham during the making of their covenant that his descendants would be strangers in a land that wasn’t theirs for four hundred years. When Israel left Egypt on the Passover, it was 430 years after they entered. They entered Egypt as 70 people and came out as millions. They were a nation.

 

Everything that God has ever spoken has come to pass, regardless of God’s people. Much of what the prophets of the Old Testament has come to pass. What hasn’t come to pass yet will come to pass in the future.

 

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing that people have a “Word from God”. Many of times, these “Words” use scripture out of context and twist the meaning to make it fit that “Word”. When these things don’t come to pass, how does that do anything to edify the body? What do non-Christians think when they see these people “prophesying” in the name of God and it doesn’t come to pass? IF all of these people are hearing from God and it’s not coming to pass, is God really all knowing or all-powerful? If this wasn’t God’s will, then is God running around making up backup plans? If all these people aren’t hearing from God, they are false prophets. If they’re not hearing from God, who are they hearing from? If they “hear from God” and they’re wrong, why should I believe other things that they say?

 

This is a sad commentary on how far the church has drifted from the truth. We love to hear what we want to hear and there seem to be a growing number of preachers who will speak exactly what we want to hear. They don’t tell us what we need to hear. They tell us what will keep us coming back and giving money. They will make us feel invincible and above God. They will build us up on a foundation of false scripture and present to us a false Jesus that loves what we love and hates what we hate. These are the people that Peter warned about in his second epistle. It is a call to repentance. The church is still losing its influence and we seem to be oblivious to it all. We need to stand up for the truth even if it means disciplining people, calling false prophets/teachers what they are, and holding our preachers up to the standard of the Word. We must not take anything for granted and when things don’t line up, we have to ask questions. Where are the real Christians? It’s time to start standing up for the truth!

Decisions or Disciples?

May 12, 2008 at 11:18 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Evangelism is something that I love. I don’t do it as much as I should (I’m working on that…), but it’s always been something that I’ve had on my heart. I’ve been thinking about something lately and thought that I’d throw it out there for your response.

 

It seems that in the modern church there are two very different goals for evangelism. These goals are reached by different methods and are touted as being the same, but they really aren’t even close. Before I talk about the two goals, I wanted to ask a question to get you thinking.

 

What should be the goal of evangelism?

 

I hope to answer this, but at least the question is out there. It seems that as I write this, I’m finding more questions that I’ll probably have to explain, so this may end up being a long post…

 

An evangelist is someone who preaches/proclaims the gospel. The first goal of evangelism should be to preach the gospel. We should be making a concerted effort to tell others the truth about Jesus Christ. The problem is, while the truth is the same for everyone, it’s not accepted by everyone to the same degree. Some people who profess to follow Christ overlook things like homosexuality being a sin. Others overlook things like gossip, lying, etc. So right from the beginning, the same gospel is not being preached. In Mark 16, Jesus tells His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. When He makes the same proclamation in Matthew, He tells them to “make disciples of all nations” and to “teach them to observe all that I’ve commanded you” (emphasis mine). I don’t think that the church today is doing this. As a matter of fact, I know that it’s not doing this because I can see different gospels being preached. I see people flocking to whatever gospel tickles their fancy. Some go to the “prosperity gospel”. Others go to the “feel good gospel”. Paul says in Galatians 1:8 that if a man or an angel preaches any other gospel other than what Paul preached, they are accursed. Paul preached the same thing that Jesus preached. The overwhelming thing that Paul talked about in his epistles was sin. When Jesus started His ministry, His first message was about repentance (Matt. 4:17). Unfortunately, that’s not happening today. In most American churches, you hear very little about repentance. Instead, you hear the “other gospels” I mentioned above. Without preaching about repentance, you can’t be preaching the gospel.

 

Some will disagree with me and that’s ok. Some will say that you have to “love people into heaven”. I’m all for loving people. I love a lot of people. The thing is, if I truly love them, then I’ll tell them about repentance. I’ll tell them about sin and judgment because, if I don’t, they’ll end up in hell. When you read about the lives of the preachers of old (Spurgeon, Whitfield, Wesley, etc), you’ll see that their main focus was repentance. They spoke reverently and passionately about souls being snatched from the fires of hell. They loved their message because they understood that it was the only thing that will save people. They weren’t men going out to condemn others or show off their knowledge of scripture. They were men that loved people enough to tell them the truth, even if those people hated them for it. One evangelist wrote in a journal that he was blessed to have rotten food and pieces of dead cat thrown at him.

 

Sadly, the message of repentance that makes up the foundation of the gospel is missing from so many churches today. Even though people talk about souls, they preach a gospel devoid of the power to save those souls. They have a different goal than the preachers of old.

 

I said that I saw two very different goals for evangelism today. Those two goals are decisions and disciples.

 

I can’t really pinpoint it, but somewhere around the turn of the century, the gospel that was preached began to change. The message of repentance slowly faded out and was replaced by the other “gospels” that we hear today. Those “gospels” focus on how your life can be improved by “accepting” Jesus. Those who preach this message still talk about focusing on souls, but those souls are only as important as the decision they make to accept Jesus. I’ve seen (and been a part of) churches that will push, prod, and cajole you into becoming a Christian, and as soon as you “accept Christ”, they hand you a Bible and wish you luck; never showing any more concern for you again. The goal of this type of “evangelism” isn’t the actually saving of a soul; it’s about getting someone to make a decision. When churches like these go out into the community, they “evangelize” people by telling them how Jesus will bring them more joy, peace, happiness, and love. They talk about a “God-shaped hole” that only Jesus can fill. They seem to use everything they can, except the message of repentance. You never hear about sin from them unless it’s some sort of superficial spewing of Romans 3:23 or 6:23. To be honest, I wonder if most people even understand what sin really is?

 

This style of “evangelism” does nothing for the people being evangelized except to inoculate them against the truth of the gospel. They are told that all they have to do is “accept Jesus (into their heart)” and “really mean it” and they’ll be saved. Nothing is said about having to change the way they live or how to do it. Nothing is said about being obedient to the Word of God. Because of this, our churches are filled with people who truly believe that they’re saved, but live a life of sin and worldliness. We have pews laden with false converts every Sunday and it doesn’t matter. Why? It’s all about decisions.

 

I truly believe that this view of evangelism gave rise to both the “seeker sensitive” movement and the “emergent” church. Both of these movements deny repentance as the only valid reason for someone receiving salvation. The seeker sensitive movement does this by catering to non-Christians and putting social issues above God. They develop programs to get people into the church hoping that those people will get saved by osmosis. They fight for the social issues of our time (poverty, health, the environment, etc.) while ignoring the spiritual matters of sin and hell. The emergent movement takes this one step further by denying the very character of God found in the scriptures in favor of a more “tolerant”, “loving”, all paths lead to heaven kind of God that we can’t really understand. Because we can’t really know God or understand what He “really meant”, emergents are left to “go their own way”.

This is in direct opposition to the other goal I see in evangelism. This other goal is the same goal that we find in scripture. This goal says that we need to go out and preach the gospel of Christ to the world. It calls people to repentance by showing them what their sin is. It is sin that weighs us down and keeps us from running our race (Heb. 12:2).  It calls them to action by showing them the truth of sin’s consequences. It leaves no doubt in the mind of the listener about the truth of what will happen to them if they die without receiving salvation from Jesus Christ. It makes it clear that Jesus is the only way to get to God. There is great ease in understanding what God says and who He is.

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple to understand. Man sinned against God in the beginning (Gen. 3) by disobeying His command. Since then, all of mankind is born with a sinful nature. It is a natural thing for us to sin. The idea that man is inherently good is not scriptural. We are inherently evil. If left to our own devices we will disobey God every time and do things our own way. Because of this, the wrath of God is upon each and every one of us. Because of this, all of us deserve to go to hell. You may be saying to yourself, “that might be true for someone else, but I’m a good person and don’t deserve hell”. I disagree. God has a standard by which the world will be judged. That standard is the Ten Commandments. All you have to do to know if you’ve sinned and are going to hell is look at those ten laws. If you’ve ever lied, stolen, blasphemed God’s name, looked with lust (adultery – Matt. 5:28), hated someone (murder – 1 John 3:15), coveted something that belonged to someone else, put something else before God, made God into something that suited your desires (idolatry), dishonored your parents, or not kept the Sabbath holy, then you’ve sinned against God and will find yourself in hell. The only way out of this situation is to understand that you’re a sinner that needs a way to pay for your sins. Good works won’t get you to heaven. You can’t do enough good works to make up for one sin. Instead, you need a payment for your sins. That payment was made 2000 years ago on the cross when Jesus died in your place. To have that payment cover your sins, you have to repent of your sins (turn away from them and go the opposite direction) and put your trust in Jesus. To put your trust in Jesus simply means that you understand who He is and what He did for you and you stop trying to live your own way. If you do this, then you can know without a shadow of a doubt that you will find yourself in heaven when you die.

 

This is the gospel. It is the only thing that will see people saved and it needs to be preached from every pulpit in America (and the world). Not only that, it needs to be preached from the mouth of every believer any time there is an opportunity. America needs to repent and turn to God. For this to happen, Christians need to start preaching the gospel in truth!

 

Your thoughts?

America’s Greatest Need

April 21, 2008 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In light of the presidential race and the focus on America, I’ve been hearing a lot about what America needs. Issues like jobs, the economy, tax reform, the environment, and abortion are all over the news with each candidate putting their spin on the issue in hopes of gaining the most votes and the presidency. All of this got me thinking about something…

What is America’s greatest need? Is it one of the issues listed above or is it something else? In the church, there might be a somewhat different response (although many churches today seem to be caught up in the same social issues that the world is). With spring comes buds on the trees and beautiful flowers, but spring also heralds the season of revival for many denominations. From now until the fall churches across the nation will be holding weeklong revivals in an effort to stir up the hearts of God’s people. There will be fiery sermons and exhortations. There will be songs of praise and worship. All of this will be done in an effort to please God and to “get Him to move” in the lives and cities where His people dwell.

But, is this America’s greatest need? Do we need revival? Should the body of Christ spend a week at a time clamoring for God’s attention, emotionally and spiritually whipping themselves into a frenzy? Should they put off everything else to spend an entire week of nights in the building called a “church” hearing a sermon that they may or may not remember a month from now? Is revival really America’s greatest need?

I don’t think so. I have nothing against revivals and have heard some wonderful sermons preached during these events, but that’s all they are: events. I don’t think that America’s greatest need is revival and I think that the church needs to realize that as well. In the book Downpour, author James MacDonald says what should be common sense to the church and yet seems to be ignored so many times. He says “to be revived, you have to be vived in the first place”. For revival to take place, those who profess to be Christians have to be “vived” to begin with. Sadly, that’s not the case. There are many in churches across the country living in sin (many openly) and no one is saying anything about it. There are people (including pastors!) committing adultery and they just keep on preaching “the Word”. There are people lying, stealing, cheating, and lusting after others and they are all professing to be Christians!

I don’t think that America’s greatest need is revival. You may disagree with me, but America’s greatest need is repentance. America needs to repent before we can ever be revived. So many talk about God bringing revival to the land, but many of those same people haven’t repented. We want our country to be free from the plagues that we face from every side, and we cry out for revival but to no avail. Why? Because we need to repent.

I’m not talking to the pagans and heathens either. I’m talking to the “Christians”! I’m talking to all of those pastors who are preaching a different gospel whether it is the “prosperity” gospel, the “feel good” gospel, the “you are god” gospel, the “social gospel” or any gospel other than the one that Jesus preached. REPENT! I’m talking to those “Christians” who think that they can live in adultery or sexual immorality and no one will know. REPENT! I’m talking to all of those youth who are sexually active or secretly pregnant. REPENT! I’m talking to all of those “men of God” who spend hours on the Internet looking at pornography. REPENT! I’m talking to all of those women who smile all pretty and talk sweet to people’s faces and then turn around and talk about them like nobody’s business. REPENT! I’m talking to all of the “Christian” men who need to be husbands to their wives, leaders in their houses, and examples to their children. REPENT! I’m talking to all of the women who profess to be Christians and have no problem at all killing the child that’s inside of them. REPENT! I’m talking to all of those “Christians” who claim that they can live a homosexual lifestyle and still be obedient to God. REPENT!

Is it any wonder why our country is in the shape that it’s in? We sit back and allow the world to fill our heads with lies about everything (and we believe it!). We chase the world and it’s ways in an effort to be “relevant” so that we can “reach out to the lost”. We spend all of our time and money on entertainment and events and the things that are “popular” in the world’s culture to draw people into the church, even though we know that Jesus said that we were to GO into the world! Our children run rampant (I’m talking about the ones from “Christian” families), they get into just as much trouble (if not more because they think they’re immune), and they are just as sexually active as those in the world. The divorce rate in the church is just as high as that of the world, even though we have scriptures that tell us how much God hates divorce and how it’s a permanent covenant that “no man” should separate.

Many will read this and say that the answer is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

2 Chron. 7:13-14:”If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

My first post was on the event last year called “The Call”. In almost a year since The Call, I’ve looked back to see very little impact from that event. The verse from 2 Chronicles was used extensively during the pre-Call time as well as during The Call itself. But is that really what happened? Is that what’s happening now? I wonder if those who profess to be God’s children really know how to do what’s quoted? First, do they know if they are His? If they’re living a life of sin, they are not His. Do they know how to humble themselves? I have seen a lot of false humility in the body of Christ lately. Many act like they are humble and contrite, but they don’t live it out. Do they know how to pray? I’m not talking about shouting to the heavens so that God might hear you better, and I’m not talking about rocking back and forth speaking in tongues. I’m talking about praying, spending time with God talking to Him, and interceding according to the truth of His Word. Do they know how to seek His face? From the looks of the modern church they don’t. They seek His hand or they seek His Name but they don’t seek His face. They look for “the blessing” and they talk about how they are glorifying God but they lack the substance that should accompany their efforts. Do they turn from their wicked ways? I can say with confidence that the answer is NO. They don’t turn from their wicked ways; they look to twist scripture to justify them. They seek for “loopholes” in scripture that they can make use of to suit themselves and lead others astray. They turn a blind eye to the truth of God for their own lives but seem to be quick to point out the troubles in the lives of others.

If none of what’s in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is happening, is it any wonder why God can’t hear us? Is it any wonder that our land isn’t being healed?

As I said above, I believe that the thing that America needs most is repentance. Those who profess to belong to Christ and follow Him need to actually start doing so. They need to stop living out “their best life now” or living Christianity out their own way and start living the Christian life the way that scripture says to live it. We are called to be holy. We are called to be set apart and different than the world. We are called to be a royal priesthood. If God were to treat us like He did the priests in the Old Testament, He would consume us with fire (Lev. 10) or have the earth swallow us up (Num. 16) because of our disobedience!

I can’t help but wonder something else as I write this. Why would we not want to repent? Ultimately, I know why. Think about it though. We have been given the greatest gift ever given! We have been given freedom from our sins and reconciliation to God! Not only that, but we have been offered the chance to be used by God to share that gift with others by telling them the truth of the gospel! Why are we not doing this? Why don’t we repent? Why aren’t we be rushing to God to ask for forgiveness, aligning our lives with His Word, and then doing everything that we can to go out and preach the gospel to the lost? Are we that happy with living our lives in the flesh? Are we so proud of ourselves and our accomplishments that we would rather rest on those than in the Savior of our souls?

What is our problem?!?!?!

To be honest, our problem is the same one we had in the garden. A friend of mine and I were talking about the Fall. She made a good point about Eve eating the fruit. In Genesis 3, when Satan questions God’s Word to man, Eve replies that she can’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or touch it or they would die. God only said that they couldn’t eat it. So, when Eve allows herself to be carried away and enticed by her own lusts (James 1:13-15), she reaches for the fruit. When she takes the fruit and it doesn’t kill her, she may have thought, “Well, I didn’t die then…”

THAT’S what’s happening today too. We sin against God and it doesn’t kill us on the spot so we delude ourselves into thinking that it’s ok. We begin to feel comfortable with that sin so we commit another one. That one doesn’t kill us either and in time, we are ok with it too. Eventually, we are miles away from God, but we are comfortable with it because we have fooled ourselves into thinking that we’re still His, still doing His will, and nothing is wrong. I mean, if it were really as bad as it sounds, God would have done something about it by now right? I bet the Amorites said the same thing, until Israel came out of Egypt millions strong and decimated them…

Our greatest need here in America (and from the sounds of it everywhere else too) is not revival. It’s repentance. We need to truly repent of our sins and trust in Jesus. We need to live out our lives according to the way He has said. We need to study to show ourselves approved and to equip ourselves to do every good work. We HAVE to do this if we want to see America restored!

America, it’s time to repent!

Don’t move the ancient boundary!

March 3, 2008 at 10:50 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the time that God created the heavens and the earth, He created boundaries. When He gathered the water on earth into one place and called it the Seas, He set its boundary. When He created Adam and his wife and told them to subdue the earth, He set their boundaries. God has always done things with boundaries. God Himself is not bound by anything, but His creation functions within the boundaries that He created. He also set the boundaries for His people.

When God made a covenant with Abraham and the torch and oven passed through the middle of the sacrifices, God gave Abraham the boundary that He had set for the nation that would come from his descendants. God set those boundaries so that His people would be provided for and would have a place of their own to glorify Him in the midst of the pagan nations. Those descendants, however, decided to change the boundaries and lost much in the process.

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon says, “do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28). He repeats this same warning in Proverbs 23:10. Unfortunately, the boundary was moved and it was changed, and it’s being changed again today as Israel is slowly being divided. As a result of this, the Jews are being forcefully relieved of something that was promised to them by God, and they’re allowing it to happen.

The same thing is happening in the modern church. We have lost so much because the boundaries have been moved. Today, they are being moved at an alarming rate and the landscape of Christianity is changing at a pace that is almost hard to follow.  There are new “movements” coming out almost once a month. There are new and “innovative” ways to look at Christianity advertised on radio and television stations. And all of these things are moving the ancient boundary that God has set for Christians.

Originally, God had set the boundaries for the Jews to be much larger than even they saw when they entered the Promised Land. In Genesis 15:8, God gives Abraham the boundaries of the land that He promises in the covenant:

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates

God had promised Abraham and his descendants from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in what is now Iraq! They were to have the entire Arabian Peninsula! Instead, they ended up receiving only a small portion of that area that God had promised them. They lost a lot of what God had provided for them for a few reasons.

The first reason was disobedience. The Israelites were commanded to eradicate the people in the land (if you look at God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 you’ll see why). They were to do this so that they would not allow the pagan practices and idols to distract them and turn them away from God. Instead of doing this, they made treaties and bargains with the peoples of the land and, in time, those people ended up leading Israel away from God time and again.

The second reason that Israel lost much of what God had provided for them was because of sin. Israel often ended up doing what was right in its own eyes. The people chased after other Gods; they offered their children in fire to Molech, they built altars in the high places to false gods, and they built Asherah poles. Israel sinned against the commandments of the Lord and God judged them for it.

The third reason Israel lost much of what God had promised them is because they forgot the covenant that He made with them. They didn’t keep the covenant fresh in their minds and so they lost what was supposed to be theirs. The Jews claimed ancestry through Abraham, and rightfully so, but they forgot the covenant that God had made with and through Abraham. In forgetting the covenant, they forgot their God and went their own way.

These same things are going on in the modern church! They are running rampant through the churches of America and Great Britain especially. In these two countries, Christianity is losing adherents. Many younger people are leaving the church for other things because the Christianity that is portrayed to them by professing “believers” has much style and pizzazz but no substance.

In the modern church, there is much disobedience and sin. Many in the church live in sin throughout the week and then come on Sunday to lift their hands and “worship” the God they supposedly serve. They willfully do wrong and have no remorse or shame for what they’re doing, not only through the sin that they’re committing, but also the reflection of God that they are sharing with others! Fornication, premarital sex, and adultery run amok in the church and it’s considered the norm. Pastors are challenging their single members to abstain from having sex when it’s something that they should already be doing! Gossip, lying, and pride are controlling many churches and making the members fearful of trusting in their leadership. Self-righteousness and arrogance have caused many of those who preach from the pulpit on Sundays to proclaim their own version of the gospel and make the proclamation of the truth a place for editorial comments on the lives of the congregants. Vanity and shallow self-centeredness drives many of the churches to build the biggest buildings with the nicest looking landscaping and then fill them with cutting edge sound systems and musical equipment (because to do less could cause you to have less attendees than the church down the street!).

The modern church has also forgotten the covenant that God has made with them. When Christ came to earth, died on the cross, and rose again the third day; He instituted a new covenant. It was one based on faith in Him alone. It required repentance of sin and faith in Him as the only One that could save our souls. In making this new covenant, He gave us the opportunity to be reconciled to God, but it would cost us something. We would have to give up the old way of living. We would have to turn our backs on the sins that we so readily enjoyed and live a life of holiness and righteousness. In doing so, we would be lights to the dark world and salt in the blandness of deprived humanity. Instead, the modern church has become just as deprived as the world we are supposed to be reaching. In fact, it is more deprived than the world because it has the answer and chooses to ignore it! We have fooled ourselves into thinking that we are somehow different than the world because we say the name of Jesus, even though we are living in the same sins that will send “nonbelievers” to hell. We have built a fragile façade of religious porcelain that reflects the image that we want others to see, but if they were to break through the shell they would find darkness just as deep and unholy as is in those who have no pretensions of professing Christianity.

Like Israel, the modern church has turned its back on God and decided to do what is right in its own eyes. We have forsaken the Holy One who came to die in our place and followed the false gods of man. We put on programs and reinterpret scripture to our liking. We impose a skewed sense of holiness and morality upon those in our churches and dangle the promises of life, wealth, health, and happiness like a carrot that the congregation can see and smell but will never reach. We forsake the truth the way God wrote it for a watered down version of the “gospel lite” that will allow those in our pews and cushy chairs to feel comfortable in their sins and they go hurtling straight towards hell (because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or judge them, but we’ll allow them to go to hell without a second thought). We get all “airy” and spiritual about the truth found in the gospel, even though it’s been written for the common man to use in his everyday life in everyday situations. We have leaders that can spew out orations lasting for hours, but cannot live out the truth found in a single verse of scripture.

And yet, when we stop being self-centered for a few minutes, we actually wonder why people are leaving our churches and why our countries seem to be facing dire straits. We can’t understand why our congregations are dwindling and our coffers are bare because we’re truly blind to what’s going on. And to be honest, many of us don’t care. We go and get our two to four hours of spirituality in and that’s all that matters. We might help out on an occasional ministry event. And deep down, the truth is, we know why people are leaving. We know why they are frustrated with “church as usual” and why they are looking for something else. And if we cared a little more, we might try and do something about it.

The church today is in dire need of people who are willing to take a serious and honest look at scripture, compare it to their lives, and then actually change to be more in line with what God said. We need people who don’t want things their way, even if that means getting rebuked by God or having Him completely tear apart everything that we feel comfortable about. We need people who are not only going to be obedient to the Word of God, but are going to live it out on a daily basis and be a living sacrifice and an honest reflection of who Christ is to the world. This is necessary if our cities, states, and our nation are to be spared from the wrath of God that will come as a result of the sin and disobedience that we’ve been living in.

What will you choose to do?

Next Page »


Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: