LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”

(John 14:1)

The Early Christians at Ephesus, followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, were going to go through unprecedented hardship.  Paul knew this and warned them, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10).

When we heard about the believers left behind in Afghanistan, our hearts cried out to God to help them.  How should we pray?  Is it God’s will that they go through persecution and hardship?  Should we be praying that God makes a way to escape?  Or, should we be praying that they will endure, standing boldly and strong in the name of Jesus when they come face-to-face with evil.  Shouldn’t we be praying for their hearts not to be troubled no matter what happens?  We do indeed pray, we pray that their minds and hearts will be filled with the peace of God, His supernatural peace that surpasses all human understanding.   

The enemies of God often look strong and well equipped, experts at deceiving; experts at recruiting others just like themselves.

Do not let your heart be troubled.  Do not let fear overwhelm you.  As warriors in God’s army we have the Holy Spirit residing within.  The Holy Spirit who gives us discernment, wisdom and courage in our time of need.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might …” (Ephesians 6:10).  Remember always that the Battle is the Lord’s (1st Samuel 17:47, 2nd Chronicles 20:15)!  If you are a fearful soul and you tremble at every rattle of the enemies weapons, take heart with the following scripture from the Word of God:  “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the LORD thy God, HE IT IS THAT GOES WITH THEE: HE WILL NOT FAIL THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE …” (2nd Chronicles 32:7) 

“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you,” (Isaiah 35:4).

Sometimes things look bleak.  Believers around the world are currently facing unprecedented times of persecution and hardship.  Standing strong in the faith, trusting with all your heart, and believing that our Sovereign God knows those who are His and is well aware of everything going on.  Our Heavenly Father, who guides and directs our steps, who guides and directs our circumstances and the state of affairs upon the Earth, all of which by ‘providential design’ will bring about the Return of Jesus Christ, is not ignorant of the enemies’ devices, nor of the suffering of His children.  A Day of Reckoning is coming soon!  

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled …”  Trust in God and remember these words:  “All things work together for good ... (Romans 8:28).  All things: the good, the bad, the sinkholes, the potholes, the attacks (within and without), life lived well for God, life taken.  Everything is for God’s purposes!  

Selah.  

WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE?

WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE?

TREE TRUNK.jpg

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh:yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh,yet now henceforth know we him no more [after the flesh].” (2nd Corinthians 5:16)


Adam and Eve had a good perspective (a proper viewpoint) while they walked in the garden with their Creator.  When they sinned, their perspective became convoluted (twisted).  Their powers of observation were damaged.  

If you were to take a walk in a field or forest, or even on the street where you live, and came across a large tree such as the one pictured above and you walked up to it, you would observe exactly what was right in front of you.  If you took a few steps to the left or to the right still facing the tree, you would have a different viewpoint, a different perspective.  Now you move again, stepping  backwards but still looking at the tree, again, your perspective would change.

This is what happens to us when we stop centering on God.  When we move either to the left, to the right, or we move backwards, we move away from God and our perspective changes.  When we are one-with-Him our perspective (our viewpoint) is the same as His.  So what does this have to do with what the  Apostle Paul was saying in the above scripture?

From now on we are to regard no one according to the flesh.  In other words, we are not to look at people as we did before our conversion with our sin-filled perspective. Now that we are born again, we are not to look upon others as their being Chinese, Jewish, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Latino, Muslim, etc., you get the idea.  Instead, we are to look at other people from God’s perspective:  Is this person converted or unconverted?

God has given us His Spirit and a new perspective,a new point-of-view.  In the scripture portion “though we have known Christ after the flesh” the  Apostle Paul, the converted new-man, is saying that at one time he looked at Jesus ‘according to the flesh.’  Before his conversion, Paul believed Jesus was a false prophet, a false messiah, the worst example of a Hebrew ever to live, and he hated everything about him.  After his conversion, Paul’s perspective became his Heavenly Father’s perspective and he realized that Jesus was indeed the Savior.  Same Paul with a new mind (a born-again mind) – his perspective had changed!

Thinking again about that tree.  Where do you stand?  Are you looking full-on standing face-to-face with the Living God, never wavering in your position?  Or have you changed your perspective, your viewpoint of what it is that He wants from His children?  Sometimes we get off track, we move when we are out of His will; but, because of God’s grace and favor on His children, He will always bring us back.

Selah.

QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT

QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT

“Quench not the Spirit.” (1st Thessalonians 5:19)


How many of us have ever really thought about this scripture, “Quench not the Spirit!”   Quench — extinguish, burn out, put out, switch off, turn off, smother, douse.  For our purposes I think quench might mean ‘turn off’ or ‘douse’.

The Spirit of God is the Heavenly Promise sent from Jesus to guide us in all things pertaining to life and godliness.  He resides within us, praying for us and guiding us.  If you are born-again and if you are connected to the vine, walking ‘in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16-18), and walking in His will, the Holy Spirit is both your Counselor and Comforter. 

How do we quench the Spirit?  We quench Him when we are in sin.  Ephesians Chapter 4 in comparing our old life with our new life names a few things that will quench the Holy Spirit:  lasciviousness (lewd, lustful acts, lustfulness, wantonness, unrestrained sexual behavior), greed, lying, anger, theft, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour (shouting, yelling), and evil speaking.

When the Holy Spirit takes up residence within a believer, He brings with Him gifts that God expects us to use to further His purposes on Earth.  These gifts are supernatural graces Christians need to fulfill the mission of the Church.  Sometimes referred to as charismatic gifts, they are:  a word of knowledge, increased faith, gift of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues.  1st Timothy 4:14 tells us “Neglect not the gift that is in thee …” and 2nd Timothy 1:6 reminds us to “… stir up the gift of God …”  In other words, put your whole heart, mind, body and soul into the work of God using the gift(s) of the Holy Spirit.  TO NEGLECT YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS IS TO QUENCH THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

We don’t want to become dry bones.  “And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, ‘O Lord, thou knowest!’ (Ezekiel 37:3).

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?  And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts 19:2).  In the early church we see believers (those who believed that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah, the Son of God) who, the apostles laid hands on, praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit.  This ‘second’ baptism (Luke 3:22, Acts 1:4-5, Acts 2:1-4) was necessary for the fledgling church to walk in the might and power of the Spirit as effective witnesses to all nations.  Although the Holy Spirit resides in every born again believer, there is a total surrendering of self that must be done to enable the Spirit to work in you bringing forth the gifts [of the Spirit] as they are needed in order to witness and uplift the Body of Christ.  Achieving this ‘surrendering of self’ is between you and God, it is something that you can seek and pray for.  But saints, only someone who wants to immerse themselves in the things of God, to be used by God, no matter the cost, should pray for this special grace. 

Quench not the Spirit!  There are millions and millions of lost people on earth.  Lost with no one telling them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Be filled with the Spirit and fulfill the great commission, we have been given talents, don’t bury them, use them.

Selah.    

BEARING FRUIT IN OLD AGE

BEARING FRUIT IN OLD AGE

“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;they shall be fat and flourishing.”

(Psalm 92:14)

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There are many benefits to loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).  Immersing yourself in God and the things of God consistently (not just on Sundays) results in fruit bearing.  Your devotion to God will be reflected in the fruit you bear. 

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.  We have been carefully planted (where we are) and cultivated by God to bring forth fruit.  We may experience trials, tribulation and even persecution during our pilgrimage; yet our faithfulness to Him will always be rewarded by His faithfulness towards us.  

An aged man or woman should be useful.  The wisdom that we have from years of Bible Study and spiritual experience is to be used for God.  God has spared us, given us length of days, so that we will be useful.  There are many, many people, saved and unsaved, who will be assisted spiritually because of your godly wisdom, counsel and prayers on their behalf.  You have only to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are needed.  

Length of days should not be spent on our own ease and enjoyment.  Virtues that God has developed within you should be used to influence your ‘community’ of family, friends and acquaintances.  Participation in either a ministry God has given you or within another ministry will bring about fruit bearing.  Advancing the work of the Lord is your objective.  Those trained in God’s Word through years of private Bible study are very useful in old age. 

The Lord tells us in His Word above that ‘they shall be fat.’  God forbid that we become fat as we age from lack of use within our calling.  Here, the words ‘they shall be fat’ means that they shall be vigorous (having the appearance of vigor and good health).  And flourishing!  They will bear fruit with no indication of decay.  Glory to God!

“Those that be planted in the House of the Lordshall flourish in the courts of our God.They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;they shall be fat and flourishing;To show that the LORD is upright:He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:13-15)

Selah.

GOD IS NOT MISSING

GOD IS NOT MISSING

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened,

and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:9)


At this point in time many of us are battle weary.  The daily challenges being presented to us when we walk out the door, or even by picking up the phone can be overwhelming.  I have two examples from my own life, one being last week.  I was on the phone with an insurance company trying to get information on extra medical insurance.  I called just to get an ‘Informational Brochure’.  What I got was a ‘specialist’ whose sole purpose at that point in her life was to get me to ‘sign up’ for medical insurance that would end up ‘costing’ us money.  Nothing I said diverted her from her ‘task’ (although I knew that there were, in fact, cheaper plans).  I listened to her lie, divert, ignore, and finally ”frustrated with me” (ha, ha, ha) she hung up.

The other example … has anyone else been experiencing ‘crazy’ drivers?  Driving, for me, used to be a pleasurable experience.  Going from Point A to Point B was no big deal.  Not any more.  We have to get ‘prayed up’ before we leave the driveway.  Besides the maniacs that are texting and driving way below the speed limit, there are those who, for some reason, like to smell your exhaust, and consequently drive as close as they can to the rear of your car without actually touching it.  I call these people “Frustrated Nascarers.”  But they also cause undue ‘stress’ on those they are following. 

So your nerves are shot because you haven’t been able to carry out normal daily activities because of everyday ‘challenges.’  Surely the enemy (Satan) is working overtime along with his demonic hordes.  The good news — God is not missing!  He is as close to us as a whisper to a loved one or friend.

One of the characteristics that makes a good soldier is being aware of his (or her) surroundings at all times.  Like watchmen on the wall, a good soldier sees beyond what his natural vision shows him.  He can almost ‘sense’ the enemies whereabouts.  Well dear saints, the enemy is all around us.  Keeping that in your mind is very helpful when within the midst of your daily routines suddenly what should be ‘normal’ becomes ‘abnormal.’  If that happens to a believer, chances are good the enemy (evil) is involved somehow. 

Train yourself to be alert and aware of your surroundings, by remembering who the god of this world is (Satan) your discernment will be sharpened and  ‘Praise God’ you will be less stressed and frustrated.  The NIV version of 1 Peter 5:8 tells us:  Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Other Bible versions state:  Be Sober and Watch!   Be Sober and Vigilant!  Be Sober and Self-controlled, Be Watchful! 

Again … train yourself to see spiritually what is going on around you.  Walk in the Spirit!

I love Matthew 28:20 where Jesus said, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” God is not missing!  He is with us even now, living within you (you are His temple).  Be aware of His presence and the graces and gifts He has given you to overcome the world.  Be alert and watch ... ask God to give you spiritual wisdom and spiritual eyes to see what is really going on.

Selah.                 

MATTERS OF THE HEAD / MATTERS OF THE HEART

MATTERS OF THE HEAD / MATTERS OF THE HEART

“And the Lord said unto him [the man clothed with linen],

Go, through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,

and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry

for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ezekiel 9:4)

Intercession is difficult.  Intercession drains us spiritually and physically.  Perhaps God has put someone in your heart to pray for, or perhaps He wants you to pray for the city/town in which you reside, or the nation in which you live.  You now have received a prayer burden from the Lord.  How much you engage in this burden is up to you.  But if the Holy Spirit has prompted you to pray, you should never enter lightly into the cause He has put before you. 

The matter in your head (reason to intercede) must become a matter in your heart (your spirit uniting with the Holy Spirit in prayer).  How we reason and what we feel emotionally are not separate entities.  When we go into intercession before the Throne of God we bring with us our reason (what our finite mind determines is the reason for the prayer) and our emotions (how our heart responds to the need).  A prayer lightly spoken will be lightly answered (if at all).

God wants us to communicate with Him.  He wants us to pour out (from the bottom of our hearts, so to speak) our prayers and petitions.  When you enter into intercession it is vital that you believe in God and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Your faith must be strong.  At the same time, we need to keep in mind what God thinks about sin.  It is an abomination!  A vessel full of sin with an unrepentant heart cannot truly expect God to answer prayers.  Sin is the sole reason that people are heading for Hell; sin is the reason there is so much suffering in the world (including sicknesses).  It is because of sin that you go into intercession.  Sin is responsible for the woes of mankind.  

Some saints never approach God in intercession.  They have no burden for the hurting body of Christ, or for the lost.  They have established their own standards of righteousness:  “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”  (Romans 10:1-3).  We have all been called to pray ‘one for another.’  It is a gift, an honor and a privilege given to the children of the Almighty.   

God has called all of us in this critical time in history to pray, to remain impartial is not an option.  Today we heard about a bumper sticker someone spotted on a car in Virginia.  It read:  HEAVEN HAS A WALL, A GATE, AND A STRICT IMMIGRATION POLICY.  HELL HAS OPEN BORDERS.  I don’t know about you, but my spirit was angered and grieved when I heard this. “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15).  The Lord, Himself, told us not to judge anyone, for with what judgment we judge, God will judge us.  We are not to meddle in the affairs of others.  Our job is to go to our Heavenly Father praying for them.

Scripture tells us that right now Jesus is at the right hand of our Heavenly Father making intercession for us (His Bride).  “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).  Jesus our Lord and King prays for us.  Should we not be following His example by praying and interceding for others!  Listen to that still, small voice within you.  When you are called to pray for someone or for a situation (Godly cause), make this a matter of your head and your heart.  To be called to pray is a holy calling … don’t take it lightly.

Selah.         

WHO IS JESUS?

WHO IS JESUS?


“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying,

“Who do men say that I the Son of man am?”And they said,

“Some say thou art John the Baptist, some Elias;and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

  (Matthew 16:13-14)

THE BLIND MAN AND THE ELEPHANT.jpg

There is a parable that originated in the ancient Indian subcontinent called ‘The Blind Men and an Elephant.’  A group of blind men who have never come across an elephant before begin to form ideas about what the elephant is like based on where they have placed their hands on him.  One blind man may feel the trunk, another a tusk, or another the elephant’s side, you get the idea.  Each blind man describes the elephant based on his limited experience and each man’s description is different from the other.  (In some versions of the story, the blind men begin to argue over who is right, and they actually come to blows.) 
And so this parable has some truth in it when we compare it to our own ‘limited’ experience of who Jesus is based on, perhaps, where we attend church, with whom we fellowship, or how much time we actually spend with the Lord or in His Word.  Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many different denominations?  I was raised Catholic, attending a Catholic church and school, but I also went several times to a Quaker meeting (as my Father was a Quaker).  Since being ‘born again’ myself and Paul have attended many different churches including:  Baptist, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Disciples of Christ (I was office staff), Church of United Brethren, Church of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, Church of the Nazarene, Pentacostal churches,  evangelistic interdenominational, lots of non-denominational churches, evangelical tent services, home church groups, and then there was that little church tucked away in the woods of ‘boon-docks’ Georgia, where one very dark and spooky night, we entered into the building to hear men ‘screaming’ in unknown languages.  I fully expected to see snakes!  
Like the men trying to describe an elephant, denominations have sprung up throughout history based on ideas of ‘who Jesus is’ pulled from the pages of scripture.   Examples:  One major denominational group adopted its name from the practice of John the Baptist baptizing converts.  This denomination stresses conformity to certain rules of Christian conduct.  Jesus, to them, represents a Great Moral Teacher.  Another large group of denominations came about because of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (fulfilled at Pentecost).  They are known for operating in the gifts of the Spirit.  They see Jesus as a Miracle Worker.  Seventh Day Adventists take their name from observing the seventh-day Sabbath, which the Gospel shows that Jesus kept.  Jesus [to them] is the Sabbath Keeper.  Some denominations stress holiness.  To them, Jesus is Holy.
So, who is Jesus?  You can find the answer in Matthew 16:15-17.  “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven.”
Of course, when we think about our Lord Jesus hundreds of words can be used to describe who He is, and sometimes when we are in His Presence there are no words.  But, in case someone approaches you and asks “Who is Jesus?”  The best answer might be what our Heavenly Father revealed to Peter.  “Who is Jesus?”  Jesus is …
Yeshua Hamashiach
(Jesus the Messiah)Selah.

SWIFT TO HEAR – SLOW TO SPEAK

SWIFT TO HEAR – SLOW TO SPEAK


“Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

(James 1:19)


Growing up there was an expression people used when your conversation was about to explode into slander or anger, “Bite your tongue!”  If you bite your tongue, you will notice immediately that you won’t be able to speak.  Biting your tongue will keep you from saying something that you should not say.  I don’t recommend you bite your tongue, but certainly remember this phrase next time you are tempted to enter into an argument. 

The Word tells us to be swift to hear.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  Swift to hear.  As Children of the Most High God we have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit.  One of those gifts is discernment of spirits.  But, I’ll bet that many of you, including myself, rarely use this precious and valuable gift.  Whenever someone is confronting you with anger or malice, there are evil spirits involved.  We are to be swift to hear!  Stop.  With spiritual eyes look at the situation in front of you and use your discernment. 

All of us can be influenced by evil spirits, they are all around us.  So, don’t be surprised if your spouse, your children, a close friend, or even a church member gets riled up and comes after you, with or without a cause.  Because we are children of the Most High, there is a spirit world hell-bent on controlling/affecting us.  Do you think that when Satan left Yeshua after tempting Him that he remained quietly in the background?  No.  The enemy came after Him in the harsh words of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the accusations that His miracles were from Satan, and later, when the very people He came to deliver cried out, ‘Crucify Him!’  I am sure there were thousands of demons influencing the people who attacked Yeshua.  If they came after Him, surely they will come after us.

DON’T REACT.  If you react when you are attacked, you are climbing into a boxing ring with evil spirits.  Guess what?  You won’t win.  Satan’s evil angels are highly intelligent, they have been in existence for thousands of years and they observe everything.  When you retaliate you open yourself up to more demonic attacks.  Plus, you open up your own spirit by taking the challenge to battle and before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’ (an expression in the 1700s used to mean a very short time), you will be pouring out of your own mouth sinful words.  Bite your tongue!

Answering back in anger opens your spirit up to wicked, evil presences that begin to influence you in your body, soul and spirit. 1st Thessalonians 5:23 – Tells us we are sanctified by God in our body, soul and spirit and are to be blameless.  Also, the Word of God tells us:  “Be angry and sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26)

SLOW TO SPEAK.  You have just been attacked in anger, or perhaps mocked; cruel words, soul-crushing words have pierced your heart.  Silently you should pray asking God for discernment.  He may reveal to you what evil spirits are influencing the individual who has just attacked you.  Pray for that person!  God has given you a great gift filled with His love for them, now pray with what God has shown you (in the Spirit). 

Of course, we all cave to the flesh sometimes and sin with our words.  But, when the words are aimed at destroying your spirit, then there is probably a demon behind the attack.  These malicious spirits influence your attacker often because of some ‘stronghold’ that has not been addressed.  There can be spirits of jealousy, anger, frustration, fear, pain, intolerance, a judgmental spirit, an antichrist spirit, even a spirit of Jezebel (very nasty).  Use your spiritual discernment, realize that this is a ‘spiritual’ attack and there is a good possibility the individual attacking is not even aware of what they are doing.  Don’t attempt to placate your own wounded ego with a quick or rash reply, you will only be throwing fuel on the fire.  Be slow to speak, if you speak at all. 

Remember:
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1)
“A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he that is slow to anger quiets contention.”  (Prov. 15:18) 
“A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” (Prov. 29:22)
“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”  (Eccles. 7:9)
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”  (Colossians 3:8)

Be swift to hear – slow to speak.  Remember, when our Lord spoke He was speaking words direct from the Father.  When confronted (attacked) He answered with Kingdom words, living-giving speech. 

Selah.

THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD

THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD


“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13)


In Matthew 24 we find Yeshua again prophesying, giving us signs which foretell the End of the Age.  Our Lord is saying here that iniquity (sin/unrighteousness) shall abound and the love of many will grow cold.  But whose love is He talking about?  Your love?  Your unsaved neighbors?  Your friends?  Actually, He is talking about the Church!  In the End Times the love believers should have for the lost will grow cold!  

There are three Greek definitions for the word love:  agape, phileo and philadelphia.  Briefly, agape is the love that God puts in our hearts for others when we are born-again (His love to be shed abroad to others), phileo is the love we have for a friend or to be very fond of someone, philadelphia is brotherly love (like the love you have for your brother/sister or there may be brotherly love among a group of like-minded individuals).

In the above scripture, Yeshua is talking about agape love.  The love that God has for us and us for Him; that agape being poured out and shed abroad to others when we share the Gospel to a lost world.

Agape, the love which has set apart and adorned the Church for so many years will grow colder, as the time draws near for the Return of Christ.  Agape, the love God gave us when we were born-again, the love we are to share with the lost, will grow cold.  Perhaps we will be so wrapped up in looking at our own situations in a panic-filled world, we will become  detached from the plight of those held in the grip of Satan.  Or perhaps, our sins will separate us from God blinding us to the Great Commission.  Agape love is poured out when we reach others for Christ through personal sacrifice.  Here what Yeshua has said to us: “A new commandment I give you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34, see also John 15:12-13; Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:13 and Ephesians 5:2).  

So what has caused us to lose our agape love?  Lawlessness!  A refusal to obey God and His Word.  We have become the lawless ones, tinkling cymbals, withered branches, with itching ears.  An example of this in Scripture is found in the warning to Ephesus in the Book of Revelation where we see that they left their first agape. They are commanded to repent in Revelation 2:4-5.  When the Church compromises, setting aside God’s standard of righteousness and holiness, no longer adhering to what He tells us to do in His Word, and instead sets up its own standards of righteousness and holiness, then the submissive love we should have toward God and men grows cold.

This coldness, this loss of agape because of an unwillingness to submit to God results in disobedience to God’s Word which births false prophets within the Church.“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).  While a true prophet of the Most High will always uphold God’s law (Deuteronomy 13:3-4; Isaiah 8:19-20; Romans 8:7), a false prophet is willing to compromise with God’s standard of holiness when it suits him.  Those following a false teacher will likewise slide into lawlessness, becoming separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-3).

Perilous times!  As representing the Church of Jesus Christ it is important that we strive not to lose the love, agape, that God has put into our hearts for the lost.  Yeshua warned us that many believers will grow cold in Matthew 24:12-13.  Today, as the pandemic continues to take thousands of lives, how many did not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ because our love (agape) had grown cold.  I believe we will be held accountable, there is a judgement for believers, we will stand before our Lord Jesus and give an accounting.  (Remember the parable of the Talents.)

Selah.  

THE END OF THE CHURCH AGE

THE END OF THE CHURCH AGE


“Keep yourselves in the love of God,

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21)


The Book of Acts gave us the beginning of the Church Age.  The Book of Jude shows us what the end of the church age looks like as we see within it the acts of the apostates.  The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion.

Looking at the condition of the church worldwide we can see that we are well on our way to total apostasy.  This is unique to our era.  In Acts 17:11 we see a reference to what True Believers should look like:  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things be so.”  This is a scripture reference to the Bereans.  Several characteristics of the Bereans should hold true for us if we are Christ-followers.  First, they willingly received the Word of God from Paul and Silas.  Second, they examined what they heard, comparing what was said to Old Testament scriptures.  Third, they protected the Apostle Paul, realizing his importance in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And fourth, they continued to grow in their faith; after Paul left the Bereans, Silas and Timothy remained to shore up the good foundation he had laid.  

“Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth.”(Luke 18:8)

We are told in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 that there will be a falling away first, coming right before the End Times.  We are told not to be deceived.  Second Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”  Saints, the falling away is here, so we need to assume that already seducing spirits and doctrines of devils are within the church.  False doctrines are engineered by demons, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2nd Timothy 4:3).

Believers will have an unwillingness to endure sound doctrine.  Keeping in mind that the false teachers will come from within the church, we need to be on our guard.  They are not led by the Holy Spirit but by their own fleshly lusts.  Behind their preaching and the basis on which they hold office is covetousness.  They will preach on things that will provide something that you carnally consider very desirable for your own well being.  But these liberties that they teach and preach will take you further and further away from the Truth, eventually causing you to deny Christ.    
The Word tells us that before the Return of Christ there will be a Great Falling Away.  The apostasia (defection/revolt) proceeds the End Times.  Saints, we are at the end of the Church Age.  Please, study to show yourself approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.  

Selah.