FOUR DANGERS OF CONTINUING IN SIN

FOUR DANGERS OF CONTINUING IN SIN
Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”
(James 1:15)
In John Bunyan’s book “The Holy War” the town of Mansoul is being attacked by Diabolus and his demons.  The residents of Mansoul have names such as Conscience, Self-Denial, and Do-Right.  The gates of Mansoul are:  Eye-gate, Ear-gate, Mouth-gate, Nose-gate and Feel-gate.  As still happens today, Mansoul fell hard …
John Owen, English Non-conformist church leader, theologian and Academic Administrator at the University of Oxford outlined four dangers that exist when we continue to sin, they are:
THE DANGER OF BECOMING HARDENED – Take heed, use all means, consider your temptations, watch diligently; there is a treachery, a deceit in sin, that tends to the hardening of your hearts from the fear of God.
 
THE DANGER OF DIVINE CORRECTION – Though God should not utterly cast you off for this abomination that lies in your heart, yet He will visit you with a rod; though He pardon and forgive, He will take vengeance on your inventions.
THE DANGER OF DRAINED PEACE AND STRENGTH – It is perhaps but a little while and you shall see the face of God in peace no more.  Perhaps by tomorrow you shall not be able to pray, read, hear or perform any duties with the least cheerfulness, life, or vigor; and possibly you may never see a quiet hour while you live …
THE DANGER OF ETERNAL DESTRUCTION – There is such a connection between a continuance in sin and eternal destruction that though God does resolve to deliver some from a continuance in sin that they may not be destroyed, yet He will deliver none from destruction that continue in sin; so that while anyone lies under an abiding power of sin, the threats of destruction and everlasting separation from God are to be held out to him.
Selah
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TODAY’S CHURCH vs. THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

TODAY’S CHURCH vs. THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH
 
Many of us are dissatisfied with church-as-usual.  Sometimes, we beat ourselves up about this … thinking that we are the problem, that perhaps it is our “flesh” that wants more.  If we are not settled into a church, we find ourselves “church hunting” looking for a church where the Spirit of God is present.  The early church was alive with spirit-filled believers who knowing the risk (of martyrdom) lovingly followed their Savior.  So what did the first century church look like?  And, is there something from back then that we can look for, pray for, or even emulate?
Love One Another – John 15:12.  The first century church was a loving body of believers.  The key word here is: UNCONDITIONAL.  They committed to love and to serve one another.  Today’s church rarely helps those within their congregation with their needs.  They ignore the command found in James 2:15-16:  “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto him, Depart in peace be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?”  (Sadly, many churches instead of lovingly helping the poor within their congregation, will instead, hold seminars on how to budget your money, and charge for those seminars. This is a sin! If you are in a church that has done this …. get out.)  
The Great Commission – Mark 16:15.  The first century church was devoted to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, another word for that is: MISSIONS.  Today’s self-serving church spends your money (really God’s money) on large salaries, expensive buildings, special “fun” entertainment, special “anointed” speakers, and retreats for the rich congregants.  Missions are rarely mentioned or mentioned only on ‘Missions Sunday.’  Perhaps your church as sent the youth on a ‘missions’ trip.  Lost nations around the world do not need our youth to spend one week trying to spread the Gospel; instead send the money that would be spent n airfare to a ministry that supports indigenous pastors!  The average church in the USA will spend only 5 to 10 percent of their budget on missions and the local poor.  Do you know how much your church is spending?
Love Your Enemies – Matthew 5:44.  When Jesus walked the Earth, He was all about ‘His Father’s Business.’  He did not get politically involved with the Jews who were opposing Rome.  The church today in the United States is regarded as a political force.  How did that happen?  We did it!  Instead of clinging to the Cross … we are clinging to the government to solve our issues of free speech and freedom to worship.  Evil will never be conquered with swords, spears and words of hatred but by suffering and LOVE.
Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone – Matthew 4:4.  Today, the average Christian living in the States owns more than one Bible.  Today, no matter how ‘old’ we are in-the- Lord, we flock to Bible Studies and/or listen to Bible Studies over the television, radio or perhaps on the internet.  Today’s church is  continually feeding on ‘milk.’  Hebrews 5:13 “For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” Most believers living in the United States are biblically illiterate.  Why?  Because they do not study the Word for themselves.
Early believers soaked up the Letters from Paul, John, James, etc. like sponges.  Every verse was read, memorized, examined, discussed and THEN PUT INTO ACTION.  Every new convert spent at least three years of their life studying the Word of God.  (This is still put into practice in many of the underground Churches in China and Viet Nam.)  Rigorous communal study and every believer became fluent in Scripture.  Are we rigorously studying the Word of God today and THEN PUTTING WHAT WE READ INTO ACTION? 
 
Selah.

BE NOT PROUD

BE NOT PROUD
Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD has spoken. 
Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and
before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while
ye look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and
make it gross darkness.”  (Jeremiah 13:15-16)
PRIDE perhaps the worst of all sins because from this sin all sin originates.  The new banner of the World Elite is bathed in the Sin of Pride, and its accomplishments, they have lifted themselves up to the Heavens challenging the God of Heaven Earth.  Thanks to artificial intelligence, scientists are now working to develop machines that will sense our emotions to ‘weed out’ (within this demonic atmosphere) any emotion(s) may be brought on by worshiping the one True God. (This is not science fiction as this subject was brought up at the [One World Order] DAVOS Conference this week in Switzerland.)  After all, God is not necessary in a world where PRIDE exists is HE?
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender
and puts forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
so in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass,
know that it is near, even at the door.
Verily I say to you, that this generation shall not pass,
till all these things be done.”
(Mark 13:28)
Today, Paul and I were at a local restaurant for lunch.  The atmosphere was festive, everyone was enjoying the good food, the conversations rose and fell, laughter, good times among friends.  But, suddenly, I felt my spirit fall.  I immediately sought the Lord.  What was it?  After a few minutes, the Holy Spirit guided me, in my now somber mood, to really look at the people seated around us.  Lost.  Conversations had centered around local fishing, golf, yard sales, women chatted as the men at their tables stared at wall-mounted television screens, and the wait staff flew around like Mother birds feeding their young.  It was possible that no one in that restaurant other than myself and Paul …  KNEW THE TRUTH.  I asked Paul to give me some tracts out of his shirt  pocket.  I put a few on the table and one under the napkin-holder, saying a prayer that they would touch a heart.  Still my mood did not lift … was God angry?  No, He was just reminding me in the middle of a restaurant centered on itself on pride of heart and pride of life that I needed to CENTER ON HIM.
“But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep
in secret places for your pride;
and mine eye shall weep sore,
and run down with tears,
because the LORD’s flock has been carried away captive.”
(verse 17)
Even though this was written back in the time of JEREMIAH and Jerusalem would soon be destroyed by the Babylonians … apostasy, idolatry and perverted worship were the rule of the day.
What is the rule of our day?  Has the flock of God been carried away captive?  Beware of PRIDE … this is the strong evil spirit that is now filling the earth.
When pride comes, then comes shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.”
(Proverbs 11:2)
Selah.

JESUS TOLD US TO TRUST HIM

JESUS TOLD US TO TRUST HIM !!
 
Our Lord was telling Peter and His disciples to trust him.  The time was at hand when Jesus would be leaving the world and returning to the Father.  Passover. Supper was over and Judas had just left.
Now, Yeshua turns to His beloved followers and gives them these incredible words of assurance and comfort:
“Do not let your hearts be distressed or agitated.  You believe, adhere, trust and rely on God: believe, adhere, trust and rely on Me. 
 
In My Father’s house there are many homes.  If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. 
 
To the place where I am going you know the way.  Jesus then said … I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (Amplified Bible)
Are you experiencing anxiety, sorrow or pain?  Then you are distressed of heart.  Yeshua was making it clear to His disciples that this anxiety, sorry and/or pain that they might experience would come from being separated from Him (God.)
Agitated?  Feeling troubled or nervous?  Again, Jesus told us He would not leave us Comfortless (you have the Spirit of God living within you)!  Perhaps you are looking at the things coming upon the Earth instead of focusing on the things coming down from Heaven.
Our Lord made it clear … TRUST HIM!  Nothing happens to us that He is not completely aware of and is working out on our behalf — all things work together for good.  He has everything under His authority, power and control.
 
Re-reading the blessed words above of our Savior — we see that Yeshua is telling us Trust Him as we Trust His Father.  And …  joy upon joy, He is speaking to us, from first-hand knowledge, telling us that Heaven is a large place (many mansions).   And, wonder upon wonder, He was telling His disciples that He was returning to Heaven to personally supervise the preparation for His Bride’s Return.
“If I go to prepare a place for you I will come again,
and receive you unto Myself.” (John 14:3)
 
And, by the way, saints, this is the first mention in scripture of the Rapture.  Jesus said it … I will come again!  He is Coming … get ready!
 
Selah.

 

SEPARATION

SEPARATION
Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship has Righteousness with unrighteousness?”
(2nd Corinthians 6:14)
There are two fellowships in the world, and only two; all men or women belong to either one class or the other; no one can belong to both and claim to be a Christian, one is with the world, and one is with the Lord.
“… for what fellowship has Righteousness with unrighteousness?”
NONE !!
And what communion has light with darkness?”
NONE !!
Satan is sneaky.  It may be that a ‘believer’ is involved in some unrighteous act and will approach you with a ‘reward’ that they obtained from that unrighteous act.  What you don’t want to do is think in your heart that since they committed the sin that it won’t affect your walk.  It will.
Or … and this is a hard one for some of us, emotionally.  Your brother and or sister- in- Christ is in sin.  But, they continue to come over to visit, or call, they want to hang out because then they feel they are “OK.”   Obviously, they do not feel any pangs of remorse for their sin, they don’t have a repentant heart.  Do you just grin and bear it?
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Scripture teaches separation, but not isolation.  “But rather reprove them.”  Speak out boldly and forcibly against the sin.  Make it clear that you love them but cannot tolerate having ‘sin’ under your roof or give ‘approval’ by being around it.
Sound harsh ??  Well, looking at this from various levels, we can say that a little leaven leavens the whole lump; which means if you allow the sin around you it could rub off on saved or unsaved family members.  Perhaps you may find yourself hiding your lamp under a basket instead of putting it on the lampstand where it belongs. (Luke 11:33)  Recalling what we said at first, Satan is sneaky, your own walk can be affected because if we give the enemy an inch, he will take a mile.  Temptations will follow the more we have contact with sin, even if we are not participating ourselves.
When you separate out you are showing the believer who has sinned that you [like God] will not tolerate unrighteousness (this is merciful) as the sinning saint will hopefully be convicted and turn.
But perhaps the most dis-honoring effect to not separating out from the sinner is the ‘witness‘ it gives to those who are not born-again.  Today, the unregenerate sees Christians tolerating ‘sin’ among themselves and with the unbelievers.  So, obviously, sin isn’t that big a deal.  If you are not “separated out” when you witness to someone about Jesus, His Death, His Resurrection, His Authority, Heaven, Hell … what Jesus are you presenting to them?  Yes, Jesus loved sinners — but — as He said to the woman at the well, “Go and sin no more!”
I can’t imagine hanging out with a Christian believer who is in sin and is unrepentant.  How can you look them in the eye and not say anything knowing that they have been taken captive by the enemy and are doomed if they do not repent.  That is cruel, and if you don’t see it, your heart has been hardened.
Selah.

STONY HEARTS

STONY HEARTS
 
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it;
and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
(Luke 17:33)
 
There is no doubt to the astute believer that there is a war going on within him or her.  A battle between our flesh and our NEW born-again spirit.  Sometimes, we are so irritated, aggravated and just plain mad, there is no peace, and we find ourselves at a loss as to why that is … after all we are children of God.  Right?
The battle within us is raging.  What is your stony heart showing you?
That other things (things of the world) are sweeter to you than the things of Heaven?  That you have not yet attained full mastery or knowledge of the “freedom” available to you through Christ?  Perhaps you have not thought about or meditated on the power of God within you to change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh?  You have not thought about or meditated on your position — your sonship — that the God of Heaven and Earth is standing ready to bless you with all spiritual blessings, sweet grace, provide for all your needs, forgive you and continue to love you even though you continually seem to ‘mess up’!  Perhaps, you need to repent … of that stony [hard] heart.
Knowing that God is faithful and always ready to assist us through the Blessed Holy Spirit living within us, we should take these trials when our stony heart is rising up and give them to Him.  Turn your trials into obedience — humble yourselves under the Mighty Hand of God.  By putting ourselves under His Care — our stony hearts will be softened — turning from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.
So, next time you feel your flesh rising up within you … give the problem to God.  Humble yourselves.  He is able!
Selah.

THE BLESSEDNESS OF SERVICE

THE BLESSEDNESS OF SERVICE
Whom they set before the apostles:
and when they had prayed, they laid
their hands on them.”  (Acts 6:6)
As believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ we should be seeking God everyday for opportunities to serve.  Service can be a small opportunity God has put in our paths to show His love … or it can be something large that requires lots of time, effort and prayer.   In either case, the Lord looks upon our service to Him as an act of love both for Him and for others.
 
Acts, Chapter 6 — the Greek-speaking believers were upset because they felt that the widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of relief, so they went to the Apostles.  After some discussion, the Apostles agreed that it was not a good idea for them to be in service to the widows because they had other duties that required their attention, such as preaching the Gospel.  So they told the Greek Christians to select brethren:  of good character and reputation who  were full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.  Seven men were selected, among them Stephen. The Apostles then spent time in prayer before laying hands on them sending them into service for God. 
 
Duties of service should not to be taken lightly.  Pastors and those in leadership should consult their elders and spend much time in prayer before selecting men and/or women to carry out duties within an assembly.  Many an individual has been chosen without consulting wise counsel, without prayer, and without the leading of the Holy Spirit, in which case, access to the enemy has been given and the results can be damaging to the Body of Christ.
Likewise, if you are selected for service, you should not accept unless you fully realize the gravity behind this calling; all work for the Lord should be viewed as precious and important.  “With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Ephesians 6:7)
You call Me the Teacher (Master) and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet you ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you this as an example.  I assure you, most solemnly I tell you.  A servant is not above his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed and happy are you if you practice them.”  (John 13:13-17)
Selah.