A Prodigal or a Whiner… What’s worse?

Parable of the Prodigal Son - Wikipedia

Luke 15:11-14 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

The parable of the prodigal son is perhaps one of the most well-know New Testament parables. Because of its prominence, there is a glut of teaching on this passage in Luke 15:11-32; much of the teaching misses the point. We ought to tire of the error prone and wildly overdone teaching, on God being a doting father, waiting like a lonely puppy for his returning master. Make no mistake, this is a wrong and dominant theme.

It is true that the LORD our God is love and in Him being love He express a desire to redeem the lost, into His Kingdom, as children, but that narrative does not follow the popular teaching of this parable.

Consider for a moment that the younger son demanded his inheritance, when he had no right to do so. In the first place, the older son would inherit the entirety of his father’s inheritance in the Jewish religious culture of the day, and that the older son would then divide it up as he saw necessary. Secondly, remember that an inheritance was only given upon the death of the father.

In demanding the portion of, “the goods that would fall to me”, the son was indeed telling his father, “You are dead to me”, which is to curse his father. In the culture and time of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as in much of the world, even today, this would be an insult upon the very order of the society. In Israel, during the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, this would have brought about the necessary execution of the younger son, per the law of God

(Leviticus 20:9) For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.

(Deuteronomy 21:18-21) “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

Considering this truth, it is important to understand the disposition of the father toward his son. When he declares that his son was dead, but now he lives, he says that his son was dead to him, as soon as his son demanded an inheritance. Therefore, we do not see the father sending his other son to check up on the prodigal or to bring more provision to the prodigal. The father literally had no idea where his son was, nor did he try to find out, because his son was dead to him.

Therefore, the father was not pining away looking into the distance for endless hours to see if perchance his son would come to his senses. The reason he ran to his son and put his coat on him and his own ring, was for the purpose of protecting the returning sinner before the community saw him and killed him for breaking the law of God so egregiously.

The father would be the only one to accuse him and to declare him repentant and therefore the coat and the ring would reveal that repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Make no mistake about it, if the son would have returned unrepentant, he would have been stoned to death. Yes, the Father does reveal God’s love, merciful kindness, and grace to those who repent.

That said, the parable reveals characteristics that have potential in any person, lost or saved, but for the saved, these characteristics are especially problematic.

THE PRODIGAL SON

For the prodigal son, we see a young man, who does not really understand the blessing of God’s Fatherhood. Often, Christians do not either. Romans 8:14-17 reveals the blessing of being children of God through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God, and we have not received the spirit of bondage again, unto to fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry ‘Abba Father’”. In this we experience the present reality of salvation, God with us, by the Holy Spirit.

To the prodigal, being with his father was of no value. What he saw as blessing was the ability to have and do what he wanted, when he wanted. This to most of the world is the error prone definition of freedom. Note that the prodigal did not make any effort, which afforded him the provision to be independent in this manner, he needed his father’s wealth. As he speaks to his father, we can hear the wicked sense of entitlement saturating his words “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me” (Luke 15:12).

For Christians in America, this false mentality has been injected into every area of our cultural and religious practice. We even have seminars on how we can gain financial freedom and be independently wealthy enough to survive what is coming. To many Christians, the accumulation of money and goods is seen as the blessing of God. This would be a huge error in thinking, for the word of God does not bear it out.

The prodigal illustrates a Christian practice that gives lip service to morality and righteousness, treating God as a genie existing to make sure we have what we want. In this false form of faith, God exists to give us our best life now, which is not determined by biblical truth, but our own whims and wishes.

THE WHINNING BROTHER

When dealing with the second brother, we see an entirely different angle on how to miss the blessing of God our Father, being with us to lead, guide, and provide what is needed. Upon the prodigal’s return, the older brother was embittered and angry, and spoke two huge falsehoods.

In the first place, when questioned by his father, concerning his poor response to his brother’s return, the older son declared his father was throwing a party for someone who devoured his father’s livelihood with harlots (Luke 15:30). This is false, for the father gave the younger son, what was a fair allotment (should it have been done appropriately after he had died). Therefore, it was freely given, no longer belonging to the father and in the hands of the prodigal to do with as he chose.

Secondly, and related to this fact, the eldest son declares that his father had not even given him a little young goat to roast with his friends. This is patently false. To understand why, we must go back to the beginning of the parable.

Luke 15:11-12 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.

Here we see that the father, at that time, divided his entire inheritance to his sons, meaning the second son owned all the remaining livelihood the father possessed. The father says as much to the older son, explaining why the oldest son was wrong.

Luke 15:31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

Whether the older son understood what his father dividing the inheritance to “them” meant or not, is not the point. The point is, he could have done whatever he wanted to do with the remaining portion, even blow it in prodigal living like his brother. Could the eldest son have killed the fatted calf for himself and his friends? Surely, he could have, but he chose not to, or was living in a false mindset.

This false mindset is not far off, from what passes as an appropriate self-righteousness in many Christians and is another side of the coin of the prosperity gospel. In this form, there is a concern for righteousness and morality, in so far as they are recognized and rewarded. Consider how the older son, declared how terrible his brother’s sin and behavior was, before contrasting it with his own “impeccable” credentials.

Luke 15:28-30 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore, his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

In his response, the older son believes that his good behavior ought to have merited a better outcome, but what could the father give more of? He already gave the son all he had. This improper attitude is often displayed by good intentioned and well-meaning people of faith. When thinking of Job’s experience we see a man, who believed he was being unjustly punished by God, because he was a relatively good man. In Abraham’s life we see this trait as well.

Genesis 15:1-3 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”  Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

By all accounts Abraham was loaded. Yet, based on God’s promise to him and not understanding that God fulfills His promise when He determines they be fulfilled, without asking our opinion, Abraham ignores the imminent and all the time blessing of God being with us to protect, provide and related to us.

God says to all of us “I am your Shield, your exceedingly great reward”, or more simply state “I AM YOUR BLESSING”. Therefore, Paul could be content with much or little, abounding and favored or being abased and run over. This is what the oldest son in the parable of the prodigal missed. Listen to the father’s heart.

Luke 15:31“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.

In the second son, we see a man who tries to be good, moral and right, but expects public affirmation and reward for that. This is prosperity gospel, and it is far too prevalent in the church around the world, especially in America. The problem with the eldest son arises from the same wrong root in the younger prodigal brother.

Psalms 37:3-4 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Neither son trusted the father, even though he gave them no reason to trust. We know this, for the first son demanded his inheritance and the second son questioned his father’s benevolence. Can we not fall to the same sinful and faulty thinking?

Secondly, they did not feed on the good and loving character of their father but were only concerned with having more of what they wanted. Have you ever known a time where you questioned God’s faithfulness for not getting what you desired and prayed for, or believing Him to be withholding some blessing you believe you deserve?

Of course, we have. The degree to which we overcome these errors in relation to our faith is the degree to which we will have contentment with our Father being with us, by the Holy Spirit. The only real antidote is to “Delight ourselves in the LORD”. When we do that, our desires change to mirror His love, joy, peace, mercy, and compassion.

This was the problem for both sons, let it not be ours. Refuse to be prodigal. Refuse to be a whining complaining Christian, that missed the blessing of God.

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Any Given Second, Minute, Hour or Any Given Day

There are 86,400 seconds in a day—there are 1440 minutes in a day—there are 24 hours in a day—there are 365 days in a year. In any of those seconds, minutes, hours or days, there are Christians around the world suffering real existential persecution against them as they hold to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was reminded of this, while walking in my neighborhood, reading the word of God, and praying. As I walked, I was reminded that it was night in North Korea, where thousands of Christians live in constant threat of imprisonment, torture, or death, for being a follower of Jesus Christ.

I pondered the inhumane conditions our North Korean brethren live in, in concentration camps, where they starve to death and have repeated torturous and abominable experiments performed upon them. These circumstances never let up or abate and no matter what time of day it is, our brethren in this country need prayer. Therefore, I prayed for them, hopefully with wisdom from God’s Spirit (James 1:1-5).

This state of persecution is true of Christians in Iran, where being baptized into Christ, for a Muslim, means life in prison. Should that person not recant their faith, they will be executed for their faith. These conditions for our Iranian Christian brethren are consistent and forcefully executed.

Controversial Anti-Conversion Law Introduced in Haryana, India -  International Christian Concern

As we sleep, eat, read the Bible, and recreate ourselves, Christians in India face a rising and powerful persecution against them economically, socially, and religiously, where their lives and families are at risk daily. This is true of Christians in Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and most middle eastern countries—it is true of our brethren in China, most countries in southeast Asia, Mexico, Eritrea, Nigeria, Mali, most of the African continent, and even Israel.

For most Americans, the plight of our persecuted brethren is either hidden or drowned out, by our lack of perspective and ignorance of the doctrine of Christian suffering. American Christians, in general believe that God will rapture His church before it suffers. This is a tremendously damaging error influencing the church in the U. S.

The reason is that scripture is clear that anyone living godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12). This truth lines up with Christ’s own words in John 15:18-6:3 and John 16:33.

The error is compounded by a lack of understanding concerning what persecution is. For Christians in America, being lumped into political conservatism, the difficulty faced is not persecution, but rising limitations politically. It is true, this trouble will eventually lead to outright persecution of those who follow Christ, but that is not yet the norm and consistent standard. Christians in America have not yet suffered legal persecution as the rule.

Although we lack this understanding in practice, that should not hinder us following the word of God, when it deals with our Christian brethren around the world suffering for the faith. In fact, our walking in real empathy and compassion for them, is essential for their standing for Christ. It is also essential in us eventually walking out our faith, in the persecution coming to this nation.

Hebrews 13:1-3  Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

We are to be informed concerning the plight of persecuted Christians, remembering their chains. We empathize with them so that we may eventually feel as though we are chained with them. This is a discipline we need to grow in. How?

We need to place ourselves inside their suffering, thinking on them to the degree that we understand their fears, anxieties, and weaknesses. This takes a person who denies themselves the normal unthought-out practices of life.

Luke 9:23-26 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels

This self-denial spoken of by the Lord Jesus Christ may mean we literally die on his behalf. Yet, if it is not first experienced in us denying the ease and comfort we seek without thought and which are readily available to Christians in America, we will never be able to stand in the day of our trial.

The more we walk and behave without thought, the harder it is to even focus on hearing the testimonies of the persecuted, because they seem almost like bad fairytales. I assure you, the plight of the persecuted is no make-believe scenario.

Only when we step inside the life and testimony of the persecuted, can we truly pray for them. If we fail to do this now, when our time of tribulation is fully come, we will have no reservoir of experience, in the Spirit, to aid us in walking through the persecution against us.

May God lead us to recognize throughout the day, the plight of our persecuted brethren, that we may learn to pray for them and grow a foundation of faith and thankfulness towards our God and Father.

For testimonies on the persecuted church worldwide visit the Voice of the Martyrs website www.persecution.com and sign up for their email icommit to prayer weekly newsletter.

The Voice of Martyrs | The Mission WMCA - New York, NY

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IS IT POSSIBLE TO LIMIT GOD?

Ephesians 4:30 (NKJV) -
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The title implies a ridiculous question to many in the realm of western Christianity. To suggest that God can be limited, to many Christians, would mean God is not Almighty. This kind of thinking is not unbiblical, but totally unnecessary.

Throughout biblical history, God has chosen to work independent of man, and for much of salvation history, through man. In fact, man’s choice to believe God is that which moves God to consider a person righteous (Genesis 15:16; Habakkuk 2:2-4; Romans 1:17). We can consider Moses and how the Lord worked through Him, even in the most practical way.

In Exodus 17, the Israelites are sent into battle against the Amalekites. While Moses has the staff of the LORD extended over Israel on the battlefield, Israel would advance toward winning the battle. When his arms would drop, Israel would lose ground to their enemies exponentially. In a wonderful move of faith and collaboration, we read that Aaron and Hur gave Moses a stone to sit upon and they held his arms extended until sunset. The result, as God worked through them, was Israel winning the battle against a much great and superior force.

This theme of God working through men and being limited by men, continues throughout the Old Testament, with the nation of Israel and is clearly stated in Psalm 78:40-42.

 Psalms 78:40-42 40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy

It is true that God is all powerful and limitless, but because He chooses to work through humanity, by faith, when the faith of that humanity is faulty and unbelieving, it can and does limit His will and plan from moving forward, for a time, to a certain degree.

This is not only an Old Testament phenomenon. Remember that where there was little or no faith, in the Lord Jesus Christ, He could not do many miracles (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5). In addition, we find the church can be a limiting factor to what the Holy One of Israel desires to do in a particular area or time.

1 Corinthians 10:6-13 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Christians who commit sexual immorality, tempt Christ, and complain in a fashion like Israel, can and do limit what the Lord desires to do, for a time. It is important to see these violations, as violations of faith in God’s word, Person, and plan. The word unbelief is the action in us which limits the work of God. Consider Romans Chapter 11.

Romans 11:19-22 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

To be cut off means to fall away into judgment. This is made clear by what the Lord Jesus Christ declares in John 15:1-3 where He declares “Every branch in me that bares fruit will be pruned and every branch in Me, that does not bear fruit will be cut off and cast into the fire”.

Unbelief, therefore, is the key factor which limits the Holy one of Israel and it is a potential big problem for the Christian. This is because unbelief is not to declare that Jesus Christ is not the son of God, but to declare He is your Lord and Savior, but to act contrary to that profession. Consider the book of Hebrews which uses Israel as an example of those who declared we will follow YHWH, but who would not obey Him.

Hebrews 3:7-15 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

 “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. 10Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ 11so I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest.'”

 12Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:

“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Let us remember that this passage declares “Beware, Brethren, lest there be in any of you and evil heart of unbelief in departing the Living God”.

To be cut off, or having an evil heart of unbelief, is to limit the work of God in the individual, the church, and the world. So let us be determined to not be a factor of limiting the power of God in our sphere of influence. Let us revisit Psalm 78:40-42 to understand how to be a conduit of God’s limitless will.

Psalms 78:40-42 40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy

In this passage we see four descriptive words which arise from their lack of faith in what the LORD had done for them in the past. “They did not remember His power: the day when He redeemed them from the enemy. This is unbelief for the whole time, they professed they believed God, but forgot what He had done, when the going got tough.

This is egregious for us as well, but in our Christian culture, we make excuses for not trusting God alone, for what He has promised and what He has done for us in the past. Now for some, who believe faith  only to believe for salvation, they have little built up testimony of what the Lord has done in their life.

When we walk in unbelief, we provoke, grieve, tempt and limit the LORD, not only in our life, but also in our fellowship and the communities of lost men, we live in.

This passage greatly convicts me, and ought to greatly convict all of us. The Church in America is largely based on individual profession of salvation, but salvation is not about a ticket to heaven, it is the powerful transformation of the entire man, by the power of God filling and working through our humanity.

When the Son of Man comes, will He find us faithful and believing of His power still, or simply hanging on till He arrives? The choice is ours, for not everyone who declares to Christ “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of His Father (Matthew 7:21-23).

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OCCUPIED BY CHRIST! We Better BE! Part II

MY HEART – CHRIST'S THRONE – 1 Peter 3:15 » Bethany Bible Church

In my last post we looked began to into the nature and origin of demons. This began with the Lord Jesus explaining what occurs when a demon is cast out of a person. We began with Matthew 12:43-45 43 and ended discussing why they wander through “dry places” as described in Matthew 12:43.

We discovered the answer to that question comes from the word of God and Jewish history, particularly second temple period history, when Israel retuned to the land after 70 year of exile in Babylon. Those returning were fed up with the pagan ways of the land their sin had brought them to live in and they were committed to reformation and revival.

This began with a proper understand of the spiritual realm, particularly the powers of darkness, which had been glossed over in the nations apostacy prior to their exile. Therefore, they first returned to the law of God and the prophets, to understand where they went wrong and follow the Lord in commitment.

This leads to their understanding of where demons came from, beginning with Genesis 6.

Genesis 6:1-2 1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

Genesis 6:4-5 4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

In this passage we discover that demons had their beginning, in the abominable union of angels and human woman. These abominable sexual unions produced “giants”; the Hebrew word for which is “Nephilim”.

These hybrid abominations were as much as twice the height of men, also having 6 fingers and 6 toes on both hands and feet (II Samuel 21:20; I Chronicles 20:6) and were vicious and wicked.

Interestingly, most ancient cultures account for these abominations existing prior to their own accounts of the Noahic flood.

It was the flood that killed the Nephilim and as it is reported in the second temple period writings, that upon death, these hybrid creatures’ spirits, were dislodged from their physical frame.

As we discussed in part 1 of this series, demons are not fallen angels. (to read part 1 click this link OCCUPIED BY CHRIST! We Better BE! | Return, Revive, Repair, Restore (4rs4thechurch.com)

The disembodied spirits of the Nephilim have three places to be, until the final judgment [1] Influencing a human for the purpose of possibly inhabiting them [2] roaming through dry places looking for a host [3] to be cast into the abyss.

Because of these three reasons it is important we understand the te importance of the abyss.

Biblically speaking the “abyss” is the bottomless pit, a temporary place of holding for demons, until Revelation 9, when a fallen angel, who has the key to the bottomless pit opens it.

From this event, the king over demons, “Abaddon” or “Apollyon”, leads them out for a time. It is for this reason demons do not want to go to the Abyss, because it is a reminder of their forever torment when Christ returns.

In Luke 8:31, we read one of three accounts of the demon horde “Legion”, which gives us more clarity concerning the desire of demons to be anywhere other than the abyss.

In this account the demon begs the Lord Jesus to allow them to go into a herd of pigs, rather than Christ sending them into the abyss. The Lord permits the transfer into the pigs, who then run off a cliff into the Sea of Galilee.

Here we see why demons wander through dry places. In the first place, water reminds them of the flood and God who will one day end them forever. Secondly, in second temple period history, water covers the abyss.

You may ask why this is important to us? Because a delivered person can come under the influence of demons again, should they not be occupied, by the right person.

Matthew 12:43-45 43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

“Seeking rest” and finding none “I will return to my house…”.

In the first place the demon’s statement is a lie. Even in those completely demonized, what we called “possession”, the demon has not legal right to be there. It is for this reason, the Lord Jesus Christ, and all followers of Christ, in His name, can dislodged a demon from a person who never asks for deliverance.

Demons are squatters, hiding out until one comes who is equipped to cast them out. They never really possess a person, but that the person gives themselves over to the demon’s influence, through rage, sexual immorality, violence, using drug (pharmakia), excessive lying or other perversions.

Sadly, some people, especially children who are demonized, come to be so by experiencing entracted physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

To be demonized means the degree to which a person is under demonic influence. This could be little or a lot, but in any case, a little is just as dangerous. This is why we need to learn how to overcome temptation, in the power of God’s Spirit.

James 1:12-15 reveals the nature of temptation. We understand it arises from some thread in us that can be pulled, but that pull comes from the world, through the flesh and it is the devil’s plan. Much temptation comes through demonic suggestion. When we fall to temptation, we are giving in to influence from the darkness.

Since any Christian can fall to temptation and into sin, we must understand the pathway to overcoming and occupation of ourselves, by Christ.

And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order”.

To be swept and clean, means that a person has adjusted their moral and practical life, after finding deliverance. This of course is a good thing, and a good start, but incomplete, if that is where it remains.

Swept and clean can be seen in the deliverance of the Gadarenes demoniac, of whom it is written that the people of his region found him “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid”.

It would be what this man did afterward, which would bring Him to safety in Christ, or at risk of re-occupation by more demons than at first. It is imperative to remember that Christ told him, to return to the cities in the region and glorify God. It is in obedience to God, that we are experiencing the growing of the earnest of the Spirit. In fact, scripture indicates obedience brings the amplification of our faith, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:21-23 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Believing Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins, is awesome, but not is not the end all be all of salvation. In this life we are to be transformed, by the Spirit of God, as we have been given a deposit, an earnest of the Spirit.

An earnest ,in banking terms, is to grow the deposit until the entire house is possessed by the one making payments (Ephesians 1:13-14). In the case of salvation, that owner/occupier is to be Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

He must be Lord of our life occupying our heart as His throne. Not as the resident, but as the president, executing God’s will, through our obedient faith.

Jesus words in Matthew 12:43-35, were not to lost people, but to His disciples, so the are a warning and admonition.

Peter in his second letter, addresses those Christians who are at risk, by only being swept and cleaned, but not occupied by Christ, as Lord, in all His fullness.

2 Peter 2:20-21 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Of course, this passage is dealing with those who have fallen away, and it brings to remembrance what is revealed concerning the condition of the one who is “swept and put in order”, but not occupied; that their last state is worse than their lostness prior to knowing Christ.

This is very important because without Christ being both our Savior, and our Lord, all we are is swept and ordered, with the Holy Spirit with us, as a resident, but not occupying us as Lord. This is an inviting position for the demons that traffic around our lives.

In America there are too many “Christians” who are swept and ordered, according to the culturally Christianity, but not being continuously filled, as we are called to be in Ephesians 5:18-19. This essential aspect of our relationship to God, is the power of our ministry and godliness. In this aspect we are not to be passive but active in pursuit of His fullness of Spirit

It is for this reason the church in America is falling away, fooled, as characterized by II Timothy 3:1-5.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

So let us press in to being filled with the Spirit of God, where Christ dwells in our hearts, by faith, as the ruling Lord of His own abode. It is the Christian, who pursues obeying Christ’s commands, that is filled with the righteous power of Christ’s fullness (Matthew 5:6; Acts 5:32).

May we be swept and put in order, but may Christ fill our life, as His abode with the Father, fully.

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OCCUPIED BY CHRIST! We Better BE!

Matthew 12:43-45 43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

The character and nature of demons has long been of interest to followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we read of Christ and the disciples encountering people who are possessed and afflicted with illness, from demonic influence. This activity continues in the book of Acts, where Paul encounters demonic activity, as He ministers the gospel (Acts 16:16-34, Acts 19:11-20).

We understand that demons also can influence false teaching through “doctrines of demons” (I Timothy 4:1-3).

In the last days, before Christ’s return, within Babylon (the capitol city/nation of the one world government under Antichrist), we find that demons and the perversions arising from demon activity, will proliferate.

Revelation 18:2-3 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!

As to the makeup and nature of demons, we understand them to be noncorporal, or without a physical frame. Demons were not always noncorporal, but before we discuss their very real physical origins, it is important to dismiss a popular error concerning demons; that they are fallen angels.

Angels, whether they fell from God or not, will always be angels, without a change in their makeup. The word most often used for angels in the New Testament is “angelos” meaning angel or “a messenger” sent by God. Concerning the first estate of angels, they were created to serve God without question and minister to God’s redeemed, in both testaments. We get the idea that Satan, although a created angelic being, is of a higher class of angel referred to as the cherubim.

Of great import to our discussion is that Jesus never referred to angels, including those fallen from God, as demons. The word “demon” from an entirely different Greek word daimonion. Interestingly, when the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking about those who choose not to follow Him in faith, He declares they will wind up in “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Once more the word angel is the plural for of the Greek word “angelos”.

Another phrase associated with demonic activity is “akathartos pneuma” or “unclean spirit”. In this phrase, we understand the noncorporeal nature of the demon, which is a difference from angels, who can manifest a physical frame as physical yours and mine. Consider the angels which God dispatched to save Lot and his family from Sodom, both exhibiting a physical

So physical were these angels, that the wicked men of Sodom desired to rape them. This of course lends further credence to the truth that the “sons for God” from Genesis 6:1-4, were in fact fallen angels, which had intercourse with human woman, producing the awful abominations, that were the Nephilim. Remember that Jude links both events together.

Jude 1:6-7 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

How does all this relate to demons and where they have come from?

Well, demons are a result of the flood. The Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and woman, were killed in the flood. These being were abominable hybrids. When the died in the flood, there was no place for their spirits to go, therefore they wander the earth, until final judgment, disembodied, looking to experience what they once had, in their wicked and perverse material life.

Why is this important? As we progress further towards the one world government and religion of Antichrist, we will see a super abundant rise in demonic activity and the perversions, accompanied with that activity, especially in whatever nation the seat of Babylon exists.

Let’s dig into Matthew 12:34-45 for the purpose of understanding the makeup an nature of demons and how they became wandering noncorporeal beings.

Matthew 12:43-45 43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Why do demons go through dry places? There is a very solid biblical and historical reason for this from the period after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. This time frame is referred to as the second temple period.

After Jerusalem was destroyed and the people led away captive, there was nothing but degradation for 70 years. Upon return the temple had to be complete rebuilt, down to laying a new foundation. The city also needed to be rebuilt, including out to the wall. The faith of Israel also needed to be re-founded in the torah, or first five books of the Old Testament.

The reason for this is that from their entrance into the promised land, the first time, the religion of the YHWH had become corrupted and synergized, by the leaders of Israel, with false deity worship, fueled by demonic activity. Ezekiel 7 and 8 reveals this tragedy.

Ezekiel 7:1-4 1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel:

An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.
3 Now the end has come upon you,
And I will send My anger against you;
I will judge you according to your ways,
And I will repay you for all your abominations.
4 My eye will not spare you,
Nor will I have pity;
But I will repay your ways,
And your abominations will be in your midst;
Then you shall know that I am the LORD!’

The word “abomination” defines anything which marries the holy and the profane or mixes that which does not belong together. In this case it was the demonically fueled religions of Canaan with that or the worship of the One True God. Consider what Ezekiel sees in chapter 8, around and in the Temple of the God of Israel.
• At the North Temple Gate an idol of Baal provoking YHWH to jealousy.
• Inside the Temple itself the elders of Israel worshipping any an all idols they could get their hands on.
• In the north portion of the Temple grounds woman weeping for Tammuz; false Babylonian son of god.
• Between the porch and the alter were 25 men worshipping toward the rising sun. This is the worship of the father of Tammuz, Nimrod, who became the sun god, after his death.
• The woman of this period in Jeremiah 44 reveals their devotion to the queen of heaven, Semiramis, wife of Nimrod and mother of Tammuz.

It is for this reason that the second temple period becomes so important to understanding demons. The Jews were taken captive for the purpose of punishing their national sin and to recover and refine their faith. As we have seen, their faith diminished because they cozied up to the profane, succumbing to the  dark powers fueling the false religions of the Canaanites around them … demons under the authority of Satan.

Therefore, in the second temple period they re-founded their faith in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), especially Genesis, which reveals the Genesis of the noncorporal nature of demons. But that is for next time.

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False Flags and a Tipping Point

Ayala: Biden's speech was intentional, unequivocal, urgent and long in  coming

We live in very interesting and unsettling times. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we see the sign of the times and should have enthusiastic hope that Christ’s return is nearer than when we first believed.

This same hope also comes with a sobriety, that in the time preceding Christ’s return, the world experiences perilous natural disasters, with greater intensity and consistency. In this environment, the world, and the devil, attack Christ’s church with all the ammunition they have at their disposal (Matthew 24:4-14).

In these very interesting and unsettling times, it seems the governments of the world are moving closer toward one world unity. This of course is the foundation of Antichrist’s final Babylon against the LORD and His Christ (Psalm 2). Interestingly, through the sham pandemic that Covid-19 is, other global events, such as the war in Ukraine, it seems like the world system is wrapping its totalitarian coil around all people.

When a python seeks to kill its prey through crushing it, for the purpose of swallowing it whole, it behaves in a particular way. First, the python wraps itself around the victim, which causes its prey to struggle to get free. This process speeds up the breathing of the victim, as the snake brings hundreds of pounds of pressure upon the body. After a while, the snake releases some tension, which causes the victim to feel that it is time to escape or that the python is losing interest and danger is abating. This is of course a mistake, by the prey. In their effort to get free, they allow the python to wrap further around them giving them a better grip to kill them. This may occur several times, until the python squeezes them to death, crushing ever vital organs.

Since the planned Covid outbreak began, I have noticed that we have faced pressure, through events which elevate fear and give people one choice: obey your government or else. These events can feel like crushing external forces, which squeeze the reason out of people, world over. When those in power begin to feel struggle against the machinated events, they squeeze a little more, then release for a season. This causes people to relax thinking the danger is over. What is really happening is that in the return to a more comfortable spot, for a season, we fail to see the leaders are moving to coil around us more, like a python.

We see this in America, very clearly. Gas prices were rocketing higher and higher because our president made them rocket higher and higher, under the guise of the false flag of global warming.

A false flag is a political or military act, orchestrated in such a way, that it appears to have been carried out by a party that is not, in fact, responsible. With the global warming nonsense, we see fossil fuel being blamed for a fake existential threat against the planet. Therefore, we need to stop using oil and gas, so they say.

The real reason for the green push is to control population with electric cars normal people will not be able to afford, which need an infrastructure of electricity that the government will never be able to provide. Hence, a false flag.

Remember, people that cannot move about freely are easier to control and round up for “re-education” if they refuse the benevolence of their dictators.

When the U.S. president saw Americans had enough of high gas prices, they magically went down, so that we could drive to ball games, personal fitness establishments, concerts, and movies theaters; but for only 2 months. Yet, at the beginning of September 2022, we were warned again about another threat to democracy and greater threat than that of global warming… Make America Great Again republicans.

In a carefully crafted speech and background environment, where red lighting was used to set an ominous cinema scape, the president spoke with two ceremonially dressed marines behind him. During his speech, he warned Americans that MAGA republicans, led by former president Trump, would stop at nothing to win back the presidency, using violence and insurrection to do so. This false flag threat was spoken several times, without so much as one report of actual intelligence on any planned attack. Eventually the president will follow through on his threat to put down those who would be mislabeled domestic terrorists.

Being mindful that many Donald Trump supporters are lawful and law-abiding gun owners, Christians or both, ought to raise any follower of Christ’s sobriety concerning the time of the midterm elections.

Just recently, a pro-life activist, Mark Houck, was arrested at his home and in front of his wife and children, by a team of 20 FBI agents, on bogus charges. Five of these agents with guns drawn, demanded Houck exit the home. Houck is charged with violation of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance Act. Not because he blocked an entrance to an abortion clinic, but because a belligerent abortion clinic worker, got too close to his son and Houck pushed the man away from his son.

Interestingly, the clinic worker’s case against Houck was thrown out of the Philadelphia District Court, in the summer, yet picked up by the US attorney general. This same Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, has also instructed the FBI to investigate parents who speak out against LGBTQ and Covid measures, when at school board meetings. In the false flag scenario, they are just as bad as MAGA supporters, even being categorized as domestic terrorists.

Why is this important to those who follow Jesus Christ? Because the ultimate end of these false flags is to gain control over the nations of the world. With America, there will never be compliance to the one world global government, until individual gun owners are stripped of their firearms. Once this occurs, then citizens of every nation, either must comply, or be exterminated.

Let us remember that most of the world population complies, even independent Americans, with Antichrist’s one world government. So, Satan’s real and ultimate targets are Israel and God’s church (Revelation 12:13-17). It is for this reason that these events are so very important. There need be only one tipping point, before the kind of chaos needed occurs, to open the door to a one global government. We may have reached a tipping point.

A tipping point, of course, refers to where the liquid in a bottle, shifts forward so much, that all the liquid will spill out. Another phrase for such a time, is a point of no return. History has had many tipping points, which led to utter devastation, catastrophe, and changes, from which the world was never the same.

Consider the tipping point which released the useless carnage of World War I; that of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Without this assassination, war may have come to Europe later or not at all. Are we at such a tipping point?

Europe investigates 'attacks' on Russian gas pipelines to Europe

Yesterday (9/27/2022), we potentially reached such a tipping point. The Russian owned and operated Nord Stream Pipeline broke open into the black sea. Massive amounts of natural gas poured into the water and massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere. The damage to the pipeline, which brings fuel for automobiles, industry, and domestic use to Europe, occurred after an underwater explosion near the pipeline.

Why this is so important is that Nord Stream brings necessary revenue to Russia, which just got hit with another round of economic sanctions from the U.S. and NATO, for the Russian war with Ukraine. Also of note is that another pipeline, the Baltic Pipeline built, owned, and operated out of Poland, just opened yesterday; the same day the Russian pipeline is severely damaged.

To add more fuel to this possible tipping point, is that last year both President Biden and other U.S. officials declared that they could and would stop Nord Stream from being used. Both the European Union and NATO are stating that it was an act of sabotage which caused the destruction of the pipeline. Chillingly, the former Polish Defense Minister Radek Sikorski thanked the United States for blowing up the Nord Stream Pipeline, in a tweet on twitter.

Imagine the fallout globally, if the United States or one of its NATO allies are found responsible for the explosion, which led to the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipeline; which they have yet to deny. Could it lead to a nuclear attack on Ukraine, Poland, other NATO allies, or even the U.S. mainland?

Could the rise in fuel costs, which will surely come, cause more inflation, economic chaos, and political unrest?

It is possible that we are about to go over the falls toward the very last events outlined in the word of God.

Let us determine to hold fast to Christ, trusting in His love and grace to see us through. Let us always remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-18), nor are our weapons material from this world (II Corinthians 10:3-6).

Let us remember that we overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, loving the Lord with all our heart by following His will, even if it ends in our death (Revelation 12:11).

Keep sharing the truth in love and singing of the wonders of Christ. The time of our redemption is nearer, than when we first believed.

Philippians 1:19-21 19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

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Called to Set Captives Free

When a Christian is moved by his love for Christ, in sincere and humble faith (in the word of God), he enters a reality of war against personalities of darkness, which are determined to extinguish his faith.

I appreciate the way A.W. Tozer frames this concept in his book “I Talk Back to the Devil”

I Talk Back to the Devil: The Fighting Fervor of the Victorious Christian  by A. W. Tozer, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

“Show me an individual or a congregation committed to spiritual progress with the Lord, interested in what the Bible teaches about spiritual perfection and victory, and I will show you where there is strong and immediate defiance by the devil!”

Satan and his cohort know those who are truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of darkness detests any Christian, but with acidic hatred do they seek to eradicate any Holy Spirit filled believer, operating in the simplicity of faith (II Corinthians 11:1-4).

An immature and carnal Christian can be easily manipulated by the enemy, being pushed and pulled by the enemy using the world and the flesh. A Holy Spirit filled Christian, is a much more difficult temptation, because they are growing in the mind of Christ.

1 Peter 4:1-21 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Therefore, we must understand Satan’s rage against those souls on fire souls for Christ, is a flood of fiery violence.

It is quite simple to understand why, considering that such a saint has been delivered from their bondage to Satan’s kingdom, and now serve as ambassadors of God’s kingdom, and soldiers of Holy Spirit power; to set captives free from Satan’s camp.

All Christians, whether they know it or not, whether they walk in it or not, have been called to set captives free. This is necessary because there are men, woman and children, in bondage to Satan in every place across the landscape of lost humanity.

Most are simply lost and living in the lie, that they do not need God (or His Messiah Jesus Christ), following their own religion or mode of life, hoping that if there is a heaven, they will make it. Their plight is a sad one, for they are still responsible for their sin before the Holy God and without repentance and faith in Christ, they will be judged as worthy only of the Second Death (Revelation 20:11-15).

These, like we once were, need Christ to set them free. It is why He came.

Isaiah 61:1-31 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

When Paul was testifying before Agrippa in Caesarea Philippi, he relates our calling, to the degree of faith given by God.

Acts 26:17-18 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Jesus led captivity captive | Light-N-side

It is the calling of the Spirit filled Christian to open the eyes of their lost neighbors—to turn them from darkness to light—to turn them from the power of Satan to the power of our God—that in repentance and faith they may receive forgiveness of sins and grow in Christ until the day of His return for us.

As we move closer and closer to that Day, we must admit, that leading people to say a sinner’s prayer, getting them wet and inviting them to church may be a small part of their discipleship, but it takes the power of the Spirit of God, through the continual efforts of sold-out saints, to bring them to full deliverance.

We often believe the lie, that demon possession (demonization or the degree to which a person is influenced by demons) was more of a first century thing, just like the lie that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and casting out demons were from that by-gone era; we need to repent of this mind set.

We live in a more demonic age then the first century. Remember that in the last days Satan is dislodged from his being the prince of the power of the air, to earth, where he is in a rage (Revelation 12:7-8, 13-17). Revelation 18 reveals that the nation and city which represents Babylon, with be a foul place of extreme demonism (Revelation 18:1-6).

Look around brethren, where do we believe the perversity of LBGTQ acceptance comes from? Where do we think legalized drug use with marijuana leads to? How did the world, against the natural order, accept pornography, cohabitation, fornication, adultery, rejection of parental authority?

The answers: Satan and demons in those being demonized. Yes, demonization is a reality, we must confront.

In the early church, lent was three days before a person was baptized. During this period, they would go through deliverance from demonic influence, from their pagan past. In our day, satanic and demonic influence is in every political, sports, entertainment, religious and cultural sphere, hiding in plain sight. We must once again account for the influence of Satan in those coming to faith in Christ.

Sadly, many who say the sinner’s prayer, desire salvation and freedom as much as the Gadarenes demoniac, yet there is no one to bring them to freedom. Many, in this state, sit miserably in building where the church meets, week after week for years; smiling on the outside while miserable and chained. They are given to fits of rage, cannot tell the truth, have secret addictions and despise themselves.

We followers of Christ must recognize that leading a person in a sinner’s prayer of faith, is a good tool, but it is not a magic incantation which breaks every chain and sinful pattern. The salvation prayer may indicate a sincere belief in Christ, from a person in bondage, yet without repentance, there is no forgiveness.

When a person is under influence of demons, they cannot always produce works worthy of repentance and they do not always appear demonized. Many appear quite normal, until the anointing of the Holy Spirit threatens the hold of the demons.

Consider the account of the Lord Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum in Mark 1:21-28. The man in question, had an unclean spirit, meaning he was ritually unclean from some sexual, religious, or other violation of God’s law, in relation to paganism. Notice, no one in the synagogue was running from him or announcing him unclean. He was hiding his sin and the demonic hold, and no one knew. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit, in Christ, which uncovered the sin and the demon activity.

How many Christians sit in fellowship, in a secret sin or a secret wound from their past, whereby the enemy is able to keep their soul and mind locked up from Christ’s freedom?

Brethren, the time has come for us to work, for the purpose of presenting every man complete in Christ. The time has come for churches to stop trying to get as many as they can stuff in their buildings and realize, those we have met with for years, may want to be free in Christ and have no means but us to lead them to that freedom. The time has come for us to walk in the fullness of the Spirit, to set captives free, making disciples that will glorify Christ forever.

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The Full 3/3rds of the Gospel (Colossians 1:26-29)

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Colossians 1:27-29 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

In the passage above we see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a 3-fold message. Each part is essential to bring about godly sorrow, which works repentance, leading to salvation (II Corinthians 7:10).

As I read this passage, while walking to work the other day, verse 28 drew my attention. Especially where it declares, “Him we preach, warning every man…”. I believe that “warning every man” may be the most missing third of the gospel message.

Most of our evangelism, in our day, can be distilled down to the generic refrain of “God loves you, and proved this by dying for your sins. Say this prayer, be forgiving, and get to a good church”. Although, there is truth in this line of preaching, it is dumbed down, as not to be offensive, or appear judgmental.

When we minister in this fashion, we forget that the Gospel is an offense to men, apart from Christ, and that will never change. It is not until men have a profound sense of the fear of the LORD, that they will begin to see a need for the Gospel, because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).

Before we explore what we are warning men from and encouraging them to receive in the message of the Gospel, let us first handle “Him we preach”.

WE PREACH HIM

Paul’s primary message was to preach Christ and Him crucified. Now in preaching Him, we must proclaim who He is and always will be, why He was begotten, and how we receive that which Jesus Christ secured for us.

From our passage we understand that in preaching Christ we are preaching the mystery, which was hidden in the ages before Christ, but is now revealed in those He has saved… us! That mystery is Christ came to do a work, whereby we were not only able to be in His presence, but ultimately that the Messiah would live in and through us; which is Christ in us the hope of glory.

In preaching Him, it is important to proclaim His eternal nature as the word of God, who became flesh (John 1:1-5, 14) and how (Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 7:14, 9:1-7). It is important to share that the Christ is the Son of God, equal to God, who for love, laid aside His prerogative as God (for a time), to express His glory, unless instructed to by the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 2:5-11 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In revealing how He came, we must reveal why He came. This is where we must expressly proclaim the sinfulness of man and the penalty for unforgiven sin (Romans 3:20-23, 6:23). In revealing why He came, we then are blessed to share the beauty of how Christ dealt with sin, through His cross (the Atonement) and His resurrection.

Isaiah 53:5-6 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The Lord Jesus Christ accomplished this by becoming our substitutionary atonement, as the Father made Christ who knew no sin, to be our sin, that we could become righteous in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). Our sin, we literally placed into His body, as He went to and hung to death on the cross.

In addition, we understand that our sin was contained in a list of charges, or an indictment that was against us, and demanded justice against us, on God’s behalf. Colossians 2:14-15 declare that God took this handwriting of charges against us, out of the way, nailing it to the cross, yet there was no paper with ink written charges on the cross. Therefore, we understand the Gospel of Christ, to mean Christ Himself, was our indictment nailed to the tree, as our sin was written into His body through torture.

This is the love of God on display for the undeserving.

Romans 5:8-11 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

To receive this grace, we must repent of our sin and life apart from God. This means we must turn from it, forsaking all to follow Christ (Luke 9:23-26, 63, 14:33). In addition, as an act of repentance, we then walk in faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the faith that saves us.

This combination of repentance and faith in Christ, is also sorely lacking as the church presents the Gospel in Western Christianity. Observe Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders about what he preached and taught them to preach in Acts 20:21-22 “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.

We must always understand that necessity of both repentance and faith, understanding that repentance is much more than confessing sin, it is renouncing it and walking away from it.

2 Corinthians 7:10 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Interestingly, we find that God is not willing that any would perish, but all would come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). How interesting that the word does not say “that all would be saved”, but “… that all would come to repentance”. This is because without repentance, there is no ability to walk in faith, being that the person has not left their old life behind. Therefore, without repentance, there is no forgiveness, or reconciliation.

Paul’s call to the Athenians to understand this reality, leads to the second part of the Gospel, the warning.

Acts 17:30-31 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

WARNING EVERY MAN WHAT AWAITS THE UNREPENTANT

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In this section we will investigate the least preached third of the Gospel, “warning every man”. What is it we are warning them of? Well, simply put, everlasting judgement. I grow tired of religious idiots, who mock “hell-fire and brimstone preachers”. To these mockers and scoffers, Christ Himself would be relegated to the dung pile of irrelevance, because He preached more on the reality of eternal judgement for the unrepentant, than He did on the eternal reward of those who walk in faith.

Consider the passage most often taken out of context in the entire New Testament.

John 3:16 6 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is a wonderful passage, for sure, but it was spoken in the midst of a massive warning to the Pharisee Nicodemus.

John 3:17-20 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

We must remember that the word “belief” in the Greek was not one of mental assent only to a body of truth, but to assent to the truth to the degree that you change your life accordingly. This cannot be understated, because “unbelief”, as defined in Hebrews 3:6-14, is to declare I believe or assent to the truth about God, yet deny that assent or confession with my choices. This is seen in the example of Israel in that passage.

In fact, in returning to the end of John 3 we have John the Baptist, “warning every man” in verse 36 “He who believes in the Son, has everlasting life; and he who does not believe on the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him”. This wrath of God is referred to as everlasting condemnation in John 5:28-29.

The Lord Jesus Christ refers to the judgment on those who refuse to repent and express faith towards Him, as everlasting outer darkness in Matthew 8:12, which deals with the relational distance between the lost and God, who is Light and salvation. This is reiterated in II Thessalonians 1:9, where  the word of God declares “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”.

In the same epistle, only a few lines earlier, we see that Christ will take “vengeance” on those not obeying the Gospel “in flaming fire”. This fits the most revealed characteristic concerning the judgment to come, which is relational, but also a literal place away from God forever in torment.

Revelation 20:14-15 This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

We see this reality of judgment, which is the basis of our “warning every man” in several other New Testament passages, which include but are not limited to Matthew 5:27-30, 25:41 and Revelation 14:11.

The love of God without the justice of God, in His wrath, upon those who are unrepentant, is not love at all. If we are not saved from something terrible, by Christ’s atonement on our behalf, then why care about salvation?

Truth be told, we Christians need to accept that much of our evangelism to “warn every man” to the degree that they begin to fear the LORD, so that they will gladly repent.  Remember that the fear of the LORD is wisdom.

WHAT WE ARE SAVED FOR AND TO

Lastly, we must preach that we are saved to something everlasting, and it is not to live independent from God, in an eternal state of bliss. You may find this a silly thing to say, but we have made everlasting life about our own mansion on a hilltop so much, we miss that eternity begins the moment we are forgiven, and our hope of being with Christ, is our only hope in this life.

In the first place, we preach “as many as receive Him”, so He gave them the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name. This is our wonderful blessing now and forever.

1 John 3:1-3 1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

In the first place, we find that we are saved to be children of God right now. This implies that our Father is always with us to lead, guide, empower with provision, and correct when needed (Romans 8:14-17; Hebrews 12:5-12).

Secondly, we are also saved to be transformed now for “everyone who has this hope in him, purifies Himself, just as He is pure”. The hope is the blessed Hope, the great and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, when we shall see Him as He is (Titus 2:14). It is this hope which compels us to live godly and be sanctified in Christ (II Peter 3:11-12), because those in Christ are supernaturally transformed and transforming new creations (II Corinthians 5:17).

Thirdly, we find that we are called to an eternal state that is even more awesome than we can imagine “and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”. This does not mean we will become infinite creatures, but glorified by His power, with a new physical, spiritual life.

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Our hope is not in all these wonderful blessings but to see the Christ face to face, the one who gave us the escape from judgment—the one who calls us to repentance and faith to avoid the wrath of God—the one who guarantees our eternity with Him.

Let us preach all three parts of the Gospel, without shame and in great boldness of faith!

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Only the Lamb of God is Worth! (Revelation 5)

Below is a video copy of a message I just shared from Revelation Chapter 5, concerning how he Lord Jesus Christ, alone, is worthy to pull the curtain back on the revelation. Click below to view.

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The MAJESTY OF GOD and Our Response (Revelation 4)

Dear friends I have been preaching through the Book of Revelation, focusing on the elements that usually are overlooked, in our pursuit to prove our end times timelines. The message below is from Revelation 4, where John sees the throne of God, in all of God’s Majesty. In this message we discuss the Awesome eternal character and glory of God, and how we are to response as His children. Click to watch.

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