THE VEIL IS OPEN: WHY ARE MEN TRYING TO SHUT IT

This message was birthed in prayer when we saw leaders standing in front of a veil and pulling it shut. This is an utterance from the Lord.

“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled” (Jn. 3:29).

The joy of the friend of the bridegroom (or best man) is to hear His voice. He is not to interfere with the union and intimacy the bride and the bridegroom are to enjoy. Yet in much of Christendom today this interference is what we see in one form or another.

The veil into God’s Holy Presence was rent in two so that the Bride of Christ could enjoy the presence of the Bridegroom and hear His voice. In the Old Covenant man needed  a mediator because the veil of the temple, which signified the way into God’s presence, was closed. But today under the New Covenant the veil has been rent in two and actually no longer exists, and now we can all come to God without a human mediator.

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…” (Mt. 27:51).

Closing the veil is a type of the spirit of religion and traditions of men that tell us we need to go through a man or a program. It engenders condemnation.

For the words I now write are from the Lord and are truly a judgment of the heart for believers to put their fellowship with God above religion and the traditions of man. For this was the spirit that always confronted Jesus and the manifestation of His compassion when the religious leaders would say, “Who does He think He is, healing and forgiving man’s sins?” The mind-set that leaders have put in the hearts of saints today is the same work of the spirit of religion, “Do this. Don’t do that. You gotta come when the doors are open or you won’t be blessed; if you don’t tithe you’re cursed, etc.”

What is most needed is to teach the people to go into the Holy of Holies themselves and enjoy unrestricted communion with God. This increases their chances manifold of never falling away from the Lord.

Beyond the veil is true communion with God, but man, through religion and traditions, seems to always attempt to shut that veil.

True spiritual freedom comes to the one who believes and knows they have free access to Jesus.

The part leadership is to play is to show the saints the access. It’s necessary and important that the young ones (lambs) know how to go into that place in the Spirit. The key is to train them to move into the Spirit and access that place on their own. Once they learn they can be established as strong trees of righteousness. It takes time to learn and to know and to flow with the presence of God. Never does it benefit when a man leads another to the wisdom and traditions of man. Keep pointing them to the open veil and the access.

That is why we can never be satisfied with just playing church; for when we learn to access His presence then Christ is formed in us. Instead of being as Joshua was in the old order of things when only certain ones had access to God, who stood on the outside of the tabernacle and listened (Ex. 33:11), it’s our place as ministers to draw them on in and teach them to stay there. There will always be hungry saints who want to go on in. Beyond the veil is the only place we are truly rooted and grounded in the Lord.

That is why this place of putting our dependence on man is such a bewitching place.

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you…” (Gal. 3:1)

This bewitching is such a diabolical move for it is the spirit that closes the veil and makes it hard to access God.(Spoken and prayed with the same zeal and Spirit that came on Jesus when He went into the temple and overthrew the tables and drove out the money changers). We’ve got to keep people moving toward the Lord where they are at home with Him. He is the door, the only door. He is the mediator, the only mediator. We all have free access through His Blood.

As a modern day example of this bewitching, the seeker-friendly philosophy of conducting church services closes the door and says you can only have this much access to God, and you can only go this far, by toning down on the Holy Spirit and His workings. God is in the midst of His people, not behind a veil.

As an example from the past, take the Brownsville revival. I was a part of it, and I witnessed the legacy and future fruit of that revival, cut short due to religious politics that insisted on a man being ordained with a certain denomination, when the man in good conscience before God could not. Ironically, this revival began with a man crying out to God, “we want God with no restrictions”, but then that same man shut the door years later through religious politicking. Multitudes of people were saddened, hurt, angered, and disillusioned by such a decision.

We have witnessed confusion and bewilderment in many lives who were used to free access but whose freedom was blocked and bewitched by man.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).

This sort of thing happens on a wide scale. We believe in order. We believe in submission and authority, but not at the expense of the freedom of God’s people.

These two books are two of our readers’ favorites that I’d like to recommend to you. They will help to enhance your prayer life and communion with God. 

Prayer: The Language Of The Spirit  

The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness  

 

THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO DEFEAT ISIS: HAHA!

There is a sweeping movement that began two decades ago. A phenomenal number of Muslims are coming to the Lord through dreams and visions, and are discovering that the true God is not condemning them but manifesting His love to them. Mighty signs and wonders are breaking out in the Muslim world.

For example, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2015 200 Muslim men inside a mosque all had a simultaneous vision of Jesus. This event was confirmed by three independent sources. In spite of numerous death threats these Muslim men are testifying of this vision and the reality of Jesus Christ.

Here are some other accounts of the power of God convincing Muslims of His reality and love for them:

An Isis fighter who personally killed Christians, had a vision of Jesus, who said to Him as He said to Saul long ago, “Why are you killing My people?”

Jihadist Converts

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/06/15/report-isis-jihadist-converts-to-christianity-after-seeing–jesus-in-his-dreams/

After visiting a prostitute and contracting Aids, a Muslim Imam, Sheik Mohammed Amen, lay dying and preparing for burial with no hope. Suddenly Jesus appeared in his room and stood by his side, and said, “Mohammed, rise up!” He rose up and was completely healed of Aids.

Healed From Aids

http://www.imsoblesseddaily.com/healed-from-aids/

In December 2001, Sheik Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television to confirm the Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. “Every hour, 667 Muslims are becoming Christians,” he said. “And each day 16,000 Muslims are becoming followers of Jesus, and each year 6 million Muslims are deciding to follow Jesus.”

Leaving Islam

http://www.islam-watch.org/LeavingIslam/Muslims2Christianity.htm

Laboring Mohammed, a Nigerian, who studied the Quran for 5 years, met Jesus in a series of dreams. He was persecuted, imprisoned by his own father, but due to his unwavering love for his father he surrendered to Jesus just 3 hours before his death.

Quranic Student Converted

https://www.bing.com/videos/search

As much of the world has turned its back on God in record and unprecedented numbers, a move of the Spirit that is astounding in scale has begun.

As another outstanding example, in communist atheist China, there are estimates of more than 200 million Christians in that country, which is now on course to become the most populated Christian nation on the earth.

Also, Iran, formerly known as Persia, the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, despite a crackdown on the Christians and the gospel, there is an explosive and staggering growth of house churches and secret meetings all over the nation. At last count it is now estimated that there are more than 300,000 believers in Iran and growing daily.

Praise the Name of Jesus!!! It’s harvest time!

GONE IS THE AGE OF MAN

Gone is the age of man. We’ve entered into the age of God. The Lord is done allowing us to do things our own way. He has had enough of man taking His glory for his own personal gain, whether it is for fame, honor, financial gain or whatever.

Remember how Dagon fell face down in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 5). God will not share His glory.

Ministers need to go back to the original place of their calling when they said ‘Yes” to it and ask themselves the reason and motivation for that “Yes”.

What will be our end if we are not in ministry out of simple, sincere devotion to Jesus?

It is in keeping our minds stayed on Him that we not only receive His peace but strength to resist the world’s wisdom, patterns, systems, ideals, and mind-sets.

Here’s a vision one of our spiritual daughters had not too long ago:

“I saw a picture of fresh concrete being poured. I knew as I saw this that all the structures of men had already come to nothing. I knew that this was a new day with new foundations being poured. I knew that we were stepping into the age of God. I knew that He was laying His own foundations for the Church to be built upon.

“Then I saw those who were pouring concrete but did not make Christ the Cornerstone, and consequently their concrete was not being allowed to harden. But for those who have made Christ the Cornerstone, their concrete was allowed to harden.”

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” (Ps. 127:1). 

HOW THE LORD BUILDS

“Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established…” (Pr. 24:3).

We are not called to work for the Father, but to work with Him. It is in hearing and obeying His wisdom and counsel that this happens. The Spirit of God always moves to perform the Father’s will, not some concoction of our own will devised by the carnal mind. The lack of hearing and obeying the Father’s wisdom and counsel produces the works of man. But hearing and obeying the Father’s wisdom and counsel produces the works of God.

Jesus is the Pattern Son and our perfect example. He felt no obligation or compulsion to do anything outside of the Father’s will and counsel. He knew that He did not come to this earth to do His own will but the will of the Father (Jn. 5:19). He also knew that He was not here to do His own will in the Name of the Father, which is the more common thing in Christendom today.

The Holy Spirit wants to bring clear communication between us and the Father and Jesus, for He has been sent for such a purpose – “to speak whatsoever He hears and to show us things to come” (Jn. 16:13). The greatest cry of the Holy Spirit on the earth today is that God’s people would learn to wait on the Lord and receive His wisdom and counsel for every situation. Praying in the Spirit at length and meditating on the Word of God is the best way to cultivate this ability.

Think about this: All of man’s failures are a by-product of a lack of clear communication between the believer and the Godhead. This is the devil’s greatest victory  – to keep us too agitated, frustrated, anxious, distracted, deterred, entangled, and too busy to wait on the Lord and hear the Holy Spirit’s clear communication. He delights in communing with us and sharing the Father’s wisdom and counsel. Nothing is impossible to those who’ve learned to hear and obey the Holy Spirit’s communication.

True ministers of the gospel are those whose thinking has been elevated above the ways of man, and who teach and train God’s people to receive God’s wisdom and counsel. God can only move where His counsel and instructions are heard and obeyed. God wants to move! The problem in this age of man has been that men are doing all the moving. There are few on the earth who live in the realm of the Spirit and understand these things.

I pray that you would learn the ways of  God and truly be among those who are taught by Him and led by Him. The fulness of God’s blessing is in hearing and obeying what He says to you both from the written Word and by His Spirit.

If you are a leader or aspiring to leadership in the body of Christ I highly recommend these three books that will refine your heart and cultivate your ability to hear the wisdom and counsel of God. The Journal, Purity of Heart, and Soulish Leadership.

 

AFTER 2000 YEARS MEN ARE STILL ARGUING OVER WHO’S THE GREATEST

(This is a godly response to our last blog, The Emergence Of The Church, by Patrick Keown, who leads a church in South Carolina)

The reason there’s no glory in the Church has nothing to do with location or where it meets, or compensation. The difference is there was honor, and gifts complemented one another. Today it’s more about, “Who’s the greatest?”

The Church is scattered, divided, and confused because in most cases not all the governing leadership can agree. Can the body be a church if all hell breaks out in our nation? Have the five-fold ministers equipped them, or are they still arguing over who’s the boss, who’s the most gifted, and who heard from the Lord?

Question we must be asking: Do you know and understand your responsibility to the body? Honor, respect, and keeping opinions to yourself while doing what your personal gifting and calling requires will turn into a harmony that will lead the leadership of God’s Church into unity.

Can the Church be the Church anywhere they meet? Only if we as leaders step up to the plate and lay down our concepts, our new ideas, old conversations that mostly deal with external things, and serve to create unity in the leadership. Then let come what may, crisis of all sorts – let everything be shaken – the Church will then stand in its unity. But if leadership continues to sell their own ideas through lectures and books it will detour the Church from rolling up its sleeves and getting dirty for Jesus and networking with other ministers.

Lack of true humility is causing ministers to shuck their responsibilities, and so the reason for a lack of readiness to any grave crisis in our culture. In leadership, no matter the cause, it always points back to you!

QUESTIONS TO ASK:

What have I contributed to a team lately concerning not just a remnant but the needy?

Have I considered that hanging around believers in social settings is easier than going out to the projects or prisons?

What about widows and orphans?

The issue with most leaders is they don’t pray so there’s no discernment, no direction, and their spirits are hardened to our godless culture and to God’s agenda.

Don’t focus on location or compensation, but just obey God and take your rightful place in the body and flow in your gifting. Stop competing and just work; do what He says, and say what He commands you to say.

The Church will mature, but only if our Church leaders grow up first.

“I didn’t leave a mainline denomination because they weren’t lovers of God or I didn’t like their way of doing church. I gave up a salary and housing comfort to obey God.”

If God told me to stay I would’ve stayed and then been classified as a traditional pastor with no zeal for the Lord.

Are we going to unite or still be looking for reasons not to serve a lost generation and honor one another’s gift in the Lord?

The American Church as we know it must come to an end. The true Church must emerge or there will be nothing of any real significance. Only dead orthodoxy and a religious social club…

Most of the churches and leaders I know are too busy with fluff and programs and non-essentials to make any lasting impact on the community around them. As a result, their members are losing all their zeal, fire, and love. The best of them are becoming like the church of Ephesus who forsook their first love.

The people of God are reconnecting with one another in the Spirit of truth and unity as a divine dissatisfaction with the systems of this world and of man fills us.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE CHURCH

The Holy Spirit continues to minister fresh revelation to our hearts as we seek Jesus. There is an ache and a hunger inside of us for a newer and simpler expression of Christ in our lives. In many ways, as some of you have also done, we’ve had to leave the many traditions, structures, and systems of men to re-discover Jesus. For us, the profession of ministry no longer has the appeal it had years ago, having been replaced by a purer desire to simply build His kingdom in a Christ-centered way in the context of God-ordained relationships, being rooted and established in Him alone.

Our heavenly Father is preparing His family and His army for that which is to come on the earth. “…As you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). In light of the coming gross darkness that is here and increasing on the earth, we believe the glory of the Lord will also increase that much more. In the days ahead of us the Church will look vastly different than it does right now. We are longing for His glory and the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21) and praying earnestly: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

My wife and I feel like we’ve been going through a process of metamorphism of late. You could say that our personal constitution is being radically altered. We’re asking heart-searching questions that we were once afraid to ask. These questions may disturb some who have grown comfortable in their controlled habitats and predictable environs, but they beckon to be asked and answered.

This current journey began with one question and then many that subsequently followed. How did 3,000 new converts on the day of Pentecost move from their conversion to continuing steadfastly in their new found faith – from Acts 2:41 to Acts 2:42? Without buildings, without budgets, without paid staff, and without a head pastor how was the early Church able to function and disciple a harvest of 3,000 new people? Not 30; not even 300; but 3,000! Then two chapters later another 5,000 men were added to their company (Acts 4:4).

FINDING OUR IDENTITY IN JESUS ALONE

One day a minister friend of mine blogged the following “what if” questions. What if churches today lost their buildings could they still function as churches? If there was war, or a great crisis, or severe persecution against the Church could they still function as a church? Would they be able to continue meeting as a spiritual family and a body in fellowship, teaching, worship, and prayer and taking care of one another without a large facility? Would the believers throughout the city stay connected? Are our connections based on a physical facility or simply on relationship with the Lord and with each other? Or would the loss of a building mean the essential loss of the church?

What if a large church today lost its budget, or paid staff, or senior pastor? Would there still be shepherds to care for the sheep? Or would there be hirelings looking for professional “ministry” elsewhere? What if a church lost its denominational affiliation, would it cease to exist? Or if a non-denominational church dropped their seeker-friendly philosophy or in-vogue style of doing church, or their various programs that attract people, would they still exist as a church?” – Robert Gladstone

How much of our dependence have we placed on these things? And perhaps the biggest question upon which hangs all other questions is this: Without any of these things could the Church have its identity in Jesus alone?

These are not easy questions, but here is the bottom line. How much of Christ do we have in our lives, our relationships, our churches, and our ministries? After all has been said and done, after we strip away all the props that are holding up these modern churches, how much of the church’s identity and character is found in Jesus alone?

My point is not to be critical of any existing church or ministry. I have no axe to grind or bone to pick. There are many good churches doing wonderful things for the Lord and we are grateful for that. We should never criticize another man’s labors, but instead rejoice wherever Christ is proclaimed.

On the other hand, churches should be living extensions of Christ Himself, but too often they are extensions of pop culture, denominational traditions, or the leader’s personality. In these cases, they depend more on their own ability to keep the church going. In doing so, we are declaring that helpful things such as buildings and budgets become more necessary and essential to function than the Spirit of God and His people.

I am not saying that all the amenities aforementioned here are not helpful and useful, but if a church cannot exist without them then I would say that you have an inflexible wineskin that cannot hold the coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s be honest. Many of our churches today have either become museums or monuments that celebrate the past, or Fortune 500-styled corporations that can exert themselves without the power of the Holy Spirit. Peripheral factors have become so deeply engrained in our methodology that we cannot fathom doing church without them. We cannot even imagine Jesus doing His work without these amenities. It makes me to wonder whether many of our churches today are really Christ-centered or consumer driven? I’m afraid we’ve substituted catering to people’s felt needs over catering to God’s demands. Keeping people happy has become essential, but the demands of Jesus have become optional.

Personally I believe we have begun to see a revolution of sorts in the Church. God is moving in an unprecedented way across the globe, but it is happening below the radar of the traditional church in a very quiet manner. Out of a deep spiritual dissatisfaction and a great hunger for God true followers of Jesus are leaving traditional church systems at an alarming rate across denominational and non-denominational lines. Many are not happy with their spiritual lives. The problem is not really their church, but it’s just “church” in general.

Even though we’ve been in ministry for many years we’ve sensed the same thing. There is a larger process of work God is doing in His people. He is bringing focus to Jesus and His kingdom. From all walks of life and church spectrums people are searching for something more, but most of them don’t quite know what that is.

Recently in prayer the Lord showed Carolyn and I two church worlds – a top and an underground one. The top had many limitations governed by the systems and structures of men, but the underground church was full of people hungry for God and His Word, for personal relationship with those of like-precious faith, and to be trained in the ways of the Spirit. The Lord then encouraged us to help equip them.

In addition to these instructions, the Lord gave us a strong warning not to be critical of other men’s labors especially those within the traditional church system, but to judge the fruit only. We are to help everyone.

Be much in prayer, beloved for everything that can be shaken will be shaken in this hour, so that truly Jesus will be the focus and center of it all.

Excerpt taken from my new book, The Real Jesus. Get your copy today in paperback or kindle. 

WILL JESUS FIND FAITH ON EARTH WHEN HE COMES?

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

You can’t have faith without the truth of God’s Word holding final authority in your life. Faith is based on the truth and authority of the Scriptures. The end of your faith is when you begin doubting the Word of God and it stops carrying authority in your life. The end of your faith is when you no longer live by the Word of God. Multitudes of professing Christians in the church system today have departed from the real faith. Many no longer even believe the Scriptures are inspired of God.

EYE OPENING STATISTICS

A few years ago in another national poll on Christianity in the churches of America these telling statistics were revealed.

Studies showed that even though 79% of those who actually attend evangelical churches find their faith “very important”, only 36% of them actually believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life. What!? That one is hard to believe! The slightly larger majority believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. These are church members!

The drop in percentages among mainline churches is even more telling. Only 14% believe that Jesus Christ exclusively provides the only way to eternal life, while 83% think many religions lead there. Only 22% of this group even believes that the Bible is fully inspired while another 28% believe that it is just a book written by men, not the word of God. Compare this to evangelical churches where only 7% do not believe the Bible is a divinely inspired book.

The great tragedy and deception is that many think they can be Christians while rejecting the Word of God and every major doctrine and practice of the true Christian faith.

The most disturbing trend, however, is in America’s 18-35 group. While some polls show roughly 9 in 10 Americans still maintain belief in a god or gods, the trend of religious young Americans is toward a conglomeration of varied religious beliefs, including atheism. A 2010 USA survey revealed that 72 percent of the nation’s young people identify themselves as “more spiritual than religious.”

Furthermore, with an increasing majority of younger Americans accepting evolution as fact, Christianity for many under 35 is becoming a watered-down hybrid version of eastern philosophy and biblical teachings. This trend among our young people towards being ‘spiritual but not religious’ points further to the declining belief and practice of Christian doctrine, and the embracing of a broader relationship with all other religions and beliefs.

This explains most of the above statistics, doesn’t it?

Falsehood is increasing at an alarming rate in our land. The true word of the Lord is becoming rare, and there is a famine of it. It is the reason God led me to write on The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, and The Real Spirit of Revival. Readers think these books are radical, but they’re really not. It’s just that we’ve had the watered down version of the gospel for so long that these books seem radical. They are normal. They are filled with truth. When falsehood slips in, the plain, unadulterated truth seems radical. The day is upon us now when truth must be trumpeted loud and clear.

The prophet Isaiah lamented a defiled nation submerged in injustice, oppression, sin, and falsehood.

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey” (Is. 59:14-15).

Without truth there is no justice, righteousness or equity. He who stands for truth in this evil day will be the object of abuse, criticism, or ridicule. They will be as prey that are hunted and killed.

DOUBT: SATAN’S GREATEST WEAPON

Satan’s greatest weapon is disseminating doubtful reasonings into humanity as he did at the beginning, which led to man’s fall.

“The serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘you shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die?’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:1-5).

Notice how Lucifer, now Satan, deceived Eve. He made her doubt the Word of God by making these three core statements:

“Has God really said not to eat of every tree of the garden?”

“You will not surely die.”

“You will be like God.”

Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44).  Notice the progression of Satan’s fatal suggestions:

First, he injected doubt into Eve’s mind through deception concerning what God had said.

Secondly, he then outright denied to Eve’s face what God said.

Thirdly, he deified man and told her that she would be as God.

Therein those three statements lay the deification of man – the gradual dethroning of God and the exaltation of man.

First, Eve began to doubt the absolute authority of the Word of God. Unless the Bible becomes the basis and authority of our total belief system we will give place to lies, heresies, and doctrines of demons. Satan asked Eve a question that amounted to: “Did God really mean what He said?” That subtle questioning of God’s Word then turned into a bold contradiction of it: “You will not surely die.” And finally, it ended with a false promise: “You will be like God.”

It was when Adam and Eve acted on Satan’s subtle suggestion that sin was birthed. Then with sin came death, sickness, disease, poverty, hatred, strife, and suffering. It all began in Lucifer’s heart and then was injected into God’s first creation before being passed on throughout every generation.

The fall of man started with doubt. Doubt always brings death. Faith always produces life.

“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3).

The greatest heroes of the faith have always been those who believed the Word of God (Hebrews 11). Don’t be a part of the apostate church and the unbelieving world. Do not be deceived by the devil’s chicanery and subtle lies. Rise up, resist the devil’s lies, and stand strong in the truth of God’s Word.

When Jesus returns, let Him find faith in you.

 

 

 

THE FATAL EFFECTS OF LIBERAL THEOLOGY

A few years ago I was engaged in a friendly spiritual dialogue with a former childhood friend on facebook. The conversation was spawned from a status I had just posted on my timeline. What I shared was a diagram of two photos, exposing in a dichotomy, the hypocrisy of liberal values. The photo on the left portrayed two homosexuals in festive, colorful attire kissing each other in what looked like a gay pride parade. Below the photo was the word “encouraged”. The photo on the right portrayed two little children sitting at their desk in school with hands folded in prayer. Below that photo was the word “unacceptable”. In other words, Liberalism encouraged homosexuality while deeming school prayer unacceptable.

My friend pointed out that the photo of the children was upsetting to him as he believed that no one should discourage children from praying, but the one of the homosexuals kissing didn’t bother him.

Here is the exchange between us:

Friend: “As for the picture on the left, get over it. Homosexuality has been around for hundreds of years, and it will remain for hundreds of years to come. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.”

Me: “The loyalty of true devoted Christians is to the truth and testimony of the Word of God, David. The Scriptures, which you probably doubt are God-inspired, are clear on homosexuality. It is an abomination to God (Leviticus 18), unnatural (Rom 1), and in opposition to God’s nature and sacred order (Rom 1). No one in this lifestyle can inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-11), but will incur God’s wrath unless they repent and seek help and deliverance. Homosexuality has always been rejected throughout history. It is biologically abnormal and gay people know that deep inside. They are forever trying to get society to accept it in order to remove the heavy burden of guilt they are under. The good news is God loves them, did not make them this way, and can change them and set them free. I know a number of people who were in that lifestyle but are living normal lives today. David, I say this to you with all love and kindness: To say that homosexuality is no big deal reveals to me that you are not a true Christian and have not yet been enlightened and come to repentance from sin and faith toward Jesus Christ. I also discern that because you know a number of whom you say are “good” people in this lifestyle, you have concluded that it must be okay. But once more, this too is error. Our loyalty must be to the truth of the inspired Scriptures, and not to men, be it loved ones or close friends. Do not be deceived. He that is born of God cannot practice a lifestyle of sin because his nature has been changed by the grace and power of God (1 John 3:9).”

Friend: “The church I grew up in, and continue to attend on a very regular basis is an open and affirming church. During my faith journey in this church, I have been a deacon, an elder, and president of our church council. Since our church is open and affirming, and my Christianity has been brought into question, one can conclude that the faith of all 763 members of our church is in question based on your position. I choose to love and respect all people regardless of their own faith, culture, or lifestyle. I have been married to women twice, and divorced twice. If two men or two women are perfectly content with each other, and truly love each other, I am perfectly content in that and would be supportive of them in any way I can. I often think the manual used in justifying our individual faith or agenda can be extremely damaging. We will agree to disagree, and I have enjoyed this little debate. I will forever choose to love and respect all people regardless of the journey they choose to take while on this earth.”

Me: “David, that is not my position, but the position of the Word of God and the Scriptures that I referenced. That is the manual! And not adhering to the manual is what is extremely damaging!!! Can anything be clearer than 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? Ephesians 5:5-6? Rev 21:7-8? And if time permitted I could list a host of many other scriptures. This is the great deception of Christianity in America today, and one that I am currently and passionately speaking on and writing about. I know of what I speak. I love and respect all people for they are God’s own creation, but I don’t respect people’s sinful lifestyles that are contrary to the Word of God. True love and respect speaks the truth, and warns people of death, hell, and the judgment to come commanding them to repent. Be not deceived, David! Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s eternal Word will last forever. Our faith must be based on that Word.”

My friend’s comments actually represent a large segment of professing Christians in America today, both on the liberal and even now on the conservative wing. His comments are also indicative of how secular humanism has penetrated in one form or another into the mainstream of our culture and infiltrated many of our churches; be it denominational, evangelical, and even Charismatic/Pentecostal churches. This wide departure from the faith, in what has now become a sort of post modern Christianity in America, signals the death knell for many. The celebrated philosophy of the day of “no absolutes, no right or wrong – whatever makes you happy – be tolerant and accepting of everything and everyone” is eroding the core of Judeo-Christian Biblically-based values, and greatly weakening real Christianity in America and in other nations as well, especially in Europe. I fear for the multitudes of the deceived who shall soon be the deceased. This could indeed be the final acceleration of the great apostasy the Bible speaks of will happen in these last days.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim 4:2-4).

By the world’s standards, my childhood and now facebook friend, is a good church going citizen. I can tell you that he is nice and kind to people, willing to go out of his way to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, well-liked and even esteemed by others, but he is still deceived. His stand on homosexuality and sin is unbiblical, ungodly, and most of all eternally fatal. His beliefs are the product of a false gospel.

Think of it: Here is a man, now in his 50’s, who’s been in the same church all his life, has held various positions in the church, and still has not been converted and entered into the real faith. Like millions in America, he is a product of a liberal theology birthed from secular humanism that can’t tell you for sure, or won’t tell you for sure, if there’s a heaven and a hell, but will try and keep you happy while you’re still alive, all in the name of God and love.

This is why a person can be a member of a church and yet be living a gay lifestyle. He can carry a Bible and be in an adulterous affair. He can adhere to a form of doctrine but have no peace. This is the sad state of things in much of America.

To be continued…

Similar themes are a part of our book, The Real Gospel. One seasoned pastor called it the greatest presentation of the gospel he’s ever read in 35 years of ministry. Check it out. I know you’ll be greatly enlightened. 

 

THE KEY TO THE DELIVERANCE OF A CHURCH IN CAPTIVITY

Why did Jesus die? The most common answer from the average Christian would be: So that our sins could be forgiven.

That sounds right. It even sounds Biblical. But it falls so short of striking at the core of God’s heart and purpose for mankind and for His glorious Church.

This common response reveals just how far we’ve drifted from God’s true purpose in saving us. And I will even go out on a limb and say that it is the very reason for a weak and anemic church, and her lack of power, character, and endurance. You may be asking, “how is this so?”

Instead of going back to the cross to uncover God’s original purpose for us, let’s go further back to creation. Have you ever asked yourself what was in the mind of God when He created man? What was His original intent and purpose? You really cannot even understand the cross or the gospel until you understand that, because sin was not yet an issue. At creation the fall of man was not yet a reality.

Some will say that God’s purpose was to have a relationship and fellowship with man. Yes, that is definitely true, but how is that relationship defined? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Here is a key scripture that will shed more light in determining God’s eternal purpose:

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col. 1:16-20). 

We tend to interpret the cross through self, or a shallow “what’s-in-it-for-me” attitude, but God had something greater in mind than just forgiving us of our sins. He wants to have preeminence in all things. This means He wants to be your Lord. He wants ownership of you. Jesus died to establish His Lordship over your life and not just to forgive you of your sins. This means He wants ownership of your time, your talents, and your treasury or money. But He wants you to surrender that to Him out of love and choice, and your own free will. We are not robots and God is not a dictator. We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).

In Christendom today it is becoming rare to hear such basic truths. Instead, we hear of who we are, what we have, what God will do for us, etc. Although this can be a good beginning place in the faith, many never seem to graduate from it. The snare of it all is this: Teaching and instruction that focuses on us breeds selfishness. Selfishness is contrary to the gospel and the purpose for which Jesus died. (See The Real Gospel).

“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Are you living for yourself? Or as the late Leonard Ravenhill so succinctly stated: “Are the things you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”

Charles G. Finney said it even much stronger:

“Nothing, which is selfish, is Christian. There is nothing faithful in any selfish act. A man may just as much commit sin in praying, reading the Bible, or going to a service as in anything else, if his motive is selfish. Suppose a man prays with a view to simply promote his own happiness. Is that God fearing? It is no more than attempting to make God his Almighty Servant!  It is nothing but an attempt to put the universe and God in a position to make the self happy. It is the greatest degree of wickedness. It is so far from piety and goodness that it is superlative wickedness.”

Wow! That quote always arrests me and causes deep reflection and self-evaluation. The heart is indeed deceptive.

The enemy disguises himself. He offers you substitutes for the true life of God and obedience. He offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world (Lk. 4:5), and He offers us the same through subtle substitutes of material comforts and a lifestyle of ease and convenience that produces a false peace.  Sadly, when given the opportunity most believers will choose a comfortable lifestyle and the things of this world above obedience to God; and pleasure seeking over God seeking, simply because they are still living for themselves.

Do not be deceived by these things for they are not the hallmarks of true disciples. True disciples long to obey God even in difficult times. If your motive is comfort and convenience, bigger and better possessions, a lifestyle of ease, and always taking the path of least resistance, you will be forever deceived and faint in the day of adversity.

More than ever before, we need to be careful about our associations and who we listen to. Be careful of those voices who feed your hearts with false motivations. Many preachers are putting people at ease and even denying the Lordship of Jesus (2 Pt. 2:1) (Jude 3-4). The tenor of a lot of  the spiritual instruction we receive today is on how much God loves you and wants to bless you. Of course He does, because that is the nature of our good and loving heavenly Father, but a saturation of this kind of teaching tends to corrupt our motives. It results in our approaching God only to get something from Him. It breeds arrogance as we determine our own course in life without consulting God or having regard for His perfect will for our lives (Jam. 4:13-17).

There’s a reason Jesus began His public ministry with teaching on the beatitudes and the motives of our hearts when we pray, give, and fast (Mt. 5 and 6). The character and motivation of our hearts is the most critical principle in the kingdom of heaven. It keeps us from being deceived and corrupted and its the foundation of all of God’s judgements.

One of the great tragedies of the modern Western gospel has been the accentuation of the blessings and benefits of salvation at the exclusion of other components of the cross. There is a very large movement that has swept through many churches today that major on life-enhancement, self-help, and self-esteem. This is contrary to the cross. Jesus did not just die to forgive you of your sins and purchase blessings for you, but He died to purchase you. This is at the heart of the gospel.

“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?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

We’ve been purchased with holy Blood. We are not our own! We’ve robbed God, not because we haven’t given Him our tithes and offerings, but because we’ve not given Him our lives. This is at the core of the Church’s captivity and reason for all our failures in producing true converts and true disciples who live for God’s glory, obey Christ’s commands, and carry out His great commission. Jesus has little access to His body and the ownership of His people. We dump sin but remain selfish. We make decisions outside of God’s will and plan for our lives.

God is interested in restoring His character in His people, and it begins with truly making Jesus Lord of our lives.

Now we have available a compelling tetralogy of books: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Spirit of Revival, and the newest release, The Real Jesus. Get your copy of these life changing books now in paperback or kindle. I promise you they will leave lasting deposits in your spirit and deepen your walk as a true disciple of Jesus. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES?

Knowing Jesus Christ will eventually lead a person to desire the corporate experience of assembling with the body of Christ. There is a love in our hearts to gather face to face with other believers and saints. Many have gotten lax with this expression of our faith.

We need revelation and understanding of the importance of the assembly, and what constitutes this meaningful expression. If you are hungry for the Lord Himself you will love to gather with those who are hungry, too. The love and hunger we have for the Lord is the piece that holds the assembly together. In today’s age this is becoming difficult to find. People gather for other reasons – to hear a sermon, to hear good worship music and singing (a band and choir), to socialize with others, to be entertained, etc. Many gather strictly out of duty, obligation, and tradition. Others gather only in the name of their church or denomination instead of truly in the Name of the Lord.

When people get lax and neglect the corporate assembly pastors will often admonish their people with a particular verse of Scripture. Hebrews 10:25 is often wielded to make people feel guilty about not attending a religious worship service. The message is, “If you don’t attend ‘church’ — which for them means a two-hour service, or now a one hour service, in a building on Sunday morning — you are ‘forsaking the assembly.’”

But is that what Hebrews 10:25 really means? Here’s the full text beginning with verse 24:

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Notice the words, “consider one another” and “exhorting one another” and “so much ore more as you see the Day approaching”. These verses are referring to gatherings where God’s people mutually participate in exhorting each other. It is vital to the life of the body to do this until the return of the Lord. The “assembling together” are open-participatory gatherings where the body of Christ functions, and the members share the Lord “with one another”.

Consequently, if none of your church gatherings allow for open participation and mutual exhortation from other members of the body, then you can’t use Hebrews 10:25 to put the Lord’s people under guilt and condemnation.

Now before anyone accuses me of sowing rebellion and disrespect in believers hearts toward the corporate assembly, let me explain. I’m not suggesting that we turn all our gatherings into a free-for-all where anyone can share whatever they feel like sharing.

First of all, we need to understand that there are different kinds of Christian meetings with different purposes. There are worship services, prayer meetings, teaching or seminar type meetings, revival services, evangelistic services, healing meetings, etc. In some of these types of meetings usually one minister will do the bulk of the teaching and preaching and ministering. But it is my personal conviction that the most common meeting in the early Church was the one described and outlined in 1 Cor. 14:26 where there was participation from the body. Of course, in those early days the believers met mostly in homes, so the setting for 1 Cor. 14:26 is more than likely in someone’s living room.

Now before anyone jumps to unfounded conclusions, I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to attend a traditional Sunday morning church service in a building. Not at all. Actually, my wife and I prefer the larger corporate expression when the Lord is present and the Spirit of God is moving, but we need both. There is a current house church, or so called “organic church” movement that still falls short of the 1 Cor. 14:26 expression. We’ve ministered in some of these house churches, and sadly, there is not a move of the Holy Spirit in most of them. In many of them people just sit around and share whatever is on their hearts. There is not the order of the Spirit and seasoned ministers to lead and direct the flow of the Spirit. Thus, there is a deadness that seems to prevail in many of these smaller house churches with minimum edification.

In a bigger building I find that you can still conduct 1 Cor. 14:26 type of meetings, but you should place some limitations on who can minister and have some form of protocol as to what those assigned to minister should do if they have something from the Spirit. And there should always be an interpreter present. If not, you could have a mess on your hands. In other words, allow seasoned ministers or those who’ve been trained to minister according to the leading of the Spirit. Give them liberty with some limitations according to 1 Cor. 14:27-31. From my experience this team ministry strikes a great balance, and adds an exciting dynamic to the corporate expression.

There is no perfect church, but we cannot disobey the Scriptures and forsake the assembly. You cannot love the Lord and despise the assembly. Jesus and His body, and the Father and His family, are forever joined together. And He has commissioned us to make disciples of all nations. Find the best vehicle and the best way to fulfill this mission, while refusing to neglect the assembling of ourselves together, whether in a building, a home, a barn, a tent, under a tree, etc or wherever. It’s not important where you assemble, but that you do assemble.

 

CHURCH MUST DRAIN THEIR OWN SWAMP OF DIRTY MONEY

Filthy lucre is mentioned several times in the New Testament, especially in regards to ministers. Filthy lucre is dirty money, or money obtained through greed. Ministering with a motive for money would qualify, or dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to a ministry office. Love for money disqualifies you for ministry and from the kingdom of heaven.

Not only is the love of money the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), but money in itself is also deceitful. The deceitfulness of riches is one kind of thorn that Jesus said chokes the Word and causes it to be unfruitful in one’s life (Mk. 4:19). Money by itself is not bad or evil; it’s a tool and we all need it, but it’s deceitful.

Paul warned Timothy about it and told him not to fellowship with anyone who considered gain to be godliness. Sounds like what many preach today, doesn’t it?

“…supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8-9).

THE JEWS EQUATED WEALTH WITH GODLINESS

In Bible days the Jews equated wealth with godliness. To them it was a sign of God’s blessing. In other words, if you were blessed financially it was because you were righteous and good. So you can see that from this doctrine and belief system of that day many rich Jews thought they would inherit eternal life and go to heaven based on their riches. This is the reason Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This is not just an account of the reality of heaven and hell, but the main subject here is money (Lk. 16:19-31). That is why the rich man seemed surprised when he found himself in hell (v. 25).

“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented (v. 25).”

That is also the reason the disciples were greatly astonished when Jesus told them that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19:23-26). The back drop to this teaching was when they heard Him tell the other rich young ruler to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then follow Jesus if he wanted to inherit eternal life (Mt. 19:16-22). As they say, money makes a great servant but a lousy master. Unless you become a bond servant to Jesus and can give it all away if He asked you to, money could just be more of a master to you than you thought. Be careful. Recently the Lord dealt with us about being in a fully consecrated position so that if He decided to bless us with large amounts of money we would not be ensnared or fall into temptation. If you want to be rich and desire wealth it can be a great temptation and a snare or trap that could hurt and destroy you.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Tim. 6:8-11).

Can it be any more clearer than this?

THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS

The Church of the Laodiceans had the same problem. They trusted in their riches and believed they had favor with God because of it. They thought they were rich, increased with goods, and had need of nothing, but Jesus told them that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17). What a deception!

Many Bible scholars believe the Laodicean church is the apostate church of the last days just before the return of the Lord. Just like the two rich men, they equated wealth, riches, and possessions with the blessing of God.  They didn’t know their true spiritual condition. Yet all that was necessary for them was to know what the Scriptures really said concerning money, instead of just believing what the rabbis and spiritual leaders of that day told them. Then they could’ve gotten in touch with their own hearts on the matter by communing with God, and He would’ve revealed the true condition of their hearts.

Isn’t that what we are seeing in our day? Many Christians believe more what the elevated teachers in our Christian culture say than what the Bible really teaches. I can tell you right now that some of the most popular teachers and preachers in the marketplace of Christianity today are on their way to destruction or will lose their reward if they don’t experience a rude awakening. Wealth and riches have become a snare to them and they are falling into foolish and hurtful lusts and erring from the faith, and piercing themselves through with  many sorrows. May God have mercy on their souls and help them to recover from this snare.

Here’s what’s happening on the earth today.

Both citizens of heaven and hell are being numbed and dulled by the effects of their flesh and senses, so that they cannot feel the full force of the atmospheres of their respective kingdoms. There is a spirit and an effect in the atmosphere of this world that stops conviction, and this effect is in the worldly church as well. 

THE YOUNG DEMONIAC THAT I CAST THE DEVIL OUT OF

I don’t have time to go into the details of this marvelous deliverance, but I will share the high points. Several years ago I cast the devil out of a 19 year boy while conducting meetings in the nation of Gambia, West Africa. We brought him to Jesus, got him filled with the Holy Sprit, and enrolled him in Bible school afterwards. Praise the Lord!

Immediately following his deliverance I interviewed him. I discovered that evil spirits had visited him since he was seven years of age and enticed him to enter into a covenant with them. For  a dozen years or so the devil would grant the boy pleasures and then inflict pain upon him and beat him, more pleasures and then  more pain, until it became almost unbearable for him. I asked him if he had sought freedom and help from other Christians and churches. He said he had, but none were strong enough to help him. In one incident the evil spirit in him ransacked the office of a large Charismatic church and slapped the pastor in the face when they tried to cast the evil spirit out of him. Here’s what the evil spirit spoke: “This church has no power because they don’t live holy and all they talk about is money!” Can you believe a devil said that? Demons know churches. Demons know men.

“And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15)

This church had no power over the evil spirit in this boy because they were unholy and full of greed and covetousness. Their powerlessness was due to these impurities. Don’t think that these things don’t matter because they do. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I know that God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable and God may use individuals for a time even when they are living in sin, but soon judgment catches up with them if they don’t repent. But when it comes to the corporate anointing and power in a church, money impurities and greed dilute it and make the church ineffective.

We’ve got to repent and drain the swamp in the church of dirty money before true restoration can come. God’s house must be a house of prayer and not a den of thieves.