A GENERATION OBSESSED WITH POPULARITY

The majority of the largest churches today are where itching ears and sweet teeth abound. Messages are candy-coated. Words are sugary. Everything must sound nice with spice, pleasant without pain, and affirming with approval. Extra caution is taken not to offend or upset anyone, lest they and their money leave the church. Too many preachers are being deceitful, flattering for favors, and failing to give the full counsel of God.

But notice what the Living Bible says about our responsibility to properly handle the Word of God:

“We do not try to trick people into believing—we are not interested in fooling anyone. We never try to get anyone to believe that the Bible teaches what it doesn’t. All such shameful methods we forego. We stand in the presence of God as we speak and so we tell the truth, as all who know us will agree” (2 Cor. 4:2).

When is the last time you heard an authentic message on the judgments of God? I heard Francis Chan recently say that he went through his Bible marking every verse on judgment with a pink highlighter or pen and every promise of God with blue. To his surprise, he found pink dominated blue by quite a margin. He discovered that the ratio was approximately 2-1. Why does hardly anyone preach on God’s judgments? Why does that seem like a dirty word when the Word is full of it?

Jesus spoke often of death and the judgment to come.  He spoke of hell quite a bit, too. And the frequency by which He spoke of these things agrees with the pattern of the entire New Testament.  Actually, there are 234 references of death, hell, and judgment in 260 chapters of the NT.  Isn’t it disturbing that so few preachers today preach on these vitally important themes?  We’ve practically taken them out of the gospel.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not come preaching love and acceptance as so many Biblically illiterate people tout. He preached this: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

What about the fear of the Lord? His severity? The all consuming fire of His holiness? The Lord spoke to me years ago saying that there had been a diabolical silence on holiness, and then I wrote a book (The Real Spirit of Revival) on these lost themes and understated truths. It’s still a great need in today’s church.

Image result for image of full counsel of God

OTHER QUESTIONS

Let me ask you a few other questions: When was the last time you heard a message that was highlighted by correction, reproof, and rebuke?

When was the last time you were deeply convicted of your sins or some form of idolatry or lust in your life?

When is the last time you walked out of a church service with a holy consciousness of God gripping you?

Have you heard a message on sexual sin in any recent time? No wonder pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and divorce continue to rise.

What about a message on the blood, the cross, or hell?

Friends, by neglecting to preach on these vitally important themes, we are equipping a generation for popularity and training them for reputation. We’re fueling their appetite for fame, fortune, and fashion, while depriving them of holy fire that schools their senses to discern between the love of this world and the love of the Father.

Much of this generation likes pomp and pageantry, but they don’t like their hearts pricked with conviction. They enjoy having their egos stroked rather than poked. They like hearing how wonderful they are without ever having their feelings hurt. They enjoy having their consciences soothed with smooth sermons, but not scorched with Spirit-filled scoldings.

WOE UNTO YOU

This generation counts their likes and follows on social media more than they count how many days its been since they’ve actually prayed and waited on God. Social time always trumps Bible time. They love the praises of men, but despise the chastening of the Lord. They sing and wave their streamers, flags, and banners on Sunday morning in church, but never weep, groan, and travail for the sinful condition of those outside of church.

We are clucking too many for the cruise ship, but not building them up for the battle ship. We are pampering too many for the party life, but not preparing them for Christ’s purpose.  We are breeding them for peace and ease, but not schooling them for the conflict and the struggle.

This generation is obsessed with popularity, but not prepared for persecution.

Have we forgotten the Lord’s own admonition: Woe unto you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). 

The spiritual diet of this generation must be greatly altered or here’s what we will see in the very near future:

  1. Living together outside of marriage (fornication), adultery, and divorce will continue to rise in the next generation.
  2. The trend in the church (if not altered) is that most of our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will attend a church that says you can be a gay Christian.
  3. Evangelical pastors will vote for a gay president sooner rather than later. Already some are defending Mayor Pete’s lifestyle.
  4. Instead of the preaching of the cross, social justice and a happiness gospel will dominate the sermons of most evangelical pastors.
  5. Theological schools will become more and more corrupted with seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Their graduates will become twice the child of hell their professors are.
Mark it down. We’ve got work to do to turn this around.
Pastors and parents, it starts with you. Apostles and prophets must lay this foundation. If we resist the idol of ministry success, the love of money, and a lust for power the Lord can work. We can make headway and push back the carnality and compromise. Consumer-driven church and image-based ministry must go. Man pleasing agendas and the pursuit of popularity must stop.

Do you want to survive or thrive in this decade? You must take an uncompromised stand for truth and righteousness. Please get my new book, The Tumultuous 2020s and Beyond, to discover all that’s at stake in the coming years. We must be bold, fearless, and strong in the Lord. 

For more of the same please make some time to listen to the Charisma podcast interview I did this past week. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support! 

A CLARION CALL TO HOLINESS

During our recent Holy Ghost Forum the spirit of prophecy was prominent. The following utterance released the fear of the Lord. Please watch it. He that has an ear let him hear.

A clarion call to holiness 

“Pursue … holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:14-15).

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

The subject of holiness has taken a bad rap. It has almost become a dirty word, an outdated and primitive theme in many Christian circles. Nowadays Christians equate it with living by rules and dos and don’ts. Many equate it to legalism, salvation by works, or attempting to earn God’s approval from a system of works. But what does the Bible say about true holiness?

First of all, holiness is not salvation. Holiness is not something you pursue in order to obtain salvation; it is something you are set apart for after salvation. It is what true converts pursue and perfect in their new life and walk with God.

Holiness is the likeness of God. It is the total summation of all His attributes. It is to be as Jesus is. He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person, and so we are to be conformed to His image.

What many Christians fail to realize is that holiness, like a lively flowing stream that cuts through a dense forest, is the theme that runs through all the epistles. It is to be our post-salvation and post-Pentecost life and walk with God. It is what one Pentecostal scholar called “Pentecostal Pedestrianism” or “rule of the road”. It is the walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16) (Rom. 8:13), and the pursuit of God and sanctification that we are to walk in for the rest of our lives, especially as the Lord’s coming draws near (1 Thes. 5:23).

We affirm again that indeed holiness and sanctification are the supreme themes of the apostolic letters to the churches. The emphasis being on the gracious sufficiency of every saint to live a life of victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil in every area of life – whether it be at home with family, at work with employers and employees, or within the church and community. The epistles are full, full, full of such instructions while many churches today are nearly empty of any.

The overall body of teaching in the New Testament epistles implicitly implies that believers who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit still needed to “put off the old man and put on the new man”, “be doers of the Word and not hearers only”, “be diligent to make your calling and election sure”, “contend for the faith”, and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. There was no automatic rule that once they had started well they were certain to go on well and finish well. The very opposite was true – their going on was dependent upon a constant appropriation of sanctifying grace and power through a continually renewed fullness of the Spirit, and faithful obedience to the Word.

It was also the regular care of the ministers of Christ in the early Church to remind and exhort the believers in the various local assemblies to “not receive the grace of God in vain”, to “not be deceived”, “to not drift away”, “to stir one another to love and good works”, and to “be rich in good works”. Even in Christian churches that were throbbing with the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit it was the habit of its ministers to expound on sound doctrine and teach and exhort the saints with all authority on living an exemplary life of holiness lest their testimony spoil their witness.

Beware of those who make light of holiness and water down the necessity of it with greasy grace, lollipop love, and mushy mercy that are void of the spirit of truth.

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.