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.

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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! 

AMERICA’S HELL ENLARGING THROUGH “CHRISTIAN” HYPOCRISY

The past week’s news headlines in America are a laboratory analysis and forecast of the perfect storm that is lambasting our falling nation.

America mourns as basketball legend Kobe Bryant dies, and every news station, sports talk show outlet, and media center in America covers his death and celebrates his achievements in a sport. Meanwhile, a pastor in Nigeria is beheaded for refusal to deny Christ, and no one cares.

I wrote an article a couple of days after Kobe’s untimely death about the vanity of a celebrity gaining the whole world and possibly losing his own soul, and Christians defend him and his Catholic faith, and call me a classless individual who wrote a “creepy post mortem commentary”. The article’s purpose was to simply put us in remembrance of the brevity and vanity of life without Christ, the permanence of eternity, and was a simple call to salvation.

The truth is America and many professing Christians don’t want their American dream deflated. They don’t want to know that there is a God they’re accountable to. They are like the disbelieving brothers of Jesus of whom He said:

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

AMERICA HATES THE REAL BIBLICAL JESUS

America hates the real Biblical Jesus. Many professing “Christians” do, too, including many of our celebrities. The stronghold in America is not the sinners who love the world, but the professing “Christians” who praise Him with their mouth but whose heart is far from Him — the ones who confess His Name but in works deny Him.

Folks, here is the big problem. Many of our celebrities and star athletes confess Jesus and have “God-talk” on their lips but they do not live for Him. As an example, the Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whom I love by the way, is being lauded for his faith in God since his childhood, yet he is living with his girlfriend and parties with his teammates. There are numerous other examples of this type of double standard and hypocrisy in America’s entertainment industry and among our celebrities.

But here’s the worse thing: American preachers defend the faith of these individuals and praise them. They exalt them before our youth as an example of a bold Christian witness, but they’re living in sin. We not only have frauds in the entertainment industry, but the high crime is that we have them in our pulpits.

Mahomes says he participates in team Bible studies and chapel services, but who is leading them and conducting them? Who is mentoring young men like him and others, and giving them the whole counsel of God. Who speaks of sin any more? Who tells them their lives are wrong? What preacher in America lives up to this job description?

“Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).

Observe the many comments from the sleazy Super Bowl halftime show. Some of those entertainers are professing Christians. Many viewers who defended the show are professing Christians. It’s alarming to me that a professing Christian could watch this halftime show and not sense the Lord’s displeasure and be grieved in their spirit. Listen, if you are in that category, you are asleep and in great need of a rude awakening. You need to repent of your false profession and your compromise against holiness.

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Have you ever read the following verses?

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:3-7).

Much of “Christian” America doesn’t even know such verses are in the Bible. Such popular figures like mayor and presidential candidate Pete Puttigieg are professing “Christians” who are in a same sex marriage relationship. Honestly, it makes me want to vomit when I see half of our nation idolizing such effeminate men. Oh God, how far we have fallen from Biblical standards in America!

THE PERFECT STORM

The deception is rooted in this simple statement: We have divorced Christianity from the Bible. America is a homosexual nation because we celebrate this lifestyle and cater to them all. America’s new religion is sex in all forms, and in all fashions. We have been desensitized to sin and seduced by sex. We are a hell bound nation. The worst of it is that our children are bearing the brunt of our lust and being exploited by the thousands in the sex trafficking industry, which is so much worse than any of us know. This is all about shock value and bringing down our nation’s defenses, so that after awhile it won’t bother you.

I know many of you don’t want to hear it, but it was the Obama presidency that opened the portal of sexuality here in America to a greater measure, and accelerated this vile filth from the pits of hell. Political authority from those eight disastrous years allowed a hell-bent, full-blown deviant spirit to rule, while the church played church grow-thism and designed a consumer model to keep attendance convenient and carnal.

And worse yet, now that a true presidential leader is putting a strangle hold on some of the darkness and prevailing progressivism, and draining the national swamp of its evil, people are having hissy fits as they scream for their Sodom and Gomorrah to remain unrestricted and unrestrained. Even professing Christians are now unashamedly Trump-haters, bashing our president at every turn. Stars of champion professional sports teams, who profess Christianity, boycott their visit to the White House in protest of the most Biblical and church friendly president we’ve ever had. Shame on you. You are poor, wretched, blind, and naked.

This double standard and highly hypocritical Christianity is a recipe for disaster. It’s the perfect storm. A sleepy church and a sinful society. Unholy Christ professors and a hell bent nation. Cowards and frauds in our pulpits who won’t preach the full truth, while the world parties on into eternal damnation.

Lord, have mercy.

We must possess an unwavering stand for truth and righteousness to thrive in the new era. Read about it in my new book, The Tumultuous 2020s. I believe it will be a great blessing to you. Here’s what Dr. Jeff Thompson said about it:

Please let me take a minute to recommend what I believe to be one of the most powerful prophetic addresses that i have ever read. Bert Farias pulls no punches and lays out a non-compromised Biblical Worldview regarding the “hot-button” issues of our day. Bible-believing Christians cannot afford to be complacent.

Bert’s 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.

THE TUMULTUOUS 2020s: THREE MODERN DAY FALLACIES DEFILING THE CHURCH

I heard a popular television preacher recently say this: “If God judges America He’s going to have to apologize to Jesus.”

But the Word says: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12).

And this:

“The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the Day of Judgment” (2 Pet. 2:9).

The first fallacy in today’s visible mainstream church world is ignorance concerning God’s judgments and even wrath.

FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S JUDGMENTS

The aforementioned preacher’s understanding lacks balance and the whole counsel of God. He says that Jesus bore our judgment and therefore God will not judge America or anyone for that matter. Honestly, this belief system is the edge of universalism.

It says Jesus bore everyone’s judgment on the cross, so no one will be judged. Everyone is okay. Everyone will be saved in the end. Actually, it is this popular view that has opened a large door to so much deception in the church. It breeds a lackadaisical spirit and an absence of holy fear in most Christians. It emphasizes a positional truth at the expense of an experiential truth.

In fact, Romans 1 offers specific proof that America is already under the judgment of God.

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth through unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).

God’s wrath is already being revealed. Present tense. In other words, we don’t need to wait until the Day of Judgment to see God’s wrath. It is being demonstrated now. You need to read the rest of the verses that follow this verse to see this.

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness” (Rom. 1:24a).

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions” (Rom. 1:26a).

God gave them over to a debased mind” (Rom. 1:28b).

These verses are talking about sexual immorality, specifically the sin of homosexuality and lesbianism. The entire so-called sexual revolution is a product of God’s wrath. America has been under the judgment of God for decades! We’ve praised AIDS victims as if they are heroes, but in actuality, it is the penalty of their sin that they have received (Rom. 1:27).

In fact, when those who practice such things that are deserving of death, also approve of others who practice them (v. 32) it is one of God’s final signs of His wrath on a society.

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE PRESENT JUDGMENT OF GOD UNDER THE NEW COVENANT

This list does not include the promised future judgments of God that are also found throughout the New Testament.

1.  The wrath of God is currently and continually abiding upon all those who reject Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 3:36).

2.  Ananias and Sapphira (believers) are struck down dead for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10).

3.  King Herod is struck dead by an angel of the Lord for not giving God glory (Acts 12:20-23).

4.  Elymas the magician is struck blind “by the hand of the Lord” for being a fraud and son of the devil (Acts 13:8-12).

5.  The immoral brother is judged and handed over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh (1 Cor 5).

6.  Believers are judged and become sick, some even die, for not judging themselves before partaking of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor 11:27-32). 

When you take away the present wrath and judgment of God from the New Covenant you are changing the word of God and removing your name from the book of life and the holy city (Rev. 22:19). You are guilty of creating a god made in your own image and participating in an antichrist agenda.

Wake up, church! What are some of these preachers saying? God’s judgment and wrath are already here! Can they escape? Yes, if they turn to God in sincere repentance, they can still receive His mercy and be saved and delivered. But many will not do so.

CROOKED VIEW OF HOLINESS

The second fallacy in much of the church world today is a total misunderstanding of true holiness. In fact, the Lord told me that there’s been a diabolical silence on it. I believe that restoring the beauty of biblical holiness in the Church is a critical ingredient to healing the moral confusion in our culture. As the Church goes, so goes the world. Our disproportionate view of holiness is one of the big reasons there is so much of the spirit of the world in the Church.

True holiness has gotten such a bad rap and is looked upon with a sort of disdain, as being primitive, outdated, and just not culturally relevant. We need to realize, however, that negative experiences or unsound teaching does not nullify the real meaning, necessity, and beauty of God’s holiness.

One of my favorite definitions of holiness as it applies to believers is that it is a moral dedication and a life committed to purity of thought, word, motive, and deed. At the center of that definition is the fact of being set apart or consecrated to God’s purposes. in other words, we are not to be conformed to the world’s ideals, patterns, or standards, but to God’s nature and will.

But even more importantly, holiness has more to do with whom we belong to. To whom do we give our loyalty, love, and allegiance to? To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and is set apart for His purposes. This is the theme of the apostolic letters to the early churches. How are some believers, even preachers, missing that today?

“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)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…” (Heb. 12:14).

A distorted view of holiness, or simply the ignorance of it, is clouding our understanding of God’s true love. When God is seen as a loving, non-demanding pushover whose love overrides His holiness, whose grace no longer teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts then people will live in accordance with that belief and come under the judgment of God. Permissiveness and promiscuity will be prevalent.

This brings me to the third big fallacy I see in the church today and that is the false concept of the love of God.

WRONG CONCEPT OF THE TRUE LOVE OF GOD

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

There’s a sentimental mushy kind of love expressed in the church and lives of so-called Christians today that falls so short of the real God-kind of love. It is a love not based on truth and deeds.

For example, one of the hot controversial topics today is that of the aforementioned homosexuality. More and more people in the church world are accepting it and now celebrating it. Entire denominations are now ordaining gay clergy. This is being done all in the name of love. But it is so clear from the Word of God that this is a complete abomination that should have no place whatsoever in the church. There are churches and entire denominations turning into “synagogues of Satan” “where his throne is” (Rev. 2:9,13). Doctrines like this are the “depths of Satan” (Rev. 2:24).

Does this mean we stop loving gay people? Of course not; we should love them all the more because they are in grave danger, but we must do so in all kindness, wisdom, and love, speaking the truth to them. But most people will hate you for it as they did Jesus.

“No man was ever more loving than Jesus Christ. Yet even His love made people angry. His love was a perfect love, a transcendent and holy love, but His very love brought trauma to people. This kind of love is so majestic we can’t stand it.” (R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God).

You see, love must be mixed with truth and holiness for it to pass the biblical test. As I said, today we are altering the Scriptures because we don’t like certain verses that contradict the lifestyle that we or our friends may be living. Many have removed God’s judgments and wrath, holiness, and hell, right out of the Bible. It’s one of the signs of these evil last days we are living in.

We may criticize what is happening in the world all we want, but judgment must begin in the house of God if we desire to see His glory and the awakening that many of us have been praying for. Let us remove the evil from us. Let not any form of sexual  immorality be even named among us (Eph. 5:3).

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins first with us, what shall the end be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).

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KEY TO CLEANSING THE LATTER HOUSE: JUDGMENT AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD

I believe there is no other way the modern day Church will be cleansed from all its hypocrisy and impurities derived from the worship  of mammon, except through judgment that produces the fear of the Lord. It may come through hardship, death, or even a crisis of massive proportions such as a civil war to bring this about. The landscape of Christianity must be cleansed, so that the Church’s impact can be much more far reaching. Without widespread and deep repentance and awakening,  this may be the only solution and remedy to the current idolatrous condition of the church world. The power and glory of God may not be restored to the Church any other way. We are so far gone and numb to the true condition of the nation and the Church that this may be the only remedy to true restoration (see this recent article by my friend Michael L. Brown – How Can We Be So Numb?). A severe shaking may be our last line of hope.

Let’s take a close look at the first miracle of judgment in the early Church that cleansed it immediately of the sin and hypocrisy that was seeking entrance. This judgment kept it strong and pure and increased its power and impact.

“In hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things” (Acts 5:5).

“At once she (Sapphira) fell down at his feet and died. Upon entering, the young men found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear came on the entire church and on all those who heard these things. Many signs and wonders were performed among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Porch. No one else dared join them, but the people respected them. Believers were increasingly added to the Lord, crowds of both men and women” (Acts 5:10-14).

Can you see how this cleansing led to increased fear and power with many believers being added to the Lord?

We often forget these portions of Scripture and how this judgment produced the component of the fear of the Lord, which stopped this lie and other impurities from having access into the early Church, thus preserving its white hot purity and keeping it from being defiled. This miracle of judgment contributed to the glory, power, and growth of the early Church. Notice also the effect it had on the people:

“No one else dared join them (the disciples), but the people respected them” (Acts 5:13).

The Message Bible says it this way: “But even though people admired them a lot, outsiders were wary about joining them. On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Master were added right and left, men and women both.”

Could these incidents of judgment in the early Church be a type and shadow of what we may expect in the last days Church in both the coming judgment and glory:

Could it be that preachers who have peddled the word of God for gain have their ministries judged and some even be publicly humiliated and taken out of the way?

Could churches and ministries that have been built on compromise and the wisdom of man see a mass exodus as people begin to seek pure truth and authenticity as well as the reality of the Holy Spirit and the power of God?

Could we see organizations and companies who have used their power and wealth to persecute the righteous be shaken and some big CEO’s even die? Could we also see the same type of judgement on leaders of nations who persecute the glorious Church and do not give glory to God (think of king Herod; Acts 12:23)?

I believe we will see these kind judgments again but only as the glory increases and is restored to the true Church.

POLARIZATION: ONE EFFECT OF GOD’S JUDGMENTS AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD

The judgment that fell on Ananias and Sapphira caused sinners to be leery of joining themselves to the apostles and the church while at the same time gaining public respect and influence. This divided or polarized those who were not interested in genuine repentance and living whole-heartedly for the Lord from the multitudes that were being genuinely converted and being added to the church. Oh how we need this work done today in this era of postmodern and so called progressive Christianity! It would root out so much complacency, carnality, and compromise.

The dividing line was very distinct in the early Church. In a day when we are trying to include everyone into our sheepfolds by toning down on the demands of the gospel, there was a certain exclusivity that the judgments of God and the fear of the Lord produced in the Church’s earliest beginnings. People couldn’t enter in with sin in their lives. In many places today, it is difficult to tell the difference between the Christian and non-Christian, but not in the early Church. God wants to restore this polarization in the Church of today.

This is an excerpt from my newest book awaiting its release, THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE, RESTORING THE GLORY TO THE LATTER DAY CHURCH. 

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