Friday, September 15, 2017
Jesus Christ is returning to earth for a Bride who has “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14), a Bride who “overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). Jesus is returning for a Bride who lives by His Word, not against it. But many, deceived, live according to the word and will of man.
God said, “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. 4:3–4). Therefore, we must judge ourselves, lest we become part of those who “will not endure sound doctrine”.
Only God knows the point at which the god of self-will encounters His judgment. Or shall we think that God doesn’t visit judgment on those having His Word but reject it? Shall we say, our mission is to teach people to believe in Jesus, and that’s all that matters? No, that’s not all that matters, because “Even the demons believe – and tremble!” (James 2:19). God is not one-sided. He commissioned believers to teach “all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).
God’s grace and patience is not unlimited toward those who contradict His Word. There comes a point when enough is enough. Be encouraged to read the many biblical examples and take heed because “all these things happened to them [ancient Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).
Deceivers gain the praise of many by teaching grace and love while ignoring God’s judgments and discipline for sin, rebellion and unbelief. They capitalize on people not being discerning or skilled in the Word. Thus, many professing Christians do not know the God of the Bible, but a one-sided god of their own creation. Yet, when Jesus taught the cost of being His true follower, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).
Whole truth does not benefit the deceiver in popularity or wealth, thus, many teach half-truths coupled with human reasoning, which grossly misrepresents God, but gains man notoriety and praise. But God said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh” (Gen. 6:3). Remember this: a half-truth is deception, and equals a whole lie. Be discerning of it.
As Christians we should know that, “he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1 Cor. 2:15). But for many years now the church has increasingly taught the opposite, and agreed with the world that we may judge nothing. The prohibition to judging, then, naturally extends to the refusal of even judging oneself for sin and unbelief.
God calls our attention to being deceived, saying, “if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31–32). But because many are unable to discern even the communion table of the Lord, God said, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30) meaning that many have fallen and even died under God’s judgment.
Such judgment is not new with God, but is His holiness. For example: “Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the Lord struck him and he died” (2 Chron. 13:20); and of Jehoram King of Judah, “After all this the Lord struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease. Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain” (2 Chron. 21:18–19). And of King Herod, “Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:23). And God struck both Ananias and his wife Sapphira dead who lied to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament church, (Acts 5:1–11).
Remember that God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6), and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Therefore, we know that God yet judges men and women today with illnesses, diseases, and even death, for bearing false witness of His Word, and leading others to disobedience with them. But only God knows when such judgment occurs.
Yet, there’s much rebellion in the church today, but few care. For example: though God said “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14), many women serve in pastoral and deacon’s offices of teaching authority specifically reserved for men. God will not ignore such disobedience indefinitely. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Though God said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:43–45), and “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3), many pastors praise Christians who covenant with the world and wage war against our enemies. But God promised, “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52).
And though God said He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), most pastors protecting their tradition teach that God will gather His elect before the tribulation, a direct contradiction to Jesus’ teachings, and imagine, the large majority of people in the church believe them! These false teachers have created what will become an offense of unimaginable proportion that will suddenly lead “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3), and they will be culpable.
God, “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God, who desires repentance, said, “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand” (Deut. 32:39). Again, God said, “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isa. 45:7).
Most pastors deliberately avoid passages such as Duet. 32:39 and Isa. 45:7 because it doesn’t benefit their popularity and cultural-accommodation to teach that the God of the Bible enacts judgments on people based upon His holiness and justice. Consequently, many think God is a sugar-daddy, blessing and promoting them to do according to their self-will.
The above three examples are just a snapshot of many where self-will and tradition govern the church. I’ve prayed for years that Christians would wake up and embrace the truth of God’s Word, and make self-will the subject of confession and repentance that God’s Kingdom, and not man’s ear-tickling traditions, be praised and exalted, which requires honoring Christ above man.
Many in the church know exactly what God’s Word says but in self-will ignore Scriptures that are counter-culture because they fear man more than God. That kind of ministry creates a false god in many hearts and minds. People must be taught to love and honor the Word of God, not ignore it. If leaders and their people cannot endure God’s Word in good times now, how will they possibly endure the 7-year tribulation when times are deceptively hard and difficult?
Millions of people suffer tragically in the Caribbean, the Keys, in Florida and Texas due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Many had made no preparations to endure such calamity. Soon, Antichrist, “shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (Dan. 9:27), meaning seven years. And that covenant will set in motion greater disasters in the final 7 years of this age.
The devastation wrought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma are nothing compared to what’s coming to this world during Antichrist’s 7-year reign. Many scoff at making preparation for such times, but the day will come when they will wish they had believed God and prepared as did the five wise virgins of Matt. 25:1–13. I encourage you to prepare, for God has given us ample warning.
God is love, but He is also a God of divine judgment. Be encouraged to judge yourself, awaking your spirit to whole truth, not according to traditions of men, but by the truth of God’s Word. Be filled with God’s knowledge, discernment and whole truth. Endure “sound doctrine” and refuse self-willed false teachers who turn many ears away from the truth. You will be eternally grateful when you “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).
Marlin J. Yoder