Friday, September 27, 2019
Little motivates people more to change than a doctor’s order to “do this or die”; or “do that or suffer the consequences”; or “if you care about living, change your diet”, etc. People generally respond to medical warnings if one’s temporal physical life is imperiled. Likewise, one should be even more attentive to the warnings and consequences of spiritual eternal life or death, that is, IF the choice of “life and death, blessing and cursing” (Deut. 30:19)” is set before the people with Holy Spirit-led conviction that produces believing faith, humility, confession and repentance.
If the spiritual reality, however, is infringed upon by self-preservation, tradition, love of money, or selfish ambition, the truths of eternal life and death will be lost. The latter describes much of the Western church. Many are often empowered by a highly watered-down gospel that requires little to no personal introspection. In fact, it’s common practice to tell people that they’re ok just like they are. As a result, many in the church do not know that one “must be born again” (John 3:3), “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38), “deny himself” (Luke 9:23), “count the cost” (Luke 14:28), and “humble himself” (Matt. 18:4) to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). However, humble, child-like faith wages spiritual war against the flesh. Yet, that’s essential for gaining eternal life. But too often theological precedence is based, not on the infallibility of Christ, but on fallible man’s religious preference as suits his denominational constructs.
A qualified medical doctor will tell his patient the unvarnished truth of one’s physical condition. If the patient is willing to hear the truth, he will then act on the doctor’s advice that his condition be healed. Likewise, a qualified pastor will tell his flock the unequivocal truth that each one, by nature, is spiritually sick, proud and lost, destined to an eternal hell, where “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15), causing one’s will to be humbled to repentant faith and salvation. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). And in this age God seeks qualified men pastors and teachers who will by faith be His ambassadors to the world and church.
But there’s great conflict between the testimony of Jesus Christ and denominational churches of men. In fact, so much so that most Christian pastors and teachers refuse to defend the Words of Christ for both the end-times and for salvation. Thousands of ministers and teachers are all too willing to let millions of people go along in blind ignorance which will result in deep offense, just in order to protect their long-established traditions. Many say they’ve been called to preach and teach God’s Word, yet rebel against the testimony of Jesus to protect their own interests.
Please help lead your families and friends, both in the church and without, in the teachings of Christ for these critical end-times. Lead them to actually believe the testimony of Jesus Christ that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), and to prepare in His truths, that “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). This requires humility, repentance from unbelief, and self-denial, and “let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). “And all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). A liar, like a murderer, does not have eternal life in him.
Love, honor and defend the Word of God because “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5–6). Keep His truth in your heart and mind as you listen to pastors and teachers and others who hold religious and spiritual influence. The written Word of God is critical to you and I knowing the truth, so, let’s use truth to cast untruth, tradition and conjecture to the ground.
Consider carefully the Words of the Holy Spirit that “the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear?’” (1 Peter 4:17–18). Do not believe the profane pre-tribulation rapture lie, because it’s deceived many believers, having given them a false hope that will lead to an end-time offense.
Every credentialed pastor and teacher of the pre-trib rapture has taught it knowing that the testimony of Christ speaks opposite to it. That’s the power of tradition for which Jesus said makes “the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13). On multiple fronts the institutional church makes the Word of God of no effect, and then we wonder why there’s little to no spiritual fire, discernment and knowledge of the truth. Ask ten adults in your church to explain “repentance from dead works…faith toward God…baptisms, laying on of hands…resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:1–2), and you’ll likely get ten different answers.
Humble, child-like faith simply believes the written Word of Christ who saved him. The term, child-like, however, does not suit the intellectual mind because it frustrates the hard sought after theological appetites and traditions of men. It was for this very reason, however, that the Apostle Paul, who in his day was unsurpassed in intellectual and theological excellence, counted “them [meaning his academic credentials] but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8 KJV).
Again, hear Christ – “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Tradition is proud and loves to vaunt itself above God’s Word in order to increase its own following. But Jesus said “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14). Pay close attention whenever Jesus says many and few.
Marlin J. Yoder