Friday, November 1, 2019
Christian teaching to one point of view, absent the authority of Christ on the subject, produces religious indoctrination, and when found false, produces rebellion and offense. Christ called it a lukewarm love. Elie Wiesel said “We must takes sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim”. And Leonardo da Vinci said “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence”.
Regarding love for God and fellowman, if the end-times testimony of Christ is silenced, love for God and people cools off. Similarly, if vital truths are kept from children, in time love for parents grows cold. And Jesus said of the end-times “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). Lawlessness, and love grown cold are reciprocal end-time signs.
“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed. O Lord come!” (1 Cor. 16:22), a strong Word for all who profess Christ. As Paul penned those Words 2,000 years ago, his spirit yearned for the Lord’s return. And by the Holy Spirit, Paul preached that to love the Lord Jesus meant to deny oneself and proclaim the testimony of Jesus as did also the other apostles.
God’s Word defines love, not men or women, not pastors or theologians, and certainly not the culture. True love is defined by the work and testimony of Jesus Christ, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). To believe “in Him”, means to believe Him, otherwise “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
When God’s Word says that “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16), it means abiding in the testimony of Christ. Otherwise we’re deceived, for “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). In like manner, if by silence, fear or tradition, someone does not by faith love the testimony of Jesus which is seen, God’s love is hated, making man a liar.
Love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6); and again, Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6). Thus, if anyone says he loves Christ, yet denies, suppresses or is dismissive of His end-time truths, he is guilty before God of hating the testimony of Jesus. Yet, that chilled love has been occurring in the church for many years, secretly silencing, forbidding, even explaining away, not just end-time truths, but also other truths, in order to protect its pre-trib rapture and other traditions.
Jesus Christ said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”, and then left us with our commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18–20). All that Christ commanded includes the end-times, and “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3). Yet, by its theological teaching most of the church makes God’s end-time commands a thing to be ignored by exchanging Christ’s post-trib rapture truth for its ear-tickling pre-trib rapture lie. Woe! Woe!
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). It’s accurately been said that “If Satan is allowed to float one lie on an ocean of truth, he wins”. One needs to look no further than Lucifer’s deception of Eve in the Garden to confirm that truth when Satan said “Has God indeed said?” (Gen. 3:1). On numerous issues, the evangelical church by its traditions also says “Has God indeed said?” and turns away from “the doctrine of Christ”!
Love for God and the testimony of Jesus has cost thousands of men persecution, exile and death. Where, in the church, are the preachers and teachers willing to suffer the same for the testimony of Jesus? Most hide behind the safety zone of traditions, careful to protect themselves and their ministries from harm by compromising the truth “making the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13). Many are guilty of dismantling God’s Word; to nullify and void the testimony of God.
There’s a widespread schism of unbelief and lukewarm Laodicean works against Christ. It exchanges truth for a lie, which can be summed up in one word: Lawlessness. And “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). And as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I can attest to lawlessness in the organized church, having been the recipient of numerous rebukes from a traditions-oriented love grown cold…JUST for teaching the truths of Jesus Christ rather than traditions of men which God’s Word prove entirely false.
Some reading this have also been recipient of hostilities for defending Christ against evangelical traditions. Some have shared your stories with me, we’re not alone, nor is our experience unique. Take heart, because that’s how religion treated many servants of Christ before us who carried the cross of Christ above traditions and doctrines of men. For 2,000 years the religious establishment has routinely outed those who did not toe the line of tradition. We are proof of God’s promise – “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done” (Eccl. 1:9).
Discern the signs of the times, and no matter the opposition, do not exchange the testimony of God, but “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come [and now is] 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).
Jesus said “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32). Trusting in His truth, Christ gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29-31), “in the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6), “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51-52), when “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15), because Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV).
Marlin J. Yoder