Friday, February 21, 2020
If there was ever a time in human history that the world calls right wrong and wrong right, it’s now. It’s a clear identifier of the end of this present age. But God said “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). Yet, that assessment marks the world, and sadly, even much of the church. How did it happen?
Not suddenly, but slowly, incrementally. Like creeping tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface grinding and shifting until suddenly the pressure results in an earthquake. Likewise are the forces of good and evil, right and wrong. And as those opposing forces meet one will indeed overpower the other. Consequently, it’s imperative to know and embrace the truths of Christ.
Jesus Christ and His Spirit are “the truth” (John 14:6). All other gods and spirits deceive. God’s promise is that “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You” (Isa. 26:3). That’s important, and will become even more crucial as we move deeper into the end-times. If we will faithfully endure to the end, our heart and mind must be stayed on Christ and His Word; not on the organized church; and certainly not on traditions. One’s spiritual integrity and safety depends wholly on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ according to His written Word.
But, if we hold the written Word of God as the truth, we will quickly find ourselves unpopular, ridiculed and unwelcome. Why? Because Jesus said the gate and path to eternal life is “narrow and difficult…and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14). So, because narrow and difficult is highly unpopular, many churches make money and pleasing this world more popular than Christ, and then wonder why there’s so much depression, suicide, and immorality in the church. But faithful preaching of the unvarnished truth of life vs. death would change that.
Unless you live as a hermit, you know the end of this present age is upon us. Committed Bible-believing Christians are now branded as The Religion of Hatred. Then too, there are Christian Witches To Host Annual Convention In Salem On Easter Weekend. And once again, another Former pastor fatally shoots himself, wife and son also found dead. And now Former AG [Assemblies of God] Church in Texas Falls for Deception, Fully Embraces Homosexuality. Some ministers even try to create their own miracles to gain a following. You can’t make this stuff up! Witches, murder, self-murder, and lying miracles are all sins that lead to death unless repented of; but of course, self-murder, suicide, does not afford the opportunity of repentance.
As Christians we all have sin, present tense. In fact “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…[and] If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8, 10). However, not all sin is equal. There is sin that leads to death, and sin that does not lead to death, see 1 John 5:16–17, and we must discern both. Therefore, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Thus, the daily obligation rests on every professing Christian to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5). This is why it’s critically important that we “do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). And those having the God-given mantle of preaching and teaching the truths of Christ have the double responsibility of setting before their hearers the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But that requires men who are wholly sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ; men defending His Word.
It is my belief that the reason the corporate organized church today is weak and ineffective in making real committed disciples for Christ who hold God’s Word in the highest regard is that its preachers and teachers largely feed their flocks spiritual placebos that satisfy the flesh but leaves the soul hungry, thirsty and without true nourishment. Repentance, holiness and self-denial are rarely, if ever, preached. Nor are the consequences for disbelieving the testimony of Christ. It seems the consensus is that if preachers can garner man’s approval, then their preaching must somehow honor God.
The truth and result of Christ-honoring preaching, however, is this: “Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” (1 Cor. 4:12–13). But because we live in the days of the end, many “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).
And as difficult as these last days will become, until the Lord Jesus returns and gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), “at the last day” (John 6:40), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thess. 4:16), “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), the assaults upon God’s true ministers of eternal life or death will not diminish.
To all those who love and believe Jesus Christ and His Word: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24–25).
Marlin J. Yoder