Introduction (repeated in parts 1-4)
The portion of the Church (those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives) that currently exists in the industrial nations such as the U.S., Canada, France and other parts of Europe, has become a dysfunctional, mere shadow of the first century Church. Over the past few months, the Lord has taken me on a “Tour” of sick and dying denominational churches where, in my opinion, there is either open rebellion, or a subtle form of what I will call a “beguiling” rebellion against His direct and delegated authority and where there is also open denial of His power. When I say, “beguiling”, I mean that, although the individuals in the church are sincere and honest Christians, yet they have been deceived by the tempter (Satan), just like Eve herself was deceived when she partook of the forbidden fruit.
Would Eve have described her act of rebellion as “rebellious”? No. But just as Eve rebelled in partaking of the forbidden fruit, so, too, do I believe that churches in the West are also rebelling against what God has ordained for his church. Thus it is, that, based on the word of God, I can say that, even though churches may be sincere, and even walking in the light to a certain extent, yet there is much rebellion going on, whether open or not. Simply put, the church in the west, to a large extent, is currently in rebellion, but so deceived is she, that there are not many that would care to admit this fact, or take ownership of it, or realize that they themselves are in fact, in rebellion. This has led to a huge and devastating darkness that has now covered our lands, to the extent that many churches now proclaim “light” as “darkness” and “darkness” as “light”. This is deception. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
God has shown me the darkness and sickness in His children and how they are handing their families and their inheritance over to the enemy (Satan) in ever-increasing numbers. He has also shown me four important steps that will lead the Church back into His authority, into His power and into the light.
Relinquishing worldly things – Step 2
The Lord has always called His children to purity as we read in the Scriptures, “Be holy, because I am holy.” Nothing has changed. God’s standards today are just the same as they always have been. God is holy, so we must be holy. The Bible says that without holiness, we will not see the Lord. As we see the world’s standards diminish before our very eyes, should we, too, let our standards decline? As morality decreases, should we let our own morality decrease? This is to fall into a gross deception that is designed by the enemy of our souls, Satan, to ensnare us, and to lead others into an eternity separated from God forever. Why do I say this? Because if our testimony slides, so too will our impact for God be affected. People will cease turning to the Lord on account of our testimony. Lives will be lost for all eternity. Do not be caught up in this pervasive deception! We are called to be separate from the world! Are you, my friend, separate from this world? What difference is there between you and the person without Christ? Does it show?
Thus, we are to strive for purity and holiness at all times, and we are not to let our standards slide as the world is so clearly doing in these last and tumultuous days! We are truly in the last of the “End times” and it is clear that the Holy Spirit is operating at new levels in God’s children. By “new levels” I do not mean that he is demanding that we be more holy than before. No! But rather, that he is willing to do more through us in our day than he did in the days of the apostles and even of Jesus. Does this sound impossible or even heretical to you? What then did Jesus mean when he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12)? I believe he was referring to the fact that in the last days, his Spirit would be poured out to such an extent that God would do increasing numbers of things through his committed disciples. Are you a committed disciple? You cannot expect God to use you in the way he wants to unless you are willing to commit yourself to him fully. That means fully embracing God’s call on your life, and a complete willingness to lay aside every hindrance.
We are living in a unique time in history and Joel 2:28 has become a reality. Those who have heard the Lord’s voice calling them to holiness and purity have begun to quickly relinquish the things of the world. They realize that God is willing to work through them in unprecedented ways, and they do not want to miss out on what God has in store for them. They do not want to forsake the call of God on their lives. Too much is at stake. God wants to use them powerfully, and this is not the day to engage in worldly things! As the apostle Paul said, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4) Are you entangled in the things of this life? God will not use you. Do you want God to use you powerfully? Then you must be willing to forsake all in order to gain that which is greater than the world can give you. The world can give you momentary pleasures. But only God can give you satisfaction that endures forever. Those who have decided to forsake all in order to follow Christ understand this. They understand that it is God who gives lasting pleasure, and that one day, everything else will pass away, never to be remembered again. Indeed, it will burn up at the judgment. As the poem goes, “Only one life, will soon be passed. Only what is done for Christ will last.”
The more committed we are to God, the more clearly we are able to see what he sees. And those who see what God sees are seeing things that are not pretty. Though evil has always existed in one form or another, yet the Bible says that “in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). This suggests a worsening and a deepening of the deceptions of Satan upon this world. It suggests increased evil around us. Those who are closest to God can see this evil, and they realize that it is ugly and to be shunned. Can you see the evil that is around you? Are you aware of the satanic snares that are being laid in and around you? Can you see the deceptive influences that are prevailing in our societies as anti-Christian ideologies are becoming more and more ingrained in our societies, our schools, our workplaces? Does this not concern you? It should, if you are a believer! You should be in prayer every day, bringing these things before the Father. Remember, if you are a Christian, then the Spirit of Christ lives within you. When you are grieved at the sin around you, it is because the Spirit of God in you is grieved. As you lift up all of your burdens before the Lord, you can be sure that he will hear you, an answer. Christian, do you realize how important your intercessory prayers are in a day like ours?
In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Our error is in believing that we can find LIFE in the things of the world. Sin could be defined as trying to find life in worldly experiences and things instead of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have all been called to come out of the desert, to cross the Jordan and to begin claiming our inheritance. I have spoken to a number of people in the past few weeks who have all heard the same message. The Church has been wandering in the desert just as the nation of Israel did. Our inheritance awaits us on the other side of the river. Claiming it requires that we put on the full armor of God and that we become engaged in the spiritual battle that has already started long ago. Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (In defiance against the enemy).” It is our responsibility, it is our privilege and it is our time. The word “Ministry” is a verb and it is time the Church started treating it that way.
You are reading part 2 of a four part series. Stay tuned for part 3, tomorrow.