Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:1-13
There is a legend that tells of a German baron who, at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower, that the winds might convert them into an Aeolian harp. And the soft breezes played about the castle, but no music was born. But one night there arose a great tempest, and hill and castle were smitten by the fury of the mighty winds. The baron went to the threshold to look out upon the terror of the storm, and the Aeolian harp was filling the air with strains that rang out even above the clamor of the tempest. It needed the tempest to bring out the music!
And have we not known men whose lives have not given out any entrancing music in the day of a calm prosperity, but who, when the tempest drove against them have astonished their fellows by the power and strength of their music?
Beating against the pane!
How endlessly it pours
Out of doors
From the blackened sky
I wonder why!
Upspringing after showers,
Blossoming fresh and fair,
Ah, God has explained
Why it rained!"
You can always count on God to make the "afterward" of difficulties, if rightly overcome, a thousand times richer and fairer than the forward. "No chastening... seemeth joyous, nevertheless afterward . . ." What a yield!
Now the LORD said to Abram, Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
A number of big mistakes are made by Christians regarding the Old Testament. First and foremost, there is a tendency to just concentrate only on the New Testament. The idea is that the Old was replaced by the New; and in many ways, this is true. On the other end of the spectrum; some continue to focus on the law and drift into legalistic positions.
Others might say to the verse above; that is the Old Covenant with Israel, this does not apply to me now ... Jesus is the New Covenant. New Covenant? Absolutely; ... but God has made a Covenant with Israel which sets the stage for the end-times. Most of the prophecies are given to us in the Old, and that will be the focus of this study.
The philosophy of history studies principles that have been established in the past, and determines patterns that help us to understand how history might possibly play out in the future. In the Abrahamic Covenant we have a principle that is the only explanation for events of the past and can be depended upon as a clear predictor of the future. If God has made a promise and then continues to repeat that promise, and then continually honors that promise; since God can never lie, some things become predictable. The key promise of God that has been honored again and again over thousands of years is:
“and I will bless those who bless you; and the one who curses you I will curse”
There are many examples of God fulfilling this promise in the past. A clear recent example of this blessing and curse would be the fall of Hitler and Nazi Germany and the re-establishment of the state of Israel. Julias Streicher spread hatred towards the Jews throughout Europe and was a key player in Hitler’s plan to exterminate Jews. After WW2, he was captured, tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to be hung. His last two words were: "Purim-1946" This was a clear reference to Haman who was similarly hung for his evil plot to kill the innocent Jew, Mordecai. Esther 7:9-10 Streicher tried to destroy Jews but realized that now they would be the ones who would see him hang. Hitler’s Germany built walls around the Jews and murdered six million Jews. But in the end, they were the ones with a wall down the middle of their beloved capital city, and the ones who have been hunted down like dogs and brought to justice, to this day.
No person with a clear understanding of the facts can come to any conclusion other than that the re-establishment of the state of Israel is an intervention by God, and the deliverance of Israel, His chosen people; and that over the past 60 years, the Jews have been supernaturally protected by Him. Never in history has a nation been destroyed and dispersed for over a thousand years. And then for this people to maintain their religion, customs, and heritage; and then be brought back together to their homeland as a sovereign nation ... impossible to understand except for the above promise from God. Can you even remotely imagine this miracle?
Let us look at a few other foolish decisions that were anti-Jewish and the disastrous result. In 1492, all Jews in Spain who refused to convert to Catholicism were ordered expelled by the royal edict of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. This expulsion was primarily religious discrimination and greed; and it put an end to the largest and most distinguished Jewish settlement in Europe. This decision was a severe hardship which led to loss of everything the Jews owned, evil treatment, starvation by many, and loss of life for many Jews. Some were robbed and sold into slavery. Along with artisans and craftsmen; Spain expelled scholars, doctors, and bankers. This was a horrendous blunder.
God's response to Spain: The source of Spain’s great strength was the invincible Spanish Armada. When Spain decided to try and force its religious beliefs on England, as well; the more advanced battle plan that they came up against with England was more than the Mighty Spanish Armada could handle. England though inferior in strength and numbers, had superior from a distance and their speed allowed for a war out of the range of the Armada's cannons. To make matters worse, as they attempted to escape in bitter defeat, God had plans of disaster for them as well. The storm that came upon them was far far worse than the pounding of the British navy, or anything else they had ever encountered. The worst storm recorded in centuries. Many of the retreating Spanish ships sunk along with their entire crew. Only 67 ships out of 130 returned to Spain – a loss rate of nearly 50%. Over 20,000 Spanish sailors and soldiers were killed. The Spanish economy began to crumble and collapse and as a result within less than a hundred years of the expulsion of the Jews; Spain was greatly reduced in stature. And the once great nation was never to be a major power of the world again. History also shows that two fleeing Jewish banking families bought the three ships for the journey of Columbus. Many of the men on these ships were Jews fleeing their expulsion from Spain and settled in freedom in the new world for the remainder of their lives.
England was blessed by God because of her fair treatment of the Jews and boasted with the phrase “The sun never sets on the British Empire." A Jew, Benjamin Disraeli was responsible for two of Great Britain’s crown jewels: India and the Suez Canal. The Balfour declaration was a key to England’s victory in World War 1. Dr. Chaim Weizmann was a chemist who developed a process that allowed for munitions without telltale smoke. A much needed formula to be defend England and win the war against the Germans. During the first meeting between Weizmann and Balfour in 1906, Balfour asked what Weizmann's objections were to the idea of a Jewish homeland in Uganda rather than in Palestine. According to Weizmann's memoir, the conversation went as follows: Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?" He sat up, looked at me, and answered: "But Dr. Weizmann, we have London." "That is true," I said, "but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh." Balfour also said two things which I remember vividly. The first was: "Are there many Jews who think like you?" I answered: "I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves." ... To this he said: "If that is so you will one day be a force."
Due to the resulting ongoing controversy over the agreement; England eventually turned against the Jews and limited Jewish Immigration which prevented the escape of many from the Nazi persecution and halocaust. Within a few years, the British Empire began to fall as Germany drew the world into war; one nation after another declared its freedom from the British Empire during this period, and finally the Suez Canal and India were lost as well. The sun now sets on England daily. Perhaps ... not a coincidence, you think?
The History of the Jews in captivity in Egypt is another incredible example of a nation turning against The Jewish people and suffering the consequences. The Jews were honored by Pharoah during the time of Joseph whose wisdom resulted in the great increase of Egypt during the great famine; and his brothers were settled there not as slaves, but as brothers of the honored and second most powerful Joseph. But Joseph and his brothers died, along with Joseph's Pharaoh; and then there was a new devious king with an evil plan to kill all the men babies and enslave the remaining Jews forever. God's final answer to the evil plan of this Pharaoh: “Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. And of course, in the end, the proud and mighty men of Egypt chased after the defenseless Jews and were drowned by the Lord, in the sea in a way similar to the drowning of the male babies of the Jewish people. The Lord’s curse for curse in kind is clearly consistent with God’s promise to Abraham. Exodus 1-14
Why is this important to us today? Well, because I am convinced we are living in the period leading up to the rapture and the great tribulation. There will be many miraculous things happen during these times but we must keep it all in context. The context of the end-times is the Abrahamic Covenant and God's promises to them. The end-times are all about Israel. Even though the majority of the current nation of Israel is either atheist or agnostic; ... as you will see in this study, a primary purpose of the tribulation is to turn the Jews back to God ... to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The peoples of the world who have rejected Christ, like the Pharaoh and his people will suffer beyond belief.
Many of these events read like science fiction and are difficult to believe; but I could quote one prophecy and fulfillment or miracle upon miracle each and every day, and not run out of examples of God’s miraculous ways.
Perhaps for political reasons, President Obama has decided to desert Israel ... and much in the same way as these other leaders brought disaster to their people; this will bring disastrous consequences to America. God will hold us accountable for deserting Israel. The Jews will have only God to protect them. This does not come as a surprise because it was clearly predicted in God’s Word, thousands of years ago. The current turmoil in the radical Arab states is also predictable. They will all fall into the hands of these crazed Islamic fanatics who along with many of the nations of the world who will eventually rise up against Israel. That is not part of today’s study but it is a present reality.
And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? To carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? Ezekiel 38:11-13
America will quite likely have suffered great consequences and lost it current position of power; and perhaps will fall into an alliance which could be described here as: “all the young lions.” The rapture could happen at any time; but a number of things must be set in place before the Great Tribulation can begin. I know many of these things will sound crazy but remember, they laughed at Noah.
Jesus spoke specifically about the days of Noah and the flood, not as an allegory but as a literal fact; “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39.
The main thing is that we must always maintain ISRAEL … as our context of the end-times in mind:
And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. Genesis 12:1-3
Pray for Israel and America and that God will speak to President Obama in a way that will turn him away from this foolish path that he has chosen for our nation.
God bless you my friends, Bob
Copyright: Robert West 2011
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you;
for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
“And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:1-6
Hello my friends. The purpose of this post is to help those who are readers of this blog better understand my plans here for the coming year. With new readers now following each day, we now have 2 or 3 readers every hour 24 hours a day from all over the world. In only a little over a year, that is encouraging, since growth of followers has not been a primary goal. Originally Paradox Principles was an effort by me to memorialize writings that would speak to my small grandchildren in the future when they are adults. I wanted to leave them something that they could look at and say: this is Bob West, my grandfather. My hope is that my beliefs, personality, and character would become clearer to them as they read my words. This is especially important to me since I am at a distance from my grand-daughters, and with my ongoing health issues; one just never knows how long we have left here. That plan has now been accomplished with these writings. I will soon publish Paradox Principles in book form for the future review of my grandchildren.
Obviously, my greater desire was to fulfill my purpose and God’s will for me here in Christ; which is as an ambassador for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation. God has placed a desire in my heart for reading, writing, and meditating on His Word in my quest to gain His wisdom, understanding, and the Truth; and to share with others these Truths which He has revealed to me. What a blessing it is for me to be able to teach others. We will now move forward in an in depth study of the prophetic scriptures.
It is important that we always work to keep our thinking in context as we progress with these studies. So the question I would be asking, if I were you is: “what are Bob West’s qualifications to teach me regarding God’s Word?” That is a good question. The answer is: “from a worldly perspective; I’m just an average guy struggling to survive. I have no great seminary education, but I have been taught by some of the greatest Biblical scholars in America. I have read hundreds of books and listened to hundreds of lectures by Dallas Theological Seminary professors. My first pastor upon receiving Christ was Chuck Swindoll; clearly one of the greatest Biblical teacher/pastors of my generation. But more importantly than that, I have the guidance of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in my quest for Wisdom and Truth. I know that I am of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a person possessed by God, and that I am to proclaim the excellence of Him who has called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light. I have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me. I am convinced that the Creator of the universe is literally speaking out to all through these posts. It is with that belief in mind that I will carefully now move forward with a detailed and chronological Bible Study of the end-times prophetic teachings that God has given all of us; so that we can better understand his plan. I will hold nothing back that is made clear; but I will try to refrain from inserting my personal opinions, beyond those which are clearly revealed by God in His Word.
Political correctness, tolerance, teachings of the world, and concern for the feelings of those teaching false religions are not important here. I do not want to offend, but will not compromise my mission and beliefs in tolerance of false beliefs. We are called to confront the lies of false religions and the teachings of men. I will continue to post as usual as well with my focus on Paradox Principles, spiritual growth, and learning to live the love of Christ; the reality in Christ that is foreign to most of us who have been trained in the ways of the worldly; and live in a world controlled by the forces of the evil one. Of course politics will also continue to be touched upon, especially as it relates to end times and conflicting values. But my continuing focus will be on those teachings in the scripture that are prophetic as they relate to the end times. Much of it is hard to believe, but as we see the prophecy and the continuing fulfillments … as a scientist friend of mine once said; “in light of the evidence, there is so much evidence … it would have been foolish for me not to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and receive His forgiveness and His free gift of eternal life.”
The Bible is not hard to understand. But people do have a habit of making it hard to understand. How do they do that? The tool that is used by our enemy to deceive us is to lead the unsuspecting into the practice of a belief system that is most prone to allegorizing and spiritualizing passages of Scripture. They tend to ignore a literal interpretation of the Bible. The trend is to appeal to and follow human logic and feelings, and the teachings of those that promote a religion of personal opinion. They see each person deciding what they believe for themselves; rather than God revealing His Truth to them through the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
This is consistent with our constitution and seems fair and right; but God has the only and the better way. Anyone can create a false story or allegory about anything they choose, out of context; and create a whole new meaning. As a result, we have thousands who create their personal definitions and beliefs; and the result is that there thousands of false religions out there, all calling themselves Christianity. Another deception is to take a principle that sounds or feels good, and find a verse out of context that supports the general idea … and once again promote the conclusion as Christianity. As mentioned previously, “context is critical to understanding God’s Truth” (read here about the Rule of Context) In addition to the Rule of Context, the first and most important rule is the Golden Rule of Interpretation which states:
“When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context studied in light of related passages and axiomatic (self-evident) and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”
In other words, the scriptures should be taken literally, exactly as they are written, unless there is something there that indicates that we should consider something other than a literal interpretation. When we follow this law consistently, we are not only better able to understand the Truth, but also reject views that are leading us in the wrong direction and to wrong conclusions. The Bible is not hard to understand. But it is impossible if we follow those that make up their own truth all along the way.
Premillennialism, as a system, is based on a literal or normative method of biblical interpretation as opposed to Amillennialism which spiritualizes its interpretation and does not take the Bible literally. Our desire to understand “the WHY questions” which is so important to our inquisitive human nature, and this is where we often get ourselves into trouble. This is why paraphrases and the various Bible translations are helpful, but always need to be tested by God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We will never understand the reasoning of the omniscient Creator of all things. But, understanding what he actually reveals is all we need to know. For those who are serious about understanding the prophetic end-times revelations of our Creator, I suggest you purchase “The Footsteps of the Messiah” by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. It is an in-depth study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. This is the most Biblically based; informative and complete study of the end times that I have ever read and has become one of my most treasured resources. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” God Bless you my friends, Bob
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; 3:1-3
In providing Biblical counsel to singles and married couples who have come to me with their problems; regardless of the problems, this passage of scripture is one of the first that we focus upon.
This verse makes it clear that there are three types of men and women: natural men, spiritual men, and (carnal) men of flesh. After discussing the difference between the three, I simply ask the questions: “which person best describes you? And, which person would you like to be?” The answers to these questions quickly make it clear who you are dealing with and what needs to be discussed first.
For example, if you are dealing with a couple and both people answer we are natural man or carnal man and we just want counseling but not religion, then I must make it clear that Biblical counseling always works but only for those who are will to follow God’s Word. They must seek secular counsel elsewhere. I have had every answer you can come up with, but most have reached a point of hopelessness, and are there to solve their problems and answer: I want to be the Spiritual Man.
This is obviously where I wanted to end up, which is most likely at the root of the problems. My experience has been that when people place God first in their marriage … the problems often quickly disappear. Some feel the results almost miraculous. A danger for the counselor is to not take these successes personally. The power is in God’s Word, rather than the person who helps a brother or sister find and apply God’s Truth to the problem. The problems and the solutions are pretty much always the same. The fact of the matter is that Biblical counselors who guide in this way and who have not had their counsel diluted by the secular views are not easy to find. In fact many pastors do not see counseling Biblically as their role and foolishly refer those with problems to a secular “Christian” counselor where in many cases the counsel is secular with verses taken out of context to fit the secular idea. In other words God’s word is humbled to men’s conclusions. Possibly better than nothing, but a temporary solution at best is the result.
So the question we need to focus on here is the one that the vast majority seeking help ask. This would be a good post for you to bookmark for future reference and to forward to others. I have been amazed as I watched this teaching lead many to trust Christ; transform marriages; and lead to the desired end result: mature Spiritual Men and Women.
The question is: “How do I become The Spiritual Man and receive the Mind of Christ.”
The Biblical answer and solution is quite clear and easy to understand. The problem is that the teachings of men have confused and misrepresented God’s Word on the answers. These false leads often come from pastors, bible teachers, as well as well meaning but false religions. The result is leading people away from God’s plan and Truth rather than standing upon God’s Truth.
Now, let’s look into God’s Word for His Truth; rather than someone’s opinion.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” …. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:1-21
As anyone can see this is not difficult to understand. Nicodemus was confused because of the teachings of supposed spiritual men (Pharisees), but when he heard the truth he became a follower of Jesus, the Messiah … most likely from this point forward. The key point we need to understand in answering our question is: being “born of the Spirit.” This is the difference between Spiritual Man and Natural Man. So how do we become born of the Spirit? “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Now the natural man is quick to say that those who are followers of Christ and His Word are judging them when we speak out against Islam and other false teachings, and sometimes that could be true; but the Truth of God says that they are already judged by God … as a result of their decision to reject Christ. Beyond their decision to NOT believe in Christ, NOTHING they do is acceptable to God. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Once again, this is not up for interpretation or in many cases misinterpretation. So what does this say to all religions and philosophies that teach to the contrary? God says: they are false and leading seekers away from the Truth and the Eternal Salvation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Contrary to that which many would like to believe; there is only one path to God. They are the ones who have judged Christ and rejected true Christianity and created a false religion.
How do we become a born of the Spirit and have the Mind of Christ? Paul has made this so clear that by simply reading this verse, there is no question what it means to be born of the Spirit.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
This is the true gospel which all true born again believers have made a conscious decision to stand upon. It is upon this truth “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” is established in our lives. From this moment on “we have the mind of Christ”
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16: 13
A woman once asked me? “What religion are you? Your not one of those born again Christians, are you?” I helped her to understand Jesus teachings and she then asked: “Why haven’t I learned this in the Catholic Church?“ I have no idea, was my response. But I can assure you, that if you ask the church about these Truths, they will confirm the Words of Christ, and the Apostles, Paul and Peter. These Truths are not disputable from a Christian or Biblical perspective.
Any Religion, philosophy, or teaching that calls itself Christianity that does not teach this Truth is a false Christian religion and should be considered heresy. Any religion that teaches any other way to heaven or salvation is deceiving it’s followers. Either Jesus and the Bible are a lie or anything that teaches otherwise is a lie. The following statement we can know for certain. Both teachings can be wrong; or one true, and one false; but both can never be true.
What about the third man who is referred to by Paul as men of flesh or carnal? He also notes that they are acting as mere men, or natural men, and as infants in Christ. Clearly, these are those who have received the Holy Spirit but have allowed their human logic, feelings, and the teachings of the world to lead them into a hypocritical position, one who professes Christ but who at this point in their walk with Him have chosen to follow false teachings. These are the ones the unbelieving world continually point to as false evidence that Christianity is not the truth. They have received the Spirit but choose to follow lust and pride. Surveys of Christians show that as many as 80% of born again Christians identify with this group.
First we are to become Born Again by the Spirit of Truth but then we must follow this instruction:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
The final questions we must continually ask ourselves is which person am I? The Spiritual man already knows what he needs to do. The natural man can either accept or reject Christ. Obviously this is the most important decision a person can ever make. Those who fall into the third group; ... if they are confident they have received Christ ... they need to repent and be transformed by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so that we can be used for His glory as He performs His good works through each of us as He has prepared for us ... at the beginning of time.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires And to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Looking for the blessed hope
And the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, And to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 When you are at the lowest moments in your life, where do you find hope?
What is the Blessed Hope?
Let's just walk through the verses above and meditate on all that the Lord has revealed here through Paul in these few words.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Think about that for a minute, the grace of God change everything. Paul explains grace in more detail when he said: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9and; “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Romans 11:6. Although this gift of God is free to all men and not only do they NOT need to earn the free gift, they cannot earn it. Jesus explained that this free gift is God’s will when He said: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires:Well some would say that if salvation is by grace and not works, and if we are justified past, present, and future, as a result of what Jesus did ... doesn’t that mean that I can have the best of both worlds … salvation throughout eternity; plus do as I please, here on earth? Or on the other hand, does the Bible contradict itself right here ... all in one sentence? NO and NO … Ephesians 2:10 says: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."Our salvation is for the very purpose of fulfilling God’s will; for the truth of God, and the Love of Christ to control and transform us. Paul answers this question in more detail when he says: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or, do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Romans 6:1-3.God’s warnings give further insight to those who would consider such foolishness:“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and also: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.
Anyone who pretends to be a follower of Christ and chooses to disregard God’s Word; will be exposed by the Creator of all things … as one who never knew Him. A true believer will be convicted in his heart of sin in his life, by the Holy Spirit. Ongoing unrepentant sin, and no conviction in one’s heart; should be a red flag to anyone who is claiming to be a Christian, and professing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
God's will for each of us is clear: do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
And to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. How do we live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age? How would you know that this godly condition is a reality in your life?First, you must be transformed by the renewing of our mind; and then here is a Biblical description of how you will appear to all around you: “For the love of Christ controls us …and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf …so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view …the old things passed away; behold, new things have come …we are ambassadors of Christ, with a ministry of reconciliation …so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21These qualities will describe who you are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Living the love of Christ means: “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10. This type of transformation is from the inside out. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit combined with us loving God … by doing His will can this become a reality.
Looking for the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
Okay, so what is the Blessed Hope?
When you study this statement, you will quickly learn that this phrase means many different things to different people. In fact the Blessed Hope goes back to before the foundation of the world, and reaches up to the heavenly places. Jesus explains the hope when He teaches in the temple from the vision of the prophet Daniel and He says: “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29;and also here: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:38-40
The many teachings about this hope are throughout all of scriptures: Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah when he says:“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:12-13
And Jesus makes this clear to the apostles at the last supper: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
Paul further explains here to the saints at Thessalonica this Blessed Hope. It is the resurrection of the dead in Christ; and the catching up or rapture of the church of Christ; who will be transformed into their heavenly bodies “in the twinkling of an eye” to live eternally with Christ in heaven.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we, who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
This should be a primary focus of every believer until the day Christ appears in the clouds … especially in these times ... when the signs of His coming return are so clear.“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
The Blessed Hope is the appearance of Christ in the clouds; the resurrection of those who have died in Christ; the catching up or RAPTURE of Christ's church; their transformation to heavenly bodies in the twinkling of an eye; and moving on to eternity in Heaven with Christ.
So ... have I carried this hope to an extreme? That is God's will for you and I ... and my hope and prayer also.
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:15-22
REJECT AND FLEE LAODICEA
Why is it that many Christians in today’s churches are not talking about the most important questions; such as the rapture, or the tribulation, the forces of evil, or heaven and hell? Why are many pastors not teaching about the important end-times truths? For Christians, the rapture is our hope, it is our deliverance, our entrance into heaven, and it is our reality. But instead there is a constant flow of teaching that tells people what they want to hear. God's Will, His Word and His plan are not the focus. The focus is ME, not HIM. And the truths of the Bible are treated as parables.
Recently, I asked a liberally minded Christian: "if He believed that the virgin birth of Christ is true?" ... Unimportant to me; he replied.
Why the picture of Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band here? Because the Beatles soothing message has captured the hearts of millions (including mine.) But they also used their music to deceive. Much of their music was genius. But they often built messages into their music that were not edifying. Their message often disguised immorality in an appealing way. Until their White Album where they just put amoral words to song. Sergeant Peppers is also a secular example of how the "Doctrines of Demons" are often delivered. Very appealing and pleasing to the ear. (Watch Aleister Crowley who was recognized as the most wicked man in the world ...and was called by Paul McCartney: My Hero; top left.)
Does it concern you that so many people are playing games with God? They say they believe, and will follow Him, but in reality ... they do the exact opposite, and then they play a game with God which I call: “Make Believe Christians.” They profess Christ ... and then proceed to follow themselves, their feelings, wants, logic, goals, plans, lusts, and pride; as well as other religions, and worldly teachings; and then they call it Christianity.
It is the religion of ME … the church of Laodicea.
Laodicea means “People Ruling” which is how millions of believers live out their Christianity in America today. Actually, this is the opposite of “God Ruling.” They have bought into the lie that each person needs to decide for themselves what they believe. That is what is important. After all, isn’t that what freedom of religion means? Well, to a point … yes; but that is not God’s plan for how this is supposed to play out. First, they pray to receive Christ as their savior; and then they decide what that means. Logic, feelings, personal desires and goals rule their thinking; and worldly knowledge guides the decision making process; not God’s Word, or the Holy Spirit. That is not even remotely close to what God’s Word teaches.
Only a couple of nights ago, I listened as they debated on the O’Reilly Factor the question of hell. A supposed Christian pastor has written a book that contends there is no hell, and he is featured on the cover of Time magazine. The idea is that God is love, and no loving God would ever send good people to hell. In a follow up, O’Reilly brought on Pastor Franklin Graham who clearly explained what God’s Word says about hell; and rejected the teachings of the heretic who wrote this book. O’Reilly responded; with his opinion, and a straw man question: “what about all of the innocents who never heard about Jesus … surely a loving God would not condemn them to eternal hell?" O’Reilly a confessing Catholic Christian, argued the point in the same way an atheist would argue the point. Logic, feelings, and unbelief were the basis of his conclusions. God's Truth was not even considered.
O’Reilly is sincere, but sincerely wrong, and worst of all; he speaks with authority and can easily lead astray, and reinforce false teachings to millions of uninformed "good people." Doesn’t He understand that the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God; and also that the one and only God who created the heavens and the earth is all knowing and perfectly capable of meeting every person in their need, no matter how desperate their circumstances.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”Psalms 139:8-10.
The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Ever Present, All Knowing, and All Powerful. The Creator of all things living. Jesus raised the dead, calmed the storm, and walked on water. Miracle upon miracle ... nothing is beyond the power of Christ.
Jesus has overcome every possible challenge the world can bring ... "it is finished." And just like the thief on the cross, He will never desert those who seek Him … no matter how hopelessly lost they might be.
Whenever you hear a Christian saying; “that doesn’t make sense to me” and “this is what I believe” in the same sentence about the Bible … a big red flag needs to go up. Their faith may have been tainted by the teachings of men or deceiving spirits. There is a danger of them judging God’s Word, and creating false doctrine on that particular point. There are many things that don’t make sense to me … in the world, and in the things of the Spirit. But to believe that I am capable of deciding which teachings in God’s Word I will accept or reject, as truth or false; is the height of arrogance and ignorance. And that does not give me license to create a belief based on my human logic and feelings, and call it Christianity. If you do that... you become a Laodicean. You are the final authority, the ruler of your beliefs; rather than a follower of the Father God Creator Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the revealed Truth of God. So why are they not teaching the meat of the Word in many churches today? Because their motivations, have been misguided. Church growth people have written books that are then used as blueprints that are followed with the purpose of getting more people into the church. God’s Word is compromised so as not to offend … and it is just a downward spiral of decisions based on worldly ideas from that point on. And the next thing you know, the largest church in America teaches a message to 20 million people each week and when the pastor is asked why he doesn’t teach more about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, his response is; ”that’s not my gift.” So the pastor ends up with 20 million people singing his praises; calling themselves Christians, but in many cases without knowing clearly what that means. Recently, I heard an atheist challenge a well-known Christian on the truthfulness of the story of Noah’s Ark, and the Christian said; “everybody knows that this story is an allegory.” And when the atheist explained what most Christians he knew actually believed it to be true ... the Christian replied that he had never met a Christian who believed in Noah’s Ark, literally. And Christians wonder why unbelievers doubt our profession of faith, and commitment to God’s Word?
The problem is that Laodicea is the church of the Apostasy. The Bible clearly teaches: “But the Spirit says expressly, that in the later times some in the church shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” 1 Timothy 4:1 Now what I say is not politically correct; is it? This is beginning to sound like Jesus teaching to the Pharisees. If I’m not careful, the Pharisees of today will be looking to crucify me. That same logic is the reason that many Christians do not teach these things so lacking in the politically correct, inclusive, and tolerant message controlling today's media ... not wanting to offend.
Who are you or I to question whether heresy and false teaching is infecting Christianity ... or not. We are God's elect and He says: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world." 1 John 4:1-3
God bless Franklin Graham for calling an obviously false teacher a heretic on national television.
The scripture makes it clear that the source of the apostasy is seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Any idea what these seducing doctrines will appeal to? Well that is easy, Satan is very predictable in where he will attack us. Read: Genesis 3:1-6 and Matthew 4:1-11 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 The god of this world is very predictable. All of his schemes to deceive us will be rooted in one of these three areas of temptation.
How will we know the teachers of these false teachings? God’s word is clear; “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” 2 Peter 2:1-22 (read full passage) Please note that as you read through the whole passage, Peter does not display any love or tolerance towards the apostates. The Bible is not tolerant towards apostasy and deals harshly with those who are guilty of spreading deceitful destructive heresies and doctrines of demons.
What would be good examples of doctrines of demons? Several immediately come to mind. But remember, these ideas and teachers will be very appealing. There is no hell is a great example. The logical conclusion when we carry this thinking to its end, might go something like this; Jesus is love, he died for our sins; Jesus conquered sin ... therefore: no more sin; we can now do whatever we feel led to do; follow your feelings; you deserve to have whatever you desire. A church that teaches that Jesus is not God; but rather a man of wisdom who was a good teacher, and we just need to learn from him and other great teachers and follow these principles to have a lifetime of prosperity and happiness. Does that sound familiar? It is a lie! How about … the Bible is not God’s truth, for any one of a number of reasons; and no man can know the absolute Truth? Or how about, there are many gods, many paths, and many religions that lead to heaven? Lies, Lies ... and more lies!!! You will always be able to clearly identify these heresies because they will be in direct conflict with God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart.
The examples are endless and the beginning of the apostasy in America can be traced back to the teachings of Charles Augustus Briggs. His destructive heresies led to the liberal modernist movement in the church which spread to seminaries, and these false teachings have been taught in universities and churches for the past hundred years. A low point was reached with the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948. The Goal of WCC is to unite all churches on the basis of their liberal tenets, and then to unify all religions. Talk about an evil plan. For more complete details on God's plan, and the end times study that we will be discussing in the months ahead; I suggest you buy “The Footsteps of the Messiah” by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. It is the most complete and authoritative work on Daniel, Revelation, and end-times prophecies, and it is a complete and easy to understand blending of the sequence of all prophetic events.
These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 2 Peter 2:17-21
often contradict the wisdom of the world. Since we have been programmed by the world ... we have come to accept these worldly ideas as truth ... but when we consider God’s perspective ... we come to understand ... "the Lord's ways are not our ways"
Don't just read these writings ... meditate and pray over God's Word ... Listen to the Holy Spirit ... and be transformed by renewing your mind. He who died on our behalf wants you to ... allow the love of Christ to control you ... so that you might become ... the righteousness of God in Him.
Be an Ambassador of Christ ... with a ministry of reconciliation. Share God's eternal Truth and Love ... with everyone He brings into your path.