Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Avoiding Deception

Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse found in Luke 21, Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25,  answers His disciple’s question of when He was returning and what the signs that preceded His return would be. Those signs would include religious deception,  world wide natural disasters, and the persecution of Christians, starting with the apostles themselves. 

 

In this message, I want to warn, especially those who have had a solid Biblical background from childhood, of the possibility of  our being deceived  by Satan.

 

 THE REALITY OF RELIGIOUS DECEPTION

 

While the true church grows and make progress against the Kingdom of Satan in this world, as Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18;   the false church is growing even faster, deceiving the world. God’s judgment of that false church is described in Revelation 17 and in Revelation 18:4 we are warned to flee from it before we end up sharing in it’s violent destruction during the Tribulation, described in Revelations 6-19,

 

Deception is something Jesus warned about in Luke 21:8.  He had also warned of it three years earlier in  His Sermon on the Mount  found in Matthew 5-7. Note Jesus’ warning of deception in Matthew 7:15-23.

 

Later in Matthew 13:24-43 Jesus warned pf the reality of the danger of genuine and phony Christians growing up together in the same families and in the same churches. He likened the phonies to tares in a wheat field.  Tares are imitations of wheat.  They look like wheat, but they are empty, lacking any grain.   When asked what should be done with the tares, Jesus advised that they be left alone to grow together with the wheat.  By trying to separate them from the wheat as it was growing and developing, there was the danger of uprooting the genuine wheat also.  Rather, the tares were to be left alone.  At the harvest the true wheat would be manifest and the separation would take place at that time.

 

This truth is not contradicting the Biblical imperative of parental discipline or church discipline.

 

Parents should warn and punish the disobedience of their children. I encourage you to go to the FAMILY link for more instruction on raising and disciplining your children. 

 

I Corinthians 5 requires churches to remove from their fellowship  Christians who flagrantly despise and disobey God’s Word by living in sin after being warned by their brothers and sisters in Christ.   Read Acts 5 to learn how seriously God takes such behavior. Read Matthew 18:15-20 for detailed instructions for carrying out church discipline.  Note that the spirit in which we carry it out is as important as the action itself.  Our desire must be for the restoration of our fallen brother or sister.

 

HOW CAN WE AVOID BEING DECEIVED?

 

Cleave to Christ!

 

In Acts 11:21-23 Barnabas warned the young believers to “cleave to Christ”.  Get to know Him through reading the Word of God and through listening to the sound preaching of the Word.  Church is more than enjoying exciting worship experiences and hearing positive moralisms on how to be successful in life.  Only as we are saturated in the Word of God are we going to be strong enough spiritually to avoid deception.

 

To cleave to Christ involves much more than simply learning intellectually the deep things of God.   It involves much more than simply seeking giddy emotional experiences with what we believe to be with Christ or the Holy Spirit that result in our feeling self-righteous and superior to other Christians.

 

The right kind of preaching connected to the right kind of listening are going to result in a deep growing love for Jesus.  True Christianity results in a deepening love for Jesus.

 

As a man stops dating other women to cleave only to his wife, so we Christians leave the attractions and the worthless values of this Satanic inspired world system to give our attention and allegiance and our love and loyalty to Christ alone.   “Not only are we challenged to cleave to Christ.” but we are also challenged to

 

Take heed to the doctrine!

 

“Take heed to the doctrine” Paul warns young Timothy in I Timothy 4:16. and he expands on that in I Timothy 6:3-5 by challenging Timothy to make sure that the doctrine he preaches leads to practical godliness; not simply an academic exercise that leads to futility and strife and pride in a religious vocabulary.  What a waste of time it is to sit under such preaching!

 

Only preaching that grounds us in the doctrines of The Christian Faith and warns us of going in the wrong direction is going to keep us on the right track. Many people avoid preaching that deals with sin because they don’t want to feel guilty. 

 

I thank God for preaching that has made me feel guilty.  Guilt is not a bad thing.  It’s not something you have to live with.  Guilt is the easiest thing in the world to get rid of.  Just confess your sin to God.  Admit to Him that you are guilty of that sin that is brought to your attention through sound preaching.   The moment that sin is confessed as sin,  instantly the guilt is gone.  Christ’s blood that was shed two thousand years ago on the cross, cleanses you from that sin and removes the guilt.  Read about this in I John 1:5-10.

 

By avoiding such preaching, sin continues to take its toll on your life. and blinds you to false teachers.  You are an easy target for the devil and he keeps you defeated and miserable.

 

A third way to be protected from Satanic deception and oppression  is to be filled with the Spirit.

 

Be filled with the Spirit!

 

Since the Spirit of God lives in you if you are a Christian, as is taught in I Corinthians 12:13,  when you cleave to Christ and take heed to sound doctrine, you are automatically filled with the Spirit.  Being filled with the Spirit is not some emotional experience you must seek, as is taught by false teachers.  Rather it is accomplished by  surrendering to Christ and taking heed to His Word.  Any obedient Christian filling himself with the Word of God is automatically filled with the Spirit.   The two are one and the same and they bring about the same results.  Compare  Ephesians 5:17-33 with Colossians 3:16-25 and note the correlation to being filled with the Spirit to being filled with the Word of God.

 

So it is only as we cleave to Christ  by taking heed to the preaching of God’s Word and are filled with Christ’s Spirit; that we are protected from Satanic deception.  Those who allow themselves to follow their own inclinations and ignore the Word, are easy pickings for Satan’s deception.

 

Are we living in the latter days?

 

Every generation of Christians since the days of the Apostles and the early church find themselves living in the latter days.  These warnings for each succeeding generation become more relevant, more pertinent and more urgent  than for any past generation. 

 

Paul’s warning to young Timothy in II Timothy 4:1-4 is even more relevant to us today than it was to Timothy 2000 years ago.  We are closer to Christ’s return today than at any time in church history.

 

In addition to the warnings from I Timothy that we have covered in this message, let me encourage you to read the following warnings concerning the dangers we face in these very evil days.  Read and mediate on them and grow in spiritual strength so you can resist the devil. 

 

II Timothy 3:1-7 and 4:1-5

II Peter 2:1-22 and 3:3-15

I John 2:18-19, and 4:1-6

II John 7-11

Jude 3-25

Read Christ’s warnings to the Seven churches of Asia Minor found in Revelation chapter 2 and 3. These seven churches are pictures  of the churches down through Church history, even to our present day. We ignore these warnings to our own peril.

 

May God help you, whether you are a new or a mature Christian,  to take these warnings to heart and at the same time rest in the doxology of Jude 24-25 “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,  to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forever Amen.”

 

 

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May 28, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on Avoiding Deception

Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Post Millennialists believe that they have an optimistic view of history. They believe that Christ’s Kingdom began at His Resurrection and that ever since, Christ and His Church have been progressively conquering the world and establishing His Kingdom on earth and that when it is firmly established, Christ will return to take us to Heaven.

 

The reason they believe this is because they equate Christ’s Kingdom to His Church. I agree with Post Millennialists that the Church is the expression of Christ’s Kingdom on the earth today. The Bible clearly teaches that in Colossians 1:13, as well as other New Testament Scriptures. Every true believer ought to practically be living in Christ’s Kingdom by submitting himself to the Lordship of Christ in every area of his life.

 

However, the Post-Millennialists (first cousins to the A-Millennialists) do not believe that Christ is returning to establish His Kingdom on this earth for one thousand years, as is taught in Revelation 20.

 

They believe that we Pre-Millennialists have a negative view of history, in that we believe the world is growing worse and worse and that when all hope is lost, that Christ will come riding on His white horse as the Lone Ranger and save the day by bringing in His Kingdom.

 

WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS?

 

That’s the subject of the Olivet Discourse we’ve been studying in Luke 21.  Other accounts of this Discourse are found in Mark 13  and Matthew 24-25.   In these chapters is Jesus’ longest answer to any question ever asked Him.  Why is the answer so detailed?  It’s an important question the disciples asked in Luke 21:7 and again in Acts 1:6 just before Jesus ascended back to Heaven.   They were concerned for the establishment of Christ’s Messianic Kingdom, promised and described repeatedly as one of the major themes of the Old Testament. 

 

Christ’s Messianic Kingdom is described in detail in many passages such as Isaiah 11 and 35, Micah 4  and Zechariah 14 as  peaceful, prosperous, righteous and holy. None of this has been true of the world these past two thousand years.  Also, all Israel will have received Jesus as their Messiah.

 

There’s lots to be fearful of today; wars, nuclear holocaust, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, germ warfare, the financial collapse of our markets. As prophesied in Luke 21:6 men’s hearts are failing them for fear.

 

Thank God, that though the future of this world looks bleak and dismal; we Christians have answers and comfort from God’s Word and we are constantly challenged to not fear these things.  Just a few encouraging passage on this include Luke 12:22-32, Psalm 27, Hebrews 12:5-6,  and Matthew 10:28-42.

 

The early church took comfort in the promises of Psalm 27.  Peter, in his first sermon, reminded the early church of that Psalm in Acts 4:24-29. 

 

Look at the disciple’s question once more in Luke 21:7   When Jesus prophesied in Luke 21:6 the total destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, the disciples asked Him in verse 7  when this would occur and what signs would precede the end of this age.

 

First, I should remind you that the dismantlement of the temple, stone by stone was literally fulfilled forty years later in 70 AD when the Roman soldiers burned the temple and then dismantled it stone by stone to take the gold that had melted between the stones. You can see the ruins of the temple in Jerusalem today.  That  is an indication to me that everything else Jesus warned of in this chapter has been and will be fulfilled just as literally.

 

Jesus answered their questions by first of all warning them not to be deceived by false messiahs who would appear.   Then through the rest of chapter 21  He described the course of this age and it is a bleak description of the future. He warned them of escalating deception, wars and commotions, as nations rise against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. He warned of disasters such as earthquakes, famines, pestilences, as well as fearful sights and signs in the heavens.

 

But before any of this would happen, in verse 12 Jesus warned about impending persecution of Christians before the Jewish judges in the synagogues and also before the gentile kings and other political rulers.

 

Jesus encouraged them in verse 13-15 that this persecution would give them opportunities to witness for Christ. He encouraged them not to worry about how they should answer in times of trial and persecution.  God would give them the right words to say.

 

Thank God, we can take comfort that He is always with us in trials and persecutions.  In Matthew 28:20 in His Great Commission to us, He promises us the support of His presence.  In John 16:33 He promise us His peace in our tribulations.   In fact, Romans 5:3 teaches us that we can glory in our tribulations, knowing that they are working in our lives to  produce patience.

 

In II Corinthians 4:17 Paul, who suffered as much or more than most Christians, said he gloried in his tribulations, recognizing that in the balance scales,  they were not nearly as heavy as the glory that awaited him in Heaven.   

 

In Colossians 1:24 Paul counted it a privilege to suffer in the place of Jesus who had returned to Heaven.  Because Jesus was not present, His enemies were taking their wrath out on Paul who reminded them of Christ.

 

Though we suffer tribulation in this life, the Bible teaches us that as Christians we will be caught up into Heaven in what Christians refer to as The Rapture just before The Great Tribulation occurs on this earth. We escape The Great Tribulation because  that is the time of God’s wrath being poured out on this and God has not appointed His people to His wrath, but to obtain salvation.  Read and rest in the promises of I Thessalonians 4:13-19 and 5:1-11.

 

Other comforting promises of the Rapture are found in John 14:1-6, Matthew 24:36-44, I Corinthians 15:51-58, Philippians 3:20-21, Titus 2:11-14. and Hebrews 9:28.

 

JESUS HAS FULL CONTROL OF THE FUTURE

 

When Jesus, God in human flesh, hung dying on a cross one hot afternoon, it appeared to His followers and to the masses, that His life had ended in horrible failure. However, His life had been totally successful.  He had accomplished His purpose in coming into the world.

 

1. He had purchased our redemption with His own shed blood.

 

2. He had sealed the future doom of Satan.

 

3. God vindicated Jesus’ sacrifice by raising Him from the dead three days later.

 

4. He returned to Heaven, as Lord of all, according to Philippians. 2:9-11.

 

5. He sent His Holy Spirit, as promised, to be our comfort and guide and to empower us for service.

 

As Christ was successful in His First Coming, so it is just as certain that He will accomplish every purpose of His Second Coming.

 

But before Jesus returns, bad things must take place, so expect them and don’t be terrified.

 

As true Christianity grows throughout the world, false Christianity is growing side by side with it.  Jesus taught that in His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matthew 13:24-43.  The counterfeit Church will come to its full expression during the Tribulation as the Harlot Church of Revelation 17.  That Church will be destroyed by the Anti-christ, so that he alone can be worshipped.

 

Sometimes false Christianity, like the tares, cannot be distinguished from the True Church, characterized by wheat.  We are warned not to attempt to pull up the tares for fear of pulling up wheat with it.   God will judge in the proper time and will separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

IT ONLY GETS WORSE

 

During the Tribulation as the seals are broken starting in Revelation 6, God’s judgments will be poured out on this earth like never before.   Wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, fires and demonic torment will break out beyond anything man has ever seen or experienced before.

 

In Revelation 16-19 God will use demons to call the nations of the world together to attempt to fight against Christ in the Battle of Armageddon in the fields of the land of Israel.   This is no local battle such as the Roman attack against Jerusalem in 70 AD.  This is global warfare against Christ.

 

Christ will be victorious. His enemies will be killed and Christ will usher in His one thousand year reign of peace, prosperity and righteousness.

 

At the close of this Millennium there will be one final battle with Satan.  He will be cast into the Lake of Fire where the Anti-Christ had been cast one thousand years earlier.  Then Christ will destroy this earth and the heavens as we know them in one giant explosion, as described in II Peter 3:9-13.

 

In this nothingness, a Great White Throne will appear with Christ sitting on it.  Before Him will be brought all the unsaved dead.  They will be judged for their works. Because they have rejected Christ as their Saviour in life, their names will not be found in the Book of Life and they will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire with the Beast, False Prophet and Satan.

 

Christ will create new Heavens and a new earth on which Christians will live with Christ, perfected and free from sin and temptation forever. Read again the 3rd chapter of II Peter and learn how it is all going to end. Note that the reason Christ has held off this judgment so far has been because He is long-suffering and not willing that any should perish.  If you are an unbeliever,  how much further are you going to push His patience?

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Why Jesus Must Return

In Jesus’ famous Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24-25,  Mark 13 and Luke 21,  Jesus and His disciples are together on the Mt. Of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley from the beautiful gold covered temple built by several generations of King Herods. As they are admiring its beauty and grandeur, Jesus shocks them with the truth that soon that temple will be totally dismantled, stone by stone.  That happened in 70 AD, just forty years later as the Roman soldiers    torched the city, including the temple and then dismantled the temple, stone by stone in order to get the gold that had  melted between the stones.

Understand that at this point, just hours before  Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, that fact has not yet hit them.  They are more concerned about the Kingdom age and their part in it. Their question concerns when the temple is going to be destroyed and the signs that are going to signal the return of Christ ,

Jesus does not give them that answer.  Instead, He warns them not to be deceived by false Messiahs.  Then He goes into much detail giving them the longest answer to any question they had ever asked Him. In His answer, which makes up most of the Olivet Discourse; He graphically describes future events which cover The Time of the Gentiles  and The Church Age.

The Time of the Gentiles began with Assyria’s capture of Israel in 722 BC and has continued through the past 2700 years.  It will conclude with the Battle of Armageddon at the close of the Great Tribulation when Christ defeats His enemies and prepares to reign from Jerusalem over the whole world.  That battle is described in Revelation 19:11-21.

The Church Age began at Pentecost and will conclude when the “called out”  church will be the “called up” church.

Let me give you five reasons why Jesus must return to this earth. All of these reasons are linked to His repeated promise that He would return.

 

 1. Christ is returning to this earth to be exalted.

Jesus’ first coming to this earth was in obscurity and humiliation. It concluded with His crucifixion, as He shed His blood on the cross as the  sacrifice for our sins.  That was the last time the unconverted ever saw Jesus; dead and hanging on a cross. Three days later, He arose bodily from the dead, showing that He had conquered death and that The Father was satisfied with His sacrifice for our sins.   I Corinthians 15:3-8 lists the only people who saw Jesus after His  resurrection. All of them were Christians only.  Hebrew 9:28  speaks of that first coming to offer Himself for our sins.  It also mentions His second coming to consummate our salvation by glorifying us in Heaven. No further sacrifice will be needed then,  because His sacrifice on the cross was the once for all, final sacrifice for sin forever.

Philippians 2:5-11 details both His first coming to die for our sins and His second coming to reign over the whole world. His second coming is as certain as His first coming.

Though only believers saw Jesus after His Resurrection and only believers will see Jesus when He comes back for us in the Rapture;  when Jesus returns to judge and reign, the whole world will see Him.  You can read of this in Matthew 24:25-31,  Revelation 6:12-17 and Luke 21:28-33  In the Luke 21 passage, it tells us that “this generation” (that is, the generation who is alive at that time) will not pass away until all these events are fulfilled and Christ establishes His Kingdom.  Revelation 1:7 announces that “every eye shall see Him”, including “they which pierced Him” when they crucified Him 2000 years ago,.

2. Christ is returning to this earth to Destroy Satan

Satan is presently the god of this present world system.  When satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, as recorded in Luke 4,  Satan offered Jesus all the Kingdoms of the world, if He would only bow down aand worship him.  Could Satan really make thatoffer?  Yes he could for the world system was his to offer.  I John 5:9 tells us that this whole world lies in the lap or under the control of Satan.

Why are we Christian so enthralled with this present evil world system that is doomed to destruction? I’m not talking about God’s wonderful creation. I’m talking about the sinful world system that attempts to shut God and the Bible out of their lives. We know that Jesus died to save us from hell. But are we as aware of the fact that Jesus died to also deliver us from our infatuation with this present evil world system. That’s what Paul tells us in Titus 2:11-15.

There are only two supernatural powers in this world: Christ and Satan. Whoever refuses to worship Christ, worship’s Satan.  Whoever is not devoted to Christ is devoted to Satan.  Whoever is not controlled by God is controlled by Satan.  Who controls you?

3. Christ is returning to fulfill His promise to Adam’s fallen race.

That promise is found in Genesis 3:15.  In that one short verse is the story of the whole Bible.  It is serving notice to Satan after He had tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God;  that although Satan would do damage to Christ and His Kingdom,  eventually God would strike a mortal blow to him by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to redeem sinners. Later, God will cast Satan into the Lake of Fire forever where he can no longer do Christ and His Kingdom any harm.

Paul, in Romans 16:20 encourages us with the truth that one day Christ is returning to this earth and He is going to allow us to have a part in crushing Satan :under our feet” forever.  What a grand day that will be!

 4. Christ is returning to fulfill His Covenants with Israel.

The Old Testament is filled with references to that Covenant. To Abraham God promised that through His Seed He would bless the world.  Read  Genesis 12, and 17.  Galatians 3;16 identifies that Seed by name, Jesus.

God’s Covenant to David, found I II Samuel 7  and in Psalm 89 promises that David’s Seed, Jesus, would one day reign over the earth forever.  Other promises concerning Christ’s future Kingdom over the earth are found in Isaiah 11, 35, and 40,  Jeremiah 23,  Ezekiel chapters 34-39,  and Zechariah chapters 12-14, as well as many other lesser known passages.

5.  Christ is returning to keep His promise to His own, His Beloved Church

Some of the well known passages to His Church concerning His return include: John 14:1-3,  Acts 1:9-11, I Corinthians 15;12-23,  51-58, Philippians 3:20-21, Titus 2:11-14, I Thessalonians 4:13-18,  II Thessalonians 1:7-10, Hebrews 9:28,  I John 3:1-3 and the final promise in the Bible, Revelation 22:20.

How should our study of the Second Coming affect our lives?

To approach our study of the Second Coming of Christ as we would try to solve a crossword puzzle or just out of idle curiosity, is of little value.  To try to pry into matters of the future that are not clearly revealed in Scripture are none of our business.

Rather as Romans 13:11-14 teaches, our study of prophecy  ought to affect how we live our lives daily.  II Peter 3:11-18 also challenges us to live holy lives in the light of Him imminent return. I challenge you to read these last two passages of Scripture and truly worship Christ and warn sinners  to come to Christ,  as you watch and wait for His return. 

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on Why Jesus Must Return

Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman

Although this is a Mother’s Day message, it is just as applicable to those women who are not mothers.  It is also applicable to young girls for you girls are going to be the future mothers and teachers of children of the next generation.  That’s exciting to me, for I know the power of godly wives, mothers and teachers of children.

Looking back on my life, I can see the tremendous impact that godly women, including godly single women had on my life as I was growing to adulthood.

The  Most Influential Women in My Life

Let me list them in chronological order, The first four were married.  The last seven were single.

Mother and Dad were missionaries in Peru where I was born. Dad died when I was four and Mother returned with my brother and me to her home in Canada. Mother’s greatest influence on me was in the first ten years.

 My mother’s mother, Grandma Smith, often took care of me during  several of those early years while Mother  traveled to churches in Canada and USA on behalf of missions. She certainly had a godly influence on my life.

When I was nine years old, I went forward in a children’s meeting in the People’s Church in Toronto, Canada to receive Jesus as my Saviour.  A  godly woman ( I don’t remember her name)  knelt down with me with her Bible and led me to a simple child-like faith in Christ.  God saved me and began a life-changing work in my life that night.

Mrs. Westervelt was the next influence in my life from ages 10-16. She operated a Boarding School for missionaries’ children in Batesburg, S.C. Mother enrolled my brother and me in that home and school as she continued her travels.   Mrs. Westervelt, a stern, but loving woman, raised us along with about one hundred other missionaries’ kids  from 1944-1949 from my last months of fourth grade through ninth grade.

Miss Vera Deardurff was my teacher at that school from fifth through eighth  grade.  Needless to say, she had perhaps the most  powerful impact on my life of any woman, including my mother, as she instilled character principles and gave me my philosophy of life.  Grades five through seven were in a one room school house.  She also taught me eighth grade later.

Miss Violet Bohy was my piano teacher for five years at Westervelt School. She taught me by example to use my musical talent for God’s glory.

Miss Verta Needham, a Columbia Bible College student,  was my Sunday School teacher in a small church in Columbia S.C. (Westervelt Home had moved to Columbia for the final year of their existence.)  Verta asked me to lead a devotional time at a class picnic by the Congaree River in Columbia. As a sixteen year old boy, that opportunity set me on a path to becoming a pastor.  Now after nearly  fifty-five years of pastoring, I am still actively involved pastoring full time.

My mother by this time had remarried a missionary bachelor on the island of Haiti.  In my 16th summer my brother  and I spent the summer with our Mother and step-Dad and little sister, Carolyn, in Haiti.  One of the influences in my life were a group of about 6 young single ladies who were missionaries on that Mission Station in Aux Cayes, Haiti.  I was impressed with the zeal and joy of those young ladies who had given their lives totally to serve the Lord there.

Miss Pamela Reeves was the next influential lady in my life.  She was my Bible teacher as a Junior at Culter Academy in Los Angeles, California.  Not only our Bible teacher, but our class sponsor,  Miss Reeves radiated the joy of the Lord and taught that victorious Christian life in her Bible class.

Miss Ruby Grey, my English grammar and composition teacher at Bob Jones University, encouraged me to write.  This Hidden Treasures web site is some of the fruit of that encouragement.

Miss Pat Gumm, a C.B.C. student whom I met while visiting Columbia Bible College in Columbia, S.C. in December of 1953,  caught my eye and soon won my heart.  We were engaged in August of 1954 and married in August of 1955,  She has been my faithful, loyal, sacrificial, loving wife and mother of our two sons and one daughter  for almost 54 years.  God had His hand in helping me find just the woman I needed to complement my life as a pastor.  She’s never been an Assistant Pastor.  I wasn’t looking for an Assistant.  Rather, she has been the wife I longed for and the almost perfect Mother of our children.  We share the same values.

A Woman’s Place in the Church

According to I Timothy 2:12 a woman is not to teach nor usurp authority over a man; but that does not rule out the  fact that God uses women to influence the lives of men and nations as mothers and as teachers and friends.

Miss Deardurff,  Miss Bohy, Miss Needham, the single missionary ladies in Haiti and Miss Reeves, many of whom are now in Heaven, continue to influence my congregation through me as their pastor.  Think about that!!!

Godly Mothers in the Bible

I think of Godly mothers of the Bible who had such a powerful influence on so many people through the ministry of their sons.

Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Read Exodus 2:2-9, Acts 7:20-23 and Hebrews 11:23.

Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. Read her story in I Samuel 1:11, 20-28, and 2:18-19,

Lois and Eunice, the grandmother and mother of Timothy, a  disciple and fellow pastor and evangelist of the Apostle Paul. 

Consider their faith

I. It was an unfeigned faith   II Timothy 1:5

 

That is, it was a genuine faith; not hypocritical. Some young people turn away from the faith of their parents.  I wouldn’t presume to know why any young person turns from the faith of their parents.  There are all sorts of reasons- some not even related to the parents.

Certainly some turn away because of the hypocrisy of their parents.  Children are very alert to whether someone is real or hypocritical  and they are repelled and repulsed by hypocrisy and double standards.

They must observe integrity in their parents their teachers and their pastor.  Integrity is simply what we believe being integrated into the way we live each day.

Some women who attend church with their husbands are destroying their homes and turning their children away from Christ by their gossiping tongues and their rebellious attitudes towards their husbands.  Feigned faith and feigned religion is ugly.  It is a cloak put on just for show and children see right through it.

We can only live a genuine Christian life by coming to Christ, admitting our sinfulness and accepting His righteousness by faith and surrendering our lives to Him who alone enables us to live the Christian life. Anything less is hypocritical and repulsive to our children.

II It was an influential faith.  II Timothy 1:5

 

It passed on from generation to generation.  First to grandmother Lois, then to mother Eunice and then to Timothy.  Salvation, of course, is not inherited from our parents; but our lives can have a powerful impact on generations to follow, 

III, It was an under girding faith.

Grandmother Lois and Mother Eunice lived consistent lives that influenced Timothy positively, Possibly, Timothy’s father, a Greek, was not saved, or perhaps he had died. Regardless, the womens’ faith undergirded young Timothy.  No matter how difficult your circumstances, you will find support in Christ.  Deuteronomy 33:27 is true in any age. “The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

IV. It was a rewarded faith.

 

The rewards were not immediate, but they were certain. As James 1:13-15 warns us that sin does not always have immediate consequences, but the consequences are ultimate and certain;  so,  Hebrews 11:8-39 encourages us that faith does not always have immediate rewards,  but those rewards are ultimate and certain.

Jochebed’s faith was rewarded as Moses became the deliverer and leader of Israel for forty years.

Hannah’s faith was rewarded as she saw her son, Samuel, became a great prophet in Israel.

Lois and Eunice’s faith was rewarded as they saw Timothy become Paul’s right hand man and become a faithful pastor to the church of Ephesus.

God bless you, Mothers and single ladies who influence children for Christ. May He keep you unmovable and unshaken  in God’s Word.  May He under gird you and enable you to accomplish the task of discipling the children committed to your care.   May He one day reward you  as you see your sons and daughters and students, and children you baby-sat standing fast in The Faith,  living consistent, fruitful lives for Christ and serving Him with all their heart.

May 10, 2009 Posted by | MOTHER | Comments Off on Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman

Church Disunity

“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another.” John 13:35  In local churches and on mission fields a major problem is disunity among Christians. There is nothing that destroys a church’s testimony and effectiveness in reaching the lost and building up saints like disunity. Next to living and preaching the Truth,  maintaining the unity of his church family is the main burden of a godly pastor.  

 Often that disunity is fomented by some “Diotrephes, who loving to have preeminence,” (III John 9-10) freezes out of the fellowship those who do not fall into line under his or her usurped leadership. Such churches seldom grow and are pathetic examples of what Christ meant His church to be.

In the light of what Christ has done for us, it is a shame and a disgrace for Christians to not endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.  Christ prayed for us in the Upper Room just before His crucifixion. His concern was “that we all would be one as Christ is one with His Heavenly Father.” John 17:21.  That’s not the oneness of organization, but the oneness of an organism, the supernatural oneness of the Body of Christ.  Not only does He pray for us, but He gives us the Gift of His Holy Spirit to unite us as one Body. That is the baptism of the Spirit spoken of in I Corinthians 12:13.

Understand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an emotional experience to be sought and flaunted before the Church.  Rather the baptism of the Spirit is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit whereby He unites  us to the worldwide Body of Christ.  Immediately a new Christian is aware that he is now a part of the family of God and he longs to be united and involved in fellowship, worship and service  in a local expression of that Body.

For Christians to remain in a state of disunity is an abomination in the sight of God, as taught in  Proverbs 6:16-18

Paul shows his concern for the possibility of disunity in the Philippians Church.   This concern is seen throughout this Epistle in 1:5-19, 27.  4:1-2

The number one rule of church leadership according to I Peter 5:3 is to avoid attempting to lord it over others.  Rather, pastors, elders, deacons and others in leadership positions are to lead by  being  examples of what a Christian ought to be and being encouragers with servant hearts.

Attempting to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit is a major concern for every church that is seeking to serve the Lord.  The greater the zeal and enthusiasm, the greater the danger of disunity as we collide with one another in our efforts to serve Christ.  Only as each member is filled and directed by the Holy Spirit, can we all work amiably together without ruffling feathers.

Disunity takes place when we allow Satan to make us feel miffed because things do not always go as we plan.

True unity is more than just being members in the same church.  It is more than doctrinal agreement, though doctrinally agreement is very important. True unity is unity of heart and purpose.

Unlike the unity of a bag of  marbles that can be destroyed by cutting the bag,  our unity must be like that of metal filings united together by a magnet.  If Christ is the magnet of our life and of our church,  that produces the true unity that enables us to work together with one heart and purpose.

Because a spiritually united church cannot be stopped in its progress by Satan, it is essential that each of us endeavor to keep and protect the unity that the Holy Spirit has given us.  That’s why Paul emphasizes our responsibility to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit  in Ephesians 4:3 and in other passages in I Corinthians 12 and 14.

Paul’s approach to the Philippian Church in Philippians 2:1-2 concerning the need to keep this unity is not threatening: rather, it is a three-fold approach of a loving pastor and his church family to do what is right

1.  for Christ’s sake,

2.  because of the unity that the Holy Spirit has already made available to us, and

3.  because of our love for our pastor and our church.

United, nothing can stop us as we move forward in our assault against Satan’s strongholds. Divided, we are paralyzed and powerless to do any more than just “play church”.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on Church Disunity

Truth

In this message I want to pause in our detailed study of the Olivet Discourse to think about something as basic as Truth.

 

TRUTH   John 14:6

Christ  is the Way to God personified.  There is no other way.

He is the Truth of God personified. There is no truth apart from Him.

He is Life personified.  There is no life apart from Him; only mere existence.

 

Any philosophy or theory contrary to the Bible is false.

Anyone without Christ, regardless of his scholarship, does not know truth.

 

Pilate is an example of the typical man without Christ. When Jesus spoke of truth to him in John 18:37, Pilate responded with the cynical question, “What is truth?”  He did not wait for an answer for he was convinced there was no answer.  Like men today, he believed that no one can know absolute truth about anything. Like the existentialist today, he believed “All truth is relative. What’s wrong for you may be right for me.”

 

UNFATHOMABLE DEPTHS OF TRUTH

Nevertheless, God speaks Truth through His Word, the Bible.  His truth has unfathomable depths as evidenced by:

the unfathomable Love of God.  Ephesians 3:14-19

the incomprehensible power of God. Ephesians 3:19-20

the unsearchable wisdom of God. Romans 11:33-36 and

the unquestionable sovereignty of God. Isaiah 55;8-9

 

Though people question God’s ways and the things He allows,  they have no business doing so.  When my missionary father was suddenly killed in a car accident in the mountains of Peru back in 1937 where he was a missionary, leaving my 27 year old mother a widow and my brother and me fatherless at the age of one and four, my mother told me in later years that she took great comfort at that time in reading and thinking about Isaiah 55:8-9 and resting in the sovereignty and wisdom of God.

 

SIMPLE & REVEALED TRUTH

Though God’s truth has unfathomable depths, yet it is simple enough for any Christ-lover to understand.  In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 13:11 that truth is given to His own to understand; but not to the rebellious,  In Luke 10:21 we learn that God hides truth from the proud and self-righteous.  He reveals it to the humble and child-like believer.

 

Towards the end of His ministry Luke 19:11-13 tells us that Jesus’ Disciples  had the mistaken idea that His Kingdom would immediately appear. Jesus corrected them by telling the story of a nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.  They could not fathom the long period of time between His first and second coming, nor can we.

 

Very early in His ministry, Luke 4:16-20 records that Jesus had gone into the synagogue in Nazereth and taken the scroll and read a prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2. The part He read spoke of His first coming.  He purposely did not read the last part of Isaiah 61:2 which spoke of His second coming to carry out vengeance, for His first coming was not the time of vengeance, but of grace and mercy.  His vengeance will be poured out on His enemies when He returns to set the world straight and establish His Millennial Kingdom.   

 

As Jesus sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, he looked across the Kidron Valley to the magnificent temple.  It was a place that was to be known as a House of Prayer.  However the corrupt priests had turned it into “a den of thieves”, Jesus said in Luke 19:46.  It was now a place of false religion; so Jesus warned that it was going to be destroyed.  That took place forty years later in 70 AD when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and dismantled  the temple stone by stone in order to get at the gold and precious stones that had beautified the temple.

 

As the vestiges of Christ-rejecting Judaism were destroyed then,  so Revelation 17 & 18 prophesies that God is one day going to utterly destroy the modern day ecumenical church which will be headquartered in Rome.  Not only will the false church be destroyed, but also the cursed one world political and economic system in that day.  Even now, we are seeing signs of that doomed one world system beginning to take shape.  We’re also seeing seeds of its coming destruction

 

But then on the Mount of Olives, as Jesus spoke to His Disciples of the end times,  they had the nagging concern, “When Jesus? When are you going to return and set up Your Kingdom?”  Even in the last moments before Jesus ascended back to Heaven, the disciple had this constant, gnawing concern. “Will you at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?” They had a rightful reason to be concerned about the coming Kingdom.  It is prophesied all through the Old Testament, as we have noted in other prophetic articles which you can find on this website under the category PROPHESY  Next time we will give you reasons why Christ must return to establish His Kingdom.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on Truth