Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Modus Operandi of Jesus Christ: Grace & Truth

Law enforcement and detective agencies often talk about the modus operandi of a criminal - the usual methods and practices that the perpetrator uses that help them to identify and arrest him or her. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, it means "a method of operating or functioning, and, or a person's manner of working."

When I'm on the job, and upon entering any given area, I can usually identify (without seeing who's assigned to work that area) who the worker is by the level of cleanliness; what gets the attention of the worker and what doesn't. What some specialize and focus on, others might completely ignore; they may instead focus on something else as their 'speciality'.

One's modus operandi could be considered a sort of 'trademark signature' that makes them distinct from others.

I began thinking about the LORD Jesus Christ, and how He functions as the LORD of creation, the Judge and, or Redeemer of sinners; the Head of the Church and the Messiah of Israel; that is, His methods and practices in each of these roles. After considering this for a certain length of time I realized I had another article in the making, but I also realized that to exhaust all of the ideas and perspectives that involve the quaternary nature of the LORD Jesus, it would take a very long article, if not a substantial series on this subject. I wouldn't want to monopolize the time of all of you readers in doing such a thing!

So I decided to narrow the parameters a bit (but only a bit really) by examining the primary modes of operation of Jesus Christ, and that would include the two major aspects of His very Person: grace and truth.

Now, right there, with just those two aspects of grace and truth you have enough to fill multiple seminary libraries with the volumes that would elaborate on these two precious pillars of the LORD! I shall however attempt to be as succinct as possible (if that's even possible for me!).

The LORD Jesus dealt with everyone He ever encountered, as seen abundantly in the Gospel accounts, with the Truth. Not only did He always speak the truth (He is Himself the embodiment of Truth), He spoke it with love as the sublime and singular motivation. I could theoretically speak the truth to someone who wronged me and supply it with a good 'dig' that would wound them to my gratification - but such was never the case with Jesus Christ, not even when He was speaking to the "Pharisees, scribes and hypocrites" there in Matthew ch. 23. Give that chapter a read and understand that this is God, Love Incarnate saying those things; if I were to say them, I think my blood pressure would escalate remarkably! This is not to say that the LORD Jesus didn't get angry when He made these declarations; His modus operandi in the Temple, His Father's house is ample evidence that He did indeed get angry. Or how about when women brought their children to the LORD to receive blessings upon them, and they were shooed away by His disciples - Scripture says He was "much displeased" about that! We must not preclude the idea that love never gets angry; it's because of the love and care we have for others that we sometimes become angry when they do something that would cause themselves harm or trouble.


Its important to understand however that when the LORD became angry, it was never for Himself, but on behalf of others; in the two cases cited above, His anger was for His Father's sake, as well as for those children and their mothers. Too often I can have indignation, but it isn't righteous indignation; it's because I personally was offended at someone who committed an affront towards me, not others, or most especially not God Himself.

The church of Jesus Christ is witnessing in today's world, an alarming trend of apostasy, growing like a weed (tares even?) with extreme rapidity. Along with this there have been a number of discernment ministries cropping up to expose the lies, deceptions and the "falling away from the faith." The primary weapon, indeed, the only weapon is the Truth as revealed by God's Holy Word. The modus operandi of discernment ministries is in fact, the utilization of God's Word of Truth to expose the various falsehoods entwined in churches and para-church organizations.

Such discernment ministries must be critical when examining teachings and practices of pastors, teachers and other leaders within the church with as much objectivity as possible, using the Scriptures as the yard stick of measure.
Most of us have heard the admonition to be like the "Bereans" who received what Paul the apostle had to say with an open mind, but then didn't take his word for it, but rather searched the Scriptures for themselves to confirm the truth of what he taught (Acts 17:11).

If such ministries are to follow after the modus operandi of their LORD, then this utilization of the truth must be coupled together with grace.

There are some ministries that claim to provide the service of discernment to the body of Christ, but are unfortunately little more than gossip centers, or perhaps so overzealous in their mission that their view is myopic, and any teaching that they don't agree with has the ministry providing such teaching labeled as heretical, rather than simply espousing different views that can be supported biblically; some such discernment ministries seem to make it an imperative to prove themselves right, and everyone that disagrees with them, wrong. We must remember that even discernment ministries must be discerned and held as accountable as those that they treat with biblical examination.


Other discernment ministries go the other way: they emphasize the grace of God (f0r those that are in serious need of correction) but their hold on the truth seems lax; they claim biblical integrity, and may carry a reputation for such - for a while, but then slowly they become doctrinally eroded until finally they are befriending and associating with known heretics, New Agers, Emergent Leaders, etc. while ignoring their stand in opposition to the Bible which inevitably causes confusion and division among God's sheep.

And should we likewise be extending grace to heretics and apostates? In regards to their teachings, no - absolutely not! In keeping with objectivity, we must be clear that any teaching that is presented to the body of Christ requires examination with the Scriptures to either confirm or deny its veracity. This is not therefore an attack against teachers, per se, but against the teachings of the teachers. We cannot judge hearts and motives, but we can and must judge words, teachings, doctrine to determine if its good spiritual provender or not, and reject it if it's not.

I believe that those who are conversant with the full counsel of God (and ideally this should be EVERY Christian believer, but sadly in this day and age, it's not so at all!), and have attained some considerable level of spiritual maturity are not only obligated to challenge false teachings and their teachers, but are also liable if they don't!


We should however show a measure of grace towards those in error, or promoting error by our fervent prayers for their souls, and that they would be delivered from the snare that the enemy has entrapped them in. We should endeavor where ever possible to reach out to them even as our LORD would and beseech them towards uprightness of doctrine and good works.

Ultimately even the Brian McLarens and the Rob Bells and other such like, of our present world are victims of Satan and are "deceived and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3: 13; also note vs. 7-8). The religious leaders of the LORD Jesus' day were deceivers, and were themselves deceived - but He didn't refuse any of them who would invite Him over for dinner; however unlike too many today, He didn't allow their hospitality or politically correct popularity to curb His rebukes and His intolerance towards their misconduct and their "leaven" or bad doctrine.


Those of us who love God's Word have heard enough about "don't touch God's anointed," however, the One Whom God has anointed without measure, that is, the full measure of the Spirit without any limitations whatsoever is Himself the Anointed One (Christ):

John 3:34-35 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

Isaiah 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

The Anointed One Who is the Word Incarnate took the time to make sure that His Truth was recorded in the Word Inspired - the Scriptures themselves, and one specific reason (among many!) He did, was so that His disciples would be able to judge or discern true teachings from false, viewing them through the lens of God's Word (Heb. 4: 12-13; 5: 13-14).

So those who would warn others to "not touch God's (so-called) anointed" had better themselves beware because in teaching false doctrines and heresies, they are contradicting God's Word and are offending THE Anointed One!

The LORD Jesus commended the Ephesian church for their vigilance in guarding against false apostles and teachers and expressing zero tolerance towards them (Rev. 2: 1-3, 6), yet for all of this, and their labor and their patience, the LORD found fault with them in that they left their first love - the LORD Himself. The church at Ephesus was careful to heed the admonition and warning of Paul who told them that grievous wolves would enter in, not sparing the flock, and also those in their midst would rise up and draw some away with them in Acts 20: 29-31.

There was such an emphasis for truth, and guarding against false doctrine, that they had lost focus on the One for Whom should have held the place of their chiefest love - Jesus our LORD! The grace of God and the love of God are closely knit together. You could say that grace is the outward manifestation of the love dwelling in the deepest place of God's heart.

Let's turn now and look at a few scriptures and see how these two marvelous attributes of God relate to each other:

2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Eph 6:23-24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

1 Tim 1:12-14 ¶ And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.


2 John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love
.

Note that in this reference from 2 John there is a correlation between truth and love. In the Gospel of John we have "grace and truth" mentioned together:

John 1:14, 17 ¶ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.


The grace of God is of course His "unmerited favor" expressed to the people of Earth. There is none of us worthy of any interaction with God whatsoever, other than as our Holy Judge in which case we are worthy of His condemnation. Yet ". . . God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . ." Now, THAT is the most eloquent expression of grace found anywhere in the pages of Scripture, is it not?

The love of God is an unconditional love that is focused on the one being and receiving love, rather than the one giving it; it disregards any inconvenience, hardship, pain and or suffering that it may cost to have that love fully realized upon the recipient, and rejoices when that love is truly received and reciprocated. I think we can see a bit more clearly now how these two attributes of God are just a mere hair's breadth apart from one another, if even that broad.

Now the Truth of God is an attribute that is just as integral to His nature as is His love; observe:

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me
.

Truth is something that is irrevocable, something immutable, something that expresses reality as seen in the eyes of God (the Creator of such), and to those whom He shares such vision. Truth is propositional, that is, something that can be rationally observed and determined upon evidences that exist in reality. We've done a series on this doctrine of truth, based in part upon John MacArthur's The TRUTH War, as well as Norman Geisler's Apologetic works. To view the first of these articles, click this link here:

Got TRUTH?

For the saint, we must understand that the grace of God is just as immutable as the truth of God, and as the love of God; for the sinner, they must likewise understand that apart from God's grace extended by the wounded, nail scarred hand of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, they will know nothing of God's love, but only His judgment based upon the truth of His Law.


Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

There will be no appeal, no plea for mercy will be heard, no oath or vow to remedy sinful behavior by promising thousands of years of 'community service'. All judgments are eternally binding and irrevocable; this is why its absolutely imperative that everyone who does not yet know Jesus Christ repent of their sins, turn their lives over to the LORD, and receive the grace of God by the atoning work of Christ on the Cross.


Titus 2:11-14
¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works
.

God must judge according to Truth as this is His a primary characteristic of His. He cannot simply let someone 'off the hook' as this would deny justice which Truth demands. To deny Truth, God would have to deny Himself - an impossibility.

At the same time, God desires, yearns even to show mercy and grace, and has the perfect means to do so - through His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ.

Here we have the two-fold modus operandi of Jesus Christ, and they are as dependable and reliable as He is Himself.

By receiving the grace of God via salvation, the saint's exposure to truth will be a blessing, as is ably testified by every child of God who reads, studies and applies God's Word to their lives and who likewise receives encouragement, exhortation, reproof and rebuke from the LORD that loves them!

It is God's nature to show mercy, compassion, healing, restoration, and love; to bestow such love, joy and peace as only He can provide; He is the ultimat Encourager, Counselor, Manager, Friend and Lover - He is all in all for those who turn to Him with contrite, trusting and humble hearts:

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
vs. 22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Isaiah 57:15 ¶ For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
;

For those willing to come to God on this basis, we have this blessed promise of acceptance from the HOLY ONE:

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. . .to comfort all that mourn. . .

By judgment declared, based on the truth of God and His law, one is not at all exposed to grace and this will be a curse to the sinner who will never know the grace and love of God which had been rejected in the Person of Jesus Christ.

And for those under judgment, the remainder of Isaiah 61:2:
. . . and the day of vengeance . . .
Once again:

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

So which have you chosen? The Law of God based solely on Truth, or the grace of God coupled together with Truth? The former will only bring condemnation by the Creator and Judge of all souls, whereas the latter will bring commendation to the saints of God our Savior, the LORD Jesus Christ. These are indeed the modus operandi, and we can expect that the LORD will not conduct Himself by any other means!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Revisiting the O.A.S.I.S.

As these days proceed, there is a never ending supply of 'doom and gloom' information and just plain bad news everywhere we look. Many who have subscriptions to discernment ministries can get quite discouraged by what they read - what with ever increasing apostasy represented in once faithful ministries and churches, greater compromises of said ministries with globalist organizations and institutions intent upon a one world order with the subjugation of the masses under a power elite (oligarchy), etc.; our debilitating economy, increasing civil unrest with potential violence like a powder keg about to explode, and corrupt governments and unseen men of illegitimate power is also very worrisome.

As a writer for The TRUTH Under FIRE, The RED PILL Consortium and FROM the MIND of FIRE, I also endeavor to keep my head up, eyes open, heart listening and seeking God's will in uplifting the truth of His Word and exposing, denouncing and proving the falsehoods being promoted in this dark world.

Recently the LORD has been speaking to my heart about these issues (and only three days ago, as of this writing, I received an email from a Sister Saint who was enquiring about the intention of my writing and the nature of my articles) He has encouraged me to start focusing a bit more on the edification of the saints with biblical exhortation and messages that can bolster and strengthen Christians in days of such debilitating despondency (which seem to increase with no turning back). It's far too easy to become imbalanced and be all about exposing lies and deception, relating conditions of dilapidation but neglect the edifying truth of God's Word with the intent on blessing GOD's children!
It is in such days as these when messages of this kind are needful, more so now than ever!

With this in mind, I would like to "revisit the OASIS" and bring cool, refreshing water from God's Word that will invigorate and empower; and as well as this, some restful, shade from the blistering heat of turmoil, instability, controversy and uncertainty.
The first article on the OASIS dealt with very much the same subject matter, but it had a definite focus on missions and ministries that promotes the Gospel message of salvation for the lost who are certainly wandering the deserts of this wayward world. You can read that article here.

O.A.S.I.S.

This time around however I want to focus my attention on the saints of God who have already been to the OASIS and received that living water from the LORD Jesus Christ, but who may be due for another visit and refresh themselves in the sometimes weary journey on this dusty pilgrim road.

Whether sinner or saint, we all get weary in this life, we acquire heavy burdens, deep sorrows, wounded hearts, disillusionment and discouragement - yet the saint at least has the wisdom to know there is a place to go with such things - into the arms of our AWESOME LORD Jesus! Let's hear Todd Agnew tell us about it (you will note the message in this song is towards the lost, but even the saved can sometimes 'lose their way' in life, amen?):

COME YE SINNERS


As mentioned in the previous article:

"Only the Almighty Savior Immanuel Satisfies
In a world of deceitful, sinful and empty mirages, amidst the barren bleak deserts of parched souls, there is an O.A.S.I.S!"

JESUS Himself is that oasis. Our singular source of strength, refreshment and power, and above all: our greatest joy and deepest and best love!

I've shared these same verses before, but as the Word of God is a well beyond depth, there is always something more the Spirit of the LORD can teach us (I once participated in a Bible study where we spent well over an hour examining just HALF of one verse!). Therefore let's look again at

Isaiah 58:11-12 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in
.

Obviously a drought is a place and condition in which there is a severe lack of water, and no rain to replenish the parched lands. Yet in life there are all sorts of droughts aren't there? We can and often do experience a lack that is both burdensome and painful:

The loss of a loved one; losing a much needed job or even a home. A lack of peace, or a stable and secure life. A lack of clarity and sure direction in a life plagued with occasional confusion and uncertainty. This list could go on indefinitely, couldn't it?
With today's faltering economy here in America (and the world over), with even more threatening storms on the horizon, its quite understandable how we could experience a lack of peace and security and fear about what the future holds.

We don't know what our immediate future holds, but we do know Who holds our future (both now and in eternity) - in His nail scarred hands! We can trust Him! I myself have wrestled with worry, and one day earlier this last Spring, I was out walking and praying about these things when the LORD showed me such a sight, and spoke with tender-loving rebuke such words I will never forget! To read about this, have a look at this previous MoF article -


HE WALKS and TALKS with me

"The LORD shall guide thee continually..." We may not be aware of His guidance, we may even cry out "Where are You God?" when all the while, behind the scenes He is faithfully guiding both yourself as well as your circumstances (Consider the Divinely led trails in the lives of the patriarchs like Abraham, Joseph and Moses). Where God guides us is to an "expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11), that is a place of hope and expectation for good things that render blessing to our lives. He is faithful to guide us continually; God doesn't take 'time-outs' and abandon us to our own fate.

Even in these days in which we live, He remains faithful and true to His Word, and guides us continually . . . Our God is a Rock and a Refuge where the righteous can run and be safe (2 Sam 22:3; Ps. 62:7; 94:22)! He is the sure foundation that nothing can disturb, and upon which any who are founded upon will know stability and steadfast security in the "everlasting arms" (Matt. 7:24-27):

Deut 33:26 - There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun (Jerusalem), who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
vs. 27 - The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath [are] the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
vs. 28 - Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
vs. 29 - Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.



"...and satisfy thy soul in drought and make fat thy bones..." Immanuel alone can satisfy us! Immanuel: God with us, and if God is with us, and for us, none can stand against us (Rom.8:31). Relish the thought of that; really meditate on the truth of this statement: if GOD is for us, His children, walking in His righteousness, empowered by His Spirit... what's the very worst that can happen to us? He will be certain to satisfy us, and not merely to the depths of mere physical needs - note that it says our "soul" will be satisfied. "[Our] bones will be made fat", that is, we will experience a deep health (in whatever capacity God so chooses) in spite of adverse conditions of the worst kind.

It seems that God delights in placing His children in impossible situations only to prove Himself valiant on their behalf!

King Asa had an impossible situation when a vast host of Ethiopian warriors and their allies came against the House of Judah, and he sought the LORD and He won the day for them! Yet Asa ruined a perfect opportunity later on when Basha, king of Israel came against him: he sought not the LORD but for the king (Benhadad) of Syria to come to his aid.

For the LORD will "show Himself strong" for those who would direct their sincere ("perfect" or whole-hearted) and seeking hearts to God Almighty!

2 Chronicles 16:7-9
¶ And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand
(emphasis mine).
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars
.

How often we have "wars", that is strifes, contentions, etc. in our lives only because we don't call upon the LORD as we used to! May we learn to resort to the LORD God in each and every challenge, be they as big as a 'Jericho' or as small as an "Ai" (Joshua Ch. 6 -8). No problem is too big for God's power, nor is any so small that God in His compassion doesn't notice!

"...and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." All this in the day of drought! Satisfaction of soul, fatness of bones; a lush, generously watered garden and a never ending spring of water - from the Almighty hand of the God of the Impossible!

I believe these promises are spiritual in nature just as much as they are physical; that the LORD will see to all our needs whatever they may be. In the days of physical want, there will be God's provision (Ps. 37:3), and in the (coming) days in which the church has fallen into such a deplorable state, that one is hard pressed to find the truth of God's Word anywhere (Amos 8:11-12) yet for those who revere the Holy Scriptures, they will receive and themselves become vessels for the never ending springs of the water of God's Word (Eph. 5:26) to reach the lost all about them.

In fact when one examines the context of this scripture found in Isaiah 58, one observes that these blessings are bestowed upon them who open up their lives as channels of blessing and edification for others in meeting their needs (see vs. 6-7, 10, 12). God is never limited in His purposes with only ourselves in view; He longs to reach out to others through us, His church. I believe the days ahead will prove to be just such opportunities to pray, seek God and see Him move upon our lives - to the blessing and benefit of those around us! This includes of course the work of salvation in the souls of those presently lost!

In this (spiritually speaking) 'desert-world' toys and trinkets are not needed; just water, cool shade and sustenance. I believe in the days ahead as we continue to lose our extravagant trinkets and toys won in the arena of materialistic wealth, this will prove a blessing for us! For those who are stripped of everything except their LORD Jesus, its at such a point that they realize how truly, insurmountably wealthy they truly are - in HIM!

Satan has deceived the church here in America by pursuing the "dream" of Americana culture and in all actuality has robbed us of attending our LORD, sitting at His nail pierced feet and reaping the blessing that is He Himself! He who treasures the presence of Jesus in their life doesn't merely have any need of any other treasure, but spurns them, choosing "that better part" as did Mary (and not her sister Martha) at the feet of her LORD (Luke 14:38-42) .

Remember the cry of Moses:

Exodus 33:15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

Moses wasn't going to budge from that spot (where God's presence dwelled) if He wasn't going to go with him. Look upon such a relationship of intimacy and love and tender fellowship between Moses and His Maker and know that the LORD God, our heavenly ABBA craves such a love relationship with each and every one of His children! There is not one He would overlook, but welcome all equally with His magnificent love and tender fellowship - such is the Father-heart of our God!

Hear what David declared about the LORD and his one desire:

Psalm 27:4-5
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock
.

Hear the awesome words of our LORD Jesus Christ, crying out for all to hear, down the corridors of time into our present day:


John 7:37 - In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
:38 - He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
:39 - (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)


When the LORD cried out from the Cross and said, "IT IS FINISHED!" and the veil in the Holy of Holies (the very center most part of the Temple where once a year on Yom Kipur the High Priest would enter in, with myriad sacrifices made, and stand in the presence of God), it signified the end of the Temple ministry, for God would no longer dwell in houses of stone, but in human houses - within the hearts of those who would receive Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR - and know the fellowship with God that He Himself intended from the beginning. When once Jesus Christ was glorified in a resurrected body, He breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22) and they became temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)!

At this point, saint of the living God, the LORD is nearer to you than your very own breath! We need not go to a temple, or even our local fellowships to enjoy, to partake, to abundantly bask in the very presence of the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth! If this doesn't astound you, you didn't read this carefully enough!

We hold weekly prayer meetings here at the house (Sat. nights) and regularly I pray to the LORD and confess that I am amazed that the Holy God of all creation, the very Holy One of Israel, the KING of heaven to Whom the most powerful and holy cherubs bow their angelic faces and dare not look into the brilliance of God's glory, but remain on bended knee in utter obeisance to the Omnipotent One are outdone by those of us born of His Spirit, who can approach Him at the throne of grace with confidence ("boldness" as in Heb. 4:16) and address Him as Father.

His Spirit as "rivers" (torrential, powerful streams) of living water should flow out of our hearts "bellies"


John 15:10 - If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
:11 - These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
:12 - This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you
.


Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

May we all resort to the OASIS more often than we've been accustomed to doing; may we imbibe deeply of the LORD's precious Word, partake in a prayerful practice, and know our Abba in all the love, joy and peace that He brings unconditionally to those whose hearts belong to Him!

My deepest prayer for you saints is one that I pray for myself:

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

2 Cor 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Jude 1:24 - 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,
:25 - To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.





And AMEN!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A TBC Perspective on Potential Persecution (with comments of my own)

As many of you are already familiar and aware, I have done a few articles in which I've borrowed (in context) the articles of other biblical and reputable sources, and have added my commentary in another color font.

This month's (July '11) article Seduction: A Primer for Persecution?
from The BEREAN CALL was so incredibly pertinent and necessary for the church here in America (not just the main article either; the Q & A, the letters, and other articles - were all magnificent encouragements and admonitions! Click on the link above [July '11] to access the links following the article to read these extra features) to hear, understand and obey.

Therefore please take time to read this article and my accompanying commentary in green.

May the LORD bless, encourage and prepare your hearts for this time of trial, and understand that His grace will prove MORE than sufficient when such days occur here in America!

T. A. McMahon

For the last three decades, Dave Hunt and I have addressed many trends and teachings that have influenced the evangelical church, particularly in the United States. Our concern has focused primarily on unbiblical beliefs and practices that were turning Christians away from the Word of God. Twenty-five years ago, we wrote The Seduction of Christianity, a rather controversial book that was motivated by feedback from those who had read Dave's earlier books and had watched the film documentaries to which I had contributed in the early eighties. Some dealt specifically with religious cults (Cult Explosion, The God Makers, etc.). Responses from Christians who read those books and watched the films, however, alerted us to the fact that the cult beliefs that we identified were also being taught in their churches, which were being influenced by leading Charismatic and Word/Faith teachers. Those same false teachers were also spreading cultish doctrines throughout the country on Christian television networks.

One of the principal false teachings at the time was the belief that godhood could be attained by created beings. Though that is foundational to Mormonism ("As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become") and Hinduism (self-realization is realizing that man is God), it had worked its way in various forms and methods into different "Christian" movements, teachings, and practices. Much of it was promoted by extreme Charismatics, but it was also finding its way into conservative evangelical churches through so-called Christian psychology (with its emphasis on self and self-esteem, leading to the exaltation and deification of self). Of course, the lie that man could become a god was the cornerstone of Satan's seduction of the human race (Genesis 3:1-5).

In current trends we have also observed the blatant infiltration of New Age and Emergent Movement leaders and teachings in the evangelical churches that once taught biblically sound doctrine which question and downplay the relevence and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, while uplifting experiential practices, such as contemplative spirituality/prayer and even more obviously unbiblical practices such as yoga, TM and other Hindu meditative techniques.

In his war against those who have committed their lives to the true and living God, Satan, as God's chief adversary throughout history, has majored in seduction and persecution. Although persecution would seem to be more effective in its prohibition of Christianity than seduction (and it certainly generates more fear), it is far less productive for the Adversary in achieving his objective. The saying that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church" has been demonstrated throughout church history. Martyrdom and other forms of persecution have always increased and/or strengthened the body of Christ...

To verify the extent and extreme nature of persecution upon the church of Jesus Christ in today's 21st century world, please examine the contents of the following web site:
The VOICE of the MARTYRS
The same, however, cannot be said for seduction.

Believers in the United States have never experienced significant religious persecution--certainly nothing like what has taken place in China, India, or throughout countries controlled by Islam. Historically, true Christians in the West as far as Europe have suffered violence from the Caesars of Rome, the Church of Rome, and Communism, among others, but a comparable level of persecution has yet to reach the shores of North America. On the other hand, spiritual seduction has proliferated here and has shipwrecked the faith of many within Christendom.

Check out any discernment ministries web site, and you will be inundated with information regarding the enormous breadth and depth of spiritual seduction; three such web sites for your perusal which I submit here are:
Lighthouse Trails Ministry
Apprising Ministries

and of course, The Berean Call
Unlike persecution, there is not even a remote value associated with seduction; it is spiritually debilitating and deadly. Stories abound of those believers who have survived and been strengthened in their faith during the persecution they suffered in communist countries only to have their walk with the Lord devastated after they escaped to the West. They could endure persecution but they could not resist seduction.

The thesis of this article, which is that seduction will ultimately bring about persecution, is intimidating for me personally. Why? Partly because Dave and I have only rarely addressed the potential for persecution in the U.S. and partly because it's only beginning to show its nasty head here. Then why write about it now? From my observations, increasing signs point to a pending clash between the professing--and even true--Christians who will conform to the world by compromising biblical teachings and those who will remain steadfast in the faith. Nevertheless, I put little value in my observations unless I'm confident that they reflect what the Scriptures teach. Nor should anyone who reads this article.

Following are seven pertinent verses (among others that could be given) that have influenced my observations and this thesis:

In Matthew 24:4, Jesus warns that the last days prior to His return will be a time of religious deception: "Take heed that no man deceive you." He adds (v.24) that the deception will be so great that if it were possible the very elect could be deceived. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus refers to the "strait gate" and "narrow way" that leads to life and announces that "few there be that find it." Luke writes (18:8) the sobering words of our Lord regarding the time of His return: "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth?" Since His Second Coming is for the purpose of judgment and to save Israel from annihilation, His words here seem better suited to His coming for His bride in the midst of a professing Christianity that has joined the apostasy. The Apostle Paul gives this insightful explanation as to how apostasy could manifest among those who call themselves Christians: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Sound doctrine will not be endured in the last days because many who have been fed the milk of scriptural truth have already been weaned away from it, i.e., seduced, by their own lusts and by false teachers. More than that, sound doctrine will become an issue that will foster division among Christians. Paul instructed the Roman believers to identify those who teach things "contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Romans 16:17). It's clear that believers who desire to stand firm for the teachings of God's Word will be at odds with Christians whose beliefs and lives are not conformed to the Scriptures.

Could division over doctrine result in persecution? Both history and the Word of God indicate as much. In the Book of Acts, we are told that "there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1). It involved violent assaults, imprisonments, and deaths, and the issues were doctrinal--pitting those who fiercely defended the religious traditions of men against those who followed the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. Persecutions continued as Christians who stood firm in the doctrine of Christ refused to bow down to the deified Caesars or conform to the pagan rituals of Rome. They became vicious entertainment for those who packed the coliseums to see them burned and torn apart by animals. Later, a "Christianized" Rome persecuted those who attempted to reform Roman Catholicism. From there, doctrinal inquisitions and trials by torture proliferated against the "protestants" and other biblical non-Catholics. Today, persecution continues against believers in Islamic countries and in those places in the West where Roman Catholicism still controls the society, such as cities, villages, and even some states in Mexico and South America.

Those who have exposed the Emergent Church Movement's direction towards Roman Catholicism's beliefs, dogmas and practices (which themselves are Babylonish, thus derived from occultic beliefs) are able to prove how too many formerly biblical churches are cozying up to the 'Romish Church' and its leaders.
Its likewise disconcerting that in many churches the leadership is elevated to an almost 'priest-like' infallibility and whose word is not to be questioned or challenged, even upon the basis of scripture! Those that would do so are often chastened or dis-fellowshipped!

One such example of infiltration is the Calvary Chapel movement and how some of its leaders have allowed Emergent dogma as well as the notable association of a known (perhaps not to themselves at the time, but most surely now that the news is out!) Jesuit. See the following
RED PILL -

Jesuit Infiltration

Although none of the above has manifested itself substantially in the United States, could such religious persecution take place here? Roman Catholicism has never been in a position to impose its dogmas on the American populace; Islam has only begun to control some neighborhoods here with its Sharia legalism ("Terror's Secret Weapon: Shariah," Townhall, 1/20/11). But what about a scenario of Bible-believing Christians being persecuted by other Christians who will "not endure sound doctrine"? Is that likely? Some who have previewed this article were doubtful that "Christians killing Christians over doctrines" would ever take place here, a law-abiding country where, for the most part, "doctrinal apathy" rules among evangelicals. I tend to agree, yet if someone told me 25 years ago that evangelicals would shift from the then highly influential moral majority/Christian Right to the socialism-oriented Christian Left--I would have laughed. No one is laughing at that reality now (Q&A 1/11). Only the Lord knows how extreme the oppression will become prior to His return for His bride, but there are many forms of persecution, short of martyrdom.

Its the assertion of some that internment camps that are supposedly built for the detainment of 'illegal aliens' are actually reserved for those who will not submit to governmental authority that would subjugate and oppress the rights and views of American citizens, among them most notably Bible believing Christians who will not submit to ecumenical and political unification with other religions and states (and supra-national organizations); I submit the following article, again from the RED PILL for your consideration to determine for yourself the validity (or not) of such claims -

In The Bad News Today

In previous TBC articles, we have addressed significant trends among evangelicals that have "weaned them off the Word," seducing them into following the ways, means, and agendas of man contrary to the Scriptures (See TBC 3/04; 2/05; 3/05; 2/07; 3/07; 9/07, et al.). In the midst of that process of compromise, increasing numbers of professing and true Christians have accepted the ideals of the world, including moral, social, and religious tolerance. "Intolerance" in thought, word, or deed of that which the world believes is good for humanity identifies a person as antisocial at least and as bigoted, prejudiced, or a practitioner of hate crimes* at worst. Furthermore, what if a social gospel that is based upon " doctrine?

*FROM the MIND of FIRE article
Sound doctrine, i.e., the teachings of the Bible, is what a true Christian is to abide by as one lives his life for Christ. Sound doctrine is the absolute criterion that dictates what beliefs, practices, and programs he can accept and what he must reject. Moreover, Scripture exhorts him to be discerning and steadfast in its teachings: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness....And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:13-14,17).

But would God allow persecution to take place within the church? That's what Peter seems to be acknowledging: "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17). Judgment, in the sense of correction and strengthening that results from God's allowing of persecution, as we've noted, has always been a part of Christianity. The Epistle to the Hebrews also indicates that persecution is one of the things that God has used as a spiritual pruning and purifying process for Hebrew Christians.

If you're not sure how (or why) persecution might take place within Christianity, consider these examples: When Promise Keepers enjoyed popularity among evangelical men, it became known that one of its goals was to "break down the walls" between Catholics and evangelicals. Part of that process involved turning churches against ministries that evangelized Roman Catholics (emphasis mine). When Rick Warren's "40 Days of Purpose" began to influence hundreds of thousands of churches throughout the U.S., long-time members who protested on doctrinal grounds were either disfellowshiped, or threatened with disfellowship, unless they submitted to Warren's program in their own churches (see TBC 10/04 and 9/08). To question a pastor or the elders' support for introducing yoga or "Christianized yoga" in a church has been grounds for disfellowship.

Although the above examples may seem marginal to some, they and other endeavors, including church-growth marketing programs, emerging church methods and mystical practices, ecumenical overtures to Muslims and Mormons, an ecumenical global P.E.A.C.E. plan that involves all the world's religions, movements aimed at solving the world's ecological, poverty, and social injustice problems, etc., have driven multitudes of believers to start home churches.

What if you were to preach against the various agendas mentioned above because they were a rejection of sound doctrine? Remember the Apostle Paul's admonition? "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ...Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine..." (2 Timothy 4:1-4). What would be the reaction among those within and without the church who were supportive of those agendas?

Or what if even without your preaching or protesting it simply becomes known that you are one of those biblical Christians who is intolerant toward other religions, who rejects evolution, who won't go along with psychology, who is anti-abortion, anti-genetic manipulation, and anti-euthanasia; that you view homosexuality as a sin rather than an alternative lifestyle, and that you are against gay rights and gay marriage? Furthermore, you seem to be out of touch with the acceptable morality of the day (marriage now being statistically a minority as a practice in the U.S.) by having a "problem" with cohabitation, and it's been said that you believe sexual abstinence should be practiced outside of marriage. You are suspicious about the alarm over "global warming." It's become known that you support Israel against the alleged right of the Palestinians to be restored to the land they believe is theirs. How will such a person be dealt with in Christendom--as well as by the world that champions everything that a believer opposes? The dark clouds of persecution appear to be gathering over the church in the U.S.; signs indicate that the seats of the "coliseum" are beginning to fill with a widely diverse audience (see TBC 1/11) that, at least in a figurative sense, has "a taste for the blood" of those who reject their programs and teachings on the basis of sound biblical doctrine.

Its worthy of noting that the LORD Jesus Christ Himself supported and endorsed, even commended intolerance where lies, deceptions and false practices are concerned:
Rev 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (see also Matt. 16:12)
King David likewise expressed such intolerance:
Psalms 119:104, 128 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way
.

As did the apostle Paul:
Titus 3:10, 11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (see also Col. 2:8; Heb. 13:9a)
The seduction of Christianity has created a condition in which biblical discernment and steadfastness in the faith are the exception rather than the rule. Standing for the truth and righteousness of the Word of God while the opposition increases within and without the church can only result in some form of persecution. Paul makes that quite clear: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). Although that verse may distress some believers, it shouldn't. Why? Because the beginning of the verse gives a believer the key to receiving the grace to glorify God and to benefit others through persecution: living godly lives in Christ Jesus! That is a believer's only preparation and it is more than sufficient. Jesus, who is the Word made flesh, gave His disciples this astonishing word of encouragement regarding standing for His teachings:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven..." (emphasis mine; Luke 6:22-23). Our prayer is that the Lord Jesus will help us to live godly lives and by His grace remain steadfast in the faith as we look for His soon coming. ~~TBC

It is my utmost and sincerest prayer that the LORD Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, the Savior of the saints, He Who is coming to rule Israel and all the world with truth and justice, grace, mercy and peace, the One and Only Prince of Peace will lead His bride into these last days before His soon return and fulfill all His perfect will by standing for truth and righteousness in the face of abject persecution, suffering, tribulation and sorrows knowing that such "light afflictions" will bring about "an eternal weight of glory" to be directed to the LORD Who enables us to endure such things!
2 Cor 4:17, 18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Indeed, if ever there was a time and a campaign for spiritual warfare that the church is commanded to enter into by our Captain, IT IS NOW!!! We have published much in the way of spiritual warfare (On TTUF as well as on this blog). Consider the following quote regarding the boldness with which we can afford to confront the enemy and his enslaved servants (the lost souls of humanity that do his bidding) by the power of our LORD:

"Show me a warrior strong in the LORD, who laughs at temptation, who sneers at the power of the enemy, who exalts in the love of His LORD, and I will show you a warrior who is sanctified with the genuine work of the Holy Spirit in his life!"

taken from
Are You a KNYHT in HIS Majesty's Sacred Service?

May we all stand fast and solid in these days upon the WORD of God, as soldiers of the cross who will do harm to no man; who dismisses wrestling with mere mortals in favor of more preferable prey - the principalities and powers of highest ranks in Satan's kingdom which is doomed to fall on bended knee and forced to declare that JESUS IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER! AMEN!!
John 15:18, 19 ¶ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Matt. 10:24-28 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matt 10:32, 33 ¶ Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.


Finally may I suggest you read this brief but powerful exhortation by pastor Jim Suttel of Calvary Chapel Roswell on VICTORY COMES THROUGH PRAYER
The LORD Jesus Christ bless you with Himself this Blessed Day!