The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • May15Sun

    Sermon: "I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N”

    May 15, 2022

          There is a kid’s song that says “I am a C, I am a C-H, I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N, and I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y” If you know this song it may be stuck in your head for a while but that’s okay if you are actually a Christian. As you read today’s sermon make sure you are as you do not want o find out when it is too late that you are not. This song basically says you are a Christian when Jesus lives in your heart. If Jesus lives in your heart, then you will have eternal life. Here are a few verses that talk about this. John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” John 3:15 “that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Last week we looked into whether or not we believe as this is crucial when calling yourself a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. Mark 16:15 “Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” John 3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Notice the two groups of people, those who believe and those who do not. As Jesus said proof is in the signs that follow.

            It is amazing how many people call themselves Christians yet have no idea what it really means other than they have affiliated themselves with a church somewhere local or online. They think, I go to church, therefore I am a Christian. They may have prayed a prayer and been baptized, so they think all is good. People from all sorts of these affiliations call themselves Christians yet believe completely different teaching, doctrines and theology of which is not possible if you are a true Christian. You cannot follow other gospels and be a Christian. Above there were some key words to take to heart if you are going to call yourself a Christian. Mark talked about preaching the gospel. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” John talked about obeying the teaching of Jesus, which is the gospel. If you are going to call yourself a Christian, you must obey the word of God. When you do obey, God dwells with you. When God dwells among us, we do as Jesus did in the same power and authority and signs will follow. The song talked about Christ living in your heart but that is the Holy Spirit. Christ was not Jesus last name but a reference to Him being the anointed one. Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” If we are to be like Him, we too need to be anointed. Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 11:19 “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” When we are anointed, God’s power flows. Just as we saw with the disciples. 

        If we call ourselves Christians, then we must do as Jesus did. The only way we can do that is to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, who clothes us with power from on High. If there is no power, then that means we are not anointed. This also means that the millions who call themselves Christians are not really Christians. Although this will sound like there are three options, there is only two. Jesus said Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” The church is filled with lukewarm people who think they are Christians because they followed the prescribed way of their church. They think that by going to C-H-U-R-C-H, they are a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. They may even think they are hot due to their high level of commitment but since they do not follow the truth but other gospels, they are then cold/ 

        So here are our options. The first option is Christian. The other option is not a Christian and there is nothing in-between. You either are or you are not just like you believe, or you do not believe. You either believe all of the words of God or you do not. This then gives us two options for eternity. You are going to hear either Matthew 25:34 “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” or 41 ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” The only way to be a Christian is to follow God’s word wholeheartedly and obey His words but there is a difference between those who just read and those who read and obey. John 5:36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Then you have the listeners who every Sunday listen to a sermon, but never change. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

        They say that the repetition of something makes one better like practicing your favorite sport over and over but if you are doing it wrong, repeating the wrong over and over does not make it right. You can repeat a lie over and over but no matter how many times the lie is repeated, does not make it truth even if people have accepted the lie due to the repetition of it. Another example is when learning to right. Righting down the word right over and over isn’t going to help if it is used wrong. The problem is righting the word right over and over caused problems as the word should have been spelled writing / write. When the Ark was brought to the city of David, David said 1 Chronicles 15:2 “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.” 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.”

        Over and over people continue to call themselves Christians yet they are not following the prescribed way as laid out in scripture. Instead of following Jesus, many have followed the ways of man because they think God forgot to lay out the plan in the New Testament as they think God forgot the instructions to building the temple. The instructions are there, most just wanted to build something with their own hands and then give glory to God but Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” They only follow the way laid out to them in the church they go to. There is the Baptist way, the Pentecostal way, the Catholic way and so on and so on but there is only one way, truth and life and that way is not man-made. Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.” The early church was called the Way. We either follow Jesus or satan / ways of man. Paul’s own life gives us an example of the two sides; those who are Christians and those who are not. Paul said Acts 22:4 “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison.” But then 6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ 8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. 10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” If you are following the wrong way you are persecuting the true church. Then Paul switched directions. He had tried to destroy the Way with great zeal but then fearlessly proclaimed the Way everywhere he went. Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” In his defense he said Acts 24:14 “However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”

        Today so-called christians are doing so much damage to the church. You hear all the time Christians teaching things that are contrary to scripture. The news is filled with the thoughts and views of so-called Christians. The other day I heard a professor of theology saying Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality because it was not in the red letters (the sayings of Jesus) of her bible. If you are a Christian, you follow the whole bible not just the parts that line up with your own theology. As a theologian she should have known that the word became flesh, so it is not just the red letters you follow but all the words found in the bible. 2 Peter 1:21 “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Therefore you cannot ignore the rest of the bible because it does not fit with your doctrines. Titus 1:11 “They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” It seems today with the ease of getting your own message out there, anything goes under the name of Christianity. Jesus showed us how to stop this when he said to Peter get behind me satan, Matthew 16:21 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

        Because the church only seems to have human concerns, there is much division. Paul described it this way. 1 Corinthians 11:17 “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” Christians who they follow their own desires show the world the wrong picture of what it means to be a Christian and Christianity is dwindling away. An article from Global news said, “Religiosity in Canada is at an all-time low, with recently released data from Statistics Canada showing only 68 per cent of Canadians 15 or older now report having a religious affiliation. It’s the first time that number has dipped below 70 per cent since StatCan began tracking the data in 1985. It’s important to note that this decline is not across the board; the number of Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus is increasing, and StatCan predicts the number of Canadians reporting a non-Christian religious affiliation could double by the year 2036. Christianity, however, is in sharp decline.” Pew Research said, “The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip.” The numbers are far worse than statisticians portray because most who have labeled themselves as Christians are not Christians according to scripture. There is only a remnant left which is far worse than the above numbers portray. What you have is as Jesus said about the Pharisees. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Many churches put great effort to get the kids because they think once they are saved, they are set for eternity but what have they taught them to believe? Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” This verse even takes it a step farther and says those who believe in me, so those who cause people to stumble and turn away from truth will be accountable before God. All of these churches will be accountable before God for all the people they have destroyed. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”

        Proverbs tell us there are things God hates. Proverbs 6:16 “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 26:24 “Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. 26 Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” Psalm 101:5 “whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.” There have been too many outrages in the church all in the name of Christianity. It is not just all the false teaching but the abuse present not just in the Catholic church but across the board. There are rampant sexual sins in the church and along with cover-ups. All this is happening, yet people still call themselves Christians. Paul said 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” That is not red letter, but it still applies. Not only are there sexual abuses, there is an abuse of power over people anywhere from conning them out of finances to lording over them with rules and regulations and fear. John 16:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.”

        All this happens because men and women follow their own evil desires even though they call themselves Christians. 2 Peter 3:3 “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” Jude 17 “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Now many Christians may not try to physically kill you, but they will definitely attempt to kill you through gossip. John talked about this when he said, 3 John 1:9 “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. 10 So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.” There are two sides; those who follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit and those who follow their own instincts and desires. Jesus said Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

        Today the church is filled with doctrines of demons and the men and woman who follow and teach them. The church has been decimated by deception even though Jesus warned us to not be deceived. This has happened because the church did not test the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We know these days we live in are the end of the end times because of all the deception. Matthew 24:3 “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” Instead of watching for deception, truth was thrown to the ground and the church wholeheartedly followed after the ways of man. Instead of following Jesus wholeheartedly who is the way, truth and life, the church followed man and went the wrong way, followed false teaching and chose death instead. That is not what we were supposed to do. Paul said 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. in Philippians 3:17 “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” Here again you see the two sides; those who follow the example and those who are opposed. Paul also said of the Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 1:4 “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” 1 Corinthians 4:6 “Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” 

        It is amazing how many have followed gurus who teach other gospels. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Many who call themselves Christians do not follow the words of Jesus but the words of man. 3 John 1:11 “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.” There is only one way to imitate and that is by following Jesus and those who do as Jesus did. The problem is there is only a remnant left who have not bowed a knee to Baal so you have to be very careful who you follow. Romans 11:2 “Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Because of this we have to be very careful who we listen to. If you are reading this or anything for that matter, test the spirits like the Bereans did. Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” Then you stand on God’s word and wait for God to reveal His plan in these last days. Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” 1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 

        When Nebuchadnezzar built the image, the faith of God’s servants was tested. He said Daniel 3:6 “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow. They said Daniel 3:16 “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Job said Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Christians around the world have bowed their knee to Baal by following other gospels. There is no such thing as a Baptist Christian as opposed to a Catholic Christian or a Pentecostal Christian or Reformed Christian…. In fact by submitting to their rules and regulations you participate in division. Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Jesus said Mark 7:6 “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

        If you say “I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N, and I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E  E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y,” then you actually have to do believe God’s word so that God will dwell in you so that His power will flow so that you can imitate Paul as he imitated Jesus. As James said James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The only way to make it to the end of this tribulation is to stand firm on God’s word. Revelation 7:14  “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” During this tribulation and great rebellion, satan has decimated the church and millions have fallen to his deceptive ways. We were told Revelation 12:12 “Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” We were also told many would follow him. Revelation 13:1 “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear. 10 “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” 11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” 

        While most are waiting for this to happen way off in the future, most have already worshipped the beast because they have been deceived and worshipped other gospels. It did not have to be this way just as Israel could have stayed in the Promised Land but they disobeyed and went their own way. We were warned ahead of time in Daniel and Jesus also warned us of the abomination that causes desolation, yet the church has not listened and stubbornly continues to go their own way. There are two sides; those who have received the mark of the beast because unlike Shadrack Meshack and Abednego, they bowed their knee to Baal. They should have followed their example and refused to bow. If they had, they would have been marked by the Spirit of God the second side. Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” I heard a minister one time tell his own congregation that some there would not be chosen. There is some dangerous teaching on predestination. Paul said some are chosen for Gods purposes like Paul was or even Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar but all have sinned and all who repent will be saved. Romans 3:21 “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” This is why there is preaching. Romans 10:8 “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

        Jesus made it clear that not everyone will be saved, not because they have not been chosen but because they refuse to believe and obey. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Luke 13:22 “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Make sure you are calling on the right Jesus and following the right words. Not all the words you hear at church are the word of God. There is enough truth to entice but there is also enough falseness to kill you just like it only takes a little bit of poison to kill you. If I said here is a glass of water with a little bit of poison in it, you would not drink it, but everyday people are ingesting the poison of false teaching in the church without thinking twice about it. Not only are you not a Christian but by saying you are a Christian when you are not, you cause great division, especially when you spread the teaching you were taught. 2 Timothy 2:17 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth.” Romans 16:17 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

        There is hope and yes, it is possible to be a true Christian and make it through this tribulation, but we must submit to God’s word by believing and obeying. Revelation 16:15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Revelation 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Hebrews 10:38 “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Revelation 15:3 “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” John said to his friend Gaius 3 John 2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” A true Christian walks in the truth. John 8:31 “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If we continue in the truth, we will also see signs that follow but. Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” 

        As we read earlier Jude 17 “dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Are you really a Christian or have you just been told that you are? Do you have the Spirit of God within you? Are you following the instincts of man or the leading of the Holy Spirit who will John 16:13 “will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Continue to work out your salvation as you eternal life depends on it. Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”