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Sermon: “To Whom Did You Make Your declaration?”May 30, 2021There seems to be much confusion today about whom the church belongs to. Down through the generations, man has attempted to co-author the bible and have even replaced God’s words for their own. They have promoted their own names, their own visions, strategies and marketing ploys for their own personal gain, admiration and wealth and yes all done in the name of the Lord to the glory of God. They have written books and produced training tools to help you do what they did so that the kingdom of God can be built. But there is a problem with that; it is not God’s church they are building nor is God’s kingdom coming near. As I said last week one of the most controversial areas in Christianity is power but according to scripture the power available to the church is not at all confusing. Power actually shows you whose church it is you are building and whose church you actually belong to. Worldly power can be defined as “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.” There are powerful men and woman in the church that are doing this very effectively, and many of them have empires that have a global influence. Being powerful in this sense of the word is not the power of scripture.The power of scripture occurs when you are clothed with power from on High as we see in Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 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.” Jesus shows us in the gospels what that power looks like. Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” According to scripture, this power is clearly on display and as Peter said after Pentecost, this power is available to all who would believe. He said, Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Paul prayed for us that we would understand this available power and we need to pray this prayer too. Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”When you compare the power of the church to scripture, it is easy to see that the church is not clothed with power from on High but is naked and should be ashamed. Revelation 3:17 “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.” To understand this available power the church could have, we must understand whose church it is you belong to. Who have you sold your soul to? I said earlier that man has promoted their own ideas but it really isn’t man you are following, as there are only two options; we either follow Jesus or satan. If you are following Jesus, you will be looking for His power so that the kingdom will come near. You then could say you are part of His church. If you are following satan, you will be looking to be powerful and will be part of the kingdom he offers. This is not the kingdom of God. Luke 4:6 “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” We were warned that 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” We have had that since Paul said he was Galatians 1:6 “astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”When you look at Peter’s confession, you see very clearly who the head of the church is and what it should look like. Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Peter’s confession is the foundation of the church. When that confession is made, Jesus then explains the power that comes with it, the power given to the church over satan.It is imperative that you get this verse right. Jesus said, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Jesus did not say that Peter was the Rock on which His church would be built. He said the Rock was the confession that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Yes Catholics have taken this verse and established their Petrine Primacy to give themselves Papal authority but that is not the authority Jesus was talking about. In 2006 “Pope Benedict XVI reminded a crowd of 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square that the foundation of his authority is the rock on which Jesus founded the Catholic Church—that rock being the Apostle Peter. In his remarks, he urged, "Let us pray, so that the primacy of Peter… will be increasingly recognized in its true meaning by brothers not yet in communion with us" He also said, “Today, the Latin-rite liturgy celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. This is a very ancient tradition, proven to have existed in Rome since the fourth century. On it we give thanks to God for the mission he entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors. "Cathedra" literally means the established seat of the Bishop, placed in the mother church of a diocese which for this reason is known as a "cathedral"; it is the symbol of the Bishop's authority and in particular, of his "magisterium", that is, the evangelical teaching which, as a successor of the Apostles, he is called to safeguard and to transmit to the Christian Community.” This is what happens when you distort scripture. If it actually was the authority given by Jesus, then the Catholic church would have power and not just be powerful.When we follow what the verse actually says, then we see who the church actually belongs to. Jesus said, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” On this confession Jesus said He would build His church. The Catholic church and every other denomination looks nothing like “His” church. Just because someone says they are the church of Jesus Christ does not mean they are. The cult called the Mormons is not the church of Jesus Christ and any church who has changed the word of God is not His church either. The Mormons have their extra bible but so do most churches stating exactly what they believe. The lack of power seen in the church today attests to this. When Jesus builds His church, He then goes on to explain the available power He would give. Jesus then said, “and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Jesus came to defeat satan. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” No satan did not defeat Jesus at the cross; Jesus was victorious and made a way for all who would believe as Paul said, “His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” The only way to defeat satan is by the power and authority given to us by Jesus. We cannot defeat him with the power of our own hands.Jesus then continues to describe this power over satan. Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” When the kingdom of God comes near there is power to defeat evil. Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Jesus said, Matthew 12:28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” We see this example of this power Jesus was giving to the church over the devil one. Luke 13:10 “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” You cannot honestly believe that no one since this women has been bound by satan.Not only does Jesus show us the available power to defeat satan, He gives the same power to His disciples. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Luke said it this way. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” You know by now that this authority and power was not just given to the twelve. Note that one of the twelve as Jesus said was a devil so be careful in your man-made security. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” John 6:70 “Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)” He also gave this power and authority to other disciples. Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Then we see the disciples of disciples in Acts with this same authority and power. Acts 6:2 “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 8:4 “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.”If the church would just believe what scripture states, the church would once again have the available power and authority Jesus intended the church to have. We would then go and do as Jesus did. Please understand that it is satan himself behind those who do not believe in this available power and satan is behind those whom he has deceived with supernatural power and he is behind those who have become lukewarm and are powerless. satan knows he will be defeated when this power returns. Like the Catholics, the church has been greatly deceived. This power and authority is how the church is to operate. As Jesus said to John’s disciples Matthew 11:4 “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” The disciples also showed is in Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”Do we not have the sick and those tormented by evil spirits today? Is Jesus no longer alive? If Jesus is still alive as the church says they believe, is He not still the healer of all our infirmities.” If you look at the church the answer would have to be no. So then we have a huge problem. All these years, all these generations of people going to church have led nowhere. The church today is further from the truth than it has ever been. There is no power to defeat our enemies and nothing is being bound and loosed except for the binding satan is doing. Since this is happening we have to acknowledge that the church you and I have been raised in is not the church Jesus is the head of and we have been deceived. What we do see is this. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” God Himself has brought delusion on the church.Matthew 10 gives us a clear picture of what the church would look like. We even see the opposition to the gospel that would come just as Jesus was opposed. When Jesus gave His disciples His authority, He was showing what the church could do after the Spirit of Truth came. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus told Peter the very same thing so why does the church refuse to believe what the bible says?The answer is the Gentiles have now followed in the footsteps of the Jews who did and still do not believe in what Jesus said. We have His words but the church has negated and distorted them to their own demise. God makes it clear in Jeremiah that these words of men are not His. Jeremiah 23:10 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished, declares the Lord” 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 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.” Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. 25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 14:14 “Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword.” Jeremiah 5:13 “The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; 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?”These false teachers, prophets, evangelists, preachers and prophets are everywhere today leading the church astray instead of building it up as Paul describes the work of the true church. Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” When the church repents and does what it is supposed to do, there will be power from on High and the Spirit of Truth will be among us once again as God turns His face to shine on us but the church refuses to listen. The church is the same as those Stephen preached to when he said, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”We see the church also described in Zephaniah 3:1 “Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. 3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame. 6 “I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty. 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. 8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.” Yet today’s church does not fear the wrath of God and refuse to listen. Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” And we saw in Daniel 9:4 “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” Yet the church refuses to repent.Paul also describes to us what has happened. Romans 11:8 “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” We saw that also in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” 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.” 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.”Today the church is worshipping in vain and some do it very well. The church is not seeing the available power but has been deceived and deluded into believing it is okay to be lukewarm and powerless. The powerful have sold their wares and people have bought into their dreams and visions of power yet remain powerless and satan continues to decimate the church. Most think the destitute church is how it is supposed to be. Jesus makes it very clear that Matthew 7:14 “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 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.”The true church has a high standard of faith. You start by believing the bible over your tradition, experiences and reason. Are you yet willing to set aside your man-made beliefs? You cannot equate the bible to anything. Do not put man’s teaching about the bible over what the bible actually states. Jesus said John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Peter made the declaration that Jesus was the Messiah the Son of the living God. When that true declaration is made, then the gates of hades will not stand against and whatever is loosed will be loosed and whatever is bound will be bound. We must believe in the right Lord, the right Jesus and the true church. Most in the church today have made the wrong declaration of faith and belief. Yes it is true Romans 10:9 “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. 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” When Peter said Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” And when Paul spoke to the jailer and said Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household,” but that didn’t mean other gospels but the one true gospel. So when people get saved today, they declare the wrong Jesus is Lord because they are following other gospels. After that declaration is made there is no power that follows because the declaration is made to the wrong person. Jesus said to the disciples in Mark 16:15 “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.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”If the true signs are not following, then they have believed in a false gospel. This is why satan masquerades as an angel of light and deceives many with doctrines of demons and false signs and wonders. You have to ask yourself what are you standing firm on? Have you committed your life to the Papal authority if you call yourself a Catholic? Have you committed your life to the beliefs and doctrines of your church? Other churches have done the same as the Catholics as they all follow a man somewhere along the line instead of Jesus. They tell you this is what you are to believe and most do so without question yet when the time comes for judgment, they will hear I don’t know you. Luke 13:2 “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!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”When it comes to our faith, our faith must be based on the word of God and actually believe what Jesus said. Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This is the standard of faith. You either believe or you don’t. Matthew said it this way Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Did your mind just say yeah right or I believe? John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” This is where you start. Ask yourself right now do you believe this? Most don’t! If you believe these verses you will need very little faith. Can it be said about you that you have great faith in the word of God? Jesus said Luke 17:5 “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith! 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” You will then believe all that Jesus said in scripture. You will believe in all the miracles, signs and wonders and them all happening today. You will not even hesitate to say I believe all things are possible as Jesus said. Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Do you really not believe that the God who created this amazing universe with a word, could not toss a mountain, a fig tree and a mulberry bush into the sea. If you don’t then you probably don’t believe “In the beginning God…” either. Then you are in deep trouble because Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” John tells us John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” satan does not want you to believe, just so you are aware because he knows what happens when God’s people believe His words. We see it all through scripture; when the people believe power follows. He knows that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will go before His people and everywhere they step will be theirs and no one will stand against them nor make them afraid.Jesus asks this question about your faith. Luke 18:8 “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Will He say to you as he said to the centurion Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.” Or will He say to you, you of little faith. Luke 12:27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”Now I am not talking about the faith people put in man or their denomination or doctrines they believe. There are many today with a stubborn obstinance that will cause them to miss eternal life. They believe in other gospels with all their heart and have committed their lives to them. They would be considered faithful, but ignorant. Some in their faith are saying relax the rapture is coming, we will not see God’s wrath yet they will hear depart from me. Some are saying relax you were baptized as a baby you are signed, sealed and delivered. Still others are told you made a declaration of faith to our church you are good, don’t worry nothing can take that away, only to find out later the declaration was a fraud. Remember there are many today like the Pharisees Jesus condemned. 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.” Be careful as to what you have been saved into.Don’t be stubborn. Read God’s word and believe. There is power available beyond what you can imagine. What you see in the church is not the gospel of Jesus Christ because there is no power. Jesus said the signs would follow His word. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Hebrews 2:3 “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.” Don’t be afraid to make sure you have made the right declaration. After you die is too late. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. If you seek God you will find Him. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Take the time to search as it could mean the difference between eternal life or eternal damnation. 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” Don’t be deceived because you have attended church all your life. God is faithful to those who seek Him so don’t be afraid. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 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.”Psalm 96:4 “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all. 16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”