Lent 2022 Day 9: Stand Firm

       Today we are looking at what it means to stand firm on God’s word. It is important to understand that our strength comes from standing on a foundation of truth as there are lots of people standing firm on false foundations. They have dug in and will not be moved, even though what they are standing on is false because it is based not on scripture but reason, tradition and their experiences. There is only one way, truth and life, not many. 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.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, 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.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 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.” 

        Many have fallen because they have been deceived by teachers and preachers who teach other gospels. I said the other day that the doctrine of demons which includes teaching on the rapture, tribulation and millennial kingdom must be a pretty tough sell in countries that are being ravaged by war like Ukraine. The above verses talk about standing firm on the word of God, the true gospel. Because of deception and delusion in the church, there are millions of people who are not standing firm on the word of God but standing on these false doctrines. They have built on a foundation on sand. This is not the gospel Paul taught but doctrines of demons. Years ago I came across a letter dated 1975 by Ruth Graham that included this paragraph. “I was talking recently with an elderly missionary from China who told me that her greatest regrets now are not having prepared the Chinese Christians for the tribulation they would undergo. She said in her years in China she went everywhere teaching the pre-tribulation rapture and getting Christians to believe that they would not have to suffer for the Lord in that sense. The "great tribulation" may absolutely stagger the imagination, but still there is only so much one person can suffer.” There is no great tribulation as taught by the likes of John MacArthur and David Jeremiah to name a couple of preachers who say come to our church and you will never see the wrath of God. This is false teaching. Jeremiah spoke to the same type of people when he said Jeremiah 14:13 “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” 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. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.” By teaching the tribulation and kingdom of God is something in the future, they fail to repent of their wicked ways. Those wicked ways are the doctrines of demons they have been taught giving them a sense of security but will have the wrath of God come on them for their rebellion against God’s word. Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”

        This is what happens when you do not stand firm on the word of God. When you listen to the words men and women have added to the bible and taken from you reject God’s word. Basically what these false teachers do is take their delusions and make the bible say what they want. For example, in a sermon from John MacArthur he states, “You read Revelation 6 where the tribulation begins, and in Chapter 19 the tribulation ends, and you’ll never find one statement about the church.” That’s according to his own delusion and is easy to refute. The whole book was written to the church. Just look at Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 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; (the church) they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But 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.” I believe you might recall that satan was in the garden at the beginning and if there is no church there is no blood of the lamb which is the church by the way. Just stand firm on God’s word and you will see the lies of these false teachers and prophets.

        Yesterday I talked about the famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Millions of people who call themselves Christians have been deceived by other gospels such as what I just talked about above. Yes, there are lots in the church who don’t agree with pre-trib and are post-trib and on and on the arguments go (and many other doctrinal deceptions) but it is not an argument to even argue about because the rapture is not biblical but a doctrine of demons. Just as there is no millennial kingdom way off in the future. Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 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.” Jesus cast out demons so there really isn’t much to argue about. The church has been decimated by satan because we have not stood firm on God’s word and turned away to follow wicked ways. By turning away we lost all the power and authority available to us. Yesterday when we looked at the severity of a city under siege by the enemy and all that goes with that, you must understand that the church is under siege and the famine of hearing the word of God is worse than what we read about yesterday when a vast army attacks. A vast army has attacked, and the church is surrounded by our enemies but now we are talking about whether you will see eternal life. The enemy prevailing has happened because God has turned His face from the church. When that happens, all hell breaks loose. Even though the power of hell was not supposed to prevail against us, it does because the church has rebelled against God’s word. Yes, people blame God for all the atrocities in the world but it is not God at fault as satan has vast power and God will allow him to use it. He even had the audacity to tempt Jesus. Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “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.” The world and even the church have been seduced by his power. Men and women have craved the power satan gives them. Some even praise God thinking that God gave it to them when He has not. You know this because the church looks nothing like the church Jesus started. They should have responded as Jesus did and said, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Worshipping God means obeying His word.

        If we want to defeat satan, we must turn away from our wickedness and stand firm on God’s word once again. As soon as the church turned to go their own way, we became powerless against our enemies. This happened almost immediately after the Apostle Paul. It is not that Paul was the last to have power, it was because the church rebelled and lost its power when they turned to follow empty and powerless ways just as he said. Galatians 1:6 “I am 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— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” God has let this rebellion go on for 2000 years and it is only getting worse especially in the last five hundred years. From the reformation to dispensationalism and all the other isms in between and since, to demonic revival movements such as the Toronto blessing to CEO driven fortune five hundred churches and the worship of their gurus, truth has been thrown down. There are too many false teachings to list and the powerless church proves the church has been in rebellion.

         We see in Revelation 7:9 (talking about the church by the way)“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “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.” Now if the church is gone, that means God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also gone and there is no way salvation can occur but if the tribulation is now, the abomination that causes desolation in full effect against the church and the remnant must stand firm. satan is raging against the church and winning and decimating the church but his time is coming to an end and the remnant as promised will rise up. We must stand firm once again on the word of God. Scripture gives us hope that God will bring deliverance to His remnant. We see verses like this talking about the strong arm of God, which is the only hope we have of making it through this tribulation. Exodus 14:13 “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” 2 Chronicles 20:17 “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” Isaiah 7:9 “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” Jesus commented on this when He said Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

        Jesus warned us about the severity of this abomination that causes desolation. Jesus said Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” He also said Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” Picture those in Ukraine trying to flee. This is a picture Jesus wanted us to envision when He talked about the abomination. He was telling us this desolation that has decimated the church would be horrific. Picture Ukraine and then picture the church. That’s what it looks like. Yes, if you are in North America all the buildings are probably still standing but Jesus wasn’t talking about the building but the body. This is spiritual warfare. Our only hope of survival is to stand firm on the word of God and turn from our wicked ways.

            Jesus said do not be deceived, yet the church has not listened. Are you standing on God’s word or are you standing on the foundation of another gospel? We pray Psalm 20:1 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. 3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. (your life) 4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. 6 Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. 9 Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!” God baring His arm is our only hope to survive.