I would categorize myself as someone from the “why” generation who asks a lot of questions. No, not the “Gen Y” but the “why.” I am actually on the tail end of being a baby boomer. I am not really a qualified handyman but there are a lot of things I can do, albeit with a large amount of research. When I built a deck one time, I asked a friend of mine how to square the deck to the house. He answered by laughing at me and said you should have learned this in high school math. Well, if they had taught me how to build a deck, that sure would have helped. So that day I learned about the 3-4-5 rule or the Pythagorean Theorem. After much research I ended up building a pretty nice deck and it was square to the house. When I am about to embark on a building project, I ask a lot of why questions and that usually gets me a lot of different answers. I also ask a lot of what questions. When I start seeing a common denominator, I then know that I’m on the right track. There are times when someone will give their answer in full confidence but ends up being wrong or not the best way. Knowledge helps weed those answers out. It’s definitely easier these days to get answers with the internet but not everyone are experts in their fields, so you still have to be careful. When you ask why or what, you usually expect an answer but know that every answer is not always the right answer.
So, while I enjoy projects around the house, today we are going to be talking about why you should also be asking why and what in the church. Sadly, most Christians just accept what they hear as truth without ever questioning the source or what is being said. Leaders are supposed to guide people to the truth. Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.” There are many giving answers today that are not spiritually qualified. 1 Timothy 1:6 “Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” Asking the question why and what comes from 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.” You can’t test the spirits if the bible is not your source of truth. Don’t just take someone’s word, test it against scripture. It is important to understand that many are asking questions from these false prophets / teachers and getting answers without testing them. Some even answer like a politician who answers questions not asked thus avoiding answering the asked question.
Way back near the beginning of my journey, I started to question things that I was seeing. Some of it was life questions like when Keith Green died in a plane crash. I was raised in the church, but it wasn’t till I was a young adult that I began to ask questions. I started to question what I was seeing in the church but still felt that I needed to belong to a church. I also felt there had to be more to church than I was seeing, and I started on a journey that I am still on today, looking for more. That journey led me to the bible as my only source of truth. If more people would spend time reading the bible and not books about the bible they would be better off. My job as a minister is to point you to the bible. God said Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” so I began seeking with everything I had. I quickly learned that man was not who I was to seek. On this journey my focus turned to God’s word and that changed my life. The bible is not a book but the living word of God. Many of the answers I had received just no longer made any sense when scrutinized under the light of God’s word. I started to question why and what more and more and became very dissatisfied with the answers and the lack of answers I was getting. I also realized that many who were supposed to know the answers, did not.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was searching for power. To be clear, I am not talking about being powerful, as God has made it very clear to me that it was not personal power that I was seeking. Many leaders have made this grave mistake over the years. In doing so, they exchanged the truth for a lie, and they accepted satan’s offer to be powerful. 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.” Most of these so-called great leaders have no power from on High but are very powerful and wield a great influence over people. 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. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” It really is amazing how few people notice this lack of God’s power as they seem to be blinded by the worldly success of the leader.
The power I was looking for was the power seen in the Gospels and Acts, the continued power seen in the Old Testament. Luke 6:17 “A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” 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.” After reading just these two verse you should find yourself asking why this is not happening and what will it take for this power to return since Jesus is alive not dead. Don’t be satisfied by some of the pathetic answers that are given such as cessationism. That kind of power is not seen in the church, so asking why and looking for the answer and waiting for God to turn His face back to us has been my journey. I wait because we are told to wait, believing that God does love those who seek Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and when you seek, you will find. Isaiah 8:17 “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.” Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Habakkuk 2:3 “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Jesus showed us this power and empowered His disciples with that same power, so I wait. Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Have you put your hope in God’s word or in man’s word about God’s word?
That same power was also seen at Pentecost and afterward and was supposed to be the power behind the church. 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.” Notice Paul said “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.” That power was supposed to be for those who believed. So why is this power not being seen in the church? The quick answer is there is a belief problem related to a teaching problem. As we just read 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.” Most have been told the bible doesn’t actually mean what it says. I will say at this point be very careful with those who say the bible is always to be read literally. You will notice they are free to interpret non-literally the parts that when read literally, don’t line up with their views.
This isn’t really that complicated. Jesus preached the good news, healed the sick and cast out demons; the church was supposed to do the same. 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.” The disciples did the same. Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” 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.” Again, you should be asking why isn’t this happening and what will it take for this to happen again. You also need to be very careful here because there is a power at work, but it is not God. You need to know the difference. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” You will notice here that there are different spirits and gospels at work which again should cause you to ask lots of questions. Paul also said in 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!” This has been happening since the time Paul said this.
Other gospels and false teaching are everywhere just as there are differing spirits. When you look at 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work,” you see that there is one Spirit, not many. We also see this in Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” The church has become about many ways, not one way. When the church is one and follows the Holy Spirit, Paul goes on to show us how the church is supposed to be. Ephesians 4:11 “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.” This can only happen with power from on High. He also said 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” In power the church will do as Jesus did.
I grew up in the Methodist tradition as I talked about last week. This was supposed to be a holiness movement which was neither holy or moving in the right direction. Like most denominations, they were moving backward. Instead of drawing near to God’s word, they went their own ways and that rebellion caused a lack of power. Jeremiah 7:24 “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Like all the others (Reformation not a good thing), they failed to return to God’s word even though they were told, like we are all told 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Instead of returning to the word of God, denominations / groups just kept splitting and getting further from the truth. Churches and leaders are always looking for new ways to build the church, new people to follow instead of following the way, truth and life, the church that Jesus is the head of. God always lays out His plan. Just as God revealed His plan to David for the temple, God revealed His plan for the church. Amos 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” That plan was not by might but by His spirit which means God’s power not man’s. Many are deluded into believing that God needs help with His plan and that He forgot to include the directions in the New Testament so they add their own empty and powerless ways. Zechariah 4:6 “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. The church instead decided to go with man’s power but that turned out to be empty ways. Paul said Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Turns out the church chose foolishness instead of living by the Spirit. That choice also meant a loss of power.
When you read the New Testament, you see that the plan was to go to the ends of the earth in power. Luke 24:48 “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.” 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.” John said Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” We saw that fire at the temple. 2 Chronicles 7:1 “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” We then saw the same at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
In the gospels Jesus showed us what the power from on High looked like. Mark 1:27“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” He also gave us a preview of what the church would look like after Pentecost when He anointed the 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. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Even though this happened, the disciples were changed at Pentecost. Peter who hid and cursed was a changed man. Matthew 26:73 “After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” After Pentecost, he was a fearless man of God. Acts 3:6 “Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” Acts 4:3 “They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
The power present after Pentecost was available to all who would believe. John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Peter 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.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” After Saul became Paul, God sent Paul out to do as the church was to do. Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” We are told 1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We are also told Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” To take it a step further we are told 1 John 5:18 “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” We are told 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. 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. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he 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.”
Not only will there be truth but there will be power. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Think about what the church would look like with all this gifts. All you have to do is look around and see what the church looks like without them! Mark 16:15 “He 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.” 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.” Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
When looking at the church, most groups believe they have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:21 “He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” This putting on His Holy Spirit looks different depending on what you have been taught. One group believes that happens when you are baptized, either as an adult or child and the other believes this is a separate event from salvation and baptism. The strange part of this is most do not actually believe all the verses you just read above even though they say they are filled with the Holy Spirit. I grew up in the separate event camp and it was called entire sanctification. Now some in the past went so far as saying sin was eradicated and the person was no longer able to sin. That is not what the bible states. 1 John 2:1 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” What I saw was a group of people who held tightly to a doctrine called entire sanctification. Not only did I ask why, I also asked what? For something that was a main tenet of this group, I found that most had no idea what it was, nor did I see any examples of it. I heard plenty of people say they were entirely sanctified but there was no evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now in full disclosure I remember when I was in seminary having an altar moment and testified about being entirely sanctified. I thought that was what you were supposed to do. After that I was now a pastor who had to fill out forms. You had to record things like baptisms and salvations, and I forget all the other record keeping questions, but one was very difficult to answer; those entirely sanctified. That would usually be zero.
I always found myself asking questions. Why is this on the form when it is not happening. Why can’t anybody really give me an answer to what it is. Where is it happening and on and on my questions would go. For most, entire sanctification was a commitment to the church and yes there are lots of people committed to the church but there is no power. Entire sanctification is referred to as Christian Perfection or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting how even in the doctrine there are people who think it is gradual and some who think it is instantaneous. If it was actually happening or they even just read the bible, they would know. On the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then later Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 11:15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.” The same goes for healing and casting out demons. Jesus healed and they were healed instantaneously. The bottom line is there is no power and the sanctification that people think has happened is really just a man-made effort. Others in the same camp are the charismatics but theirs is tied up with speaking in tongues as a sign. The problem is they have been deceived into thinking the babble is from God. Others believe that when they got baptized in water, they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Most just believe in a baptism of repentance but as Paul said Acts 19:2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.” It is interesting that Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” This is not about all the differing doctrines but rather how all the differing doctrines are void of power. It really doesn’t matter what you have been taught or what camp you find yourself in, there is no power. So, start asking questions to those who lead you. If the Holy Spirit was truly present there would be truth, gifts, power, healing, demons cast out and the kingdom of God would be preached but that is not happening.
The one why question most in the church do not ask is why is there no power? I do want to include here is that seeking is asking God questions and depending on His word for truth. You do have to be very careful who you ask in the church. I think most do not want to seek truth because they do not want to admit they are off-track. The ones who do ask end up being satisfied with the empty answer they received and accept the powerless church as how it is supposed to be. The church looks nothing like scripture so that means God is not dwelling among us. Another why question is why does the church refuse to repent. Jesus made it clear that if we repented, the kingdom would come near. Ask yourself why you don’t want the church to look like Jesus. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” The bible is very clear on what happens if you do not repent. Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Luke 12:5 “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
The kingdom coming near means the church would do as Jesus did and would see the same results. Ask yourself why you have accepted a church that looks nothing like scripture? At the same time don’t readily accept the answer most will give you. Test the spirits and make sure. Take the time to read the Gospels and Acts and look at them with non-denominational (distinct doctrines) eyes. Pray that God will give you eyes to see and ears to hear. The plan of the New Testament must include the power of the Holy Spirit. The church then can continue doing the work of Jesus; 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.” The church then will continue to take the kingdom of the world back. 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.” Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 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.” Daniel 4:3 “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 6:26 “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
If the church was entirely sanctified or baptized by the Holy Spirit, the church would look how it is supposed to look but it does not. When God turns His face back to shine on us, we will go to the ends of the earth in the power and authority Jesus gave us. Church will no longer be something you go to but something you have become. The church will be filled with people that are one but with many different gifts of the Spirit. The kingdom will come near, demons will be cast out and people will be healed just as we saw Jesus and the disciples do. Jesus sent out the seventy-two and said Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 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.’ 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.”
It’s time to return to the beginning, which means we return to God’s word. This power problem is closely related to a salvation problem. Most people have not asked what they have been saved into. Is Jesus really your savior or have you been saved by someone who came in His name. Jesus warned us Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Yes, they were told they were saved because they attend church or prayed a little prayer and even talked about the bible, but most do not ask what they have been saved into. Remember there is a lot of truth in counterfeit but it is still counterfeit. Since most churches follow other gospels and doctrines of demons, most people have not been saved. Luke 13:23 “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.” Most are quite comfortable walking through the wide gate. Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Sadly, they think they have been saved but now they are worse off. 2 Peter 2:7 “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.”
How great a deception it is to have millions of people think they have been saved only to hear depart from me I don’t know you. This abomination that causes desolation has decimated the church. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” 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. 9 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.” Are you willing to ask what you have been saved into? Going to church does not mean you are saved. Will you ask what must I do to be saved? Will you work out your salvation with fear and trembling?
When Paul and Silas were put in prison, something amazing happened. Acts 16:25 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.”
There is good news. Mark 9:1 “And he (Jesus) said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” The power from on High can and will return if God’s people would turn from their wicked ways and return to His word. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” But don’t ask as they did following this verse. “How are we to return? How are we robbing you?” Just repent and return. Peter said 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Today even though the church has been decimated, there is still a remnant that will rise up once again to go to the ends of the earth in the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Matthew 24:12 “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.” God promised David that there would always be a remnant and He will not break that promise. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Test the spirits because there are many false gospels and teachers who teach them. Take the time to read the Gospels and Acts and focus on the available power to all who would believe. Then take what you have read and compare it to the church. There is no comparison. The only way to defeat satan is for the power from on High to return to the church, then disciples will go out in power once again just as the disciples did long ago. 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.” Acts 11:15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” God still wants to give us this gift. Pentecost was not a one-time even but the beginning of a powerful church. As Peter said Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Make sure of your salvation, your eternal life depends on it. You don’t want to find out you have been deceived after you die. Repentance requires us to humble ourselves before God. Don’t be stubbornly obstinate. Join with Daniel when he prayed. Daniel 9:17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” And with Paul when he prayed 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”