Benediction: 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.
Last week we talked about the church being deceived as Paul said 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.” Paul said Acts 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” These later times of deception have been happening ever since Paul said he was astonished Galatians 1:6 “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!”
Well those other gospels are being preached so this rebellion shouldn’t come as a surprise as Daniel and John were appalled and astonished too. Revelation 1:1 “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 17:6 “I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.” Now Daniel was also taken back by what he saw. In Daniel 8:9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. 11 It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 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. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” Then Gabriel explained the meaning of the vision to him. Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. 26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” 27 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” Revelation 13:5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear. 10 “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”
Notice that Daniel was appalled and John astonished by what he saw. So unlike Revelation, Daniel’s vision was for the future but John’s vision must soon take place. Both are talking about the same thing. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Paul then says 2 Thessalonians 2:1 “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 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. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 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.” You don’t have to look to hard to see those displays of power in the church.
Jesus also said Matthew 24:15 “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.”
We would all be lost if God had not cut these days short. This is why Jesus warned us not to be deceived. Matthew 24:3 “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” Luke 21:8 “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” He also said Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ The church too has become desolate because we have not adhered to the word of God. Not everyone who comes by the way comes in the name of the Lord by the way. You must look for truth.
Paul talked about the rebellion but we see what the rebellion of Israel all through the Old Testament and in their rejection of Jesus. 1 Kings 12:19 “So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” King Saul was told 1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.” So many leaders down through the ages till now have been appointed to return to slavery. Psalm 106:43 “Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.” Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. 8 Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege. 9 Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”
We are in the same position. Isaiah 59:12 “For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” Jeremiah 28:15 “Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. 16 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’” This rebellion is still being preached today.
We were warned in Hebrews 3:7 “So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” If we do not hold to the original conviction to the very end we have believed in vain. 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.”
Unfortunately many have believed and still believe in vain. Jude 3 “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. 7 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”
We were warned over and over that this would happen yet people refuse to listen and insist on going their own way. Here has been the problem from the start; when we go our own way we follow natural instincts but do not have the Spirit of God. John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 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 15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” John 16:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.”12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 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. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
So when we do not have the Spirit guiding us into all truth, everything then looks like truth. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus said. This is why if we had the Spirit teaching us, we would see these days as described in Hebrews 8:8 “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
We have rebelled against the Lord and have been taken captive to distant lands. Having said that remember this is spiritual warfare so your captivity may look blissful and all around you may look like you are blessed but that is not the case as God has turned his face from us and against us. Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. Moses said to the people Deuteronomy 9:23 “And when the Lord sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust him or obey him. 24 You have been rebellious against the Lord ever since I have known you.”
Rebellion means refusal to accept some authority. It also means “organized opposition to authority; a conflict in which one faction tries to wrest control from another.” By going our own way we reject the word of the Lord. Last week I showed you a simple chart of all the division in the church with each group thinking they are the way. But this rebellion has been going on since the time of the early church as people absolutely refuse to turn from their wicked ways and return to the word of God. God has made it clear from the beginning. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “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. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”
We have the Old Testament to show us what rebellion looks. It also shows us what apostasy looks like. Apostasy is the state of having rejected your religious beliefs. Even though Jeroboam was promised great things he rebelled against God. God then said 1 Kings 14:8 “I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me. 10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam.” What has happened is since the time of Paul and the early church, the church began to reject the way to follow other ways and so were deceived. We did not follow God’s word and because of our unbelief, we were also brought under delusion by God. Last week I showed you the chart with the tiny line of the early church. After that chaos sets in. Instead of opposition to the enemy, opposition was against one another. You then ended up with every one going their own way. Over time these false teachings have gained speed. Jeremiah 8:4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “ When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. 8 “ ‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?” Each of these different groups out there and there are many, are leading their followers astray like these horses charging into battle. There have been millions of followers who think they are following truth that have been deceived just as Jesus warned us. Because this has happened and the church has gone their own way, disaster has come and the church lies in desolation. The kings of Israel did the same. 1 Kings 16:25 “But Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.’
The worthless idols today are the other gospels. Now the people preaching these other gospels say the other people preaching are the other gospels. Scripture makes the truth clear. 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.” Jeremiah 6:8 “Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate so no one can live in it.” Jeremiah 12:10 “Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field into a desolate wasteland.” Jeremiah 44:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Today they lie deserted and in ruins 3 because of the evil they have done. They aroused my anger by burning incense to and worshiping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors ever knew. 4 Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’ 5 But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their wickedness or stop burning incense to other gods. 6 Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out; it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins they are today.” Ezekiel 15:7 “I will set my face against them. Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them. And when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the Lord. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
So the church has been in rebellion and lies in desolation just as we were warned about in Daniel and it is getting worse. What we have seen even in the last few centuries is astonishing and appalling. Each group proclaiming they are the church yet they all defend their ways and refuse to turn from them. They are stubborn, blind and deaf and are like sheep without a shepherd. This week I spent time listening to many different groups. The first one that I listened to sparked my interest. As I was driving into London last Sunday I heard a conversation with Rabbi David Rosen and of course this was brought to you by Tapestry on CBC. This man is probably one of the most eloquent speakers I have heard. He articulated his thoughts masterfully but he is still deluded. So this first perspective is from a Jew who has still rejected Jesus after all these years but listen to his take on God. So I am listening to this man speak kind of intrigued by his exposition of his thoughts when he was asked how he felt about someone becoming a Buddhist who was a Jew. Here was his view. He said, “after thought, it is so obvious to me now that if God creates us in all our diversity and relates to us in all our diversity, there must be diverse way of relating to the divine. No one religion can encapsulate the totality of the divine. God is more than anyone religion. And therefore there must be by definition then, choices and people naturally will be inclined, and that's the part of the divine image in which human beings is created to be able to have free will, that choice, to take different courses and different direction in life and to find a particular way of life or philosophy of life that speaks to them more than another.” Wrong! John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So here we have the first kind of rebellion and a refusal to repent. Peter said in Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “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.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
So for the most part Jews reject and continue to reject Jesus as the Messiah but so now does the Gentile church as they follow their separate ways. One of the ways is a cancer in the church called dispensationalism. This has spread through out the modern church and through it many have been deceived mostly into thinking the rebellion comes later, they will be saved from tribulation and they will reign on earth when Jesus takes his rightful seat on David’s throne. Meanwhile they have been defeated without even knowing it. This deception has left the church weak and powerless but this was near the end of this rebellion. Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.” Other forms of rebellion preceded it. This is coming to and end and all will know the truth. But for the last two thousand years millions have been deceived because they have not adhered to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will give them credit for their diligent defense of what they falsely believe and they are very good at it. Remember we need the Holy Spirit to be clear on what happens.
Down through the ages we have had the Catholic church do their thing and then those who opposed (reformation) did their thing and then those who opposed to their thing did their thing and so on and so on and so on but no one turned from their wicked ways and submitted themselves to God, they just created something new, getting further and further away from the truth. Most of the schisms were a reaction to some teaching or other but there was not a total submission and return to the word of God. Most have distorted Gods word as Peter said about Paul’s writings. 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” We must believe from Genesis to Revelations and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. We can do this because scripture tells us God will return to us if we return to him. On our website in our faith section it says we believe in these bookends - Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning GOD" and Revelations 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."
So the line is straight till the end. Jesus is coming soon. Genesis is not as complicated as people make it but don’t argue about it because you will probably loose. The truth is no one can explain on either side because it is by faith. So the beginning is as the bible states 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.” Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” This is a no brainer, it was seven days but it is by faith so if you can’t believe this you might as well stop reading and walk away. You must also believe the truth about the end. This also takes great faith and discernment because you have people teaching everything but the truth. They make the bible say what they believe it should say to line up with the their personal man made / demonic doctrines.
This week I have listened to so much nonsense it will make your head spin. You see just as our Rabbi spoke with eloquence without knowledge so do these people speak with eloquence and fervor but like him they have missed the Messiah and the power that is available. Instead of continuing the work of Jesus to defeat satan in the power and authority of His name, they are working for satan to defeat God’s people because they refuse to turn and they rebel against the word of God. Malachi 2:8 “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.” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.
You see if we would just follow the word we would be armed against these teachers. This is what the church is supposed to look like. 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.” I listened to a person expound why the five office ministry is wrong. Yes I agree that the way these charismatics are using it is wrong but this person should not throw out these five offices as described here because he doesn’t agree with the charismatics. If we had them in operation as intended we would be able to fight back against all this deception.
Here is the problem as Paul describes it. Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” The church today does not seem to be able to distinguish good teaching from evil. This is how you distinguish truth from fiction. Take this guy John Walvoord at one time President of Dallas Theological Seminary. If you listen closely you will see the change from truth to fiction. He explains: If interpreted literally, the Old Testament gives a clear picture of the prophetic expectation of Israel. They confidently anticipated the coming of a Savior and Deliverer, a Messiah who would be Prophet, Priest, and King. They expected that He would deliver them from their enemies and usher in a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and prosperity upon a redeemed earth. It is hardly subject to dispute that the Old Testament presents such a picture, not in isolated texts, but in the constantly repeated declaration of most of the prophets. All the major prophets and practically all the minor prophets have Messianic sections picturing the restoration and glory of Israel in this future kingdom. This is so clear to competent students of the Old Testament that it is conceded by practically all parties that the Old Testament presents premillennial doctrine if interpreted literally. The premillennial interpretation offers the only possible literal fulfillment for the hundreds of verses of prophetic testimony.” Did you hear the change? When he interjected his own way premillenialism he veered off course. Remember the Trojan horse. I love this saying by this same Walvoord “One of the most eloquent testimonies to premillennial truth is found in the absolute silence of the New Testament, and for that matter the early centuries of the church, on any controversy over premillennial teaching.” Why? because it doesn’t exist. All this dispensational nonsense has come centuries later in the midst of the chaos of the so-called church. Men and women keep saying the time is near, the rapture is coming but it is not immanent, as they have found out. The true return of Jesus Christ can happen at any minute but the rapture will never happen because that is a false gospel. If you are going to a church that believes this you have been deceived.
Yes they were waiting for the Messiah and His Kingdom but that kingdom was Jesus even though it was not as they thought it should be but was in fulfillment to al the prophecies. Mary was told Luke 1:32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” Luke 2:25 “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Yes the Jews thought there would be a different kingdom as they still think that way but sadly so do many in the church. They are still waiting for a king meanwhile this kingdom has been near the whole time. 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.” 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.”
So you have the Jews still waiting for the Messiah and His Kingdom. You have the Dispensationalists still waiting for the Kingdom and the Messiah to reign on David’s throne and then you have many filled with apathy just not interested in Jesus reigning nor worried about his return. Sadly most of the rest are not ready for the end. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” We are definitely not speeding its coming because of our disobedience to the word of God. The rapture is not imminent as many say because there is no rapture. But the coming of our Lord will 2 Peter 3:10 “come like a thief.” So we had better be ready. You cannot follow false gospels and be ready as you must turn from your wicked ways. 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.”
They have missed the message of the Messiah. They missed the peace he offered and they also miss the power and authority of His kingdom he wants to administer to us. They have also been defeated by satan. They will miss eternal life with Him because they refuse to obey his word. They refuse to turn from man’s ways. This week I have spent time listening to men and women talk about the end. Truth be known in my experience the end hasn’t been talked about in detail so when false teaching like “Left Behind” which one source said 8o million copies sold plus movies show up in the best seller list people have no idea of the heresy of this false teaching. They just assume it is the gospel. I stand amazed at the number of teachers who state the church all agree there will be a rapture just not on the when. That is not true at all because we are talking about two different things. One is made up or fictional like the book and the other the return of Christ to take us home. They try to make the bible say what the book is saying. As I have listened this week my heart was heavy as each group of people have their own followers. Here is what I found interesting. I can tell you that they are basically saying the same thing I am saying except I would be the one out to lunch. But in the end truth will be made known in power. God will separate the truth from the false. I listened to a sermon on the power of the Holy Spirit. He talked about everything but the power of the Holy Spirit. He talked about the fruit but not the gifts. Not once did he mention 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 “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.” This very pastor was talking about the sad condition of the church yet denying the Holy Spirit while doing it; having a form of godliness but denying its power. Now back to John Walvoord He also said “The question of whether certain spiritual gifts are temporary is one of the debated areas of truth relating to the Holy Spirit in the contemporary church. While most of the church will agree that certain spiritual gifts were discontinued after the apostolic age, others are insisting that gifts given at the beginning of the church age continue in the same way throughout the entire period. On the surface it is quite clear that the modern church does not function quite like the apostolic church. There is an evident decline in miracles, though God is still able to perform miracles. No longer does the testimony of the church depend on its capacity to support its oral testimony by phenomenal miraculous works. In approaching these controversial matters, Christians should avail themselves of the revelation of Scripture and attempt to find a workable base for solving these problems. The important truth is that there are spiritual gifts bestowed on the church today. The proper use of these gifts in the power of the Spirit is essential to fulfilling the work of God in and through His church. While the temporary gifts are no longer necessary to the testimony of God, the exercise of the permanent gifts is vitally important and is the best demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.” So I hope you again caught the deception. What do you mean the church no longer depends on phenomenal works. Those are his words, not the bible and no most of the church does not agree they were discontinued. Please note that nowhere in the bible is there a distinction made between temporary and permanent gifts. You read with me 1 Corinthians 12. Yes there has been a decline in miracles since the time of the early church. Remember the chart from last week. The short little line that was the early church should have kept going but it didn’t therefore a decline in power. We saw the same happen in Israel until finally they were vomited out. When they disobeyed; they were defeated by their enemies. Jesus said how it should be. 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.” As Paul said to the 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:14 “For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” The church should have continued. The charts make it very clear that what Paul said happened already. The church turned away from the only way and has gone their own way ever since. Why are the gifts not in operation; it is because the church doesn’t know that God has turned his face from us and like Samson do not know that the Lord has left us to been taken captive and destroyed just like Israel. This rejection of the truth of God’s word has left the church in desolation. They did not adhere to God’s word yet refuse to repent. This is exactly the kind of teaching satan has used to defeat the church. If we would just read the bible and believe.
As I listened to these preachers sell their wares, they believe it with all their heart. They condemn the churches who don’t follow God’s word but they themselves have turned away also to follow their own ways. Power is still the answer. If the church would repent and return to the word of God, we would be the church we are called to be. The gifts would be in full operation and God would continue to confirm his word by the signs that accompany it. When his word is not preached then there will be no power. Don’t confuse the accomplishments of men and women with the blessings of God. Remember that satan is all about deceit. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Jesus warned about the deceit near the end. As I listened this week I saw many people saying amen to what was preached but little did they know they were being deceived and participating in rebellion.
The church is in rebellion full steam ahead. One writer said, “ It refers to a general defection from the true God, the Bible, and the Christian faith. Every age has its defectors, but the falling away at the end times will be complete and worldwide. The whole planet will be in rebellion against God and His Christ. Every coup requires a leader, and into this global apostasy will step the Antichrist. We believe this takes place after the church has been raptured from the earth.” “Two thousand years have passed since the epistle was written, and the “day of the Lord” has not yet come. Paul assures us that it will not come until the falling away comes first.” Again more lies by satan. Now in everything false you can always see some truth. The general defection has already taken place and it is worldwide but the rapture is the lie but knowing that the falling away comes before the end should prepare us for the end. We should be fearful as the end is near. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
So in this rebellious church we have people teaching that tribulation is coming yet the church has been annihilated because of its disobedience already. At the same time we have people who don’t believe in the rapture yet have taught a gospel that is weak which has also led to our defeat. Mark 7:6 “He replied, “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.” So the church as a whole has been taken into captivity just as Israel was taken in the Old Testament but the remnant came out just as it will now. Just as Daniel prayed, we pray the same. 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.”
Exodus 34:5 “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” 8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” 10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.” Leviticus 16:16 “In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been.”
We have hope today because God is always faithful to his word. 2 Kings 13:23 “But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.” He gave a promise to David and he will keep it. His church will prevail. Revelation 7:9 “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. 15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘ And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
So as Paul said to Timothy 1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” We are very near to the end. The church has been decimated because of our unbelief yet we have hope and remain confident as David said Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”