Let’s Get Studying!

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2Ti 2: (MSG)
14  Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out.
15  Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.
16  Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life,
17  they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples,
18  throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with.
19  Meanwhile, God’s firm foundation is as firm as ever, these sentences engraved on the stones: GOD KNOWS WHO BELONGS TO HIM. SPURN EVIL, ALL YOU WHO NAME GOD AS GOD.

2Ti 3: (MSG)
10  You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience,
11  troubles, sufferings—suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me!
12  Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it.
13  Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.
14  But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—
15  why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16  Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.
17  Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

I wonder if someone asked you what you believe and why, what type of answer would you give.  Would be something like, “the Pastor said it”, “I heard it on tv”, or it may be any other answer that would come into the mind. Or would you be able to articulate a Biblical outline because you have discipline yourself to studying the Word of God.

For most studying does not come naturally whether while in school or in our spiritual lives as a child of God.  The digital age has truly made studying the Word of God so accessible like we have never seen, but, it still requires a disciplined life.

The Bereans

Act 17:10-15 KJV
10  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
13  But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
14  And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
15  And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.

It is truly amazing how many never search the Scriptures for their own spiritual life but take teachers, preachers, and others at their word.  This is causing a spiritual famine among the many Christians in North America and around the world.

The new-born Christians in Berea searched daily the Scriptures to see if what Paul preached was found within the text.  They did not have the advantage like we do with both Testaments, Old and New, rather all they had was the Torah and the writings of the prophets of old.  I tend to feel that this was not an easy task to do, and yet they probably knew the Scriptures by memory as they learned it from their parents around the meal time.

Here is what God spoke to the minor prophet, Hosea about knowing knowledge:

Hos 4:6 MSG
6  My people are ruined because they don’t know what’s right or true. Because you’ve turned your back on knowledge, I’ve turned my back on you priests. Because you refuse to recognize the revelation of God, I’m no longer recognizing your children.

Cannot Happen Here

North America is the envy of many around the world.  They look at it and say to themselves, ‘if only’.  That is a dream for multiple thousands which will probably never come to fruition.

Allow me to use some supposition here.  Consider this, what if one day for some extreme situation that the Bible and all things related to the Gospel were banned in North America.  You say to yourself, ‘it cannot happen here’, oh, but, it has happened in the near past, is happening even as I write this article.  I can recall stories how some Christians in communist countries would get a hold of just one page of the Bible and that is all they would have for quite a length of time.  In China, Christians meet in secret in living rooms, basements, and other places, in fear that they may be arrested and put into prison for their declaration of faith in Christ Jesus.

Study, Your Life May Depend On It

Many across North America have clung to a gospel of ‘feel good’ centered around things of the flesh.  Missing in the pulpits today is a all-rounded Gospel.

Let’s read and be reminded of  what the Word of God declares through the pen of the Apostle Paul:

2Ti 3:16 MSG
16  Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.

There is coming a time on this planet that the Word of God and Christians will have a price put upon their heads.  Being a Christian could cost you your life.  Choose Christ, loose your head.  Choose the mark, lose your soul.  It is at that time you have better anchored your soul with more than what the pastor said. Your soul must be anchored to the stone that the builders rejected over two thousand years ago, the man, Christ Jesus.

One better have a great and solid grasp on the Word of God, imprinted on your mind and in your spirit, so that come what may, no situation, or any man can steal it from you.  It will be all that will sustain you and keep you in perfect peace in the trial and great testing of your faith and life.

So, yes, study like your life depends on it because it surely does.  Let’s get busy and study!

 

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Revial Where? -The Face of Apostasy

Psa 127:1 MSG
1  A pilgrim song of Solomon. If GOD doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If GOD doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.

“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

Today, the modern Church says, ”What can we do for you world to have you come to our Church?”

The World: “Feed us, baby sit our children, water down the Gospel, don’t offend me, entertain me, give me music that sounds like mine w/a hint of Jesus.”

The Church: Okay (Twitter: @lyfetreker)

During the 1970’s I was maybe just evelen or twelve years old.  My mom liked to watch the preachers on Sunday morning, this was before twenty-four seven Christian broadcasting as we know of today.  Most were just one hour long, some maybe thirty minutes.  

One of those tv preachers was Reverand Rex Humbard of Ohio.  He preached right from his church there in Ohio.  It was distinct from all others for it had a large white lit up cross on the ceiling.  His wife, Maude Aimee would sing a solo most Sundays.

Mom decided that the whole family would take a trip to see The Humbards at their church in Ohio.  Unfortunately, they were not there, an associate delivered the morning sermon.  What struck me as a kid was not the television cameras or the big cross, but, rather the color of the walls, black.  It felt like you stepped into a movie theatre, except the movie was a sermon.  This now looks like a pre-lude of things to come.

Overtaken

I try to keep a lookout about what is happening first in Bible prophecy, which is a measuring stick for the season we are living in.  I also try to feel the heart beat of things within the church universal.  Things that many would not notice or even have not heard about.

I am told, I have not tried this, that if you throw a frog into boiling water it will jump out.  However, if you place that frog into cold water then slowly warm the water the frog will stay.

In previous articles I wrote about the “The Church: Abdication of the Power”.  They chose:

  1. Popularity Over Power
  2. Prosperity Over Power
  3. Politics Over Power

There has been a gradual, almost silent move away from the very anchors laid out by Christ and the Apostles. The things Christ told the Apostle John about the seven churches in the Book Revelation are relevant and true at this present day church.

I have been seeing and also hearing of an alarming trend among congregations of the very thing I saw back at “The Cathedral of Tomorrow”, walls painted black. The given reason if asked why they are doing such a thing, ‘trying to bring young people in’.  

Pastor if that is why you are doing this then you have forgotten the very foundations that was laid out by Christ Jesus and the first century apostles.  Now you enter into the santuary and cannot tell the differance between it and the local tavern in town.  Same color of walls, smoke machines, strobe lights, and loud music for entertainment.  All these things are pure and utter carnality.  Nothing more than to please the flesh.

Like those letters spoken by Christ to Apostle John the church has:

  1. Left its firts love
  2. Allowed blasphemy to enter the doors
  3. Lukewarm

Pastors have gave way to preaching nothing more than sermonettes that will not offend one.  Messages of how to feel better, gain more riches, and how to become more popular.  The message of the cross seems to have become relegated to the dusty archives of the church.  The message of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ replaced by “positive thinking”, which had its beginnings with The Bishop Sheen the forerunner of Reverand Robert Shuller.

It is my understanding that many are removing the baptismal tanks from the santuary, which in times past was a symbolical move to state that we have buried the old man and give rise to the new man in Christ.

Pastors, if you want to see people added to your congregation, begin to preach without fear or favor of men.  Seek God and let the anointing of the Holy Ghost flow through you and out to those under your voice.

Let me bring back to your attention of the very earliest days of the newborn church.

Act 2:42-47 KJV
42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44  And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

So, there is a choice to made, continue to look, act, smell like the world, or let the Spirit of God radiate from the pulpit to the pew and then spill out onto the streets of Main Town.

For me I choose the Spirit of God!

 

Revival Where? – Apostasy Grows

2Ti 4:1-5 MSG
1  I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule,
2  so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
3  You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.(emphasis mine)
4  They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.
5  But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

Just recently I had a phone conversation with a dear relative of mine. My relative and I were reminiscing about things from our home church.  It was mentioned that they pined for those days again.

You see, the place I considered my home church sat on a country lot with tall poplar trees lined the edge of the property. It was not fancy for most of my childhood they was no running water within the walls.  At maximum it would seat maybe sixty or a little less. On the front left of the santuary sat an old upright piano, out of tune and was only played when a guest would visit that knew how to play, much to the grumblings of my grandfather about it.  Grandpa was the only musician, a self taught guitar player for the small and unassuming congregation.

We considered ourselves to be “pentecostal” in doctrine but with no one umbrella that were our over-seers.  We went through many different variations of preachers and teachers over the years. Until a man became a constant with us and he was picked to be the pastor of a congregation with limited means.

Yes, we were those “pentecostals” that you hear much about, but, not to be mistaken for those who claim power over “snakes”.  Talking in tongues, prophecy, and all manifestations of the “gifts of the spirit”.  These were all I knew growing up and throughout my teenage life.

Casuality

Come Sunday night everyone would dress for church.  No, the ladies did not bring out of their closets mink coats, or wear diamonds around their neck, but yet you knew these were not their every day wear.  The same with the men, the pastor wore a suit and the men that had one.  We always had respect for those who would step behind the pulpit, sometimes we would call the “brother” so and so, or “pastor”, but never once did we think of using their first name.

Things began to change in what is now known as the “charismatic” movement.  People began to be more casual in the attitude with the gathering of the saints come Sunday.  The apparel looked like you would see the teenagers where to high school.  High School students would have never thought of using the teachers first name, but, in the congregation people began to cheapen the ministry of the pulpit by calling their pastor by his or her first name.

Then There Was the Music

For awhile my family moved quite a bit and sometimes my mom and dad would take us to different churches when we lived a distance from the home church.  In all those years we learned the tried and tested “hymns” of the church,  mix in some choruses, and of course the Anointing of the Spirit of God.

The charismatic movement also ushered in a new sound of music, I would call it the flavor of the hippie music, except the words sounded Christian.  Oh, it sounded good, but there were some things missing.  No sound precepts from the Word of God, yes there were some with Scriptures for verses, but it lacked the depth of those Hymns I had grown to love. Also missing was the conviction of the writer.  “Amazing Grace” had the conviction of the writer, John Newton, a slave transporter who was saved while crossing the ocean.  He wrote his conviction when he penned the words to the now most recognizable Hymn.

Don’t Change The Program

Since those days of the late seventies and early eighties the change happening within the ranks of many congregations was palpable to say the least.

A preacher friend of mine told me once this, “never change horses in mid-stream”.  I travelled with that preacher the length of Canada and throughtout many states.  He had a certain rythmn to his ministry and that extended to the style that he wanted his musicians and singers to adhere to.  If he detected a slight change, meaning no anointing, he would stop the singer and music, and start a song on his own.  

When I left him and struck out on my own, I too, developed a rythmn to my services.  There was one thing I learned about my ministry, as a gospel piano player, if my music didn’t minister to the people, I knew my preaching would not fall on welcoming ears.  This was proved to me over and over for years following.  Sometimes my music without my intention would begin to fall with an anointing and before I uttered an altar call, preached a message, the altars would fill with people.

To the pastor, preacher, evangelist, that may read this, all of your man made programs are not worth the time you thought about them, or the paper you used to write them, for if God does not sanction them with His Anointing of His Spirit, then it is time to go find a job other than that of the pulpit.

All across North America the program has changed, and I fear it is not for the better.  People do not want the messages from the pulpit that brings the sinner to his knee, the mother kneeling at the altar, with tear stained cheeks praying for her children, young and old alike with arms around each other lifting needs up to the Lord in prayer. Pastor, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Yet many have given themselves over to a worthless kind of gospel, one without the Anointing from the throne room of God.  One that is nothing but words for of lust for greed and self-aggrandizement.  Nothing but puffery, slight of hand, a puffs of smoke.  The pulpit now is no better that going to hear a lecturer on self esteem found in any convention center down the street.  Yes, the people have spoken, they want a feel good gospel(intentionally not captilized “Gospel”). Yet they feel that God must ordain what is happening because to the natural eye, not the spiritual eye, it looks good, some would say it has God’s blessing on it.

We have left the message of “take up your cross” outside the doors of the santuary for a message that does nothing more than tickles the ears and fancy of those listening in the nice comfy chairs.

To be truthful the true Gospel message hasn’t changed, the pulpit and the pew have!

Next post: Not The Man In Black, but Paint the Walls Black.