TOWNSVILLE DISASTER– GOD’S PEOPLE RESPOND

Monday (4th February) Townsville Queensland, Australia woke to the devastation that had occurred.  100’s of homes and businesses flooded.  1000’s of people had been evacuated by police, SES (State Emergency Services) and the army.  Townsville was in crisis and declared a catastrophic situation.  On Friday the 8th February the rain stopped.  Many areas of Townsville had over 1,500mls of rain (60 inches).  It was time for the Church to shine and God to reveal himself.  Amazing stories of care and love flooded the airways, the radio, TV, Facebook and the paper.  People caring for people; random acts of kindness; heroic stories; incredible generosity; and at that stage, not a life lost.

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The Church leaders responded (John 17 unity) and began to strategise how to meet the needs.  Each Church took on a role for which they were they were uniquely equipped.

  • Rev Bruce Cornish (Townsville City Central Mission) was appointed Liaison person on the relevant committee of the local disaster management board;
  • Willow’s Presbyterian ran a children’s programme because schools were closed and kids were going ‘stir crazy’;
  • North reach Baptist established a Facebook page and mobilized there young adults in the clean-up.  They also took on a role in coordinating accommodation for those who had nowhere to live;
  • Salvation Army provided food at the evacuation centres;
  • Calvary Church provided hot meals for people with no power and no homes;
  • Aitkenvale Uniting ran an information night;
  • Northreach Baptist started collecting donations of clothing etc;
  • Samaritan’s Purse came into the city and provided training and set up teams with local Church folk to help in the clean-up;
  • YWAM with the Combined Churches, Council, SES and other Christian organisations established ‘Team Townsville’, whatever it takes.  This was a programme to visit every affected house in every affected suburb and ask “How are you going?”  And then to direct appropriate resources as required.
  • The intercessors prayed.

What a great opportunity the Church of Townsville has had to love the people of this city.   It truly has been a chance for the Church to shine and the character of God to be revealed.

Let us give thanks to God that the Church, the community, and businesses have really stepped up to be good neighbours and also pray that the church will continue to respond in this way, as disasters and persecution increases in these “last days” before Christ returns.

PROPHESIED APOSTASY IN THE LAST DAYS

Anglican ambassador to the Vatican says Jesus did not physically rise from the dead.

After Dr. John Shepherd was appointed as the new representative to Rome last week, a 2008 Easter sermon resurfaced in which he said: “It’s important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event, which restored to life Jesus’s original earthly body. The resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.”

Shepherd, who was Dean of Perth from 1990 to 2014, will be central to discussions with the Pope and will act as the de facto ambassador for the Archbishop, the Church of England, and other Anglican churches around the world. Shepherd was appointed after the previous ambassador, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, resigned following accusations of sexual misconduct.

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Those that backed Shepherd included Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, she criticised people for making “statements of concern” about a sermon from 11 years ago, the West Australian reports.

“If that happened to every preacher in the Church we would all be in trouble, frankly,” she said. “There is a statement that people have picked out, whoever the people are, and have sort of wanted to make some example of. I am not sure what they wanted to achieve.

What do Dr John Shepherd and Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy do with the following Scripture.

” Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:12

We are indeed in the “last days” and judgement of His church as prophesied in Revelation will come upon them “as a thief, and you will not know the hour I will come”.

I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:1-3

Note: We are to watch, to be alert to the days we are in, to be courageous and outspoken for the truth of God’s word. It is obvious that those that seek positions of leadership in the denominational churches, in the main, are looking for approval from the world and earthly rewards.

LAODICEAN CHURCH – LAST DAYS CHURCH

Many of us have read Jesus’ letter to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22 and have rightly understood it to describe the end-times church—the church as we see it in the West today.

We are rich and seemingly do not need a thing, when in fact, we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. As a result, we are under the discipline of the Lord but are unable to recognise it. Like the frog being cooked in the slowly heated kettle of water, many are unaware of God’s judgement and chastisement because we spend little time pursuing Him, listening to His voice and receiving discernment and wisdom from Him.

Instead we demand to be entertained and flock to superstar leaders who “tickle our ears” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) with false doctrine, unbelief and a grossly misplaced focus of worship. Because of our compromise and complacency, we have become powerless and are in darkness.

Materialism, an independent spirit, pride and gross immoralities are typical rather than atypical in a huge swath of those who consider themselves to be a part of the body of Christ.

There is considerably more than a hint of sexual immorality and impurity inside the church today. This should alarm us, considering Ephesians 5:5: “no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” As Solomon said in Proverbs 8:13a: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.”

The Holy Spirit exhorts believers in Ephesians 5:11-12: “And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

Today, homosexual behaviour, the sexual abuse of minors, adultery, promiscuity, the use of pornography and all forms of fornication are rampant among clergy and other so-called believers. Even among those who do not commit such detestable practices, a huge swath of the shepherds of the flock do little to nothing to call people to holiness or to equip the church to minister to sexually bound and broken people. And what is worse, many wink, nod and even encourage those who practice immorality. In truth, there is no fear of the Lord (Proverbs 8:13a, Romans 3:18). In truth, we have corrupted the biblical understanding of grace in order to excuse lawlessness.

“[Although they] know the righteous requirement of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death. They not only do them, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).

It is important to understand that doing nothing in the face of gross immorality in the church is tantamount to tacit approval in the eyes of those who commit such sins. Yet so many ignore God’s command found in 1 Corinthians 5:13b: “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person” lest their blood be on your hands. (Ezekiel 3:18c, 33:7-9; Acts 20:26-31).

As Jesus warned the hypocritical shepherds of His day, ”

Woe to you, blind guides … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … You cleanse the outside … but inside [you] are full of extortion and greed” (Matthew 23:16a, 23a, 25b).

The most egregious example of this during the last 50 years is those who molest children and teens and those who protect such predators, even sending them out among the flock to practice their evil trade on more victims. This is indeed an unspeakable evil.

For example, recent scandals have uncovered child predators in the Catholic Church as well as prelates who protect them. This should be a wake-up call to us all! And yet, such predators are sometimes elevated to the highest ranks of the clergy by those who are aware of their crimes. And worse still, many of these known sex criminals are secretly moved to other parts of the country to perpetuate the human carnage by destroying the lives of even more children.

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Silence is itself an appalling crime in this matter. When Pope Francis was recently exposed by the highly respected Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano (who had everything to lose and nothing to gain by this exposure), for covering up the sex crimes of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the pope’s response was to refuse comment—a response that lost him all credibility among the Catholic faithful and observers worldwide. Pope Benedict had previously imposed sanctions on McCarrick over the same charges but to date, Pope Francis has not scheduled a canonical trial in the matter.

Where is the concern for the victims whose lives have been forever scarred? Even the various dioceses that house records that could corroborate the accusations against McCarrick and other abusers have refused to open their archives for examination.

One impressive exception to the cover-up in the Catholic Church is the Catholic TV network, EWTN, especially the reporting of Raymond Arroyo on ThWorld Over Live. Considering the fact that EWTN has since its inception been the most faithful and supportive media voice for the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, their honesty in exposing this corruption at the highest levels is most impressive.

Sadly, however, a recent request by Robert Bennett, former head of the highly experienced lay panel, (the bishop’s National Review Board), that investigated the last Catholic sex abuse scandal in 2002, asking for the board to be reinstated so that this latest clergy sex abuse crisis can be investigated, has been ignored by this silent pope.

Bennett requested permission from the pope (through Cardinal DiNardo) to create a “lay independent inquiry board” in light of the bishop’s refusal to open up their diocesan records and considering the inability of church clerics to properly respond to any sex abuse crisis. Understandably, there is outrage by Catholic laypeople to the way things have been mishandled by the church, as well as a great sense of betrayal by those who have been sexually abused by clergy.

In a move that shocked and surprised everyone, Pope Francis was recently charged by Archbishop Vigano of defending practising homosexual clergy who have committed the bulk of the serious sex crimes against minors and adults. It is well-known that Pope Francis reinstated Rev. Julio Grassi in Buenos Aires (after Pope Benedict had removed him from ministry) until Grassi had finally been sent to prison for his sex crimes against minors. The pope also stopped the investigation of sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, which “World Over” host Raymond Arroyo pointed out was tantamount to undercutting mercy and justice for the victims of the abuse.

Cardinal Muller recently pointed out that despite the Vatican’s refusal to do so, “the only justice for the victims is that the perpetrator must be dismissed from the clerical state. If you are a good shepherd, you cannot ruin the sheep,” he added.

According to numerous reports, the former prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, was removed from office in 2017 by the current pope because he was not merciful enough to sexual abusers. Cardinal Muller’s response to that charge on a recent broadcast of The World Over Live was that such as claim is a misunderstanding of the priorities of biblical mercy, which should first and foremost be extended to the victims.

State attorneys general that have begun investigations into clerical abuses in the Catholic Church have uncovered tens of thousands of instances of sexual abuse of minors in each state that they have examined. Not surprisingly, tens of thousands of abuse cases have also been discovered in Europe and other continents. And yet the church continues to stonewall those same authorities who are trying to put a stop to these unspeakable crimes and bring justice to the victims.

The focus of the Roman Catholic Church, (as well as Protestant churches found to protect child abusers and to cover up clerical crimes), has been to defend the “machine” at all costs. Empty public spectacles of sorrow and declarations of concern for the victims have been a sham in light of the cover-ups and in light of the priority given to protecting the coffers, the leaders and the business of the church.

Where is the mercy? Where is the justice? Where is the ministry of healing for the victims? Where is the genuine sorrow for them? It is an atrocity that victims have been forced by the church to battle against lawyers for the slightest hint of admission of guilt, and for compensation for the lifetime of pain and therapeutic help produced by the predator priests and cover-up prelates.

The Protestant church is also filled with denials by abusers, cover-ups by churches, resistance by church lawyers to admit guilt and to appropriately compensate victims. They are, in effect, tying millstones around the necks of the victims and throwing them into the sea (see Luke 17:1-2).

Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino recently wrote that one of the problems faced by the church today is that we have lost our hatred of sin. He points out that Proverbs 8:13 says that the fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil, or sin. Morlino added, “Things are seriously wrong, and the church needs to respond and do our part.” He then called for a systematic investigation of the files of every Catholic diocese.

The Bible is clear regarding the commission of sexual sin and those who encourage it. The apostle Peter called such people false prophets and false teachers whose condemnation and destruction has been long hanging over them. He writes:

They shall receive the wages of unrighteousness. They count it a pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes who revel in their own deception while they carouse together with you. They have eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sin. They entice unstable souls. … These men are wells without water and clouds that are carried by a storm, for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever. . … for … they entice by the lusts of the flesh and by depravity those who barely escaped from those who live in error. Although they promise them freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption … if after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn back from the holy commandment that was delivered to them (2 Peter 2:13-14, 17b, 18b, 19a, 20-21).

And to those in the church who tolerate such immorality, Jesus declares,

Look! I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will put her children to death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the hearts and minds. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. … To him who overcomes and keeps My works to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (Revelation. 2:22-23, 26).

Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Truly, our modern “Laodicean” church has lost its fear of God and its hatred of evil.

But what of grace, you may ask? Let’s let the apostle Paul answer that question:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may increase? God forbid! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? … For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. … For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 6:1-2, 23; 8:13-14).

So again I say, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14b)

This abbreviated article by David Kyle Foster was in Charisma News  . He is the CEO of Pure Passion Media.

CHRISTIAN MARTYRS ARE GROWING THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA

The death toll for Christians in Nigeria continues to rise to catastrophic proportions as the nation seems helpless or unwilling to stop bloodthirsty Islamic radicals targeting Christians in the region. Despite the Islamic terrorists group’s violence, thousands are coming to Christ according to Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs.

“Thousands of Fulani are following Jesus Christ. So this traditionally Muslim tribal group, ethnic group, thousands of them have left Islam behind and are now following Jesus Christ. So the church sees that and that tends to bridge some of these gaps, Nettleton said.

I have previously reported how the vicious Fulani Herdsmen reportedly marauded through Christian villages wearing camouflage and brandishing AK-47s, and burned down as many as 160 homes, leaving a trail of at least 39 murdered Christians in their wake.

Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari condemned the massacre of Christians on Twitter, calling them “vile, evil and satanic” and agreeing that the attacks seemed “clearly calculated” against Christians.

But despite President Buhari’s words, it appears the government has done little to stem the violence against Christians. Local religious leaders have even called for the president to resign, accusing him of leniency on the terrorists.

Another jihadist group Boko Haram—the vicious Nigerian jihadist army pledged to ISIS—orchestrated a deadly attack by disguising themselves as “preachers” and inviting Christian villagers to a service where they then massacred 45 congregants.

Earlier this year, Boko Haram violently abducted 110 schoolgirls from their village. Of those, five girls were killed while captive before 104 were ultimately released. Fifteen-year-old Leah Sharibu is still their prisoner because she refuses to bend to her captors’ demands that she renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.

The violence against Africa’s Christians is spreading beyond the borders of Nigeria, and if no action is taken, will likely continue to sweep across the continent. In the natural this looks catastrophic which it is, but rest assured God is using it for His purposes.

In a recent deadly bus attack in Kenya the Al-Shabaab terrorists forced passengers to recite an Islamic oath and those who identified as Christian were mercilessly executed. Do these terrorists think this does the cause of Allah any good? Is this the God you would want to serve?

American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has gone directly to the United Nations, delivering a critical written submission asking for intervention for Nigeria’s Christians and warning of the grim outlook if action isn’t taken.

The least we can do is get our churches praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in both the Middle East and Africa. Pray that they may understand what God is doing in each of these countries and cooperate with Him, to accomplish His purposes.

 

MANY KNOW JESUS AS THE LAMB BUT NOT THE LION WHO WILL RULE WITH AN IRON SCEPTRE

I believe this prophetic encounter Jeremiah Johnson had with our Lord is authentic, hence this post. Jeremiah Johnson planted and serves on the eldership team at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida.

“As the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me, He said, “Jeremiah, many know the Lamb who went to Calvary, but few know the Lion who is returning to devour His Father’s enemies. The same wrath that was poured out on the cross will be the same wrath that will be poured out in judgement upon my return.

I am releasing apostolic and prophetic messengers who will trumpet my end-time judgements to the church and warn of the consequences of those who only know the Lamb of mercy and grace, but reject the Lion of judgement and wrath.

Many only know Me as the great intercessor, which I am, but I am also the coming King and judge. There is more than intercessory prayer. For I will teach My people in these last days how to pray kingly and judicial prayers. I will establish My government in the earth and make My enemies a footstool. I will rule and reign with an iron sceptre.

Jeremiah, many will be offended at My return! They have created a god in their own likeness and image and will deny Me when I come with all My glory, power and splendour! You must warn the church of the scoffing spirit that will come, of the overemphasis of My goodness and never teaching on My severity, of never proclaiming and warning of My wrath and judgement that is here now and is yet to come.”

The look in the Lord Jesus Christ’s eyes as He said these words to me was so intense, yet so deeply grieved. He then asked me if He could entrust me with these words, and I said yes. When I did, He turned around and vanished from my bedroom.

I shook for days and have still never recovered. I pray that those who have read this sobering encounter for the first time publicly will pray and seek the Holy Spirit concerning your own view of who Jesus really is and prepare yourself for the days ahead.”

ANOTHER PROPHESIED “LAST DAYS” SIGN

A majority of evangelicals now believe that God accepts the worship of all religions, according to a new study released by Ligonier Ministries. At a time when a darkened world needs the light of the Gospel, it’s disheartening to see many within the evangelical church confused about core Biblical doctrine.

I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me” John 14:6

Chris Larson, president of Ligonier Ministries, says the results of the 2018 State of Theology survey conducted by LifeWay Research and released Tuesday shows an urgent need for bold teaching of historic Christianity.

In the survey in which a representative sample of 3,000 Americans were interviewed, evangelicals were asked about their views on a series of theological statements including: “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.”

Some 51 percent of respondents were shown to agree with the statement, while 42 percent disagreed. Two years earlier in 2016, 49 percent of evangelicals were found to agree with the statement while 43 percent said they disagreed.

“The Bible is clear that the Gospel is the only way of salvation, and God will not accept the worship of other faiths. It is only through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit that we are able to worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:24),” the researchers note.

Among other troubling theology embraced by evangelicals according to the survey, is that a majority of evangelicals believe that most people are basically good by nature and that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father — some 78 percent of evangelicals agree with this. Only 71 percent of evangelicals supported this idea in 2016.

“These results are a serious cause for concern. It is the depth of man’s sin that led Jesus to die on the cross. How, then, can a majority of evangelicals say most people are good by nature? Down through history, Christians have proclaimed that Jesus is truly God, not some sort of created being. The evangelical world is in great danger of slipping into irrelevance when it casually forgets the Bible’s doctrine,” he said.

The results of the 2018 State of Theology survey, which was conducted from April 24 to May 4, 2018, echoes previous studies which have been pointing to a rejection of orthodox Christian beliefs by many American Christians.

WHAT DOES GOD WANT FOR HIS CHURCH?

Francis Chan does His best to try and answer that question. His walking away from a church of 5,000 to seek God’s answer to that question, demonstrates his heart and desire to know what God wants for His church.

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Francis admitted in an interview about his new book “Letters to the Church”(available later this month), “I spent years doing “whatever works” to get people’s attention. I had joined millions of Americans in being too quick to speak and too sure about my opinions. Over the last few years, I have spent time crying in the presence of God, confessing my arrogance. 25 years after launching that first church, I’m asking myself, “Who cares what Francis Chan wants?” Is there anything less significant than my opinion of what church should be? Could anything matter less than the kind of church I want to create? The good news is that by the grace of God, some of us are seeing our failures now and are training ourselves to prioritise His desires. Scripture is our starting point, not desire or tradition. Rather than thinking of what we would enjoy or asking others what they would like, we ask the simple question: What would please God most?

Q & A with Francis Chan – By Voices Contributor to Christian Post, 

Q: Fans of your books may not be aware that you are in a new season of ministry and church planting. How are things going?

A: Things have been going great. Do we have the perfect church? No way—we’re people. But I think we are on to something.

While I believe I have loved Jesus for years, it feels totally different now, and I love it. The strangest part about this season of my life is that my intimacy with God has been directly tied to my connection with the Church. This is really weird for me because for years, I felt closest to God when I was away from people and alone in my prayer room.

For the first time in my life, I actually feel closer to God while praying alongside my church family! It’s like I can sense His actual presence in the room with us. It makes me want to stay in a room with them all because I want to get as close to Jesus as possible. Just the other day, a one-hour teaching session spontaneously turned into thirteen hours of prayer! We were enjoying His presence together so much that no one wanted to leave! It is an awesome thing to experience God’s presence in a room full of people who truly love Him.

Q: You write passionately about God’s desires for His church. Does 30 years of ministry change your sense of urgency?

A: Yes, I believe it does. I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot over these 30 years of ministry. I became a grandpa recently. (It’s weird to say that sentence.) The older I get, the more aware I am that the end is near. There is no time to care about what I want in Church. There’s no time to worry about what others are looking for in a church.

Typically, when I speak at a conference, there is a countdown clock letting me know how much time I have remaining on the stage. Sometimes I pretend that the clock is a countdown clock of my life. I imagine that I’ll be standing face to face with God when that timer expires, and I try to say everything I think He would want me to say. If I really was going to die, I would care very little about people’s complaints.

I have the same thought now. If I knew I was going to die right after writing this book, what would I write? But even more than that, the warnings in Revelation are very real and we need to take them seriously. Over and over, His message was repent or else. Repent or else.

Jesus is coming. We should be urgent about eternal things. I tried to write the book from this perspective.

Francis says that the pattern for an effective church is given in the Book of Acts and it is simple: God is present in His Word: As we read, we encounter God and allow others to do the same. God is present in fellowship: As we join together for the mission, people see God. God is present in Communion: As we break bread together, we proclaim the sacrifice of Jesus. God is present when we pray: As we cry out on our knees, we will see God act.

HOLD FAST TO THIS CREED

May you hold steadfast to this creed, even to the point of persecution. My last post on AB2943 “Must Stay Gay Bill” demonstrates that persecution of Christians has arrived “big time” and it will only escalate in these “last days” as God’s Word prophesies.

Pray His church will declare the life-changing power of the gospel to everyone.

YOUR END-TIME THEOLOGY IS VITAL

Your End-Time Theology Does Matter

The life of the church must be driven by the truth that Jesus is returning, and we must be prepared for our role during that key season. Jesus makes it clear in the Olivet Discourse, that Christians will face the ANTICHRIST during the Tribulation and even Great Tribulation, occurring during the 70th week spoken of by Daniel.

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24:15-21

The Bible warns that there will be a great falling away in the church in the “last days”, even the elect being deceived. The charismatic, miracle working Antichrist will appeal to many in the apostate church which has already compromised with the world on homosexuality and gay marriage.

The following warning in Revelation should be awake up call: “A third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out in full strength into the cup of His anger. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The smoke of their torment will ascend forever and ever. They have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name (Revelation 14:9-11).

The truth is that we are only safe if we conquer, overcome and endure to the end: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5).

If all of our sins are forgiven, past, present and future, then taking the mark of the beast is a non-issue. In fact, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, sexual immorality, unforgiveness and any number of other sins won’t impact our eternity if we believe in a false grace teaching.

“For if we wilfully continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

A raging, burning passion for Jesus is non-negotiable. We are either on fire for Jesus or we are lukewarm, or possible cold and dead. Those who refuse to take the mark of the beast will be radically in love and on fire for Jesus.

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

We must be living, walking and praying in the Spirit, night and day if we hope to survive the coming pressure. You’ll remember Jesus warning his disciples to stay awake and pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation. Do you know what temptation Jesus was referring to? Rejecting Jesus, as they did when the pressure increased and Jesus was taken away for crucifixion: “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs. 9:10).

We will need each other more than ever as the pressure intensifies. The church will certainly look much different during the Tribulation than it does now, but one truth will remain—we will be together. We must learn how to lock arms and contend together if we hope to survive in the end. The Bible gives us this instruction, especially as the Day of the Lord draws near.

“And let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We must be ready. Jesus is coming again soon. That is one point we must simply have to agree on.