COMPLETING THE GREAT COMMISSION

What are we doing to witness to the goodness of God in a world that has ceased to acknowledge His existence, let alone His sovereignty over the Cosmos. Jesus gave us an assignment to tell those around us about the good news of the Gospel.

Bible prophecies forecasting the events prior to Jesus second coming to earth are being fulfilled at an ever increasing rate much like “birth pangs”. This should prompt spirit filled believers to get about our master’s business. We will need to give Him an account of our actions or inaction.

Let us not be like Jonah. When God sent him to Nineveh he rebelled and took a boat to Tarshish, far from Nineveh. God used the situation to have Jonah witness to the sailors on the boat. Jonah told them he was the cause for the terrible storm and that if the sailors threw him into the water the storm would cease. They eventually did and the storm ceased. “So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.” Jonah 1:15

Next God orchestrated for a fish to swallow Jonah, he repented after God called him a second time, and Noah eventually fulfilled his mission. The response to Jonah’s message was astounding . This notoriously immoral city and an enemy of Israel repented with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. When Nineveh repented, the reason for Jonah’s rebellion became clear: he had feared that God would forgive the Ninevites; and when God did forgive them, Jonah resented it (Jonah 4:1-3).

And finally, God’s question to Jonah “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left… ?” is unanswered and should confront each of us. There are many people who have not heard the gospel and just as Jonah was commanded to go we also are commanded to go and share the gospel with all God brings across our path or leads us to. Are we being obedient to His call?

WHY SOUTH DAKOTA HAS DONE SO WELL DURING COVID

Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, a rising star in the Republican party, claimed during an interview with CBN’s David Brody that during conference calls with fellow governors around the country she heard a palpable fear that she believes controlled and clouded much of their subsequent decision making. At the 3:05 minute mark in the below clip, Noem addresses a question about the lock downs we’ve seen around the country and explained why she refused to do so in South Dakota.

“We’ve done better than virtually any other state in the nation,” Noem said in defense of her approach, which was criticized by proponents of stricter measures. Measures, she believes, were not based on fear rather than rational or constitutional decision making.

Noem explained to Brody. “I was shocked and amazed at how fear controlled people and how emotional that they were.

To me it indicated that in this country we’ve lost faith. And the steadfast promise of God’s faithfulness in our life every day has real consequences. If you don’t have that in your life then your emotions and fear can control you and make you not have the discernment and wisdom you need in a time of crisis.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:26-28

ATHEIST RICHARD DAWKINS SAYS WITHOUT GOD WORLD WOULD BE LESS MORAL

Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most famous atheists, has admitted that eliminating God from the public consciousness would pose huge problems.  Dawkins insisted that if religion were to be abolished, it would “give people a license to do really bad things.”  The Oxford University fellow said that, without the presence of a higher being, “people may feel free to do bad things because they feel God is no longer watching them.”  Dawkins warned that people would feel entitled to do what they like because they no longer need to obey a “divine spy in the sky reading their every thought,”, a description he often uses for an omnipresent God.

Dawkins – eliminating God from the public consciousness would pose huge problems

Dawkins told of an experiment he came across which intended to find out whether people would be “good” if they felt someone was watching. He concluded from the results that “it seems plausible that, if somebody sincerely believes God is watching his every move, he might be more likely to be good.”  “I hate that idea,” Dawkins added.  “I want to believe that humans are better than that and would be honest whether anyone was watching or not.” 

In response creationist Ken Ham, said, “Dawkins has spent his life fighting God, but still recognises that atheism doesn’t provide a foundation for morality.”  “Without a biblical foundation, anything goes,” Ham added.  “Who determines what is right or wrong?  Everyone does what’s right in their own eyes.  Dawkins is admitting that atheism is totally morally bankrupt.”

The Bible tells us how to get wisdom and understanding. The benefits thereof and the danger of not doing so:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.Psalms 111:19

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1

“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.” Psalms 34:9

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes… the words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.” Psalms 36:1-1

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

CHURCHES MAKE DISCIPLES

The Importance of a Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) – Communities of Disciples.

Paul was able to win the city not by joining a political party, but by making disciples and releasing these disciples to turn the world upside down.

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

There was a healthy fear of the Lord in the community after the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.

Paul did not attempt to plant mere churches, but founded communities of disciples—which formed a kingdom ekklesia which can turn a city upside down!

They were not event-driven, but process-driven.

In his epistle, Paul wrote to explain to the Ephesian church (about four years after Acts 19) how they transformed Asia Minor and wrote in chapter 4 that the ekklesia is equipped by the five fold ministry to become a mature man—as the expression of the fullness of Christ and corporate son—who will manifest the government of God increasingly on the earth.

In Ephesians 4:12 we see both an inward and outward focus: one is missional and the other is focused on building the body of Christ.

The missional purpose of the apostles was to equip the saints to minister in every aspect of culture, according to Genesis 1:28, as His ekklesia, so the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

The focus to edify the church is seen in Ephesians 4:12-16 when it speaks about the church growing into the fullness of the stature of Jesus. This passage shows what the ultimate goal of discipleship is: to be like Jesus as a corporate community (a nation within nations that disciples every people group and subculture).

Consequently, to the extent the kingdom ekklesia looks and acts like Jesus, it will have governmental authority and influence because the government is on His shoulders and because it was He who defeated the powers of darkness!

Isaiah 9:6-7 says: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.”

Ephesians 4:11-13 says: “He gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

As His corporate body, He called us to manifest His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven according to Luke 11:2. Moreover, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity to be our Counsellor, Teacher and Comforter and therefore enable us to do the job He has called us to do. The Holy Spirit enables us to overcome the powers of darkness and manifest the fruit of the Spirit and operate in the gifts of the Spirit.

To those who have an ear to hear and a heart to understand, let me leave you with this quote from Rene Bates book God’s Glory: And the Exhortation: “What we begin to see now is the deathwatch of the gloomy, deceptive, organised religious system. It gave birth to nothing but a dearth of life, religious institutes (mistakenly called churches), and canons of human pride, turning many toward insincere piety. May the Lord Jesus Christ forever be praised within your hearts as He delivers us from the people-pleasing business.”

THE SACRED THINGS OF GOD

For us there are many situations in Scripture which seem to involve a punishment that was too severe for the crime.

God kills Uzzah just because he tried to keep the ark of the covenant from falling. Uzzah touched the ark because the cart it was riding on hit a pothole (2 Samuel 6). It seems like a trivial mistake with good intentions. Sure, God had forbidden anyone from touching the ark, but what was Uzzah supposed to do? Let the holy ark of God fall to the ground?

What about Moses, who didn’t get to see the promised land because he struck the rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20)? After everything Moses went through, was it such a big crime to be frustrated with the people and strike the rock in anger?

Then there are Ananias and Sapphira. They were both struck dead because they lied about how much money they donated to the church (Acts 5). And this is in the New Testament! Really, who hasn’t exaggerated?

Sadly, we don’t understand what it means for something to be “sacred.” Jesus taught us in the Lord’s prayer to say “Hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). Do we really understand what we are saying? Like the high priest entering the holy of holy’s, we are to treat prayer as sacred.

“Guard your steps when you enter the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Do not be quick to speak with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God.

For God is in heaven, and you are on the earth; therefore may your words be few. For a dream comes when there is a great burden, and a foolish voice when there are many words.” (Eccl. 5:1-3).

In all the above situations, people rushed into something sacred and paid the price. We shouldn’t be surprised; we should be humbled. We have all done things more irreverent than those mentioned above. Let’s thank God for His mercy and tread more carefully into sacred matters. Others may treat these things as common, but we cannot. While others quickly judge God’s actions and question His commands, we are to be careful even to speak His name. We don’t carelessly question His actions or inaction.

We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves, something sacred. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been joined to His church. Because of this, we are not only a part of God’s sacred temple but also a part of the heavenly community.

Take some time to read Revelation 4–5 as it describes the scene in heaven. It begins with a majestic picture of God on His throne. The scene is busy and intense: the four living creatures are declaring His holiness, the seven spirits of God are blazing, myriads of angels are praising Jesus with loud voices and the 24 elders are flat on their faces while laying their crowns before Him. Then in 5:8, we finally appear.

“When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8).

Maybe you feel a bit insulted by this. You’re thinking, That’s it? My only part is that my prayers are lumped in with the prayers of all other believers to form a bowl of incense? Don’t worry—you’re also mentioned in verse 13 when your voice joins the chorus of billions.

“Then I heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that are in them, saying: ‘To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and power, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13).

What is a tremendous, unspeakable honour may feel insufficient for those who are used to being god of their own blogs and Twitter accounts. It feels insignificant to those who have erected their own shrines on Facebook and Instagram, filled with beautiful pictures of themselves. They don’t realise that true joy comes from the opposite. Joy comes as we stand among those Jesus has redeemed and get lost in a sea of worship, becoming fully a part of something sacred.

Gathering with the church should lead us to holy ground. We get to come and worship someone else, with someone else. We get to pour out love to Him by serving those around us and considering them more important. It’s not about us. And we should be glad. Because this is something far greater. It is sacred.

Adapted from an article by Francis Chan in Ministry for Today Why These Scripture Passages Deeply Bothered Francis Chan

 

THE INDIGNATION OF THE LORD IS AGAINST ALL NATIONS!

Not only do we know the indignation (righteous anger) of the Lord is against all nations at the end. but we also know their fate – destruction.

“Come near, you nations, to hear;
And heed, you people!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
The world and all things that come forth from it.
For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations,
And His fury against all their armies;
He has utterly destroyed them,
He has given them over to the slaughter.
Also their slain shall be thrown out;
Their stench shall rise from their corpses,
And the mountains shall be melted with their blood.” ISAIAH 34:1-3

Image result for images of the battle of armageddon

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” PROVERBS 1:7

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.” PROVERBS 34:27

“When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.” PROVERBS 1:27-30

“If you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” PROVERBS 2:1-6

Help us Lord, to warn the world of the coming judgement, that they might know that a good God must judge unrighteousness, otherwise He is not a good God.

 

 

 

 

HOW EASY IT IS TO GET TRIPPED UP BY SIN

Image result for pictures of king solomon's throne

For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Ashtoreth:  Female goddess worship, over-exaltation of women power. 
Milcom:  National god.  Worship of political power.  
Chemosh:  The god of SELF focus.  False confidence, audacity, worship of the temple itself.  
Molech:  Required the sacrifice of your very own children.
What an abomination this must have been to God and of course we know that it was because of Solomon’s disobedience that the entire nation of Israel was rent in two after his death.

Thank goodness we have this stark example of the dangers of worldly treasures, the WISEST human in all of history turns away from God because of them. It should force us to our knees to ask God to protect us not only from the evil one but from our own selfish evil desires.

Sin is toxic.  Sin is the equivalent of cancer in the Body of Christ. The same applies to our nations. Like cancer, it metastasises. As it progresses, the Body is ravaged and wasted.  If we were giving a medical prognosis:  We only have a certain amount of time left to live.  Sin cancer will lay us flat out.

Three helpful Scriptures:

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  Romans 7:24

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Ephesians  5:17-21

 

JESUS SAID: “I DID NOT COME TO BRING PEACE BUT A SWORD”

The Bible tells us the battle is intense in the “last days”. There will be a great falling away in the church.

The world has rejected God’s values, particularly having approved same sex marriage and transgender. Sadly, we are seeing many church denominations compromise with the world and become apostate, as prophesied. It is important to remember, Jesus said of himself that He would bring division:

  • Not peace but a sword (put on the full armour of the Lord, take up the sword of faith)
  • Son against father, daughters against mothers, in-laws against in-laws, family member against family member
  • Enemies will be in the same household
  • Division
  • Rejection
  • With me or against me
  • Heavenly kingdom not of this world

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I  did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-37

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12

“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36

WHY IS THIS DISRUPTION AND FORCE NECESSARY?

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Victory in this battle is never found at a negotiation table filled with compromise and conditions.

It is past time for marketplace believers to step into our co-destiny with Jesus – to take back lost territory. The battle will be fierce, but Jesus said, “when these things begin to happen look up, lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28 His return is not too far off.

Hence, it is time to:

  • Refuse to bow to ungodly secular pressures that push non-Kingdom agendas; 
  • Resist society’s expectations within entertainment, art or education that subvert a Godly standard of living;
  • Come out of apostate churches and ensure we raise God fearing children.
  • Resist political, governmental or special interest group pressure to lower our standards or behaviour.

We must hold to God’s inerrant Word.

 

 

IT’S TIME TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD

This 11 minute sermon is even more needed to day than when David Wilkerson produced it almost ten years ago. End Times signs are more evident today than back then.

It seems like we are in “fast forward” mode. Last days prophesied “birth pangs” do increase in intensity with time.

David Wilkerson says in the video, that the younger generation has no fear of God, and yet we know the beginning of wisdom is to fear God. No doubt this lack of fear has been brought about by one of Satan’s most effective strategies – evolution, which has destroyed belief in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word. We need to get equipped to share the Gospel effectively with the abundant resources provided by http://www.creation.com.

ENGAGING THE TRANSGENDER DEBATE WITH TRUTH AND GRACE

Christians in Western culture today have to deal with subjects that even 20 years ago would have been almost unthinkable to most. And the issues of gender and sexuality are among the toughest that confront Christians today—recently, the Nashville statement was released as one attempt to define the Christian view of sex and gender.

The important question is: how do we maintain a biblical worldview when simply believing that there are two biological sexes, readily identifiable in humans and determined by genetics, is now considered by many to be hate speech?

Image result

Andrew T. Walker’s book God and the Transgender Debate seeks to help Christians walk through some of the complicated issues surrounding the discussion of transgender individuals.

One of the most helpful aspects of Walker’s book is that before he addresses the facts, he addresses the attitude with which we as Christians should come to the debate. He points to the compassion that Jesus showed to hurting people, even when he was correcting their unbiblical practices and ideas:

Jesus loved people. That’s important for me to remember as I write a book with the word “debate” in its title. And it’s good for you to remember as you read a book with the word “transgender” in its title. Because at its heart, this debate isn’t about a debate. It’s about people: precious people made in the image of God who are hurting, who are confused, who are angry, who are scared, who may have been told by their family that they are unwelcome. It’s about some people who are delighted with how culture has shifted when it comes to gender identity, and other people who are concerned about how culture has shifted (p. 14).

However, the grace Walker calls for in responding to transgender individuals does not exclude the truth taught in Scripture regarding what it means to be a man or a woman.

How we got here

To properly respond to the transgender issue, we have to understand how culture got to the place where we can be confused about such foundational truths regarding human identity. He points to various elements including the loss of Christianity’s influence in key areas of the culture and the rise of radical individualism.

The Christian’s foundation

In a context where fundamental definitions of human identity seem up for grabs, it’s necessary to return to the foundations of where the Christian worldview comes from. Walker identifies God, the Creator, as the authority. Furthermore, the Gospel shows that God is good and wants what is best for us. “A crucified Creator is a God who has the authority to tell us what to do, who has the wisdom to know what is best for us, and who has proved that he can be trusted to tell us what is best for us” (p. 44).

Furthermore, God has designed mankind as male and female. “Maleness isn’t only anatomy, but anatomy shows that there is maleness. And femaleness isn’t only anatomy, but anatomy shows that there is femaleness. Men and women are more than just their anatomy, but they are not less” (p. 54). And because this is such a foundational designed aspect of humanity, rebelling against this part of our identity “can never result in happiness, flourishing, and joy, whatever it promises” (p. 55).

However, this does not mean that the church should fall into the trap of enforcing stereotypical expressions of maleness and femaleness. Walker cites examples such as a boy preferring to play with dolls or a girl who prefers to watch football as examples where someone may mistakenly try to enforce stereotypes of what is considered acceptable for boys or girls, even though there is nothing inherently sinful about a boy playing with a doll or a girl watching football (p. 55).

Part of the reality of living in a sinful world is that we are all marred by sin, but the Gospel offers hope for restoration, and Walker beautifully expresses this truth.

Engaging the culture like Christ did

Walker helpfully gives specific advice about how to engage the issue without neglecting either truth or love, including how the church might respond to the conversion of transgender people and advice for talking with children about transgenderism, including children who feel like they might be transgender. One chapter is devoted to answer 12 ‘tough questions’ people have about practical issues related to the transgender debate.

As Christians, we are called to be prepared to engage the culture with biblical truth and the love of Christ. If we hope to share the Gospel with people who are confused regarding gender, we need to be educated about the biblical issues involved. And Walker’s book gives a good introduction to how Christians can think about this issue and engage the culture.