The recent Australian Community Survey (ACS) run by National Church Life Survey (NCLS) Research, reveals current beliefs amongst Australians about Jesus and the Resurrection.
44% of Australians believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead in some way according to the research.
30% of Australians do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
25% of Australians do not know what they believe.
50% of all Australians believe Jesus of Nazareth to be a historical figure. This is perplexing, given the wide acceptance amongst historians that Jesus Christ was a real person who lived in first-century Palestine.
22% of Australians accepted Jesus was divine, or ’God in human form who lived among people in the 1st Century’
20% of Australians thought Jesus was a mythical or fictional character.
30% of Australians don’t know.
These figures differ greatly from when I was a boy attending Sunday School at a Methodist Church in Camdenville, Sydney, a time when most people identified with a Protestant or Catholic faith. I am the boy with a white shirt in the back row, third from the right. My sister is in the back row with an arrow pointing down to her head, My brother is the tallest boy in the centre of the back row.
There is no doubt that the teaching of the failed theory of evolution as a mechanism for bringing this complex universe into being is the reason for discarding the God of the Bible as the Creator of the Cosmos and Jesus Christ, God’s Son as the Saviour of mankind. Thank goodness, the discovery of DNA (complex information that controls the functions of all cells in the body) and the electron microscope which has revealed complex machinery in the cells that had to be complete from day one of the cell’s existence for the cell to function correctly has revealed that creation is the only plausible explanation for the complex cosmos that exists.
Christians do not rule the way the world does as the following verse outlines.
“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Mark 10:42-44
In Revelation John, in accord with Daniel, describes the kings of the world as hybrid beasts under the control of Satan.
In the coming Millennial Kingdom while Jesus and the Saints are servant leaders sadly in a fallen world we are told they will rule with a rod of iron.
“She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,” Revelation 12:5 This prophecy will be fulfilled during Jesus’ Millennial reign on this earth.
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 19:14
Paul confirms that the Millennial Kingdom of God will eventually abolish all other empires before this earth is destroyed with fire then the second resurrection and the White Throne judgement when all the unrepentant are cast into the Lake of Fire for punishment and the second death.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:22-26
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
Prior to Jesus coming Millennial Kingdom, we know from Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) that God allows Satan to empower the Antichrist who will rule the nations for 42 months. John confirms that the final ruler, Antichrist is empowered by Satan (the dragon).
“the dragon (Satan) gave him (Antichrist) his power and his throne and great authority” Revelation 13:2
“And the beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints andconquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Revelation 13:5-8
In case we think that the book of Revelation is alone in portraying the kingdoms of this world as ultimately under the authority of Satan, we would do well to notice that at the beginning of the gospels Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him,
“the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me” Matthew 4:8-9
Furthermore, Paul affirms Satan’s role as an empowering empire when he states that Satan is the “god of this age”2 Corinthians 4:4
With regard to the coming of the Antichrist and the many scriptures warning the church about the coming tribulation, even great tribulation, “it (Antichrist) was allowed to make war on the saints andconquer them” what churches are making their members aware of the many prophecies of Jesus second coming. As I have said many times before on this website, there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming (2,000) than there were of His first coming (300) Jesus must want you to know about His second coming and to prepare for it.
This afternoon I am on a flight from Sydney to Nairobi, Kenya via Dubai. The prime reason for the trip is a three-day meeting with the 20 plus House Church leaders in Kenya. As followers of my post will know, I have been supporting the Kenya House Church Movement for nearly three years now. It has grown from six house churches to over twenty today. We would appreciate others joining us as well, both on Zoom and to help support mission trips to grow the movement. I have a Donations icon on the Home Page for this purpose.
Another important reason for the trip is to determine where the leaders are at in their Christian walk and to determine what training may be needed. Using Zoom, Creation Ministries Africa (CMI) will give a presentation to our meeting and I will also use Zoom to connect KHC leaders with other ministries I believe will assist the Movement.
I am also involved with the International Christian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) and will be speaking at ICCC meetings in Kenya and Rwanda. The President of ICCC Kenya is also on the International Board of ICCC, Rene Kiamba. Rene is connected to KHC and has been involved in teaching them on at least one Zoom Meeting.
Each ICCC member attending the meetings will receive a copy of my book, Build a Kingdom Business – Empowered by the Holy Spirit.
I am also travelling to Arusha, Tanzania to meet up with a pastor friend, David Owens who is working with African Enterprise. I hope to connect him with the KHC Movement.
Authorities in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh arrested seven pastors at a prayer meeting under the state’s “anti-conversion” law, which Christians have accused Hindu nationalists of using as a tool to persecute them.
The pastors were arrested during a prayer meeting they were holding in Mau district last Sunday, UCA News reported, adding that the pastors have been charged with “illegal assembly.”
The U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern said this past weekend that the Christians remained in jail.
“We will move bail applications and are hopeful that they will be out of jail soon,” the pastors’ lawyer, Ashish Kumar, was quoted as saying.
The police initially also detained 50 worshipers but released them the same day. Two Catholic nuns who were at a bus stop near the prayer house were also held at the police station for several hours until the evening, said UCA News.
“Police wanted to book the sisters along with the pastors but let them go after the pastors and the faithful said they were not part of the prayer group,” Father Anand Mathew, a member of the Indian Missionary Society, was quoted as saying.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the several Indian states that have “anti-conversion” laws, which presume that Christians “force” or give financial benefits to Hindus to convert them to Christianity.
The law states that no one is allowed to use the “threat” of “divine displeasure,” meaning Christians cannot talk about Heaven or Hell, as that would be seen as “forcing” someone to convert. And if snacks or meals are served to Hindus after an evangelistic meeting, that could be seen as an “inducement.”
The ICC previously noted that India’s population data proves that the conspiracy of mass conversions to Christianity is a false claim. “In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up only 2.3% of India’s overall population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still only make up 2.3% of the population.” This is a sad state of affairs and Christians need to pray for India and God’s plan to liberate this nations from Satan’s clutches.
India ranks as the 10th worst country globally when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has urged the U.S. State Department to label India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating severe religious freedom violations.
Open Doors USA warns that since the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party took power in 2014, persecution against Christians and other religious minorities has increased. The group reports that “Hindu radicals often attack Christians with little to no consequences.”
“Hindu extremists believe that all Indians should be Hindus and that the country should be rid of Christianity and Islam,” an Open Doors fact sheet on India explains. “They use extensive violence to achieve this goal, particularly targeting Christians from a Hindu background. Christians are accused of following a ‘foreign faith’ and blamed for bad luck in their communities.”
This is further evidence we are in the prophesied last days before Jesus returns first to rapture the Saints and then to return with the Saints to set up His Millennium Kingdom. Time is short and the task is daunting but we know God is in control. Each of us just needs to allow the Holy Spirit to direct our steps so we complete the good works He has assigned for each of us.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:11-13
This is an important message from Torben Sondergaard (thelastreformation.com) and it will challenge many Christians as to what it means to be obedient to God’s call on our lives. He exposes the truth about much of the church in America. There is so much lukewarmness in the church – it is the church of Laodicea,
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:15-22
Torben is right, he says it is time to be serious with God, time is short, so it ultimately comes down to, do we trust God for the next step. If you do, life will be exciting beyond belief but make no mistake it will also be challenging. Thank goodness we have people like Torben who are leading the way and giving us an example to follow.
This sermon was preached in 2015. It was an important wake up message to the church and it is still relevant for churches today. The message really challenged the congregation to be courageous and to live and share the Gospel, despite the consequences. wherever and with whomsoever they could.
It is now 2021and look what has happened in the world and in the church. We have to ask ourselves, how widely was this message delivered? Sadly, I would have to say very few churches heard this message. The world has got darker at an exponential rate. Much of the church has compromised with the world. We are in the prophesied last days.
You need to know that what is happening in the world is not taking God by surprise. He is still in control and Bible prophecy reveals that His plan for His world is right on track. Jesus said, in the last days before His return there would be a great falling away in the church. The world would become increasingly godless and as a consequence lawless. This we are seeing but I am sure James Robison is still doing his utmost to galvanise the church into action. We need to be doing the same wherever and with whomsoever.
Over the last few decades in the West, and particularly in America, we have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage, the removal of God’s Word in most areas of public life, particularly schools, and the embracing of Critical Race Theory. Moreover, most pulpits are silent about governmental abuse, the LGBTQ agenda, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against the nations and the church – our silence speaks volumes. Are God’s people watchmen or cowards?
The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.
Sadly, many pastors under the direction of their institutions are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort…they are not aflame with righteousness. They are motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness and females taking male roles of leadership in the church.
Pastors (Christian leaders) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need churches as outlined in the Book of Acts filled with the Spirit of God. Disciples making more disciples of Christ.
The Institutional churches and the prosperity gospel have emasculated the church. It will be the church of Laodicea:
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” Revelation 3:15-18
This is the church that is “Left Behind” to experience the wrath of God with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. As I have explained previously, each of the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 represent the church in each of the seven years prior to Jesus return (70th week of the 70 Weeks Prophecy given to Daniel by Gabriel – Daniel 9:24-27). The church of Laodicea is the last church that will live through the seventh year when the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world. The previous church, the church of Philadelphia is the church that is raptured.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power,and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Revelation 3:10-11
Which church will you belong to the church of Philadelphia or the church of Laodicea?
WASHINGTON — A Pakistani Christian woman imprisoned on death row for over eight years based on trumped-up blasphemy charges recounted how that experience helped her “grow strong in faith.”
In an address to religious freedom advocates at the annual International Religious Freedom Summit, Asia Bibi, aided by a translator, described how her experience in prison transformed her from an “ordinary Christian” into a passionate defender and believer of the faith.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Bibi’s ordeal began when Muslim field workers accused her of contaminating their water supply by drinking from the same water container, rendering it “impure” because Christians are viewed as unclean. An argument ensued between Bibi and the women that escalated into a criminal complaint after the women publicly accused her of committing blasphemy by insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a charge that brings a sentence of life in prison or death by hanging.
During a police investigation into her alleged crime, Bibi was beaten up in her home and arrested. In 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to death under section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
This is the antichrist spirit at work and will culminate in the prophesied Antichrist figure spoken of in Revelation 13.
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” 1 John 2:18
“And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:3
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7
“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22
This amazing article by Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) President of the Middle East Forum appeared in Newsweek magazine Friday, July 9th 2021.
Something religiously astonishing is taking place in Iran, where an Islamist government has ruled since 1979: Christianity is flourishing. The implications are potentially profound.
Consider some testimonials:
David Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries stated in 2018 that “Iranians have become the most open people to the gospel.”
The Christian Broadcast Network found, also in 2018, that “Christianity is growing faster in the Islamic Republic of Iran than in any other country.”
Shay Khatiri of Johns Hopkins University wrote last year about Iran that “Islam is the fastest shrinking religion there, while Christianity is growing the fastest.”
This trend results from the extreme form of Shi’ite Islam imposed by the theocratic regime. An Iranian church leader explained in 2019: “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? …What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini[, the founder of the Islamic Republic]?” An evangelical pastor, formerly an Iranian Muslim, concurred as far back as 2008: “We find ourselves facing what is more than a conversion to the Christian faith. It’s a mass exodus from Islam.”
As a clandestine phenomenon, the practice of what are sometimes called Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) lacks clergy and church buildings, but instead consists of self-starting disciples and tiny house churches of four to five members each, with either hushed singing or none at all. Its lay leadership, in striking contrast to the mullahs who rule Iran, consists mainly of women.
In another contrast to the government, Iranian MBBs tend to be fervently pro-Israel. They are, explains a documentary, “bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people.” Converts have even expressed a hope to build a “resistance church” in Iran to counter regime threats to Israel.
Given the Iranian house church movement’s underground nature, estimates of its size are necessarily vague. Open Doors found 370,000 Muslim Background Believers in 2013 and 720,000 in 2020; Duane Alexander Miller approximates as many as 500,000, Hormoz Shariat at least one million and GAMAAN even more than that.
The mullahs have usually responded with predictable repression that includes prohibiting Christian missionaries and Gospel preaching. The U.S. State Department reported in 2012 that “government officials frequently confiscate Christian Bibles and pressure publishing houses printing Bibles…to cease operations.” Also, Christians “reported the presence of security cameras outside their churches.”
Iranian authorities routinely arrest and jail MBBs, often for extended periods; for example, the United Nations reported in 2013 on “more than 300 Christians” who were arrested in the prior three years, mostly for vague security-related offenses. An inquiry found that “those arrested have been subjected to intensive and often abusive interrogation.”
The punishment can be severe: In 1990, for example, the Rev. Hossein Soodmand was executed for apostasy. In 2008, the government advanced legislation to impose the death penalty on anyone born to Muslim parents who converts to another faith. Indeed, “as more Iranians convert,” Khatiri notes, “their situation is getting worse.”
“You’re creating problems in the country,” an Iranian convert reported being told during a 2018 police interrogation. In this spirit, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi in 2019 spoke of his ministry’s research into conversions to Christianity, its questioning of ordinary people to explain their motives and its efforts to “counter the advocates of Christianity.” Iran’s leading Islamic seminary sees the domestic fight against Christianity as one of its top priorities, and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly once vowed to “stop Christianity in this country.” The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, blames house churches on “Zionists and other enemies.”
Indeed Lela Gilbert and Arielle Del Turco argue that the regime considers Christianity “an existential threat.” And it should, notes Reza Safa, the Iranian-born founder of Nejat TV (“ministering to Muslims living in Farsi-speaking nations”), who titled a bookThe Coming Fall of Islam in Iran. He sees Iran’s Christians as “an army of God” who are bringing Iran to “the brink of another revolution, this time orchestrated” by a Christian spirit.
If this analysis is even partially correct, the consequences are enormous. The collapse of Khomeini’s regime would not only fundamentally alter the balance of power in the Middle East; it would also likely terminate the region-wide Islamist surge that Iranian revolutionaries forwarded in 1978-79, ending the malign historical cycle that largely began in Iran.
In the Book of Acts the Gospel bearers face threats, persecution, imprisonment, internal conflict, theological controversy, litigation, storms and shipwreck, but none of these impede the Gospel’s progress. The Gospel is the powerful instrument the Holy Spirit uses to produce believers – in Jerusalem, Samaria, Cyprus, Lystra, Derbe (city of Galatia) and throughout Europe. In rural areas (Acts 14) and philosophical centres (Acts17), the Gospel is equally at home, with the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of the Gospel.
Luke gives us statistical summaries to show the growth of the church (Acts 2:41; 4:4) and comments throughout on the health of the Word. In Chapter 6, when dissension breaks out in the church, Luke tells us ‘the word of God continued to increase and spread’ (v.7). In Chapter 12 when Herod has James killed, the word’s health is contrasted with Herod’s wormy death (v.24). In Chapter 19 when people burnt their magic scrolls to ash, the Word, he says, ‘continued to increase and prevail mightily’ (v.20).
If the title of the book of Acts were to be changed, I would suggest a title which included ’the unstop-ability of God’s Gospel’. What a refreshing encouragement to read this Holy Spirit-inspired book and be reminded that God’s purpose prevails.
“The purpose of God is to glorify himself by saving a people of his own, through hearing and believing the Gospel of his Son, as it is carried to the world by his Holy Spirit-empowered people”.
This abbreviated and slightly modified inspiring article by David Cook is from AP – Reformed Thought for Christian Living