CALL IT UNITY DAY, NOT INVASION DAY OR AUSTRALIA DAY
“My children say to me, ‘Happy Invasion Day, Dad.’ But I say to them, ‘Happy Unity Day.'”
These powerful words come from Pastor James Dargin, a recognized Indigenous leader and elder in Wollongong, who has a deep love for people and for Australia.
James has seen much pain and suffering in his life and his message is simple: we need to forgive so we can build a united future for our children. The only way to do that, he believes, is to stop the division and work together.
According to James, there is no better opportunity to practice this value than on Australia’s national holiday. “Let’s not change the date of the 26th of January,” he says. “But let’s change our hearts on the 26th of January.”
In explaining why he is such a strong believer in forgiveness, James opens up about his childhood: “I grew up with mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse. I was tied to a bed, and my brother was tied under our house. My brother was put on a stove. I grew up with racism. I grew up with a lot of abuse. And it got to a point for me to hide that abuse is that I was on alcohol and drugs for forty years straight.”
But that was not the end of his story. He recounts that “At the age of 50, I gave my heart to the Lord. He changed my heart. I have forgiven the people that have hurt me and I’ve forgiven family members.” Why? “When I gave my heart to the Lord, I realised He forgave me. He died on the cross for me.”
As a result, James is convinced that division over issues like Australia Day is unproductive and ultimately destructive. He has a better vision for how we can celebrate:
“Let’s come together and call it Unity Day, Forgiveness Day — to forgive each other, to love one another. It should be a day of celebration, of love. Hug someone. Forgive somebody. Love somebody. That’s what we should be celebrating. What happened in the past was horrific. Let’s come together, let’s build a future for the next generation.”
The Great Commission, that is, the making of disciples of all nations by going, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all that Christ commands us, has been pushed aside as the church scrambles after various social and political causes to make itself relevant.
People in churches are seeing and hearing virtually everything else except their need for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and what life really submitted to Jesus Christ really looks like. They are being taught to look to external measures to solve issues in our world, rather than asking the Holy Spirit (the third person of the Trinity) who is our counsellor, teacher, and comforter. Jesus made it clear that what He accomplished for us on The Cross was life-changing. He made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the Christian life. Proverbs 20:27 tells us that our Spirit was always meant to be the lamp of the Lord which requires oil, the Holy Spirit to function as God intended.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.Proverbs 20:27
Instead of people hearing that the problem of mankind is endemic—that each individual is culpable for their own sin before a holy and just Lord, they hear that the largest issue of our day is systemic racism (Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter). Instead of recognizing issues bound within homes due to selfishness and fatherlessness many wish to relegate issues to a lack of money, education, or healthcare. Instead of shunning every instance of sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality, our culture and entertainment promote them as exciting and desirable.
The natural result is half the populace is confused about what the gospel is, with roughly another half confused about how the gospel applies to all of life. The second group wants a seat at the table in the cultural marketplace. Nearly ten years ago Carl Trueman challenged the Reformed world with these words: “…the beautiful young things of the reformed renaissance have a hard choice to make in the next decade. You really do kid only yourselves if you think you can be an orthodox Christian and be at the same time cool enough and hip enough to cut it in the wider world. Frankly, in a couple of years, it will not matter how much urban ink you sport, how much fair trade coffee you drink, how many craft brews you can name, how much urban gibberish you spout, how many art house movies you can find that redeemer figure in, and how much money you divert from gospel preaching to social justice: maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.”
Peruse any Reformed group on Facebook and you’ll see that these words are equally as applicable as they were when Trueman first gave them, which means they’ve been largely unheeded. Even many who hold strictly to their confessional documents are wildly inconsistent with a rigorous Christian worldview. Simply ask a piece of basic advice and see how many different prospective teachers offer up counsel that is not only unbiblical but often anti-biblical.
Obviously, this is not all Reformed Christians, nor all Evangelicals for that matter, but I have to wonder at what point people will stop scratching their heads when they see surveys that reveal most people don’t “get” the gospel. At what point, will people drop the convenient talking points and blame-shifting, and take a long, hard look at what has happened? Proper discipleship still demands a comprehensive biblical worldview born out of the gospel. Therefore, we now need to target those in our churches who reject parts of the Biblical worldview for whatever reason. We need to focus our efforts and funds on the proclamation of the gospel.
How many young people in the Reformed island of conservative Christianity are wedded to degenerate worldviews opposed to that of the Bible and enjoying it? How many of them no longer believe that the proclamation of the gospel is the primary mission of the church? How many of them are lying to themselves about why the majority of people in the broader church cannot articulate a saving gospel?
Jesus told us that in the last days there will be a great falling away (apostasy) in the church. This is evident now even in Reformed and Evangelical circles.
The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together” like Denzel Washington.
The reliance on natural gifts can not only prevent us from coming to Christ but also hinder our daily reliance on His Holy Spirit once we have. Relying on our own powers and failing to recognize the ultimate source of those powers can stunt our relationship with our Creator and, ultimately, lead us into the first of all sins, the sin of pride.
That the Christian life is fundamentally related to the humility of the soul before God is itself revealed in the life of Christ. Paul talks of God’s “self-emptying” (kenosis):
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together”:
Men like Denzel Washington endowed with incredible natural gifts like charisma and talent, find it harder to rely on God’s power and providence. It is so easy for them to say who needs God, I can supply all that I need. That Denzel struggled to “want [the Holy Spirit”], didn’t want to “go too deep” and wasn’t “ready to live it” is an honest account of what it is often like for those who are gifted by God to not want to acknowledge the source of those gifts, but to rely on them as their own. But, that Denzel is as outspoken a follower of Christ as he is, given his incredible circumstances, is itself a testimony to God’s grace and Denzel’s faithful response to that grace.
For C.S. Lewis, who called himself “the most reluctant convert,” it was not his looks per se, but his natural gift of intellect that prevented him from humbling himself before God. For many of us, it may be something other than looks or intellect that hinders us from coming to Christ. But, that some part of our natural gifts may be the very thing keeping us from the Giver of those gifts, is very likely the case.
Scripture is clear: “As He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct”1 Peter 1:15
Look what A.W.Tozer said:
“I look back and remember a day when it was common for men and women to come to an altar of prayer and kneel there, shake, tremble, and weep in agony of conviction over their iniquity. We do not see it now because the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful Holy One who cannot look upon iniquity. When we get a vision of the Holy One as he desires to reveal himself, this will come back as a mighty power to change us into his likeness.”
Tozer then quotes this hymn by Charles Wesley:
Lord, incline me to repent; Let me now my fall lament, Deeply my revolt deplore, Weep, believe, and sin no more.
Repentance is the lost word in the Christian dictionary. You may want to consider adding the sentiment of Charles Wesley’s words to your next prayer. I am sure you won’t use Wesley’s words exactly.
It is not as if we have to repent and be holy in our own strength. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to be holy. He will produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and enable you to do the ministry that God has called you to do. We just need to submit to His leading day by day and not grieve Him or quench His work in our lives.
Jesus is coming back, and He is warning those who want to be on his side to be ready. God is calling us all to leave behind terrible habits, addictions, and anything that pulls us away from Him. The movie below reveals where sin is headed and why it’s so crucial that we are not slaves to it. It explores how to overcome sinful addictions and the meaning of repentance. This is one to see, share, and watch with a group! Unlimited lawlessness is now possible with augmented reality. We are living in a time when the prophesied apostasy (falling away) in the church is already happening and it will only increase as Satan steps up his demonic activity to destroy mankind. Satan understands his time is short.
I do not agree with their interpretation of the parable Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus in this video and ask you to consider the following exposition of this parable.
Does the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 teach an eternal hell of conscious torment? No! It is a parable Jesus used to emphasize a certain spiritual lesson. The point of the story is found in verse 31. Parables should not be taken literally—otherwise, we would believe that trees talk! (See Judges 9:8–15.)
The traditional view is to take the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man literally, but I believe as many others do that it is a parable that Jesus told to the Pharisees and Sadducees as it followed other parables that all start with the same intro: “There was a certain man”
The two parables here both have to do with “mammon” (money) and the misuse of it. If the first is clearly a parable, why not the second, for it is in the exact same section of scripture?
The Jewish Rabbis of Jesus’ day commonly used parables as teaching tools. This is in part why Jesus used them to correct the Pharisees (self-righteous religious leaders) who were unjustly criticizing what he taught.
Here are some other facts making it clear that Luke 16:19–31 is a parable: 1. Abraham’s bosom is not heaven or paradise. (Hebrews 11:8–10, 16). 2. Abraham was not in heaven in bodily form so how can Lazarus literally be comforted by Abraham? 3. People in hell cannot talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17). 4. The bodies of the dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death but remains in the grave, as the Bible clearly teaches. 5. People are rewarded at Christ’s second coming, not at death (Revelation22:12). 6. The lost are cast into the Lake of Fire (Hell) after the White Throne judgement not when they die (Matthew 13:40–42).
Why did Jesus give this parable here?
In the first thirteen verses of Luke 16, we find Jesus teaching his disciples about being wise stewards and that man cannot serve both God and mammon (money, earthly possessions, etc.). The Pharisees overheard what Jesus said and, knowing it also applied to them, roundly criticized him:
“Now the Pharisees who were also covetous (greedy and lovers of money) heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.” (Luke 16:14).
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they seek to justify themselves before men and not God. After a few more comments he speaks this parable that is in direct response to their finding fault with what he taught.
The parable begins: “Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, and daily indulged himself in luxury.” The rich man in this parable is a symbol for the Pharisees and Sadducees themselves.
“And there was a certain poor man named Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores.” (Luke 16:19 – 20). Why did Christ refer to this poor beggar as Lazarus? There are two reasons. One is the meaning of his name. It means ‘whom God helps.’ or ‘assistance of God‘. The Pharisees prided themselves on their righteousness through strict obedience to their interpretation of God’s law. They particularly despised the gentiles. The irony here is that those who honestly believed they served and represented God would not help someone “whom God helps.” They disdained someone whom God accepted.
Lazarus in this parable represents the Gentiles – the world outside of God’s chosen people. God’s people (particularly the Pharisees and Sadducees) treated the Gentiles like dogs who were full of sores (spiritual sickness) and in need of rescue (help from God). The Gentiles like Lazarus were stopped at the gate of the temple (which represents the entrance to God) and were not allowed to go inside (never to have a relationship with God).
In verse 22, we see that something unnatural has occurred. Both die, Lazarus is carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom and the rich man ends up in hell. Note what verse 22 does NOT say! It does NOT state that the beggar went to heaven. It also does not say the rich man, immediately upon death, was tossed into some eternal Hell. The verse says the beggar is carried to “Abraham’s bosom.” But what does this phrase mean? What is significant about Lazarus being in the bosom of Abraham? Being in the bosom of someone is a symbol of love and closeness John 13:23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” Lazarus (symbol for the Gentile nation) being in Abraham’s bosom (place of spiritual promise to be loved and close to God) illustrates the roles have switched. Galatians 3:14 “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” Now Lazarus is in the place where the rich man (Pharisees and Sadducees) was. So, what was the cause of such a radical change in the status of God’s chosen people and the Gentiles? Let us see what Jesus had to say about it; Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell [Gehenna – God’s Judgement]?” The roles switched because of the arrogance, self-righteousness, and disobedience of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They did not see a need to help others, they boasted about having the law of the prophets, and they worshiped themselves, but things just changed
Lazarus is carried into a close relationship with Abraham (who represents faith in God and salvation). He is allowed entrance into God’s kingdom (but it does not state when this occurs).
We now come to the verse that has led countless people who study the Bible to believe in a fiery Hell where sinners suffer forever. However, four times in Revelation we are told of the second death: Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:11, and 21:8. Moreover, the Bible teaches that there will be just punishment of the unrepentant for sins committed on earth which is followed by the second death in the Lake of Fire.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
We also find proof in verse 23 that this parable is not meant to be taken literally in every detail. Both the rich man and Lazarus are shown to be alive after they died. If we take verses 22 and 23 literally, it would mean the resurrection of the dead has already taken place!
Here is some further proof of why this story should not be taken literally in all details. How could the rich man know who Abraham was when he had been dead for 1,800+ years? Also, it would be difficult for the rich man to recognize Lazarus in a glorified body, as he had been an emaciated pile of bones and flesh and full of sores during his physical life. The difference would have been appalling.
Additionally, Luke 16:24 reiterates how the roles of these two men have changed. The rich man was without need of help when the beggar was in dire straits and now, he is in a dire situation when the beggar is without need. In effect, Christ is giving a warning to the Pharisees that their state in life could quickly change, therefore they should not be so smug and look down on others.
Remember, my son, that in your lifetime you were given all the good things, while Lazarus got all the bad things. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. Besides all that, there is a deep pit lying between us . . . (Luke 16: 25 – 26).
Jesus got the immediate attention of the Pharisees by using Abraham as a character in his lesson. Christ is showing that one needs to live his life correctly today, not wait until the next life to make amends.
The last four verses of this parable describe Father Abraham explaining to the rich man that his five brothers (Judah had five brothers) have the prophets (the Old Testament scriptures) as a witness. Jesus knew full well that the arrogant religious leaders boasted about their knowledge of the scriptures, but their hearts were hardened. Despite the many O.T. prophecies about Himself, the Pharisees and Sadducees continued not to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
The rich man goes on to explain that if one is raised from the dead they will believe (repent). People claim that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable because Christ identifies a character with a real name as in this case, the name Lazarus. They say that this fact alone is proof because Christ never used a real name in any other parables. Do you think that it is ironic that there is an actual person in the book of John that has the same name, Lazarus who was sick and died but Jesus raised him from the dead which is the same context of the rich man’s inquiry? You see, Christ was spoken of and prophesied about many times in the Old Testament. Jesus makes another prophecy in this parable stating that if they will not hear the words of the prophets; neither will they believe if one is raised from the dead. Jesus used the real name Lazarus because he already knew that he was going to resurrect a real person named Lazarus shortly thereafter from the dead to further prove his point in the parable.
“He said to him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead‘”.(Luke 16:31)
Jesus ultimately tells us the meaning of the rich man and Lazarus parable. He was telling the Pharisees (who were self-righteous hypocrites) that since they did not truly believe and follow what Moses and the prophets wrote, no amount of miracles and wonders would be able to change their minds and alter how they lived life. It was the hardness of their hearts that kept them from truly repenting and serving God. Jesus knew that despite adequate proof of His own resurrection these Pharisees and Sadducees would still not believe He was their prophesied Messiah.
Keith Green’s voice was silenced in 1982 when he and two of his children perished in an aviation accident.
Green employed a lyrical technique that used to be common in Christian music but is virtually absent today: the Call To Repentance.
Call To Repentance (CTR) songs are designed to convict the listener of his own sin. Here is an example of CTR lyrics, from Keith Green’s Asleep in the Light (1978):
“Oh, bless me, Lord! Bless me, Lord!” You know, it’s all I ever hear! No one aches. No one hurts. No one even sheds one tear. But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs, and you just lay back, and keep soaking it in. Oh, can’t you see such sin?!‘Cause He brings people to your doorand you turn them away, as you smile and say:“God bless you!Be at peace!”And all Heaven just weeps’cause Jesus came to your door, You left Him out on the streets.
Here are two reasons CTR songs sound so out of place today:
While most contemporary worship songs focus on comfort and assurance, CTR songs point out our shortcomings.
While most of today’s praise songs are sung from the perspective of the disciple, CTR songs are sung from the perspective of God. In praise and worship, we are the speaker, telling God how we feel about him. With CTR, God is the speaker, telling us how he feels about us.
CTR songs are sometimes hard to listen to but there is no question as to their effectiveness. Keith Green’s songs are the slap in the face we all need from time to time. We need to be spurred on toward greater obedience and his songs certainly achieve that purpose,
“I repent of ever having recorded one single song and ever having performed one concert if my music, and more importantly — my life — has not provoked you into godly jealousy, or to sell out more completely to Jesus!”Keith Green
He made audiences squirm by saying, “If you praise and worship Jesus with your mouth, and your life does not praise and worship him, there’s something wrong!”
CTR songs focus on our actions, not our emotions. They demand change. And they challenge rather than comfort.
A decade ago, researcher Christian Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the religious beliefs of teenagers and coined a new phrase to describe the faith held by many: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, or MTD. Albert Mohler writes:
As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:
“A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
“God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
“The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
“God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
“Good people go to heaven when they die.”
With beliefs like these, it’s easy to see why CRT songs seem so out of place in churches today. It’s easy to tell God how wonderful he is. It’s hard to hear how depraved we are.
Think about how Joshua felt when God told him to lead the Israelites into Canaan, drive out the pagan inhabitants, and secure the land as a homeland for His people.
In the natural, this would seem to be an impossible task but the key of course is revealed in the following Scripture:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9
God does not commission us without the promise of His presence and provision. We only have to be “strong and of good courage.”
How would you like to be Noah, being told to build an enormous boat as God was going to destroy every living creature on the earth save those on this boat Noah was to build. We are simply told that “Noah did this; he did all that God had commanded him”Genesis 6:22
How Long Was the Ark?
At approximately 510 feet long, it would take nearly one and a half football fields to equal the Ark’s length. That’s big enough that NASA could lay three space shuttles—nose to tail—on the Ark’s roof!
How Tall Was the Ark?
The roof of Noah’s Ark was more than 50 feet from the ground—higher than a modern four-story house. That’s plenty of space for three extra-tall inner decks as the Bible describes.
The Ark had the same storage capacity as about 450 standard semi-trailers. A standard livestock trailer holds about 250 sheep, so the Ark had the capacity to hold at least 120,000 sheep.
“And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” Genesis 6:13-22
Are you confident that God is with you wherever you go? He will be if you are obedient to His commands. Moreover, you will know if you are not being obedient because you will experince His discipline. What form that takes varies widely but repentance is required to get you back on track. This is a word usually not spoken of in apostate churches.
Do you want times of refreshing from the Lord? If you do then repent.
How Can We Find Spiritual Rest? | by Samuel Annesley (c. 1620–1696)
How can we live with a conscience that is brought to a place of peace/tranquillity by the shed blood of Christ?
Christians, be persuaded to practice these:
1. Deal with SIN, count no sin small.
2. Know the healing and practice of repentance.
3. Live Eternal Now, ready for Jesus return. You cannot deceive Him, for He is Infinite Wisdom; you cannot fly from Him, for He is everywhere; you cannot bribe Him, for He is Righteousness itself.
4. Be serious and frequent in the examination of your heart and life. This is necessary to the getting and keeping of a right and peaceable conscience, that it is impossible to have either without it.
5. Be in prayer, in all manner of prayer, but especially in private prayer.
6. Let your whole life be a preparation for serving in Jesus soon coming Millennial Kingdom. Divest yourself of today’s religion and its practices. Pleasures may tickle you for a while; but they have an heart-aching farewell. You may call your riches good; but ultimately what good will they do you? Men may flatter you for your greatness; but with God your account will be the greater.
7. Live more upon Christ than upon inherent grace. Do not venture upon sin because Christ has purchased a pardon; that is a most horrible and irreverent abuse of Christ.
8. Be, every way, nothing in your own eyes. It is the humble soul that thrives exceedingly. “And, indeed! what have we to be proud of?
9. Entertain good thoughts of God. We never arrive to any considerable holiness or peace till we lose ourselves in His divinity and all that encompasses.
10. Do all you do out of love for God. Spiritual love-sickness is the soul’s most healthy constitution. When love for God is the cause, means, motive, and end of all our activity then the soul takes flight towards rest.
O my soul, you are so little, why won’t you open all your little doors; why wont you extend your utmost capacity, that you may be wholly possessed, wholly satiated, wholly ravished with the sweetness of so great a love?
O, therefore, my most loving God, I implore you, tell me what may most effectually draw out my love for you, considering all that you do for me, the positive good things I receive from you, infinite in greatness, infinite in multitude!
Extracted from an article by Puritan Samuel Annesley (1620-1696). The English has been update (thou and thee and some words e.g. impious changed). I amended 6. from preparation for heaven to preparation for serving in Jesus soon coming Millennial Kingdom.
Welcome to this powerful teaching that gives you some amazing tools for how to set other people free, or how you out there can become free! Deliverance is a big part of setting people free, but it’s not always deliverance that needs to take place. Sometimes, it’s a renewing of the mind that’s needed. But renewing the mind is not always the answer either. It’s the Gospel that is needed! But as you see in this first video, repentance is not enough when it comes to setting people free in some cases. No, they also need to forgive and cast their worries onto Jesus, or cast their issues onto Jesus. This is a very simple teaching, but has helped many people to become free and helped the Christ-followers set other people free! I believe this teaching will also help you out there! So see it! Learn it, and become more effective when it comes to setting people free, and when it comes to you experiencing your freedom! This is the first video in a new series I am doing called “HOW TO”, and you can see more videos come out soon in the playlist linked here: HOW TO… https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
From the time Jesus began to preach He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Matthew 4:17
Repentance is foundational to living the Christian life. We are all simply a repentant prayer away from a restored and joyful relationship with God.
It is significant that the “end times” message to all seven churches in Revelation is one of repentance.
In Revelation, John gives a different message to each of seven churches. Nelson Walters in his book “Revelation Deciphered” has correctly connected these messages to the seven churches to the prophesied seven seals and the last seven years on this planet before Jesus returns to rescue Israel and establish His Millennial Kingdom.
Nelson shows how the message to each church relates to the events unfolding ineach of the seven years as outlinedin the seven seals and the riders of the four horses. Check out my post on May 11th 2021 “Connection between the Seven Seals and the Seven Churches” Jesus also gave corresponding messages to the disciples in the Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:3.
In the first year when the first seal is opened the Antichrist comes on the scene (rider on white horse). The Church at that time in the first year (Ephesus): The church is doing some good things but “you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
In the second year when the second seal is opened, the Antichrist is permitted to take peace from the earth and people slay one another (rider on red horse). The church at that time (Smyrna): “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested” Revelation 2:10
In the third year when the third seal is opened, famine comes over the earth (rider on black horse). The church at that time (Pergamum): “you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans (eat food sacrificed to idols (take the Mark of the Beast in order to get food?) and practice sexual immorality). Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:15-17
In the fourth year when the fourth seal is opened a fourth of the earth is destroyed with the sword, famine and pestilence (rider’s name Death on pale horse). The church at that time (Thyatira) “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and toeat food sacrificed to idols… those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:19-20, 22-23
In the fifth year when the fifth seal is opened, John sees under the altar the souls of the martyrs (not yet resurrected) that have come out of the great tribulation and they are told to wait awhile longer until their numbers are complete – more Christians to be martyredon earth. The Rapture has not occurred at the fifth seal so a Pretribulation Rapture is not possible. The church at that time (Sardis). “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” Rev. 3:2-4
In the sixth year when the sixth seal is opened. John sees the signs in the sky which immediately precede Jesus coming to rapture the Saints and to pour out His wrath upon an unrepentant earth. “I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale… Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17. The church at that time (Philadelphia) “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. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” Revelation 6:8-12. The Philadelphian church obviously represents the church that is raptured.
At the start of the seventh year when the seventh seal is opened there is silence in heaven for about a half an hour. Just prior to the seventh seal being opened or at the same time there is a trumpet blast and the dead in Christ are raised first and then the Saints alive on earth are taken up to meet Jesus in the clouds.
The church at that time (Laodicea): We are given a picture of the church which is left behind: “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.” Revelation 3:15-17 Whilst they are left behind and will be recipients of the wrath of God, Jesus still says to the church at Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. They are still able to repent and be saved but will experience the wrath of God.
The final words to all the “last days” churches is repent so let us make sure our relationship with the Lord is maintained by true repentanceeach day. May God grant you the wisdom and strength to stay focused on His call on your life in these last days before His return. Continue living eternal now.