Archive for the ‘Apostasy’ Category

GOVERNMENT OF GOD – His Government

May 2, 2009

Continuing in Isaiah 9:2 –

For you shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.

Have we not discovered that the rod of this lesser realm is oppressive? We cannot accumulate enough of her goods to remove her oppression. God’s people in America are so oppressed, and trying to imitate a life that on the whole we have not possessed. And they are not convinced or impressed, that is, our neighbors and the world around us.

For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

 Everything that has reigned over the children of God, everything, all of her garments and all of her shodding, will be burned. So why do we want to dress in their garments and wear their boots? It is His work, it is in His coming to set us free from this lesser realm.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders…

This child, this son, this meek lamb that’s coming, it’s with government, because the very thing that Adam and Eve lost and were in desperate need of is the reign of God in their heart, because they were made for the reign as the bird is made for the currents of the air and the fish for the flow of the stream. Man is made for God. We can’t even be normal. Man without God is a freak, a stumbling, babbling freak. And to the heavenlies, the principalities and powers, we are like a zoo or a sick circus side attraction trying to be what we can only be with the indwelling of the life for which we were created. I just encourage you to reach out and grasp, take hold of this offer of life, this other life for which we’ve been created.

And the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace.

These two things go together, by the way: removing of oppression and the establishment of peace. It’s His government.

Most of my Christian life I’ve been without peace. I’ve been the most vexed person. I know that that’s not right. I know that those of you who have had their heart on God, it’s not been with peace, has it? The church is not at peace. I get too many phone calls; I do too much counseling, and most of it I do not enjoy because there’s no heart for His reign. They just want to be free from the consequences of this oppression. They still like the world’s garments.

It’s like the children of Israel in the wilderness. You know, it was the Holy Spirit that led the children of Israel right into the wilderness instead of left into the plushness of the abundance of the Promised Land. But, you see, in the wilderness there was daily manna from God. They didn’t have to go out and work for food. It was laying there on the ground. Their shoes didn’t wear out. There was no sickness for forty years But they didn’t like God’s green. It was the world’s green that their heart was upon. It was the flesh pots of Egypt that their heart was upon. They weren’t satisfied with shoes that didn’t wear out, they were tired of patent leather, they were wanting what the Philistines were wearing. “Do you see what those Philistines are wearing? Boy, that’s cool!” They weren’t satisfied with God’s provision. They weren’t content. Is that too much?

We’ve got to see that God’s green is real green. You know, you can get so accustomed to a counterfeit that you can’t take the authentic. I would dare say most of you were raised on margarine and butter is not too palatable. Get the point?

Margarine is the counterfeit. It’s like butter, but they’ve come to the place where they don’t have to copy the taste of butter any more. I really like butter but I discovered that my children got used to margarine. You can get so use to a counterfeit green that you don’t want the real thing. But the real thing’s good. There’s peace with it and rest. Wouldn’t you like some rest from all of this hectic, striving?

It’s amazing what we will do with the truth.

END

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GOVERNMENT OF GOD – No Insignificant Land

April 24, 2009

Isaiah chapter 9. Here we have the birth and reign of the Prince of Peace again prophesied. Begin in verse 2.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 

They are happy because the King has come, the reign has come. And we read that, “You shall multiply the nation.” And I just want to say that we are the nation of God. Our land is the realm. Our land is no insignificant land; our kingdom, our nation is no insignificant nation. We have been called to be a people not of this lesser realm. We’ve been called out of this land of darkness, not removed. Jesus prayed in John 17, “Father, I pray that You do not take them out of but from the midst of it.” If we do not get this issue of the significance of the realm, the nation, the government to which we are called, we’re going to find our hands burned from holding on too tight to a lesser nation.

I’m speaking to you from the depth of my heart. If the church does not let go of, and I don’t mean by that to not pray for, not witness to, not go after to save, these lesser kingdoms, but if we do not let go of our ownership of that which is less, they have no hope, and we’re going to be severely burned when she’s judged. Because she shall be judged, this lesser kingdom and I believe it has begun. And by that I do not mean economic downturn. It is going to begin with us.

Judgment first begins with the household of God, the children of this exalted realm. They must first have removed from their life that which is not from God. That’s what judgment is all about. Only God judges and He only judges that which is not of Him. It is the world that persecutes. It is Satan and the world of darkness that comes against the children of God. And their persecution is always aimed at that which is of God. And because of our immaturity and our ignorance we’re going to be calling persecution what is really judgment, what is really intended to remove from us, to break from us, to tear out of our hands. And if we do not let go early, we will be injured in its removal. It’s necessary what is coming. It’s necessary.

And I encourage you to let go and take hold of the realm that can bring hope to the children of this lesser realm. Their only hope is in a people being raised up who know the reign of God in their heart. A people who are manifesting a life like Paul and Silas in that inner prison representing a life in the midst of what looks like physical bondage that’s free and above and reigns over all the circumstances of life. And they will not want to leave us once they see it. But if we’re holding on to that which God is judging we offer no hope to them. We’ve deceived them by our own selfish self-reigning ambitions.

THE KEY PARABLE – Seed Sown in Rocky Places

February 25, 2009

Here is the harmony of the Soil in Rocky Places.

“Other seed fell on the rocky ground or soil where it did not have much soil: and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil.”

By the way, a farmer is suspicious if it comes up too quickly; he knows he’s got a problem. A too quick response is not always a good response.

Bear with me. When we get to the second book in the series, A Radical Discipleship, (Follow Me and I Will Make You), Jesus lays out some very heavy demands on those who are going to follow Him. He says things like: “No one of you can be My disciple unless he takes up his cross daily. You can’t be My disciple; you can’t be with Me if you do not hate your father, mother, sister brother, husband or wife in comparison to your love for Me.” Notice that He is not leaving room for even a close second. “He can not be My disciple who does not say good bye to all his own possessions.”

These are pretty heavy demands but woven into the middle of these in Luke 14 He makes this statement: “What king of you before he goes into war does not first make an assessment of the enemy’s strength and size to determine if he with his five thousand can overcome the enemy that is coming with ten thousand?” “What man of you who builds a house does not first count the cost lest he begins and not be able to finish?”

Jesus makes it very clear that it is not to anyone’s advantage to get a decision that is not based on a clear understanding of what is being asked or sought. We are not doing anyone a favor by getting them to sneak up their hand at the end of a service and believing they are saved without them understanding that what they are being asked to do is going to cost them everything that they are and everything that they have been entrusted with for the rest of their life.

We are not doing a plant any good that is going to spring up quickly, but the conditions are so that there is no depth of soil, no room for root. Are you getting the implications of this?

That’s why those who come to Christ in China or North Korea or Uganda or in Nigeria or Ethiopia or Sudan or Iran or Syria or Indonesia all know the cost. They know what coming to Christ will cost them. That’s why the church is multiplying there and she is declining here at a fairly rapid rate. That’s why over there the church is increasing in the 100s of percent, because they have considered the cost and have determined that He is worth it. His reign in their heart is worth it! Being filled with the life of God is worth it! And we in the West or in America have approached it as if it were worthless, costless.

“…and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And as soon as it grew up, and after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no moisture it had no root.”

It had no moisture so it had no root. I wonder what the moisture could be. It is where there is no sufficient depth of the word, the water of the word in the soil of the heart that will feed and nourish and sustain the root system. The foundation of this life is choosing to follow after Christ and seeking the reign of God in their heart.

“…and because it had no moisture it had no root. And because it had no root it withered away.”

I have seen untold numbers of those who have withered away. It’s the reason why our whole approach to mass evangelism ends up with 1%, 2%, and at the most 3% who are in church a month later. Because there was no depth of soil there was no understanding of the need for the word to do its work.

“In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places. This is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation when affliction or persecution arises because of the word of the Reign of God, immediately they fall away.”

And I can promise you if you have not discovered it already, the more you hear, the more you will be proven. “Through many tribulations must we enter into the reign.” Tribulation means pressure from the outside. It’s God’s way of driving the roots deeper for those who have the moisture and the depth of soil – it’s necessary. But to those who have been deceived into believing it is a costless, shallow experience, sin forgiven, heaven bound, no more hell in their future, but no love for Him; no real depth of understanding what God is all about and what God is doing.

“Yet they have no firm root within themselves, but are only temporary.”

How Satan Got There

December 16, 2008

There’s someone else in the Garden. He’s already crafty. He’s already an enemy of God. Whatever happened in the realm of the heavenlies, it has already taken place because the serpent is already there.

Let’s go to Isaiah, chapter 14. How did this other personality get there? In Isaiah chapter 14, we have one of those prophecies where God sneaks in another prophecy. This happens often in many of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. For example, in the 22nd chapter of Psalms we have the clearest picture of the crucifixion of Christ. This prophecy is woven into the midst of a Psalm with a totally different context.

By the way, God hides. Have I said that to you before? “It’s the glory of God to hide a matter; it’s the glory of kings to search out a matter” (see Proverbs 25:2). And we are a kingdom of kings and priests. He hides a matter. So some things can only be understood by those who are on the inside – to those whom he is going to show the mysteries of the kingdom. We’ll talk more about that later.

But here in verse 12, is a prophesy concerning the king of Babylon. Verse 3:

And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!”

And so we have this taunt against the king of Babylon. We get down to verse 12 and something happens.

How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!

This is not the king of Babylon.

You have been cut down to the earth.

He comes from some place other than the earth.You who have weakened the nations!

But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne above the stars of God,

And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Who are we talking about? Satan! Most scholars, from early days of Israel, following this prophecy, they have held that this is referring to Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the devil. Why was he cast down to the earth? Well, the scripture tells us:

But you said in your heart, “I will…”

You will notice that five times in this Scripture he says, “I will…”

“I will ascend to heaven.”

“I will raise my throne above the stars of God…”

“I will sit on the mount of assembly…”

“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;”

“I will make myself like the Most High.”

This is the principle of Satan, the “I will.”

It is the principle of Christ; it is the precept of Christ: Not my will.”

The “I will” is what has brought Satan down. And Satan is not in your just voting for his will. He’s quite happy to encourage you to make your own will. He did not ask Adam and Eve to vote for him. He just asked Adam and Eve to vote for Adam and Eve, just like he’s been encouraging you to vote for yourself. You have not been called for your life or for your ambitions, for your desires. You’ve not been called for that. You’ve not been created for that. You have been created like I have been created – for the King.

We are like an automobile. Automobiles are made for gas. They can not run without the gas. You can push it along; you might even find a hill and push it up to the top and give it a little kick and it’ll be over the edge. You can run and jump in and ride it down but it is still powerless to be what it was created to be. Like a light bulb – a light bulb without electricity can be a very pretty light bulb in a very beautiful lamp and a beautiful lamp shade but without that for which it was created, it is worthless. It is the same for a lamp and oil or man and God. We might think this is life but this is not life. This is death. And the day that you eat of that tree, you will die. And on that day, spiritual man died. And, it wasn’t until Christ Jesus that the new birth, or regeneration, that man was finally able to be where God could plant His Spirit within them.

Not only has He created us, regenerated us, given us a new Spirit – I’m referring to Ezekiel 36, where God says, “I will put my Spirit within you.” We now have this capacity in Christ Jesus for the Spirit. It is the “I will” that is the principle of Satan. Some time before Adam and Eve encountering the serpent, the enemy has been cast down. This is important.

The Most Beautiful Evil –

Let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 28 where we have another one of those prophecies. We’ll begin in verse 11:

           Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him…”

Now, even though it starts out talking about the king of Tyre, it is evident almost from the beginning that He’s not talking about the king of Tyre for much of this prophecy.

        ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and  perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God;”

Listen to that. Where was this person?

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering;

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets was in you.

On the day that you were created they were prepared.”

He’s a created being. We read that from Colossians 1:16. He was created for Christ; by Christ; for Christ.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers…”

That’s not the king of Tyre. And just so you will know, at one time there were three anointed cherubs. If you look on the Ark of the Covenant, how many are there? Two! But there was one, perhaps there was just one at the beginning, I don’t really know, but it’s clear that,

“You were the anointed cherub who covers,

And I placed you there.

You were in the holy mountain of God;

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence and you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,

From the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty,

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;

I put you before kings,

That they may see you.”

And that is going on now. But, you’ve got to ask a question: When did this all take place, because Adam and Eve are young at this time? All you have to do is go through the chronology, genealogy, to the number of years to the first son to see that we’re down to just a handful, a couple of handfuls of years at most, that they encounter the serpent in the Garden. So, when was this one created who held this mighty place, who walked in God’s Garden of Eden? We’ve got a problem, don’t we?

Three Deceptions –

October 30, 2008

 

 

            The first counterfeit of Satan is to convince us that we don’t have, can not live by, and aren’t expected to live by, this other life. In a portion in this introduction we will be talking about how to live by this other life, how to live by the Spirit, how to live the Christian life. There is only one person who can live the Christian life and that is Christ. And, until we come to the place we can say, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, we are far from the mark.

            The second deception is a misleading gospel, an inadequate truth. I’d like us to look quickly at Luke chapter 18. I’m just introducing this Revolutionary Gospel; hardly introducing it. I’m just going to make a quick point to maybe raise some questions in your heart, questions that I’m hoping will cause you to say, “I need to hear more.” Perhaps you already know it. But, on the whole, the church has an inadequate gospel, an inadequate truth, a partial truth.

 Jn. 4:24

Gn. 3:22

 

            You all know, of course, that I can say what’s true and communicate a lie. The issue is not saying what is true. Satan in the Garden did say what was true. He also mixed it with a lie but in there was that which was true. “You’ll be like God.” At the end of chapter 3, God says, “They have become like us, knowing good and evil.” True – it just wasn’t the whole truth. “You surely shall not die.” Yet they died. That day they died, and they became a living soul not a living spirit and it was the spirit that died. And it was the spirit that had compatibility with the Father. He’s a spirit; and the Son, He’s a spirit; and the Holy Spirit, of course, is a spirit. God is a spirit and they that worship Him shall worship Him in spirit and in truth.

            I know I’m covering a lot of ground and it is because within the following pages I will be repeating some things many times so that it will finally sink in and connect. I believe if you are testing the spirits, you are bearing witness right now with what the Spirit is saying. In Luke chapter 18, beginning in verse 31 we see this interaction between Jesus and the disciples taking place within three, may be four days, at the most a week, of Jesus’ crucifixion. This is at the end of His three and one half years’ ministry.

Verses 31 – 33.

 

   Then He took the 12 aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.”

 

            Jesus, four days before His death, is saying to His disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem where I will be killed, buried, and will rise on the third day.” Death – burial – resurrection; a three day work. And His disciples had no idea what He was talking about. Now, follow with me. This is important. We’re going to spend more time on this even in the introduction, but we’re going to spend several chapters on this issue.

            Jesus began His ministry, Matthew chapter 4, going about Judea, and Galilee, preaching the gospel. And, numerous times, many times, throughout the 3 ½ years, the Holy Spirit relates to us that Jesus was preaching the gospel. In Luke chapter 9 it says, in verse 1,

 

   And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.

 

            And He sent them out to proclaim the gospel.

            That was about a year and a half to a year and 10 months into His ministry, which would have been another year and a half to a year and 10 months before this event here. For almost two years the disciples were also preaching the gospel. Can you preach the gospel without touching on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? If your gospel begins and ends with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and its work, you’ve missed the gospel that He preached. He most certainly had a three day work, and as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, “It’s of first importance.” It just puts us into a place where we can now receive the fullness of the gospel. But we now learn how to live a life that is not our own. Jesus spent 3 ½ years dealing with life, not sin and death, life and how to live it. And if our gospel ends with death, burial and resurrection, we will end up with the Laodicean church that is overcome by every temptation that comes along.

            We will end up looking just like the world around us. We will be divorcing at the same rate as the world. We will be aborting our babies at the same rate as the world. Our children will be going off to college and ending up in the world at the same rate the world is. And the reason this takes place is that we’ve not learned that we were created for life. And not created for a sweet by-and-by life, but from the very beginning the very Christ life, victorious life, overcoming life, abundant life. Am I coming through?

 

The Second Deception –

 

            The second deception the enemy must work on that Laodicean church is to convince her of an inadequate gospel, a less than complete truth. I said I could say to you what’s true and communicate a lie. I have a friend named Tim. I’ve been in Tim’s home many times and if you were to ask me what kind of family he has I would say something like, “Well, the truth is I’ve been in their home many times and they have not one time offered me a cup of coffee. I’ve been there for every meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and not one time have they offered me a cup of coffee.”  That’s absolutely true, but the rest of the story is, they know I don’t drink coffee. I can say what is true and communicate a lie.

            I can also say what is less than complete and communicate the whole truth. We have eleven grandchildren and almost every one of them goes through this phase. Around three or four years old they start coloring with crayons and they start drawing figures. Little Katy comes running in one day and she has this picture, on the bottom of which her momma has scrawled “Papaw.” And the picture here is of this kind of crude melon shaped head. And out of the side of the head where the ears ought to be are these two little hands sticking out. And where the neck ought to be there’s two little sticks with feet turned out. I suggest to you that it was a perfect picture. I suggest that it communicated everything little Katy was wanting to say to her Papaw. Am I communicating with you?

            Is it possible the Laodicean church has accepted a gospel that can cover her sins but can not empower her to live an overcoming life?

 

The Third Deception –

 

            The third deception that the enemy must work, the first being a form of godlessness that denies its power and life; the second being a misleading gospel or an inadequate truth; the third being a counterfeit salvation – a costless way.

Mt. 28:19

Mt. 4:19

Mt. 16:18

            Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” He did not say, “Go and make Christians.” Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” He did not say, “Go and build churches.” He did say, “I’ll build My church.” Isn’t it interesting that we give so much of our life to building churches and this work of making disciples seems so neglected? Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you…” they were not made the instant that they left their nets. There is a reason why the scriptures talk about having been saved, are being saved and shall be saved.

            Turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 10. In 1 Corinthians we have a text that ends in verses 11 & 12. We’re going to read verses 11 & 12 and then we’re going to go back to verse 1 which is our focal text. Whatever is spoken of in the first 10 verses, verse 11 says,

 

    Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

A Deluding Influence –

October 28, 2008

 

            Now, look at 2 Thess. 2:11 which is the most frightening text in all the scriptures for me. And “for this reason” they would not receive a love for the truth. 

 

   For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.

 

            God Himself will send upon this church who just would not receive a love for the truth, God Himself will send a deluding influence, a deceiving spirit so that they might believe what is false. Is that frightening or not? So, I would suggest that we be fairly diligent in our prayer life in crying out for a love for the truth.

            You will discover as I have discovered that you will have no problem with the truth that does not touch you. I have no problem dealing with the truth of drugs or homosexuality or a whole raft of things. But those areas where I am having trouble buying the truth are elsewhere.

            You know Pr. 23:23 says, Buy truth and do not sell it. It is in those areas I find truth difficult. Truth is to be purchased. And, if you’ve not learned this by now you will learn this eventually. If you do not purchase it the first time around there is not a commodity in all of God’s economy or the world’s economy that is so consistent with inflation as is this issue of buying truth. If you do not buy it the first time, the price goes up. Inflation takes its toll. And you will find it more expensive the second time or the third time or the fourth time because truth must be purchased. Receiving a love of the truth is necessary in order for us to purchase what’s being offered.

 

Verse 12. …in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

 

            The reason this Laodicean church is so deceived is because there is so much deception out there from the enemy and in the end, from God Himself upon those who just would not receive a love for the truth. The cause of this deception is the unwillingness to receive a love for the truth. I want to suggest to you, and this is our thesis, I want to suggest to you that there are three things that the enemy works at to deceive us. It was so in the Garden. There were three things that God lost. We all have trouble believing that God could lose something but the truth is God did lose in the Garden. It did not end there but He lost Adam and Eve and the life of Adam and Eve for His own habitation. It was God’s intention from the beginning to dwell in His man. That’s why this other tree, the tree of life, was in the Garden. God lost His habitation. God lost the truth as we will see in the body of this study and we will touch on it here. And God lost His way with man, His intimacy with man, His walk with man. That was all destroyed. And, God’s solution for Adam’s race was a second man, as we will see, who was also the last Adam. I’m quoting from 1 Cor. 15.

2 Co 5:17

             The enemy has three great deceptions. The first deception is that he tries to convince us that we can have a form of godliness and yet deny its power. It’s an imitation life. Most teaching that I hear in the West, has to do with the church trying to imitate Christ. It’s What Would Jesus Do? God’s solution is not our imitation of Christ. God’s solution is not our trying, by the strength of the old man, to live like the promised man – the new man in Christ. The first counterfeit that the enemy has put over on this Laodicean church is that we can not expect to live by another life until the sweet by-and-by. The first deception is that Christ can not live now in us. Most Christians live defeated lives because they’ve yet to learn how to live out of a life that is not Adam’s life. But it is the very life for which they were created. Man was made for God. Man can not even be the man that God created him to be without God indwelling that man.

Jn. 12:44-46,49

Phil. 2:6-8

            Jesus was the first normal human being ever and it is because He lived by the life of Another. He did not live by His own deity. He left that in heaven – humbling Himself, taking on the form of a man. From that point on He is referred to in the scriptures as the Son of Man not the Son of God. In eternity, in the future, you read in the book of Revelation that He’s referred to as the Son of Man. He came to show us how to be man as God created man to be and that is to live by this life that Adam and Eve never, ever tasted of.

Apostasy Revealed –

October 25, 2008

 

            Let’s turn quickly to 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 1. 

 

   But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith….

 

            There is going to be a falling away and the falling away is from the truth. Having been in a position of truth they end up in error – misled – deceived.  …some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. This is going to take place in the age of the Laodicean church. I’m suggesting to you to consider the possibility that the church that we know has been misled significantly and our deeds show it.

            Let’s just go back a couple of pages to 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2. This is a very important text. It’s important because it explains why Christians end up deceived. And we’re just introducing the thought at this point.

            Reading from verse 1.

 

   Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and 0ur gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

 

            That day of the Lord is our being gathered together to Him.  Verse 3.

 

   Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.

 

            (The apostasy is the falling away.) Two things are going to happen prior to the coming of Christ. There is going to be a great falling away, and you know the reason for that falling away from our text in Matthew 24 and in 1 Tim. 4:1. It is because they’ve been misled and they are falling away from the truth. The falling away and the revealing of the lawless one must first take place. Now, jump with me down to verse 8.

 

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.

 

            Satan has his hand on the deception, the misleading that is going on in that age. Actually it’s been going on from the beginning, hasn’t it? But the reason it’s such a great falling away at the end of the age is because of so much deception.

 

   Verse 10. …and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

 

            The reason Christians are deceived is because they will not receive a love for the truth. You can not manufacture it. It’s something received. I would suggest to the church in this age as well as this prophesied age, if they are different, that they receive a love for the truth. And who do you suppose is the one who gives such a gift? And who do you suppose is called the Truth? But it is receiving a love for the truth that keeps us from deception.

 

Next – A Deluding Influence

The Laodicean Church

October 23, 2008

 

            I’m going to begin with a premise in our opening scene, and the premise is this: it may not be that we are the last generation or at the end of the age or are that Laodicean church spoken of in Revelation 3:14-22; that may or may not be true. But, what I believe is true is that the American church is manifesting all of the signs as if she were that Laodicean church, that end of the age church, that last generation church. In this first introduction it is our intent to share with you from the word in such a way that you can determine whether or not you want to continue with the words that follow. I believe everything that we are sharing has to do with a woman who wants to make herself ready. There are really two things at the end of the age: the bride making herself ready, and a church that is so deceived that she does not even know where she is.

            Let’s look at that Laodicean church just to use it as an illustration. I’m not saying that we are that church. I am saying it would seem that all of the manifestations of that church are with the American church or the church particularly in the west.

            Verse 14 of Revelation 3:

 

    To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: Christ is speaking, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.”

 

And neither a cold or hot church is this Laodicean church. It’s not our objective or our point here but it is something you can put back in the corner of your heart. Jesus is speaking to all 7 of these churches on the basis of “I know your deeds. Not your heart, not your intentions, I know your deeds.”

Verse 17.  The reason why you are lukewarm is:

 

   “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

 

            This Laodicean church is a church that thinks she has it together, and is wealthy and rich, perhaps at least in the things of God. But she is so deceived that she does not know that she is wretched and miserable – poor – naked – blind. Now that’s deceived.

 

Verses 18 & 19.    I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and the  shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”

 

            Christ’s solution and answer to this church is that she become zealous and repent and buy gold that is refined by fire, and buy white garments. And she has great needs. She thinks she is rich. She’s seen by Him as very poor, wretched and miserable. I wonder what she’s going to buy these things with. I wonder where this gold comes from. I believe we will discover the answer in the body of this study. The point is, there is a purchasing that is necessary; a purchasing of gold, a purchasing of clothing, white garments, and the purchasing of eye salve, so that you may see.

            Within the body of this study there will be a spiritual exercise around each of these. There are many exercises in the scriptures which are those things that enable us to turn toward God, enable us to break through the flesh, the natural man, so we can touch the things of God.

            The Laodicean church is totally unaware of her true condition. She is lukewarm, neither hot or cold; she believes she’s rich – she’s poor; she believes she’s clothed – she’s naked. It’s the Emperor who has no clothes. What is the cause of this church being so far from the mark and not even knowing it? Actually the cause is found in almost every prophecy concerning the church at the end of the age.

            If we were to look in Matthew, chapter 24, for example, and we’ll go through these very quickly. I’m just laying a foundation here for our theme.  In Matthew 24, is the text where Jesus is answering three questions: when will the destruction of this temple be when there will not be left one stone on another, what will be a sign of your coming, when will be the end of the age.

            You might think that these three questions all point to the same time but they do not, as we know, because history has proven to us that the temple was destroyed some 35 years later. In this text there is a common denominator that is found in every major text concerning the end of the age.

            And in verses 4 & 5 we find it.

 

   And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ.’ And will mislead many.”

 

            This is the Laodicean church – misled.

            Verses 10 & 11:

 

   “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”

           

            This Laodicean church is misled – deceived.

            Verses 23 & 24. 

   “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”

 

            There is a misleading going on. And there is a falling away. If it were possible, even the elect would be falling away.

 

Next will be The Apostasy Revealed.