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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aliens in the News

By Justin Edwards

As if the Land of Bizarre couldn't get any weirder, this past week has proven the world is continuing down the path of deception that will culminate with the rise of the Antichrist during the Tribulation period. I have long suspected the alien indoctrination the world has undergone over the last several decades by Hollywood, tabloids, and government conspiracies would play a major role in the endtimes deception. How else might the Rapture of the Church be explained away?

Brannon Howse delivered an excellent show on Tuesday about recent headlines concerning UFO's. Usually these types of stories fall into the category of "news of the weird", but we are seeing them covered in major media outlets such as Foxnews and the Telegraph. The powers of darkness continue to increase as we approach the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. These UFO sightings are nothing more than demonic spirits penetrating into the physical realm. The world will soon witness the epitome of evil when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way and the Antichrist and False Prophet come on the stage. As we get closer to that day, are you checking the pulse of your spiritual health? Are you ready for Christ to return? The hour is near, the time is urgent. Keep your lamps oiled and your wicks trimmed. You don't want to be left behind.

Following the description of Brannon's show, you will find a supporting article from Michael Mickey from the Rapture Alert, which is now hosted by Rapture Forums. I hope you take some time to listen to Brannon's show and read the article below. It just can't get any weirder, or can it?

Worldview Radio with Brannon Howse

Brannon is back on the air after traveling to and from Worldview Weekend Rallies on Friday and Monday: Download mp3

Topic One: United Nations appoints space ambassador to greet alien visitors. This is not a joke. also reports that ex Air Force officers are worried that Aliens are monitoring our nukes. Over the past several years there has been an increasing rise in the interest of UFOs and alien life. Dr. Ron Carlson and Ed Decker writing in their book, Fast Facts on False Teaching believe that UNFOs are of a demonic realm and that the increase in sightings and the increase in a desire to contact alien life iare laying the foundation for the acceptance of the Antichrist.

Topic Two: TIME Magazine reports on Interfaith U. Claremont School of Theology is now offering classes in which they train pastors, rabbis and Imams under one roof. Brannon explains how the rise of a one-world religion, universalism and pluralism is laying the foundation for a one world leader that will unite all faiths under the coming one world religion. What does this mean for conservative Bible Believing Christians?

Topic Three: U.S. Education Secretary says he will work to make America's children "good environmental citizens". The push to teach America's children radical environmentalism, pluralism, pantheism and paganism fits with the coming one-world religion that will largely be based on radical environmentalism and pantheism.

Topic Four: We take your calls.

Take Me to Your Leader

By Michael Mickey

In bible prophecy we're told that, in the aftermath of the Rapture of the Church, God is going to permit a strong delusion to befall those left behind - one so powerful in scope that many are going to fall victim to whatever this delusion is ultimately going to be revealed to be. Those who do so will believe what is going to be among the greatest of lies, if not the singular greatest lie, ever communicated to humanity. Who will be the architect of this lie? Scripture appears to indicate it will be the one who bears the title of Wicked in 2nd Thessalonians 2:8. This Wicked to to be revealed in the aftermath of the Rapture is a man we commonly refer to as the Antichrist. Let's look at some scripture.

2nd Thessalonians 2:7-11:

7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.
8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9. [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

The Antichrist is going to be much like Satan himself in his workings. He will amaze many through mechanisms scripture refer to as:

  • Power - Dynamis in the original Greek, it means power for performing miracles, the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth, power and resources arising from numbers, power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts.
  • Signs - Sēmeion in the original Greek, it tells us the Antichrist my produce unusual occurrences, transcending the common course of nature. It may also mean he will portend remarkable events soon to happen.
  • Lying Wonders - Pseudos in the original Greek is lying which means precisely what we would normally consider it to mean. In a broader sense, however, the word can mean that whatever the wonders of the Antichrist may seem to be, they are anything but! Teras is wonders in the original Greek, indicative of miracles which can be observed or seen.

Through power, signs and lying wonders, the Antichrist is going to become so influential over humanity we're told that power will be given to him over "all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7) All of humanity "whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" will ultimately come to worship him. (Revelation 13:8) And when scripture indicates that mankind will worship him, it isn't referring to humanity simply admiring him. What humanity is going to do is going to be more akin to a dog licking the back of its master's hand than simply looking upon him as a great leader.

So, what kind of delusion could be so great, so utterly potent, that a world as divided as the one we presently inhabit could unite under the leadership of one seemingly amazing man? It's a question that begs an answer, but bible prophecy doesn't give us enough intimate descriptions of the strong delusion to come for us to draw any concrete conclusions.

Some conjecture based on current events

Once again, as has occurred and been documented in the past, humanity seems to be warming up, almost eerily, to the concept of mankind making contact with extraterrestrial beings. Let's look at some current examples in the news.

Recently, one of the pope's astronomers, addressing the issue of extraterrestrial beings coming into contact with mankind, said, "Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul."

According to the Guardian, he said he would baptize an extraterrestrial if asked to by it. Furthermore, he said that the Vatican was well aware of the latest goings-on in scientific research, adding, "You'd be surprised."

Surprised? My admonition to anyone who reads this commentary is simple. Do not be surprised by anything contrary to the teachings of scripture in these last days, particularly where bizarre things being revealed to humanity is concerned in the aftermath of the Rapture of the Church. To be sure, what I'm getting at, as clearly as I can express it, is if the Rapture of the Church should occur tomorrow and reports of flying saucers appearing all around the globe simultaneously should flood the airwaves in the aftermath, no one should believe in ETs! Remember, a strong delusion is going to be permitted to be spilled onto humanity by Satan and his minions, for the express purpose of luring those who are presently rejoicing in their unrighteousness into believing a LIE. To reiterate, this lie isn't going to be your garden variety whopper, its origins are going to be supernatural in nature!

Not only do we have someone at the Vatican ready to receive an 'extraterrestrial' into our world and baptize it, a number of news sources, AOL and the Telegraph to name a few, are reporting that a number of ex-military officials, many of whom held high ranks and worked with nuclear weaponry, are preparing to go public with stories of UFO activity and peculiar events that I heard of while a member of the U.S. Air Force in the 1980s, not by anyone who was actually present to witness what these men are apparently going to discuss openly now, but through the grapevine --- stories that were told to me as being factual and, in some cases, recent.

Reportedly, Capt. Robert Salas, formerly of the United States Air Force, is going to publicly detail a March 16, 1967 incident that occurred at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana during which a UFO hovered above an Air Force facility and ten Minuteman III missiles were simultaneously deactivated. Having worked at many launch facilities and been on numerous Minuteman III silo locations in the performance of my duties, the story was of great interest to me when I first heard it as there seemed no earthly explanation for what I was told had happened, the specifics of which were probably no more detailed than what is being reported in the news today. At that point in my life I'd never considered the possibility that an incident of that nature could have been demonic in origin as I currently believe all UFO phenomena, both past and present, is. I didn't know what to think, quite frankly, as the Cold War was in high gear and there were always suspicions that there could be an earthly explanation - one that would be beyond frightening if the Soviet Union, for example, had been behind the Malmstrom incident.

Along with Capt. Salas, former Air Force colonel Charles Halt is reportedly going to discuss a UFO incident that occurred 30 years ago at the former military base RAF Bentwaters. According to the Telegraph's report, Halt "saw beams of light fired into the base then heard on the military radio that aliens had landed inside the nuclear storage area." This is a story I heard about as well. It was always told as factual and, much like the Malmstrom incident, involved soldiers who, like me, worked in areas where nuclear weapons were stored.

While I have no idea what these men saw or what took place on the ground physically that could substantiate or repudiate their claims, what I know from experience is that the U.S. Air Force doesn't permit people off their rockers from working around priority resources of the nuclear weapons variety for obvious reasons. There were procedures in place that all of us were expected to abide by to report anyone who even remotely seemed to be of less than sound mind working in those mission critical areas. I personally know men who were prevented from working in these areas due to going through a painful divorce, losing a family member to death, demonstrating behavior that brought their judgment into question, if only for a brief period of time.

While I've never heard it stated how many witnesses there were to the Malmstrom incident, there are former members of the Air Force, most if not all of them enlisted men if memory serves me correctly, who were with Colonel Halt during his investigation of the UFO at RAF Bentwaters and support his story as told by him. So what are we left with? If the stories are true as told and there were aircraft involved that did what is being reported as true by these officers, one has to wonder, in my opinion, if the prince of the power of the air was permitted to deceive mankind for a moment in time on a grand scale, but to what end? No one knows --- at least not yet.

Lastly, we've all heard, seen or both, in one fictional story or another, an extraterrestrial being landing on earth and asking to be taken to our leader. As if all of the above isn't creepy enough to consider as a possible (KEYWORD: POSSIBLE) element of the strong delusion to come in the prophetic future, there's the following news for us to digest.

It is being reported by a number of news sources, including the Telegraph, that the United Nations is preparing to appoint an ambassador to greet extraterrestrials should they arrive and wish to speak with our 'leader'. The following is an excerpt from the Telegraph's report on that topic:

Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, is set to be tasked with co-ordinating humanity’s response if and when extraterrestrials make contact.
Aliens who landed on earth and asked: “Take me to your leader” would be directed to Mrs Othman.

In this commentary we've examined the teachings of prophetic scripture concerning the demonic power the Antichrist is going to have at his disposal upon his revealing in the aftermath of the Rapture of the Church. That everything documented here concerning the teachings of scripture is going to be literally true is unquestionable.

Beyond what is set in stone for the prophetic future, we have discussed another sudden surge in interest in UFO phenomena, from a member of the Vatican being ready to baptize an ET to the United Nations, the closest thing we currently have to a global government, preparing an ambassador to meet with an ET (or a flying saucer full of them). Strange, creepy stuff that has Satan's handwriting all over it!

UFO phenomena has been in our entertainment for years as a frequent theme and is today as addressed earlier but now it seems to be becoming a frequent topic of discussion in both religious organizations and global governmental circles. Thus, while I don't so much as pretend to know what the "strong delusion" of 2nd Thessalonians 2:11 is going to encompass in totality, it wouldn't surprise me if an element of it involves a flying saucer. After all, who can deny that Satan has invested a lot of time and effort in fostering the phenomena as believable? And who among us, in a world in love with its technology and gadgetry, is so naive as to believe the lost wouldn't be lining up in droves to believe 'we are not alone' if so much as a glimmer of evidence should surface suggestive that UFO phenomena played a role in the Rapture of the Church in the aftermath of it taking place?
It remains to be seen whether what is beyond a doubt a global and demonically-orchestrated fascination in UFO phenomena is going to play a role in the fulfillment of end times bible prophecy, but it is something worthy of us taking into consideration and discussing as a possibility with those we love who to date haven't accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior --- just in case.
Keep looking up, not for UFOs but for our redemption! It draweth nigh!

UPDATE 9-29-10: It is now being reported that the United Nations is not going to appoint an ambassador to extraterrestrials, but I'm curious. Did they never intend to or did public scrutiny, perhaps ridicule from some influential people, lead to a change of plans? Regardless, the wording of a Fox News slideshow's narrative demonstrates why I think UFO phenomena poses such a spiritual threat to mankind. It reads, in part, emphasis added mine: "On Monday, reports that the United Nations was planning to appoint an ambassador to serve as earth's contact with space aliens generated great excitement."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sanctification: The Triumph of Grace Over the Power of Sin

By Mike Ratliff 

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2 ESV)

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:15-16 ESV) 

As I stated in yesterday’s post, if the Gospel is preached correctly, that is, with justification by faith alone being central with absolutely no merit or work by the believer having any bearing on it, then the two rhetorical questions Paul raised in the two passages above should be on the forefront of the minds of all hearing it. Justification by faith as a gift from God, not by our doing in any part (Ephesians 2:8,9) leaves us open bare before God. We have no religiosity to hide behind. We have no steps to perform. We have no decisional thing we can perform that we can point back to that is our lynchpin that is our point of “our decision for Christ.” No, Justification as Paul preached it is foreign to all of that. So where does all that come from? It comes in from people confusing their justification with their sanctification in many cases.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4 ESV)
Some of you may be saying right now, “Wait a minute Ratliff! Here you have been saying all through this study that our salvation is by faith alone and we earn nothing by doing works.” That’s right! Our justification is exactly that, but not our sanctification. Our justification is God’s work alone. On the other hand, our sanctification is one in which we cooperate with Him in His plan of refining work of making us holy and Christlike.

No matter what our past has been prior to our justification, all in Christ will experience personal holiness (1 Corinthians 6:9-11a; 1 Timothy 1:12,13). In v1 we see that the proper preaching of the Gospel, justification by faith based solely on the free grace of God, will garner criticism from some who see that as in invitation for people to be converted and then live as they please, sinning as much as they wanted. I have actually “communicated” with some Roman Catholics on this very thing who have told me flat out that the doctrine of Justification by Faith lets people sin freely. What is Paul’s answer? Μὴ γένοιτο or “Not may it become!” The ESV translated that as, “By no means!” The doctrine of Justification by Faith based solely on the free grace of God does not lead to more sin. Why? Paul gives us the answer in v2. All truly in Christ have died to sin. This is explained more fully in v3,

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Who did the baptizing? It was God. God buries each believer with Christ by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. What is this newness of life?

Here is v4 from the Greek New Testament, “συνετάφημεν οὖν αὐτῷ διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος εἰς τὸν θάνατον, ἵνα ὥσπερ ἠγέρθη Χριστὸς ἐκ νεκρῶν διὰ τῆς δόξης τοῦ πατρός, οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς περιπατήσωμεν.” Here is my translation,

We were buried together then to him through the baptism into the death, that as indeed was raised Christ from dead through the glory of the Father, thusly also we in newness of life might walk.

The word καινότητι the dative, singular form of καινότης or kainotēs, means “renewal,” but not simply an experience similar to the past, but a qualitatively different one. “Newness” is a good translation here for, in the context of those who have died to to sin and are alive to God, life or “ζωή” is very much going to be marked with a καινότητι. Of course, what is our sanctification, but the our working with God in cooperation to become more holy as we walk in this newness of life for the rest of our lives until we go home to be with our Lord for eternity.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:5-11 ESV)

The key to this passage in context to vv1-4 is, of course, v11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Those who are dead to sin no longer have the pervasive love for it nor are they controlled by the ruling power of it. Yes, I know that we all struggle with sin at times. I know that there are times when we must go through some tough battles of sin mortification in order to “get the victory.” Yes, I am fully aware of that. I am convinced that God allows us to go through these battles in order to humble and mold us further in our sanctification for we must realize that the mastery of sin has been broken in our lives,

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14 ESV)
Here we have the “tension” between what God has already accomplished for His people and what is still their responsibility to obey. We are all tempted by the fleshly desires to sin, but we have the ability, since we are in Christ, to not let those desires gain control, hence the battle to mortify sin each day by giving ourselves afresh to God. We cannot battle the flesh through will power alone nor can we simply “let go and let God.” No, both will lead to disaster. Paul wisely says in Romans 8:13,

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:15-19 ESV)

The word “sanctification” in v19 is the Greek word αγιασμον the accusative, singular form of ἁγιασμός or hagiasmos, which is a separation unto God through the process of sanctification or making one holy. So, think through this passage carefully. Before we were justified by faith we were ruled by our flesh and were slaves to sin. However, when God had mercy on us and, by His grace, justified us by faith as a free gift, we were also changed. We were baptized with Christ unto His death and resurrection to walk in this newness of life. We are changed forever. This is talking about our regeneration here my brethren. We now have the ability to not present our members to sin, but to God for sanctification.

Of course, we can only do this by His grace that is why we give ourselves to Him daily in the process of mortifying the sin that clings so close, et cetera. We are now capable, by God’s grace, to present our member as slaves to righteousness leading to this αγιασμον. Well, I can’t speak for you or anyone else, but I certainly want this. I deeply desire to walk blameless before my Lord. I deeply desire to be with Him. I am still here in this life though so I must continue to fight these battles with the flesh just as you do. This is how our sanctification works.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)

I am sure that if any of you were ever trained in Evangelism Explosion or some other Christian witnessing “program” you memorized that passage or at least part of it. Doesn’t it read differently when taken in context with the rest of what we have been studying though?

We will pick up in the very controversial Romans chapter 7 in our next post, God willing.

Soli Deo Gloria!

(HT: Possessing the Treasure)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wrath of God

By A.W. Pink

It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it.

Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.

Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is,

"See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me" (Deuteronomy 32:39-41). 

A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner: Psalm 7:11.

Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be if "wrath" were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His "severity" (Romans 9:12) toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.

The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.

That Divine wrath is one of the perfections of God is not only evident from the considerations presented above, but is also clearly established by the express declarations of His own Word. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven" (Romans 1:18). Robert Haldane comments on this verse as follows:

It was revealed when the sentence of death was first pronounced, the earth cursed, and man driven out of the earthly paradise; and afterwards by such examples of punishment as those of the Deluge and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain by fire from heaven; but especially by the reign of death throughout the world. It was proclaimed in the curse of the law on every transgression, and was intimated in the institution of sacrifice.

In the 8th of Romans, the apostle calls the attention of believers to the fact that the whole creation has become subject to vanity, and groaneth and travaileth together in pain. The same creation which declares that there is a God, and publishes His glory, also proclaims that He is the Enemy of sin and the Avenger of the crimes of men . . . But above all, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven when the Son of God came down to manifest the Divine character, and when that wrath was displayed in His sufferings and death, in a manner more awful than by all the tokens God had before given of His displeasure against sin.

Besides this, the future and eternal punishment of the wicked is now declared in terms more solemn and explicit than formerly. Under the new dispensation there are two revelations given from heaven, one of wrath, the other of grace.

Again; that the wrath of God is a Divine perfection is plainly demonstrated by what we read of in Psalm 95:11, "Unto whom I sware in My wrath." There are two occasions of God "swearing": in making promises (Genesis. 22:16), and in denouncing threatening (Deuteronomy. 1:34). In the former, He swares in mercy to His children; in the latter, He swares to terrify the wicked. An oath is for solemn confirmation: Hebrews 6:16. In Genesis 22:16 God said, "By Myself have I sworn." In Psalm 89:35 He declares, "Once have I sworn by My holiness." While in Psalm 95:11 He affirmed, "I swear in My wrath." Thus the great Jehovah Himself appeals to His "wrath" as a perfection equal to His "holiness": He swares by the one as much as by the other! Again; as in Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9), and as all the Divine perfections are illustriously displayed by Him (John 1:18), therefore do we read of "the wrath of the Lamb" (Revelation. 6:16).

The wrath of God is a perfection of the Divine character upon which we need to frequently meditate. First, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God’s detestation of sin. We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for it. But the more we study and ponder God’s abhorrence of sin and His frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely are we to realize its heinousness. Second, to beget a true fear in our souls for God: "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:28,29). We cannot serve Him "acceptably" unless there is due "reverence" for His awful Majesty and "godly fear" of His righteous anger, and these are best promoted by frequently calling to mind that "our God is a consuming fire." Third, to draw out our souls in fervent praise for having delivered us from "the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Our readiness or our reluctancy to meditate upon the wrath of God becomes a sure test of how our hearts’ really stand affected toward Him. If we do not truly rejoice in God, for what He is in Himself, and that because of all the perfections which are eternally resident in Him, then how dwelleth the love of God in us? Each of us needs to be most prayerfully on his guard against devising an image of God in our thoughts which is patterned after our own evil inclinations. Of old the Lord complained, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself" (Psalm 50:21), If we rejoice not "at the remembrance of His holiness" (Psalm 97:12), if we rejoice not to know that in a soon coming Day God will make a most glorious display of His wrath, by taking vengeance on all who now oppose Him, it is proof positive that our hearts are not in subjection to Him, that we are yet in our sins, on the way to the everlasting burnings.

"Rejoice, O ye nations (Gentiles) His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries" (Deuteronomy 32:43). And again we read, "I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God; For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said Alleluia." (Revelation 19:13). Great will be the rejoicing of the saints in that day when the Lord shall vindicate His majesty, exercise His awful dominion, magnify His justice, and overthrow the proud rebels who have dared to defy Him.

"If thou Lord, shouldest mark (impute) iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3). Well may each of us ask this question, for it is written, "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment" (Psalm 1:5). How sorely was Christ’s soul exercised with thoughts of God’s marking the iniquities of His people when they were upon Him! He was "amazed and very heavy" (Mark 14:33). His awful agony, His bloody sweat, His strong cries and supplications (Hebrews 5:7), His reiterated prayers ("If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me"), His last dreadful cry, ("My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?") all manifest what fearful apprehensions He had of what it was for God to "mark iniquities." Well may poor sinners cry out, "Lord who shall stand" when the Son of God Himself so trembled beneath the weight of His wrath? If thou, my reader, hast not "fled for refuge" to Christ, the only Saviour, "how wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5)?

When I consider how the goodness of God is abused by the greatest part of mankind, I cannot but be of his mind that said, The greatest miracle in the world is God’s patience and bounty to an ungrateful world. If a prince hath an enemy got into one of his towns, he doth not send them in provision, but lays close siege to the place, and doth what he can to starve them. But the great God, that could wink all His enemies into destruction, bears with them, and is at daily cost to maintain them. Well may He command us to bless them that curse us, who Himself does good to the evil and unthankful.

But think not, sinners, that you shall escape thus; God’s mill goes slow, but grinds small; the more admirable His patience and bounty now is, the more dreadful and unsupportable will that fury be which ariseth out of His abused goodness. Nothing smoother than the sea, yet when stirred into a tempest, nothing rageth more. Nothing so sweet as the patience and goodness of God, and nothing so terrible as His wrath when it takes fire. (Wm Gurnall, 1660).

Then flee, my reader, flee to Christ; "flee from the wrath to come" (Matthew. 3:7) ere it be too late. Do not, we earnestly beseech you, suppose that this message is intended for somebody else. It is to you! Do not be contented by thinking you have already fled to Christ. Make certain! Beg the Lord to search your heart and show you yourself.

A Word to Preachers. Brethren, do we in our oral ministry, preach on this solemn subject as much as we ought? The Old Testament prophets frequently told their hearers that their wicked lives provoked the Holy One of Israel, and that they were treasuring up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath. And conditions in the world are no better now than they were then!

Nothing is so calculated to arouse the careless and cause carnal professors to search their hearts, as to enlarge upon the fact that "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). The forerunner of Christ warned his hearers to "flee from the wrath to come" (Matthew 3:7). The Saviour bade His auditors "Fear Him, which after He hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you. Fear Him" (Luke 12:5). The apostle Paul said, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Corinthians 5:11). Faithfulness demands that we speak as plainly about Hell as about Heaven.

(HT: PB Ministries)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Coming of the Lord - Part 1

By Justin Edwards

It is my privilege to share with you a 5-part series from my pastor, Loran Livingston, which began September 26, 2010. Pastor Livingston noted that each chapter in the book of 1 Thessalonians concludes with a reference to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. These chapters exhort us to be confident the Lord will deliver us from the wrath to come upon the earth, to cling to the hope and joy found in anticipating the glorious appearing of Christ, to increase our love for the brethren, to encourage one another that He is coming for His Bride, and to be sanctified completely by the Spirit whereby we put off the works of darkness and yield to righteousness so that we will be found blameless at the coming of this Mighty King! This first message was very powerful and I'm excited for what lies ahead as God prepares His Body for His glorious return in these last days. The links to the video and mp3 are at the end of this post.

We find in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 three proofs of salvation:  work of faith, labor of love, and endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because salvation is a work of God by which He brings Himself glory, all born again Christians will exhibit in some capacity service to the Lord that is rooted in love and spurred by faith. It is not possible to be saved and not be involved in the work of the ministry because when He saves us, He charges us to carry on the work He started. In fact, God ordained us for His service long ago:

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

This work includes serving within the Body through the local church, within our homes, or within the community by living and proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We work together as one Body to edify one another and to fulfill the Great Commission. We all have work to do for the Kingdom and none of us are exempt from this duty.

We must work when we don't feel like it and when no one appreciates it or notices. Our work is unto the Lord and not unto man. He rewards us for our faithfulness towards Him. Whatever our calling is, our sole purpose is to make Jesus known to the ends of the earth - and that includes your backyard. Jesus said it best what we are to do with our time on earth in Matthew 6:19-21:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Verse 21 is so profound - the desire of your heart will be clear by the location of your treasure. In other words, what do you spend your time doing? Upon examination of yourself, are you working for God or for yourself? Are you serving Him with your life, or are you pursuing riches, pleasures, and material things? Are you more concerned with the cares of this world, or do you consider yourself dead and surrendered to the work of God? Is your life defined by temporal things or eternal things? These are essential questions to ask ourselves. Where are you storing your treasure? In heaven or on earth? That will determine where your heart is - whether you a child of God or a child of wrath.

Not only were the Thessalonians praised for their faith, love, and enduring hope, but their eager obedience to preach the Gospel was known everywhere. 1 Thessalonians 1:8,

For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.

And where did they learn to spread their faith? From the Lord and those from whom they first heard the Gospel as we see in verse 6,

And you became followers of us and of the Lord...

Every born again believer must be an example to the brethren. It is how we grow in maturity by studying the Word of God and being examples amongst each other. This is the duty of every believer, so we must examine ourselves to see what example we are leading. Do we share our faith, or not? Do we love the brethren? Do we love our enemies? Do we love our neighbors? Remember, the Great Commission is not an option - it is a mandate from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps most remarkable of the Thessalonians was their obvious repentance. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 provides us a clear picture of what biblical repentance looks like:

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

There are several things going on here. In this one verse, we see how they

  1. Turned to God
  2. From idols
  3. To serve the living and true God (as opposed to dead idols)

That is repentance! This presents a radical change in the Thessalonians as they turned their backs on the idols they served and turned to the one true God to serve Him in faith and obedience. Every believer had an idol(s) before they came to faith in Jesus Christ. It is impossible to continue serving these idols and serve the Lord. We must turn from them. No man can hold on to his sins and lay his life down at the cross. He must lay down his sins with his life if He is to be born again. What he is laying down is a lifestyle that served himself, and he is committing himself to a lifestyle of serving God. You cannot serve two masters and you must deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ daily. This is forsaking it all, and it's the only way we can be a disciple of Christ.

The evidence this repentance has taken place will be found in the whole of the life of the believer. There will be a radical change that contrasts the new life against the old life. Your life will be marked by obedience to the Word of God, rather than obedience to your flesh and its desires. Sin is no longer your master for you have become a slave to righteousness. If you have not had a radical change in your life that separates you from the world, it's time you get back to the alter and find out what went wrong. Giving mere lip service to God will fall short of His righteousness. The Christian life is 24/7, not just on Sundays. If you're acting and talking differently on Sundays than you are the rest of the week, you must come to repentance. You're either a Christian, or you're not a Christian - James 1:22,

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

For those that are found in Christ Jesus, we have much to look forward to. The Lord is coming and He is coming soon! No matter what we are faced with we can always turn to Him and declare, "but Jesus is coming!" If you are not looking for the return of Christ, if you have no hope that He is coming, if this fact brings you no joy, or if you dread that Day - what do you think that means? We must be looking for Him as Hebrews 9:28 says,

so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

And there is a crown waiting for those longing for His appearing - 1 Timothy 4:8

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

And those who are longing for His appearing, can have confidence they will be saved from the wrath to come. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in 1 Thessalonians 1:10,

and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Jesus affirms this truth in Revelation 3:10

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

We must be longing for Christ to come for us. This is to be our joy! Our hope! Does this dominate your thinking? If Jesus does not dominate your thinking and His return does not consume you with this enduring hope and everlasting joy, then you must examine yourself. No born again believer thinks like this - we are all eager to see His face!  Do you?

If you find yourself in a predicament, what are you waiting for? Haven't you gone long enough in trying to serve two masters? Isn't it time to repent from your idols and turn to God in faith? Can you not see that this world is passing away, and those who love it are passing away with it? Aren't you ready to store your treasures in heaven? Aren't you ready to serve the One who paid such a great price for you? Isn't He worthy? Did your sins not nail Him to that rugged cross? Won't you fall on your knees? Won't you give your life to Him today? Even now?

Turn to Christ and be healed. Come with nothing in your hands, and submit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Escape the wrath to come, for it might come today, and I promise you do not want to be here when it does. Just listen to the description Pastor Livingston gives in the message below.

This could be the last message you read or hear before you see Jesus, or before you feel heat. If this might be you, don't wait any longer. Lay down your pride and make your calling and election sure. Today is the day of salvation! If you are indeed a believer and there is a besetting sin in your life, confess and repent before the Lord so He can cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. - 1 John 3:3

Please click on the following links to watch or listen:

The Coming of the Lord Video

The Coming of the Lord mp3

Is Shane Claiborne a Christian-Muslim?

 By Ken Silva

The Emergence Of The Mystic Non-Gospel Of Non-Conversion As Everyone’s God’s People

Consider the following from Tony Campolo, who’s one of those Red Letter Christians along with other apostates like Living Spiritual Teacher and Emerging Church guru Brian McLaren, progressive theologian Tony Jones, the heretical “theologian in residence” at the gathering place of his equally heretical universalist pastor Doug Pagitt—who together comprise the unholy trinity of the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church. Campolo is mentor for another RLC, Shane Claiborne of the New Monasticism, and as I pointed out in Mysticism’s Gospel Of Goodness And Shane Claiborne Campolo would opine and then query the below in one of his books:

a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.

I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experience? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?[1]

Notice the double-speak as first Campolo tells us Islam and Christianity both have “examples of ecstatic union with God”; then he muses, “Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?” Campolo certainly hopes so; this would help him win friends and influence people within Islam, and would by-pass that nasty exclusive message of Scripture e.g. — Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Romans 8:9). Yeah, that’s just gonna get in the way of this whole Muslim-Christian thing; so we’ll ignore it because we feel that faithful Muslims, who’re doing “good” in the area of global social reform, must be following God in the way of Jesus.

Ah, I know, even if they don’t personally happen to know it; yeah, that’ll work, salvation by osmosis. Hey in this case, no siree Buddha, we don’t need that old Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name.

If someone looks good to us—in other words—hates the evil empire and does good deeds like us, then they’re in; pretty slick, eh. In fact, in that Claiborne article I mentioned above I brought to your attention that, what I’ve just outlined above, is the mystic non-gospel. I showed you by quoting one of Claiborne’s heroes; that would be the late apostate Mother Teresa, who actually took her name out of her respect for so-called “Christian” mystic Teresa of Avila. From my personal copy of her book, following the words of the universalist Mother Teresa, “We never try to convert those who receive [aid from her organization] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence.” The “witness to the love of God’s presence” is mystic-speak, and not trying “to convert” people is simply more man-centered music in tune with those who have itching ears. She goes on to say:

Whether you are a Hindu, a Moslem or a Christian, how you live your life is the proof that you are fully his or not. We must not condemn or judge or pass words that will hurt people. Maybe a person has never heard of Christianity. We do not know what way God is appearing to that soul and what way God is drawing that soul, and therefore who are we to condemn anybody? It matters to the individual what church he belongs to.

If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation. This is the way God comes into his life.[2]

No doubt people in other religions will love hearing that; but it is dead wrong, and if we truly love God and our fellow man then we will tell them the truth from God’s Word. We’ll do it as lovingly, patiently, and gently, as possible because the Christian has been given the minstry of reconciliation so:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

But Campolo and Claiborne aren’t interested in that; I think you see why such as these aligned themselves with those who eschew sola Scriptura. Yeah, unfortunately the Bible just keeps getting in the way of their lovefest with Islam so as Campolo says:

We don’t have to give up trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people,… (Online source)

Ok, we say hi to Humpty Dumpty again; right Tony, we can keep “trying to convert”…um, “God’s people” and…ah, “even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people.” I see it now; after lying awake as I sleep in the light tonight, I can then start my evening tomorrow morning by taking a shower with cool, dry, hot water. Gothcha boys. And as I close this, for now, in the article I just quoted above Claiborne confesses:

When a devout Muslim brother asked Tony and I to have this cross-generational dialogue about interreligious cooperation for an interfaith publication, we jumped on it. (Online source, emphasis mine)

My question is: If Shane Claiborne has a devout Muslim “brother,” does this now make Claiborne himself a Christian-Muslim? I mean, apparently he’s in the process of approaching this in the opposite direction from those alleged hybrid Muslim-Christians, who’re practicing Muslims that supposedly “love Jesus.” So could it be that, in Shane Claiborne, we’re witnessing a new breed hybrid of Christian-Muslims practicing Christianity but who also love Muhmmad? Stay tuned…


[1] Tony Campolo, Speaking My Mind: The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tackles the Tough Issues Christians Are Afraid to Face [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004], 149, 150, emphasis mine.

[2] Kathryn Spink, Mother Teresa, Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers [New York: HarperCollins, 1983], 81, 82, emphasis mine.

(HT: Apprising Ministries)

The [Post]modern Missional Strategy

By Charles Spurgeon

This is the suggestion of the present hour: if the world will not come to Jesus, shall Jesus tone down his teachings to the world? In other words, if the world will not rise to the church, shall not the church go down to the world? Instead of bidding men to be converted, and come out from among sinners, and be separate from them, let us join with the ungodly world, enter into union with it, and so pervade it with our influence by allowing it to influence us. Let us have a Christian world.

To this end let us revise our doctrines. Some are old-fashioned, grim, severe, unpopular; let us drop them out. Use the old phrases so as to please the obstinately orthodox, but give them new meanings so as to win philosophical infidels, who are prowling around. Pare off the edges of unpleasant truths, and moderate the dogmatic tone of infallible revelation: say that Abraham and Moses made mistakes, and that the books which have been so long had in reverence are full of errors. Undermine the old faith, and bring in the new doubt; for the times are altered, and the spirit of the age suggests the abandonment of everything that is too severely righteous, and too surely of God.

The deceitful adulteration of doctrine is attended by a falsification of experience. Men are now told that they were born good, or were made so by their infant baptism, and so that great sentence, "Ye must be born again," is deprived of its force. Repentance is ignored, faith is a drug in the market as compared with "honest doubt," and mourning for sin and communion with God are dispensed with, to make way for entertainments, and Socialism, and politics of varying shades. A new creature in Christ Jesus is looked upon as a sour invention of bigoted Puritans.

It is true, with the same breath they extol Oliver Cromwell; but then 1888 is not 1648. What was good and great three hundred years ago is mere cant to-day.

That is what "modern thought" is telling us; and under its guidance all religion is being toned down. Spiritual religion is despised, and a fashionable morality is set up in its place. Do yourself up tidily on Sunday; behave yourself; and above all, believe everything except what you read in the Bible, and you will be all right.

Be fashionable, and think with those who profess to be scientific—this is the first and great commandment of the modern school; and the second is like unto it—do not be singular, but be as worldly as your neighbours. Thus is Isaac going down into Padan-aram: thus is the church going down to the world.

Men seem to say—It is of no use going on in the old way, fetching out one here and another there from the great mass. We want a quicker way. To wait till people are born again, and become followers of Christ, is a long process: let us abolish the separation between the regenerate and unregenerate. Come into the church, all of you, converted or unconverted. You have good wishes and good resolutions; that will do: don't trouble about more. It is true you do not believe the gospel, but neither do we. You believe something or other. Come along; if you do not believe anything, no matter; your "honest doubt" is better by far than faith.

"But," say you, "nobody talks so." Possibly they do not use the same words, but this is the real meaning of the present-day religion; this is the drift of the times. I can justify the broadest statement I have made by the action or by the speech of certain ministers, who are treacherously betraying our holy religion under pretence of adapting it to this progressive age.

The new plan is to assimilate the church to the world, and so include a larger area within its bounds. By semi-dramatic performances they make houses of prayer to approximate to the theatre; they turn their services into musical displays, and their sermons into political harangues or philosophical essays—in fact, they exchange the temple for the theatre, and turn the ministers of God into actors, whose business it is to amuse men.

Is it not so, that the Lord's-day is becoming more and more a day of recreation or of idleness, and the Lord's house either a joss-house full of idols, or a political club, where there is more enthusiasm for a party than zeal for God? Ah me! the hedges are broken down, the walls are levelled, and to many there is henceforth, no church except as a portion of the world, no God except as an unknowable force by which the laws of nature work.

This, then, is the proposal. In order to win the world, the Lord Jesus must conform himself, his people, and his Word to the world. I will not dwell any longer on so loathsome a proposal.

(HT: Pyromaniacs)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mormonism's false god(s)

By Justin Edwards

The following cartoon gives an easy-to-understand presentation of the mythology behind the cult of Mormonism. It's so important to understand that Mormons do not worship the One True God, and the jesus they profess is not the historical and biblical Jesus. Do not be deceived.

Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Ahmadinejad Prays to Hasten Apocalypse

By Joel Rosenberg

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made yet another inflammatory speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. He began his remarks by praying, “O God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his righteousness.” 

Imam al-Mahdi is another name for the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Hidden Imam.” Shia Muslims believe this Islamic messiah will come at the End of Days to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization as we have known it, force infidels to convert or be executed, and will set up a one-world Islamic government known as the “caliphate.” Ahmadinejad believes the way to “hasten” the Twelfth Imam’s coming is to annihilate the U.S. and Israel. This would bring about the “victory” that Ahmadinejad prayed for on American soil. The speech went downhill from there. Ahmadinejad accused the U.S. government of masterminding the 9/11 attacks in order to save Israel. Few in the West, including our leaders, understand what Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in the Iranian government believe. And that’s the problem.

What should we do in response? We need to “get ready” and “be prepared,” according to Ezekiel 38:7. We need to gather in small groups and as entire church congregations and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and mobilize others to pray, too. We need to travel to Israel to do prayer walks, and worship the Lord, and study and teach the Word of God, and to encourage Israelis that we are standing with them, and that the God of Israel loves them without limit. We need to care for poor and needy Israelis and Palestinians with unconditional love and unwavering support. We need to stockpile humanitarian relief supplies in Israel and build infrastructure to distribute even more emergency aid when the next war comes. We need to strengthen the Church in the epicenter in real and practical ways. We need to help our brothers and sisters throughout the region preach the gospel and make disciples and plant churches and show that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the only hope of reconciliation. Time is short, but our path forward is clear.

Through my forthcoming novel, The Twelfth Imam, I’m trying to help people imagine what the world would look like if Ahmadinejad’s world view began to come to pass. 

Through The Joshua Fund, I’m trying to help us get ready for such a world, and to mobilize Christians to make a difference. 

What is the Lord asking you to do?

(HT: Flashtraffic Blog)

Biblical Assurance of Salvation - Part 5

By Justin Edwards

This is the final message in this 5-part series on Biblical Assurance of Salvation by Paul Washer. He begins in 1 John 5:13 where John clearly states,

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
The purpose of the book of 1 John is to provide us a means to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith. We should study the message of 1 John to see whether its truths are realized in our daily lives. Are we conforming to Christ? Are we sensitive to sin? Are we keeping His commandments through a habitual life of obedience? Are we walking as Christ walked? Are we loving our brothers? Are we loving our enemies - those opposed to us? Are these things spiritual realities in our lives?

One of the great tests in 1 John is found in chapter 2 where we see,

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
 Do we love God, or do we love the world? Many American Christians seem to think it is ok to have a love for the world. But that's not what it says! God clearly says in verse 15 that if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in Him. So, do you love the world? And what is the world?  It is everything that does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, it's every thought that does not measure up to the Word of God, it's everything that contradicts what God says about Himself and His will.

A Christian will come to disdain everything God hates, and love what God loves. And what does God hate? Sin! He hates sin! We as born again believers will learn to have a great disgust for our sin. We will hate sin with a passion and flee from it. And when it overtakes us, as it can, we will come to repentance out of godly sorrow.

But many professed Christians actually love their sin. They justify it, they even deny they are sinful, or at least claim the one sin in their life is not sin at all, but just "who they are". Maybe it's sex outside of wedlock, maybe it's a lifestyle of partying, or perhaps it's a lifestyle marked by hatred, idolatry, pride, theft, lying, self-worship, or lust. God calls them a liar not having the truth in them in 1 John 1:8-10.  They love the very things for which Christ was crucified! They profess the name of Jesus, but they are indeed lost!

We are called to be separate from the world. And Scripture promises that those who are not separate now will become separate later at the throne of judgment. So what about you? Is there any discernible difference between you and those in the world? Would a jury have evidence to convict you of loving God, or would they find evidence that you obviously love the world and the things of the world?

Are you a new creature who desires the things of God? Are your desires realized and evidenced in your walk? Are you pursuing holiness? Or are you pursuing the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? Are you seeking temporary happiness through superficial pleasures or permanent joy through the work of Christ? Do you have a desire to be pure, or is your desire to be fulfilled by your own selfish wants and lusts?

This is also how we know we are children of God - do we practice righteousness? 1 John 2:28-29,

28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Or is your life marked by sinfulness? 1 John 3:7-9

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

If your life is marked by sin, you are not of God. If your life is marked by love of the world, you are of the devil. Whoever is born again leaves the lifestyle of sin. There is no such thing as a continuously habitual, carnal, fruitless Christian. If this is you, you are a Christian in name only and you deceive yourself.  If you justify your sin knowing full well what God's Word says about your sin, then you deceive yourself and do not practice the truth.

Let God change that today. Let Him change you. The call here is for repentance. Come to Him with nothing in your hands.  Repent from loving the world, repent from following after this deadly master who has control over your life, and turn to the One who offers you Life so that you can be freed from your captivity and enter into eternal life.

Jesus came 2,000 years ago, and He is coming again just as He said He would. The clock on the wall is just seconds from striking Midnight. Will you continue down this path of destruction, fooling yourself that you are saved, when all accounts of your life seemingly prove otherwise? Repent and believe in the Son of God, and be changed. For you will be changed, IF the Spirit of God is within you.

May God bless the ones who have read and listened to these messages. May the Holy Spirit prick you to examine yourself to make sure you are His child. And whether you find yourself in a temporary state of carnality, or whether you have never known God to begin with (or rather He has never known you), come to repentance today and surrender your will, your desires, and your entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Biblical Assurance of Salvation - Part 5 mp3



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kolob - Where Every Mormon Wishes to "Hie"

By Justin Edwards

Todd Friel shares a Mormon hymn that concisely provides us with a clear distinction between the false god(s) of Mormonism and the One True God of the universe.

(HT: Christian Research Network)

Turkey: Iran No. 2?

By Michael Mickey
In my 8-27-10 commentary, I highlighted indicators from the news of our world today pointing to the nation of Turkey, a NATO member and long-time ally of the West, posturing itself for fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 which will see Turkey, Russia and Iran (among others) attack the nation of Israel in a time when Israel will falsely perceive it is dwelling in safety as a nation. (Ezekiel 38:11)

Little more than two weeks after my last commentary on this subject, there is much more to document. Let’s get right to it. 

On 9-12-10 the Christian Science Monitor reported that 26 amendments to Turkey’s Constitution were approved by 58% of voters in what many believe is going to strengthen the role Islam plays in dictating Turkish policy on a host of fronts. 

On 9-13-10 reported that Turkey is “losing patience” in its bid to become a member of the European Union. This comes as no surprise to me. Based on bible prophecy, I’ve been expecting it to happen for some time because it appears Turkey’s future is tied to powers not associated with the West. I wrote the following on 10-18-05 for example:

“Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda is stating Turkey’s ongoing negotiations to join the European Union will probably end with Turkey obtaining a kind of partnership rather than full membership, something I’ve documented on numerous occasions Turkey has said it will not accept. Suffice to say I expect, sooner or later, that Turkey, which has already been nuzzling up to its former enemy and future Gog-Magog ally, Russia, is going to turn from its goal of EU membership and align with its Gog-Magog counterparts. As we see, the tensions that may lead to this are already taking shape.”

On the heels of Turkish PM Erdogan’s Islamist AKP Party getting the voting public to back it in amending the Turkish Constitution, reported (on 9-15-10) that Iran would be donating $25,000,000 to aid Erdogan in his next election campaign. Is there anyone who believes the Iranian government would invest in the political future of a friend of Israel or a supporter of the West? Make no mistake about it, these two future Gog-Magog allies are becoming very cozy with one another! 

On 9-15-10 World Tribune reported that the Israeli defense community has assessed that Turkey is moving toward becoming a radical and nuclear Islamic state. Former Israeli National Security Council director Uzi Dayan summed up the tone of the report by saying, “If there is not a change in personality, then Turkey will become Iran No. 2.” 

It appears highly unlikely that a “change in personality” is forthcoming for Turkey, at least where its prophetic future is concerned. On 9-16-10 reported that recent polling indicates Turkey’s attitude toward the West has shifted with a solid majority of Turks now favoring Turkey strengthening its ties with Middle Eastern countries instead of the European Union. 

Having been one of the most frequent writers in the bible prophecy community to focus on Turkey’s role in Ezekiel 38′s prophecy of the battle of Gog-Magog, primarily how we should be able to witness Turkey swing from being a pro-Western nation to a nation willing to align itself with the likes of Iran as a sign of us living in the last days (Ezekiel 38:8), I am happy to report that God’s prophetic plan is proceeding exactly as anticipated. Simply put, this means we are getting closer and closer, both chronologically and conditionally, to the return of Jesus Christ our Lord! 


(HT: Standing for God)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


By Justin Edwards

The following message is being sent to all friends on my personal facebook page. Facebook limits the length of private messages so I am using the blog to allow the reader to continue reading here. I invite anyone to read this important message.

Dear friends,

I will be deleting this facebook page soon as I will be communicating exclusively from the facebook page of my blog, "Airo Follow":

I am sending this to you for a few reasons:

1) First and foremost I did not want anyone to be caught off guard and wonder why I might have deleted them as a friend if they are not currently a friend of "Airo Follow".

2) I wanted to give you an opportunity to continue following my posts or keep up with me should you desire to do so.

3) Should you decide not to "friend" my other fb profile, I wanted to say "farewell" and invite you to do so any time in the future.

I have had this personal profile for nearly 2 years and it has been a joy to have. Since I started my blog in February, it has been difficult to "maintain" 2 fb pages. This page has become less personal and I do not see a beneficial reason to continue posting here.

It has been a pleasure being updated with old friends that go back as far as elementary school, even if we rarely, if ever, participated on each other’s pages. Facebook has been a valuable tool in this regard, and should this be the end of our "virtual friendship", I wish you the best. It would be my privilege for you to friend me on my blog's fb page, but I will leave that to your discretion and won't solicit your interest beyond this message.

If this might be our last contact, I wanted to take one last opportunity to share the Lord Jesus Christ with you if you do not know Him already, or more importantly, if He does not know you.

*WAIT*, please don't look away. I ask you to take just a brief moment of your time to read what I have to say. I am speaking to you now as a friend and from the love of my heart. I have no other motive than to share the One thing – the One Person – who has the power to change your life forever, literally. So please, whether you profess to be a Christian or not, I ask that you continue reading.

I send this message to you out of obedience to fulfill what God has commanded of every Christian - to fulfill His Great Commission:

Mark 16:15 "And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

I am sure by following my posts over these last couple of years, you might consider me "religious", a committed follower of Jesus Christ, or even a crazy fool. Many of you who have known me over the last 12 years or so would likely see a dramatic change from who I used to be and who I am now. I can say with confidence there is only one Person who is responsible for this, and that is Jesus Christ.

He saved me. For nearly 20 years I professed to be a Christian and looking back, I cannot say with certainty that I was indeed a Christian for all of those years. When I started comparing my life to what the Word of God says, I noticed I was largely a contradiction to what the Bible defines as a believer in Jesus Christ (please watch the video below).

And then He broke me. I realized my wretched sin was such an offense against a Holy God. The very sins I took pleasure in were the very sins that nailed Christ to the bloody cross. And each time I rebelled against God, the nail was hammered deeper, the thorns ripped His brow further, the lacerations on His back stretched wider, the agony of a tormenting death grew harsher, and the weight of sin on Christ got heavier. My sin nailed Him to that rugged cross, and it ripped my heart out. That is the day I sorrowed over my sin, and that was the day my sin was covered by His precious blood through faith and repentance.

Being a Christian is not just a label. Having a simple or generic belief in "God" or a "higher power" is not "good enough" for you to go to heaven. One is not a Christian because their parents are or because they go to church. Even saying a prayer once when you were a kid does not make you a Christian. Further, your acts of service and charitable deeds do not ensure your way to heaven any more than the detestable criminal behavior of Adolf Hitler would ensure him access to heaven. In fact, many adults can profess a belief in Jesus and claim they are a Christian, but that does not necessarily mean they are saved.

And here's why:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

A Christian means you have been born again and have been made a new creation in Christ. When God saves you, He changes you. He gives you a hunger to seek Him in His Word, to commune with Him through prayer, and to seek the fellowship of other believers. At the moment of salvation, He begins a process in you to conform you to His Son Jesus Christ. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we grow to hate the things God hates, and to love the things God loves. We grow intolerant of the offensive things we use to participate in because God changes our very desires as we seek Him in all areas of our lives.

If your life is no different than before you began professing a belief in Christ, or your lifestyle is no different than your unbelieving friends, you must examine yourself. If the likelihood is pretty slim that someone might consider you a Christian based on your lifestyle alone or because you never talk about Jesus because "your faith is personal", you might want to seriously consider if you are truly saved. But don’t take my word for it, you need to go to the Source and back up what I’m saying.

You need to pick up a Bible.

I have heard it said, and correctly so, that if you do not have a new relationship with the Bible, and if you do not have a new relationship with sin, then you do not have a new relationship with God.

The Word of God tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5,

5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

We are called to examine ourselves. If we cannot pass the test of what the Bible defines as a Christian, then we will be disqualified, which means we will end up in hell if we continue down this path. There are so many who believe they are saved and they will find out the tragic truth of their eternal fate when it is too late. According to Matthew 7:23, Jesus will tell many people that He never knew them, although they professed to believe in Him:

"And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

That means many professing Christians are in hell today, and many professing Christians will die and go to hell in the future. That is why it is so important to make sure that you truly believe in Jesus Christ, and the only way to do that is to read the Bible. And don’t only read it, but do what it says (James 1:22) for that is the evidence that we are saved. We cannot rely on what people have told us from behind pulpits, or what assurance friends have given us, or what our own hearts tell us - for the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9,

"The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?"

We must go to the Word of God to see if we are truly saved and will surely spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. If you profess to be a Christian, the best place for you to start is in the book of 1 John (towards the end of the New Testament). Here you will find many examinations to test your faith, yet you will also find assurance of salvation if you are truly saved. But if you have never picked up the Bible before, or very rarely read what it has to say, then that should give you great cause for concern.

2 Peter 1:10-11 says,

"10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

If you are not willing to examine salvation with the Word of God, then you are probably not saved.

As I said, when God saves us, He changes us from the inside out. It is not possible to remain a fruitless, carnal Christian for all the days of your life. You cannot love Jesus Christ and love the world and the things of the world at the same time. If your lifestyle is one that pursues self-seeking interests and the pleasures of the world instead of pursuing the holiness of God and the things of God, then you have much to fear until you come to the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8).

This is why I believe pride to be the greatest sin - because it is pride that keeps people from coming to the knowledge of the truth. It is pride that makes people think they have need of nothing. It is pride that many professing Christians believe they can "believe" in Jesus yet live any way they want without ever pursuing the glory and holiness of God. And it is pride that will send many to an everlasting death in hell.

The truth is, you will act on what you believe. Belief is expressed by action. The more you believe something, the more you will act upon that belief. If you profess to have faith in Christ, the proof of that will be in the life you live. True faith yields action; true faith yields obedience.

True faith obeys.

The Christian life is not about following a list of rules (far from it – that would be stale and boring); rather, it is about loving God with all of your mind, heart, soul, and strength. So as we grow to love God more, our love for the world and the things of the world will naturally fade away. As we depend on Him for everything and pursue Him like we would pursue the love of our lives (for that is who God should be to us), He will give us the strength to overcome sin and be faithful to Jesus Christ through obedience to His revealed will.

Whether you profess to be a Christian or express a general belief in God or no belief in God, there is only one truth and one way to heaven. All other roads lead to death. Jesus said in John 14:6,

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

He also said in John 10:27,

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

This same Jesus said, “you must be born again” (John 3:3)(by the way, take a few days to read the Gospel of John to find out just who God is and what He did for you). This means you must come to the understanding that sin is a grave offense against God. You understand that you have broken His Law. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death (hell), but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23 says we all fall short of the glory of God.

We must realize our sinfulness and its just punishment and we must realize that Jesus is the only one who can save us. We must trust in Him alone for our salvation (that means you cannot work for your salvation, whether that is works of righteousness, church rituals and traditions, or being "good enough"). We must then submit our lives to the risen Lord Jesus Christ by repenting of our sins (turning away from your sinful lifestyle) and turning towards God to commit our lives to Him - that is when you will be saved. That is when your sins will be forgiven. That is when you desire God more than the world and Christ becomes more valuable to you than anything else.

That is when you will receive eternal life.

It becomes the end of you and the end of any control you have over your life. In fact, you become dead to yourself and your own desires, and you completely transfer everything that you are to everything that God is. When that happens, Jesus becomes your life and He will begin to change you from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. When God has control of you, you will begin to experience the everlasting joy that is in Christ. The Hope within you will be evident to those around you, and the love of Christ will shine through you as you become more like Him.

This is not a call for you to come get “your best life now”. No, it is a call for you to lay your life down for Jesus Christ because He is worthy. He laid His life down for your sake, and it is the greatest act of love this world has ever seen.

It is not a promise of happiness. No, it is a call to suffer for His name’s sake. It is not a promise of material blessings. No, it is a promise that no matter the difficult trials and tribulations you go through, He will pull you through it. It is not a promise that you will not face persecution. No, in fact, if you follow Christ, you are promised just that – persecution, even unto death. And yet, His glorious resurrection proves that one day we all will be resurrected – some of us to eternal life, and some of us to eternal destruction.

This is a call for you to live!

If you have counted the cost and are willing to forsake it all for Jesus Christ, you are ready to be His disciple, as Jesus Himself said in Luke 14:33,

"So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."

When you value the Lord Jesus Christ more than anything else, that is when you are able to forsake everything for His precious gift of Life. Do you not want Life?

I understand this message has been long, but there is just so much I want to tell you about Life in Christ. It is so important for you to understand this temporary life we have on earth is not the end of ourselves, it is only the beginning. The decision you make to follow or reject the Lord Jesus Christ will determine where you spend the rest of eternity. Even 100 trillion years is still a vapor in the wind in the backdrop of the eternal. You will either spend forever with the King of kings and Lord of lords, benefiting from the eternal inheritance He offers you, or you will spend forever under the same judgment the devil and his angels will be sentenced to in the lake of fire.

This is no trivial matter. This is serious business. You are not promised another breath from your lungs or beat from your heart. The Lord Jesus Christ could return before you wake up in the morning, but then it will be too late. Do you not want to be absolutely sure where you will spend eternity?

I love you and it's why I have told you the truth.

Although this may be a blessing to a few people, it is likely that more of you may hate me or consider me a fool. Some of you may hate me while you profess to be a Christian. But that’s ok. It is well worth the price to tell you how you can receive life. It is worth telling you that you can be set free from the bondage of the world, from the bondage of your sin, from false hope, from false security, and from an eternity absent the love, grace, and mercy of Almighty God.

There is only one truth, and the source of it is Jesus Christ. No one wants to be lied to, so isn't it worth your time to search whether or not what you believe is actually true? How do you know that which you believe is really real?

I care for you and I love you, no matter the relationship we might have. Should you desire to learn more about the free gift of Grace and what it means to be a born again Christian saved and secured for life and eternity, then please never hesitate to contact me through the Airo Follow facebook page. You can also reach me at

My blog is rich in resources on these matters, and I pray God draws you by His Spirit to search for the Truth, which is the only thing that can set you free in this life and the life to come.

Thanks for taking the time to read this message. I will miss the ones I'll never hear from again, but because of my love for you, it was necessary for me to share this with you one last time. I do hope this won't be the end of our contact.

In Christ,

Justin Edwards

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