Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XVII

 Once the stain of unholiness makes its mark upon a heart, it tends to bring along friends. It doesn’t like being alone and fears that the individual in question might see the error of their rebellion and seek repentance, returning to the light. As such, it is often that the tendency of the unholy is to likewise be haughty, headstrong, unloving, and unforgiving. They are so certain of their truth and the deception they’ve allowed to take root in their heart that they will not hear any contrarian voice without growing exceedingly angry and bitter. They are quick to slander anyone who points to sin and calls it sin, calling them unloving, while they themselves exhibit the characteristics of the unloving.

It’s a trick that is also successfully implemented in modern-day politics, wherein those accusing the other side of the most treasonous crimes are usually guilty of them and worse. You don’t have to be obsessed with the day-to-day goings on of the power brokers of our day to see that the most vocal detractors of some individual or another are later found guilty of doing precisely what they railed against with such vehemence.

The church has followed suit, and there are certain practices, sins, and vices regarding which dissent is no longer allowed in certain denominations because those at the top are openly practicing them. If you are unwilling to toe the line and agree with the lunacy being peddled as normal, you are summarily shown the door and asked never to return. We don’t need your negativity, no sir. Who are you to judge? I’m nobody, but the God of the Bible is somebody, and He judges without regard for men’s opinions or how engrained their deception might have become. You can’t identify as a believer; you must be a believer in word and deed.

An unholy individual will always strive to satisfy the desires of his flesh. He is by all accounts a slave, shackled to the thing that has brought him low, always attempting to excuse and justify the vapid emptiness of their existence, pretending that a momentary, fleeting sin satisfies the deepest longing of their soul. It is a lie, for sin can never satisfy the overriding need for the presence of God in a man’s heart. The absence of God makes man less than a man, and that some are willing to turn their backs on Him in order to satisfy urges and desires, even among those who name the name of Christ, is the emblematic tragedy of the last days of the church.

The unholy feel no shame and lack decency. They seek pleasure in abnormal and unnatural pursuits, surrendering their hearts to them. Eventually, that perversion or unnatural pursuit becomes the core of their existence, and everything revolves around it. Their identity becomes synonymous with their proclivity, and they become subject to its whims. That’s not to say the unholy can’t feign religiosity when it suits them or even quote scripture out of context to bolster their arguments. They are well versed in appearing to be something they are not, and whenever they feel as though they are losing the argument, their fallback is always victimhood. It is neither hateful nor unloving to call sin what it is, nor is the individual practicing the sin being persecuted when they are called to repent of it.

When preachers, pastors, or evangelists go out of their way to mollycoddle sin, prioritizing feelings over men’s souls, they are not doing the lost any favors, nor are they exhibiting the love of God. To the world, it may seem thus. To God, it is a betrayal of one of the fundamental tenets of the faith, wherein an individual must repent and be born again into a new life in Christ.

An infection requires antibiotics to go away, and sin requires repentance to cease having sway over the individual. If repentance is not forthcoming, the person in question will eventually return to it and grow ever more in thrall to it because once it returns, it brings reinforcements. It’s no mystery why so many today return to bondage, sin, and ungodliness. There may have been an emotional response to God, but there was no repentance, and so the sin lingered, latent for a time but ever ready to resume its corruption.

That the unholy would not be outside the camp but within is the new wrinkle that will appear and become ever more evident during the last days. Again, because context matters, and when these things were written undergirds their prophetic nature, Paul wrote these words some two thousand years ago.

It used to be that the godless and reprobate remained so until stirred to repentance, but once repentance occurred, their lives were forever transformed. They walked in the light, pursued holiness, desired godliness, and grew in God. That has been turned on its ear in our modern age, wherein men want the security of the promise of heaven while remaining fully shackled and subservient to hell.

Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

When Jesus said no one could serve two masters, He did not intend it to be taken as a challenge to try and prove Him wrong. Evidently, that’s what much of the church took it as. We know what you said, but we think we can swing it. It’s not so much about having hate for one and love for the other; that’s so binary and minimalistic. Why can’t we view it more along the lines of joint custody? You get us on weekends; the world gets us the rest of the week; that way, everyone’s happy.

We’ve convinced ourselves God is willing to play such childish games when He clearly isn’t. When He declared in His word that attempting to serve two masters never turns out well, it was not because it wasn’t His best for you but because it was impossible. To put it into perspective, while one gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life, the other walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Who do you think has your best interests at heart? Who do you think wants the best for you? Is it the one who seeks your destruction or the one who seeks your salvation? Even so, the unholy will find a way to justify their rebellion because the singular desire of their heart is not to serve God but rather their flesh, and if disregarding the consequences of their actions is required in order to achieve their goal, so be it.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, July 22, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XVI

 As we go down the list of the things we will see within the church during the last days, Paul points to men being unholy as one of the signs that will be evident. God never expected the godless to be holy, but He does expect His children to exhibit holiness. This is yet another one of those terms that have fallen out of favor with the contemporary church, accompanied by others such as repentance, sanctification, and righteousness, which, if spoken of or insisted upon, will have the pastor answering to the elder board for having hurt the feelings of one individual or another.

That the message of the cross, the gospel of Christ, and the Word of God were meant to be inoffensive, all-inclusive, permissive, and innocuous is yet another lie that has crept within the household of faith and declared to be the truth. God did not take my feelings or yours into account when He inspired the writing of the Bible via the Holy Spirit. He didn’t give a second thought about how it would make men feel when He called them wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. God’s not looking for your affirmation, approval, or vote, so He doesn’t have to soften blows or try His best to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

He is God! The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the omnipotent, omniscient Creator of all that is and who spoke the universe into being.

1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.”’

Given that God said to be holy and that the men of the last days claiming to be of God will be unholy, we would do well to define what unholy means before going any further. Some synonyms for unholy are profane, indecent, absent shame, blind to modesty, blind to decency, lacking purity, or absent of righteousness. The unholy of the last days won’t be one of these things but an amalgam, a mixture of all of them, whether profaning the Word of God by declaring it said something it didn’t while being shameless in doing so, living in open sin while calling themselves men of God, lacking decency, modesty or righteousness, or just working against the plan and will of God believing themselves to be above the Word.

What Paul declared as future tense is now present tense, and you don’t have to look far to find a handful of examples from any given denomination. You wouldn’t have to go back far. A few weeks would suffice, and if you counted on your fingers how many elders, children’s pastors, senior pastors, evangelists, and ministry leaders were arrested for bonafide crimes, you’d need more fingers.

Every new day seems to be another heartbreak, another black eye, another individual exposed for the unholy conduct in which they have engaged, thereby bringing shame to the household of faith.

If Paul were writing about the godless in his letter, there would have been nothing revelatory in saying that during the last days, they would be unholy. You don’t say! The godless will continue to be godless, and the unholy, unholy. Will water also continue to be wet, and fire continue to burn?

The tragedy of it is that he was writing about the church of the last days and all the festering boils, putrid wounds, and spreading stains that would be evident during the last days, not only from within but also from without. The godless are noticing the hypocrisy of those who beat their chests, insisting that they are godly. The godless are wrinkling their noses as pastor after pastor gets exposed for being an unrepentant pervert or gets arrested for doing things even most of the godless cringe away from. Tell me we’re living in the last days without telling me we’re living in the last days.

That the guy who kissed dating goodbye also ended up kissing Jesus goodbye, or that one of the lead singers for Hillsong, Hillsonged himself into the mud from which he’d claimed to have been set free are the tame ones. It gets worse, much worse, and it’s not hard to find the stories, confessions, half-hearted apologies, and outright renunciations of Christ as Lord.

Before the other denominations begin to point out that this is a charismatic problem, you would do well to do some research and see how many progenies of some of the most well-known names in your denomination are avowed atheists who are doing their utmost to turn the young and impressionable away from the light and the truth of Christ as the only way to the Father.

Whether Baptist, Methodist, Reformed, Pentecostal, Lutheran, or any other of the major denominations one could think of, the unholy aren’t just a negligible minority. There is a groundswell of godless people insisting that they serve God, even though the god they serve is of their own making. To such individuals, Jesus is whatever they want Him to be, and the deeper the depravity of their hearts, the more depraved their definition of Jesus. They are irreverent to the utmost, profane, and lacking righteousness or purity, yet there they stand, insisting that their Jesus is just as divine as the Christ who said, go and sin no more.

This is the natural decline and end result of a church, denomination, or generation whose singular pursuit is watering down the gospel and nullifying the need for repentance and the blood of Jesus to make one clean, whole, and regenerate.  

An unholy man or woman will always prioritize their wants, desires, and lusts over the will and Word of God. Their identity is not in Christ but in some other thing to which they have surrendered and are now ruled by their predilections in perpetuity. While the Word of God tells us that without holiness, no one will see the Lord, holiness is the furthest thing from their hearts and minds, and if anyone dares to point to Scripture, they mock, scoff, and obfuscate. They will always find others who will justify their rebellion and celebrate their sin because birds of a feather flock together, and those who have been given over seem to find each other readily enough.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, July 21, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XV

 Many things had to go wrong for the contemporary church to find itself in the spiritual condition it finds itself in. Perhaps one of the most insidious of these was the idea that we can attract those of the world by becoming more relevant, seeker-friendly, and less biblical. If we can dilute it, water it down, remove the bits the world deems unsavory and intolerant, then we’d really leave our mark. The reason people weren’t coming to church was because there was too much Jesus there. That’s an easy fix, then, isn’t it? Put Jesus in an attic somewhere and only bring Him out on special occasions. Birthdays and special events only; other than that handful of times, we can focus on the ministry of tithing and hundredfold returns.

It worked, didn’t it? Mega churches started sprouting up all over the place, people were filling the seats and overflowing the offering buckets, and we thought we’d cracked the code. We’d finally done it! Paul must have been wrong in his first letter to the Corinthians after all. I guess it was a limiting belief when he said that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God and not the way things really were.

1 Corinthians 2:14-15, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.”

No, Paul wasn’t wrong. That’s the tragedy of it. The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. However, there are countless souls who, still being in the flesh, believe the lie that they have become spiritual by osmosis while retaining the natural man fully intact and unregenerate. You cannot be of the light and of the dark simultaneously. You cannot testify the truth with your lips while your heart is full of evil and deceit. That thing about repenting, therefore, wasn’t an option or some extra credit you could earn; it is mandatory and non-negotiable.

One of the reasons for the great peril of the last days and the spiritual condition of the church during that time is that those who insisted they were preachers of the gospel really weren’t, and rather than doing the thing the Bible told them they needed to do, they took it upon themselves to jigger with the Word and insisted they were supposed to save the world. Men preach; God saves. If you preach the truth, those saved are being transformed, renewed, regenerated, and born again. If you preach a lie, those thinking they’re being saved really aren’t because you never told them what they needed to do to be saved.

John 3:1-3, “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these things that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”’

Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He knew the law, lived the law, and was even a ruler among the Jews. He acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher come from God, as had the other Pharisees. Nicodemus was a religious man, likely a moral man, a keeper of the law, and had ‘accepted’ Jesus as being sent from God, yet Jesus still said, you must be born again, for unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

It’s not my job to convert you; it’s my job to preach the gospel to you. The rest is between you and God. When we begin to poll test the gospel message and remove the things unspiritual people find uncomfortable, we are diluting the very essence of the gospel. It’s not as though we did it with God’s permission or consent. It’s not as though He changed His mind or lowered His standard, so why are we surprised at the lethargy sweeping the Western Church? The gospel is not a commodity to be tested but a divine message of salvation to be embraced.

This generation insisted on duplicity; don’t resent God for maintaining His standard of righteousness.

You can’t have God on your terms. No matter how special you might consider yourself to be or how entitled you might feel to a special exemption wherein God has to dance to your tune and accept you without being born again, it will not be so. You can have God on His terms, and His terms are clearly spelled out in the Word.

But that would mean that far fewer people than we thought are genuinely saved and sanctified. Isn’t that what the Bible says?

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Departure from the truth has facilitated all the things Paul lists as the source of peril within the church in our last days. Had we remained in truth and prioritized men’s souls over men’s wallets and quality over quantity, we would not be in the predicament we find ourselves in. We would not be on the threshold of the falling away or the shockwave of animosity and vitriol that will follow on its heels.

You cannot have a Christless gospel and still call it the gospel or have any expectation that it will save or lead you to life. There’s no such thing as a Christless truth, and any way that promises you life without Jesus is a lie and a deception. This is basic Christianity, yet pastors of all denominations and stripes are going out of their way to avoid this singularly crucial truth: Jesus is imperative! He’s not just some auxiliary figure in the Bible that we can ignore whenever it suits us. He is the gospel. Without Him, there would be no gospel, nor would there be a way to be reconciled with the Father.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XIV

 If you’ve ever gone out of your way to help someone and did your best to do so, and the only feedback you received is that it wasn’t nearly enough, you know how disheartening unthankfulness can be. It’s also why I don’t subscribe to the mindset that whenever someone with means makes a sizeable contribution to some project, whether it’s to dig wells or build homes, the immediate reaction should be that they could have done more.

Coincidentally, that is always the narrative from the nosebleed section, no matter how unmatchable by us common folk the generosity of those they look their noses down upon happens to be. These are the same people who do absolutely nothing for that particular cause except wait feverishly beside their keyboard until someone does so they can belittle the size of their contribution. It’s not up to me to decide what another should do for the poor; it’s up to me to decide what I will do for them since they will always be among us.

A sense of entitlement is kryptonite to thankfulness and a debilitating poison for men’s souls. When an individual believes that whatever they receive from the hand of God is owed to them, that simply by raising a hand in church, they are entitled to all the riches of earth, however God chooses to bless them, it’s never enough, and they are never thankful.

Being unthankful in the little things will eventually lead to being unthankful in the big ones. If you are not thankful for everything, eventually, you will be thankful for nothing. We form patterns, and before we realize it, they become habits, and once that habit is formed, it takes some sort of event to snap us out of it and make us realize what we’ve been doing. Being unthankful can become habit forming, and when unthankfulness takes root in men’s hearts, their attitude is one of perpetual ingratitude.

Bless me, Lord. They cry aloud, and God answers, I have. To that, they arch their eyebrows and wonder aloud, how so?

Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

That’s all well and good, but why does my neighbor have a newer car, a bigger house, fancier toys, and more money than me? That’s the answer of the unthankful heart whenever God reveals all that He has done. It’s never enough; it’s never sufficient because they’re always comparing their status with someone else’s, and it’s never with the individual who has less.

Of all the things David mentioned in his hymn of thanksgiving, not one was tethered to the material. You couldn’t buy any of the things he was thankful for, no matter how much you were willing to spend. That’s the thing the unthankful never seem to realize: that the benefits God reserves for His own are priceless and not within man’s ability to acquire by any other means. You can’t buy forgiveness or healing; you can’t purchase redemption from destruction; you can’t join a club, no matter how exclusive, to receive His lovingkindness and tender mercies. To access any of these things, you must be His, belong to Him, serve Him, and obey Him.

What many in the West define as poverty, the rest of the world deems unattainable luxuries. If you have running water, a roof over your head, a means of earning your daily bread, and a means of transport, you’re doing better than most people living in the world today. There are currently over one billion people living on less than a dollar a day, yet we still find reasons to be unthankful more often than many of them.

The reason for this is simple: men’s sense of entitlement has reached such monstrous proportions that the daily blessings others would weep in gratitude toward God over, they dismiss offhand. Being unthankful has always been a mark of the godless. Only within the last few decades has it become a staple within the church as well. Standing before God with our hands out, asking for more, even though we have more than enough, has become a mainstay of the modern-day church. If what we were asking for was more faith, more power, more virtue, more righteousness, more obedience, or faithfulness, it would be all well and good. We’re not, though. We’re not asking God for the refiner’s fire; we’re praying money down from heaven and flocking to anyone who would promise us life on easy street.

Being thankful is a choice. Being unthankful is likewise a choice. We choose to see the blessing and providence of God every day or to compare ourselves to others and feel as though we’ve been shortchanged somehow.

Not only are we to be thankful for God’s blessings, but we must also be thankful for the trials He allows in our lives. It’s a big ask when most people aren’t even thankful for their blessings, but when we realize that the trials He allows bring us closer to Him, teach us to be more dependent upon Him, and facilitate our seeing His mighty hand at work in our lives, we become thankful even for them.

An unthankful heart will always have a reason to grumble. It will always have some complaint or another because it is never satisfied. There will always be something more it desires, refusing to consider all it has received. The attitude of ‘what have you done for me lately’ defines the unthankful heart, as though Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross were not enough.

Being around unthankful believers is disheartening. Their attitude is akin to a perpetual dark cloud that saps your joy and your peace. Every day is a new misfortune, a fresh reason to gripe, to insist that they are unloved by God because there’s a pebble in their shoe, rather than being thankful that they have shoes and shaking out the pebble.

If we cannot be thankful in times such as these, how will we be thankful when times get hard? If we cannot be thankful in seasons of plenty, how will we be thankful in seasons of famine?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

How many churches today can honestly say this is the standard they live by? How many believers can read these words and see their hearts mirrored therein? Never mind that Paul’s definition of light affliction was within the context of being hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, shipwrecked, beaten with rods, and stoned. An unthankful heart will always focus on the temporary, the things that are seen, the things they can touch, drive, wear, and brag about. The thankful heart understands that come what may in this life, including trials and momentary afflictions, are working for us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, July 19, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XIII

 Children being disobedient to parents is self-explanatory enough that it does not need to be plumbed. Once again, we see the fulfillment of Paul’s prophetic warning playing out before our eyes. Rebellious children are not only a heartbreaking tragedy for the parents in question, but they are also a sign of the last days of the church. It seems as though the age range when children begin to think that they know better than their parents is decreasing perceptibly with each passing year.

Since the aim of the godless is the corruption of innocence and destruction thereof at as early an age as possible, seemingly out of nowhere, there is a chorus of voices insisting that a three or four-year-old has the mental wherewithal to decide upon issues that they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives, and acquiesce to irreversible procedures which will haunt them until they breathe their last.

The world encourages parental disobedience, from former Vice Presidents telling auditoriums full of preteen children that their parents know nothing and that it is their responsibility to enlighten their mothers and fathers to entire governmental bodies being created with the singular purpose of negating wise counsel and stripping parents of the ability to teach their own progeny.

There is a well-thought-out, concerted, and diabolical effort afoot to circumvent and nullify parental counsel. Laws are being passed in certain states that prohibit teachers and counselors from reaching out to parents if their child is troubled and encouraged to keep the knowledge of the child’s problems hidden from them. The state now deems itself the defacto parent of every child and encourages the aforementioned disobedience shamelessly and vociferously.

Unless the parents are fully engaged and are wise to their child’s emotional instability, by the time they figure out what’s happening, it’s too late to do anything about it. Even then, if attempts are made to reason with their offspring, the state is quick to swoop in and go as far as removing the child from the home because they deem a loving parent who wants the best for their child a threat to their health and happiness.

The enemy is fully aware that if the pattern of being disobedient to parents can be established in the hearts of the young, they are more likely to be disobedient toward God when they are grown. God is not the author of confusion, but the devil surely is. If he can plant the seeds of rebellion early, they are likelier to be deeply rooted by the time the individual in question is called upon to make choices of eternal consequence.

Access to technology by kids barely out of diapers has given them a false sense of omniscience, and they’ve come to believe that Wikipedia is a suitable replacement for life experience. Due to an increase in children being disobedient to parents, they refuse to listen to the voice of experience when it comes to practical life matters and suffer the consequences of the choices they make needlessly. It’s no longer enough that mom and dad say you shouldn’t touch the stove when it’s hot; they have to confirm it for themselves, and many have the scars and burns to prove it.

The gray hairs around your father’s temples prove that he knows more than you and is wiser than you. It’s not me saying it; it’s the Bible. Proverbs tells us that wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.

It is foolhardy to reject advice and counsel from someone twice your age because although they’ve been where you are, as yet, you’ve not been where they’ve been. Disobedience also begets dishonor, and the Word is clear regarding the honoring of your father and mother.

Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Think back on how many heartaches and heartbreaks you would have been spared had you listened and obeyed your parents in the Lord. Think back on how many pitfalls you could have avoided, how many tears you would have never had to shed, and how much disappointment you wouldn’t have had to wrestle with.

That whole nonsense about not doing anything different given the chance is nothing more than a coping mechanism for people who refuse to admit they made mistakes. Most people can think of a dozen things they would have done differently off the top of their heads, perhaps not life-altering, but likely beneficial to their overall well-being.

Conversely, most people can think of a dozen things they’re thankful for having heeded when it came by way of counsel from a mother or a father.

I remember being in my first year of Junior High, and the electives I had to choose from were either typing or wood shop. I got home from school and offhandedly mentioned it to my mother, to which she said that typing would be the better choice since it seemed more useful to her than carving your initials into a block of wood with a band saw. Plus, typing didn’t pose the risk of cutting off a finger if you weren’t being careful.

I was all of eleven at the time, and the idea of taking typing classes was not at all appealing to me. I explained to her why I thought the wood shop class was a far better idea. She retorted with why she didn’t, and we went round and round for a solid half hour with nobody making any headway.

Finally, exasperated, she sighed and said, “Do what you want, but I’m going to pray that you get put in the typing class.”

I thought nothing of it until I went to school the following day, excited to pick wood shop as my elective. I was told that the class was already full, and the only option left to me was the typing class. Having resigned myself to the idea, there was no point in getting angry or complaining, and a week later, I was the only boy sitting in a classroom full of girls banging away on selectric typewriters.

In hindsight, it was the best decision I made at any point during the entirety of my junior high years, even though, technically, the choice was made for me. At the time, it was grueling, and I didn’t much like it, especially the first couple of weeks when you had to get comfortable with the finger positioning on the keyboard.

A few months later, when I started translating my grandfather’s autobiography and typing out the ministry's newsletters, I had to admit to myself that my mother was right, and it had been the best decision for me.

At the moment, a parent’s advice or counsel might seem antiquated and old-fashioned, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we will realize that however it may have seemed at the time, it was good, solid advice that would have paid dividends had we followed through.

Unlikely as it might be that I have a gaggle of young readers, children, obey your parents. It is a Biblical mandate, and as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, the first commandment with promise.

God doesn’t make empty promises, nor does He promise something He can’t deliver on. Do what God says, and watch what He does. Obey your parents in the Lord, honor them, and the fruit of this obedience will carry you through life.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XII

 Paul also warns that in the last days, there will be blasphemers. Those who blaspheme God, the ways of God, the Word of God, and the truth of God have always existed in the world. There have always been men whose hearts were so darkened, whose hatred for a God they claimed they didn’t believe in reached such heights as to utter the most blasphemous things without giving it a second thought. The difference between then and now, between that time and this, is that the blasphemers will not be exclusive to those of the world but also found within the house of God.

It may seem paradoxical for someone who says they serve God to blaspheme Him, but we’ve seen it time and again, not just from the laymen but also from supposed leaders and governing bodies of churches and denominations.

Between Merriam-Webster’s definition of blasphemy and the definition of the root word for it in Greek, it is undeniable that many so-called spiritual leaders and people of the cloth are, in word and deed, blasphemers.

The modern translation of blasphemy, via the aforementioned Merriam-Webster, is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, the act of claiming the attributes of a deity, or irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.

The translation from Greek adds an extra layer by defining blasphemy as speaking lightly or amiss of sacred things or slandering.

By these definitions, anyone who has stood behind a pulpit and claimed to be a little god committed blasphemy. Anyone who has stood behind a pulpit and twisted the Word of God to give permission to sin committed blasphemy. Anyone who showed contempt for God because they deemed Him unfair, misogynistic, non-inclusive, or outdated committed blasphemy. The list is long, and had we the time, we could go through it point by point, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Sobering as the reality of it might be, the truth of it is that some of the most lauded, celebrated, and revered spiritual leaders of our day are, by definition, the blasphemers Paul warned of.

There is a difference between those who blaspheme out of ignorance and those who do it knowingly. Given that the preachers, pastors, and evangelists who are guilty of blaspheming handle the Word and ought to know better, they cannot use the excuse of ignorance to justify the things they’ve taught and encouraged.

1 Timothy 1:12-13, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief.”

This is a man who understood what he had been and what he had been transformed into. He didn’t try to soften the blow or put himself in a better light. Were it not for his own words, we likely would have never known that Paul had been a blasphemer and an insolent man. Due to the telling of Stephen’s martyrdom in the book of Acts, as well as his subsequent reason for being on the road to Damascus, we would have known Paul was a persecutor, but that would have been all. He confesses to having been not only a persecutor but a blasphemer and an insolent man, but he’d obtained mercy because he had done these things ignorantly and in unbelief. What’s the excuse of many of today’s most prominent preachers, teachers, and pastors?

Because certain people always feel the need to one-up their contemporaries, recently, a mega-church pastor went beyond calling himself a little god and went one step further, calling himself God almighty. The hubris of some men continues to baffle me, and the fact that thousands upon thousands are cheering them like trained seals, not realizing what blasphemy is being uttered is beyond me utterly.

Then you have the new crop of prophets and prophetesses, at least in their own estimations, who declare with a straight face that they’ve been teleported to heaven via porta-potties, sat on God’s lap, braided His beard, and gave Him their indispensable insight as to how He should administrate the universe. It’s both insulting and irreverent toward God, the very definition of blasphemy.

So before we get on our soapboxes and start declaring that there are no blasphemers here, take a minute, look around, and listen to what some people are saying about everything from God to the Word of God, to the inerrancy of Scripture, to the supremacy of Christ, or the presence of the Holy Spirit, just to name a few, and then tell me that they are not a clear and present reality in our midst.

Anyone insisting that God has denied His nature and that He is no longer a holy and righteous God in order to appease and facilitate the proclivities and vices of modernity is likewise a blasphemer by definition. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in Him, there is no shadow of turning. That’s what the Book says about the God such individuals purport to serve, yet present Him as one who is willing to make concessions and change at the drop of a hat.

Men’s opinions do not supersede the Word of God. We must revisit this lesson and allow it to take root in our hearts. It doesn’t matter who said it or how well respected they are within Christian circles; if their words contradict the Word, they are in the wrong and need to be rebuked for it.

But that’s never going to happen because we like what they have to say. It tickles our ears and makes us feel good, and in the end, for many, feeling good takes precedence over being saved as long as they are constantly reassured that they are saved even though there is no fruit or transformation in their lives to confirm that reality. Believing a lie that boosts our egos is preferred to a truth that humbles us. That, too, is addressed by Paul further into his second letter to Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.”

We can sing about these being the days of Elijah and Ezekiel until we’re hoarse, but if it walks like heresy, talks like blasphemy smells like blasphemy, and turns men’s ears away from the truth and toward fables like blasphemy, it’s blasphemy. We can try to couch and sugarcoat it, but what would be the point? The evidence speaks for itself.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The Last Days Of The Church XI

 The proud are usually boastful, and the boastful are generally proud. Some things just go together and complement each other, like peanut butter and jelly or pineapple on pizza. You’ll never find a humble man boasting of his humility, nor will you hear a proud man waxing poetic about his modesty unless they’re self-deluded enough to ignore the paradox they’ve created in their own minds.

That pride comes before the fall has been wholly ignored in the contemporary church lately. The pervasive materialism has led to an ongoing competition among those deemed our spiritual betters to try and one-up each other, or as the kids call it nowadays, flex. If one sheep shearer gets a jet, the next one has to get two. If another comes along and gets two, his two must be bigger and more luxurious than the others; otherwise, what’s the point?

You can turn on what passes for Christian television on any given day and find someone talking about how they’ve just acquired some material thing, whether a new car, plane, or mansion, all the while brow-beating their followers into yet another round of sacrificial giving. Your prioritizing feeding your kids over sending Brother Jesse a fat check is what’s keeping Jesus from returning!

We’ve come a long way, but not in the right direction. Once upon a time, it was common knowledge that in and of ourselves, we have nothing to boast in, for all good things come from God, and nothing that we have is of ourselves but a gift from Him. Men used to walk humbly with their Lord, and if God chose to use them in any measure, they gave Him the glory and the honor due Him, not taking for themselves that which was rightly His. This humility and gratitude were the standard for all believers, inspiring them to live a life of service and worship.

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

That used to be the standard for all believers, something that compelled gratitude and thankfulness of heart because they knew the magnitude of the gift they’d received. Fast forward some two thousand years, and you have self-titled pastors denouncing the words of Jesus, calling Him an obtuse, misogynistic racist to whom the current culture couldn’t possibly relate. Keep in mind that these are individuals who shepherd other individuals, are fully ordained in their chosen denominations, and claim to be of the Kingdom. How does it work exactly, vilifying the one you claim to serve and worship?

Due to men’s pride, many have come to believe that they are on equal footing with Jesus. They’ve convinced themselves that if they don’t like something He said, they can insist He was wrong and go about their lives as they will without a moment’s hesitation. The narcissism is off the charts, and it’s only made possible by the influx of pride the church has allowed and accepted. Pride warps reality. It makes people see what isn’t there and gives them a false sense of authority when they have none.

Well, yes, Jesus said to go and sin no more, but I don’t count my preferred perversion as a sin. Therefore, I don’t have to cease indulging in it! I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not, and a few minutes worth of research will confirm that it’s even worse than that.

The image many have in their minds as to what they believe the church is and the reality of what it has become are markedly different, and what it is, in reality, is akin to a carbon copy of what Paul warned the last days of the church would look like. Somehow, there’s still that disconnect wherein although we are seeing the heresy, deception, and turning away from the truth obliterating denomination after denomination, we’re still fully expecting the sweeping revivals men promised us.

Why are you so dour? Why can’t you be more optimistic? Because I cannot ignore what the Bible says about the last days just because I want to see them play out differently than how the Bible says they will.  

The only ones who don't see the perilous times of which Paul spoke coming to pass in real time are those who choose not to. Just because we ignore the uncomfortable things doesn’t mean they cease to exist. On the contrary, ignoring them only precipitates their dissemination.

The spiritual condition of the church during the last days explains how so many will be deceived and why the love of many will grow cold. It also explains why there will be so little resistance to the darkness and to those preaching another Christ. If churches are too busy churning out NDAs and hiring crisis management firms to keep the shockwaves of certain revelations localized, how can they also be expected to preach against sin and be a light? Priorities are priorities, after all! Business first, then if we have time for Jesus and if His words aren’t overly offensive, we might mention Him in passing.

The Word of God has much to teach us if we are willing to learn. Among the things it teaches us is that as servants of God, we must walk uprightly and, rather than boasting in our accomplishments, boast in our infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest upon us. They are not our accomplishments to begin with. If you are a vessel of honor in the Master’s house, acknowledge that it was the Master’s good pleasure to choose you and use you rather than insist that He would have never accomplished His will without you.

That’s also where pride plants its seed to give birth to its hideously destructive harvest. When men begin to think that they are too valuable for the Kingdom, that God couldn’t do one thing or another without them specifically, they allow themselves liberties, which the Bible never does, and ever so slowly wander from the truth. They justify their unconfessed sin because, as yet, God has not punished them for it, not realizing that one day, sooner or later, the bill will come due, and it will be hefty indeed. God doesn’t play games with us, but we’ve gotten it into our heads that we can play games with Him. Eternity is not a game; it is everything, and if you are willing to place your soul in jeopardy over momentary pleasures or to pacify your flesh, you are not worthy of Him to begin with.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.