Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 138

The Gifts Part 43

Prophecy continued...

As Jesus continues His prophetic discourse concerning the end of the age and His subsequent return, He takes us through certain events that will precede what we have come to refer to as the end of days, and within the span of twenty verses He hits upon false prophets and false christs two more times. From reading the words of Jesus concerning the last days, we come away with the impression that interspersed with wars, rumors of wars, persecution, trials, hardships and tribulations, there are those who would deceive the household of faith and compel it to remove itself from under God’s protection.

Matthew 24:11-13, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

After Jesus outlined what the beginning of sorrows would look like, with famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places, after He foretold of the soon coming days when men would deliver us to tribulation and kill us, and how we would be hated by all nations for His name’s sake, He returns to the false prophets who would once again rise up, and deceive many.

The troublesome thing about this particular verse is not that many false prophets will rise up, because false prophets have always been about, and in times of distress, uncertainty and troubles they seem to increase in number, the troublesome thing is that they would deceive many. There is no need to deceive one who is already steeped in deception; there is no need to sway from truth one who has never known truth because it would be a futile and redundant exercise.

To deceive is defined as to cause to believe what is not true, to mislead, ensnare, or catch by guile. It is not the deceived that these false prophets will attempt to deceive, but those whose foundation in truth is weak and not deeply grounded.

In His goodness Jesus also tells us why so many will be deceived, and why these false prophets will be so successful. It is because lawlessness will abound, and because the love of many will grow cold. Although we might like to pretend that the days Jesus spoke of are afar off, although we might like to think that we will not see these events play out in our lifetime, or that we will no longer be here for them, all one needs to do is take a good look at what passes for the church nowadays, see the lawlessness that is festering therein, and realize that the love that once burned bright is all but cold ash. Yes, we still have Jesus on our lips, we still boast of His desire to bestow prosperity on one and all, but He is far removed from our hearts, because if our hearts were truly His, we would not squander that time we have on the meaningless, the vain, the futile, the worthless, but be about doing the Father’s will and laboring for His glory and kingdom.

‘But where do you see lawlessness in the church brother Mike?’

Where do I begin? We have strayed so far from truth that we have made lawlessness a doctrine within the household of faith in recent decades. I realize this sounds blunt, but there is no other way of saying it, we have come to teach the Body of Christ that they can live as they please, unrestrained by law, unrestrained by precepts or standards, and that God must love them as they are, otherwise He would not be a loving God.

When we cease to preach repentance in the church, we are practicing lawlessness. When we cease to preach righteousness and holiness unto God in the church, we are practicing lawlessness. Cheap grace is popular because it costs nothing, though by taking the words of Jesus into account, we come to realize that if we desire to follow after Him, it will cost us everything. It is impossible to reconcile the doctrines of men with the word of God, because while the doctrines of men insist that all one needs do is raise a limp hand in a church service and be forever and irrevocably assigned a place in God’s heaven, the word of God insists that there must be a total surrender of one’s heart and mind, there must be a total obedience to the will of God, there must be a transformation of one’s desires, pursuits, and conduct, and having put on Christ, we no longer live for ourselves, but become a living sacrifice unto Him.

Jesus also makes it clear that it is those who endure to the end that shall be saved, and not those who merely begin the journey. It is in the finality of our race, it is in the crossing of the finish line that we receive our crown and our prize, and not before.

To hear some men’s interpretation of God’s word, what Jesus ought to have said is that it is those who are made to endure to the end, rather than those who endure to the end. In some men’s estimation, we are neither accountable or responsible for staying the course, were neither accountable or responsible for running the race, we are in a sense forcibly dragged into heaven whether we like it or not.

‘Live a life or holiness and righteousness? No, that’s not for us, it’s not for today, we have grace and liberty and so come as you are, leave as you came, the blood covers all, and leave an offering on your way out.’

But grace dear friend, is not a license to sin, grace is God’s loving mercy toward mankind, which was made manifest through Christ Jesus His Son, who came that we might be reconciled unto the Father after having received the Son. ‘Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid’, Paul says unequivocally, yet when we preach lawlessness it is exactly what we are saying.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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