Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Bible Prophecy: Do Not Be Deceived

deceptionIn Matthew 24:3, when four of Jesus’ disciples asked Him “ . . . what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age”, before listing the events that would occur prior to the end of the age, Jesus warned them in Matthew 24:4 “ . . . Watch out that no one deceives you. . . . ” In Mark 13:3–5 and Luke 21:7-8 we also read about this interaction between Jesus and those disciples.

The first thing to note in the disciples’ question is that they linked Jesus’ coming again and the end of the age together. Jesus, in His answer, did not refute this so we can know that His coming and the end of the age will happen simultaneously. It may seem obvious but is, nevertheless, worth highlighting.

Following up on His warning to those disciples not to be deceived, He immediately warns them to be on the lookout for the appearance of false Christs’ and not to go running after them. Most Christians would automatically assume that, since they are followers of Jesus, know and regularly study God’s Word and regularly fellowship with other believers, such a thing could not happen to them. Clearly, in the way Jesus warned His disciples and ultimately us, that will not necessarily be the case and should be a sobering reminder to us that it is possible to be deceived. However, we surely can also take some comfort from Jesus’ answer when He tells us to “Watch Out”, meaning that if we are alert we can avoid being deceived.

Many Christians believe that we are nearing the end of the age and that many of the signs Jesus and other prophets spoke about are beginning to manifest themselves. That being the case, we are surely nearing the time when Christians could face being deceived. So what are we to do and to watch out for?

If we stop to think about what we are to watch out for, surely some answers are already staring us in the face? The main one, we would suggest, is the falling away from the faith, or apostasy, that is continually taking place today and the deception that goes with it; a situation ripe for false Christs to appear and be followed. In Matthew 24:10 Jesus said it would happen. These are His Words: “At that time many will turn away from the faith . . . . .” In many Christian denominations we constantly see God’s Word being changed and watered down by their leaders and accepted by many in their congregations. In doing so these leaders and congregations have not only moved away from God’s Word but are also setting themselves up to be deceived by false Christs. It seems easier for them to fall into line with secular standards than keeping to God’s standards.

The uncomfortable reality is that you will know you are on the right track not to be deceived when you start beingtruth ies persecuted! In Matthew 24:9 Jesus said: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Some Christians around the world are already facing such persecution.

We believe we need not only “Watch Out” but need to warn other Christians not to become complacent or compromise God’s Word, in addition continually asking God to help us keep to His path. Of course, we also need to carry on with our efforts to bring the Gospel to the notice of others who do not yet know or have a relationship with Jesus.

(Note: All quotes are from the NIV Bible.)

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.

 

 


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The Power of Praise

thIt was 3am. My three year-old son, Tom, had been coughing without reprieve for 8 solid hours.  The cough was deep and contained a strange rattling sound.  With each cough my heart was torn.  He had double pneumonia, croup, bronchitis and asthma all at once.

I had been praying, weeping, crying out to God for those 8 hours “Have mercy on my son Lord!”  At 3am I left my husband at Tom’s bedside and went to “get serious” with God.  I knelt down and prayed.

Immediately He said to me “No.  Praise Me.”

That was the last thing I felt like doing!  I was exhausted, heart-broken, anxious.  But it was a definite and clear command from the Lord, so I stood up and sang :

“Oh Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious blood,

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God!”

As I sang I saw the outline of a Man in front of me in the darkness and Tom’s coughing immediately stopped.  We slept soundly the rest of the night.

One thing I have learnt is that there is power in praise.

“Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens!

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him all His angels;

Praise Him all His hosts!” Psalm 148:1, 2

 

Praise brings victoryjoyful4.jpg

Powerful enemies were coming against Israel (2 Chronicles 20).  Jehosophat and the people didn’t know what to do.  He proclaimed a fast and they cried out to God.  God told them not to fear, that they would not have to even fight – the battle was His not theirs.  By faith in God’s Word they sang and praised the Lord and the enemy was defeated:

“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,     for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

This morning I was feeling discouraged and defeated myself in some of the areas my husband and I have been called to minister in.  But we decided to sing.  We sang that old chorus :

“Be strong and of good courage

Be not afraid neither be dismayed…

For the Lord thy God is with thee

Whereever you go…”

This afternoon I got a phone call – there has been victory in the very area I had felt discouraged over this morning!  Praise the Lord!

 

Praise is a powerful weapon in the Christian’s arsenal.

“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.  Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;….To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;” Psalm 149

The Holy Spirit has given me two dreams lately about the power of praise.  In both dreams I have come face to face with the devil and found that they only way to stand and to defeat him is through worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve sung and asked others to sing with me, anointed songs of the blood of the Lamb and the cross – and the enemy has been bound and defeated.

I saw this actually happen a couple of weeks ago in our women’s prayer group.  As we praised the Lord the anointing of the Spirit fell down upon us.  His power came so strongly upon us that we could not do much at all but shake and cry.  From that moment in each of the lives of those whom were present there has been victory in our lives in different areas.

 

Praise magnifies the Lord

“O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

When we exalt the Lord in praise He is magnified.  We see Him for who He truly is – He is great, He is mighty, He is powerful.  He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.  He is not some dumb idol made with man’s hands! God cannot remain small in our eyes when we praise Him.  Suddenly our faith increases as we see the Lord for who He truly is and we know that NOTHING Is impossible.

 

Praise lifts our eyes from ourselves up to Him

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-3

When we praise the Lord we stop focusing on ourselves and our problems and focus on Him.  We “set our minds on things above, not on things below” and we are lifted in faith.  Truly the atmosphere of heaven is brought down to earth in praise of our Lord, we enter His presence and that is when our prayers are answered and our help comes.

 

Praise is a sacrifice

Praise is something we can offer to the Lord Jesus for all that He has done for us.  We can never praise Him enough for Who He is and for what He has done but we can offer Him the fruit of our lips.  Praise is a sacrifice of our time, of our pride, of even our own feelings and emotions.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name….for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:15, 16

 

Praise breaks bondages

Paul and Silas were in prison, bound and chained for the sake of the gospel.  Sometimes we are too, persecuted, hurt by man’s words, bound by rejection and fear.

“Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.   And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:24-26

The thing about praise is that it sets captives free.  When we praise we are set free from bondage.  And the amazing thing is, those who are around us are also set free.

 

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:1-3


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33 Christians Sentenced to Death in North Korea

 

North Korea B

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/6/kim-jong-un-calls-execution-33-christians/

33 of our brothers and sisters will be executed within the next few hours in North Korea.

Because they are Christians.  Like us.

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” Revelation 6:9-11

OH LORD, save us from our complacency and luke-warmness.  Save us from our idols of comfort and convenience.  Save us from our obsession with self.  Save us from our Western mindset.  Save us from our dullness of heart.  Wake us up from our comfortable bed of luxury.  OH LORD save us!

Here we are – so wealthy in the West.  We have food, money, cars, houses, freedom, church buildings, light and sounds systems and, of course, smoke machines, and yet – we are spiritually bankrupt.

They are the rich ones in North Korea.  They are the ones for whom a crown of life awaits.  They are the ones whose underground churches are flourishing and the Holy Spirit is moving upon.  They are the ones who are awake. They are the ones who know Jesus and the “fellowship of His suffering”.  They are the ones who are watching for His return.

hebrews-13-3We are not separate from them.  We are all a part of Christ’s Body.  Let us pray from them and their families.  Let us pray for the persecuted Church.

In Christ’s Name, Amen

 

 

 

 

 


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Mysteries and Mysticism

babylonThis post follows on from The Deep, deep Roots of Emerging Mysticism where we looked at Mystery Babylon, the Tower of Babel, Nimrod and the ancient roots of the “mystery” religions – all  sprung from the root of Satan’s lie:

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….”

It is my belief that the Church is willing to accept rituals, prayer labyrinths and other pagan practices because we have lost the anointing of the Holy Spirit both in our churches and in our prayer closets.  Friends – we desperately need a revival!  Where are those who, like Elijah, will cry out to God until He sends the rain?

I believe we have lost the anointing in our churches and prayer closets because are not willing to pay the price to have it.  The anointing is costly. 

Yes, salvation is free to all because of Christ’s atonement at Calvary – that is undisputed – but the anointing of the Holy Spirit is an expensive treasure.  To follow our Master is not always easy.  The way of the cross is hard, it demands sacrifice, humility, self-denial and death to self.  Are we willing to pay the price?

This is something we need to decide, because there is an influx of Mystery Religions coming – and from the way of the cross they are completely opposed…

treeoflife

The Tree of LIfe

knowledge tree


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

                                                           Which Tree will you choose?

 

Characteristics of the Mystery Religions

In contrast to the way of the cross, these mystery religions all have one thing in common:

They elevate humankind to god-hood.

Rather than death to self, “Self” is exalted.

“.…you will be like God….” Gen 3:5

Just as Lucifer tried to exalt himself above the throne of God; just as Nimrod tried to elevate himself above the heavens by his tower, so too the mystery religions continue to attempt to exalt humankind to deity. What these mystery religions proclaim, in essence, is that : humankind is essentially divine, we just need to realize it.  Our divine consciousness simply needs to be recognized and released.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, the New Age & Western Occultism all hold to this belief.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  Man in his “divinity” seeks to reach up to god-hood.  He tries to elevate himself through some sort of works.  These may include: religious rituals, asceticism, enlightenment through meditation, good works etc.

New Age believes in the essential goodness of Man and the Divine Spark in Man (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

Notice that this “reaching up” is the exact opposite of what God did in sending His Son, Jesus Christ:

who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phillippians 2:6-8

While mystery religions attempt to lift man UP to the heavens, Christ, the true God, humbles Himself and leaves heaven to come DOWN to save us from our sin.

The Bible calls this the “Mystery of Godliness”.  We cannot save ourselves. Our eternal salvation and redemption required for God to come down to us in order to save us.

  • The Mystery of Iniquity says that humankind is divine – our problem is that we don’t know it (PRIDE)
  • The Mystery of Godliness says that humankind is sinful, unable to save ourselves and that it required God to come down to us in the flesh to save us (HUMILITY)

Which is more appealing to human flesh?

Has the “Mystery of Iniquity” Entered the Church?

For Christianity, the central problem is how God could have become person. How spirit could transform itself into matter. Word become flesh. Consciousness become protoplasm. The direction is from the top down. For Judaism, on the other hand, the problem is how humanity could possibly attain to God’s word and intention. How matter could raise itself to spirit. How simple desert souls could hear the word. Human substance attain consciousness. The intention is “to permeate matter and raise it to spirit.” The direction is from the bottom up. Perhaps the two traditions, one moving down, the other moving up, are destined to meet in the divinity of humanity.” Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 191

We affirm our divinity by doing what is worthy of gods, and we affirm our humanity by taking risks only available to mortals. God had to become one of us before He could become heroic … Robert Schuller affirms our divinity, yet does not deny our humanity … isn’t that what the gospel is? Isn’t God’s message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? … The hymn writer who taught us to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ was all too ready to call himself a ‘wretch’ … Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity… Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity …” Tony Campolo

Um, I’d say that’s a resounding “YES”.

But what does Jesus say? “If any man will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me.”

The way of the cross is death.  First death, then life.  Christ Himself died and was raised up.  We also need to die to self and be raised up to resurrection life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to confess that we are sinners only saved by God’s grace, not by any human works.

The anointing has a price: and it comes at the expense of human pride.

Definition of Mysticism

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek μυω, meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious mysteriousrituals. In early Christianity the term came to refer to “hidden” allegorical interpretations of Scriptures and to hidden presences, such as that of Jesus at the Eucharist.”

knowledge tree

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

In all of the “mystery” religions, we see that there is something hidden or concealed, a higher knowledge that only the elite few, being enlightened, are privy to, whilst the majority are left in the dark…..Remind you of anything?…

Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘….God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5

Another mystic described (reality) as “It is hidden, it is hidden and it is hidden“.”  (http://eastrovedica.com/html/newage.htm)

This is why the triangle is a symbol of the mystery religions representing:

      The enlightened few at the top

tri

The majority of the un-knowing at the bottom

This is true for gnosticism, the New Age, Freemasonry, the cults and the occult.  In fact “occult”  is “from the Latin word occultus, meaning “clandestine, hidden, secret” is “knowledge of the hidden” (source: Wikipedia)

Contrast this with the pure simplicity of the Word of God.  God has spoken through His Word and it is open and available to whomsoever wishes to read it.  It is suitable both for the intellectual ex-Pharisee and for the uneducated fisherman.  God’s plan of redemption is through His Son Jesus Christ and is plainly declared throughout scripture.

The Mystery of God

This is not to say that there is not mystery surrounding God.  Of course there is.  He is so much higher than us, His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.  It is impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend God in all His goodness, power and glory – truly now we “see through a glass darkly”.  Yet He has made Himself known to us through His Word, through His Son and by His Spirit and because of Christ’s atonement it is possible for us to have a personal relationship with God.  This is indeed a divine mystery.

However what can be known of God is open and available to the lowest and the highest of the human race.  There are not different levels or hierarchies in the Kingdom of God.  Some are not privileged with a “special” knowing or knowledge whilst the rest of the plebs are left in the dark.  “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all”.  God wants us to know Him and has revealed Himself to us through the Word made flesh (Jesus), and the Word of God (The Bible).

The thing that concerns me about the Emergent Church is that they are turning away from how God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity – the Word of God – because, as Leonard Sweet says:

Doctrine does not convey the mystery of God.”

This is very subtle and very clever.  This statement is appealing because in a sense it is true. Reliance on pure doctrine in a Christian can bring about legalism, rigidity and life-less coldness.  Doctrine-only without the Holy Spirit’s anointing is dead.  I have known Christians and churches with a purity of doctrine. They do not tolerate false teachings nor teachers, and yet there is no warmth, no love and no life.   They label anyone who has had a personal experience of God as a “mystic”.  They have run to the extreme of “truth” with no grace.  This is not right. As Christians we need a personal experience with the living God, like Isaiah and Peter did.  We need a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.  We must know not only the Word of God, but the God of the Word.  We need the anointing!

Yet, the other extreme is also faulty – to give away doctrine completely in order to search out the mystery of God, usually through experience-only.  God has given us doctrine (or teaching) in His Word so that we can truly come to know Him.  If we base our knowledge of God purely on our experiences then there is no objective point of reference as to whether who/what we are experiencing is truly God or whether it be a deceptive spirit. The Bible says to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”.  It is only through the safe-guards of the Word of God that we can measure our experiences to see whether they line up or not.  Anything that falls outside of scripture is prohibited and not of God.

treeoflife

Tree of Life

So we need the Word of God and the anointing of the Spirit of God.  Together they bring life.

The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ, so when the Word is preached (in the power of the Holy Spirit) the Spirit is there.  When the authority of the Word is denied another spirit is able to gain access – the spirit of the “Mystery of Iniquity”.  We see that that is what is happening in the Emergent church.  Pagan spiritual practices are now acceptable and openly promoted.  Labyrinths are being installed in churches, Eastern meditative breathing techniques are being taught from the pulpit, people are praying to pictures of Jesus, prayer stones are being handed out.

In my next post I would like to look at:

  • Some of how these techniques and practices are being taught and promoted in the Emergent Church
  • Their (hidden) purpose and
  • Where its heading – The Age of Aquarius and One-World Religion

In A Meditation on Emergent Spirituality

Blessings!


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An “Average” Christian Life – No Way!

I set up the PA system and started preaching before I lost my nerve.  Within seconds a demon-possessed man manifested and screamed an obscenity at me so bad that I cannot repeat it. Even though I’m regularly verbally abused on the street, I have never been called anything like that before.

I was momentarily stunned. flinders st

Not so much stunned at the man actually, but more that God had let that happen to me just as I had begun to preach.  He knew how weak I’d been this morning.  He knew I’d needed extra help.  I mean, I had asked Him for a special blessing today!

I recovered and kept preaching anyway.

After that incident, the time the two other ladies and I spent there was wonderful.  I really loved it.  God put two special young guys in my path who, underneath their bravado, were hungry for the truth.  We had amazing conversations.  I was asked by both of them (separately) :

“With so many religions out there, and so many gods, how do you know which one is the truth?”

How would you answer that?IMG_2606

It’s when I’m out there that I see that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so very important.  We absolutely need Him when we are out there.  Without Him, we literally can do nothing.  But with Him we can do all things.  It is our real relationship with the LIVING God that counts when we are in the firing-line.  Religious platitudes, clichés and one-liners do NOT work.  Sinners see right through all that rubbish.

But…if you’ve been with Jesus…well, they can see that too.

Here’s what I learnt today:

I wanted God to make my way easy, I wanted Him to pave the way for me, after all, as I told Him, I was going out there for Him.

But He didn’t do that.  He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He does give us what we need. He lets us see the truth of the sinfulness of man; He lets us have confrontations with demons.  And in doing so He lets us see ourselves too.

In essence, He lets us see reality.

Why? Bwoman preacherecause that is where He is – in the midst of the dirty, the sinful, the demon-possessed, that is where He is working.

And that’s where He calls us to go with Him.

“ “I will make the place of my feet glorious”—among the poor, the devil-possessed, the mean, the decrepit, the selfish, the sinful, the misunderstood—that is where Jesus went, and that is exactly where he will take you if you are his disciple”. (Oswald Chambers)

He won’t drop rose petals on our path for us, He won’t pamper us and cater to our self-pity, our comfort, nor our convenience.  He lets us be confronted, shocked and disgusted.  And then He says:

“Even so….will you still follow Me?”


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Bible Prophecy: We Are Close to Christ’s Return

bible_prophecy1Today we want to consider some well-known and often quoted prophetic verses of scriptures, not so much as a teaching exercise but, as a reminder of how close we are to the return of Jesus.

The verses we refer to are found in Luke 17: 26-28:

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;…”’

There are, in fact, two very different aspects in these three verses.

  • In the first (verses 26 and 27) Jesus tells his disciples that before He comes again it will be like the days of Noah when people were leading carefree lives unaware of the impending disaster about to overtake them. 
  • In the second (verse 27) He tells them it will be the same as it was in Sodom before it was destroyed.

It is interesting to note that in both cases people were eating and drinking, buying, selling and marrying; in other words leading apparently normal and carefree lives. Yet in both cases they were behaving in a manner unacceptable to God. In the days of Noah it was corruption and violence (Gen. 6:11) and in the days of Sodom it was sexual abomination, especially homosexuality (Gen 19). In time each was judged for their, different but, unacceptable behaviour.

But Jesus also says that before His coming again both of these sinful behaviors will be present in the world and He clearly warns of the consequences of such behaviour.

If we look around the world today we see violence and corruption abounds everywhere: we see it between tribes, nations, within societies and even in families. Certainly none of this is a new phenomenon, yet it appears to be on the increase everywhere; frequently confirmed by governments and law enforcement authorities, stating that violence is on the increase and becoming more difficult to deal with. In the light of Jesus’ remarks to His disciples, the question we surely have to now ask ourselves is: “How close are we to the point where God will not tolerate it anymore and step in to deal with the problem”?

Of course homosexuality and general sexual promiscuity is everywhere and also on the increase, being encouraged by the media, also governments, especially in the West. Even Christian denominations are now openly allowing practicing homosexual leaders to minister and teach their congregations; in flagrant violation of God’s Word which explicitly condemns such behaviour. The increase in these evils in recent years has been astounding.

In addition the secular world not only mocks God but denies his very existence. God will not tolerate such behaviour for much longer.

Surely, the world is fast approaching the point of the days of Noah and Sodom, which Jesus warned would happen before His return.  We can only conclude that there cannot be much time left before Jesus returns to correct matters.  As the Lord said to Abraham:

“Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” (Gen 18:20, 21)

Let us ask ourselves: Are WE at this point yet? 

And if not, how close are we…?

Bible believing Christians need to constantly remind themselves of this and not become complacent and allow themselves to be seduced by the ways of the secular world.

It is interesting to note that when Lot tried to warn his two sons-in-law to leave the city because God was about to destroy it, they would not listen because “his sons-in-law thought he was joking”. (NIV Gen: 19:14).

Even now, in our day, we see that many have disregarded the warnings that Jesus is coming soon, even to the point of ridicule.

But those Christians who hear and understand Jesus’ prophetic words of what will take place beforehand – that God will not forever tolerate the gross sin being perpetrated in the world today – must stand firm and persist in warning others of the nearness of His return.

Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in this new series “Bible Prophecy”.


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The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity

seek truthFollowing on from my last post “Where’s Truth?” , where we looked at the effects of post-modernism on absolute truth, I would now like to take a look at how post-modernism is affecting the professing Christian church, in particular the Emergent, or Emerging Church.

My purpose in doing this series is not to attack individuals per se, although it would be impossible not to name some key players, but to bring to light the philosophy behind much of the Emergent Church, where it is leading and where it will ultimately end up.  Whilst there are some aspects of the Emergent Church which are not all bad, I think it is important to understand what it is that is propelling this movement forward and its ultimate purpose.

I am in no way a philosopher as such, but I do think that it would be wise first to consider the astronomical effects with which philosophy has affected society, culture and humanity.  One needs only to look to Plato or Aristotle to see how their social philosophies have affected human eugenics theory, leading to the immoral abortion crisis in the world today.  Another example is German philosopher Karl Marx, whose social theories influenced politics such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism, and history tells the culmination of these regimes.

Philosophy is, according to Wikipedia,: “the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. In more casual speech, by extension, “philosophy” can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group.”

So when we talk of philosophy, it is not some “pie-in-the-sky” thoughts and theories that have no bearing on our world, it is the exact opposite.  As I see it (for what it’s worth) various branches of philosophical thought are published, usually through universities and the world of academia, it filters through to the students, it enters the workplace and the media in all its forms and eventually takes hold in the political realm as human opinion shifts into a new paradigm of belief and value systems.

So to get back to the Emergent Church and how it fits in with all of this.  The Emergent Church has recognized that we are now living in a Post-Modern world and that people think differently from how they used to think.  Their position is that because society has changed, in this new world the old ways of doing “church” and Christianity no longer work.  Therefore a movement has begun that seeks to transform Christianity into something new – something that appeals to this post-modern generation, something that is relevant.

And just like any other movement in society, this Emergent movement is underpinned by a system of Post-modernist philosophy.  This system is called “de-constructionism”.

Next time I will discuss the following in “Satan’s Tool in the Emergent Church”:

  • What is de-constructionism?
  • Who is history’s first de-constructionist?
  • What is the ultimate aim of de-construction in the Christian church?
  • Where will it lead?


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Where’s Truth?

We live in a post-modern world where the existence of absolute truth is outright denied.

Have you ever heard (or said) this sort of statement:

“Your truth is good for you, but I have my own truth.”

This is post-modern relativism in a nut-shell.

But is that statement logical?  Can it be possible for every person on the face of the planet to have their own “truth” and yet they are ALL simultaneously true?

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Or is there an absolute Truth? And if so, what is it?

Firstly I would like to look at post-modernism and its effects on absolute truth.

To start the definition of “post-modernism” is:

“A relativistic system of observation and thought that denies absolutes and objectivity.  Postmodernism has influenced theology, art, culture, architecture, society, film, technology, and economics.  Traditional social, art, social, and cultural, constructs are discarded and reinterpreted in relativistic terms.”  http://www.carm.org/dictionary/dic_p-r.htm (accessed September 16, 2008).

Wikipedia : “Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism.[1][2] Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.”

Post-modernism played out is this statement :

“Well that’s your truth, and that’s good for you, I have my own truth that works for me.”

In post-modernism, truth becomes relative and subjective.  I can determine my truth, you can determine your truth etc.  “Truth” becomes subject to each individual’s own desires, beliefs systems and world-views and an objective truth (something outside of us) is thrown away.  The end result of this relativism is that right and wrong and good and evil also become subject to our own personal opinions because a static point-of-reference is denied.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  I spoke to a man one day who denied the existence of both good and evil.

“It’s all relative,” he claimed.

So I asked him what would happen if someone stole his car or his wallet, would he consider that wrong?

“No”, he answered, “because I do not hold onto my possessions.”

I asked him what if it was his child that was stolen, what if his child was groomed by a pedophile and molested?  Would that be evil?

“No”, he said, “There is no evil, there’s only what we as a society define as evil or good.”

“Do you have kids of your own?” I asked.

“No.”

I dare say that if he did, his answer would have been very different.

This is the logical conclusion of post-modernism – that there is no real truth, no good, no evil, not even gender distinction, just what we, as a society, label as such.  All moral reference points are removed and we are left to flounder along as each determine.  Dr Ravi Zacharias used the example of when you are stopped in your car at a traffic light and the next car is slightly rolling.  It is difficult to determine whether it is your own car, or the one next to you that is moving until you find a static point-of-reference, such as a pole on the side of the road.

Biblical Christianity maintains that there exists ABSOLUTE TRUTH determined by a Sovereign, holy, moral God who created all things.  It claims that this truth is objective, determined by something or someone other than us and that this Truth is the “pole”, or the point-of-reference for humankind.

I would like to seek to prove that ABSOLUTE TRUTH does exist.  Take mathematics for example. Lately I have been teaching my daughter the multiplication tables.  We have been learning that :

1 x 2 = 2

2 x 2 = 4

3 x 2 = 6

And so on.

The answers to these mathematical questions are fact, or truth.  They are facts which neither you nor I can alter.  They are facts on which buildings, bridges and airplanes have been created by humans.

I may decide that I don’t like the fact that 2×2=4, but my desire to change the truth of this equation does not in fact do anything to alter it.  All I will succeed in doing is making my own life difficult, or building a bridge that falls down, because 2×2 does equal 4 and nothing I can do will change that established fact.  I could try to fight for my rights to deny this truth, so I could say that 2×2 doesn’t equal 4, yet, in reality, the mathematical table remains unchanged and untouched by my own personal opinions and desires.

A Biblical example is the Ten Commandments.  This is God’s moral law which declares that those who have broken His Law are sinners, law-breakers and transgressors.  This Law is truth, it is outside of us and will never be subjected to humanity’s own desires or whims nor society’s changes.

(In abbreviated form):

You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Whilst I may decide that murder, or sexual immorality is not actually wrong and that it’s ok to lie if it’s a little, white lie, this does not in fact change the truth that murder, sexual immorality and lying is wrong and sinning against God and other people.  And to deny that truth and to live as if it didn’t exist or didn’t matter only will make life (and eternity) difficult for me.

So then logically what I’m trying to say is that: truth by its definition is exclusive.

To qualify that statement I will use an analogy. Suppose I had red hair.  If I were to ask two different people what colour my hair is and one said “black” and the other said “red” – only one of these answers would be in fact TRUE.  (Bad example, but I hope you see what I’m getting at.)  By virtue of the fact that my hair IS red, the other statement is disqualified as UNTRUE.  Only one statement can be true.  Just as in maths, 1×2 cannot equal both 2 and 13 at the same time, so too is truth exclusive.

To say that we can all determine our own truth (“that your truth is fine and my truth is fine too”) is not logical.  It denies the very premise of truth itself.   And it very obviously renders the question back:

“Well if there is no absolute truth, then why should I believe the very statement that there is no absolute truth? Isn’t claiming that there is no truth actually making an assertion of truth?”

Relativism by nature undermines itself.

So what’s left?

TRUTH.

Jesus said “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

There is a God who created the universe.  Just as behind every painting there is an artist and behind every building there is an architect, so too behind our delicately balanced eco-systems, our beautifully laid out solar systems and galaxies, behind our moral laws of right and wrong, there is The Artist of artists, the Architect of architects, the Judge and Law-Giver to whom we each must one day give an account of our lives.

Jesus said “I am the Way, the TRUTH and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

You may choose to reject that statement as untrue, and that is your right.

But if you care about Truth the logical thing to do, if you were honest with yourself, would be to find out for yourself whether it is True or otherwise.

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.

Blessings!

Next post ….. The “Emergent”-cy of Post-Modernist Christianity


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Of Worth and Esteem

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Because He is worthy to be praised.

 

Oh Lord I lift up Your Name

Oh Lord I praise the Name of Jesus

 

Help me to remember

Help me to remember

Help me to remember

 

To lift my eyes UP-

From myself

From my circumstances-

Up to You (from whence my help comes)

 

You are worthy of all praise

My feelings and emotions have no place

Nor is it of any consequence whether

My life is good

Nor whether it is difficult

It is all about YOU

You are worthy

 

Self and its esteem (self-esteem) become irrelevant in the face of Jesus Christ

Christ and our esteem of Him (Christ-esteem) is that which determines the course of our lives.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

To receive power and riches and wisdom

And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)

 

 


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Bushfire

Today we drove through the Dadswell Bridge area which was on fire just two days ago.  I got out of the car and walked around a little.  Even though I was wearing thongs (flip flops) on my feet they are still stained black from the ash.

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The trees were blackened, ash was in the air and the acrid smell was unbelievable.  Another bushfire about 20 kilometers (12miles) away was still raging out of control, and it made the sky appear pink.

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The most eerie thing was the trees and stumps that were still smouldering and smoking as I watched them.

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Fire-trucks, police and emergency vehicles were everywhere (we definitely felt secure at our hotel!) :/

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(This follows on from my last post Where’s the Fire?)