Why does my church look so different???

whyRevelation 18:4
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

According to Websters, the word zealous means:
“Full of, characterized by, or due to zealardently active, devoted, ordiligent.” In other words, seems like a real good thing and it is!

Every Christian should be zealous or devoted or characterized by or full of a passion for the things of God. However, what we must understand is that zealousness does not equal salvation as we read in the above verse. In the above scripture, God is calling people out that he calls “my people”.  If we read the scripture just prior to this passage we understand that he is calling people who are zealous for him out of false churches.

He’s saying, “I know you love me but you cannot be in covenant with me while you’re in error and disobedience.” We find a situation like this in Matthew 7:21-23. Here we find believers that worked many wonderful things by faith but in the end were cast out of the presence of Jesus because they were zealous but without truth.

I believe the passage in Revelation 18:4 is in the word of God because there are people today, in these last days asking certain questions that begin with “why”.
“Why don’t my church look like that church in the New Testament scriptures?”

  • Why did they talk in tongues when the Holy Ghost came upon them in Acts 2 but my church speaks against such things?
  • Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that we must be born of both water and Spirit but my church says just pray a sinners prayer?
  • Why did they admonish the lifting of hands but my church frowns on it?
  • Why did they shout before the Lord and yet my church is always so solemn and quiet?
  • Why does the Bible say to praise him with the dance but that would be forbidden in my church?
  • Why do we read about Jesus being a healer and deliverer and yet I’ve never witnessed that in my church?
  • Why do they practice the laying on of hands in the NT and yet I’ve never seen its application in our services?
  • Why did they practice modesty and holiness and yet my church looks so much and acts so much like the world?
  • Why did Paul say to be separated from the world and yet we embrace so many worldly things in our congregation?
  • Why does Paul exhort us to covet the gifts of the Spirit and yet that we’re told that’s not for us today?

If my church is the New Testament church of Jesus Christ, then why don’t my church look like that church in the Bible?

Fair questions and ones I believe merit a lot of study and prayer.

I believe there will be many in these last days that will put those questions into study, prayer and seeking. These will be those who ultimately receive revelation and strength to “come out of her” and will inherit eternal life.

Be zealous for the thing of God but understand that it just may take you into places of decision and then it’s up to you. Come out or stay and take your chances.

Be blessed!

 

 

 

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Christianity Is So Confusing….

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The two things they say should avoid talking about with friends and family is politics and religion. I can certainly see the politics part of this statement with the ongoing circus we call a Presidential election in 2016. People have literally lost their minds over arguably the two worst candidates in U.S. history.

But why religion? Why does that seem to stir up such tiff between people when it’s brought up? Maybe because to the sinner, the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword and it reveals their sin to them? (Hebrews 4:12)
Maybe the fact that people from different churches can’t seem to get on the same page as it pertains to some of the most important teachings in scripture? It’s funny though, I never see that happening between the Apostles or any of the other disciples throughout the Bible?

So did they all agree on major points of doctrine or did they secretly “agree to disagree” and just not let everybody know? What if according to scripture there should be no such thing as denominations? No Baptists, no Methodists, no Brethren, no Episcopalian, no, not any. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The Apostles all believed this and thus there was no doctrinal strife or debate between them in the Bible.

Although I’m familiar with church history and I understand where and when many of these denominations started, I still have to ask myself “HOW?” sometimes. Paul told Timothy, his son in the faith, to “study to shew thyself approved…..rightly dividing the word of God.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Still, there are many Theologians out there that have studied the word intently and still do not understand the most basic doctrine in Christianity, salvation. Please understand, I’m no Bible scholar but I know the word.

Example: Many teach that salvation comes through a verbal confession of Jesus as your Lord and savior or by reciting a sinners’ prayer. Fact: There is no record of anyone being converted in scripture by this method.

Example: Some teach you must ask Jesus to come into your heart.
Fact: Again, this isn’t found anywhere in scripture.

Example: Some say only believe that Jesus died for you, ask him to forgive you of your sins and you’re saved. Fact: While half of this statement is necessary for salvation, the act of “believing” on the Lord is not exemplified in scripture as a method of salvation. James said even the devils believe but we know they aren’t saved. (James 2:19)

As a matter of fact, there isn’t ONE place in the Bible anywhere that says you must be saved to go to Heaven. Not one. BUT……..it does say that you MUST be born again of BOTH the water and the Spirit if you want to even see the kingdom of Heaven. (John 3:5)

How is this accomplished if by none of the ways I’ve mentioned above?
The answer is simple, obey Acts 2:38 because it directly fulfills John 3:5.

Peter told the Jews they must first repent, then they must be baptized in Jesus’ name (not Father, Son, Holy Ghost, that came later in history by the councils of man) and then they will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Thus, they are born again of both water (baptism) and Spirit (being filled with the Holy Ghost).

Ok, so can you create a doctrine off of one scripture? I’d be very uncomfortable if I tried so can we find Biblical evidence that others preached this message as well? YES!!!
Peter preached it to the Jews first in Acts 2 (Refere to Romans 1:16)
Phillip preached it to the Samaritans in Acts 8
Peter then was sent to the Gentiles in Acts 10 to preach the same message, how do we know it was a salvation message? Refer to Acts 11 and then focus on vs14.
Paul preached it to 12 men who were already believers in Ephesus in Acts 19:1-6 and even re-baptized them because it was THAT IMPORTANT on what was called over them in baptism. They were all baptized in Jesus’ name and received the Holy Ghost just like the Jews in Acts 2, the Samaritans in Acts 8, the Gentiles in Acts 10 etc…..

Why all the confusion then? Why do so many churches disagree on so many things? Because Satan is VERY good at what he does, and that is lie, deceive and cause division.

The name on your church sign will NOT get you or I either into Heaven. God doesn’t care about your affiliations or fellowships. What will matter in the end is did you obey the gospel? When Jesus said you MUST BE BORN AGAIN OF BOTH THE WATER AND SPIRIT, did you decide that your denominational teaching fit your lifestyle much better and that you’d just take your chances.

Well…..Jesus said that would happen, and here is the results….
Matthew 7:22-23 “ Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Buy the truth and sell it not…..blessings!

 

 

Revival!!! or Revival??? Part 3

So I’ve been talking about the current ecumenical movement going on in the world today. As beautiful as phrases like “tearing down denominational barriers” and “putting aside our doctrinal differences” it is NOT Biblical.

There is one God.
There is one mediator between man and God.
There is one salvation plan repeated throughout scripture.
There is one salvation/redemption covenant between God and man.

The current Pope, Pope Francis has been pushing this movement literally since he took over the office of the papacy. According to him, homosexuals get to go to Heaven, sinners get to go to Heaven and even Atheists, yes Atheists get to go to Heaven. He’s been pushing for protestant churches to “put aside their differences” and join with the Catholic church for a worldwide revival. Many popular evangelical leaders of this time have already signed up and are on board.

The Bible tells us there is a coming one world religion that will be present at the time of the Anti-Christ. Revelation 13:3-4 says all the world will wonder (worship) after the Beast and that it’s the Dragon (Satan) that gives power to the Beast. Revelation 13:7-8 says that those who oppose him which the Bible calls “the Saints” will come under great persecution from him. Paul said in the latter times that deception would come.                       2 Timothy 3:13

The agenda of  Satan in this age is to make religion a comfortable fit for everyone. To cause many to believe that doctrine no longer matters. Preachers will preach that it only matters what God knows is in your heart and regardless of what religion, or what teaching even in Christianity, all roads lead to Heaven. Please let me stress to you, doctrine not only matters, doctrine (not the name of the church on your sign) is what determines if you make Heaven your home or not!

So before I lose you totally by writing too long a blog, let me break down for you what revival looked like the first time if broke out scripture and what it looked like every time after that.

In Acts 2:1-4 We find for the first time in history, the Spirit of God being poured out INTO rather than “over” the people of God. This was prophesied in the OT in many places. (Ezekiel 36, Isaiah 28, etc.) As they received the Holy Ghost they all began to speak with other tongues and magnify God.

When they were mocked by the Jews who had come to the feast of Pentecost, Peter stood up and gave a blistering first sermon of the New Testament Church. Under great conviction afterwards they Jews asked the Apostles (all were there) “Men and Brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37

Peter answered 3 things.
1. Repent.
2. Be baptized (by water) in Jesus’ name.
3. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38-39)

It goes on to say that they that obeyed his word were baptized and 3,000 souls were added to the church that day.

The remainder of the book of Acts (Acts of the Apostles) repeats this over and over. Peter in Samaria in Acts 8, Peter again but to the Gentiles this time in Acts 10 and Paul re-baptizing believers in Acts 19.

You see, there was only one plan of salvation, not X,Y,Z AND Q, R, S. It was what was recorded and obeyed over and over starting in Acts 2:38. That’s what started revival and that’s what will continue to bring true biblical revival.

So, if we are going to tear down doctrinal or denominational walls, it’s going to have to be any doctrine or denominational belief that hinders you from teaching and preaching EXACTLY what the Apostles taught.

Anything outside of that isn’t REVIVAL!!!! its revival????

Lord bless!

 

The Tragedy of Unteachable Youth

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Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

I’m not sure there’s ever  been a bigger “me” generation than today. Yes, sure, I came from a generation of rebels, we did our thing, we went against the grain, I purposely did much of what I shouldn’t just for spite and to “buck the system”. It’s a little different today.

In my day (not long ago, I’m only 42, class of 1992) even though we rebelled, there were still such thing as undeniable truths. Now everything has switched over to a Burger King type of society “have it your way and it’s right” is the battle cry of many young people today. Unfortunately that’s even bled over into the church.

Why not? Parents are being told by Government that they shouldn’t parent. Boys are being told they can be girls if they “feel” like they are and vise-versa. We’re being fed that anything that offends us we must avoid or put a stop to immediately, even free speech!
There is also a virtual buffet of Christianity to choose from today so that if they’re preaching something I don’t like I can just keep going other places until I do find it.

This all has led to many young people today being more full of themselves than they are of God. They’re more full of what they want, than what God wants and they regard their own will over spiritual authority in their lives.

I’ve worked in Youth Ministry for over 8yrs now and have pastored some incredible young people (still do, shout out to 4:12 Youth!) but tragically I’ve also seen many fall by way of pride and social circumstance. Youth that went from being on fire for God, to being on fire for themselves. Unfortunately, I’ve watched many walk away from God completely, many end up in false doctrine (even making up their own as they go along, see Burger King comment above) and even some in jail. Many of the young people I’ve pastored did great until the day came that I actually “pastored” them. The day came that I told them “no” or the day that I told them “this is not good for you and I don’t see good things down the road for you if you make that choice.” When what I advised conflicted with their own will, my advice fell and their will won out. I’ve yet to see the end result be a positive one.

No, not because I’m super smart or super-spiritual but because of what the scripture says above. As a youth pastor my appointment from God is to watch for the souls of the young people I’m involved with. Sometimes that means I tell them something that don’t sit well with them. I rely solely on God and the leading of the Holy Ghost for that wisdom and understanding.

I learned as a very young Christian the importance of being submitted to the man of God in my life. I’m thoroughly convinces that many of the blessings of God that have been poured out into my life were a direct result of that submission. I fully realize the reason I’m as strong in my faith and in doctrine as I am today is because I followed the Biblical principle of being submitted to those that God put over me. It’s probably the reason I have the walk with God I have today. Those men kept me on the straight and narrow paths even when they’re words rubbed me absolutely the wrong way! Still, I was determined to be obedient to God’s word no matter how it rubbed my own will!

For those who may read this, if you’re purposely undermining your Pastor or your Youth Pastor’s authority in your life let me warn you, you’re in a very dangerous place and it as I said, I’ve never seen it end well, not once. For those of you that have made up your mind that you’ll follow the word of God and the advice and leading of those God has put over you, you’ll endure, you’ll be tested, you’ll be persecuted but………….YOU’LL BE BLESSED!

In Jesus’ name….amen.

Revival!!! or Revival??? Part 2

“We’re breaking down denominational walls” and “we’re tearing down doctrinal barriers” is the cry from the current revival movement.

Let me just say up front, I believe 98% of all the Pastors and adherents to this movement have the purest and best of intentions. The issue is that they’ve been deceived. So let me just point out my beef isn’t with them, it’s with the deception itself.

The Bible always describes the true church as the bride or virgin. It always portrays the false church as the whore or harlot. In Revelation chapter 18, we see God calling out to these people. These are those whom he knows love him, have a heart for him and truly wants to do good for the Kingdom. The issue is they’re involved in false doctrine and therefore not in covenant with God.

Revelation 18:4-5 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

It’s clear, that even though God knows the hearts of these people, they will suffer the judgments of the harlot church if they do not “come out from among them”.                          2 Corinthians 6:17

“Breaking down denominational walls” what does that mean? I don’t recall anywhere in scripture where there were denominations. Was Paul a Methodist? Was Peter a Presbyterian? Was John a Baptist? (Little John the baptist humor there). No, actually they were all Pentecostal if we need to group into categories, I’ll explain that in a later blog.

Actually the Bible pretty much clears up in one scripture whether having denominations is even Biblical. Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”. Not many Lord, lots of faiths and voluntary baptisms.

“Tearing down doctrinal barriers.” So, if you believe you have to do X, Y & Z to be saved and I believe you need to Q, R & S to be saved and you and I are at a “revival” rally praying with sinner how do we reconcile that? I hear you emphatically telling him do X, Y & Z and you’ll be saved!!!! Three feet over from you I’m telling the other sinner do Q,R & S to be saved!!! How does that work? In order for that to come together one of us or both of us must compromise what we hold to be truth.

I’m not willing to do that because I fully understand the boundaries of God’s covenant relationship and salvation plan for man. I understand any deviation from that plan lands the sinner in the same place as the believers God was speaking to in Revelation 18 above.

So, unless my doctrine is very similar to yours, we’ll be sowing confusion among those we’re trying to save. This would have been similar to Elijah looking at the prophets of Baal and saying “listen fellas, let’s just figure out the things we have in common and we’ll just put the rest aside”. That’s not what happened though, Elijah and the Lord drew very clear lines that day that there was a right way and a wrong way and the end results are very, very different! Read 1 Kings 18:20-40

In part 3, I’ll discuss how this movement plays into Bible prophecy and how the Bible doesn’t have much good to say about it. I’ll also show you an interesting comparison to this movement and the downfall of King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live.

Lord bless you, in Jesus’ name!

 

REVIVAL!!! or Revival??? Part 1

From the very beginning Satan has always wanted to be God. (Isaiah 14:13)
Even when Moses went to perform the miraculous before Pharaoh we find his magicians could mimic the same.

The Apostle Paul even warns that Lucifer can appear as an angel of light.                                  (2 Corinthians 11:14) He also warned the church at Galatia that there would be others that would come and preach “another gospel”even stating that counterfeit angels could come and deceive. (Galatians 1:8-9)

So why wouldn’t this apply to some of the “revival” occurrences I keep reading about in the headlines and even around my local area? Let me say up front, I’d really like to jump on board with this movement. I’d love to get as happy about these things, the talk about getting together, unifying, pushing for the cause of Christ, YEAH!

Sounds great until I see the one phrase that occurs in all of these “revival” movements. It goes like this: “we’re tearing down doctrinal walls for the cause of Christ!” That’s when the red flags go flying everywhere!

Discounting doctrine?? Wait, didn’t Paul tell Timothy that he needed to “take heed to himself and to the doctrine”? And, that doing so he would save himself and all that hear him? So essentially, this is the equivalent of Timothy getting together with the Pharisees and Sadducees and saying “let’s go save the world” and then someone raises the question “what doctrine will we teach about salvation?” and the answer????…….”it don’t matter, we’re tearing down doctrinal walls.” So if you have one believer that adheres to pure Biblical doctrine and one believer that doesn’t, what will be the answer when the sinner asks this holy duo “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 2:37)

Is the answer really that important? Isn’t the most important thing that we just come together? I’ll answer this question in others in part 2 of this blog.

Lord bless you all, in Jesus’ name.