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Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

I think the time is here and past.  I am no one, not some prophet crying out.  I’m just a Christian lady, but I have to say this, I agree with those who believe churches in America are bringing judgement upon themselves.  I am not speaking of the true Church, mind you, though there is still a remnant here in our nation.  We will be walking through this judgement too, but it’s those who have twisted scripture and lied to us that will be judged, and those who want to remain in the lie that will be judged.  It’s going to likely cause more persecution for the true church actually.  It will be hard to find truth in all those mega church wanna be buildings out there.  It will be harder to find comfort for the souls sitting in those numbered chairs.  Sure, they’ll feel good on Sunday morning when they sing and raise their hands, but what of the rest of the week?  Numb to the decay in their souls?  Numb from prescriptions taken to hide the pain?  Numb from socials and planning and work to be done?

I know an easy way to numb yourself….screen time!   Meanwhile, our nation is being taken over and when we do wake up, we’ll find our liberty gone.  Those who stand for Christ and who really want to be Christians, well, we’ll be quite unpopular around here.  The Christian nation will become something else entirely.  Muslim, atheist, whatever…these will be used to futher judge.  There will be a time of seperating.  There may not be an America left for hiding.  We may be a small lot, we may be a secluded lot.  We may end up underground. 

Of course, this is just an opinion and I am not speaking from a direct knowledge of anything.  I do know feelings (and they cannot always be trusted)…but in my gut I sense a terrible darkness.  With all that’s going on in our government, and all that’s going on in the church, it’s like God has turned from our America and is letting it go.  So now there are Christians sitting in the USA who are going to have to cling to Jesus, read the scriptures, and pray.  We have to wait to see what else needs to be done.  We have to choose not to compromise.  We have to teach our children well, they’ll need the strength that only God can give to stand when tested. 

This is not the world I knew when I was a girl, it’s not the same America anymore.

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Sunday’s sermon was the basic gospel.  The pastor has been preaching out of John since the first of the year.  We were in John 5 and it’s late June!  This kind of detail would never have happened in our former church.   I believe a lot is assumed at the former church, skimming the gospel and other important biblical topics may happen because the leadership believes everyone just knows it already, not sure.

The pastor began by pointing out all the attention given in the media to the recent deaths of  famous people, most especially Michael Jackson.  He then quoted Hebrews 9:27 and 28.  “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of  many, will appear a second time,  not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”  Those who die without Christ will be resurrected to judgement, those who are waiting for Christ will be glorified.

The pastor highlighted Previous sermons stating Jesus’ activity as god is the substance of His work, his authrity as God is the basis for His work, Jesus’ glory as God is the purpose of His work, and Jesus’ gift as God is the provision of His work.  This sermon was baobut Jesus’ power as God is the culmination of His work. 

He stated that only Jesus has the power to save those who are dead spiritually. 

I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” (Jn 5:25-26). 

The pastor highlihgted the time of regeneration which is both present and future (is coming and has now come).  It was speaking of those with Jesus at that time and all future believers. 

The pastor also spoke of the people who need regeneration, which are all  who are spiritually dead.  In fact, we all are spiritually dead until we hear the voice of the Son of God.  It’s only the Son of God who can give this regeneration.  Only the Son has life.  He is life, the source of life.  He is the only way. 

Besides spiritual regeneration, Christ has the power to physically raise the dead.  The time for the resurrection is in the future.  Our resurrection is supposed to be serperated.   He spoke of the resurrection of believers, resurrected to life.  Those who have rejected the Son will be resurrected to condemnation and judgement.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”  (Jn 5:27-29)

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1Cor. 15:22-23)

 

 

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thess 4:13-17)

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. (Revelation 20:11)

The above verses were quoted by the pastor, talking about the resurrection of the believers contrasted to the resurrection of the dead all together.  He talked of a distance of 1000 years, that there would be a first resurrection and then a second before the judgement.   The result of the resurrection is that those who have recieved the Son will be resurrected to life with salvation and santification in this life, and glorification of the body at the resurrection.  Those who reject the Son are resurrected to judgement and condemned to hell for eternity. 

Jesus is the judge, and His judgement is righteous.  He seeks the will of the Father. 

Final statement in my notes is that we ought to be terrified by His power and should repent, turn from sin, and embrace Him.  Jesus took conemnation that I deserve.  The Gospel is the power of God onto salvation for everyone who believes.

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Despite our family’s circumstances and decision to leave our former church, it is not that we believe all are lost.  We cannot know the hearts of men or what God knows about their individual faith or salvation.  For this reason, I am sure many in our former church are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Leadership may be as well…pastors, staff.  I would say it’s not likely that any church has 100% who are chosen believers, there will always be tares.  I would also say that a pastor can still be saved and yet mistaken in his preaching in some areas.  

I believe God opens the eyes of His sheep in His time so they can see the teaching of wolves, whether it’s sheep unaware who are teaching or it’s wolves who will push the agenda forward.  I personally struggle because one particular pastor has fruits that indicate possible wolf status.  It’s hard for me not to write him off completely.  I do think some of the elders may also be in this category, though I don’t know enough of their personal fruits to see it.  Sadly, there are also likely some in the church we know who believe they are saved but aren’t due to improper teaching.  I don’t know if it’s our role to do more than point out error in teaching, confront sin directly as it’s seen.  It is for God to judge the hearts, we can only judge the fruits.    

I do believe though assuming a pastor or leader is actually a Christian saved by grace through faith in Christ is not wise either.  Just because one says they are a Christian doesn’t make it so.  Where to draw the line in my own head?  I don’t know that I need to know so much as I need to just listen and see where a teacher/pastor is coming from based on their teaching and their fruits.  If I point out the fruits, the error, and pray, what more to do?

I have so much to learn!

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Like being intwined in seaweed, or brambles in the forest, we Christians are often entangled in things that make it hard to walk the path of truth.  We get into men’s teachings, and follow men.  We get into the world’s ways, become woven together with these ways.  Soon, they become a part of us, like barnacles on a whale, entwined and braided, the thorns have broken off and splinter inside.  Cutting ourselves free will hurt.  I can say, when I read about influences in the church these days I see this entanglement.  Entanglement with the mystics and the belief that it is supposed to be a part of Christianity.  The claim that to be deeper with Christ we must pracitice spiritual disciplines.   I thought Christ was our mediator, and that nothing we do can save us.  The sacrifices desired are a “broken and contrite heart….” and not contemplation. 

From personal experience, I saw entanglement coming from my very own pastors.  If writers like Nouwen, Willard, Hybels, and Warren are producing good fruit, then why do pastors who are following after them continue to loose long time Christians who are serious about following after God?  It is not the numbers that are the measure of fruit, but I believe (and I am not God so anyone out there can correct me on this) that wise people will stick with a wise pastor if God doesn’t call them to something else.  If you are loosing elder members, you might consider why.  If a church looks like the world, then it might as well be the world. 

The entanglement is confusing.  I have asked elders and pastors about contemplative prayer.  I’ve gotten some interesting answers. 

“Do not let terminology frustrate you, the Bible speaks about contemplation” (this also included transformation and meditation).  My question further would be “does it include spiritual formation?”  We didn’t ask much about that as we had enough issues…

The lead pastor of our former church said, “If you are referring to lectio divina, it’s been around since the Reformation.”  Interesting.  Many things have been around since even before the Reformation, and that doesn’t make them right.

I have heard other unsatisfactory responses when it comes to such entanglements.  “Why would you attack a ministry that has done so much to advance the kingdom” and there’s always the “you’re being unloving.” 

It hurts when people pull on the tangles, no one ever likes the rats brushed out.  It can pull and hurt.  Cutting out the cancer and treating it hurts.  What is hard, is that we were warned the weeds would grow among the fields.   We are to snatch some from the flames, but we will not be able to untangle all the knots until the return of our risen Lord.  This hurts all the more.  We can do our part, and it will not be enough but we are still called to do it.  It is finished in Christ Jesus.

Sadly, I have to admit I am entangled too.  The world is on me, though I am cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.  I pick up a thorn here, a barnacle there.  I get caught up too.  I am sure the first thing that will happen after I rejoice in seeing Jesus is sheer on my face mourning.  At least for the second He allows it.   I so long to be untangled. 

Maranatha.

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