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True Grace for True Disciples
True Grace for True DisciplesBy Tucker Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
David Wilkerson was truly a modern-day prophet, calling people to repentance, and especially calling out the “church” for its apostasy. He was unapologetic in his criticism of the false teachers and preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” and “Word of Faith” movement and of those who expect favor from God without submitting to His will. Our excerpt today is from his message “True Grace” from 1993.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
According to Paul, we are not walking in grace until we have broken from worldly corruptions. Unless we are endeavoring through the power of the Holy Spirit to lead godly and righteous lives, looking for the Lord’s coming in our every waking moment, we do not know God’s grace.
Many Christians want forgiveness, but that is all. They do not want to be delivered from this present world, because they love it. They are attached to their sins, not wanting to give up the pleasures of this earth. So they cling to a doctrine that says, “I can live as I please — as long as I say that I believe.
They do not want to hear about obedience, repentance, self-denial, picking up their cross, taking on the yoke or burden of Christ. They simply want to be excused on Judgment Day — to have all their iniquities overlooked. They expect Jesus to open up the pearly gates, put His arms around them, and lead them down a golden street to their reserved mansion, even though they have never broken from the spirit of this world!
Paul writes, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). We are to break from this world completely and be conformed to Christ alone!
Words of Grace for Strength
Unfortunately, the “church” today is filled with “Christians” who reflect the very attitudes that David Wilkerson spoke of 20 plus years ago. More than ever before the church has adopted the ideas and appearance of the world. Rather than being separated to Christ, the church has embraced materialism and humanism in a culture of tolerance and compromise. In today’s culture, Man’s will rules supreme.
Those who call themselves “Christian” in many cases are no different from those who claim to be atheist or agnostic. Not only have they not broken from worldly corruption and desires, they have no intention to. They speak of a god of love who will not condemn anyone to a literal hell because of his love for Man. Unfortunately, they are half right. God is a loving God, but it is they who condemn themselves to hell because of their unrepentant disobedience to His will.
So, the problem with many who identify themselves as “Christian” today is that they believe Jesus is the Son of God (but even the demons believe this), and that He loves them (which He does), and that He died on a cross and rose from the grave (which He did).
But they have never truly repented and turned from their sinfulness, they are still living worldly lives.
Because this is the state of their belief, they believe Jesus is God, just not their God. Their gods are all of the worldly pleasures and things they will not turn away from. Ultimately then, they are their own god, which means they have completely bought into Satan’s lie. They have not recognized that Jesus Christ is the only means of forgiveness and salvation, and they have certainly not placed their faith and trust in Him alone as their Savior.
True Christianity requires one to have experienced God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is conditional on Man accepting the gift of grace which Jesus Christ provided and paid for by His finished work at Calvary. By accepting the free gift of grace, Man acknowledges his sinful state, the debt he owes, the need for repentance, the price which was paid, and the need to surrender his life and his will to the sovereign will of God.
When one accepts the gift of grace, he is acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his life, he is forgiven and becomes a follower or disciple of Christ. It is at this point that obedience, repentance, self-denial, picking up his cross, and taking on the yoke or burden of Christ becomes important in his life. This is what it means to experience true grace; he has become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Disciples of Jesus Christ expose and reject ungodliness, they have broken away from worldliness and worthless pursuits, they do not tolerate or compromise with unrighteousness, they study the Word of God so that they may live in obedience to God while pursuing God’s will for their lives. Disciples of Jesus Christ are indwelt by His Holy Spirit who opens the Word to them as their teacher and comforter.
The disciple of Jesus Christ desires a closer relationship with Him as he longs for and looks for His return. True disciples of Jesus Christ have experienced forgiveness and deliverance because of true grace. And, that is the reason for the transformation which takes place in their lives. True disciples do not just believe in Jesus, they know Him as their Lord and Savior. True disciples have counted the cost of walking away from the attitudes and values of the world, and count them as nothing when compared to the incomparable riches of a life with Christ, life in Christ.
Do you know Him? Are you His disciple? Or are you kidding yourself?
Dr. Tucker Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
Rafter Cross Ministries
Posted by Brad Clarke at 9:06 PM
The Irrelevant Majority
By Matt Ward
A constant refrain when discussing issues of radical Islam is that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not radicalized. I agree completely. The vast majority of Muslim men and women are people who just want to live their lives, bring up their families and make the most out of the short time they have available to them.
Almost all Western intelligence agencies are unanimous in their estimates that anywhere between 15-25 percent of Muslims worldwide are radicalized. That means there are between 180-300 million radicalized Muslim men and women in the world today. It is quite right to point out that this therefore means there are 75 percent of the Muslim Uma who are not radicalized. (An overwhelming majority.)
The problem is though that this majority is completely irrelevant.
During the 1930s in Germany only a small minority of people were fully signed up members of the Nazi Party. Only a small number of disenfranchised ex-soldiers were with Hitler from the very beginning of his ascension to power, whilst he was agitating in the Beer Halls of Munich. Only a tiny minority of men such as Hess, Himmler and Goering followed him and watched his every move from the very beginning.
The overwhelming majority of Germans were unaware of Hitler in the early 1920s and were even repulsed by him. After all, Germany was, despite its crushing defeat and humiliation at the end of the First World War, an intellectually sophisticated country, with a rich history of academic endeavor.
In 1933, after Hitler swept to power, even then, the majority of Germans did not fully support Hitler and his policies. The overwhelming majority thought he was an extremist and a bigot.
But they remained silent. The overwhelming majority became completely irrelevant and a tiny minority of individuals were allowed to set the agenda in Germany over the following twelve years. This ended with the Jewish Holocaust and the additional deaths of anywhere between 75 to 100 million war dead by 1945.
Equally, in the Soviet Union a small minority of people in 1917 were aligned to Lenin and Marxist Communism. The overwhelming majority of people just wanted to carry on with their lives and watched these people from the periphery, as they fundamentally changed Russia and the Soviet Union. This led to Stalin and his infamous “purges” whereby he was responsible for the deaths of an estimated nine million of his own people.
The overwhelming majority of Soviets allowed themselves to be swept along by this tiny minority. The overwhelming majority had become completely irrelevant.
So with Islam, the overwhelming majority have become irrelevant and Islam’s very future is being cut out by a small minority of people. The majority are standing by and because their active opposition is limited, they have become irrelevant.
However, the disturbing reality is that we are in exactly the same position and are acting in exactly the same way.
Barack Obama is fundamentally altering America. He is systematically and methodically carrying out the changes he promised from his earliest public days. He is aided by a small minority of like-minded but highly motivated and capable people, and he is being true to his word. Barak Obama is bringing change to America.
The majority have stood by while Obama actively rewrites the rules on immigration, allowing America to become swamped by people that it cannot afford. Obama has allowed the Southern border to become so porous that literally anybody, with any intent, can just walk across it without so much as a verbal challenge. One or two individuals have taken issue with this, but the majority have remained silent.
Obama is changing the very nature of the presidency itself. The system of checks and balances built into the Constitution specifically to prevent abuses is being eroded and done away with; expressly so he can perpetrate abuses of power, effectively ruling by presidential edict. He is trying, successfully, to rule by decree from the White House beyond the will and limitations of an impotent Congress, who bluster but mainly just stand idly by.
Obama promised to unify this nation. He said he would heal the differences and the divisions. Yet division is exactly what he has wrought. Conflict and division between one group and another epitomize America in 2015. A divided America is one of its current defining characteristics and so divided has it become that many commentators are openly voicing the concern that this next two years may be the most dangerous for America since the Civil War era.
Yet the overwhelming majority of Americans are either unaware or are simply standing by and watching, apathetic, uninterested.
As with radical Islam, as with America. The overwhelming majority may oppose these things coming on the world, but they are proving to be completely irrelevant.
And Europe is a direct mirror of the changes taking place in America.
The Bible tells us that at some point in the near future there will be a one world economic system with a single, one world government presiding over it. Sitting at the helm of this system will be the final world dictator, the man of sin, the lawless one, the Antichrist. He will rule with a very small group of individuals who will ruthlessly dominate and subjugate the majority in the world. Opposition by this point will be irrelevant.
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17).
When we look around ourselves in 2015, this is not such a stretch of the imagination anymore. The consequences of this will be terrible beyond imagination.
“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)
Pastor Martin Niemöller, the German Lutheran anti-Nazi theologian, aptly summed up the dangers of passivity in his famous post World War II poem:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Posted by Brad Clarke at 9:00 PM