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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
When a Sinner Dies: How Long Until Hell Fire?
The unsaved, lost souls in our world are an extremely heavy burden in my prayer life.
What really troubles me is how calloused they are and only get agitated if you press them for their soul needs. Eternity is an eternal period that will never end. Every one of us was created in the image of our Creator. We have the “spirit of life” from Him and will live forever. This body will be resurrected–whether in Eternal Life or Eternal Death. I would love to believe that the unsaved will be obliterated but I cannot deny the Holy Bible.
In our present society almost no one trembles at the Word of God or before God Himself. We have become a proud, although broken, generation that is glorying in our self-esteem and positive thinking. Since we do not need to fear Him, we do not respect Him and are therefore slowly replacing Him with an impersonal god that is more on our human level.Religious educators and leaders have convinced the modern preachers to present a more benign God and gospel to this generation to attract a larger portion of the community to their institutions. Indeed it has, but the level of Christianity in these churches is woefully unbiblical.America needs a dose of the theology of Hell. A proper presentation of the final judgment and the eternal abode of unsaved and wicked men would help shake our churches back to their senses. Our permissive discipline in the home has destroyed the family and is now destroying the church. Three doctrinal truths must be clearly enunciated before the realities about Hell are taught and preached.Commitment to the BibleIf you don’t believe the Bible is absolute, you will have trouble believing what it says about the horrors of Hell and the Lake of Fire. I would not dare write what I’m writing about this horrible place if I did not know the Holy Scripture was God-breathed and perfect. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). I also believe the reverse is true, that families and society will have a greater respect for Holy Scripture when they clearly understand eternal judgment.The Holiness of GodOur God is absolutely holy. He is perfect in every aspect of His eternal being and cannot tolerate rebellion in His universe without proper consequences. To think of our Heavenly Father turning murderers and rapists loose to continue the defiling of humankind right into eternity defies the perfect nature of His very person. The flaming sword at the entrance to the Garden of Eden sets the tone for how He treats sin and rebellion. Rebellion could not eat of the Tree of Life lest it exist forever.The Redemption of Jesus ChristThe most cruel thing you can suggest is that Jesus Christ died for everyone; that He took our sins on Himself as our substitute; and that He experienced the judgment of God against sin at Calvary. Yet, that same God will not send anyone to Hell because a loving God could not possibly do that. “For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).The Biblical Picture of Those Assigned To Eternal Horrors:Nothing will awaken you to spiritual things like the picture of damned souls separated forever from everything beautiful. According to the Bible, the following is an incomplete list of persons and groups of individuals who will be lost and judged to spend eternity in the “Lake of Fire.”1. The Children of this World’s Kingdom: “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12).2. The Selfish and Worldly Who Live For Themselves: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:23-26).3. Unprofitable Servants Who Bury Their Talents: “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:28-30, 41, 46).4. Multitudes Who Were Undisciplined As Children: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13-14).5. Those Who Offend And Do Iniquity: “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (Matthew 13:30, 38-41).6. Those Who Reject the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).7. Whosoever Was Not Found Written In The Book Of Life: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15, 10).8. The Fearful, Unbelieving, Abominable, Murderers, Whoremongers, Sorcerers, Idolaters, and All Liars: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).Difference Between Hell and the Lake Of FireRemember, Hell is the abode of the wicked dead, but the Lake of Fire is the place of eternal judgment. The wicked will remain in Hell from the time of their death until the White Throne Judgment. Then Hell will deliver up its dead to be judged. Then, they will be assigned to the Lake of Fire. It’s important to understand the kind of bodies that the wicked will possess for eternity.Jesus described the resurrection of all men during His earthly ministry. St. John records His words, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).Notice the difference in the two groups; one is a resurrection of life, while the other is a resurrection of damnation. The children of God will come out of the graves with glorified bodies, endued with life in the fullest sense. It will be life without the limitation of anything human.The opposite is true for the wicked and unsaved. There is a resurrection of damnation. Even their bodies will be fashioned in the horrors of depleted humanity. Every conceivable limitation and misery of human experience will constitute the design of these eternal creatures. They will dwell forever in a body that is full of death. It will be an eternal death.The Horrors of the Lake of FireThe bodies which these damned creatures will inhabit is Hell itself, but that’s just the beginning. Let’s use only the explicit words of Holy Scripture to try and paint a picture of this horrible damnation. God never intended that one living soul would spend eternity in this place. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).Outer Darkness“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). This term is used three times in Holy Scripture. We are not talking about a moonless midnight or the condition of a dark and foreboding cloud. The term outer darkness would suggest a place completely outside the realm of all light: beyond the very light of creation or a place of uncreated blackness and darkness. In the Book of Genesis the Bible speaks before God created light, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2).In such a place of outer darkness or uncreated darkness, there will never be even a glimmer or ray of light. No beauty of a created sunshine or sunset, a rainbow, or even a moon or stars will ever appear. There will be nothing, as we know life, to brighten or cheer the constantly deepening gloom. We are talking about darkness totally beyond the reach of light.Weeping and Wailing“And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42, 49-50). The physical pain that we presently experience has no kin to what a resurrection of damnation suggests.The mental stress of such an environment will be shattering. I would suggest that these words, “weeping and wailing” is more descriptive of emotion and mental pain than physical. We probably know nothing in this present world of the kind of insanity this suggests. It will be conscious insanity, while present insanity is more likely to be unconscious. A mental hell is the ultimate fact this truth seeks to convey.Gnashing Of Teeth“Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13). While weeping and wailing is suggestive of emotional pain, gnashing of teeth is probably evidence of both emotional and physical pain. This term certainly means excruciating pain that causes individuals to grind their teeth, but we are talking about more than physical discomfort. The term suggests rage or an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.It’s one thing to hurt, but it’s another matter to be hopeless of ever experiencing relief. “Gnashing of teeth” certainly implies that these individuals have reached a state when they know pain is beyond their escape. It is a conscious experience of misery — emotionally and physically — that will never end.Everlasting Punishment and DestructionAcceptance is a basic need of every individual. Our Creator created the God-shaped vacuum in man and acceptance by Him is the basis of happiness. When the prodigal was away from home, sitting on a pig fence, the Bible says, “He came to himself.” In this renewed, clear state of mental health he wanted to go home. That’s God-given sanity.
The place of everlasting punishment is to be removed from this acceptance forever. Chastisements, as we now know it, are for a moment and we know that even as we suffer. This punishment is for eternity and we will be conscious of that. Please note that this Scripture emphasizes, “Everlasting punishment from the presence of the Lord.” The rankest sinner on earth can still drink in the blessings that fall on the just and unjust alike. While man is in his present state, even though he has rejected God, he still experiences a multitude of things that represent the Creator and His presence.Where the Worm Dieth Not“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44). The reality of eternal destruction reaches an indescribable level at this point. The very words, “where their worm dieth not,” mean exactly what he said. Jesus used a word that means a maggot or grub, which feeds on dead bodies. It is the exact word used in Acts 12:23 which states, “And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost” (Acts 12:23). We are talking about dying bodies being invaded by devouring worms that cannot die. The only words to describe that state are “a living hell.”Unquenchable Fire“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17). Here we see fire that far surpasses what is presently known to man. Fire consumes; therefore, we know only of a fire that is limited to the limitations of our present world. Hell and the Lake of Fire are both unquenchable fires. Very clearly, it does not consume and is unlimited in its Fahrenheit. The Bible then adds the last level to this fiery judgment.Tormented With Fire and Brimstone“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).When you add the idea of being “tormented in fire and brimstone” to the prior elements of eternal damnation, the Lake of Fire becomes an unexplainable horror. Brimstone is burning sulphur. It is both a destructive chemical when burning and is insufferable in its heat and terror. The Encyclopedia Britannica says that .06% of the earth’s surface is sulphur and that it is the 9th most abundant element in the universe. When found in its original form, it is yellow, but turns red and then black as it is heated. It boils at 444.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Volcanoes are made up mostly of boiling hot sulphur. It sounds apocalyptic when you understand the changes of colors that sulphur passes through in becoming brimstone.The torture of this kind of burning experience defies one’s comprehension. No wonder many modern preachers and students of Scripture have rejected this truth. How can God send men and women to a living hell? The truth is “He does not.” He is absolutely bent on keeping you out of this horrible place.Don’t ever say, “God will send you to Hell.” Only your denial and rebellion before His marvelous grace can determine such a hopeless eternity. Yes, Hell is a horrible place! Everything the Bible says about Hell or the Lake of Fire is true. It will be a Christ-less and hellish place. Billions will inhabit its misery. Will you be one of them or will you fling yourself on Jesus Christ and His forgiving and cleansing Blood today? “What will wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Posted by Brad Clarke at 8:45 PM
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The Australian Climate Sceptics Blog: What went wrong with the “settled science?”: By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley Print Page
Posted by Brad Clarke at 8:16 PM