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Global Rebellion against God’s Law

Global Rebellion against God’s Law

Last week we looked at what I believe to be the greatest sign of the soon return of Christ. I want to look at the global rebellion against God’s law, which is the result of turning away from God and His Word. We see this when we look at the attitude of many of our political leaders, especially on the left and their hatred for the things spelled out in the Word of God. They are against the traditional family. They are for homosexuality and same sex marriage. They are against parental authority.

They are attacking Christianity as if it were a curse on society. Some leftist governors and mayors have openly stated that they don’t want churches to reopen. Fortunately, for now, the Supreme Court has stood against the closing or limiting churches. If they succeed in stacking the Court with leftist justices, we have no Idea how long this will last.

I want to start with the prophecy as found in Psalm Chapter 2.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:1-9).

When we think about prophecy, the Book of Psalms is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, they contain many prophecies, some of which were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, and many which point to His second coming.

The events described in this Psalm describe what we see throughout the world today. The heathen kings and their people are uniting in rebellion against Jehovah God and His Anointed. The “heathen” are those who reject the God of the Bible.

They “rage” against God. They are trying to cast away His bands and cords, referring to His holy laws. They desire to live as they please without any limitations on their sinful lifestyles.

The heathen have been raging against God since man’s fall and since Cain, the first son of Adam, killed his prophet brother, Abel. The rage has grown in intensity in these last days and will culminate in Armageddon.

Rage against God’s holy laws is the chief characteristic of the western pop culture that has spread throughout the earth. The rage is expressed continually through movies, television, literature, the news media, the fields of education, fashion, and art. The rebellion is seen in the false religions, communism, evolution, militant atheism. The American Atheists paid for billboard ads in September 2012 calling the God of the Bible “sadistic” and Jesus a “useless Savior.” The homosexual rights movement tries to tell us that we are not the gender we were born to be. Some even say there are as many as one hundred different genders.

The gospel has been preached in every nation and at least portions of the Bible have been translated into most languages. In spite of this, the vast majority of the people have turned their backs to God’s gracious offer of salvation through His Son.

The Psalmist says that God will laugh at the rebels, not in joy but in scorn, because puny man cannot pull Him from His throne or thwart His plans.

God will establish Christ’s kingdom with its headquarters in Jerusalem in spite of worldwide opposition, and He will not establish it by a-millennial reconstructionists or by charismatic or emerging kingdom builders, but by His almighty power and a rod of iron.

The Psalmist has warned the ungodly rulers and judges, but they will not listen.

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:10-12).

The kings and judges of the earth are warned. They are to be instructed by the Word of God. They are to serve the Lord with fear. This fear is a fear of offending a holy God. It keeps us from straying from God’s precepts.

They are told to “rejoice with trembling.” As we rejoice in the Lord, we must remember who He is and tremble before His majesty and power. This is a trembling from knowing who He is as we rejoice in His grace.

The expression “kiss the son” signifies, first of all, submission. It was customary in Bible times for subjects to kiss kings.

“Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?” (1 Samuel 10:1).

To kiss an idol was a sign of submission to the god represented by the idol. To “kiss the son” therefore refers to a sinner repenting of his rebellion against God and surrendering to Christ as Lord.

The expression “kiss the son” is also a sign of compassion. A kiss is a tender thing. It reminds us that salvation in Christ is not a matter of cold religious duty; it is a personal and intimate relationship with the Son of God. Compare this with Matthew 11:28-30.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ( Matthew 11:28-30)

Men are exhorted to submit to the Son of God and put their trust in Him now while there is an opportunity. If the Son is angry with someone, he will perish. It only takes a little of His wrath to be kindled to put one in danger of Hell Fire.

The day is coming when all will stand before the righteous Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)

The time of our appointment with death is known only to God, but it is as sure as the sun rises that we will all die unless we are caught up in the Rapture. After our with death appointment, we will all stand before the judgment bar. The saved will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the unsaved before the Great White Throne judgment.

In light of the fact that our time on this earth is limited, and none of us are guaranteed another day of life, this next verse is extremely important.

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Our eternal destiny is fixed at death. Those who have rejected God and His Son will be forever lost. They will spend all eternity separated from God in the Lake of Fire.

We are reminded that God delights in mercy more than judgment.

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us- ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

All men are to serve the Lord in fear and trembling. This is the evidence of true salvation. Salvation is not simply praying the sinner’s prayer, it is a life-changing conversion experience.

What we have dealt with so far tells us the state of leadership in the last days. I want to takes some time to look at the condition of churches and Christians as we approach the end of this age. The second and third chapters of Revelation contain letters from Christ to the pastors of seven churches. These churches represent types of churches that are found throughout history. They also represent seven periods where certain types of churches are the most common. The last of these periods is just before the return of Christ. Let’s look at the letter to the last church which represents the majority of churches of our day.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:14-22)

The first six churches were addressed as the church in or at a specific town. This church is addressed differently. It is addressed to the Church of the Laodiceans. Laodiceans means the inhabitants of Laodicea, which means it was a church which belonged to the people of the city, not a church that belonged to God. It was a church that had put the Lord on the outside and closed the door.

This letter says that it was neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm. This was a church that would stand for nothing.

It is interesting that there is no mention of doctrinal error, which I think tells us that it was orthodox in doctrine. There are many churches, even Baptist churches, that, when you read their doctrinal statements, are pretty solid. The problem is, they will not take a stand for the doctrine stated in their statements and separate from those in error.

It was also a rich church. It probably had a nice building and had the money to carry out its ministries and care for the needy. It thought this made it rich in spiritual matters. It was not! It made God spew it out of His mouth. When you don’t stand for righteousness, you are in rebellion against God’s law just as those who openly oppose them.

I want to look at one more thing before I close, and that is the condition of the people in the last days.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

I don’t have the time to look at all of these so I will just cover those I think are important for this discussion.

People are more selfish today than at any time I can remember. It is all about what’s in it for me. They choose a church home based upon how it takes care of their felt needs. They will reject any teaching that interferes with what they want.

Many “Christians” are blasphemers. They don’t blaspheme with their lips, but with their attitude toward the precepts of God. If there is a Bible teaching that they don’t want to follow, they will go to great lengths to explain it away. When someone points out what the Bible says, they say we all have the right to our own interpretation, so we will just have to agree to disagree.

They are without natural affection. It is natural for a mother to put her children above everything but God and her husband. Today almost everything else comes before children. They don’t have children because they interfere with their desired lifestyle. If they do have them, the mother gives them over to someone else to raise so they and have their career and have the material things they desire.

Many are despisers of those that are good. If someone stand firm on the precepts of Scripture, they are called names like holier than thou, goody two shews, legalistic, and so on.

Almost everyone is a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. God is not against us having pleasure if it lines up with the teachings of His Word. We should find great pleasure in studying God’s Word. We should find pleasure in hearing the preaching of Scripture. There is great pleasure in fellowship with God’s people. There is also pleasure in some of the things of this world, but we must be sure that they don’t keep us from God’s precepts. If we get pleasure from a ball game, it is fine an proper as long as it does not keep us out of church or cause us to violate some Bible principle. God must come before pleasure.

The result of these attitudes is, they are ever learning, and never able to come to the truth. Most of today’s “Christians” are biblically illiterate and ignorant of Bible doctrine.

When we don’t know what the Bible teaches, we contribute to the rebellion against God’s law. We do so because we cannot answer the gainsayers. We also contribute by not separating from those who are in error. Remember the Bible teaches that if we hang around bad people, their badness will rub off on us. This is why so many who call themselves Christians get angry when you tell them that certain kinds of music is bad, or that they shouldn’t smoke or drink alcohol, or that a woman’s place is in the home, not out working. These are all issues the Bible deals with.

A popular statement used by those who violate these principles is; “We are not under law, but we are under grace.” This is true for salvation, but not for how we live our lives after we are saved. If we are not under the law for the way we live, is murder now OK? How about stealing, or adultery?

We cannot be saved by keeping the law because we all stand guilty for breaking it. Only God’s grace, received by faith in the blood payment of Christ on the cross, can save. Once we are saved, we are expected to live righteous lives. We are to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.

When you don’t follow God’s precepts, you are guilty of rebellion against the law of God. Remember, judgment is coming, and we will all answer to God for what we do with His law.

God predicted the state of the world today, but we don’t have to participate in it. We need to be a peculiar people that show the world what it means to live righteous and holy lives.

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End Time Apostasy

Apostasy In The End Times

I want to look at what I think is the main indication that we are really near the end of this age. I believe that Christ’s return to catch all true Christians out of this world is so close that we can hear the angels practicing on the trumpet, not that angels have to practice. Actually, the second coming in Revelation 19, is so close we can almost hear the hoof beats of the horses.

The most important indication that Christ’s return is near is not the political unrest or the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not the wars, rumors of wars, nor peace treaties that have been negotiated in the Middle East. It is not even the fact that Israel is back in the land. We should expect all of these things before Christ’s return because they are part of end time prophecy, but I believe the main prophetic event is the apostasy among “Christians.”

I want to start by looking at 2 Timothy 4:1-5, but I want to read the middle part first.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (3-4)

This is a prophecy concerning the state of Christianity as we approach the Rapture of the Saints. It is talking about those who are professing Christians, and are most likely members of supposedly Bible believing churches.

The time has come where many church members will not endure sound doctrine. The word translated “endure” means to put up with or allow. My son was recently in a conversation with a woman who disagreed with him on a Bible principle. When he pointed out what the Bible said, she said something to the effect of “We all have our own interpretation, so we will just have to agree to disagree.”

This is a typical attitude toward the Scriptures today. I know the woman, and she thinks she is a Christian even though her lifestyle is totally in opposition to what the Bible teaches. She is covered with tattoos, she has a foul mouth, and she is often proud that she brings “shine” to meetings she goes to. She is a very nice person, but she is typical of the apostasy we should expect just before the return of Christ.

The modern “Christian” wants preachers and teachers who will preach what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. As a result, they are turned from the truth to fables. It is a choice they have made.

When we see this state of affairs, we should ask why. Although God told us it would happen, it is not because He ordained it to be so. I think the first and last part of this passage give us the key to why it has happened. The passage starts with:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.(1-2)

Paul charged the young preacher, Timothy, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Word. In so doing, he reminded Timothy that we will all stand before the judge one day and answer for our lives. I will look more at this in a moment, but for now I want to look at what the preacher is charged to do.

First, he is to preach the Word of God, all of it. He is to preach it when it is convenient, and when it is not. This means he is to preach the whole counsel of God whether the people want to hear it or not. Because many don’t want the truth, many preachers water it down out of fear.

I am afraid that too many preachers believe that their salary depends on the members of their churches. It does not! It depends on the one who called them into the ministry. That being said, the salary only last for a time. The real reward for the faithful preachers is everlasting.

Next, he is to reprove those to whom he preaches. To reprove is to point out error and convict those who are guilty of that error. We don’t have too much problem reproving the error that is politically correct in our circles. Things like abortion and homosexuality are often reproved in our churches where few, if any, are guilty of these sins. On the other hand, little is said about immodesty, worldly conduct and speech, etc. Why, because there may be criticism or the loss of a good tithing member.

The preacher is also to rebuke. This means to charge with error or to place the blame. Public sin should be rebuked publicly and private sin should be rebuked privately. Again, if the preacher rebukes, he risks offending and losing church members.

He is also to exhort his church members in his preaching. The word “exhort” means to use strong languages to encourage to right actions. The more exhorting that is done, the less need there will be for rebuking and reproving. The sins that are the most common in Bible believing churches are often mentioned in sermons, but seldom as exhortations. Exhortation is more than the issue being one point in a message. It requires full messages that explain, not only that it is wrong, but why it is wrong. What damage does a skirt that is just a bit short do? What harm is done by going to the wrong places? And I could go on.

The preacher is to do it with all longsuffering. This means he is to keep preaching it whether the people listen or not. He is to do it if they get angry, or even if they run him off. Granted, he is to do it with love and not use deliberately offensive language, but if the truth offends, preach it anyway.

He is to preach doctrine. This is the key to all of this. If people are taught sound doctrine from the beginning, all of the other things will fall into place. Doctrine teaches what is right and correct, and why it is so. When people understand what and why, they will usually attempt to comply.

Our text ends with:

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (5)

The preacher is to make full proof of his ministry. He does so in three ways. First, he is to watch in all things. This means be aware of everything going on in, and outside of his church. If he is not aware of things, he cannot properly deal with them.

He is to endure afflictions. This goes with longsuffering. A faithful preacher will be attacked both from without and from within. He needs to have the backbone to stand against the opposition.

Next he is to do the work of an evangelist. An evangelist is one who preaches good news. The sad thing is, we often limit this to soul-winning. Is the only good news in the Bible that we can be saved? Although that is where it all starts, that is not the only good news that must be preached. We live in what the Bible calls perilous times. There is evil on every side. Nothing seems to be going the way we would like things to go. It is very easy for our people to get depressed. The work of preaching good news also includes preaching of the soon return of Christ, the rewards in heaven for faithful servants, and even the rewards of this life.

The following passage is often used to bring people under the authority of their pastor. It does teach that we are to obey our spiritual leaders, but there is something more important that is seldom mentioned. The reason they are to obey their pastor is that he is a watchman for their souls.

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. (Hebrews 13:17)

I would like to remind every preacher, pastor or not, that one day we will stand before God and give an answer for what we preach and how we preach it.

The word “pastor” is used nine times in the Scriptures, eight in the book of Jeremiah, and one in Ephesians. Six of the nine times, they are warnings or condemnations of the pastors because they were unfaithful to their calling.

Since pastors are to watch for the souls of those over whom God has given them oversight, I believe the warning given in Ezekiel is something to pay attention to.

Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 33:1-9)

Each God called preacher is responsible to warn the people of danger. The passage I began with tells us that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine. Well, that time has come. I believe that it has come because pastors have not been the watchmen God has called them to be. The world we live in has many spiritual dangers. The only defense against these dangers is the Word of God. It must be preached in its fulness.

As an older preacher who can remember things as far back as WWII, I would like to speak to the younger preachers. I had the advantage of growing up at a time when we spoke the truth without fear of offending those who heard it. Over the last fifty years or so, things have changed considerably. In our day, the worst sin that can be committed is to offend someone. Our Bible colleges have taught preachers to keep things positive. It is sad to say, but this was taught by some of the great preachers of the past. For example, Lee Roberson, the founder of Tennessee Temple, said that he kept everything positive, and kept the negative from his people.

When I was in Bible College, I was taught that I was to keep things positive and take care not to rock the boat. I know this was taught in other Baptist Bible colleges also. The result is that even those younger preachers who do preach on the negative things from time to time, apologize for being negative.

The Old Testament prophets never apologized for the negative messages they brought to the people. The Apostle Paul didn’t apologize when he rebuked the church at Corinth. The greatest preacher of all times, the Lord Jesus Christ, never apologized when He rebuked those in error.

The Old Testament prophets and Paul received direct revelation from God, and Jesus was and is God. If they had apologized, they would have been apologizing for God and His Word. Is our message any less from God simply because it did not come by direct revelation? No! If our message is faithful to what God says in His Word, it carries the same power and authority as the messages given by direct inspiration to the prophets of old.

Many preachers try to keep negativity out of the Gospel message. We like to tell people the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day for our justification. All of this is positive. However, without the negative teaching that we are all sinners guilty before a holy God and condemned to Hell, the good news means nothing. There must be true conviction of sin before the good news can be fully understood.

Everyone likes to be liked. We all like it when others say nice things about us. This is human nature, and is not wrong in and of itself. We do, however, need to be careful about who says these nice things. Listen to what Jesus said on the subject:

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

This does not say woe unto you if men speak well of you. It says woe unto you if ALL men speak well of you. If other faithful Bible believing Christians speak well of you, and if you don’t let it turn into pride, it is not a bad thing. On the other hand, if the world and liberal Christians speak well of you, you should be concerned with the message you are communicating.

Woe is an expression of grief. We should be grieved when the lost world speaks well of us. It means there is something missing in our message. Our message is not bringing conviction in the hearts of those who hear it. By the way, by message I mean everything we communicate, both by word and conduct.

Bible Prophecy should be seen as a warning of things to come. Some of those things are good and encouraging, like the Rapture of the Saints. Some of them are fearful, like the apostasy of the last days.

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:17-21)

Let me close this out by saying that what we see today was predicted by our God. Although we live in perilous times, we also live in exciting times. As a Christian, it is a good time to live. Persecution may come, but our God will give us the grace and strength to endure it, just as He did our spiritual ancestors. We are to build ourselves up on our most holy faith. This means know what God has said, and stand faithful to the end. We are to pray in the Holy Ghost. Our prayers should be guided by the Holy Spirit that indwells us . Remember, God loves us and will give us the mercy we need. We have eternal life in Christ. Be encouraged, justice is coming.