Wednesday, June 21, 2017
"I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it
with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.......What more
could I have done for it?...Now I will tell you what
I am going to do to my vineyard.
I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed.
I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds not to rain on it.
The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah are the garden of His delight.
And He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress."
--Isaiah 5: 1-7
What do we hear all day? All night? The news is constant with bloodshed and distress.Whether you watch fiction or non-fiction, in other words, whether you see it daily on the streets or on TV, it's a steady barrage of trash. In the US, we have seen a steady decline in our society, with morals descending into the abyss, public vitriol, open rebellion against law and order. The social media have become cesspools of sickness and degeneration into social war, division, public bullying and harassment. Politics is all shouting and anti-President debate. Schools, cities, and even states openly talk about defying the federal government. The people in America who try to have a reasoned discussion about any issue are shouted down by the hate-mongers.
America, like the rest of the so-called "Christian" countries, is awash in bloodshed, and cries of distress, and the churches are impotent, silent, playing games to keep themselves out of the news.
We in the most free of countries have used that freedom to create perhaps the most vile and disgusting society in history. We murder millions of innocent God-created children in the womb; we fill our minds with filth from movies, TV, and even turn music into a fleshly indulgence. We are profane, filled with lust, and hungry for evermore guilty pleasures. We run after things that were considered out of bounds only a few generations ago. And in the churches, we celebrate along with the world, we follow the trends, we run with the crowd. What do we expect God to do? Let us alone to party ourselves to death with the world?
Brethren who really know and serve Christ, who are part of His great Ekklesia around the globe, take heart. The wasteland will make way for the Lord and His judgment, and the final product will be a Church without spot or wrinkle. A remnant that stand purified by the blood of Christ before Him. His great love will win in the end.
But for the foreseeable future, we face great trial and tribulation. No use trying to hide, but each of us must stand for what we know is true. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
I DID NOT SEND THESE PROPHETS
“I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message.”
“…if they had stood in My council,
they would have proclaimed My Words to My people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.”
“Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream,
but let the one who has My Word speak it faithfully.
For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord.
Is not My Word like fire,” declares the Lord,
“and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
We have a critical situation in the affluent western churches today. Many occupy pulpit and podium who are not called and chosen by God to prophecy to His people. These men and women hold positions of authority, influence and power among God’s people, yet they have not been sent by the Lord. Therefore, we are listening to people and their dreams, instead of hearing and being broken before the Lord about our sins and our evil ways.
Many men declare their dreams, which is straw, instead of faithfully speaking the Word of God that is like a hammer that breaks rock. Straw is made for small-minded creatures, like horses and cows. It is food only for the witless--those who need to be led about by bit and bridle. The dreams spoken of here are brought forward by the false prophets, who cry “Peace! Peace!” to the sheep, and they follow without thought. Like dumb animals, these people who are occupying the pews listen to these false prophets, and are herded this way and that by these men who dream their dreams for them, and announce things God has not spoken.
Unlike straw, grain is the sustaining life-giving Word of God that feeds those “who hunger and thirst after righteousness”. Matt. 5:6 So, as sheep, our responsibility is to hunger and thirst after God and His Word.
God’s Word is like fire, that burns up “wood, hay or straw…because the Day…will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work”. 1 Cor. 3:12,13 So those who claim to speak the Word of God must undergo God’s quality tests, to make certain they are speaking truth.
Men who are called by God, and speak God’s Word, in contrast to the false prophets whom God does not call, do it boldly, being willing to risk everything every day to deliver God’s true message of repentance and correction and instruction in righteousness to His people.
They speak the Truth, bringing real nutrition to the ekklesia of God, and their messages are like fire, burning up the false and fake, allowing God to replace it with the gems of the Spirit. These men speak the Word of the Lord, wielding God’s hammer, which breaks the rock of prison walls into pieces, so that God can deliver His people from their sin.
When the Word of God is truly spoken, it brings pain and true godly sorrow, which in turn brings repentance and salvation. The healing it brings is true healing, deep healing, with the peace of God that comes from righteous living. The true Word of God counsels obedience to God, and never deceives.
Today we hear much peace and comfort spoken from our pulpits. We hear lengthy discourses on how God loves us, and God’s grace is all we need, and how we need not fear anything because God is with us. Yet we are blind and poor and naked…“worldly—mere infants in Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:1
The men who speak peace to those who should be repenting of their sins, and their lukewarmness, do not have the good of the people of God in mind. Their interests are not those of Christ Jesus. No matter how popular and influential they are, these men face the judgment of God for speaking on His behalf without His permission. They are speaking falsely, and are to their sheep as shepherds who lead them astray.
These men who jealously guard their positions and lifestyles speak on their own behalf. They “fill you with false hopes…visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord…to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ “ Jer. 23:16,17
These men “are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.” Jude 12
These men who speak peace to troubled souls do not call the sinners to repentance as Jesus did, nor do they bring men into obedience to the Lord’s Word. They don’t follow the Way of Christ, which is the
Narrow Way of the Cross, but instead take Broadway, that wide, brightly-lit street of dreams and lead thousands to their destruction.
Their teachings may be presented in small sanctuaries, with only a handful of sheep present, or they may be dynamically presented to large audiences, and go out with the latest technology. Yet they lack any substance, or means of saving anyone. The people of God perish in their comfort, while God is ignored.
“These are the men who divide you,
who follow mere natural instincts
and do not have the Spirit…
they boast about themselves
and flatter others for their own advantage.”
Don’t trust their flattering words, or their easy, comfortable gospel, which is no gospel at all.
The true Word of God calls us to repent and follow Jesus. Jesus says:
“If anyone would come after Me,
he must deny Himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it….
If anyone is ashamed of Me and My Words
in this adulterous and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes
in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
When Christ comes in glory to receive His own, He will say to many who’ve attended church and sat under these false prophets “…I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.” Matt. 25:12
And to these who prophesy smoothly as if God is speaking through them when He is not He says: “The master of the servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites…” Matt. 24:50,51
This message is for those who claim to speak the Word of God. You must examine yourselves and truly put yourselves to the test. If you are called, you will know this. Your anointing will be from Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will rest upon you with power and authority. Your teachings will be full of the Truth, and you will call God’s people to Him without flattery, and with conviction. You will adhere to the Word, and sit in God’s council, listening and heeding His voice only. You will not twist and distort the Word of God for your own ends, nor for the purposes of other men or institutions set up by men, no matter if they pay your salaries. You will declare the simple Truth, and call men to repentance and obedience to Christ as citizens of His Kingdom. You will preach the Word, sharing it morning, noon and night with those whom God has put in your care. You will love the brethren above all, and give God’s love to them at all times, making the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
You will call the Body of Christ to live like His Body, set apart, holy, and infused with the Holy Spirit’s power for righteous living. You will teach the flock how to live with one another in love, and how to take care of one another in practical ways.
“For the time will come when men
will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires,
they will gather around them a great number of teachers
to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth
and turn aside to myths.”
2 Tim. 4:3,4
This message is also for those who sit like dumb animals under the teaching of those who claim to represent the Lord. You are responsible for your own lives, minds, and actions. You can think, study and pray for yourself. God will teach you His Ways if you truly want anything more than easy deception and comfortable living. Would it not be tragic if you were to lose your own soul because you were too lazy or fearful to follow the Truth instead of smooth, flattering men who make you feel good?
Don’t you want the Lord Himself, and His love, and His companionship, instead of false hopes?
“This is what the Lord Almighty says,
‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord…
In days to come you will understand it clearly.”
Escape the trap Satan has devised for you. Don’t follow anyone who preaches a gospel other than the one which was given you in Scripture. Be willing to follow Jesus Christ, even if it means going upstream to the religious river that flows around you. Better yet, get out of that river altogether, leaving the false prophets, and find those who truly teach and preach the Good News of God’s Word.
I pray that we will come to understand this clearly, not when Christ comes back, and we realize in a rush of regret and fear that we have listened to the wrong gospel, but now, in grateful repentance and the experience of the grace of God in our changed lives, through His Son Jesus Christ.
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