Discernment: The Road of Death v. Life

The RoadQuestion: Does my belief in Jesus mean I have eternal life?

Recently a friend recommended a summer read that I have found to be tremendously insightful in this current age. It looks at common deceptions amongst “Believers” about eternal life. I have been reminded again of the shortness of this life and the transition each of us will make from this life into the next one. I want to urge each of you to examine the course you are taking on this life before your calling to the next one. You may be comfortable and happy in your present life, but God is asking us to closely examine if our present life is consistent with what God promises on eternal life. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends of small children you know what it is like to keep watchful eyes on children, especially in the 0-2 age, playing outside. Though they are aware of many things, they are not aware like we are that running into a busily trafficked road at any age but especially 0-2 will certainly result in death. The same is true for Believers journeying on this side of eternity. Abba is keeping watchful eyes on each of us along with His watchmen/watchwomen. He sees some of us running towards the busily trafficked road of the flesh life that will result in certain eternal death and He is asking some of His “Believers” to step in and bring you away from The Road.

1. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” – Matthew 7:22.

Here Jesus issues a warning to “Believers” that we will notice comes up many more times about the time coming when MANY not few “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be disappointed and turned away from eternal life. These individuals participated on hospitality team, the prayer team, the prophetic team, and all sorts of good works ministries but they still will not receive eternal life. What?!

2. “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:10.

The Lord explains why “Believers” in Christ Jesus will be turned away from eternal life: unrepentant. Jesus has clearly repeated the above are a one way ticket away from His Kingdom. Jesus warns us we CANNOT have eternal life and actively practice the above. For many of this current age, sexual sin is your busy road. Magazines, movies, and even family condone or tolerate what God does not. If you are not married in Christ Jesus and continue to have a sexual relationship you will be excluded from the Kingdom of God. Common law marriage is not marriage in Christ Jesus. God will not honor it. Please reconsider. The time is short. Yeshua will accept no excuses. It is a choice.

3. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46.

Jesus issues a very specific warning to “Believers” about yet another deception. You CANNOT expect to receive eternal life if you persist in ignoring the poor. Each of you have opportunities to serve the poor and many of you persist in ignoring the call by God to serve them. Churches and faith based non-profits seem to always be short on volunteers yet “Christian” dinner parties don’t. Why? God tells us this is a heart matter and though we may think “that community or person is not my problem”, they are. Each time you say no or ignore an opportunity to help feed the poor, invite the homeless in, cloth those who need clothing, visit the imprisoned and the sick, you tell Jesus no. Jesus is telling you that He is a part of each of these individuals. When you persist in rejecting those God commands you to serve, you persist in rejecting Him and HE will reject you when you leave this side of eternity.

Sobering?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” – John 15:1-11

AMEN

Related Posts: Confession ; 8 Questions to Ask Before Complaining God’s Ignoring Me ; I Never Knew You
Photo Credit: The Truth Won

Discernment: The New Gospel

DiscernmentAs we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! Galatians 1:9

Just as in the days of the Apostle Paul, there were new “gospel” teachings being advertised. Paul was concerned that these “new teachings” were drawing Believers away from the Kingdom of God.

“I am amazed that you so quickly deserting him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ”. Galatians 1:6

Paul understood that these “gospel” teachings were not from the Kingdom of God but clever counterfeits designed to lead Believers away from the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Paul warned that these teachings were confusing Believers and distorting the Gospel of Christ.

Abba presents the idea of the clever counterfeits in the book of Deuteronomy. He first warns of the sin of adding to and taking away from His published, ordained Word.

‘You not shall add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.’ Deuteronomy 4:2

He through the Apostle Paul repeats the warning in Galatians 1:6-9. Then goes again to issue a final warning in the Book of Revelations of the eternal price one will pay for the sins of adding to and taking away from the His Word. It is eternal.

‘I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.’ Revelations 22:18-21

Abba understands there is so much information out there and it can be hard to know what is truly from Him and what is not. God expressly states that what is in His Word is finished. There is nothing new to be added and there is nothing to be taken out of or omitted from the Word. God’s command for every Believer is to be discerning, as we will one day give an account for our activities or negligence.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.

Okay, what if a “super saint” or hey “angel” came with a new gospel. This angel or super saint tells us that God gave new teachings in addition to the Word. Well…God has an answer for that too?

“But even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8

The prince of the air was an angel as well. He was in fact the most beautiful angels of them all. His character is to counterfeit the works of the true creator. He is very good at creating beautiful things and attractive ideas in teachings that ultimately lead to the eternal pit. This is a call for Believers to clean house. Be discerning of what we are promoting. What we promote or share with others as seen in the Book of Galatians seals our eternity. Be careful.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelations 22:18

Resources: Critical Issues Commentary
Photo Credit: WordPress

Spiritual Warfare: Battling the Opposition – Nehemiah Rebuilds a City

The ArmorIn continuation of the Old Testament character series, Pastor David gave a phenomenal, prophetic message from Nehemiah Chapters 4-6. The background is Nehemiah was on the journey of rebuilding the walls of the city and was met with fierce opposition. In each trial, Nehemiah countered the opposition with Godly character.

The Opposition
• Ridicule (4:1-3): “…What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves?…”
The Response
• Cry (4:4-5): “Hear, O our God, how we (you God and we your people) are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads…”
The Opposition
• Threats (4:7-8): “Now when they heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance.”
The Response
• Cry & Bear Arms (4:9, 13): “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night…then I stationed men in the lowest parts of space behind the wall,…I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows.”
The Opposition
• Discouragement (4:10-12): “…The strength of the burden bearers is failing…”
The Response
• Encouragement (4:14): “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
The Opposition
• Financial (5:1-5): “…We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses…we have borrowed money…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves…”
The Response
• Cry (5:19): “Remember me, O my God…”
The Opposition
• Trickery (6:1-4): “They sent a message to me, saying “Come let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono”. But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them saying “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.”
The Response
• Stayed on task (6:3)
The Opposition
• Slander (6:5-7): “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.”
The Response
• Call for courage (6:9): “For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done. But now, O God, STRENGTHEN MY HANDS.”
The Opposition
• Counterfeit counsel (6:10): “Let us meet together in the house of God…for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.”
The Response
• Discernment & Cry (6:12-14): “Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. Remember, O my God, them according to these works of theirs, and also the (false) prophetess and the rest of the (false) prophets who were trying to frighten me.”

Summary:
Nehemiah was commissioned by God to do a particular work. He kept his mind on the task at hand in spite of repeated, mounting opposition. He was ridiculed, threatened, discouraged, financially bound, tricked, slandered, and given false counsel but still pressed on. He called upon God throughout the various trials and trusted in God’s ability to guard him and see the task finished. Nehemiah demonstrated enduring character and trust in God, inspiring us to also endure the various trials and trust in God’s ability to see the task he has given you completed. If God gave you the task to begin, God will give you the tools to finish it. Amen

• “So the wall was completed on the twenty fifth of the month Elul, in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work has been accomplished with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16

• There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Psalm 21:30

Resource Credit: Pastor David Smith

Discernment: A Chosen One?

AH But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 1 Peter 3:14-17

Hollywood and professional sports clubs are known for developing and launching the careers of thousands of talents around the world. Here on the left is a picture of Audrey Hepburn, one of America’s most classic actresses of the early 20th century. By many accounts she would be classified as a chosen or favored actress in American culture as she starred in twenty eight classic films. In the same fashion, athletes like recent Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas, could be classified as a chosen or favored one. The talented starlet was selected to train year round with world renown Liang Chow for the 2012 Olympics at the young age of fourteen. She sacrified the normalcy of the average teen life for rigorous training and time away from her family. Athletes like Gabby endure possible injuries of fractured limbs and concussions with the hope/purpose of winning the trophy (i.e. superbowl, world series, gold medal). In the same way, Believers must be ready to endure possible sufferings for the Faith with the hope/purpose of receiving the trophy of salvation of souls and eternal life. “Our brothers and sisters in China, Ethiopia, Cuba, and others around the world endure sufferings daily including death in order to inherit the Kingdom” – Pastor David J. Smith.

What does Scripture say about being Blessed, Chosen, and Favored?

Job’s children and servants were killed, and his possessions were destroyed (Job 1).
Abel was murdered by his brother Cain (Genesis 4).
Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and imprisoned for greater than a decade (Genesis 37).
David a man after God’s own heart suffered the rape of his daughter Tamar by son Amnon and eventual deaths of two sons Amnon and Absalom (2 Samuel 13; 2 Samuel 18).
Abraham and Sarah could not bear their promised son until Abraham was in his 10th decade and Sarah was in her 9th decade of life (Genesis 21).
Andrew of the Twelve was stoned to death (Martyr).
Bartholomew of the Twelve was beaten then crucified (Martyr).
James son of Alphaeus of the Twelve was stoned to death (Martyr).
James son of Zebedee of the Twelve was beheaded (Martyr).
John of the Twelve was exiled and died of old age.
Judas (not Iscariot) was stoned to death (Martyr).
Matthew was speared to death (Martyr).
Peter was crucified upside down (Martyr).
Simon was crucified (Martyr).
Thomas was speared to death (Martyr).
Matthias was stoned to death (Martyr).
Jesus Christ the Son of God was murdered by man (Luke 23).

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

The prosperity gospel of today seems to omit God’s truth about what it really means to be a Blessed one, a Chosen one, or a Favored one. It does not mean you own the biggest house, biggest boat, platinum jewelry, have a thousand friends, eat the best dinners, run the local government, or dance in the pulpit on dollars donated to the Kingdom of God. No, it actually means you must be ready to suffer up to and not excluding death. It means you may own the smallest house or live in a hut in the Amazon, you may not own a car at all but walk or bike to your destination, you may own no jewelry at all except your wedding band, you may not be popular and have a handful of friends, and you may have no influence with the local government and in fact you maybe on their watch list. Each of the Blessed ones, Chosen ones, or Favored ones in Scripture sacrificed dearly for the faith. Are you a Blessed, Chosen, or Favored One?

And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

References: World Challenge ; Prayer Foundation ; Excerpt from Pastor David J. Smith on Suffering for Doing What is Right
Photo Credit: Desk Top Betty

Note from The Author – Apologies to the readers of the original version of this post. This post was rewritten to share God’s Biblical truths but keep in line with the Spirit of Unity not Strife. Grace and Peace in the name of Yeshua. – Amen