Days of Deception

Days of Deception
Robert Wurtz II

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 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. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5 KJV)

Paul had already warned Timothy earlier in the epistle of people who would be, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (…) as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Timothy 3:7–8 KJV) Disobedience is almost always the cause of people “ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” Nevertheless, Paul issued a solemn charge to Timothy that he was to go on preaching the Gospel that was once and for all delivered unto the saints no matter if it were in season or out of season.

Paul inserts into this charge a prophecy about a type of people who are characterized by three things:

1. They will not endure sound doctrine; i.e., reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
2. They will heap to themselves teachers that tickle their ears and fuel their lusts.
3. They will refuse to hear the truth, but will turn to fables (stories and myths).



This prophecy is given as a future reality as the verbs are future tense. There was a season coming in which Timothy would have to deal with these people. I suggest that these people would arise as a consequence of Paul being dead. This is akin to the warning Paul gave to the Ephesians that after his departure savage wolves would enter in — not sparing the sheep. In the absence of sound preaching, the lusts of men and women come to the fore and a band of so-called ministers rise to feed them. 

After Their Own Lusts

Markets are driven by demand. This is true in all walks of life. When demand for something dries up — the supply chain for it dries up. Flow is created by pressure; and in this case the pressure is lust. The Greek word for lust is the standard word for strong desire (epithumia). These people are not driven by God’s will or His word — but their own strong desires. Whereas the Kingdom of God is designed around God’s desires, these have traded God’s desires for their own desires. Nevertheless, they chose to remain in the churches. This creates a very serious challenge for preachers. Feed the peoples lusts; or preach for the glory of God?

Heaping to Themselves

The very fact that Paul told Timothy that people will heap teachers to themselves that tickle their ears suggests that Timothy is going to be woefully outnumbered if he carries out Paul’s charge. It suggests that even in the first century there was a serious disparity between the number of true preachers and ear ticklers. Just as in our times, compromisers are able to vote out truth by majority. In other words, majority rules. “They” are deceived into thinking that the more people agree with their lusts the more likely “they” are to be right. Add to that the false idea that popularity equals authority and you have a recipe for wholesale deception.

In our times heaping can be done on an exponential basis. The television and Christian networks are loaded with speakers who have carved their niche in meeting the lusts of men. Between hyper grace preachers and prosperity merchants the masses are made to believe they can drive a Rolls Royce into heaven laden with sin. What has happened? Simply put, they tell people what they want to hear. They almost never serve up news that would agitate their base. Therefore, their TV audience, radio listeners, and Internet mailing lists keep growing. Obviously, not all are in this category, but clearly the majority are. In Timothy’s day “they” could heap a handful of preachers to tickle their ears– today the sky is the limit with so much access to various speakers. One could feed themselves deception 24/7/365.

An Encouragement to Timothy

Paul was telling Timothy what “they” were going to do and what their speakers were going to tell them. Fables. Falsehoods. Twisted notions. All sorts of things that distract them from the truth. Typically, these notions seek to bless “they”, that is, the very people God is wanting reproved or rebuked. It means that Timothy would have to live with what Leonard Ravenhill called, “rejection.” Paul dealt with it too –even among professors of Christ. 

The time came when Timothy got up to preach and could expect a house of reluctant hearers who seemed to merely endure and tolerate his preaching; but then came the “ear tickler” and the house was full and the people anxious and attentive. He would have seen it and it would have grieved and vexed his soul. From people who taught that the resurrection had already passed, to others who promoted the damnable teachings of the Judaizers (see Galatians 1) — Paul was in a constant battle. Paul’s words would come to mind:

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

Almost as if Paul shot down all the arguments from the beginning. “They” are thronging the ear tickling preachers you say? ” But watch thou in all things. I know what “they” are doing but “thou” are to watch in all things. The word for “watch” here could be translated sober. “They” may be drunk on the elixir of this world and stagger at the lusts that are heaped up, but be thou sober in all things. “They” might be doing it, but thou must not. You fill to the full your ministry and leave “they” and their speakers to God. Let them be ignorant still. No matter how insignificant you may think your contribution is — keep preaching the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 

The Spirit of Ahimaaz

The Spirit of Ahimaaz
Robert Wurtz II

And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. (2 Samuel 18:5 KJV)

Then Joab said, “I cannot linger with you.” And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him. So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. For Joab held back the people. And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent.” (2 Samuel 18:14–17 NKJV)

The king said, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about. (2 Samuel 18:29 NKJV)

Our times are similar to a story found during king David’s reign over Israel. When David’s rebellious son Absalom was killed, there were two messengers who went to bring the news. The man who left first was a Cushite and he went with both the good news and the bad news. The second man was Ahimaaz, a friend of David’s who begged Joab to allow him to run as well. Joab’s words are insightful, “Why do you want to run, my son, since that you will have no reward for the news?” Ahimaaz said, “Come what may, I want to run.” So Joab said, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite (2 Samuel 18:22b, 23). 


As we read on in the text, we see that Ahimaaz out ran the Cushite in order to be the first to bring good news. In fact, when he reached ear-shot of David he shouted out, “All is well!” (2 Samuel 18:28 NKJV) This is the Hebrew “Shalom!” He then went on to tell David that the battle had been won. The trouble was, David was most concerned about the fate of his beloved son, Absalom. In other words, he was concerned with with all the news not just the good news. His son had been killed, but Ahimaaz did not have the heart to share that bad news with his friend. He left the job half finished and the king with the impression that “All is well!” Nevertheless, the Cushite was more direct and told the whole story – bad news and all.


Matthew Henry comments saying,  “Ahimaaz soon discerned, what Joab intimated to him, that the death of the king’s son would make the tidings of the day very unwelcome, and therefore in his report left that matter doubtful; and, though he gave occasion to suspect how it was, yet, that the thunderclap might not come too suddenly upon the poor perplexed king, he refers him to the next messenger, whom they saw coming, for a more particular account of it.” Amihaaz thought he would win a reward for the news, but he soon found out that once the bad news is told along with the good news… it would not be well received. I think it more reasonable to say that Ahimaaz message, void of the vital truth the king needed to hear, was in fact a lie. 




Sadly, the mentality of Ahimaaz seems to dominate our times. It is akin to the days of Jeremiah when he twice wrote these words, “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, “Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11 NKJV) Today there is an unwillingness to tell people that they are sinners and separated from God. There is an unwillingness to make the people know the extent of their “wound” so that the good news of the Gospel will make sense to them. Rather than tell the bad news many ministers and Christians proclaim with a shout as soon as they can… “Shalom! Shalom!” when there is no shalom. The people are in a carnal state that is at enmity with God. Many are ushered into the churches and the enmity remains. 

 Here in the United States we are in an election year. Just a few days ago Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. Many Christians are thinking in terms of getting a God-fearing man into the Presidency and the Supreme Court. However, this will not save America. We will continue down this downhill slide until Christians, who preach in the “spirit” of Ahimaaz, repent and proclaim the Gospel — bad news and all. We need a Bible-based Gospel that will fully heal the peoples’ sin problem. Until that happens, the churches will continue to fill up with canal minded people who are in a heart state of enmity with God; and America will go on without the true Spiritual leadership that it desperately needs.  We need God to raise up some real preachers who will proclaim His message if we are ever to have a hope in this land. 

When Truth is Out of Season

When Truth is Out of Season
Robert Wurtz II

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2–5 NKJV)


Paul is writing to encourage Timothy, who traveled to Ephesus to help out in the oversight of the church. In Acts 20, Paul had ended his three-year stay — warning the people day and night with tears that grievous wolves were coming to destroy them. Nevertheless, as he was departing for the last time, he commended the leaders to God and the word of His grace so that their faith and hope would be in God and not in men. At some point, Paul sends Timothy to tend to them and later writes 1 and 2 Timothy to fortify his resolve to stand for the truth. 


Towards the end of his letter Paul charges Timothy to Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” This urgency is reminiscent of the tears he shed while he was at Ephesus. There was no time to let up or tone things down. The enemy was at work day and night trying to knock Ephesus off track. Paul urges Timothy to be ready “in” and “out” of season. He had already told the saints that the Old Testament, in one sense, was written for our instruction so that we do not follow some of the destructive patterns of Israel. They were up and down in their faith and obedience. Therefore, Paul tells Timothy to be ready to preach The Word — whether the people were willing to receive it or not. This was the attitude of the prophets of old who served as God’s prosecuting attorneys — calling the Israelites back to the covenant agreement they had made with Him and the nations to turn from their evil ways. 


The Time Will Come 


It is a mystery as to why sound doctrine, at various times and places, goes out of style. It is understandable why unbelievers reject it, but why would people who name the name of Christ? Nevertheless, Paul said emphatically, the time will come. “Out of season” (for sound doctrine) will be the state of things. He encourages Timothy to preach the word. This is in the emphatic; not “a” word but “The” Word. Preach the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Do not alter it to their taste or preferences. Preach it as it is — unadulterated. This implies tremendous preparation in rightly dividing the word of truth. 


The tendency for teachers and preachers during these “out of season” times is to get discouraged, aggravated, or both. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah would weep over the people. Elijah called fire down from heaven. However, the operation of the Holy Spirit in this age is one of grace and mercy. Frustration may have driven the disciples to want to follow Elijah’s method and call fire down on the Samaritans, but Jesus said we are not of that spirit. Likewise, some may resort to angry preaching that denounces and upbraids, but loud volume and harshness does not work the works of God in this age. 


Paul states that they will “not endure sound doctrine.” The Greek word for endure means “to put up with.” I recall as a child hearing my grandmother say things like, “I’m not going to put up with your bad behavior” or “Stop acting out because I won’t put up with it!” Now, imagine a person’s inward attitude towards sound teaching and preaching as “I won’t put up with it! ” They view even the slightest challenge to their personal caricature of Christianity as an offense or a berating. These things are employed by Satan to get the man or woman of God to keep quiet and hold their tongue for fear of causing a stir. Paul’s remedy? Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. In other words, keep after it and don’t allow the peoples’ obstinacy and indifference to wear you out. 

Tickling Ears


Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling (kneœthontes) the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely “popular” preacher, to furnish the latest tickle. (A. T. Robertson) In modern times we would say the speaker, like a salesman or politician, tells people what they want to hear. The one sells products; the other sells themselves. To do this they have to appeal to the lusts of the hearer. Marvin Vincent writes, “In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found.”


Walk into any bookstore and look around. There you will find a snapshot of the condition of mainstream Christianity. This is one of the places people go to “heap to themselves.” Likewise, look at the ratings of Christian programming and you will find what Vincent called “the demand that creates the supply.” Seeing this can be a great discouragement to people who are trying to be faithful to New Covenant truth. Paul could see through the prophetic lens these times vexing God’s ministers. None of it takes God by surprise. Paul sees it and speaks to it. This is why his encouragement in 2 Timothy 4 is so important. 

In modern times, God’s ministers risk being wearied by the onslaught of teachers who are telling people what they want to hear — rather than teaching them the rightly divided word of God. They are a dime a dozen. Nevertheless, there is still a demand for good, solid, biblical, no-compromise, teaching and preaching. The Devil says, “If you can’t beat them — join them!” God says, Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 







Paul’s Warning

Paul’s Warning About “They”
Robert Wurtz II

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5 KJV)

In our previous entry I entitled, The Power of Paul’s Preaching, I closed the entry by demonstrating that Paul continued to preach the message of repentance from sin and faith towards God to the very end. In fact, he passed a solemn charge to Timothy that he carry on the work in like manner. Paul inserts into this charge a prophecy about a type of people that he simply calls “they.” They are characterized by three things:

1. They will not endure sound doctrine; i.e., reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
2. They will heap to themselves teachers that tickle their ears and fuel their lusts.
3. They will refuse to hear the truth, but will turn to fables (stories and myths).

This prophecy is given as a future reality as the verbs are future tense. It is certain that Timothy could expect at some point to have to deal with “they”. I suggest that “they” would arise as a consequence of Paul being dead. This is akin to the warning Paul gave to the Ephesians that after his departure wolves would enter in, not sparing the sheep. In the absence of sound preaching, the lusts of men and women come to the fore and a band of so-called ministers rise to feed them. 

After Their Own Lusts

Markets are driven by demand. This is true in all walks of life. When demand for something dries up- the supply chain for it dries up. Flow is created by pressure; and in this case the pressure is lust. The Greek word for lust is the standard word for strong desire (epithumia). These people are not driven by God’s will or His word- but their own strong desires. Whereas the Kingdom of God is designed around God’s desires, these have traded God’s desires for their own desires. Nevertheless, they chose to remain in the churches. This creates a very serious challenge for preachers. Feed the peoples lusts; or preach for the glory of God?

Heaping to Themselves

The very fact that Paul told Timothy that “they” will heap teachers to themselves that tickle their ears- suggests that Timothy is going to be woefully outnumbered if he carries out Paul’s charge. It suggests that even in the first century there was a serious disparity between the number of true preachers and ear ticklers. “They” are able to vote out truth by majority. In other words, majority rules. “They” are deceived into thinking that the more people agree with their lusts the more likely “they” are to be right. Add to that the false idea that popularity equals authority and you have a recipe for wholesale deception.

In our times heaping can be done on an exponential basis. The television and Christian networks are loaded with speakers that have carved their niche in meeting the lusts of men. Simply put, they tell people what they want to hear. They almost never serve up news that would agitate their base. Therefore, their TV audience, radio listeners, and Internet mailing lists keep growing. Obviously not all are in this category, but clearly the majority are. In Timothy’s day “they” could heap a handful- today the sky is the limit with so much access to various speakers. 

An Encouragement to Timothy

Paul was telling Timothy what “they” were going to do and what their speakers were going to tell them. Fables. Falsehoods. Twisted notions. All sorts of things that distract them from the truth. Typically these notions seek to bless “they”, that is, the very people God is wanting reproved or rebuked. It means that Timothy would have to live with what Leonard Ravenhill called, “rejection.” Paul dealt with it too. even among professors of Christ. When Timothy got up to preach he could expect a house of reluctant hearers that seemed to merely endure his preaching; but then came the ear tickler and the house was full and the people anxious and attentive. He would have seen it and it would have grieved and vexed his soul. But then, we could expect, Paul’s words would come to mind.

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

Almost as if Paul shot down all the arguments from the beginning. “They” are thronging the ear tickling preachers you say? ” But watch thou in all things. I know what “they” are doing but “thou” are to watch in all things. The word for “watch” here could be translated sober. “They” may be drunk on the elixir of this world and stagger at the lusts that are heaped up, but be thou sober in all things. “They” might be doing it, but you must not. You fill to the full your ministry and leave “they” and their speakers to God. No matter how insignificant you may think your contribution is- keep preaching the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
    
  

Does Time Sanctify?

Does Time Sanctify?
Originally Published July, 2011
Robert Wurtz II


But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)

We live in an age where almost everything is being redefined; good is being called evil and evil is being called good. Indeed, three hundred years of Christian influence in the West is fading fast. Full-on paganism is resulting. This means that things that were obvious just 40 years ago are no longer obvious. The 1950’s and 60’s ushered in a rebellion that threatens to overthrow any semblance of good and right. That was over 50 years ago now.

Paying attention to the demonic

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1 Timothy 4:1)

There are many ways this passage can be applied in the circumstances of life and history. Yet, as time goes on this passage rings more and more true. ‘Some’ indeed are departing from the faith and others are fellowshipping with devils. You may ask, “What are you talking about?” The only reason you would ask that is because society has become so dark that many Christians can’t even tell the difference between the things of God and the earthly, sensual, and demonic. They have been seduced by devils into entertaining evil things until they can no longer make distinction between what is good and what is evil. They may carry all the same tags, “Christian, ‘Spirit-filled’, believer, leader, disciple, pastor, teacher, Pentecostal, etc.” and not even have the ability to discern when something or someone comes of evil. They are seduced and being seduced. In fact, they may have become a host for the propagation of more evil, diabolic doctrines and ideas. Evil spirits are animating these false teachers adding to their power to deceive.

Time Sanctifies Sin and Satan?

The world is under the influence of Satan. The Kingdom of God is a place where the people are under the influence of Jesus Christ. These kingdoms are mutually exclusive and not compatible. That seems like common sense, but obviously it is not. The enemy has used subtle means to infiltrate Christian culture (if there is such a thing). Main stream Christian radio today in the United States is so secular sounding that I struggle to tell the difference between it and its songs and it and the world. Its as if the masses are so duped, that they will swallow down almost anything that the devil puts the label ‘Christian’ on. If its says ‘Christian’ it is suddenly sanctified, no matter how worldly or diabolic it was before. In fact, the things we were taught as children were evil are now in vogue. It is in vogue to dress like a prostitute, for example. All it took was about 30 years for the props, figures, and means of identity to become sterilized by time itself (I guess). I mean, does time sanctify a thing? Time seems to have sanctified Rock and Roll and all manor of secular music. Time seems to have sanctified worldly and diabolic TV and movies. Time sanctified the Ouija board and vampirism. Just give it time and hell itself will be sanctified I suppose. And no one dare say anything! Can time sanctify? If it was evil 50 years ago it is STILL evil. Time sanctifies nothing.

Expressing Affection for the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

The first thing we have to do is get the leaders and influences in the mainstream right with God. How can a local guy preach separation and holiness when so much of the so-called Christian mainstream emulates the world at almost every turn? Seriously. Do we somehow think that because such and such Christian band or such and such ministry is doing a thing that God is letting us off the hook? Would you jump off a cliff if someone else was doing it? But today the AUTHORITY is in the POPULARITY. This diabolic mentality runs contrary to everything in the scripture from Genesis to Revelation. But you have to read the bible to know that. You have to detox from all things secular, get alone with God and recalibrate your spiritual senses. The more nonsense my comments are to you- the more influenced you probably are by the secular world. You are under their spell man. Snap out-of-it! Are we to follow a multitude to do evil and then mock the lone voices of descent? Shadows are gathering and deathbeds are coming. We will answer to God for what we allow in to our sphere of influence.

From Preaching Against it to a Ministry Tool?

How on earth could something that was not allowed in the life of a believer 50 years ago suddenly become commonplace in ministry? Why in the world have we allowed our time and tested Christian hymns that were based on the scriptures be replaced with Rock and Roll, or watered down sensual atmospheric music? Why in the world would we make our worship services look like a rock stage? Have we gone mad? Seriously. Could you imagine Ozzy Osbourne dressing his concert stage up like a church? There is no way unless he did it to mock us. What diabolic influence has came in to make us think this stuff is sterile and can be used to worship a holy God? Nadab and Abihu would be horrified, and yet this madness goes on like its free. Where is the shame? Then we wonder why kids are leaving the churches in droves. Stop giving them the world with a Christian label stuck to it. Turn the lights back on and act like children of light. Preach the truth to them. Do what we did 10 years ago. Have we gone to hell in a hand-basket in 10 short years? Sober up and get that devilish stuff out of the churches while you still have breath in your lungs. Repent of this wickedness.

I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils

People do not offer blood sacrifices to the devil today- they offer their bodies as living sacrifices to him. they mark themselves up and dress themselves up and then fill themselves up with every possible evil thing that will identify them with anything and everything except Jesus Christ. They are living sacrifices for the world. They worship through the giving of their bodies. This is as plain as anything. To do similarly, no matter what our profession, is to have fellowship with devils. To engage in this type of worship, through the identification of ones person and the submission of ones affections is effectively devil worship no matter how it is sterilized. The result is full-blown enmity with God. The solution? And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4) The world is headed for total destruction. Why would we want to partake of and entertain these type of things on any level? A line of demarcation has already been drawn. The time to sober up and get on the right side is now. Away with demonic influences that confuse the mind. Away with conformity with this world. If you conform to this world (Romans 12:1) you will not offer your body to Christ as a living sacrifice- you will offer it to this world and the devil. You are going to offer it to someone. We all have to burn for something. Would to God that a clarion call to come out from among this world unto a place of separation to God would be sounded from the housetops while the churches of God still have a distinct identity and the world can still tell a difference betwixt us and them.


No Light

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:20, 21 ESV)

Light hurts the eyes of those that are used to darkness; this is commonly known. The light exposes or manifests the reality of what things are. Darkness conceals reality. Ephesians tells us that whatsoever does make manifest is light. It only stands to reason that a person that is not willing to deal with their evil behavior will avoid ‘light’ being cast upon them. They will not acknowledge their sin so that it may be reproved. They hide it, make excuses for it, justify it, etc. In this state he/she will not read the Bible, will not come to church where Holy Spirit conviction can be felt, and they will not pray in a meaningful way so as to touch God. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man in reproving and convicting. (John 8:46; John 16:8). This is a fearful consideration. The Spirit of God will utilize the Word of God to bring conviction of sin and drive home the reality of a future judgment. This disturbs the person’s personal peace; that is to say, it disturbs the scheme they have set up within themselves to ignore their consciousness of their estate before a holy God. They build a fortress of self-deception designed to keep God from disturbing them in their selfish life. Light breaks in upon this scheme as the rising sun through the window of a sleeping man. To escape this unpleasant intrusion and exposure, the evil person cuts out the light of Christ. In effect, they pull the shade.

Pulling the Shades

We discovered that the reason why individuals don’t want any form of light is because their deeds are evil and they plan on remaining evil. Simply put, they don’t want God dealing with them. This is a dangerous state to be in. They avoid light. So what are we to make of Christians that want to always tone down the light supply (as it were) that is cast upon the churches of God and replace it with some lesser thing? Based on our passage, we can only conclude that they are hiding something. They are not wanting the full light of Christ to illuminate, lest they be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. The scheme that men use to protect themselves from the light of Christ suddenly begins to influence the light in the meetings of the churches of God. Leaders hold more influence over the amount of light in a meeting than anyone. If the leaders are backslid, you can forget God moving in most situations. We would see a wholesale change in many circles if the leadership would simply get right with God and repent of their thirst for evil. Seriously. It is a sad day when those being led have to rebuke the leaders for their compromise. Where are the leaders that would challenge the people to rise higher in God? Where are the leaders calling the people to a higher level of righteousness and holiness? Where are the leaders raising the standard and leading the people as salt and light into this present darkened world? Judgment has to start with the house of God and in the House of God it has to start with those that are in the lead. That is as simple as anything.

Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. (Proverbs 13:15)
It only stands to reason that compromise and ministry do not mix. Imagine this, all the cares of the ministry added to the hard-way of being a transgressor. That would amount to a stress no one can handle for long. The true peace that comes with knowing things are right is invaluable. A leader in compromise is surely a pitiful case.

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

In the Kingdom of God, Christ did not choose a half-in, half-baked, half-backslidden group to preach the Gospel to the then known world. Sure, they may have failed Christ miserably early on, but a case can be made that they really loved Christ and when given opportunity were restored and filled with the Spirit of God. They became new creatures FULL of the Holy Spirit and Fire. You could tell it in their speech. They overflowed with the wonderful works of God. Their minds were bent on God. Serving Christ was not a hobby. Christ was not the result of a brainstorm in the formation of a new social club. He was not an excuse to get together and flirt with some of the opposite sex, rub elbows with young people, or ‘hang-out’ and have fun. He was the very CENTER of all that was going on. He was not the hole in the donut. In fact, these men and women were the ‘real deal’ and because they were the ‘real deal’ they got real results. God moved powerfully among them. When they rose up they spoke of Christ and when they did lie down they spoke of Him. The whole ministry was Christocentric (Christ-centered).

I recall as a young person getting together with a bunch of youth and young adults for a cook out. Being the ignorant young christian I was, I actually brought my bible. Someone says to me in effect,’ look, the spiritual guy- he brought his bible.’ I came there ignorantly thinking we were gathering together in the name of Christ for a Christ-centered gathering. I figured the food and fun would be peripheral things, and God would be the main subject. I was terribly wrong. When I left a bible discussion did break out I’m told and it ended up in an argument. I say God deliver us from this type of lame Christianity. That could have scarred me for life. But fortunately I was stoking my own fire as the old-timers used to say.

Everyone who does wicked things hates the light

It is a sad day when a Christian is in bad reputation for always taking their Christian walk too far. But there it is. Can there be such a thing? Or rather, is the life of one that genuinely desires to serve God too much light shed upon the corruption of the lukewarm and backslidden? Just asking. I mean, why on earth would a Christian ever be criticized for trying to do and teach what is right and good? If I didn’t have any better sense I would think the people with this attitude are double-agents. Why not? Could you imagine Paul or Peter telling a young brother to tone down his love for Christ and step up and get a little fun-loving self-desire going? That is insanity. As if Jesus Christ is not worthy to be burned for and we need to relegate some of that fire to some worldly thing. But this is rife in young adult and youth ministry today. It is a bible-less, ramped-up, hyped-up, noisy mess in many cases. Seriously. Its as if a generation that loved this world and the devil has found a way to morph together serving God and serving the devil until they do all the same things sinners do, except they direct them towards the object of Jesus Christ or ‘God’ instead of this world and the devil. This satisfies their inward desire for worship, but it is a pseudo spirituality. It is emptiness. Vanity. It is a devilish mixture.

Identification With the World

Much of what is called contemporary ministry today is nothing more than worldliness with a christian label slapped on it. I remember the day when our beloved 88.5 FM changed formats to compete, apparently, with K-LOVE. Out went the wholesome music that we all grew up with that are older than 40 years. Out went the hymns. Out went most anything until even Keith Green was too radical for mainstream programming. They must have been losing market share. What did they exchange for? “Positive and encouraging.” Notice a key word missing- edifying. The litmus test for all we do in the churches of God needs to be two things; 1) does it truly glorify God 2) does it edify the churches (the people). People may testify that they feel ‘up-lifted’ but this is a temporary fix for a long term need. Its like a sugar fix when you need complex carbs and a balanced diet. You need spiritual sustenance that builds you up.

I kid you not, I have done this exercise several times. I have turned on the radio in my car and asked my teenaged kids if they could tell me ‘Christian’ or ‘Secular’ as I flipped through the dial. They were often wrong. The sad thing is, it was almost impossible to tell the difference in many cases. But there it is. Soon the whole city was without a means of having wholesome singing. In fact I have had exercises with brethren where we pulled out the hymnal and just read the lyrics to compare them with ‘contemporary Christian music’ so-called. It was a shocking disgrace. It’s was like grape juice compared to watered down Kool-Aid. For real. May as well admit it. We had lost our way and are at risk of losing Christianity.

“The Heaven Function Not the Presence of God”

At the risk of being labeled a heretic I must add that ‘strings’ or the so-called ‘heaven’ function on a keyboard is NOT the presence of God. Often these things are akin to New Age Meditational music, masquerading as God’s presence. When the Holy Spirit truly comes He convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. He don’t come to bring nice fuzzy feelings that don’t challenge our lifestyle. I recall meeting New Agers traveling to be in Benny Hinn’s meetings in 1993 because they had a ‘spiritual feel’ or a ‘mystical feel’ to them. That is not to paint all things of this kind as evil, but we need to know what the presence of God is and is not. If the power goes off and the ‘feeling’ goes away it was not the presence of God. Period. End of discussion. Our God does not need strings to make Himself known. He don’t need a keyboard. You might say, “David played a harp and demons would leave.” This is true, however, David was a man after God’s own heart and it was the worship of the man that drove off the demons. It was God in David, not the instrument. Keep that clear.

Getting Back?

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:12-14)

I’m sure that some people think that because I reject what is going on today that I’m just some morose spirited guy that is just looking for a reason to gripe. They see me walk in the meetings and walk back out. They hear my comments and say, “There he goes again.” Or better yet, “Don’t mind him, that’s just how he is.” But I want to ask you the reader to consider this passage. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. If you knew you would stand before Jesus Christ in the next 3 seconds would you want to be found in a high state of expectation or in some place of compromise? Do you really know who it is that you will stand before some day? I know we focus a lot on love these days, and maybe even to a fault. But consider the Divine revelation that John saw; And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (Revelation 20:11) The heavens and the earth are going to flee from the face of God into oblivion; because the truth is they can flee but they cannot hide. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. This is not Bambi Jesus. This is the Lamb of God as it had been slain ready to tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God Almighty. If you had and I had a revelation of God as He is we would play far less games than we do, I’m certain of it. We would take this Christian life a lot more seriously. Even as the Rich Man in hell wanted to warn his family, but was told that those on earth have the Word of God- let them hear that. One second into eternity and we hear with our own ears the doorposts tremble, as the Cherubim cry HOLY HOLY HOLY, and our minds are going to sober up as if we drank down an ocean of coffee in a moment of time. Gone will be the foolish ramblings and the cynical attitudes. I’m asking those mine accusers to find me ASAP when we all get before the throne and tell me then that I took Christianity too far. Tell me then that I should have taught young people to have more fun. Tell me then that all this reading the bible and prayer was unnecessary.

The night is far spent, that is to say, shadows are gather and death beds are coming, they are coming for you and for me. This is a picture of the Sun about to arise on this wicked world. No one can stop it just like no one can stop the sun coming up in the morning. We should live as if the Sun were already up and we were already before the Throne of God. The old hymn asks, “why should we linger and heed not His mercy, mercy for you and for me.” We need to put away the watered down Kool-Aid, friends, and get some hymns and sermons with some meat on them. We need to get what we need that will compel us to cast-off the darkness that so many are in love with. It’s Time. It is high time to awake out of sleep- for now our salvation or damnation (which ever we choose) is nearer than we think.

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