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End Times book: THERE IS A STRIVING....! Finding the Gospel Truth in an age of deception By Mazino Abraham Egbuwoku

 

THERE IS A STRIVING....!

Finding the Gospel Truth in an age of deception

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Mazino Abraham Egbuwoku

       

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

           

PREFACE.........................................................................................................

CHAPTER 1: What is your Testimony before God?........................................

CHAPTER 2: Take every Jot of God’s Word Seriously....................................

CHAPTER 3: The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans................................................

CHAPTER 4: Understanding the Cross...........................................................

CHAPTER 5: There's a Price to Pay for God's Glory......................................

CHAPTER 6: The Cross is the Heart of Worship............................................

CHAPTER 7: Stop Running Man’s Race, Start Running God’s Race...............

CHAPTER 8: The Simple Gospel Story for Young Believers...........................

CHAPTER 9: New Testament Commands......................................................

CHAPTER 10: Final Word – A word for the Wise...........................................

 

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

 

1 Timothy 4:1

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.

 

Philippians 3:17-21

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 

There's talk everywhere about righteousness and grace, prosperity and breakthroughs.  This is just like the days of the Apostles - who were faced with the Hardcore Jewish Christians that tried to force the inclusion of Moses' ordinances into Christianity, or the Nicolaitans - who are reputed to have begun the promotion of the “once saved always saved” doctrine (See chapter 4).

 

Clearly, there are many Gospels out there, but only one true Gospel carries the approval of God – BEWARE!

 

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another Gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

 

1 John 4:6

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

 

Beware of the same old satanic tricks used in the garden of Eden. Then, it was subtly promoted by a serpent, but today it is dissolved in enticing messages carried by ignorant or wicked men. Jesus and all the Apostles spent quality time and effort to warn Christians of false prophets, teachers and brethren; many of whom, like Eve, may sincerely but ignorantly be deceived.

 

Revelation 2:2

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.

 

Acts 17:10-11

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

 

True Christians must be vigilant to preserve the true Gospel that Jesus brought, for this is the only Gospel that can save. Loss of the Gospel of Christ in any generation will spell eternal disaster for that era. In his time, Apostle Paul confronted Peter and other Jews who were hypocritical about promoting the Gospel truth. He knew that a little fundamental deviation could have serious consequences in the long run.

 

Galatians 1:6-9

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

 

Do realize that just two percent potent poison will kill, even though the remaining ninety-eight percent seems pure. Any message which gives you an assurance of eternal security, no matter how you live, is a subtle and extremely deadly poison. Though every other thing may seem right, this little poison will lead many to promiscuity, as clearly seen in Nicolaitan styled contemporary churches. You see, the serpent agreed with Eve on every other thing that God instructed. His main objective was to give her a false assurance of eternal safety in disobedience.

 

Genesis 3:2-6

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. AND THE SERPENT SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

 

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.

 

Romans 8:12-13

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. FOR IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH, YE SHALL DIE: BUT IF YE THROUGH THE SPIRIT DO MORTIFY THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, YE SHALL LIVE.

 

 

Galatians 5:24

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

 

Doctrine is the bedrock of Faith, and buying into the wrong message - that is, a counterfeit of Christ's Gospel - can place people at risk of eternal jeopardy.

 

1 Timothy 4:16

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 

Matthew 5:19

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Revelation 2:13-17

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou tholdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, WHICH THING I HATE. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 

Matthew 23:13

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

 

We are warned to EARNESTLY CONTEND for the “original” Christian faith that Jesus Christ passed down to His true Church.

 

Jude 1:3-4

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We are told of what true grace from God MUST produce and inspire in the lives of true seekers.

 

 

Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

 

Whatever message your life and eternal destiny is being built upon, know this for sure:

 

2 Timothy 2:19

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity".

 

There is a price to pay to grow in God’s grace. It involves a desperate pursuit of God and His righteousness. Where there is no hunger for righteousness, there will be no grace to live righteously. Any life where sin prevails, willfully, is a soul at risk of everlasting damnation.

 

1 John 5:16-17

If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

 

Matthew 5:29-30

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

There is a striving to gain true victory over sin and everlasting death!

 

Hebrews 12:1-4

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. YE HAVE NOT YET RESISTED UNTO BLOOD STRIVING AGAINST SIN?

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

What is your Testimony before God?

 

Job had a testimony before God.

 

Job 1:8

And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, ONE THAT FEARS GOD AND HATES EVIL?

 

Enoch had a testimony before God.

 

Hebrews 11:5

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, THAT HE PLEASED GOD.

 

Moses had a testimony before God.

 

Hebrews 11:24-26

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, THAN TO ENJOY THE PLEASURE OF SIN FOR A SEASON; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward (He looked forward to God’s promise of eternal paradise, more than he wanted to enjoy the lust of the eyes and flesh and the rat race for social status).

 

The Savior Jesus had a testimony before His Father, God.

 

Matthew 3:16-17

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

Like Job, Enoch, Moses and others who pleased God, there’s a reason why God is pleased with His true children as He was with His beloved son, Jesus. Why?

 

Hebrews 1:8-9

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us HOW YOU OUGHT TO WALK AND PLEASE GOD, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD, EVEN YOUR SANCTIFICATION, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, BUT UNTO HOLINESS. He therefore that DISREGARDS THIS INSTRUCTION, DESPISETH NOT MAN BUT GOD, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE IS…

 

2 Timothy 2:19

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

 

Don't be fooled by a fake, shallow and “cross-less” message of grace as Eve was. You must lose your life so that the Lord will help you find it. You must carry your cross if you want to follow Jesus. You must die to sin if you will live forever with God. Get help; start by prayerfully seeking to worship in a true church that emphasizes on Christ's righteousness with evident fruit of holiness; a place where Christ crucified is the primary message. It's in such a place that your spirit can be fed with real spiritual food, not enticing junk of self-seeking and self-promoting messages and the poison of undermining the danger of sin and covetousness.

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

 

Galatians 6:14

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

 

Matthew 16:24-25

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

 

So, what is your testimony before God? Are you walking on the way of the cross?

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2

 

Take every Jot of God’s Word Seriously

 

 

Jesus advises that anyone who desires truth must take every jot of God’s word seriously, because God has taken the pains to cross all His "T's" and dot all His "I's".

 

Matthew 5:18-19

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

The scriptures reveal to us that the end times shall be an era of apostasy (i.e. to fall away from the truth). A time when counterfeits shall prevail and even many of the elect shall be deceived, because they - like the five foolish virgins of scripture (Mathew 25:1-13) - were not watching and preparing carefully.

 

Matthew 24:24

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5

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 (divine character) thereof: from such turn away.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

 

In one of the Gospels, Jesus used an illustration as a metaphor to depict the state of things in the last days, and the consequences of this state.

 

Matthew 24:37-39

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

 

No jot shall fall to the ground! This implies, from the illustration of Noah, that as only eight people of a whole generation were saved, very few people will be saved in these last days.

 

1 Peter 3:20-21

...Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, WHEREIN FEW, THAT IS EIGHT SOULS WERE SAVED by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

2 Peter 2:5-10

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self willed..."

 

Again, be warned! Not everything that seems popular today is of God. Be warned; the route into heaven is a very narrow road, which only a few can pay the price to find and enter.

 

Matthew 7:13-15

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and NARROW IS THE WAY WHICH LEADS TO LIFE AND FEW BE THERE THAT FIND IT. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

Luke 16:14-17

And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: FOR THAT WHICH IS HIGHLY ESTEEMED AMONG MEN IS ABOMINATION IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

 

 

This tells us the reason why we must strive to be the remnant people of God in these end times, just as Noah and his family were in their days. The principle of the remnant is one of the mysteries of Godliness.

 

Romans 9:27

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.

 

 

Romans 11:2-5

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. EVEN SO AT THIS PRESENT TIME ALSO THERE IS A REMNANT ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE.

 

Jesus also used the parable of a wedding banquet to illustrate the importance of being a remnant people.  In the parable, the noble people (natural Jews) ignored a glorious wedding banquet of a king. The king then extended the invitation to commoners (Gentiles). Unfortunately, even one of these commoners - who should have been excited and dressed in his best robes - came in filthy and dirty clothing. This enraged the king who issued a damning judgment over him.

 

 

Matthew 22:1-14

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

                      

In this same light, be warned that there shall be a marriage supper of the Lamb and all of God’s children are expected to be at their brightest and best spiritual dressing. This dress is called "The Righteousness of Saints" or holiness.

 

Revelation 19:6-9

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

 

It is very important to note that one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, which received prophetic warnings from the Lord, was seriously rebuked and warned that their robes were not white and clean. They were, therefore, in jeopardy of eternal damnation.

 

Only a few paid the price to keep their garments pure - these were the remnant of the Sardis church.

 

 

Revelation 3:1-6

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Remember Esther?  She had to undergo 12 months of purification, where she was scented with the finest perfumes in anticipation of her selection as the bride of a human king.

 

Do you think that God is expecting less preparation from you?

 

Esther 2:12-13

Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;) Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.

 

Ephesians 5:25-27

...even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

I am weary of any church or any pastor of a church, whose main aim is not to prepare God’s people as a chaste bride for the Master. It just doesn't gel with the spiritual climate of the end times. Churches and Christians can’t be playing "gentile games", when the bridegroom might come – at any time - like a thief in the night. It just doesn't key into the mood of these "days of Noah" to have self-seeking motivational messages, which promote personal success and achievement on earth, to be the main focus of any church.

 

 

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, THAT I MAY PRESENT YOU AS A CHASTE VIRGIN TO CHRIST. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

 

Beware of what you're listening to! Are you a minister of God? Beware of what you are teaching, as this is a mystery of eternal perdition for those who preach and lead God’s people astray. I am not yet at liberty to share certain revelations concerning the mystery of iniquity which is heavily influencing many of today’s church leaders, even many sincere minded but ignorant ones. Anyone with spiritual influence over souls and has a pure heart before God, I urge you to pray earnestly for the mind of God, because we carry a responsibity of eternally deadly consequences, if mismanaged. We MUST NOT be ignorant of what the will of God is. This generation of preachers shall witness a shock of unimaginable proportions in eternity. I don’t say this to put anyone down, but I shall reveal a parable:

“The serpent that Adam and Eve gave name to, and trusted, interacting closely with in the garden,

became Eve’s Judas. Many pastors of this era will lead many people to hell – even many sincere ones”.

 

Matthew 7:22-23

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

1 Timothy 4:16

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 

Matthew 5:19

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Matthew 23:13

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

 

 

Do you not wonder why Eve took Gods warning of death, if she disobeyed for granted? Do not take anything God says for granted my dear friend. God loves you dearly, but the fig tree that will not produce fruit for Him, shall be cast away. Again, contrary to the doctrine of devils being circulated through all manners of people, the road to heaven requires careful vigilance, preparation and consecration.

 

2 Corinthians 5:10-11

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

KNOWING THEREFORE THE TERROR OF THE LORD, WE PERSUADE MEN; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

 

Consider the following Scriptures:

 

1 Peter 4:15-19

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

FOR THE TIME IS COME THAT JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD: AND IF IT FIRST BEGIN AT US, WHAT SHALL THE END BE OF THEM THAT OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF GOD? AND IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELY BE SAVED, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

 

 

James 1:12-15

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. THEN WHEN LUST HATH CONCEIVED, IT BRINGETH FORTH SIN: AND SIN, WHEN IT IS FINISHED, BRINGETH FORTH DEATH.

 

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, THAT YE PRESENT YOUR BODIES A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY, ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD, WHICH IS YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, THAT YE MAY PROVE WHAT IS THAT GOOD, AND ACCEPTABLE, AND PERFECT, WILL OF GOD.

 

1 John 2:15-17

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. AND THE WORLD PASSETH AWAY AND THE LUST THEREOF, BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOREVER.

 

James 4:4

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? WHOSOEVER THEREFORE WILL BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD IS THE ENEMY OF GOD.

 

 

 

Hebrews 10:26-31

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

Romans 6:12-16

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, or of OBEDIENCE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS?

 

 

1 Peter 2:11

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

 

Hebrews 12:14-17

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: LOOKING DILIGENTLY LEST ANY MAN FAIL OF THE GRACE OF GOD; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

 

DON'T BE ONE WHO IS NOT PREPARED FOR DEATH OR CHRIST'S COMING. DON'T DRAW BACK; PRESS ON TO THE HIGHER CALLING IN JESUS CHRIST.

 

Hebrews 10:38-39

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

 

Philippians 3:13-14

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

CHAPTER 3

 

The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans

by Henry Haney  (culled from Truth Ablaze...http://www.truthablaze.com/nico.html)

 

Rev 2:6

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 

Rev 2:15

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate

 

A topic that many find confusing and fascinating is that of the doctrine propagated by a group called the Nicolaitans.  Jesus makes reference to the Nicolaitans twice in the book of Revelation. There has been much speculation as to who this group was, their origin, and what they taught. Because there really is so little conclusive evidence as to who this group was (or their founder/s), the focus of this article will be primarily the content of their doctrine. I realize that with so little historical background information, it could prove difficult to be 100% dogmatic about this. However, the fact that this group is mentioned in Holy Scripture gives us motivation to try and understand their doctrine.

 

Jesus Christ says that He hates their doctrine. We can, therefore, form a very good hypothesis as to the underlying principle of their doctrine by looking at some other clues from the time period. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans still exists today, but only under another name - Unconditional Eternal Security!

 

The period of the early church was a dynamic time. Some of the apostles were still alive; eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ were still alive, and the church was walking in a power that we desperately need in today's world.

 

Despite the enthusiasm and passionate feelings that characterized first century Christianity, there was also a deadly force at work. Any time you see God moving mightily amongst the church, you will also see Satan plotting a strategy to destroy the church. Many of the attacks on the church came from the outside. Persecution was a normal experience to the early church. It was not uncommon for them to lose their lives (literally) for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus and the apostles warned that the followers of Christ would be brought before rulers and authorities and asked to give a testimony. But as always, sometimes the greatest threat to Christians does not come from "without" but from "within."

 

I find it interesting that the Nicolaitans are first mentioned (in the scripture) when Jesus addresses the church at Ephesus. If you will recall, the apostle Paul had addressed the Ephesian elders about the dangers of apostasy and false teachers that they would soon encounter.

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 20:29

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 

Paul knew what was in store for the Ephesian church. It is very evident that he knew a great threat would arise from among them - not from without!   This is Satan's great strategy - he would much rather transform himself as "an angel of light" (II Cor 11:14) or a wolf in "sheep's clothing" (Matt 7:15).  That way, he can come in undetected; and he can do everything to introduce enough leaven (yeast) to leaven the whole lump (Gal 5:9). This means that those who receive even a little false doctrine, relative to the things essential to salvation, will soon be influenced by it; to the point where their entire conduct changes for the worse - leading to perversion.

 

We understand from the parable of the wheat and tares that not everyone who looks the part of a true Christian, is actually about the Father's business.   As always, the greatest strategy of the enemy is not a totally outward anti-Christ message, but a mixture of truth and error. Just enough truth to make the message seem reasonable, but enough leaven to poison all who partake.

 

I mentioned earlier that we don't have a detailed "statement of faith" from the Nicolaitans that we can systematically go through and refute point by point. But we are not totally in the dark either. One of the great tools of biblical interpretation is the ability to understand contextual factors. For this particular study, I'm going to look at some of the other heretical teachings of the day and I think you will begin to see some similar themes.

 

Rev 2:14

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

 

Here in Pergamum, we see the "doctrine of Balaam" strictly condemned by Christ. It is important that we understand what Balaam's "doctrine" was, so that we may steer clear of it today. Jesus clearly indicates that the doctrine of Balaam involved idolatry and sexual immorality. I'm not going to post the whole story of Balaam for the sake of time and space. I encourage you to read about him in Numbers chapters 22-24.

 

To cut a long story short, Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel.  Balaam was a so called prophet, referred to as a "soothsayer" in Joshua 13:22 KJV. After numerous attempts by Balak to bribe him, Balaam finally comes to the conclusion that he cannot curse what God has blessed...

 

It was going to take more than some verbal curse to make Israel vulnerable to her enemies. So he comes up with a strategy. This strategy is later revealed in Numbers 31:8,16. What becomes obvious is that Balaam's strategy included getting the children of Israel to commit sexual immorality with the Midianite women. In committing this trespass, the men of Israel were also mingling with the pagan gods worshipped by these women. This is a perfect example of religious syncretism, which is a "mixture" of different belief systems. What makes it so deadly is that it gives the outward appearance of total devotion and reverence for God, all the while tolerating the things that He has so clearly designated as an abomination to Him. We must beware of this even today - now more than ever!

 

The doctrine of Balaam is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament:

 

II Peter 2:15

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

 

I think it's interesting that Peter uses the term "wages" of unrighteousness which indicates to me that these false teachers are motivated by money and power. In their desire to gain more and more followers, they are willing to compromise the message and "tickle the ears" of the masses.

 

Jude 1:11

Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

 

Again, we see that greed and reward seem to be the motivation at the heart of Balaam's doctrine. Paul warned Timothy that "the love of money is the root of all evil."

 

Next we come to Thyatira where a similar heresy is taking place:

 

Revelation 2:20

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

 

Though the names keep changing (Nicolatianes, Balaam, Jezebel), the message is basically the same. This teaching offers a Christianity which doesn't demand obedience and loyalty to Jesus Christ alone. This is heresy and God hates it- plain and simple!

 

We can clearly see that the aim of these false teachers is to convince Christians that sexual immorality, ungodly lifestyles, and idolatry can be practiced without affecting one's standing in Christ - notice, Jesus calls these Christians "my servants" in Revelation 2:20. Jesus strongly rebukes that notion by saying that judgment is surely coming to those who practice such works. He calls such teachings the "depths of Satan." (Rev 2:24, KJV)   

 

I think it would be interesting to see how this is translated in various versions, for effect:

 

 

 

 

Rev 2:24, KJV

 

NIV        Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you)

 

NASB     But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them--I place no other burden on you.

 

NKJV     Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden

 

Notice there is a "secret" involved in this whole process. There is something sinister working behind the scenes. The true author of these doctrines is not part of any modern group or seminary- the author is none other than the devil himself. He is the father of lies and he's been preaching this message ever since the garden of Eden. Remember the "theology" he put forth to Eve in the garden?

 

Genesis 3:4

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

 

Isn't this the same message he keeps preaching over and over again - from one generation to the next? Doesn't he always promise "liberty" but never the consequences of sin? His ministers today still proclaim that you can live an immoral lifestyle but as long as you cling to a verbal profession of faith, you have nothing to fear -"ye shall not surely die." We know that the death Adam experienced was not physical, on that day; it was spiritual (he physically lived hundreds of years after this, see Gen 5:5). So likewise, spiritual death awaits those who follow and teach the doctrines of demons like this one. I also think it's interesting that the "deeds" of the Nicolaitans in Rev 2:6 became the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans in Rev 2:15. The point is: what we believe is important, because believing and "behaving" are so closely related.

 

We have a sharp witness from scripture too. Notice in almost every New Testament epistle (whether Pauline, Johannine or otherwise) there are admonitions against sexual immorality and idolatry (which by the way comes in many different forms; for instance, in Colossians 3:5 it is linked to covetousness). There are warnings to "be not deceived" and that those "who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

 

Though we may never know in this life all the facets of Nicolaitane doctrine, we can be sure of several things. They taught contrary to the revealed commands of God; they taught in a Christian setting; God hated their deeds and their doctrine. These reasons alone are enough to consider their error, lest we follow after the same example. May God bless you as you continue to prayerfully study His Word!

 

                                                                           

Chapter 4

 

Understanding the Cross

 

Jesus showed us the way to please God by going to the cross. You must likewise go through your cross if you desire to please God.

 

He knew what lay ahead on the way to the cross - the brutality and pain, the scorn and shame, the unbearable emotional and physical torture, the nails, the bitter vinegar, the crown of thorns, the spear stabbed right through his abdomen, the slow death by hanging, and being suspended between heaven and earth on three nails and a piece of wood. He knew what lay ahead of Him; no wonder He cried to the One Who loved Him the most and the One Whom He loved the most, saying: "Father, IF IT BE THY WILL, let this cup be taken away from me..." (Luke 22:42).

 

Like everyone who is clothed in flesh and blood will ask, why did He have to go through this gory and almost unbearable route to the cross...WHY?   He answered the question Himself when He surrendered himself to go through “the way of suffering”, which He would have liked to avoid.  But He knew that to honor the Father, His desires must bow to the Father’s Will, no matter the price. Therefore, He cried in painful surrender, "NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE".  He Knew what many generations did not know and what many who now seek the Father still don't know, that NO DISCOMFORT, PAIN, SHAME, LOSS OR FEAR is enough excuse to  reject His will.

 

Doing the Father’s will must be regarded as far more significant than satisfying our needs, wants, pleasures, pains, shames or ego. This is what it means to take up your cross and follow Him. Know this truth dear Friend, that, this is what only few have recognized - His will must be done NO MATTER THE COST; His will must be done NO MATTER THE CROSS.

 

Hebrews 10:7

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

 

AND WHAT WAS THE FATHERS RESPONSE, after seeing the mutilated body of a son who chose to suffer such unbearable pain so as to Honor HIs Will; The Son who chose to do the Fathers bidding, even though it hurt so much; The Son who treasured and revered the Fathers desires, above every shame, pain, loss, or cross?

 

Philippians 2:5-13

LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU, WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN DEATH OF THE CROSS. WHEREFORE, GOD ALSO HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM AND GIVEN HIM A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

 

Friends, anyone who tells you to shun your cross of obedience is not your friend. For it is in the cross of suffering, the cross of obedience, the cross which must be borne so that His will can be done, that true and glorious worship is offered.

 

It is through the cross that you bear to honor the Father, that your name is registered in heavens golden hall of fame and glory.

 

Your resurrection is gained after your cross of self denial.  You must first deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Him; then, true Divine enablement or grace is bestowed. That same Spirit who raised Jesus from the death of the cross, shall meet you with His Divine grace and honor, after you choose the way of the cross because of His Will. The way of the cross is a way of true faith, that as you take the painful steps towards His will, His power will meet you along the journey and raise you up. Faith involves responsibility to act according to Gods instructions, knowing He will not forsake you.

 

Hebrews 12:1-4

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and LET US RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US, LOOKING UNTO JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET AHEAD OF HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, AND IS SET DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.

FOR CONSIDER HIM that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, LEST YE BE WEARY AND FAINT in your minds. YE HAVE NOT YET RESISTED UNTO BLOOD STRIVING AGAINST SIN.

 

There is a resisting one must undertake, striving against sin and every contradiction against Gods will in your life. This passion flows from a heart completely determined to do Gods will. Jesus battled the fear, the shame, and the desire to quit this tough journey of Gods will, with its gory moments that lay just ahead. Jesus showed us the way knowing that because it is what wants, then we must fight the good fight of faith to lay hold on eternal life.

 

Luke 22:40-44

 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  AND BEING IN AN AGONY HE PRAYED MORE EARNESTLY: AND HIS SWEAT WAS AS IT WERE GREAT DROPS OF BLOOD FALLING DOWN TO THE GROUND.

 

Notice: First, He prayed while facing this temptation because the option not to do Gods will was not in the picture, however He thought, maybe God could change the game plan: but no, it was what God wanted.

Second, He resolved to go through this death, this shame, this pain, because this was Gods will. Therefore, a dimension of divine enablement or grace was given to Him because “...the angel from heaven came to Him, strengthening Him…” Third; at this time, He already knew there was no going back, so “...He prayed more earnestly and His sweat was like heavy drops of blood...” The point here is that, every believer has a crucial role to play so as to lay hold of God’s grace. “YE HAVE NOT YET RESISTED UNTO BLOOD STRIVING AGAINST SIN”, meaning that the price you pay and the temptation you face so as to do Gods will, is not as bloody or gory as that of Christ’s. Jesus invested in God though prayer and other spiritual disciplines, so as to draw God’s grace for His race. Don’t just sit there and do nothing, instead act in accordance with Gods instructions and grace will show up. Make up your mind that there is no turning back on Gods will and God will strengthen you and eventually honor you for honoring Him.

 

 

 

 Meditate deeply on the following scriptures, for this is the true unveiling of the doctrine of grace:

  • the doctrine of Christ Crucified;
  • The message of carrying your cross so as to Honor and exalt God’s Will and His Majesty.

 

Hebrews 5:5-9

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee...WHO IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH, WHEN HE HAD OFFERED UP PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS WITH STRONG CRYING AND TEARS UNTO HIM THAT WAS ABLE TO SAVE HIM FROM DEATH, AND WAS HEARD IN THAT HE FEARED; THOUGH HE WERE A SON, YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED; AND BEING MADE PERFECT, HE BECAME THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM.

 

Matthew 16:24-25

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

 

1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP)

SO, SINCE CHRIST SUFFERED IN THE FLESH FOR US, FOR YOU, ARM YOURSELVES WITH THE SAME THOUGHT AND PURPOSE [PATIENTLY TO SUFFER RATHER THAN FAIL TO PLEASE GOD]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  FOR I DETERMINED NOT TO KNOW ANYTHING AMONG YOU, SAVE JESUS CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

 

Galatians 6:14

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

 

 

There is a striving...

 

 

The Old Rugged Cross (HYMN)

by George Bernard Shaw

 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suff’ring and shame;

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.

 

Refrain:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

And exchange it some day for a crown.

 

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,

Has a wondrous attraction for me;

For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above

To bear it to dark Calvary.

 

Refrain:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,…

 

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

A wondrous beauty I see,

For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,

To pardon and sanctify me.

 

Refrain:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,…

 

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;

Its shame and reproach gladly bear;

Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,

Where His glory forever I’ll share.

 

Refrain:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,…

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

There's a Price to Pay for God's Glory

 

 

The cross you must carry to please God, is it as bloody and unbearable as Jesus’ cross?

 

Please don't let any seducing demon - working through wicked or oftentimes ignorant men - deceive you that there is no price to pay in your quest to fulfill God’s will.

 

Titus 2:11-14                                     

FOR THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED THAT OFFERS SALVATION TO ALL PEOPLE. IT TEACHES US TO SAY “NO” TO UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY PASSIONS, AND TO LIVE SELF-CONTROLLED, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

 

There is a price…

  • reconciling with an imperfect husband, because God said ‘NO’ to divorce
  • enduring some hunger, because God said ‘NO’ to stealing
  • overlooking some insult, because God said ‘NO’ to vengeance
  • exiting some relationships, because God said ‘NO’ to fornication
  • laying aside of weights and sins because God has demanded holiness and promised to help you
  • fleeing of things that may corrupt your purity, because the Father God expressly instructs that you should
  • dying to self: things to avoid, abstain from, resist, awake to, lay off, put aside, mortify, covet, cast away, abhor, put on, rebuke, stand fast in, or give no place to
  • terminating some associations, because God said no to evil communication
  • ignoring vain luxuries, because God wants your moderation to be seen by all men
  • depriving your tired body of sleep on some nights, because God said you're His house of prayer.
  • visiting the throne of grace in prayer for hours, days, or even longer, to: find help in overcoming the addiction; get ear aids to hear His voice clearer; grace to hunger insatiably for His Word; love your neighbor as He loves you; have the grace to be a fisher of men; and indeed, have the grace to excellently run this heavenly race.

 

These are things you must to do and then Christ shall strengthen you.

 

There is…

  • a drawing near to God if you want Him to draw near you
  • a Father in Heaven who demands that His Will be done even if you must carry the cross of pain and shame.
  • a God who requires that your desire to do His Will far outweighs your desire to do your will, exalting yourself, your flesh, above Him.

 

He is the Most High God, and will not accept your will to be honored above His.  Worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Carry your cross and Follow Him, for there is a crown He gives in exchange for every cross of obedience and worship.

 

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 

Luke 6:46-49

AND WHY CALL ME LORD, LORD, AND DO NOT DO THE THINGS WHICH I SAY? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

 

To embrace grace, there are things true believers must do, because faith is a doing act before it becomes a divine force. “DO THE THINGS WHICH HE SAYS AND YOUR HOUSE SHALL BE BUILT ON THE ROCK”.

 

Chapter 6

 

The Cross is the Heart of Worship

 

The cross of anguish was Jesus' offering of obedience, of surrender and of true worship to The Most High - what's yours?

 

The losses that Job endured we're his offerings of obedience and true worship of the Most High - what's yours?

 

Leaving behind family legacy and luxury, and sacrificing a precious long awaited son, were some of Abraham’s elements of worshipping the Most High – what’s yours?

 

Hebrews 5:6-9

Who (Jesus) in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; THOUGH HE WERE A SON, YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED; And being made perfect, HE BECAME THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION UNTO ALL THEM THAT OBEY HIM...

 

Don’t let any deceiver deprive you of the true elements of worshipping The Most High God, which is found primarily in carrying your cross of consecration, OBEDIENCE - Because, doing HIS WILL is more important than doing yours or anyone else's. 

 

Luke 11:2

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, SO IN EARTH.

 

True worship is in that cross that you carry just because it must be carried for His will to be done; it is in that cross you carry, so that God’s requirement can be met - even though it hurts.

 

Let me show you something of a subtle distraction with very potentially misleading consequences for the church. Consider the following portion of scriptures, and take time to meditate deeply on it before you continue further to digest my observations ahead.

 

Philippians 2:5-13

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                      

When most people read this, the part which would normally stand is verse 9 to 11 which says:

 

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father".

 

Whilst it is very true that every knee must bow to the name of Jesus, the deeper truth and main point of that portion of scripture is verse 5: "Let this mind be in you...”. What mind?

 

The mindset that Jesus had, in that though He was God, He did not grumble at the insult of being humbled as a man; then, He became obedient unto death. It was through this obedience in His worst predicament as a man, that He proved His loyalty and honor for God the father saying: "not my will but thine be done.”  He forgave His wicked persecutors even in the depth of pain, just as God said He should, and said: "Father forgive them.”  Therefore, God exalted Him and honored Him with the highest name.

 

The main point is that we are admonished to have a similar mind set of honoring God. Even in the worst position of suffering or most humbling and devastating predicament, God wants His will to be done.

 

The way Jesus honored God, by being obedient - even in the most painful and humiliating circumstances - is how God wants His church to think, behave and worship Him. This is exactly what it means to deny oneself, carry one’s cross and obey or follow Him. Do not let you will, your comfort, discomfort, pain, shame or cross, prevent you from doing God’s bidding. Doesn't this remind you of another set of witnesses called Abraham and Isaac? 

 

One of the most reputed historians of the First Century, named Josephus, writes about Abraham and Isaac's sacrificial ordeal.  He indicated that when it was time to offer Isaac, he asked his dad, "Where's the lamb?" Abraham responded by saying something like this, "son, some will die of sickness, some by accidents, others in wars or natural disasters, and yet others from old age, but God wants your life for His Honor and pleasure".  Immediately Isaac heard this, he basically said, "dad, do it quickly, for its an honor to die for Almighty God and to be an offering which God delights in". They didn’t care about the pain or loss, even though it was real, they simply had a more overwhelming and consuming passion to honor God.

 

Jesus has become the author, and the book we must read to find out how to honor God. Friend, honor God!

 

Hebrews 5:8-9

Though he were a Son, yet learned (proved) he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

 

After digesting the previous verse in Hebrews 5:8-9, now I ask that you consider the following meditatively.

 

 

 

Hebrews 12:1-4

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and LET US RUN THE RACE WITH PATIENCE THAT IS SET BEFORE US, LOOKING UNTO JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM, ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, AND IS SET DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

 

Friends, again I say there is a striving with which we must honor the Almighty God. The way of the cross is the highest way to worship and honor God.

 

No matter the pain you bear, do not seek a divorce if it will dishonor God’s will.   Do not steal, cheat, lie, fornicate, or be violent no matter the provocation, because God wants you to honor Him. Find out the Lord’s Will for you and do it at all cost.

 

Ephesians 5:17

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

 

This is one of the "stolen messages" in the church; a systematic evil scheme to bring Christ's church of this generation away from the place where true worship to God is offered.

 

Luke 9:23

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

Like Abraham, Like Jesus, the painful cross you bear is proof to The Most High that you really do care. Your cross says to God, "I care about Your Will, more than I care about anything else.”  When He sees a cross carrying child of His - who bears that undesirable cross just to honor Him - when it is finished, resurrection to His glory is inevitable. He can smile and say like He did to Abraham: "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice". (Genesis 22:16-18)

 

Luke 11:2

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, SO IN EARTH.

 

Who told you it’s all just about unmerited favor? There's a striving for true victory in Christ; there's a striving for the knowledge only He can give, so you can grow in His grace; there is a striving to be able to do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens; there is a striving for Christ to be formed in you, without which spiritual deformity is inevitable.

 

Make your election sure by diligence in Christ:

 

2 Peter 1:2-10

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And besides this giving all diligence add to your faith virtue (Divine character); and to virtue knowledge (by studying); And to knowledge temperance (discipline); and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacks these things is blind and cannot see afar off (into eternity), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, BRETHREN, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YE DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FALL.

 

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. LET US THEREFORE COME BOLDLY UNTO THE THRONE OF GRACE that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 

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