I woke up with such clarity on a specific warning from Scripture that I felt the need to document this. It concerns what is talked about in Scripture as the great apostasy (or falling away, withdraw from the faith) in the end of times.
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1 NLT
Yesterday I was sharing at a nursing home facility about the love of Jesus and was surprised by what came out of my mouth. Every time I share something I pray that the Holy Spirit would speak through me and minister life to those who hear me. This has been a default prayer for the past seven years of ministry. I depend on the Holy Spirit to enliven and bring forth the Scriptures I have immersed myself in for most my life. I let him pick the songs. He determines the flow and the theme and the message. I am his partner in building the kingdom of God, one day at a time, one concert at a time, one song and message or conversation at a time.
I say all of this to encourage you to do ministry dependent on the Holy Spirit’s leading as well. May your every conversation with people be led by the Holy Spirit. He knows exactly how to turn a phrase to grab someone’s attention and, most of all, to woo their heart.
I was blessed by what came out yesterday, and I am also deeply concerned and saddened.
Yesterday he was speaking this to my heart, you are either the persecuted or the persecutors. Which are you? There is no middle ground. You will eventually land on either side. The Nazi’s or the the Jews.
I thought this was interesting and reminded me immediately of Isaac and Ishmael. One was the son of promise, the other of the flesh. One represents true faith and the other what I will call “religion”. Of course I don’t mean true religion as defined in Scripture as ‘care for the orphan and widow and maintaining a pure heart’, but how people often derogatorily use the word these days to describe self righteous judgemental pricks.
Jesus said to his brothers, the world cannot help but accept you, you are one of its own but I testify that it’s deeds are evil therefore the world hates me. Later he said to his disciples, if the world hated and persecuted me it will hate and persecute you.
Of course who is he referring to as “the world”? Not simply those outside of religious circles (many of which heard Jesus gladly), but to the religious of his day. Did sinners have a problem with Jesus? No. They flocked to him. Porn stars, drug addicts, women who had abortions, alcoholics and porn addicts found nothing but love and acceptance and compassion from Jesus.
The Pharisees, however, hated Jesus, persecuted Jesus and eventually crucified Jesus. Jesus had said to them, “you are like whitewashed tombs. You look pretty on the outside but inside are full of dead mens bones”. He told them to their faces, “woe to you! How will you escape the fires of hell?” These are those who had their theology hammered out. They were the respected theologions of their day. The ones who were clearly “right” about everything and had the rest of the world convinced and living in fear of their disapproval. Their acceptance mattered more to the people then the acceptance of God. People would not speak up favorably for Jesus because the Pharisees agreed to put out of the synagogue anyone who did speak up on behalf of Jesus. This was a serious repercussion. The synagogue was their way of life, much like how being a Muslim is not simply just their religion but an entire way of life today.
I recently read the book of Revelation. Yeshua had some warnings to give to most of the seven churches. They each received a message of “Repent, or else” except one church. They received affirmation from the LORD:
The Message to the Church in Philadelphia
7 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.
This is the message from the one who is holy and true,
the one who has the key of David.
What he opens, no one can close;
and what he closes, no one can open:
8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. 9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
10 “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
13 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
He says to the church of the city of brotherly love, “you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”
What, exactly, is the word that they, and you and I, are to obey?
To love one another. That’s it. This is the one new command of the LORD Jesus. Love.
This is God’s great big master plan to transform the world:
“Love the one you’re with”
That’s it. Those who recieve love will then in turn love and it will spread like wildfire exponentially growing to fill the earth and change everyone’s heart. Lets try it!
The great apostasy that is coming and, newsflash, is already here, is that people are refusing to love others. Religion has become for many, instead of caring for orphans and widows and living a pure life unspotted from the world, now a matter of having all your theological ducks in a row.
We have deceived ourselves into thinking that it is what you know, what you believe that is important, instead of how you live, and the love in your heart. The mantra I hear is ‘your doctrine must be correct or your doomed’. You know what I mean? And if you “step out of line” there are many who are chomping at the bit to report you and crucify you and cast out your name as evil. Where have I heard that before?
I have experienced this kind of persecution and I refuse to take part in it. I choose to be the persecuted rather than become a persecutor. Hey people, this is the separating of the sheep and the goats. I’m serious.
Did you catch the ferocity of Christ’s words there to the church at Philedelphia? Jesus talked about to those who belonged to “Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not”. Does this not apply in our churches today? Do you know those who say they are Christian but have no love? God will judge us for what is truly in our hearts and by our words and deeds. These will reveal where our faith is truly at and whether we follow the true Christ or another who is in Christ’s place (aka the antiChrist – literally “in place of Christ”).
Yes I am insinuating that there are those in the church, some of which are highly respected theologians and teachers, whose hearts are devoid of love who are currently following a poser christ – the antichrist. I know this because I was one of them. It was the most serious battle of my life to separate me from this false Christ because I was convinced that he was the only one there was. Fear ruled me. It took a great deal of time and pain and ultimately, love, to set me free.
Yes, we still have Pharisees in our day as well. Don’t think for a moment we don’t. They don’t seem to have an ounce of error in their doctrine but have little to no real love. They are unkind and treat others harshly. They judge, they condemn, they fear monger. They use fear and intimidation to get you to kowtow and submit to them and their authority. I would suggest to you that this is the real apostasy… the abandonment of love. We have left love and followed fear. We have joined the persecutors instead of the persecuted.
A parable (Ok, so actually this was a dream, but I was concerned about being judged for taking so many lessons from my dreams, it’s just how God speaks to me, and I’m ok with that):
I was out walking one day with my wife and we saw an ugly little lizard. My wife reacted in fear and it immediately noticeably grew which surprised us and caused us both to react with more fear. It grew some more. It seemed to feed on our fear.
It became hostile to us and a battle ensued. We enlisted the help of some friends and it fed on their fear as well. Somehow we managed to kill the dragon as it reached the size of a border Collie. We decapitated it and buried it in a large barrel of sand. It’s body at the bottom of the barrel and the head near the top and we left it.
We forgot about it for a while and enjoyed some peace.
One day I remembered the dragon and for a moment the fear and panic revived in my heart. In that very moment the head of the dragon was drawn back to its body and it revived. It escaped and went on the wreak havoc and spread chaos feeding on the fear which was now rampant until grew into a great dragon.
The Air Force was called in. We were going to bomb this dragon with a serious payload – a nuclear bomb. The dragon, however, snatched the plane out of the sky and sent it hurtling into a volcano. The volcano reacting with the detonation created a super volcano explosion which destroyed the world. The end.
I would propose that fear is the opposite of love. Fear is the enemy of love. You cannot be filled with fear and love at the same time. You must choose one or the other. Which will it be?
Many of us have already gone the way of fear. Jesus will set you free if you want to be free. The thing is, we must actively choose to be free. We must pursue freedom and refuse to listen to the fear mongers.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
My one goal in life is to see others come to Jesus. I want the number to grow of those who will take part in the tree of life. The reward for overcoming and returning to Jesus, your first love and your purpose to “love the one your with” is the tree of life.
The Message to the Church in Ephesus
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:1-7 NIV