For a long while now I’ve sensed the Holy Spirit impressing on me this axiom:
Intellectualism is the seedbed of apostacy…
What does that mean exactly?
I’ve got much I want to share about this but for right now I’ll just say this; if faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) then the falling away comes by deafness (Hebrews 5:11) and that deafness is the direct result of what I’d call “intellectualism”.
21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:21-25
Ask a Christian, or even an unbeliever, if they believe in God and they’ll often explain that belief in God requires some measure of faith and then, depending on their faith, they’ll answer accordingly.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrew 11:1
Indeed, it is a great step of faith to believe in God and a greater step still to believe the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the remission of your sin.
But what of the Holy Spirit?
When Jesus began to explain the coming of the Holy Spirit to his disciples he told them it was to their benefit, to their advantage, that he would leave them so that the Holy Spirit would come and that he would make his dwelling place with them and in them. (John 14:15-17, 16:7)
The Holy Spirit, the God of all creation would make his dwelling place in the hearts of men. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Stop for a moment and ponder the gravity of what Jesus shared with his disciples. What it meant for them. What it means for you.
The God who hovered over the face of the waters before the creation of the world and spoke all things into existence. (Genesis 1:2)
The God who made man and gives him life. (Job 33:4)
The God who flowed from the Rock. (Exodus 17:5-6, John 19:34, 1 Corinthians 1:1-4)
The God who convicts us of our sin, proclaims to us the good news of Jesus Christ, who makes the dead live, who seals us, who comforts us, teaches us and gives us hope. (John 16:8 , Hebrews 3:7 and 4:2, 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 and 2:10 and 12-15, Ephesians 1:13-14, John 14:26, Romans 15:13)
This God, the Holy Spirit, has made his dwelling place in us.
Actually believing that, well that would require a monumental leap of faith wouldn’t it?
But the Scriptures are clear. God of very God, the Holy Spirit has come and He has made his place in our hearts and we have become his temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Do you have the faith to believe this?
Do you believe in Him whom you have not seen? Are you assured of the things you’ve hoped for?
Do you have the faith to believe what the Scriptures testify of the Holy Spirit?
Then let me ask you only this:
“…Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” – Galatians 3:2
If then what began in you began by hearing with faith should you not continue in Him in the same way…
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:22
It’s always interesting to watch people come to the realization that they aren’t in control.
Of anything really.
Not the weather or the stock market, or the electric grid or the water supply.
Man’s own frailty is a scary thing.
For some of us, it still hasn’t hit home that we’re not even in control of our next breath…
You went to sleep last night without remembering to set your lungs to auto mode didn’t you?
And yet here you are… breathing the King’s air, reading this post.
The fear of death is always before us. So when the normal order gets thrown out of wack, we get real scared, real quick. Ultimately, we’re all afraid we’re gonna die.
Have you ever considered why?
I’m going to suggest you’re afraid of dying not because you’ll cease to exist but because instinctively you know after death comes judgement.
We’re going to be called to account. And like Adam and Eve, we all know we ain’t got no clothes on… we’re naked, standing before a Holy God.
But what if I told you, you don’t have to be afraid anymore? What if I told you there was a way to clothe your nakedness and shame? To stand before a Holy God; better yet, to approach his throne boldly as his son or daughter; wouldn’t you want to know how?
A conscience set at ease, relief from the weight of the death that’s ever before us and the judgement that will follow.
A knowledge that even if the electricity never comes back on or if I fail to draw my next breath and leave this world to face the coming judgement that I could do so with a mind set at perfect peace.
Well you can. Here’s how.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
That anxiety you’re always dealing with, it’s really just fear and it holds sway over you because you’re not at rest in the love of God that’s been shown to you in Jesus Christ.
After Adam and Eve ate that fruit, their eyes were opened, they realized they were naked. Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden and they too were afraid so they hid and tried to cover their nakedness.
And that’s what we do too.
We all know we’ve sinned. We’ve fallen short of God’s glory because of our disobedience. Because of our unbelief. We’ve all at one point or another heard his voice and we’ve all been terrified that when we come face to face with him, he’ll see we’re naked in our sins and we’ll face his judgement. And we will.
But here’s what a lot of us don’t know.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
The love of God in Christ Jesus is the good news of his death and resurrection for the forgiving of our sins.
Do you believe this good news?
If not, why? What keeps you from believing? If you hear his voice, even now, proclaiming to you this good news, why do you harden your heart toward him?
What keeps you from believing that while you are still in your sins, God has already provided a covering for your nakedness? His own blood.
I’m going to suggest to you that you do not believe because you question if He really loves you personally. In spite of all your sin.
You look to your sin, your nakedness and you’re still afraid, still in unbelief that the good news of Jesus could really be that good.
As a man whose sin is ever before him I can tell you, it most certainly is that good. And if you would only believe this good news and abide in the love of God provided to you in Christ Jesus you would have his perfect peace.
That anxiety you’re constantly dealing with? That fear. In the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ once believed, it’ll vanish.
Believe the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the forgiving of your sins and so be saved. Know the love of Christ our Lord and approach his throne of grace boldly and you will find rest for your souls.
“13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.”
The whole story of Jesus, who he is, what he’s done, what it means for his people, I’m telling you there’s not a better story you’ll find.
And it’s all true!
“6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” – Colossians 2:6-15
“triumphing over them in him” Hallelujah!!
So the way Jesus triumphs over his enemies is by dying on the cross. It’s just the greatest “no way!” realization ever.
The gruesome, awful, shameful suffering he embraced, the death he died was the VERY means by which he destroyed his enemies and ransomed me to himself!!
The legal demand of my sin, which is death, was met in his body.
But because he himself knew no sin the grave could not, did not hold him and he has been well pleased to impart his victory over death to me simply by grace (for free) through faith (in believing) in this good news.
That is simply the most incredible, God glorifying proclamation I’ve ever heard.
I’m telling y’all. I know you’re probably reading this and you’re thinking, “dude he’s gone off the reservation” but I’ll challenge you this. Read the book. I dare you. Read the story and seek Him while he may be found and see if you don’t eventually come to the same conclusion:
When Tozer talks about “hearts fit to break”. That’s it.
If the Spirit is the oil, the sweet fragrance, then we are the jar that is broken. In our brokenness the Spirit is released and permeates the room with His lovely presence.
There is a section of a book by Watchman Nee that I think may be the most profound extra biblical writing I’ve ever read. It’s entitled, “Waste”. To be wasted for the Lord. To be poured out.
To be utterly consumed by the fire so only that which is from the Lord, returns to the Lord, which is the Holy Spirit of God.
So it is, we are melded into the fold of our Triune God. Brought into the depths and breathe and riches of his incomparable love and grace and we are utterly consumed by and in it, a burnt offering, a precious sacrifice that produces gold, silver, precious stone.
In the end the only work that will stand before God is God’s work. All wood, hay, stumble will be utterly consumed so that the manifest presence of his Son Jesus will be preeminent before all things, whether in heaven, on earth or below.
This is what the Father is after, the exultation of the Son, this is what the the Spirit preaches, the testimony of the Jesus. And as we, his people are wasted for Him, set upon the fire and consumed, all that is left is the radiant image of the glorious risen Lord Jesus Christ, forever and ever and ever.
And the angels sing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who was, who is and who is to come.
“They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” – John 16:2
The same spirit that was at work in persecuting the apostles is still at work today. There is coming and already here a “church” that wears the world’s mantel, that walks with her in lock step, and that church will most assuredly hold the world’s cloak while it picks up stones to throw at the Bride of Christ.
When this happens, it’s my faith that Christ himself will be made manifest in His Bride as she prays for her enemies and those who would stone her.
Entrusting herself completely to her Bridegroom just as Stephen did before he expired, she will be kept in perfect peace knowing surely her Bridegroom is coming soon and that He who is most concerned with weights and measures, truth and error, will be bringing His awesome recompense with Him when he comes.
Hey y’all, Kitty and I wanted to ask for your prayers and also to share something with you that we hope will encourage you as we head into the new year.
For about the last two years Kitty had been complaining that she was experiencing numbness on one side of her face and not the other side. She’s always had bad migraines but this seemed different so we decided she needed to see a neurologist.
As it turns out Kitty has a tumor in her brain and it will require surgery. It’s a meningioma and it’s on the base of her brain stem. It looks to be benign but it’s about the size of a golf ball and it’s certainly the cause of the numbness that she is experiencing and so it needs to be removed.
Kitty is currently scheduled to go in for surgery at UT Southwestern on January 21st and so I’d like to ask you if you could please join me in praying for my precious wife.
When we first got the news about three weeks before Christmas that it was, in fact, a tumor we were both pretty overwhelmed. Kitty was obviously devastated and I was shell-shocked and so we immediately sought the Lord in prayer.
At first our prayers were simply for peace and comfort. We told our families and our fellowship at Bear Creek Bible Church and they all began to pray for us as well.
The Lord heard our prayers and in the next 48 hours he did incredible things to answer us above and beyond what we could have ever expected.
Since then, Kitty and I have really been at peace about this entire ordeal. We are trusting Jesus to be sufficient for us. To be for us what only he can be, our Hope.
This year has been a difficult one for so many and because of that Kitty and I have felt burdened in our spirit to share with you the reason for the hope that is within us so that you too might know this peace that surpasses all understanding.
Simply put, Jesus Christ is our hope.
More than that, He is our all sufficient savior, He is our King and our Deliverer and because we have believed on Him and the good news of his death and resurrection for the forgiving of our sins we can now know His perfect peace.
We really wanted to share with y’all more of our testimony about Jesus and how he has gone before us through this ordeal and done great things and more importantly how you can come to know him and his perfect peace if you do not already.
If you want to hear more about the awesome things he has already done for us you can watch this video.
Thanks again for your prayers, may the Lord bless you and keep you all.
“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’” Daniel 4:17 ESV https://www.bible.com/bible/59/dan.4.17.esv
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 ESV https://www.bible.com/bible/59/rom.13.1.esv
There has never been a governmental authority except by God’s explicit approval.
Obama was President of the United States because God said so.
Trump is President of the United States because God said so.
Our next President will be President of the Unites States because God said so.
For those of you who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Would you please prayerfully consider giving this documentary a watch?
If you don’t feel compelled to watch it, please by all means, act according to the faith the Lord has given you. But if you do feel the Spirit prompting you to give it your ear, then I would encourage you to do just that.
If you grew up or have spent really any time in the American “evangelical” church you’ve probably been taught and generally believed in a form of eschatology (the study of last things, “the end times”) called “pre-tribulationalism”.
I know I was and I did.
In short (and I mean really short) the pre-tribulational position supposes that the famous “rapture” (or “catching up”) of the church referenced primarily in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will happen before the world enters into a time of great distress most often referred to as “The Great Tribulation”.
“The Great Tribulation” as it is most often called is generally referring to a 7 year period of time that the book of Daniel refers to as, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”. This period is also generally synonymous with a term we find throughout the Scriptures known as “The Day of the Lord”, the time when Jesus Christ will return to execute his righteous judgement on the world.
The pre-tribulational position supposes that the Lord will come for his church before all this stuff goes down and that they will be taken out of the world before the Son of Perdition (the Antichrist) is revealed to the world and who will subsequently be destroyed by the appearance of the Lord’s coming.
Over the years as I studied the Scriptures I felt like the Holy Spirit was challenging me on my previously held belief of a pre-tribulational rapture of the church. As I read 1 and 2 Thessalonians, particularly 2 Thess 2:1-12, it was like it jumped off the page at me.
“2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a]2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c]4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
After reading this passage the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me, more and more in the Scriptures about the Lord’s coming and about his church. Over the years that walk with the Lord has brought me to an eschatological position known as the “Pre-Wrath” position on the rapture of the church.
In a nutshell it presumes two things:
1. The church is not appointed to suffer the wrath of the Lamb and will be raptured before the great and awesome “Day of the Lord”.
2. The “Day of the Lord” will not come until the “rebellion” or great apostasy takes place (a great falling away from God) and the Man of Lawlessness (aka the Antichrist) is revealed to the world.
The issue of great consequence is this: the church will endure much suffering at the hands of the Antichrist and his kingdom before the Lord returns in power and glory.
But the good news is this. In their sufferings they will be more than overcomers in Christ Jesus our Lord who died and who was raised for the remission of our sins.
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” – Revelation 12:11
Again, if this word finds no place in your spirit please, by all means, throw it in the trash where it belongs.
But, brothers and sisters, if this word pricks your spirit I would encourage you to seek the Lord so that he himself can teach you what he would have you know. I pray that as he teaches you and ministers to you, you would know Him and his peace that surpasses all understanding.