ENTITLEMENT AND ESCAPISM

Something is coming and the church is not ready. In recent days God has been trying to warn the American church about what is coming, but, what have we done with these warnings?

I heard one preacher exclaim, “Teaching that anything bad is coming, is defeatism.” He refused to give his children a defeatist world view. What he thinks is love is the ultimate abuse. His children will not be ready.

It’s not as if God hasn’t warned the American church that perilous times are coming. One choice instrument was David Wilkerson. Many listened to his predictions, but many others wrote him off as an angry prophet.

I dare you to reread his words, go back and watch his videos, they are still on YouTube. David will come across completely different to you now. Now that libraries are bringing in drag queens to read to children. Now that abortion is no longer just a ‘right,’ but a cause for celebration. Now that our halls of power are sewers of falsehood, betrayal, ambition, greed, and lust, and now that the very fabric of civilized society is unraveling.

I dare you to call him legalistic, now that you can see that exactly what he predicted is happening.  Now that you see churches have abandoned the Bible.  Now that every day you hear of one more minister condoning materialism and promoting a ‘cheap grace’ that covers lust. Disdaining holiness and denying the existence of Hell. Just as he predicted, there is an epidemic of preachers who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Our young daughters have unwelcome transgender visitors in the girl’s restroom at school.  We are a nation of drug addicts. Tens of thousands die every year from opioids.

The bane of Modern Christianity can be summed up in just 2 words: Entitlement and Escapism.

Go back with me to a time before all this madness, and see when a sense of entitlement began to infect the church.

No one got saved in the early church because they were promised a lavish life. Each convert knew from the jump they would pay a price for following Jesus. They embraced Christ because something real happened to them. They knew—beyond knowing—that He was the Truth and the Life.  Knowing Him was infinitely worth the cost. All they wanted was Jesus.

It is ironic that we tend to feel sorry for them, when in fact they would pity us! Yes, they were persecuted, but God was real in them. Their clarity unlocked something most of us do not have: inexpressible peace and joy.

Entitlement rolled into church like a Trojan horse. Certain preachers, like all good marketers, considered true discipleship a hard sell, so they replaced it with perks, inducements and flattery. Church became one giant participation trophy. The unspoken boast was, “What have we to do with self-denial? What have we to prepare for?” We as American Christians became too good for suffering. That was for other people, in other nations.

What edge did believers in the first century have over us? A massive one. They could survive anything that they encountered, whereas many today will be taken out the moment something happens that their pastor said God would never let happen.

Since ancient Christians expected to suffer, suffering never threw them for a loop. It never dawned on them that they would escape trials and tribulations. Because of that, they had a singular power that we don’t: the power to glory and thrive in evil times.  Compare that with today’s Christian whose idea of spiritual warfare is claiming a parking space.

This is the person Jesus warned us about in Matthew 13:20, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

The shocking thing will not just be how many entitled believers will stumble, but how little it will take to make them stumble.

Now let’s talk about escapism. The world that vessels like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Steve Hill, and yes, David Wilkerson warned us about is here. The world that your favorite pulpit babysitter promised would never come—came anyway.

We didn’t escape. We have already witnessed this mass tragedy. Life has taken a turn in these United States that many churchgoers never believed could or would happen. There has been a falling away: because so many were ignorant, so many were offended.

Even many of the Christians who remained faithful, express their escapist denial in many ways. Instead of searching the scriptures for truth, they delve even deeper into teachings that now look silly. They want more materialism; they want more entitlement; they plunge into more false teachings and false ways. They go heavier into emotionalism. Their escapism is expressed in a sanctimonious tone, and then they lie about their reasons for believing they will escape all suffering.  They say we must stay out of politics and not choose sides, even as it has become undeniable that we must take a stand. Instead, they bury their head in the sand and are oblivious as evil takes away our freedom and our children’s future.

Escapism is what gives them a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. Denial is why they imitate New Age teachings and make prophecy into a kind of game.But David Wilkerson also saw something else: A fresh and mighty move of the Spirit. He saw Jesus pulling people aside to enter into a close relationship with Him, and to instill in them the power needed to save this nation.  He said, “God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. He will tear down the old political, backslidden, ecclesiastical system. He will disown the formal, super-church structure. He will chase out of His presence all those who are engaging in self-promoting ministries.”

Many will fall, but many will rise to levels of power and usefulness that are astounding. God not only knew the insanity of today was coming—He took steps to prepare a special relationship that would produce special powers in His Children.  You already know who you are.

God is taking you aside to give you nation-saving power and skills. All glory to His Name!

 

ENTITLEMENT AND ESCAPISM

Something is coming and the church is not ready. In recent days God has been trying to warn the American church about what is coming, but, what have we done with these warnings?

I heard one preacher exclaim, “Teaching that anything bad is coming, is defeatism.” He refused to give his children a defeatist world view. What he thinks is love is the ultimate abuse. His children will not be ready.

It’s not as if God hasn’t warned the American church that perilous times are coming. One choice instrument was David Wilkerson. Many listened to his predictions, but many others wrote him off as an angry prophet.

I dare you to reread his words, go back and watch his videos, they are still on YouTube. David will come across completely different to you now. Now that libraries are bringing in drag queens to read to children. Now that abortion is no longer just a ‘right,’ but a cause for celebration. Now that our halls of power are sewers of falsehood, betrayal, ambition, greed, and lust, and now that the very fabric of civilized society is unraveling.

I dare you to call him legalistic, now that you can see that exactly what he predicted is happening.  Now that you see churches have abandoned the Bible.  Now that every day you hear of one more minister condoning materialism and promoting a ‘cheap grace’ that covers lust. Disdaining holiness and denying the existence of Hell. Just as he predicted, there is an epidemic of preachers who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Our young daughters have unwelcome transgender visitors in the girl’s restroom at school.  We are a nation of drug addicts. Tens of thousands die every year from opioids.

The bane of Modern Christianity can be summed up in just 2 words: Entitlement and Escapism.

Go back with me to a time before all this madness, and see when a sense of entitlement began to infect the church.

No one got saved in the early church because they were promised a lavish life. Each convert knew from the jump they would pay a price for following Jesus. They embraced Christ because something real happened to them. They knew—beyond knowing—that He was the Truth and the Life.  Knowing Him was infinitely worth the cost. All they wanted was Jesus.

It is ironic that we tend to feel sorry for them, when in fact they would pity us! Yes, they were persecuted, but God was real in them. Their clarity unlocked something most of us do not have: inexpressible peace and joy.

Entitlement rolled into church like a Trojan horse. Certain preachers, like all good marketers, considered true discipleship a hard sell, so they replaced it with perks, inducements and flattery. Church became one giant participation trophy. The unspoken boast was, “What have we to do with self-denial? What have we to prepare for?” We as American Christians became too good for suffering. That was for other people, in other nations.

What edge did believers in the first century have over us? A massive one. They could survive anything that they encountered, whereas many today will be taken out the moment something happens that their pastor said God would never let happen.

Since ancient Christians expected to suffer, suffering never threw them for a loop. It never dawned on them that they would escape trials and tribulations. Because of that, they had a singular power that we don’t: the power to glory and thrive in evil times.  Compare that with today’s Christian whose idea of spiritual warfare is claiming a parking space.

This is the person Jesus warned us about in Matthew 13:20, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

The shocking thing will not just be how many entitled believers will stumble, but how little it will take to make them stumble.

Now let’s talk about escapism. The world that vessels like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Steve Hill, and yes, David Wilkerson warned us about is here. The world that your favorite pulpit babysitter promised would never come—came anyway.

We didn’t escape. We have already witnessed this mass tragedy. Life has taken a turn in these United States that many churchgoers never believed could or would happen. There has been a falling away: because so many were ignorant, so many were offended.

Even many of the Christians who remained faithful, express their escapist denial in many ways. Instead of searching the scriptures for truth, they delve even deeper into teachings that now look silly. They want more materialism; they want more entitlement; they plunge into more false teachings and false ways. They go heavier into emotionalism. Their escapism is expressed in a sanctimonious tone, and then they lie about their reasons for believing they will escape all suffering.  They say we must stay out of politics and not choose sides, even as it has become undeniable that we must take a stand. Instead, they bury their head in the sand and are oblivious as evil takes away our freedom and our children’s future.

Escapism is what gives them a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. Denial is why they imitate New Age teachings and make prophecy into a kind of game.But David Wilkerson also saw something else: A fresh and mighty move of the Spirit. He saw Jesus pulling people aside to enter into a close relationship with Him, and to instill in them the power needed to save this nation.  He said, “God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. He will tear down the old political, backslidden, ecclesiastical system. He will disown the formal, super-church structure. He will chase out of His presence all those who are engaging in self-promoting ministries.”

Many will fall, but many will rise to levels of power and usefulness that are astounding. God not only knew the insanity of today was coming—He took steps to prepare a special relationship that would produce special powers in His Children.  You already know who you are.

God is taking you aside to give you nation-saving power and skills. All glory to His Name!

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ENTITLEMENT AND ESCAPISM

Something is coming and the church is not ready. In recent days God has been trying to warn the American church about what is coming, but, what have we done with these warnings?

I heard one preacher exclaim, “Teaching that anything bad is coming, is defeatism.” He refused to give his children a defeatist world view. What he thinks is love is the ultimate abuse. His children will not be ready.

It’s not as if God hasn’t warned the American church that perilous times are coming. One choice instrument was David Wilkerson. Many listened to his predictions, but many others wrote him off as an angry prophet.

I dare you to reread his words, go back and watch his videos, they are still on YouTube. David will come across completely different to you now. Now that libraries are bringing in drag queens to read to children. Now that abortion is no longer just a ‘right,’ but a cause for celebration. Now that our halls of power are sewers of falsehood, betrayal, ambition, greed, and lust, and now that the very fabric of civilized society is unraveling.

I dare you to call him legalistic, now that you can see that exactly what he predicted is happening.  Now that you see churches have abandoned the Bible.  Now that every day you hear of one more minister condoning materialism and promoting a ‘cheap grace’ that covers lust. Disdaining holiness and denying the existence of Hell. Just as he predicted, there is an epidemic of preachers who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Our young daughters have unwelcome transgender visitors in the girl’s restroom at school.  We are a nation of drug addicts. Tens of thousands die every year from opioids.

The bane of Modern Christianity can be summed up in just 2 words: Entitlement and Escapism.

Go back with me to a time before all this madness, and see when a sense of entitlement began to infect the church.

No one got saved in the early church because they were promised a lavish life. Each convert knew from the jump they would pay a price for following Jesus. They embraced Christ because something real happened to them. They knew—beyond knowing—that He was the Truth and the Life.  Knowing Him was infinitely worth the cost. All they wanted was Jesus.

It is ironic that we tend to feel sorry for them, when in fact they would pity us! Yes, they were persecuted, but God was real in them. Their clarity unlocked something most of us do not have: inexpressible peace and joy.

Entitlement rolled into church like a Trojan horse. Certain preachers, like all good marketers, considered true discipleship a hard sell, so they replaced it with perks, inducements and flattery. Church became one giant participation trophy. The unspoken boast was, “What have we to do with self-denial? What have we to prepare for?” We as American Christians became too good for suffering. That was for other people, in other nations.

What edge did believers in the first century have over us? A massive one. They could survive anything that they encountered, whereas many today will be taken out the moment something happens that their pastor said God would never let happen.

Since ancient Christians expected to suffer, suffering never threw them for a loop. It never dawned on them that they would escape trials and tribulations. Because of that, they had a singular power that we don’t: the power to glory and thrive in evil times.  Compare that with today’s Christian whose idea of spiritual warfare is claiming a parking space.

This is the person Jesus warned us about in Matthew 13:20, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

The shocking thing will not just be how many entitled believers will stumble, but how little it will take to make them stumble.

Now let’s talk about escapism. The world that vessels like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Steve Hill, and yes, David Wilkerson warned us about is here. The world that your favorite pulpit babysitter promised would never come—came anyway.

We didn’t escape. We have already witnessed this mass tragedy. Life has taken a turn in these United States that many churchgoers never believed could or would happen. There has been a falling away: because so many were ignorant, so many were offended.

Even many of the Christians who remained faithful, express their escapist denial in many ways. Instead of searching the scriptures for truth, they delve even deeper into teachings that now look silly. They want more materialism; they want more entitlement; they plunge into more false teachings and false ways. They go heavier into emotionalism. Their escapism is expressed in a sanctimonious tone, and then they lie about their reasons for believing they will escape all suffering.  They say we must stay out of politics and not choose sides, even as it has become undeniable that we must take a stand. Instead, they bury their head in the sand and are oblivious as evil takes away our freedom and our children’s future.

Escapism is what gives them a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. Denial is why they imitate New Age teachings and make prophecy into a kind of game.But David Wilkerson also saw something else: A fresh and mighty move of the Spirit. He saw Jesus pulling people aside to enter into a close relationship with Him, and to instill in them the power needed to save this nation.  He said, “God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. He will tear down the old political, backslidden, ecclesiastical system. He will disown the formal, super-church structure. He will chase out of His presence all those who are engaging in self-promoting ministries.”

Many will fall, but many will rise to levels of power and usefulness that are astounding. God not only knew the insanity of today was coming—He took steps to prepare a special relationship that would produce special powers in His Children.  You already know who you are.

God is taking you aside to give you nation-saving power and skills. All glory to His Name!

 

You will never see the Bible the same way again

 The Bible is under attack from the strangest source and it is a disaster.  Spirit-filled Christians are having a lot of ‘out of Bible’ experiences. Not only are people claiming that God has exempted them from following scripture, but there are others who are greatly downgrading the Word of God in their sermons. Some are even teaching other preachers to avoid preaching on the “hard verses.”  This is of course a disaster, but we should not be surprised that it is happening. The Bible said this would happen. 

It is shocking how ignorant many Spirit-filled believers are of the Bible. It’s time for you to know why the Word of God will not die and what a miracle the Bible truly is. Many who read this will never see the Bible the same way again.

We cannot begin to fathom the unbridled hatred Satan has for the Word of God.  He is obsessed with the Bible because he sees it as the final obstacle in his plan to establish his own kingdom on the earth, and to destroy the kingdom of God.  By discrediting the Bible, he believes he can fully conquer man, hold God’s beloved children hostage, and force a divine surrender.

Remember, he is the first being to ever suffer from denial.  Even after his crushing defeat at Calvary, when he illegally took the life of the innocent Son of God, he still believes that ultimately he may win.  His delusional plans were long ago foreseen by God, Who is permitting Satan to rage until the fullness of time.  And then the Lord will act, and as Martin Luther said it so well, “One little word shall fell him.”

Those who reject the Bible or downplay it must look at this evidence:

1.The Bible is unique in its continuity.

If just 10 people today were picked who were from the same place, born around the same time, spoke the same language, made about the same amount of money, and were asked to write on just one controversial subject, they would have trouble agreeing with each other on pretty much everything. But the Bible stands alone. It was written over a period of 1,600 years by more than 40 writers from all walks of life. There were fishermen, politicians, generals, kings, shepherds and historians. These men were born on three different continents and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects, yet they wrote in perfect agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war. Yet their words sound like they came from the same source. So, even though 10 people today could not write on one controversial subject and agree, God picked 40 very different people to write the Bible—and it has stood the test of time.

2.It is unique in its circulation.

The invention of the printing press in 1450 made it possible to print books in large quantities. The first book printed was the Bible. Since then, the Bible has been read by more people and printed more times than any other book in history. By 1930, over one billion Bibles had been distributed by Bible societies around the world. By 1977, Bible societies alone were printing over 200 million Bibles each year, and this doesn’t include the rest of the Bible publishing companies.  The exact number will never be known until eternity, but it is in the billions. No one who is interested in knowing the truth can ignore such an important book.

3.It is unique in its translation.

The Bible has been translated into over 1,400 languages. No other book even comes close.

4. The Bible is unique in its survival.

In ancient times, books were copied by hand onto manuscripts which were made from parchment that decayed over time. Ancient books are available today only because someone made copies of the originals to preserve them. For example, the original writings of Julius Caesar are no longer around. We know what he wrote only by the 10 copies that have survived, and those 10 copies were made 1,000 years after Julius Caesar’s death. Only 600 ancient copies of Homer’s Iliad are in existence today, and those were made 1,300 years after Homer’s death. There is simply no other ancient book that is substantiated by as many early manuscripts as the Bible. In fact, there are over 24,000 copies of New Testament in existence.  Some of the manuscripts can be dated to within 35 years of the first century writers.

5.The Bible is unique in withstanding attack.

No other book has been so attacked and vilified throughout history as the Bible. In A.D. 300 the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered every copy of the Bible to be burned because he thought that by destroying the Scriptures he could destroy Christianity. He decreed that anyone caught with a Bible would be executed. But just 25 years later, the Roman Emperor Constantine ordered 50 perfect copies of the Bible, to be made at government expense. The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. The irony of history is that 50 years after Voltaire’s death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.

 

6.The Bible has proven to be accurate in all of its over 1,800 prophecies.

Here are the stats:

Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass 8,352 verses.

In the Old Testament there are prophesies against Tyre, Sidon, Ammon, Moab, Philistia, Egypt, Edom, Syria, Elam, Damascus, Gaza, Judah, Israel, and Babylon, to name a few.  Not one prophecy failed to be fulfilled with complete accuracy.

Let’s take a look at how many prophecies there are in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus. Alfred Edersheim concluded that there are at least 456 passages in the Old Testament that Jewish Rabbis historically have interpreted as being about the Messiah.

What would be the odds of just eight of these prophecies coming true?

(1) Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)

(2) Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12-13)

(3) Messiah’s clothes would be gambled away. (Psalms 22:18)

(4) Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. (Psalms 22:16)

(5) Messiah’s bones would not be broken. (Psalms 34:20)

(6) Messiah would be born of the tribe of Judah.  (Isaiah 37:31)

(7) Messiah would be called out from Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)

(8) Messiah would be buried in a rich man’s grave. (Isaiah 53:9)

The odds of all eight coming true are virtually incomprehensible! The number is written mathematically as 1014 or 100,000,000,000,000 to one.

The odds of just those eight prophecies coming to pass would be the same as finding one red silver dollar among 100 trillion silver dollars. How many is that?  Those silver dollars would cover the entire State of Texas to a depth of about two feet. A blindfolded man would have to wander over the entire State and then choose only one coin at random. He would have the same chance of finding the red coin in one try as those prophets had for accurately predicting those eight events—hundreds of years before they happened.

But according to Edersheim, there are 456 scriptures that speak of the Messiah! I am not sure there is a number high enough to express the odds of fulfilling all 456 of those—not to mention all 1,817 prophecies found in the Bible. This is proof that the Author of these prophecies knew the future. The God Who created the universe out of nothing knows the past, present, and future.

Not one word shall fall to the ground. Jesus said, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matt. 5:18)

When he was nearing the end of his life, the Apostle Paul gave these final instructions to his protégé Timothy,

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the     living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word…for     the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their            ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own    desires, and will turn away their ears from the Truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your             ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Those who would downgrade the Word of God will find themselves standing before the Judge of the Universe, having to give an account of why they were shepherds who did not teach the “hard verses” of the Bible, did not preach sound doctrine, did not fulfill their ministry, and misled their flock.

Many thanks to Dr J. Smith for not only providing history but aiding in the writing of this article.