Reflecting on the past year of writing the Strong Man Of God Blog, I am thankful to God to have served you in serving His purpose to stir up willing Christians to His cause to restore men and more accurately discern where we are at prophetically. The six blog July 30-September 3 series, “Restoring Men In The Two Minute Drill” capped off the focused effort that began with my first post of 2017. Out of His persistent love, grace and mercy, of course, God is not done speaking through me on these matters since my calling in major part as a watchman/prophet, the cause and work of the Ministry I lead are inextricably bound up together by Him (2 Chronicles 36:15-16; Luke 1:17; Acts 11:27-30).
I greatly rejoice that men wiser than I have been used of God in these latter days to also stir up the Body of His Son. One such man was Chuck Colson who was not as biblically audacious as me to consider his contribution to be from a calling to the prophetic office--though, certainly besides being an excellent evangelist, apologist for and teacher of the faith, he spoke to my heart as one; burdened as he was for us to understand the times. This edited 2012 blog repost is my tribute to Chuck Colson in gratitude for how his writings such as the book I name in it impacted me and follows appropriately after my November 12 post under the category, Bible Prophecy, “God’s Throwaways?”
Originally Posted October 21, 2012
With all due honor to the memory of Chuck Colson who with Nancy Pearcey wrote the 1999 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. book, How Now Shall We Live?, this blog is similarly titled. I was gifted a copy of and read the nearly five hundred page work I believe contains one of the stellar, biblically solid evangelical voices of our time that will echo in the ears of the saints as darkening days continue to press in upon us. Brother Colson departed home to the Lord back in April of this year and left us many great incisive and urgent works of exhortation and instruction on living out the Christian faith with a biblical worldview in an increasingly overtly hostile world and American society.
I reference Colson and Pearcey’s, How Now Shall We Live? in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics in discussing how fathers as teachers must be intentional to demonstrate what they teach in a post-modern culture where absolute truth is no longer accepted. Colson was right in this work and so many others to warn us about the dangers of navigating this world in rebellion without a biblical worldview. He was also right to appeal for us to get our act together. Instead of hunkering down in fear waiting for "the rapture" or to suffer as the end approaches, engage our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors that are still a mission field as the culture.
Truly, we are commissioned by our Lord to preach the Gospel and be faithful to Him to the end (Matthew 28:19-20). The Lord had to know and did; warning His apostles and us that times such as we now live in and worse would come (Mark 13:9-13; Luke 23:26-31; John 15:18-16:4). How then should we live? God is calling for Christian men and women to become strong men and great women of God in the image of Jesus Christ not because it sounds cute, but because this is the only kind of Christian the Bible has only ever presented to begin with and that will accomplish His purposes; standing by faith and faithful to the end (Matthew 16:24-27; Ephesians 6:10-20; Philippians 3:7-16; Hebrews 11-12:2; Revelation 12:7-11)!
This call from God is obviously being made because just as the many churches have watered down the Gospel and salvation, so they have also invented their own kind of Christian foreign to the Bible. I am deeply humbled as I understand the true weightiness of the strong man of God message and cause in terms of potential impact on Christians in distilling into action the Word of God along with the work of Chuck Colson and others of our time. For the moment has come to move beyond the philosophical and analytical into the battlefield of day to day experience. Aspiring strong men and great women of God are persons completely sold out with godly hearts aflame to please Him in all obedience to His whole will, way and Word!
Only they are equipped to engage first the churches in confronting the sin and worldly compromises among those professing to be Christians--plucking some from Hell’s fire (James 5:19-20; Jude 20-23). Second, only they will care enough to engage the hostile culture bearing the cost, yet winning many souls to Christ and leaving an enduring witness to the glory of God in these latter days. A major part of their engagement in both camps is the restoration of men, families and communities to the extent our gracious God permits. Get my book inspired of the Holy Spirit, drawn from the Bible and built on the foundational work of Christians such as Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey to learn more about what is involved in becoming a strong man or great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ.1
1 The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is available at all major internet booksellers and in the Strong Man Store.
Professing Christians that scoff at the fact fallen angels watch, stalk and hunt men to destroy their lives now and souls in Hell with them after God’s judgment (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:10-15), also obviously reject that these same invisible, spirit creatures war against the followers of Christ (Ephesians 6:12). How tragic and unfortunate for these scoffers that they show themselves to be captives and enemy agents of the same creatures arguing against God’s Word plainly written by their unbelief to include those that attempt to cloak themselves behind academia and the high sounding words of theological study (2 Timothy 2:23-26).
From the beginning until now, God’s faithful have been a persecuted minority (Genesis 4:1-10; 1 John 3:10-15). Our time in America has come and God wants us to remember in Jesus the stuff we are made of through Him (2 Timothy 3:12)! We may be powerless as a minority today to reverse the decline of our nation or effect the repentance of falling away Christians as foretold, but in our endurance to the end we will receive power from Christ to reign with Him on this earth when He returns with the Kingdom as sweet vindication of our suffering. Be encouraged about the future of the faithful today in this edited blog repost that appeared on the last day of 2012.
Originally Posted December 31, 2012
The final deliverance of God’s elect Jews and faithful saints will begin with the Kingdom of Heaven’s declaration of war on Satan and his kingdom. Holy angels faithful to God in their superior numbers and might will engage and prevail against the devil and his angels in heavenly places. The victory of the holy angels will be so thorough and final Satan and his angels will be evicted permanently from their heretofore dwelling in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9). This means there will be no residence any longer for them in the second heaven which is all of outer space beyond earth’s atmosphere or access to the third heaven, the abode of God (Acts 7:54-56; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
This moment is a mixed bag for faithful saints. On the one hand it is good news since it means we are yet another step closer to the fulfillment of Satan’s announced judgment, realizing our hope of eternal salvation and the reign of Christ (Revelation 12:10). On the other hand, it is bad news in the near term because the devil and his demonic armies have just lost the war of the ages and are confined to earth with only a very short time (three and one half years) before they are imprisoned in Hades after which a thousand years later, they are finally forever condemned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10).
These fallen creatures are not very happy campers at all and in fact, while the heavens are urged to rejoice over the devil’s defeat by the holy angels and eviction from their environs, all of the inhabitants of the earth including elect Jews and faithful saints are warned to prepare for grief since “the devil has come down to you, having great wrath,” (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:12). This is the major part of the “great tribulation” many Christians miss. It is not God’s wrath that is at the core of that brief most evil of evil times, it is Satan’s wrath and he wastes no time venting it against the human objects of it he hates the most: Jews and Christians (Revelation 12:13-17).
God will supernaturally protect His elect number of Jews during this period (Revelation 7:1-8; 12:6, 14), while faithful saints are expected to overcome the devil’s onslaught of deception, works of power and violent persecution (described as war) through patient endurance involving trust in the blood of Christ, their testimony and being willing to suffer death (understanding themselves as “sheep for the slaughter”) in remaining loyal to the Lord (Revelation 7:9-17, 12:11). These are the aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, prepares the willing to become!
The “great tribulation” is the final intense evil period of these latter days and the last gasps of existence for Satan’s kingdom when he reigns openly through his resurrected and immortal man patterned on Antiochus Epiphanes of old (Daniel 9:27, 11:36-45, 12:7; Mark 13:14-23; Revelation 13). In its aftermath are the most violent, painful transitory birth contractions of the approaching Day of God’s eternal Kingdom brought by our returning Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ (Mark 13:24-27). He will lead and be a strong support for the elect, remnant Jews who have been waiting for Him without realizing it in the final battle for Jerusalem (Micah 5:3-5; Zechariah 12, 14:1-15; Revelation 16:12-14, 16, 19:11-21).
He comes to fulfill the ancient promises of God and save the people of His ethnic heritage, even Jacob (Jeremiah 30-33; Romans 11:25-36) and the yet living faithful remnant saints who are transformed alive after those that have died are resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). Faithful saints from all time that have been the righteous minority in Christ will be powerless no more or ever again (Philippians 1:27-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)! Finally, the oppressions of the oppressor will cease and the new immortal, righteous majority will rule a world of real peace, justice and equity for all (Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 11:1-10; 51:12-13; Micah 4:1-5; Revelation 5:8-10). Let God fill you fresh with joy, peace and hope by these truths and the power of the Holy Spirit in believing to the end (Romans 15:8-13, 16:20).
Hollywood loves turning loose out of place in time gigantic dinosaurs and other beasts into the cities and suburbs of the modern world to wreak havoc and destruction as terrified humanity runs for their lives to escape. And while God Almighty in no way compares to any beast of the earth past, present or of fallen man’s imagination, humanity in the 21st century world is just as unprepared for His unveiling in judgment as those of fiction are to the sudden appearance of out of place and time giant beasts. Nevertheless, Bible prophecy is very clear this world hostile to and in rebellion against God is near to experiencing His completely unexpected display of severe warning judgments and wrath!
Sadly, among those that are not prepared for God Almighty to again show His superior power in the earth are many that profess to be Christians. Ignoring the most significant sign God has given yet of what is coming, many still want to put the Day of the Lord off for possible thousands of years away or hide behind “that day and hour no one knows” which refers to specificity, not general times or why would the Lord command us to watch for signs He Himself gave (Mark 13:28-37, NKJV)? It is righteous to avoid confusion from way out speculation about the end times. But it seems many avoid the issue because it interferes with their carefully laid plans and preoccupation with this world!1
Can you speak thunder? The Lord Jesus can and whomever He enables among His servants (Revelation 10:1-4)! During the week leading up to Passover and His crucifixion, “certain Greeks” among the Jewish throngs sought to have an audience with the Lord. Though He did not meet with them, He plainly took their desire for an audience to be prophetically significant as it concerned His glory, fruit of His crucifixion and perpetual requirements to be His disciple as He spoke to Andrew and Philip who were attempting to arrange the meeting (John 12:20-26, NKJV). Squaring up with His crucifixion again, the Lord then speaks of it as His disturbing, but unavoidable approaching reality and concludes it was for that experience He had come to the moment (John 12:27).
Honoring His Father who had assigned Him the cross, the Lord Jesus exclaimed, ‘“Father, glorify Your name.’” Immediately the Father replied, ‘“I have both glorified it and will glorify it again,’” (John 12:28, NKJV). The people standing by heard the Father and “said it had thundered;” some thought the thunder was an angel speaking to him. Jesus said the voice (and very importantly, the words) of His Father was not for His sake, but the people present (John 12:29-30, NKJV). And why? The Lord says, ‘“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself,’” (John 12:31-32, NKJV).
The Father would be glorified a second time in the earth by the atoning death of His Son, Jesus Christ, for the sins of the world (John 1:29-34). While delivering all (Jew and Gentile) that look to His sacrifice for salvation through faith, it also certifies the judgment of the rejecting remainder (John 3:14-21). Also, finally, in the aftermath of Christ’s triumphant sacrifice Satan, the ruler of this world, will be deposed and eternally banished (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 20:7-10). Now, if all of this from Christ’s sacrifice constitutes a second time the Father is glorified, then, when was the first time? Wasn’t it His mighty deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt?2
God Almighty came down from Heaven to deliver Israel from bondage to Egypt about the midpoint of the 15th century B.C. (Exodus 3-14). With the rod of Moses the Lord strong and mighty suddenly visited and brought plagues upon Egypt representing the modern world of its time because Pharaoh, their ruler, would not let God’s people He came to deliver go. By the time the Lord was finished Egypt was destroyed; Pharaoh who claimed to be a god and all of the rest of Egypt’s gods (demons) were humiliated in defeat (Exodus 7:3-5, 10:7, 14:1-9, 21-30). The fame of the Lord went throughout the earth from that day and remains among all mankind that have heard of what He did to Egypt on behalf of Israel; to deliver them from bondage with mighty signs and wonders in judgment.
So, now, Israel is back in her land after nearly 1,900 years of dispersion throughout the earth by divine decree as foretold by the prophets beginning with Moses (Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 31:14-29; Hosea 3, 5:8-15). Many are returning to the land as God’s preparation for both His final punishment and deliverance of the Jewish people. Indeed, as foretold by the Lord through His prophets, as Judah returned from exile and rebuilt the Temple and Jerusalem beginning in the 6th century B.C., so, those presently in the land are doing the same, but in reverse order. Opposition exponentially greater (involving global hostilities) to what was faced by Jews building the second Temple faces those that would build a third (Ezra 1, 3-4:24). Yet, they have to and will--the Temple is part of their identification with God.3
In the days leading up to and during building the Temple according to the Lord’s specifications (Ezekiel 40-43:12), He will begin to finish bringing glory to Himself again in the cause of delivering Israel this time in the sight of this whole 21st century earth. After sealing His chosen Jewish remnant (Revelation 7:1-8), God will suddenly display His unmistakable wonders in mighty warning judgments (Revelation 8-9). After this will come Satan’s last stand before Christ returns, God’s final exam, Israel’s travail and “great tribulation” that spreads to the whole world (Mark 13:14-23; Revelation 11:1-14, 12:1-14:13, NKJV). Then, following as foretold, God will unleash His full wrath inaugurating the Day of the Lord that also features the Second Coming of Christ to lead the charge.
This unique Day of the Lord delivers remnant Jews and Christians, judges this world and overcomes all kingdoms including Satan’s (Isaiah 13:6-13; Zechariah 12:1-9, 14:1-7, 12-15; Mark 13:24-27; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10; Revelation 11:15-19, 16, 19:11-20:3). Just as He brought Israel out of Egypt, God Almighty will triumphantly bring all of the chosen, surviving remnant of His people back to the land in that Day from all over the earth to see Him in glory. They will turn to Christ as foretold (Isaiah 10:20-23, 11:11-16; Jeremiah 30:1-9, 31:1-9; Ezekiel 39:21-29; Hosea 6:1-3; Zechariah 12:10-13:1; Romans 11:1-29).4 This present world will never be the same again. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Faithful and true disciples of Jesus Christ live in this world to please Him and do His will which is the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in
His image (Mark 8:31-38; Luke 9:57-62; 1 John 2:15-17). Learn more in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available in print or digital download for-
mats at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get the Hard or Soft Cover print ver-
sions of the book in the Strong Man Store.
2 Read the July 30-Sept 3, 2017 six-part series and especially part five, Restoring Men In The Two Minute Drill, under the category, Bible Prophecy as additional back-
ground information for this post.
3 This is another reason putting end time events off for even hundreds of years from now is not sound. Truly, the Jews mournfully commemorate the exact day both the
first and second Temples were respectively destroyed (which amazingly are the same--only God!) by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the Romans in 70 A.D. on an
occasion called Tisha B’Av--The Fast Of The Fifth Month (see The Feasts of the Lord, Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal, Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville 1997,
151-157). The devout not only grieve the loss and lack of a Temple, but most assuredly will not let the 2,000 year anniversary of the second Temple’s destruction
looming ahead this century pass without notice as many make preparation for a third to be built (Ezra 5-6; https://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm). This should not
surprise faithful Christians since as He did with the second Temple, the Lord stirs up the hearts of the people nearing 100 years back in the land also this century
(Haggai 1:1-2:9)! Thus too, as it was with Pharaoh who God demanded to let His people go forth to worship Him, so, with Satan through his human vessels among
the Gentile nations and finally, the one who becomes Antichrist, God will demand through Jewish leaders what He similarly spoke to me writing in a former post: “Let
My people worship Me in the house I have commanded them to build Me,” (see footnote 2).
4 See the June 12, 2016 post, The Day Of Israel’s Comfort, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
The Lord Jesus Christ loves His Church and speaks correction to and chastens those within the local churches that supposedly make it up (Revelation 3:19). This is the why and what for of His end of the first century specific messages to seven churches of Asia and their messengers in His Revelation I wrote about to open this New Year (Revelation 1:9-11, 19).1 The mere fact the Lord has something to say about what goes on in the churches demonstrates not only His knowledge, but concern that things be done in accord with His will, way and Word! He did not go away back to Heaven and turn the business of the Church over to us. He is Lord (Ephesians 1:15-23)!
In exercising His ever active Lordship over His Church from birth, the Lord Jesus presents Himself to the messenger of the church at Sardis as “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” With authority granted by His Father (Mathew 28:18), the Son asserts His control over the fullness of the Holy Spirit represented as “the seven Spirits of God” in His activities among men and church messengers as “the seven stars” He earlier interpreted to John (Revelation 1:20). Then, after declaring He knew Sardis’ works, He drops a spiritual bomb shell on them with shock waves that reach to this very hour: they had “a name” for being “alive,” but were “dead” (Revelation 3:1, NKJV)!
The church in Sardis had a name or reputation for being alive whatever that meant for them at that time. Perhaps like some churches that were before and many that have followed them down through the centuries, professed Christians in the Sardis church were intensely engaged in sensational spiritual practices such as speaking in tongues which the apostle Paul warned against over emphasizing (1 Corinthians 14:1-19). Maybe it was passionate preaching or spirited singing and dancing that were carried out as a telltale sign God was present. Possibly too, it was all of these elements that are found variously in numerous churches among the ethnicities on earth today.
Few however, would argue with me that among the ethnicities, those of my own either on the African continent or scattered among the world’s countries including this one engage in all or most of what is described in the foregoing during any given service of what we call worship. The reputation for being alive among black Americans in their churches draws tourists to observe us from all over the world. And we typically do not disappoint; putting on emotion charged performances sometimes that are hard even for the most stoic of souls to resist being caught up in.2 I do understand such services have been historically cathartic for us and in loving empathy have written about why.3
Nevertheless, without the Holy Spirit whose living, working presence the Lord Jesus controls, none of what professed Christians do in the churches lives now or eternally before God (John 6:63). Clearly, from the Lord’s judgment of the church at Sardis, sensational activity and high energy emotional worship are not surefire indicators of the Holy Spirit’s living presence and work as many want to falsely believe. By default, works not empowered by the Holy Spirit are of the sinful flesh. Those acting in the flesh do not please God (Romans 8:5-8). And while there may be “liberty” when the Holy Spirit is present, such times are never a license to sin (2 Corinthians 3:17, NKJV)!4
The verdict of the Lord Jesus on the reputation of the church at Sardis was that they and their efforts were spiritually dead as is the case in every church where the Holy Spirit is not actually operative in what is going on! Apparently though, the church was not completely dead since after pronouncing them so, the Lord commands them to “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die;” He not finding their works complete “before God.” Then, He exhorts them to go back in memory to what they had been originally taught, grip it tight and repent from their departure. If they don’t, He warns, He will come upon them suddenly for what will surely be retribution (Revelation 3:2-3, NKJV). The Lord says the same to guilty churches today.
Always in God’s economy there is a faithful remnant. At Sardis, there was one that by implication in their life and deeds were alive through the authentic work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord acknowledges them and promises a reward for their faithfulness--“for” He says, “they are worthy.” They will also never face the possibility of Him blotting their names out of “the Book of Life.” They will be alive in the Spirit forever! The Lord will also confess the names of these faithful saints before His “Father and before His angels.” He urges every individual in the church at Sardis and the one you attend too, if you will, “to hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 3:4-6, NKJV). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 See the two-part post that begins January 5, 2020, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 Save attempting to shame me for telling the truth on “us” since I have been black all of my life and even before I was a believer, as a child I witnessed how we do. And
as it concerns performing, while I know a relative few individuals among the musicians and audience may be having a genuine encounter with God, my teen years
were mostly spent in bands entertaining; I know performance, entertainment and being moved by the music when I see and hear it as still happens to me in all trans-
parency when I allow it (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Just because you are feeling it in what is called worship, does not mean God is and it is idolatry to think so, since He made
us in His image not the other way around (Psalm 50:16-23; Isaiah 1:10-20)!
3 Read the two-part repost beginning February 8, 2015, Strong Through God, Not Religion, under the category, Black History.
4 Examples occur whenever an assembly is thrown into disorder by folk lacking self-control and women in disobedience and defiance of God’s written Word are allowed
to lead worship where adult men are present (1 Corinthians 14:20-40; 1 Timothy 2:11-14). Women freely empowered by the Holy Spirit to prophesy (Joel 2:28-29,
Acts 2:1-18, 21:8-11) are not free to do so as they please or as sinning church leaders command in disobedience to God’s perpetually set order of mankind. Or are we
now blasphemously teaching that the “Holy” Spirit sanctions sin in rebellion against Himself? Knowing this not to be the case, no wonder the false escape is to lie on
God and declare He has spoken (Jeremiah 23:30-32), changed His mind (Malachi 3:6), updated His Word (Matthew 5:17-20, 24:35) or abandoned the temperance of
His eternal nature He wills to display in us (Galatians 5:22-23)! It is not nor will it ever be the Holy Spirit that pushes the guilty into sin, but the prince of darkness and
the lusts of their sinful flesh draw them into it (James 1:12-18).
What a joy for me as a Christian: it’s Christmas Eve! Above any other presents on Christmas, I will rejoice afresh over God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, given to me and all mankind over 2,000 years ago I received personally on April 10, 1977 (Isaiah 9:6-7)! God’s gift of His Son must be received on purpose by faith to be unwrapped into salvation. As the Lord leads me to write in this edited 2013 repost, choosing God’s gift of His Son is to do so in the midst and to the exclusion of all other ostensible gods, religions and ways to God. Reflect and rejoice if you have received God’s gift of His Son; be challenged to receive Him if not. Lord willing, my next post will be on January 7, 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Originally Posted December 1, 2013
The times we live in spiritually are not unlike those in the first century A.D. Then as now there were thousands of religions that featured the worship of unseen spirits as well as images and statues representing men, women, animals, celestial bodies, things of earth’s natural order and man’s creative invention. Then as now the religions spanned the spectrum from moral restraint to complete license including all manner of sexual immorality. Then as now, men made choices as to which if any of all the religions they would embrace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was introduced then and remains as the exclusive message from the living God summoning men to relationship with Himself.
As the apostle Paul waited in the great city of Athens, Greece many students of the New Testament believe sometime between 49 and 52 A.D., “his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols,” (Acts 17:16, NKJV). Rather than immediately attacking the idolatry which God in His longsuffering forbearance has temporarily permitted, he began to share the Gospel with Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism (who had in common with him a belief in the God of the Bible as it existed then as the Old Testament) and in the public marketplace. Some philosophers invited him to share more in a place called “Mars’ Hill” (Acts 17:17-21, NKJV).
On this platform where all new religious ideas and philosophies were given a hearing, Paul commended how ‘“religious’” the Athenians were in that they even had an altar dedicated ‘“TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.’” The Athenians and others were hedging their religious bets and covering their bases in presenting this altar among the thousands of idols, religions and philosophies of that day. Many today are attempting the same kind of approach by affiliating themselves with multiple faiths citing similarity of teaching and tolerance. After this, the great apostle of the Lord declared, ‘“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you,’” (Acts 17:22-23, NKJV).
Paul goes on to depict God the way He speaks of Himself in Scripture as the Creator and Lord of the heavens, earth and everything in it including man from whom He needs nothing (Genesis 1:1, 1:26, 2:7; Isaiah 42:5, 45:18; Acts 17:24-25). From the one man, Adam, created in the image and likeness of God, God made every race and tribe of men who live before Him as image bearing offspring--though that image has been marred; felled by sin (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-11, 17-19, 22-24; Acts 17:26-28). Because men are the created offspring of the living God, Paul asserts they certainly should not "think" to devise art images or craft inanimate objects from earth’s substances to represent His nature (Acts 17:29, NKJV).
The Jewish apostle to non-Jews declares the idols, religions and philosophies of man’s devising; ‘“these times of ignorance God overlooked’” have come to an end spiritually speaking and in days soon to come, all dimensions of existence. For God ‘“now commands all men everywhere to repent’” and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ--that He died on the cross for our sins, was buried and on the third day after rose again--so that He might righteously forgive our sins and cause us to escape the Day of His wrath to be brought by Christ which His resurrection from the dead guarantees (Acts 17:30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11)! This is that same Jesus; God in the flesh born at Bethlehem in Israel who Christians celebrate at Christmas (Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-18)!
The Lord Jesus Himself declares, ‘“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,’” (John 14:6, NKJV). Consistent with the Ten Commandments, He taught redeemed men are to ‘“love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,’” (Deuteronomy 5:6-10, 10:12-13; Mark 12:29-30, NKJV). Surely, this is the heart of every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ!1 For a man to love and honor anyone including his parents, wife, children, siblings, his life or anything more than Jesus Christ is idolatry and disqualifies him from being His disciple (Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-26; John 14:15).
Similarly, the Lord also taught that a servant cannot be fully devoted to two masters. Both would rightly require love and loyalty. But because the servant is not able to give total love and loyalty to both masters, he ends up hating and despising one of them (Luke 16:13). There is also the matter of mental health consequences since James later writes, “a double-minded man” is “unstable in all his ways,” (James 1:8, NKJV). All of the first century Spirit-filled apostles of the Lord fully devoted themselves in love to and faithfully preached the Gospel about Him. They were also willing to suffer and die standing on the truth that the name of Jesus was the only name by which men can be saved from the coming wrath of God (Acts 4:1-22, 5:12-42).
Therefore, while God has given free willed men the privilege to choose if they will obey the Gospel and be saved or not, He does not allow a man to hedge his religious bets to serve Him and other gods too in that demon inspired Athenian spirit. He calls everyone to make a choice: Christ or the gods, religions and philosophies of men? In the likeness of Joshua, every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ elects to serve Him alone understanding the ‘“gate”’ to eternal life is not wide, but narrow and sparsely populated (Joshua 24:14-15; Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)! Such men also rejoice in having made the right decision seeing by faith the aftermath of God’s Day of wrath foretold in His Word (Psalm 96-98; Zechariah 14:9). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
1 Learn more about the heart of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available at all major internet
booksellers and in the Strong Man Store.
In the aftermath of my August 26, 2018 repost, Worldly Peer Pressure, under the category, Call To Repent, I write with the leading of the Lord to offer some instructional guidance to especially my younger Christian brothers either hearing from Him about planting a new local church or that are already in the process in these latter days. The things I wrote in that post are not a matter of an old school preacher coming against the innovations of a new school of doing church. There is a place for that conversation, but not where it concerns the immutable God, His message to the world in the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, the transcendent truths, commands and instruction of His Word!
Indeed, the living God speaks to 6th century BC Judah on the cusp of judgment and commanded: ‘“Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls,’“ (Jeremiah 6:16a, NKJV). Through the corruptions of her kings, priests and false prophets Judah had been walking down a road that in many ways had been portrayed as new school and beneficial. They were introduced to all manner of idolatry and pagan practices brought even into God’s house in disobedience to the old school Ten Commandments in their covenant relationship with Him (Exodus 20:1-17; Jeremiah 22:24-30, 23:9-15; Ezekiel 8).
God obviously does not share the view that old school as it concerns Himself, His will, way and written Word is something that can be regarded with respect as working for “back then,” but which has no continuing place and should in fact give way to a new school. He is the never changing God and His Son “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8, NKJV). Perfection needs no change! Thus, God commands Judah standing at the crossroads to see His good way in the old paths of holiness, righteousness, faithfulness and obedience to His Word in order to walk in it and avert disaster. But they defiantly refused to obey or hear (Jeremiah 6:16b-17).
Devastating, nation destroying judgment fell upon Judah in which they never fully recovered though, a remnant as foretold came back from captivity after seventy years. Their descendants some 500 years later experienced the first coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, but rejected and put Him to death on the cross. He was buried, but after three days rose again and commanded that God’s message of sin forgiveness through repentance and faith in Him should be proclaimed to the ends of the earth! He then ascended and beginning with His apostles has labored with those who became disciples in every generation since to make and teach other disciples until He returns.
Nearly 2,000 years later, the return of Jesus Christ is drawing near as is clearly being understood by those of His disciples watching the prophetic signs He and His apostles left us. His disciples today are expected to remain faithful to His now ancient, old school message and commanded assignment in proclaiming it that includes reaching men as a priority1 though He gives leadership to employ new school means such as communication technology to do so. Or don’t you know when God created radio waves, He intended for them to be used for His causes first and foremost? Still, as new means to communicate are discovered, God’s message in the cross preached remains His primary method for saving sinners (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)!
As 21st century church planters go forth to proclaim the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ to make disciples and establish new churches, teaching His Word as commanded by Him and through His apostles, there should be no old versus new school debate on these. Nor should any new school involve building on personalities, personal views or worldly light flash and bang of music irreverently labeled “worship.” It is as the Lord led me to write in a recent Facebook post: “If a church cannot be built and hold together on the foundation of Christ, the preached Gospel about Him and the Word of God as it is written, then, no attempt should be made to build it!”2 A supposed Christian church built on any other foundation is not His and will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)!
And since these latter days are increasingly as the early days of the Church in terms of worldly hostility and persecution, let the church planters understand God’s house is wherever any number of believers assemble together.3 “Come as you are” should surely apply to unbelievers who visit, but never baptized believers who are all supposed to be taught the holy God they draw near to worship has set them apart as holy to Himself (Ephesians 1:3-6; Hebrews 2:10-12). Clothing that is overly revealing, sexually provocative, profane, purposely dirty and even new school raggedy in mockery of those who truly have no better clothes is offensive to our God who loves the poor (Proverbs 17:5). In exemplary holiness of body, clothes and heart we worship (Exodus 19:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
Concerning generational style preferences in music, worshipping God in “spirit and truth” is not a license to disrespect and offend His holiness (Leviticus 9:22-10:3; John 4:19-26; Acts 4:32-5:11; Revelation 4:2-11, NKJV).4 While the church planting target audience and turn out should hold a little weight, respect for elders (who love the youth, right?) upheld by God and His holiness ought to always be the final, decisive factors (Leviticus 19:32; 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 11:17-34). Nevertheless, those born into this time of worldly political correctness and tolerance must realize everything of the world cannot be baptized “Christian” and brought into God’s house--remember ancient Judah! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 God’s priority of reaching men as His chosen leaders in the home, churches and larger society (if it were still accepted) is the spiritual impetus behind our cause to
restore men at Strong Man Ministries and in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your fa-
vorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
2 See the August 30, 2018 on the Strong Of God Facebook Resource Page.
3 As has been the increasing norm in non-western nations, homes and other “underground” settings for the assembling of Christians will become so here in America
and the West too as foretold hostility and persecution intensifies (Matthew 10:16-23). Truly, the days of the stadium sized “mega” and building centered churches
are coming to an end (Revelation 17:16-18:8)!
4 This disrespect and offending of the holiness of God most assuredly includes any kind of willful disobedience to Him, but in these latter days, that which is also de-
ceitfully involved in men covering their heads before Christ, their Head during and women leading worship at all (even with their husband’s permission--Jeremiah
44:15-30) when the whole church is assembled (1 Corinthians 11:3-4, 14:20-40). Read my January 2015 Blog Series, Worshipping God Without God, under the
category, Call To Repent.
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