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).
The ability to think, reason and form opinions is a powerful ability we humans have from being made in the image and likeness of God. Created by Him with freewill, we are free to think whatever we want. The issue is, however, is what we are thinking lined up with reality and truth especially as set out objectively for us by our Creator? Atheists clearly see the reality and truth of God’s existence and deny it because they choose to think otherwise about the evidence. But for those of us that have been born again by the Spirit of God, we not only see the reality and truth of our God, but by His Word and revelation our eyes are opened to joyfully know these more deeply and learn that which is to be--His mind as it were (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)!
In the aftermath of declaring the spiritual reality and truth about the Eternal Sons Of God in the June 19, 2016 repost, the Lord has led me to repost this re-titled and edited 2013 blog that followed it. It serves as a prelude to addressing immortality from a biblical perspective. In it, we also see again the devastating consequence of culturally conditioning the faith to the point human thinking supplants God’s Word. For while titillating, flights of fancy, romantic ideas, wishes and subjective speculations in their error create heresy and rob believers (as they have done over the centuries) of the awe and child-like wonder available from the authentic glimpses of the unseen spiritual realm and future God has provided us in His Word. Why settle for false fantasy when the reality and truth are so good?
Originally Posted May 26, 2013
Faithful Christians know that we are not to impose our own ideas, views or desires onto Scripture or the faith. Even the apostles among themselves had to constantly guard against this in preserving the purity of their Scripture rooted message and the simplicity of Christ (Galatians 2:11-21). Nevertheless, with the rise of Christianity the religion of men after the passing of the 1st century apostles, as foretold, all manner of corrupt violence has been done since to God’s Word with the result that much wrong thinking and many false doctrines exist and persist among professing Christians along with their leaders in the churches to this hour (Acts 20:27-31; 2 Peter 2:1-3).
Examples of unbiblical thinking and ideas abound, but consider a few popular ones. As it concerns the impact of literature on Christian thinking, Dante may have written a fictional work showcasing Catholicism’s Purgatory and Hades as Satan’s current residence, but the Bible teaches neither idea. The television show Touched By An Angel starring Della Reese featured female angels, but where are they in the Bible? One of the most popular widespread cultural sentiments today not at all taught in the Bible puts anybody human opinion believes to be good in Heaven at their death. Related to that thinking is the unbiblical idea the dead in the afterlife can see earth activity.
I have heard even professing Christians say regarding departed loved ones: “I know he (or she) is looking down on us right now.” Where in the Bible is it taught that disembodied human spirits either in Heaven or Hades are permitted to view earth activity in real time? Concerning the afterlife too, not discouraged by solid Bible teaching to the contrary, many professing Christians solely out of mortal sentimentality and desire continue to insist they will reunite with loved ones and take up where they left off before death disembodied in Heaven and after at the resurrection to immortality forever! Such wrong human thinking and ideas will only continue to proliferate among professing Christians unless the guilty repent and turn back to the Bible as the final authority for spiritual reality and truth.
I fully empathize with the deep emotional ties we mortals have to our family and friends in this life. As finite mortals, the temptation to want eternity to be like our present is linked to what is familiar and excellent to us. For example, males find it hard to think of an eternity without females because of their mothers and intimate involvements with others. However, God’s Word is to be considered true because His perfect character permits Him to speak no other way (Numbers 23:19; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 7:27-29; Psalm 119:160; Titus 1:1-2)! Thus, Scripture is clear that death ends life, all biological family and marital ties as we knew them physically in this mortal age forever (Job 7:6-10; Ecclesiastes 9:2-6; John 19:25-27; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39).
Indeed, for the Christian, the disconnect process from family begins in terms of priority at salvation when we take up with Christ (Psalm 45:10-11; Matthew 10:34-39; Luke 14:25-27; Romans 6:3-4) following His example (Mark 3:31-35). Sadly, many professing Christians do not believe Christ means what He says about the primacy of our relationship with Him. But He warned the otherwise thriving church of Ephesus He would take away their existence unless they returned again to Him as their “first love” (Revelation 2:1-7, NKJV). Some in days to come will deny the Lord clinging to their mortal families of this world and perish eternally (Mark 8:34-38; Revelation 14:9-11).
At the onset of the new eternal order God also gives His redeemed sons a permanent memory wipe of all the “former things” of this present creation to include the sinful, sorrowful and painful experiences we had even with family and friends during our mortal sojourn so that they will not interfere with our new glorious experiences in His presence forever (Isaiah 25:8, 65:17-19; Revelation 21:1-4, NKJV). The memory wipe is necessary too because though in perfect agreement with God’s righteous condemnation of the wicked to the lake of fire, how could we not grieve forever as emotive creatures knowing that people we cared about during our mortal lives are there (Malachi 4:1-3; Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8)?
Please note how Christ’s mortal family members (Mary, James and Jude) relate to Him as Lord, are not accorded any special standing nor do they appear to pursue it by right of family relationship in the aftermath of His resurrection and ascension in the canonical New Testament (Acts 1:12-26, 15:6-22; Galatians 1:18-19, 2:1-10; James 1:1; Jude 1). Only the transcendent spiritual relationships formed in and through the Holy Spirit of divine love with fellow faithful believers (including those from the family) in this present life will survive death intact and continue as we serve God together forever (John 3:3-7, 13:34-35, 14:15-17; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17; Galatians 5:22-25; 1 John 3:14-15, 4:20-21; Revelation 22:1-3).
Rather than attempting to impose our wishes on Christianity and corrupting His Word to do so, God’s will is for us to accept His will, way and Word as it is written (1 Corinthians 4:6)! If we do, it will mean we think righteously, objectively and truthfully about things as well as hold to and teach sound doctrine as the Lord wills (John 7:24; 2 Timothy 1:13-14). As it concerns our unsaved family and friends presently, the truth about God’s total disconnect at death should move us to do all of the loving of, witnessing to and good deeds for them we are going to do now (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 3:17)!
Concerning after we die, remember Heaven currently is only a temporary stop for our disembodied spirits to await God’s promised resurrection to immortal glory. As exceedingly superior to our present, mortal experience as Heaven will be to us disembodied, Scripture promises exponentially greater, unending experiences still to unfold for us as the immortally embodied and glorified eternal sons of God (Ephesians 2:4-7; Revelation 21:5-7)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
The violence and lawlessness that has been displayed both in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown by then Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson and the Grand Jury decision not to indict him for it is evil in the sight of God. Having once been a deeply embittered young black male against the legacy of America’s racism and contempt of black lives by all of its societal agents including the police, I fully understand the anger aroused when it apparently continues. However, in coming to Christ and His Word, I have renounced bitterness toward worldly injustice and have instead embraced hope in the God of justice (Isaiah 30:18, 42:1-4; Matthew 12:9-21)!
As the Lord has taught in His Word, so, I teach males aspiring to be strong men of God in the image of Christ that we are to respect not resist the governing authorities as a general rule (Romans 13:1-7). Many of my forefathers gave this respect and were still treated unjustly. I get that. Yet, when Michael Brown reached into the officer’s vehicle to punch him, he crossed the line and invited the officer’s Heaven and earthly granted right to kill him. The only exception to God’s general rule for obeying authority is when it calls for us to disobey Him (Acts 4:13-19, 5:27-29). Even then we are to follow the non-violent example of our Lord and His apostles and prepare to suffer (Acts 5:30-42).
Unjust, intense suffering and martyrdom are being endured at this hour by the saints in many nations and soon--as is foretold--globally. Few--to include professing Western Christians many of whom are busy fighting each other over human invented doctrines and protocols--are marching in moral outrage about this! Nevertheless, as the Lord led me to warn in this week’s blog repost from 2012, global Christian suffering is moving closer to reality and we are expected to be ready to face it with the heart of a lamb like our Lord not anger, violence and lawlessness (1 Peter 2:18-23).
Originally Posted December 2, 2012
Ah, the joy of the season; Christmas is near! I am no Grinch and enjoy the holidays as much as anyone. In fact, if it were God’s will, I would want to bring you nothing but glad tidings and promises of hope for unending tomorrows of warm, holiday bliss. However, if I did so as many do claiming, “The people need hope, not negativity” I would be disobedient to our God and truly a false
prophet and teacher meriting His just punishment (Jeremiah 6:10-15; 23:30-32; 2 Peter 2:1-3).
Let the faithful saints always remember our hope is One that lives eternally and He transcends, space, time and circumstances of all kinds (1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Peter 1:3). Therefore, we possess and maintain hope regardless of what is going on circumstantially in our lives and the world. This said, we should want God’s servants to teach and tell us the truth from His written Word and mouth respectively at all times even if it spoils our temporal aspirations and activities in this life. Of course, God’s truth is never a spoiler to those who love Him and His Word!
Scripture is clear; the faithful saints of God are to understand ourselves at all times as “sheep for the slaughter,” (Romans 8:36, NKJV). While the ultimate sacrifice in martyrdom may not come at this moment, we are nevertheless to live as though it could happen and be prepared. As was pointed out in my blog entitled, Great Women Of God Martyrs under the category, Glory To God, violent persecution and martyrdom are on the increase around the world in non-Western nations.
As I have warned in my book, The Strong Man Of God and this blog, Christians in the West need to prepare for the same because though violence is at a minimum presently, hostility toward believers and the faith by once welcoming government authorities and secularists is steadily rising. This could be temporary as many worldly Christians with their heads buried in the sand want to believe, but not likely (long-term anyway) if prophetic signs the Bible gives to alert us are taken seriously as they should be.
Truly, a post-Christian West now is a powerful sign of the nearness to the end of the entire so-called “Church Age.” Western European Christians and their scattered descendants have been prominent in history after the first century and particularly the last 500 years in taking the Gospel to the rest of the earth. Even as that is nearly accomplished and many now send missionaries to the West, we are clearly moving into the next foretold spiritual paradigm of Christian apostasy along with increasing hostility toward the true faith and the faithful (Matthew 24:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-13).
This reality must not be left unaddressed by Western church leaders that wish not to alarm their people and keep offerings coming in. Unfortunately, the days that are now unfolding will expose this effort at blocking out negativity for the selfish deception it is. Indeed, the days of apostasy and increasing hostile persecution now descending upon especially Western forms of professing Christianity will expose all of the self-spun deceptions in doctrine, tradition and practice that exist for what they are.
While it saddens me that it will take this to finally strip many of their pride and arrogance in their religiosity, endless opinions and expertly devised systems of sinful human reason within Western Christianity, I am pleased that God--ever the revealer of hearts--will clearly show who was right or wrong, true or false, faithful or unfaithful and reward each accordingly (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Malachi 3:13-18; Romans 2:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19; 1 John 2:18-29; Revelation 14:9-13). Also, persecuted Christians facing the same certain end for the faith (i.e. “sheep for the slaughter”) are not likely to still be quarreling over their differences as the foretold morphs into reality before their eyes. It is all uncomfortably closer than Western Christians are ready to believe.
This Memorial Day I want to remember the sixty-six Tuskegee Airmen1 that died in battle during World War II and the remainder of that unique group of black Americans who have their rightful place among “The Greatest Generation” dying each passing year. I originally wrote this post for Black History Month as the Lord led. However, in His continuing leadership, I make this edited repost now, not only appropriately for Memorial Day, but also to acknowledge the reality of these black American men--many of whom were professing Christians--that lived not as victims, but victors as Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. prepares to celebrate the 25th Year Anniversary of its “From Slavery To Victory Education Project”2 on Juneteenth this year.
Originally Posted February 5, 2012
February is Black History Month in America. While I concur wholeheartedly with those that contend the important history of black Americans and their contributions ought to be taught as an integral part of American History, the fact is, our nation’s educational system still has a way to go to make this a reality. Until then, it is good to continue with the educational aim of black educator Carter G. Woodson when he established a Black History observance in the third decade of the last century.
Woodson wanted blacks who were intentionally excluded from the history books produced by whites, to be able to celebrate the significant historical contributions of members of their own race and feel good about themselves. Today, we want all Americans to feel good about the historical contributions of blacks to the building of the nation. To this end, I am pleased to recommend that all Americans see the movie, Red Tails, produced by George Lucas of Star Wars fame.
The film is based on the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen--an all black fighter pilot squadron out of the famed Tuskegee Institute of Alabama that greatly contributed to the success of Allied air efforts in World War II. Positioned in Italy, in the film plot the squadron’s pilots are frustrated with the lack of opportunity to engage in air battles because racism in the Military has branded them inferior and incapable. Anxious to demonstrate their air prowess while racially belittled by white counterparts in segregated camps, the men are soon given their opportunity and the results are the stuff of legend.
Red Tails is an important look at the ugly reality of racial discrimination and segregation in American History. This is a reality that though not as overt as it once was, is still covertly practiced even in America’s churches and a reason “the race card” still has power. The well produced movie is also an examination of the purposeful and noble choice the Tuskegee Airmen made to courageously fight the enemies of and die for the nation that oppressed them like enemies. Many of these men were (are) Christians and profile the heart of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.3 They shine as over comers rather than victims (1 John 5:4-5).
I do want to acknowledge my daughter, Roberta Kelley, for getting her dad involved with a “Living History Day” project under the direction of then history teacher Ken Buckles at Milwaukie High School in Milwaukie, Oregon back in 1998-99. On that occasion, we hosted one of the Tuskegee Airmen, Ed German and a later comrade, Bill Holloway who were in town for the school event. We had a great time learning about their experiences. I commend Mr. Buckles (who is white) for wanting his primarily white students to know American History as it really is: the story of a nation comprised of people from every race that have all made important contributions to its historical achievements.
1 National World War II Museum history of the Tuskegee Airmen. For more information about the Tuskegee Airmen see also http://tuskegeeairmen.org/.
2 The From Slavery To Victory Education Project uniquely presents a biblical worldview of the facts of black history to glorify God and promote healing, hope and help
for black Americans grappling with our experience.
3 My book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
In the last decade the impossible dream of a black President as a professed Christian from a sinfully broadminded denomination, wickedly linked our long time just cause for racial equality with that of all rebels against the divine order and biblical morality. By the grace of God I was among those He dispatched in 2008 warning not to vote for a man to be President just because he was black since this would be as wrong as what many white Americans had been doing.8 But deceived by the novelty and notion of creating history, a large number did so; making a terrible spiritual miscalculation in disobedience and disloyalty to God (Matthew 7:13-14; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 16:13-15).
The legally sanctioned social changes fostered by former President, Barrack Obama, compare in divine offense and devastating consequences to follow with that of Israel’s king Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25-13:2, 33-34, 14:14-16) and Judah’s Manasseh even after he repented and revival led later by godly Josiah (2 Kings 21:1-16, 23:15-18, 24-27; 2 Chronicles 33:10-17).9 Leaders of any hue that defy the holy God and His Word always bring on His judgment because He does not condone sin (Proverbs 14:34; Ezekiel 18:4) and is immutable (Hebrews 13:8)! Having endured slavery does not spare black Americans in sin from further judgment with all other guilty Gentiles as it did not Israel.
For the God of restoration and judgment is working His plan unabated so that the Gentiles with His people, Israel, will shortly come to fully understand Israel was scattered and has suffered judgment from Him as have all peoples for their sins (Ezekiel 39:21-29). The historic spread of the Gospel and various experiences of His judgment among the ethnicities, races, tribes and languages of the Gentiles are so because God is man’s Creator, Judge, Savior and sovereign Ruler (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 50:6; Isaiah 45:20-25; Daniel 4:17)! Repentance and faith in the Gospel of His Son is His one and only provided path to saving righteousness (John 14:6; Acts 4:8-12; Romans 3:21-31).
And now, we are coming to the end of this period of grace since as foretold by the Lord Jesus, this would occur after the Gospel had been preached in all the world “as a witness” and very few peoples remain that have not heard it (Matthew 24:6, 14, NKJV). Until now, the Lord has visited individual Gentile nations with judgments of every kind including those of Europe and their satellites that have served as His instruments of it upon other nations--God is perfectly just!10 But His foretold regional and global judgments approach and will be especially hard on nations that have long had the Gospel and now, reject it (Jeremiah 25:30-33; Luke 21:10-11, 25-26; Revelation 8:1-11:6).
Following after will be God’s wrath (Zephaniah 1:14-2:15; Revelation 14:6-16:21). Only a tiny remnant of what is Israel today will survive the foretold final outpour of God’s wrath upon sinful human rebellion against Him. Honoring the faith of their fathers, God promised in mercy to hear the cry of this future remnant in tribulation that would be delivered through the Second Coming of His Son (Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Matthew 24:15-31). As foretold by the prophets and affirmed by the Lord’s apostles, this Jewish remnant with the Davidic kingdom will be restored in the land and He will reign over them (Isaiah 25:9; Hosea 3; Zephaniah 3:8-20; Acts 3:13-21; Romans 11:11-36)!
Because of Israel’s prophetic future, professed Gentile Christians were specifically instructed not to get “haughty” during this final Jewish Diaspora since we stand only by faith (Romans 11:19-22, NKJV)! For we do not replace Israel as some falsely hold. We enjoy the blessings of God’s New Covenant with those Jews that believe and to whom the Gospel went out first (Acts 2:1-39, 3:22-26; Ephesians 2:11-22). Due to the aforementioned falsehood and more, professing Christianity teaches Israel no lessons on faith in or faithfulness to God since judgment is upon it too (1 Peter 4:16-19)! Truly, all manner of ungodliness mar its history on the earth.
The historical sins of professing Christianity include the worship of relics and icons (idolatry) in manmade religion, political intrigue, violence, murders, crusades (wars), sexual immorality, heresies with syncretism, racism and twisted sanction of the violent subjugation of indigenous peoples and the immoral practices of slavery. Luther’s Reformation did not halt much of this since many Protestants are guilty of the same things. Today, it is rank rebellion as well as divisions rooted in disobedience to God’s Word as I have already written about among professing black American Christians. These are not God pleasing works of faith, but sin; sin that has not gone and will not go unpunished by the Lord (Psalm 135:14; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:1-4:13, 10:26-31; Revelation 17-19:4)!
Glory to God who preserves His faithful in judgment! Commissioned as Israel to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” that gives glorious witness to God on the earth (Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:10-13; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 2:4-10), the faithful of professing Christianity in history have been so. Truly, only His faithful ones will stand to the end through persevering faith in Christ (Revelation 3:7-13, 7:9-17, 12:9-11)! ‘“And we shall reign on the earth’” with Him also (Revelation 5:8-10, 19:5-20:6, NKJV)! Therefore, I will again glorify my God for His amazing wisdom and power to fruitfully fulfill His cause to restore men despite evil opposition and sinful human failure (Genesis 22:15-18). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
8 Read the October 2008 Journal, Judging Righteous Judgment in the Journal Archives of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site.
9 This is not said to suggest Mr. Obama’s break with the Bible as a professing Christian is the sole instance of this in American Presidential, Congressional or Court
history. His social policies sanctioned by the courts following a long line of blatant breaks with biblical instruction and morality, however, have pushed the nation
past the point of return (see the introduction of my July 12, 2015 blog, Powerlessness Of Being The Minority, Pt. 1, under the category, Encouragement) and
“remedy” with God leading to certain national judgment even with immediate repentance and revival as the Scriptures cited show. This shame is not what our
Christian slave forefathers endured by faith waiting for.
10 Read part three and the conclusion of the Journal article, Spiritual Reality Is The Reality in the Journal Archives on The From Slavery To Victory Education Project
“…for whatever is not from faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23b, NKJV). Faith in God is not just belief that He exists. It is trust and confidence in as well as reliance upon Him for everything. As it was for Israel, so, it is absolutely required of those truly restored in Jesus Christ to have faith in God if they will be blessed (Psalm 33:10-22)! From such faith in God proceed a man’s life and works that please Him. However, for many blacks since slavery, Satan, sin and self working through the “wine of the world” as well as powerless manmade Christianity the religion has obscured the truth that to believe there is a God is not the same as having faith in Him shown by lifestyle and actions.5
While it is admirable that most descendants of slaves have maintained at least a basic belief that there is a God, according to the Bible, one has risen no higher than a fool and done no more than a fearful demon to “believe there is one God.” It concludes, “…faith without works is dead,” (James 2:19-26, NKJV). Surely, no one really believes any work of sin is from God pleasing faith. The works of faith that please God begin with obedience to His Word! Obedience spurred minimally by faith in Him has been God’s requirement from Eden where Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought upon all mankind the horrors of a fallen world, pain and death (Genesis 3:6-19).
Preserving a godly line of men that related to Him in submissive faith down through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 2:23-3:8), God brought forth the nation of Israel to whom He gave His Law with again, the expectation of faith motivated, covenant obedience that He might be glorified before the nations (Deuteronomy 4:1-24, 32-40). However, Israel’s persistent disobedience culminating in the rejection of God’s Anointed led to all of their promised judgments and scattering to the Gentile nations (Deuteronomy 4:25-28). God judged them only after repeatedly sending His Word to no avail through His prophets and Son (2 Kings 17:5-23; 2 Chronicles 36:15-21; John 19:1-22).
Every instance of Israel’s stumble in disobedience to God resulting in His judgment was facilitated by or purposely came about through their leaders (Isaiah 9:16). Having such an affinity with Israel because of the similar way through slavery God has dealt with us, all of our leaders should have humbly sought to avoid the mistakes of their ancient spiritual and other rulers. While in general, our Christian leaders from slavery up through its end led well, at the turn of the 20th century a major act of disobedience took place. That major act of disobedience was followed by another in the middle of the century and post-Civil Rights Movement, while yet another came recently, a generation later.
Having powerfully visited our slave forefathers and their masters with mighty revivals in the 18th and 19th centuries, God did so again at the opening of the 20th century with the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, CA. This fresh fire from the Lord among struggling black Christians was His encouragement and power provided to continue His restoration cause in the difficult challenges of freedom. However, the leadership misinterpreted and applied the revival to assert God was making a change in the order of His house to allow women to stand with men in shouldering the leading, speaking and teaching responsibilities just because they also experienced His fresh fire.6
So persuasive then were the experiences everyone had at this revival, whites in attendance took notes back to their segregated churches to duplicate them. Segregated Pentecostalism and eventually the Charismatic Movement emerged and with other professing Christian groups following behind, now, prominently feature women acting contrary to Scripture to speak to the whole church assembled, take authority over, teach and pastor men (Genesis 3:16b; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:26-40; 1 Timothy 2:8-15). This “new thing” launched by black Christian leadership has hurt blacks the most since at this hour in the confusion, women are the dominate number in most predominantly black American churches; some with female memberships over ninety percent.7
After the height of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., many of our Christian and other leaders that had marched with him sold themselves out for personal gain in worldly fame, power and riches. Rather than God whose name and Word they invoked to stir emotion and conveniently paint over their lusts, they lobbied for the secular government to be the late coming deliverer of our “victimized” people. Now, through permanent welfare and other government programs many of our males have been reduced to being irresponsible, unwed baby makers in disobedience to God’s Word and are being destroyed along with their fatherless families caught in an endless cycle of poverty and institutional dependency (1 Timothy 5:8; Hebrews 13:4).
5 Read parts one and two of the three part article, Spiritual Reality Is The Reality that discusses James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Every Voice And Sing featuring this quote
from the third stanza of the song in the Journal Archives of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site.
6 I devote Appendix space in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to discussing this grave error by a man I honestly believe meant well after reading the
account of this revival. Scripture has many accounts of men who were well intended, but sinned against the Lord in the process--see Aaron’s folly in Exodus 32, for
example. You can get my book in the Strong Man Store or any major internet book seller.
7 I reference this over the top statistic in my book from p. 56 of David Murrow’s, Why Men Hate Going To Church.
Professing Christians are caught between the vice grip of God’s judgment upon the “old time religion” along with compromised, corrupt and so-called “emerging” forms of doing church in His house and the escalating hostility of the world toward Christianity. In order to persevere, those that are faithful will need to walk in the ancient, biblical path marked out for us by the Lord, His apostles and the faithful saints that have gone before. As I witnessed in churches I have been part of over the years though, many stubbornly refuse to hear God’s appeal and warning; preferring instead to continue in their way to their detriment as did ancient Israel (Jeremiah 6:16-21).
Nevertheless, as the Lord leads out of His overflowing goodness, mercy and grace, in this edited 2012 blog repost I stress yet again the need for professing Christians to get properly equipped for the increasingly anti-Christian world we now find ourselves leading to a final nighttime of great tribulation. It will be a night that tests every soul and a last cup of suffering Christians are warned repeatedly by the Lord and His apostles we must drink in following Him (Matthew 10:32-33, 16:21-27, 20:20-23; Philippians 1:27-30).1 This is not now or then a time for belligerence, but sober embrace of the ancient way of Jesus Christ, the Strong Man of God (1 Peter 2:18-25)!
For this reason and without apology, for such a time as this before the fullness of the night should come, the Lord had me to write “The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics” from His Word and embedded in prophetic urgency. It is a book for every professing Christian man and woman not only to be affirmatively instructed in God’s purposes for man that gave rise to the reality of redemption through faith in the Gospel of the Son of Man, but to enable those who cling to Him for salvation to persevere faithfully through all of the troubles prophetically warned about to obtain it! Only God can and did inspire a book with instruction that remains germane through the foretold unfolding future of this present age to its end and into eternity. I stand amazed to be His vessel; to my God be the glory!
Originally Posted July 15, 2012
In light of the predominant decline of churches and given the fact that even many of the Western religious educated elite have labeled the times we are now in as “post-Christian,” it is imperative that individual Christians be more intentional about getting properly equipped spiritually to live in this new reality. This is a reality among Western nations including our own in which Christianity no longer holds a place of favor but increasing disdain and open hostility.
While many professing Christians in blissful disbelief want to remain optimistic that this new reality is only a temporary phenomenon, for many years the Holy Spirit has had me crying out and warning that the days of rebellion against God the Father and His Son as well as expanding hate filled persecution against His disciples are upon us (Psalm 2:1-3; Matthew 10:16-26; 24:9). As our Lord had His “night,” ours also is truly at hand (Luke 22:52-53; John 9:4, 15:18-20).
If the biblically foretold night of global hatred and persecution against followers of Christ were to suddenly fully descend on us in America at this very moment, very few (relatively speaking) would faithfully persevere to the end. Indeed, this is because implicit in the decline of churches is the lack or weakened state of a vibrant practice of biblical Christianity by the professing members.2 There is no Holy Ghost power to live in zeal for the Lord or to share their faith on mission for the Kingdom as a priority in these folk. In the night that by God’s mercy is slowly (yet steadily) descending on us, professing Christians have been given enough time to repent from spiritual apathy and compromise to freshly seek Him for personal renewal. Truly, only the strong in Christ will survive spiritually.
There is a prophetic urgency to my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics along with its sound, biblical instruction because of what I have written in the foregoing. The book does not offer helpful suggestions about how to be a man and is not filled with emotional stories and illustrations to make men think. It soberly presents the divine imperative for Christian men to aspire to become the man God designed us to be in the image of Jesus Christ and the strength He supplies through the Holy Spirit! In doing so in the short-term, we will work restoration in our families, churches and communities; long-term, we will be making the necessary preparation spiritually to faithfully persevere in the night that is falling.
I urge every man reading this--if you have not already, get a copy of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Pastors, get the book for yourself and then use the Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study to equip your men so they might equip their families. These resources are all available on our Web Site in the Strong Man Store. Finally, the so-called “persecuted church” is no longer confined to a few isolated nations. In this month of praying for persecuted believers around the globe, we that are yet able should also do what we can to feed, clothe and shelter our brothers and sisters suffering the most. Support your favorite Christian charity dedicated to this mission.
1 For more information about “the night,” get a thorough word of instruction the Lord gave me in 1987 from a broadcast entitled, The Night Is Almost Here! now
available on CD or for download in the Strong Man Store.
2 Excellent statistical data to bear this out can be gleaned from Barna Research Group at www.Barna.org and Pew research at http://www.pewforum.org.
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