Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.25 Do You See What God Sees???

 

This know also,

that in the last days

perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be

lovers of their own selves,

covetous,

boasters,

proud,

blasphemers,

disobedient to parents,

unthankful,

unholy,

3 Without natural affection,

trucebreakers,

false accusers,

incontinent,

fierce,

despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors,

heady,

highminded,

lovers of pleasures

more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness,

but denying the power thereof:

from such turn away.”   2 Timothy 3:1-5

A powerful warning from the Apostle Paul; difficult times are coming—and that’s a fact.  But just as alarming as that is that today, I believe we are “there”!   We are living in “perilous times”, especially for those who choose to follow biblical Christianity.  But I’d like us to focus on an issue as important as the times, and that is how we see the times.  To put it another way, what is our plumb line of judgment in this day of peril?  Jesus gives an apt picture of misreading the truth, as He speaks to the Laodicean church in the book of The Revelation.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;

These things saith the Amen,

the faithful and true witness,

the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works,

that thou art neither cold

nor hot:

I would thou wert cold

or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm,

and neither cold

nor hot,

 I will spue thee

out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest,

I am rich,

and increased with goods,

and have need of nothing;

and knowest not that thou art

wretched,

and miserable,

and poor,

and blind,

and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me

gold tried in the fire,

that thou mayest be rich;

and white raiment,

that thou mayest be clothed,

and that the shame

of thy nakedness

do not appear;

and anoint thine eyes

with eyesalve,

that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love,

I rebuke

and chasten:

be zealous therefore,

and repent.”   Revelation 3:14-19

While I believe that these letters were to seven literal churches, I also believe that they represent periods in church history (which when Jesus gave them, were periods in the future of the church), and that the Laodicean church represents the apostate church of the later days.  For most of my life I have believed that we lived in the time of the church of Philadelphia (the missionary church), but in recent years I have had to face the fact that I have lived long enough to see the church transition into the church at Laodicea; and I’d like us to consider what Jesus said to this church, both then and now!

Jesus identifies Himself as the “Amen”, the “faithful and true witness”, the “beginning of the creation of God”! He is the One who is the “so be it”—the “eye witness” of the future (in fact the author of “history” because “history” is “His-story” from beginning to end)!  God knew when He created us, what we would do, yet He created us any way, and JESUS was there.  Just as the Apostle John, who wrote The Revelation, said in his account of the Gospel:

In the beginning

was the Word,

and the Word

was with God,

and the Word

was God.

2 The same was in the beginning

with God.

3 All things were made

by him;

and without him

was not any thing made

that was made.

4 In him was life;

and the life

was the light

of men.

5 And the light shineth

in darkness;

and the darkness

comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5

Jesus came as the living, breathing, flesh and blood, God-Man, redeemer of mankind.  He took on flesh and blood that He might die for our sin—so that we could live in HIM!  And this redeemer, Jesus, said that this church at Laodicea didn’t have clear vision.  What they saw to be true about themselves, Jesus said was not true!  Just as Isaiah told ancient Israel the truth about their perceptions, the church today, especially the church in America needs to take heed as well!

And he said, Go, and tell this people,

Hear ye indeed,

but understand not;

and see ye indeed,

but perceive not.

10 Make the heart of this people fat,

and make their ears heavy,

and shut their eyes;

lest they see

with their eyes,

and hear

with their ears,

and understand

with their heart,

and convert,

and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10

And Jesus Himself said:

Therefore speak I to them in parables:

because they seeing

see not;

and hearing

they hear not,

neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias,

which saith,

By hearing

ye shall hear,

and shall not understand;

and seeing

ye shall see,

and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart

is waxed gross,

and their ears

are dull of hearing,

and their eyes

they have closed;

lest at any time they should see

with their eyes,

and hear

with their ears,

and should understand

with their heart,

and should be converted,

and I should heal them.”    Matthew 16:13-15

All I can say is ‘oh me’ not amen, for the grief it causes to my heart.  But where do we live today?  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to those of us who cleave to The Word of God, and a biblical world view that interprets life, righteousness and opportunity through the lens of The Bible, as we trust to the leading of Jesus’ Holy Spirit!  As Jesus tells us, as well as the church at Laodicea, we must seek His perspective to know truth, for HE is truth.

See what this church said of themselves:

I am rich,

and increased with goods,

and have need of nothing”!

And what is the church saying today—we are ‘mega’, we are ‘affluent’, we are self-sufficient, and because we are ‘faithful’ (in our own minds), we can “name it and claim it”!  What saddens me, and I’m sure it did The Lord, is that here was a church who, by their own declaration, said they had “need of nothing”!  In fact, as we check the rest of this letter, they had need of nothing—even Jesus—for we find Jesus saying to this church (and to any who will hear):

Behold,

I stand at the door,

and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him,

and he with me.”   Revelation 3:20

Here is a church that was so self-sufficient, that they no longer needed The Lord!  He was on the outside, knocking to come in. And I believe that is where many churches today have relegated Jesus—claiming His name, but excluding Him, and His Word from their life and service.  When we relegate Jesus ‘out’ of our lives, our families, our churches and the public arena, what can we expect?  I personally believe that we can expect exactly what we are reaping in our culture today!  Go back and rehearse the list that we started with today.  The list of the characteristics of the last days!  Oh, dear ones—we are there—or if you would—they are here!  Perilous times are all about us.  We must seek the face of our Lord and stand in the gap for those about us today, for Jesus IS our only hope.  Are we sharing truth? May God have mercy on us today!  (See Ezekiel 22:30)

What do we see happening?  Reviling of the things of God, blasphemous behavior paraded and promoted on TV, in the movies, music, literature and every day speech and behavior.  It comes from men, women and children all around us, and it brings me to tears to see how far we have come in the last 50 years.

How sad that we let the small things creep in, and just as the story of the frog in the pot—who made himself comfortable in the cool water, then the heat is turned up so gradually that he doesn’t realize that he is in “HOT WATER” until it’s too late to jump out of the pot—we are now in such hot water that it is uncertain whether we can get out or not!  Only by God’s mercy will we find hope and deliverance.

So, what are we to do?  We must, must, must pray and seek God’s face, listen to hear HIS voice speaking through His Word and His servants to see and discern things through the eyes of our Lord. Even as the writer of Proverbs wrote so long ago!

There is a way which seemeth right

unto a man,

but the end thereof

are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12

Even as Jesus said:

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be

which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be

that find it.

15 Beware of false prophets,

which come to you

in sheep’s clothing,

but inwardly

they are ravening wolves.”    Matthew 7:13-15

The rules haven’t changed no matter what the world may say.  Paul put it in a nutshell for us, and I share the truth of the gospel to bring this to a close—for without the truth of the gospel, we have no hope. And Jesus is the Gospel—His virgin birth, His sinless life, His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for SIN—my sin and yours!

For I delivered unto you first of all

that which I also received,

how that Christ died

for our sins

according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried,

and that he rose again

the third day

according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas,

then of the twelve:”  1 Corinthians 15:3-5

After all, it’s why He came—to save you and me “from their sins”!  (See Matthew 1:21). Amen and Amen!  So:

He that hath an ear,

let him hear,

what the Spirit saith

unto the churches.”   Revelation 3:22