Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

Dressing Up Jesus—Misguided Attempts to Make Jesus Attractive

imageEvangelism and church growth strategies have gone off the rails in an attempt to close the sale.

Enough. The church has been failing far too miserably for far too long in one specific area—dressing up Jesus.

This tragedy is rooted in movements that refuse to embrace the severity of God. Their infatuation with emotional love, intimacy and connection to the exclusion of an inner tremble and utter brokenness that can only come from a revelation of the terror of the Lord has compromised a generation.

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This puppy dog, cuddly Jesus that so many yearn for is a fantasy. If the extent of your relationship with God is enjoying his kindness and goodness to the exclusion of his terror and severity, you actually may be developing intimacy with an angel of light instead of the lover of your soul.

The church has knee-jerked away from the bold, passionate street preacher declarations in favor of a message that presents Jesus in a softer, more affirming light. The problem? Jesus is both a lamb and a lion.

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The answer to mean-spirited street preachers is not to change the message, but to change the spirit. Unfortunately, today’s Christian culture has surrendered to the accusations of hate and intolerance that have been hurled by many. So, instead of a potent, burning and convicting message, we are hearing little more than “Jesus loves you,” and “You are special.”

This methodology and theology has infected much of today’s church growth strategies and even worship. Take note of how many songs we sing today in churches all over that are about how great we are instead of how great God is. The focus is on how irresistible we are as opposed to how desperate we are—and how holy, perfect and magnificent God is.

Today’s church has dressed up Jesus, almost as an apology to the world for previous generations staying true to the truths of repentance, holiness and eternity. This new fashioned “jesus” stays well away from the topics of hell, brokenness, our depravity, surrender and anything that has even the faintest scent of negativity.

IT’S TIME TO GOVERN!

I’m disgusted at how the world has so successfully neutered so many in the church. We have been on the defensive for far too long as liberals, homosexual activists, atheists, pro-abortionists and others have continually hurled accusations of intolerance, convincing many that we don’t truly love as they do. Our response has been mostly pathetic. The church has shrunk back as the world has painted us into a corner, demanding WE repent for a lack of love, tolerance and affirmation. No more!

My job isn’t to get you to like Jesus. It’s to get you to admit he is God and you are not and your only hope is full surrender to this magnificent, fearful deity.

Of course we should all continually check our hearts, and we must be driven by true love. But, let me tell you, the love of God looks little like what we are seeing today. Yes, his love absolutely can be tender, caring and gentle. It can also fuel his anger, wrath and judgment.

The church must repent, not to the world, but to God for allowing it to be disempowered, neutered. The threat of revival is fading every day. We must stand firmly and decree without a hint of apology or political correctness, sin is sin! God is holy. The Bible is true. We need prophets not wordsmiths.

The church’s job isn’t to convince the world that Jesus is a really great guy. Our job is to expose darkness, preach truth, allow the love and terror of God to explode into lost souls and allow the Holy Spirit to move. We are to govern with great authority and immovable resolve to stand for truth. Do it with a right spirit, but, please, finally, just do it.

WATERED DOWN EVANGELISM

11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. Mark 6:11-12 (ESV)

Yes, there are some evangelists who are mean spirited. Others have great intentions but poor delivery. However, as I stated above, we cannot discard the message. Simply address the spirit and then proclaim the offensive truth with explosive anointing.

Today, so much of evangelism looks little different than fortune telling and New Age mysticism. Instead of soul-piercing, convicting messages being shouted at camp meetings and through the streets like were heard in generations past, today the messages are centered around how wonderful everybody is.

We need preachers behind the pulpits and in the streets who unapologetically and with great burden shout, “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand!”

I find it fascinating that John the Baptist, as the forerunner, made this decree famous (Matthew 3:2). Then, when he was arrested, look what happened:

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (ESV)

This is the model of evangelism. John the Baptist started it and Jesus confirmed it.

Evangelism that encourages people to consider following Jesus because of his benefits and how special and amazing he thinks we all are deviates from that model to serious detriment.

SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD

Theologically deviant evangelism and powerless preaching from the pulpit have resulted in millions of people filling churches who are apathetic, lukewarm and who are following Jesus in an unsaved condition.

It’s time the church repents for attempting to dress up Jesus in order to make him more appealing to a resistant culture. Somehow we’ve been duped into believing that we can’t preach cutting and dividing truth without also loving the people we are delivering it to. The enemy has done well in his attempt to convince us that we need to be soft, casual and emotionally sedated in order to sell our religious goods. The problem, of course, is that we are not salesmen. We are prophets! While we all don’t hold the office of prophet, we are all called to carry the mantle of Gideon who, without apology, tore down altars. We are to be like Elijah who confronted culture like no other. We are to be like Paul confronting the magician:

8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Acts 13:8-11 (ESV)

Jonathan Edwards delivered what many consider to be the world’s most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Consider these points from his message and then consider the messages that are being preached in the streets and behind pulpits today:

So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God. ~Jonathan Edwards

Evangelism and preaching must include the truth of mankind’s condition and position should they refuse to repent. Love demands we do. If God’s wrath, anger and vengeance is directed at someone, and they are a breath away from falling into an eternal abyss, how could we not reveal that to them with tearful urgency?

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)

THE TERROR OF THE LORD

The fear of God, the terror of the Lord, the power of his wrath and his violent assault against the forces of Hell both at the cross and coming soon at the end of the age must be acknowledged as key, foundational truths. We can’t ignore them. We shouldn’t want to.

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 2 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV)

As a result of knowing the fierceness of God and the soul-shocking terror of the Lord, we persuade men. We evangelize. We preach. With tears in our eyes and fire in our veins we boldly reveal the ferocity of God and the love that has driven him to reach out to mankind.

Make no mistake, when the fear of the Lord is mentioned in Scripture, it doesn’t always mean respect as some teach. No, the terror of God is just that—pure terror.

The Greek word may sound familiar to you: phobos

This word literally means:

alarm or fright :- be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror, “that which causes fright, a terror,” “fearful sights”.

We need to preach in such a way that terror lands on the hearers.

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Acts 19:17 (KJV)

In the above scripture, the word “fear” translates the exact same way it did in 2 Corinthians 5:11. Terror. When the terror of the Lord lands on the people, the name of the Lord Jesus is magnified. We cannot dress Jesus up and hide his terrifying attributes. Remember, He is not safe, but he is good.

We see terror striking Paul as well:

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (KJV)

He live a life driven by the terror of the Lord, marked by much trembling, and he preached from that place. the power of God, and not man’s wisdom, brought the results that we are feeling 2000 years after his ministry on the earth ended.

Consider the following verses that all translate to mean terror:

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 1 Timothy 5:20 (KJV)

11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. Revelation 11:11 (KJV)

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:27-28 (KJV)

I’m certain that many who read this are thinking about the verse that reveals that perfect love casts out fear. I’ve met many wonderful people who have been mightily confused about this. They unwittingly evaded all fear, even the fear of the Lord.

The truth is that perfect love does not cast out the terror of the Lord. If that were the case, God would be working against himself and we would have to deal with contradicting truths in the Word.

I’d encourage you read my article, Should we reject fear in all forms? Does God affirm certain types of fear? It will answer a lot of questions for you.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I know many who are fully invested in the “happy Jesus” movement have probably stopped readying by now. If you are in that camp, and you’ve made it this far, please read just a little further. Your passion for intimacy with Jesus is good, but make sure it’s not incomplete. Deep, transforming intimacy with Jesus is a core message of mine. Without that vulnerable, close and otherworldly relationship with Jesus, I’d give up. Knowing God in this way is something that can never be described or replaced. However, several times in my life, God provoked me to something deeper. He didn’t allow me to stay in that sweet, tender place. He changed the way he was manifesting and I was faced with his severity.

I’ll never be able to forget my experience with the forces of Hell. My life was forever changed that night many years ago when God allowed me to experience the feeling of being taken to Hell. His severity was vivid and terrifying, yet it in no way contradicted my intimate heart connection with him. Knowing him as both lamb and lion is critical, and I’m personally desperate to have a greater revelation of him in his fullness. I pray you are too. Jesus will one day shock us all as we see him as he truly is:

15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:15-16 (ESV)

Is it possible that God could move more powerfully with Hillary Clinton as President?

Would God’s grace be a result of Hillary Clinton being voted in as President? Before you answer, read on.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32 (ESV)

YOGA-000000030In this most contentious election season, it seems that we've been strong-armed into believing we must choose one of two candidates. It’s either Donald or Hillary. Approval of one or the other is mandatory. And, yes, it’s probably true that no other person has a chance at winning. Voting for a third party is nothing more than symbolic and principle driven for those that choose to do so.

I'm extremely well versed in the reasoning behind the belief that it must be either Trump or Clinton. It’s true that we effectively have a two party system in our nation and the most basic common sense reveals that we must function within those limits. With this in mind, some say that while we are choosing the lesser of two evils, it's a necessary strategy so Hillary doesn't make it into office. Others say the upcoming picks for the Supreme Court are what really matter, and that we must choose the candidate that will give us the Justices we need.

Of course, I wholeheartedly agree that Hillary stands in opposition to much of what we as Christians so deeply value. She is pro-murder of children, just as King Herod and Pharaoh were. She is a sure danger to our nation for many reasons. So, blocking her victory should be attempted at all costs, right?

In the natural, using human logic, that argument makes a lot of sense. Again, common sense would dictate that the clear choice is Donald Trump. I understand why people can get so frustrated with me. They don't understand how I can’t see it the way they do. However, I do see it…in the natural.

In the spirit, I see things very differently.

LEAN NOT ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

The instruction is to refuse human wisdom and understanding while rejecting evil. Only then will God make our paths straight.

While we see only two options, God’s options are limitless. It’s an indictment on the faith of the church; a church that tends to embrace common sense, to lean on their own understanding and that is unfamiliar with the immeasurable supernatural realities of the Kingdom. Donald and Hillary are definitely not the only two possibilities. God’s wisdom is much deeper than that.

Throughout Scripture we see God calling his people to advance with seemingly ridiculous, nonsensical methods. Supernatural people are not limited to natural analysis or human wisdom. In fact, we must actually be quick to dismiss the obvious in favor of the wisdom of God.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 (ESV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25 (ESV)

Since we are not limited by only two candidates, we have to expand our plan of action to include clear, biblical instructions. The Word of God is clear that we must not promote those who walk in darkness, even if our only two choices are both living that way.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:11-17 (ESV)

We must awaken as a supernatural church, refuse to promote immorality by coming along side those who take part in the unfruitful works of darkness and we must reject foolishness. We are commanded to know what the Lord’s will is.

YOGA-000000031THIS IS HOW HILLARY’S PRESIDENCEY MIGHT RESULT IN FAVOR OF GOD RESTING ON AMERICA

My belief is simple: I am not limited to the two obvious choices for President if both of those choices would require I affirm them in their immorality. If I embrace, affirm and vote for someone who embodies immorality, perversion, arrogance and pride (no matter if they are ‘in process' or not), I will reap the consequences.

More-so, our nation will reap the consequences. It's a spiritual issue. What I endorse is what will manifest. While we might gain the Supreme Court appointees we are hoping for and we could make progress on other conservative issues, the fact remains that the nation will be ripe for judgment. Ignoring unrighteousness as a ‘lesser evil' will come back to haunt us.

And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” 2 Kings 21:10-15 (ESV)

Manasseh was driven by a deviant sexual appetite, human sacrifice and other detestable practices through the worship of Baal. His leadership AND the agreement of those in Judah who sinned with him resulted in judgment.

Both candidates have various character/sin issues similar to what we see in Manasseh. So, where does that leave us? A non-vote or a third party vote becomes valid. Voting for a righteous person who doesn't win will result in greater favor for our nation than voting for a lesser of two evils who does win.

I am stunned that so many Spirit-filled, faithful Christians are dismissing the behavior of Donald Trump, both eleven years ago when he made it clear he was in favor of behavior that many suggest equates to sexual assault and more recently with vile comments about women and others. Christians are actually buying into the diversion tactics that Trump’s comments were nothing more than locker room banter. I don’t know about you, but if I was in that locker room I’d walk out and be appalled at what I heard—not dismissive.

Many are quick to remind me of Donald’s profession of faith as a Christian, but it’s a profession that the public has never heard. I have yet to find one video or article that includes Donald discussing his passion for Jesus, from his own lips. If you know of one, please send it to me. I would be so happy to see it. There are third party accounts, but even those are extremely shallow. Of course, I pray Donald has fallen in love with the lover of his soul! At best he’s a baby Christian, and the fruit and character and consecration has yet to measure up. He’s in no place to be the leader of our nation. He may be forgiven. I hope he is. But while that qualifies him for heaven, it doesn’t qualify him for office.

Simply, we need someone with character that won’t invite judgment.

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)

YOGA-000000032RIGHTEOUSNESS—NOT A CANDIDATE—EXALTS A NATION

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (ESV)

A church that stands in and for righteousness is what will exalt our nation. We can put more hope in voting third-party and standing in righteousness as a national church than in a single, flawed candidate who affirms some of our positions through his or her policies.

If we vote for Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton) we endorse extreme immorality and we will absolutely open the door to God’s judgment. It won’t matter what pro-Christian policies Donald advances, who he appoints to the Supreme Court or how appealing he is for national security. The church will be guilty of wrapping its arms around an idol of perversion and it will be the first to be hit with judgment.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19 (ESV)

Instead of trusting a two party system, we must do good, stand for righteousness and trust God.

If the church embraces Donald or Hillary, we will abdicate our right to govern and very possibly will invite terrible judgment. However, if the church rose up in humble solidarity and refused to endorse the radical immorality that’s represented in our two candidates, God’s favor would rest on us and the church would function in supernatural authority in this great land. It will matter little who’s in leadership as God will have liberty to bring revival and bring change not from the White House but from God’s House.

I firmly believe if the church was unified around righteousness as Christians refused to vote for Donald or Hillary AND Hillary Clinton won the election as a result, America would again function under the favor of the Lord, be authorized to lead and advance in righteousness. Again, in the natural that doesn't make sense but in the spirit, it does. If we take a stand, though Clinton may win, God's protection and favor will return to America.

WE MUST DISCREN SUPERNATURALLY

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)

We cannot default to our intellect or common sense when making decisions. God’s wisdom will seem like foolishness. It takes spiritual discernment to understand what God would have us do.

So, to clarify one more time, my opinion is that a vote for Trump in the natural might make sense, but as a Christian, and in the spirit, it can quickly lead to judgment.

If the church stood for morality and righteousness and refused to endorse anything less, Hillary Clinton might win. In the natural that may look like a massive blow, but God would have much more room to work in our nation…not because of Hillary, but because of a church that stood for holiness and refused to be strong-armed into compromise.

Only then would the church regain it's rightful place as supreme governing body in the United States of America.

If that doesn’t happen, we will be in trouble as a nation. A shaking will come. At that time, we can only pray Donald or Hillary and the people of this nation will do as Manasseh finally did after their nation was invaded by a foreign army:

The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 (ESV)

Isn’t it just like our God to use the extreme force of judgment to victoriously woo a leader and a nation to him. It would be better if judgment wasn’t necessary though, wouldn’t it?

Revival or Judgment—Is God about to move positively or negatively?

God is love. God is judge. There is no conflict and we can expect him to manifest according to his true nature.

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WATCH JOHN TEACH ON THIS MESSAGE HERE.


I was first introduced to the concept that God only moves and functions positively when I was planting my first church in Manitou Springs, Colorado. What I was hearing was a strange doctrine that didn’t set well in my spirit, but I endeavored to allow God to change my theology if I was unbalanced or incorrect even slightly. Was it possible that God was more relaxed and carefree than I understood him to be? Was his method of Kingdom advance simply a revelation of how good he his?

I noticed quickly that those who were buying into this philosophy were living without a contending spirit. If the unction for prayer was there it was mostly to enjoy God’s presence (which I highly value, of course) but not to interceded with passion and fire. Desire for experience was there, but fervency in mission was lacking.

The second time I dealt with this fast growing doctrine that exclusively promotes God’s happy nature was in Detroit. After a season of truly amazing encounters in the glory of God I was stricken by the Lord with a severe, weighty message—that season needed to give way to a focus on the blood, the cross, brokenness and repentance. Those who were sold out to a culture of positivity found themselves outside of the “happy sauce” they so enjoyed as they were being called into the depths of God’s heart. Those depths include clearer revelations of God’s mission, of his response to the infection of evil in the land, the cost of his Son’s brutal slaughter on the cross, the horror of Hell and the disease of apathy in the church. The reaction of many was to pull back and dream of the good old days as if God had somehow left the room. He never left. He actually intensified and the way he manifested changed. He was inviting us into the deep realities of the age. He was looking for a remnant army to carry this light but troubling burden.

While I always want to grow in understanding of God’s more positive characteristics, I can’t allow myself to stop my learning at that point. I crave to understand God as he is—in fullness—whether it’s positive, negative, encouraging or troubling. Further, I can’t presume he will only move on the earth in a positive fashion. Honestly, you have to be quite lacking in biblical knowledge to presume that he would be restricted to functioning in that manner. God always has, and still does, move in both revival and judgment. They aren’t competing ideas. They are intentionally intertwined. They go together.

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, 8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. Psalm 9:7-8 (ESV)

WE SHOULD BE PRAYING FOR JUDGMENT

33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. 34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:33-34 (ESV)

We should be singing for joy regarding his judgment!

Let me make something clear right up front—judgment isn’t the result of an evil God doing evil things. Judgment is a vehicle used by a loving God to positively impact those who will respond (though the impact will certainly be negative for the rebellious). Judgment is an act of deep love. It has to be as God is love just as he is judge. He doesn’t lay down love when he moves in judgment and he doesn’t forsake justice when he pours out his love.

We as end-time Christians should be ardent supporters of God’s judgment, of his act of love.

In America, we have a justice system. It’s a good one. I can’t imagine anybody reading this wanting to eliminate it in favor of anarchy. When someone murders, that person should be tried and judged—not because we hate that person but because we want them restored and because we love the others who are in harm’s way if they were to go free. We agree with the judge’s verdict of guilty and with the sentence of prison for the sake of both the murderer and the general public.

If we can trust our nation’s justice system, even with all of its inadequacies, we certainly can trust the judgment of a perfect, loving God, right?

People need to know this! It’s critical that we preach about Jesus as the judge. We can’t eliminate that from the gospel message!

42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42 (ESV)

I often pray that God will judge me. I actually crave it! I trust him. He loves me and I know that. He’s not evil. He’s not out to destroy me. I need his judgment in my life so any and every issue of my heart is dealt with. I can’t let it fester. It needs to be addressed so I can repent and shift into a life of greater consecration. I know a life that’s compromised by sin can do great damage to me and others. God’s loving judgment in my life will resolve that.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)

The whole duty of man is to:

  1. Fear God
  2. Keep his commandments

Do we understand how critical both fear of the Lord and obedience are?

8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (ESV)

If we don’t obey, judgment will come to us. God will deal with our nation in similar fashion, and we should embrace that—because the judgment that comes after we leave the earth is permanent. Our fate is sealed.

27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)

This should result in the fear of the Lord returning in full force to the church!

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 (ESV)

The Bible tells us that judgment begins in the house of God. This is good, not bad—though the results can be quite terrible if repentance isn’t the result. If we plan on continuing in sin, I can understand why we’d be anti-judgment. That makes sense. However, whether you are opposed to judgment or not makes no difference—it will come to you if you don’t repent.

Those in the church are most definitely at great risk if repentance doesn’t come. Hell is their future.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV)

Are you starting to see why judgment now is so glorious? It’s a part of God’s divine plan of redemption. In fact, we as Christians are called to enact judgment in certain situations.

2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 (ESV)

For example, if someone continues in sexual sin the church leadership is to turn them over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh! When is the last time you saw this happen in a church? Why is such harsh judgment necessary? The Bible tells us its so their spirits might be saved.

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV)

Additionally, we can’t even eat with supposed Christians who are sexually immoral. That type of judgment is mandated. We have no option but to exercise it.

11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Again, the reason we do this is not because we hate people—but because we love them! Judgment now is restorative. The final judgment is not. Judgment now should be celebrated and welcomed as a way to avoid eternal judgment in the end.

49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50 (ESV)

EVIL MUST BE ADDRESSED

When revival comes, that will be the first invitation to the world to surrender their lives fully to Jesus. Those who reject that call will be visited by more direct, negative, persuasive measures—judgment. Again, this is an act of love that will encourage the greatest number of people to respond to God as possible.

Completely different from judgment, however, is God’s wrath. This is what we should be trembling about. When we understand the potential of God’s wrath, and that those who are not in Christ are living under threat of the outpouring of his wrath every second of their lives, judgment will actually be cried out for! We need God’s wise justice to deal with every situation on the planet so his wrath hits as few people as possible.

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12 (ESV)

14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Matthew 10:14-15 (ESV)

God is much more severe than we often realize! We must address the evil in the land and trusting both revival and God’s judgment are necessary. If judgment doesn’t come, more people will go to hell and evil will overtake the earth. It’s as simple as that.

We can’t fall in love with a God who manifests positively and reject him when he manifests in judgment or wrath.

5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:5 (ESV)

In fact, I believe the rejection of God’s negative traits, of his judgment and wrath, is setting up millions for destruction. How many current Christians will reject God when they see him destroying a fourth and then a third of the earth? How many cursed God when he brought the floods of death to the entire world, save 8?

7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:7-8 (ESV)

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. Revelation 9:18 (ESV)

13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:13 (ESV)

How will you react when a holy and just God moves in severe and fearful ways? When God moves negatively, will you presume it’s actually Satan doing it? Or, will fear of the Lord result? This is a critical question!

10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. Acts 5:10-11 (ESV)

Will you commit the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by attributing an act of God to Satan or will true fear of the Lord come upon you?

29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:29-30 (ESV)

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

Christian friend, we should be sober, but we can be at peace!

If we are obedient and serving God in love, the Bible is clear—we are in a very good place!

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:13-20 (ESV)

There is no fear of eternal judgment if we are in the love of God.

However, please take note of the warning that follows in that passage:

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)

Your theology doesn’t save you. Your surrender to Jesus and obedience to him does. We can attempt to rest on the encouragement in the passage shared above in 1 John 4, but actually be unsaved, unprotected from final judgment, if we are haters and liars. If we say we love God but hate another we can’t presume to be exempt from judgment—temporal or eternal.

This is why we must live our lives consecrated and surrendered, fueled by the supernatural grace, the power, of God. If we do, God is well able to keep us.

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)

Jesus is coming soon as King and Judge. His Spirit is moving on the earth now. Judgment is here and wrath is coming. Love will win and our eternities hang in the balance. I encourage you to trust God’s judgment in your life. Your eternity hangs in the balance.

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:12-17 (ESV)

Video: Judgment or Revival? Which is it?

Is God going to manifest negatively or positively?

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God is love. He is also judge. Is it possible he can judge severely in the name of love? Is it our responsibility to embrace him in that function?

I hear a lot about God moving in very positive ways, such as revival or an outpouring, and I also hear others talking about God moving negatively. Is judgment coming? In this short video I share some initial thoughts on the topic.

WATCH THIS VIDEO FREE FOR THE NEXT THIRTY DAYS HERE!

Planned Parenthood, homosexuality & the rising evil: It’s time to start talking about Hell again

When did we stop talking about Hell?

Dell-000050243Hell. Most people go there but few preachers talk about it.

Isaiah 5:13-14 (ESV) 13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.

If ultimate, eternal judgment would visit God’s very people, Judah and Jerusalem, due to their drinking and partying ways, what is to become of those who openly rebel and reject God and his mandates?

The church has done itself a grave injustice by refusing to connect sinful living with the clear expected outcome of eternal torment. Our arguments against the homosexual movement and the horrifying evil on display at Planned Parenthood clinics in our nation have been reduced to a debate about morals and human rights. It’s no wonder we are accused of hatred when we are standing in the way of behavior that so many argue has no real impact on society. We have been forced into a position of analyzing metrics that reveal debatable negative trends in our culture that are a result of the behavior that we abhor.

For pro-lifers it’s extremely easy to be sickened by abortion—and certainly by what’s been uncovered in the recent undercover videos that have exposed the evil practices at Planned Parenthood. However, the pro-abortion crowd is convinced that legal abortion is healthy and appropriate. Is our best, most effective tactic trying to convince them that the baby is a person or is there another approach that would be more impactful?

Homosexuality has an even stronger position that their behavior is personal and private and what happens behind their closed doors has no impact on you or me. Of course, I disagree that their behavior has no impact on my life or on our nation. Their agenda has been possibly the most aggressive in recent history by forcing their beliefs on us through parades, sitcoms, legislation and other advances. However,the church’s response can easily be seen as selfish and hateful as it demands everybody adhere to a code that doesn’t even apply to those not in Christ.

I do feel there is a place to meet the mission of Planned Parenthood, the homosexual movement, immorality in Hollywood, corruption in government and the innumerable other strategies that the spirit of the age has been pushing on our nation at various more natural levels. We can and should support the defunding of Planned Parenthood. We absolutely must reject impurity that comes through movies and other media. We should be wise and understand that our liberties as Christians are at risk when we can’t even refuse to bake a cake for an event we don’t support. It’s important that we vote for political candidates that will help restore our nation to its Christian roots by confronting the advances of various special interest groups.

Additionally, as many Christians propose, we should function in great love when dealing with others who don’t support our biblical world view.

However, as I said, stopping there compromises our efforts.

We will always look like haters if we demand people adhere to our code of values.

We will always look passive and with little concern if we simply grin and tell people that Jesus loves them.

The reason we so passionately sound alarms and alert homosexuals, abortionists, pornographers, liars, thieves, murderers and others who are living outside of God’s brilliant plan for their lives is simple—we are broken over the fact that they will be tormented non-stop, forever with no relief in Hell.

We need to let them know that Heaven won’t be the same without them! Hell must not win on the day of their physical death!

Matthew 3:12 (ESV) 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

I had an encounter of being dragged toward Hell by an invisible demonic entity over twenty years ago. I almost went mad in that indescribable, horrifying experience. I can’t even think of that moment for more than a few seconds before I have to shut the thought down. It’s that terrible.

After I came out of that life-changing, uninvited revelation God spoke clearly to me: “John, many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

Just like those addressed in the passage I shared above from Isaiah, today many professing Christians will soon be in Hell with no chance of ever leaving. Some of those are people who are convinced they are Believers but who are following Jesus in an unsaved condition. Others are truly saved and will one day choose to fall away. That falling away will be great—and terrible.

If this is true for Christians, what than is to be expected for those who openly defy God?

We must see a return to Holy Spirit anointed preaching on Hell. We must warn people, with tears in our eyes, that they are headed there!

Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

GOD DOESN’T NEED A PUBLICIST.

I’m dismayed by the radical shift away from full counsel preaching of the Word of God.

I don’t know how often I’ve heard people say that preaching on Hell results in fear—and there is no fear in love—and so we must avoid it at all costs.

This demonically twisted wisdom has resulted in a massive resistance to large segments of the Bible in the hopes that highlighting the benefits would be enough to woo people to Christ.

Luke 12:5 (ESV) 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Today we have evangelism that communicates how much God loves people without communicating how great their sin is, and what the result will be if they do not repent. This results in a new breed of deceived religious people who believe they are safe but are most likely not. Repentance is non-negotiable.

God does not need you or me as publicists, carefully reframing his words so they are received by the greatest number of people. We are preachers not politicians!

When people see how convicted we are that they are on a path to a place as horrific as Hell, they will at least see our love for them. They all won’t agree with us but they will say, “Wow, they may be nuts but I really think they are convinced that harm is coming to us. They don’t hate us after all.”

When we use more natural tactics alone to confront the various evil agendas in the land we communicate that we are more interested in the preservation of the society that we prefer—one fits into our definition of appropriate.

However, if we have the courage to take the battle to a higher level we can boldly preach the reality of eternal damnation as a passionate yet heart broken church. Our identity will be transformed from one that watches out for our own interests to true watchman—those who are invested in the eternities of others.

Ezekiel 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

Our cry must be, “No! Please! Understand that your lifestyle will result in a horror that you can’t even imagine. You will never have even a moment of relief. Please, repent, turn, let God’s love overwhelm you!”

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION?

Some might suggest that I’m suggesting that behavior modification is the key to salvation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The keys to death, hell and the grave were retrieved by Jesus Christ, the only one who could do what was necessary to save mankind from destruction.

Revelation 1:17-18 (ESV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

However, it does remain true that unrepentant participation in sin absolutely does disqualify us from a relationship with Jesus. The fact that homosexuals unapologetically confess to participating in behavior that is forbidden by God is a clear indicator that they are not saved. The fact that those who are pro-abortion are set in their ways and determined to keep murder legal in America is evidence that they are clearly not in a legitimate relationship with Jesus.

It is fully appropriate to preach without apology that continuing in those (and other) sins without repentance and without making Jesus the Lord and Master of their lives will end terribly for them.

People need to hear the prophets shouting the alarms of eternal destruction that comes to those in rebellion to God!

Luke 16:24-29 (ESV) 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

WHAT ABOUT SIN IN THE CAMP?

The next argument is that a focus on sin in the world while avoiding dealing with sin in the church is the perfect definition of hypocrisy. I agree.

As I shared above, many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day. It’s a reality that haunts me every day.

Those who live in sexual sin outside of the camp will be judged as will those who live in sexual sin in the camp will. Unforgiveness, hatred, lust, gossip and many other sins will have the exact same result as those in the world who we would call wild and deviant.

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

However, the truth that we must deal with sin in the camp doesn’t erase our responsibility to preach the full counsel of Scripture to all. It highlights it.

Hell is awaiting millions of people, both in and out of the church, and we must make that known! So few actually even know or believe that Hell is their future. They presume all is well. My God! So few are letting them know that they are but a breath away from horror!

Matthew 13:24-30 (ESV) 24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

It’s time for us to preach truth and to see the planet shaken by the fire power of God’s Word again.

It’s true love that will give people an opportunity to decide where they will spend their eternity.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 (ESV) 7 …the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…

Isaiah clearly revealed truth and people had a choice. They scoffed at the idea that they would go to Hell, but at least blood would not be found on Isaiah’s hands.

Isaiah 28:14-15 (ESV) 14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;

PEOPLE MUST HEAR THE TRUTH ABOUT HELL TODAY.

Matthew 13:47-50 (ESV) 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2 Peter 2:4-14 (ESV) 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

Contrary to popular belief, a revelation of Hell absolutely does result in people running into the arms of a loving God.

When did today’s popular teachers presume it was appropriate to deemphasize clear, pure truth in favor of what is more pleasing? It’s truly an abomination!

Revelation 20:15 (ESV) 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Human wisdom would say we should focus on the benefits. Listen, we aren’t selling a time share. We aren’t trying to convince someone on the fence of buying a new car of how much their life will be better by driving it.

The truth is that outside of Christ we are evil people who should burn forever in Hell—and who will without an admission of our deviance and rebellion. Our decision shouldn’t be based on benefit. How selfish that is! It should be based on the reality of the punishment that is awaiting us and the revelation of God’s intense rescue mission to save us from torment.

God’s love is made more evident when contrasted with the truth of Hell.

The bottom line is simple: We cannot erase the Word of God. It must be preached in fullness. The result will be many current homosexuals, liars, adulterers, murderers and others falling desperately in love with Jesus.

Revelation 22:18-19 (ESV) 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Revelation 21:5-8 (ESV) 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

That’s the contrast we must have in today’s preaching. Reveal the spring of the water of life and the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. It’s how Jesus preached after all.

Video: A Strong Delusion

Watch this week’s provocative, intense CoFI Group Video: A Strong Delusion

It's critical that we prepare our hearts, go deep in God, mature intentionally and be aware of the enemy's schemes. Eternity is at risk!

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This is an extremely important, provoking and intense message about the nature of God, the condition of man's hearts and our eternity.

God, by design, causes mankind to be spiritually blind and deaf so they will not receive the truth, so they will believe what is false and be condemned to hell. He will send many into a strong delusion.

This is so contrary to the way God has been represented, but it's a picture of his severe love. We must ensure that we are going deep in God so the enemy can't blind us and so that we don't make a choice to rebel…and in turn be at risk of being blinded by God himself.

WATCH OR LISTEN TO THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, INTENSE MESSAGE FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE!

Sexual perversion, the slaughter & sale of unborn babies: It’s time for hell fire preaching again.

We need a fresh wave of great awakeners—those who will unapologetically preach hell fire in today’s dire end times.

To the shame of much of today’s church there has been a firm and steadfast rejection of any truth that doesn’t result in people feeling happy affection for God. While a core message of mine has to do with enjoyable and permeating intimacy with Jesus, I understand that it is not a mutually exclusive one. That teaching when it stands alone apart from the full counsel of God’s Word turns out a people who don’t understand the fear of the Lord, the severity of their lifestyle decisions or the intensity and nearness of eternity. It results in an overly confident and casual church that presumes God’s primary focus is our satisfaction as it forsakes the realities of holiness, standards, scriptural expectations, judgment and how those who are truly saved are hanging on to that position by a thread.

And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 1 Peter 4:18

Vaio-000000234This Christian culture of positivity depicts a God who is so enamored by us that judgment is contrary to his nature. The deception is that God so values us individually that our enjoyment in life is primary to him. This lie has fueled sanctioned perversion in the church through the “gay Christian” movement and the affirmation of homosexual marriage by many leading denominations.

I’ll say it as clearly as I can: God is much more interested in the establishment of his name and His Word than he is in the feelings or desires of individuals, or even of entire regions. This is God’s nature. This is love.

…therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 25:7

It’s all about him, not us.

In our narcissistic society our theologies have become radically distorted from just a generation or two ago. We are so self-consumed that we have adopted an image of a god that is focused day and night on worshiping us instead of us, those who are as the scum of the earth, worshiping him.

…when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:13

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:11-12

The Christian life is not to be about personal gain. A pursuit of supposed human rights has nearly destroyed our nation, and the same strategies are in the church. The right to slaughter unborn babies for the sake of personal convenience is a horrifying indictment on our nation—and it didn’t seem that it could get any worse, until the recent admission by a Planned Parenthood leader who casually admitted to an even more sinister evil—selling body parts of murdered people.

Yes, we need hell fire preaching in the church again.

As people both in the church and in the world have been focused on rights, pleasures and positions, evil has been advancing and God’s righteous standards have been minimized or ridiculed as nonsense. Again, this is happening in the world and in the church. Churches today support both gay marriage and abortion. It’s no longer shocking. It will forever be sickening.

We need a great awakening.

“The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready to string and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.” ~Jonathan Edwards

We have mistaken God as one who is always happy and passive, like that sweet grandfather who is forever handing out candy and hugs no matter how rebellious the child is. It’s true that God is love, but we have attempted to define love via humanistic insight, through our own lens and our own longings for acceptance. It’s also true that God is longsuffering, but only he knows how long his suffering will be. The full force of his wrath will be released one day, and many lesser though terrible judgments will come before that happens. God is a fearful force to behold and we have been self-centered and entitled presuming that approach will somehow draw us closer to his heart.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“…the Hoods of God’s vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the meantime is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath…If God should only withdraw his hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury.” ~Jonathan Edwards

ZEPHANIAH AND THE COMING JUDGMENT

“I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. “I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.” Zephaniah 1:2-6

The prophecy in Zephaniah is futuristic. It is yet to happen, most scholars believe. This has some serious implications. What this means is that God cannot be defined simply by the very real truth that he love, he is kind and he is patient. Also, the Old Testament God is very much the same as the New Testament God. His supposed Old Testament style end-time personality is front and center and undeniable in this passage.

There is a greater revelation of God’s nature that is not in contradiction whatsoever with his more ‘positive’ or appealing side. He is and forever will be the very definition of love. We can and should run to him and not from him as we trust him fully. We must enjoy him in a place of immersive intimacy. We should always be full of joy and abundant life—and sober and troubled as he prepares to move on the earth.

After reading through the depiction of the coming judgment on the earth we may not so casually pray for a ‘move of God’ as we pursue revival in the land. When God moves in force we will experience his greatness—his great goodness and love as well as his great fierceness and wrath. Those who are truly his (which are much fewer than the number who profess to be his) are safe from that wrath—but not of his judgment!

God’s wrath remains on the unredeemed. That is clear. However, at the crucifixion Jesus took God's wrath upon himself in place of those who are legitimately his own. That being said, while we are free from wrath, judgment will absolutely visit us in the church—and it will visit us first!

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Again, we need hell fire preachers to emerge and announce to the church and the world the reality of their situation and the measure of God’s wrath and judgment that is coming. Contrary to popular belief a very real revelation of hell, of torment, of God’s holiness and of our desperation and wickedness is needed to draw people to the Lover of their souls! A clear picture of Satan’s rage, of God’s standards, of eternity and of God’s overwhelming passion for people will result in an honest evaluation of their condition. For some it will result in glorious salvation.

The prophecy in Zephaniah is true. It is coming. A loving, kind, tender God is actually going to manifest in some terrible and violent ways. Is this side of God repulsive to you? I encourage you to deal with it. You can’t change God to squeeze into a Santa Clause suit. He won’t fit. Satan will though. False gods and idols fit into whatever suit we will give them. They are more than willing to appeal to our fleshly desires so as to trap us…and then to destroy us.

Carefully read what follows and ask if that picture of God matches your own:

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.” The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. Zephaniah 1:12-18

That’s hell fire preaching. That’s a necessary message. It’s about what is yet to come. This is a revelation of God in the New Covenant. It reveals God’s nature to us afresh.

God, who is by definition love, will do what is necessary to preserve love.

A complacent people will result in a bitter day sound that announces the day of the Lord. That day is a day of wrath, distress, anguish, ruin, devastation, darkness, gloom, clouds and thick darkness. It’s also a day of a trumpet blast and a battle cry! God himself will bring distress on mankind. It won’t be the enemy. The trouble won’t simply be the result of God lifting his protection over a nation. He will personally bring distress to mankind himself.

Blood shall be poured out because of his wrath. The fire of his jealousy will result in the earth being consumed suddenly—and all the inhabitants will experience a sudden end.

Those who are deeply intimate with Jesus will both celebrate and weep as a result of this news.

Those who are casual and expect God to satisfy them and focus on their happiness on the earth will reject him—and many will actually declare that He is Satan when he moves contrary to their fleshly expectations of how God should operate.

This, my friend, is the unforgivable sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The moment we attribute a move of God to a move of Satan we can know we have found trouble.

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28-30

The great falling away will be filled with formerly professing Christians who never missed a church service, who said their prayers and faithfully tithed and taught in Sunday School. Just as during they did during the last days of Jesus on the earth, they will quickly shift from a lifestyle of crying out “Hosanna to the King of kings!” to “Crucify him!”

The world needs to know this Jesus. The world needs to understand that God is fearful. Truly, as C.S. Lewis declared, he is not safe, but he is good. That revelation will result in a great harvest. Why? Because truth sets people free.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Watch: The Coming Judgment

Video: There is a coming judgment through a loving yet righteous judge. Are you ready?

Dell-000050190

Zephaniah prophesies coming judgment and wrath on the earth, and this has yet to take place.

The nature of God cannot be summed up simply by saying he loves people. He is much more complex than that. His love, in fact, will manifest in some very disturbing ways including in wrath and judgment.

Many are blinded to God's true nature, and it's critical that his remnant has their spiritual eyes wide open.

God is a fearful God…and he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

We must begin to understand the depths of God's nature. When that happens we will be gripped with grief and brokenness over the status in our sin sick world. Great revival is coming and so is judgment. Both will be extreme.

WATCH OR LISTEN TO THIS POWERFUL MESSAGE FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE!

Watch: The Coming Judgment

Video: There is a coming judgment through a loving yet righteous judge. Are you ready?

Dell-000050190

Zephaniah prophesies coming judgment and wrath on the earth, and this has yet to take place.

The nature of God cannot be summed up simply by saying he loves people. He is much more complex than that. His love, in fact, will manifest in some very disturbing ways including in wrath and judgment.

Many are blinded to God's true nature, and it's critical that his remnant has their spiritual eyes wide open.

God is a fearful God…and he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

We must begin to understand the depths of God's nature. When that happens we will be gripped with grief and brokenness over the status in our sin sick world. Great revival is coming and so is judgment. Both will be extreme.

WATCH OR LISTEN TO THIS POWERFUL MESSAGE FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE!

Homosexual normalization: Is it time to embrace God’s judgment?

The homosexual agenda is effective—and it shows no signs of slowing down. Is it time to embrace the justice of God?

Dell-000050133To say my heart is heavy is an understatement. Like so many of you, last week’s decision by the United States Supreme Court (which is very different than the Supreme Court of the Universe) to normalize and legalize homosexual marriage across the entire fifty states has deeply disturbed my spirit.

My righteous indignation, however, is not aimed at homosexuals who are enduring a demonic assault on their lives. My question at this hour is not whether God should bring judgment to the homosexuals. The question is whether he should enact judgment on a passive, impotent American church. The homosexual normalization in our nation is the fault of a sleeping, passive American church that refuses to preach uncomfortable, black and white truth.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17 (ESV)

When God was about to pour down some general judgment, he began with afflicting his own people in order to correct and amend them, that they might be prepared for the overflowing scourge. ~Adam Clarke's Commentary

Of course, there are many blood-bought, legitimate Believers throughout the land who are interceding and weeping over our sin ravaged nation. Many are radically devoted to preaching uncompromised truth and advancing the Gospel. Many does not equal most, however. Just as most of the churches of Revelation were rebuked by God, the majority in our nation are asleep.

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. Revelation 3:1-4 (ESV)

Wake up. Strengthen what remains and is about to die.

JUDGMENT?

Is it time to trust God’s judgment?

Many people have a misunderstanding of just what judgment is, and thus rejects it as contrary to God’s nature.

Judgment isn’t what an evil God does to evil people with evil motives. Judgment is what a good God does, in love, with pure and holy motives. Judgment is a vehicle for calibration to God’s purposes.

Judgment is simply making wrong things right. It is to be highly valued. In fact, if we are honest, nobody alive today would want to live without judgment, without justice.

When a murderer is captured and sent to trial, and eventually to prison, that is judgment and that is good.

We need swift justice in the land today, and specifically, in the church. The current state of affairs is resulting in large numbers of precious people being put at risk of an eternity in hell. Judgment must come to the church for the sake of the world.

In fact, the verse everybody loves to quote about God’s love is directly tied to truth about his judgment:

John 3:16-18 (NIV) 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

If we are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. But, what is often not said is that if we are not in Christ Jesus there is condemnation. That judgment is eternal. This is why we must trust God in his judgment on this side of eternity. We need God to judge us! Even though judgment results in trouble and shaking, we can trust a good, loving God.

I pray for God to judge me daily. I trust him and I don’t as easily trust myself. I need his light to constantly shine on me so I live rightly and don’t shrink back even for a moment from doing what he desires and preaching what is holy.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (NIV) 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

We need God to bring correction to the church so the church can once again be the holy, warrior bride it was called to be. It’s time to embrace judgment for the sake of the church and for the sake of the world.

If we don’t get this right, there very well may be a Sodom and Gomorrah level judgment come to America. I pray it hasn’t reached that point yet.

2 Peter 2:6-10 (ESV) 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones…

Amos 4:11-12 (ESV) 11 “I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. 12 “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

PREACH FOR GOD’S SAKE!

Pastors who refuse to zero in on holiness, repentance and a clear and unapologetic revelation of Hell and eternity should be ashamed and embarrassed to wear the title of “pastor.”

Where is the vivid, sharp preaching that divides and exposes the lies that are so pervasive today? Where is the Jonathan Edwards style preaching that results in people feeling the heat of Hell under their feet?

After you shall have worn out the age of the sun, moon, and stars, in your dolorous groans and lamentations, without rest day and night, or one minute’s ease, yet you shall have no hope of ever being delivered. After you shall have worn a thousand more such ages, you shall have no hope, but shall know that you are not one whit nearer to the end of your torments. But that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries, incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend up forever and ever. ~Jonathan Edwards on Hell

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:11-14 (ESV)

The deception of Universalism is creeping ever closer to the mainline church as so many are trumpeting sweet, sappy love that covers all regardless of the depth of people’s apathy or severity of their perversion.

Somebody, anybody, please allow a vein in your neck to bulge, just once! Let the sweat from impassioned preaching run down your face in a race with tears that are born from grief and the horror of the future that awaits most everybody who is alive today.

Somebody needs to love homosexuals enough to warn them that never-ending torment awaits them if they choose that or any sin defined lifestyle instead of bold, radical, heart wrenching repentance. If they knew how terrible, constant and maddening their future terror will be, contrasted with a revelation of the darkness that Christ endured to rescue them, we just might have a revival on our hands.

God is the one who is feeling the impact of this current tragedy more than any of us could ever imagine. Every time a homosexual, murderer, pornographer, thief, backslider or lukewarm person (among others) dies and is cast into hell, God’s heart is hit. The sacrifice of his Son becomes meaningless for so many who enter into panic inducing eternal torment every single hour of every single day. For God’s sake, it’s time to preach!

It’s not enough to reveal God’s love. The light of his love must expose the darkness. Define it. Call it out. God’s love must result in such a clear vision of the current darkness that extreme and full repentance is the instant response. In fact, a revelation of God’s love that doesn’t define the reality of the horrors that are engulfing our society isn’t a revelation of love at all.

HOLINESS

The church is losing this battle in embarrassing fashion. This should be a wake up call for all of us. It’s time to return again to hellfire preaching that refuses to affirm any lifestyle short of complete surrender.

The sickening truth is that pastors and leaders are allowing themselves to be entertained in media by the very sins that required the slaughter and murder of the one they say the love. Nudity, foul language, homosexual innuendos, violence and humanistic agendas are flooding the souls of supposed Christian men and women every week—all while the prayer rooms remain empty and church services are powerless.

I’ve heard people say that they aren’t offended by certain activities in media such as, for example, nudity or cussing. My immediate reaction is, “Who gives a rip about what offends you? Have you considered the Holy Spirit?”

Ephesians 4:30 (ESV) 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Holiness is a major issue, a major biblical theme that is ignored and minimized from pulpits today.

Romans 1:18 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Is it love to refuse to preach certain portions of the Holy Scripture, to shield the guilty from a revelation of their condition? Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC refuses to directly confront the sin of homosexuality. His wife Laura Lentz said, “It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it's – that's their journey.” Does that sound like love? Does she not realize their journey will take them into literal flames that burn and a hopelessness that will never end?

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV) 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Do we love the unrepentant church gossip or the person who’s sleeping with their girlfriend or boyfriend enough to let them know that no matter how devoted they are to church, tithing, prayer or reading their Bible, they will go to Hell if they die in that condition?

We need holiness preachers again! Heck, we need angry preachers again! A righteous indignation over today’s passive, lukewarm culture in the church and the vomit inducing perversion in the world should burn in our veins. The fact that people are telling both camps that it’s all okay because God loves them should result in fire-breathing preachers that refuse to stand by idly.

LOVE WINS

It’s undeniably rare for people to enter Heaven. The road is not wide. Tonight people will die and immediately begin the second, and longest, chapter of their eternities. It’s the part of their story that will never end, can never be edited and would result in maddening nightmares if those in the land of the living could read it. Once the first letter is written on the first page of chapter two, they can never go back. A trillion pages later they will be ever increasing in pain, panic, torment, hatred, hopelessness and immeasurable fear—pure terror. That chapter starts the moment they leave the land of the living, the second they die in their sins. There is a very real monster at the end of that book.

This is why true love must win—it’s a love that does in fact tell the truth. They are on the road to destruction.

Then, tell them how the story can end. Should end. Chapter two, the final chapter of all of our lives, must be a story of redemption, of never ending joy, of freedom and victory. Their book can be a story of abundant life—but only if they hit their knees and rend their hearts. At the end of that book is the Lover of our souls, a glorious King, a mighty Savior and a mighty, radiant God that is yearning to spend forever with us.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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