Posts Tagged ‘positive’

Video: Lying Prophets

I’m wrecked as I burn with critical messages that will prepare the church for what is ahead.

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21  I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22  But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. Jeremiah 23:21-22 (NIV)

We are hearing endless supposed prophetic words that are happy and positive, without revealing the critical, troubling warnings from Heaven. It's time to repent and to declare the truth of God no matter if it's disturbing or engaging.

God is raising up those he can trust his Word with. His messages will shake us to the core, and he can be trusted to deliver what we need to hear. He needs prophetic voices to also trust God's words, and to deliver them unedited.

WATCH THIS MESSAGE FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE.

Set your face and prophesy against them! A strategy against the spirit of the age…

It’s past time to boldly and fearlessly stand against the spirit of the age.

Watch John teach this message titled Set Your Face:

SET YOUR FACE

A radical misunderstanding of how godly love truly manifests has led to a passive, affirming, tolerant response to one of history’s most diabolical assaults.

We have borrowed an unbiblical, humanistic definition of what love truly is. The mantra of the age is love is tolerant, love is affirming, love accepts unconditionally. This has painted a picture of a benevolent, passive God who so values mankind that he is willing to allow them to choose any path they desire and he will tolerate and affirm the accompanying behaviors, beliefs and mindsets.

Such a belief system elevates man to idol status and minimizes God to a mystical, happy force that has few standards or expectations. The most important thing is that people are happy, and when they are, God is most satisfied.

This doctrine of demons has resulted in a fear to represent God as he truly is to a generation that’s largely hedonistic. The prevailing thought is a humanistic one: We have to ensure only God’s positive attributes are revealed while hiding or even disagreeing with his standards. This has deemed today’s prophetic voices that adhere to that strategy as impotent at best and extremely dangerous at worst. The risk is that they veil God’s holiness and the reality of eternity and, in turn, raise up disciples of a demonic counterfeit that wraps it’s arms around a rebellious people—all in the name of love.

IT’S TIME TO WAGE WAR

The default position for all of us must be to reveal the true and immeasurable love of God to all. That goes without saying.

This however does not complete our job as end-time prophetic messengers and warriors of Christ. We have to understand that very few will in fact turn to Jesus in a legitimate way. While we need to contend for salvation for all, we have to understand that most will reject that call.

imageThere are many clear enemies of God, and our mission of advancing light into the darkness much match that reality. Our expectations and strategies must match the situation.

James 4:4 (ESV) 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The following is from a Glenn Beck article titled Past 10 Days Have Been A ‘Slapping Of God's Face':

“…you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what the problems are in the country,” Beck said on his radio program. “It’s because our society, our people, us, have become lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman. We’re slanderers,” Beck continued. “We’re haters of good. We’re treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure much more than lovers of God. [We’re] holding the form of religion, but denying the power of it.”

The time is now to wage war against the spirit of the age. While we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, we do wrestle against evil spirits.

Flesh and blood humans who embrace those evil spirits will absolutely feel the force of the warfare. We can’t allow that troubling reality stop us from opening our mouths and declaring truth.

We must be strong, and fight:

Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

What are we doing to stand against the evil schemes in America today? It’s not enough to share the love of God to the lost through evangelism and other methods, as critical as that mandate is. There is more—much more. There is an invisible realm that is manifesting visibly in our nation. We must go to war as conquerors, as victors and as ambassadors of Christ.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Several keys are revealed in the totality of the Ephesians 6 passage including taking up our shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation, and praying in the Spirit. The final method of battle is revealed in verse 19 where Paul is asking for prayer:

Ephesians 6:19-20 (ESV) 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

In addition to all of the spiritual armor Paul is wearing, his prayer at the end of his instructions reveals he must also take on boldness to speak! This is where the American church is failing embarrassingly today. Very little of the messages coming from it require any boldness at all to speak. 

The true gospel message will very often provoke and disturb the majority who are opposed to truth. If the message wouldn’t cause problems for the enemies of God, and in turn for the messenger of God, why would boldness be necessary? There is a radical resistance to holiness and obedience to God in the land that is largely unmet by today’s Christian voices. We must again pray for boldness to preach what will result in great persecution for the church.

As Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesians, he was being persecuted, currently imprisoned because of that very message. He didn’t ask for the physical issues to be removed but rather that he would boldly confront the spirit of the age with the gospel. His plan was to continue preaching the very truth that was irritating the people of the region.

It’s a contrary, offensive, demanding, in your face message, contrary to the sugary, passive message that many are calling the gospel today.

SET YOUR FACE AND PROPHESY AGAINST THEM

In Ezekiel 25 we see a key strategy emerge.

Up until this point, concerning Jerusalem and the land of Israel, people had been holding on to faint hope due to the encouragement of false prophets. Then, contrary to the words of the false prophets, Jerusalem was destroyed. We are hearing the same thing today from so many Christian prophets and preachers—that everything is okay, and even getting better and better, all while great evil is increasing exponentially, persecution is increasing and darkness is expanding. People are being lured into nationally sanctioned sodomy and perversion and Christians who oppose it are being ridiculed and fined. Soon, if things don’t change, we will see Christians in prison in America just as they are in North Korea simply for preaching the Bible. 

After Jerusalem was defeated, Ezekiel switched his prophetic focus to the surrounding nations. It would not be pretty. His message wasn’t one of happy affirmation.

In fact, Jesus himself didn’t always have the disposition of a gentle shepherd. Watch how he set his face against cities:

Luke 10:13-16 (ESV) 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. 16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

J. Vernon McGee said:

We get a warped view of Him when all we hear is, “God is love, God is love.” It is true that God is love, but don't lose sight of the fact that God is also holy. He is righteous and He will judge. You are not rushing into heaven on the little love boat today. If you reject His salvation, there will be nothing left but judgment.

Ezekiel 25:1 (ESV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me:

I often have to stop after seemingly unimportant verses like this one to consider the ramifications: “The word of the Lord came to me.”

Is the word of the Lord coming to anybody out there today? Of course several true messengers of God are receiving the alarming, Rhema words of God in this hour, but they are few and far between. I appreciate people like John Kilpatrick who has the courage and discernment to declare that “America is now an apostate nation.” Other like Steve Hill, Leonard Ravenhill, Isaiah Saldivar, Nathan Morris, Mike Bickle, Mario Murillo and Lou Engle are voicing or have voiced culture shaking truth.

When supposed messengers of God are expressing only happy, positive, affirming words they instantly lose credibility with me.

Jeremiah 23:16-17 (ESV) 16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

Contrast the previous verses with what follows:

Jeremiah 23:18-20 (ESV) 18 For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? 19 Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

Just as in Jeremiah’s time, today people are prophesying words that did not originate with God:

Jeremiah 23:21-22 (ESV) 21 “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.

Thankfully, Ezekiel did receive the Word of the Lord. Now, what happens next is a spiritual mandate that is almost entirely forsaken in today’s church.

Ezekiel 25:2 (ESV) 2 “Son of man, set your face toward the Ammonites and prophesy against them.

One of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. It’s a revelation of God’s love. I believe we stop short of the greater message to the detriment of the mission.

Here’s the famous verses:

John 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

And here’s what’s so often neglected though it is a part of the preceding passage:

John 3:18 (ESV) 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

We need to understand that the wrath of God remains on those who don’t have eternal life in Christ. Reading further in chapter three of John reveals this:

John 3:36 (ESV) 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.

So, clearly there are enemies of God who are choosing to remain condemned, and we can’t sit back hoping that they someday turn.

As we prophecy against the enemies of God we are simply bring revelation regarding their condition and their future should they not repent. This is an act of godly love that will be rejected as hatred in our humanistic culture!

In fact, even within the church we are called to some extreme measures for the sake of the rebellious person’s soul—in the name of love!

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV) 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.

We are to deliver unrepentant people in the church to Satan! This is a very powerful example of what Ezekiel was doing by prophesying against people. Again, this is an expression of love as we trust God’s wisdom. Note that delivering someone to Satan would introduce them to a terrible season of life as their flesh is destroyed—so that their spirit might be saved.

As we prophesy against the spirit of the age, we are also agreeing in battle with God as he moves to protect his own. God is zealous for his Bride.

THE AMMONITES CELEBRATED AND EZEKIEL RESPONDED

Why was God against the Ammonites?

They celebrated when Israel was defeated.

There are many today who are applauding the defeat of godly marriage in our nation, defeats regarding abortion, prayer in school and many other losses. This is the rebellion in the land that must be confronted, in love, with boldness by today’s preachers and prophets.

Ezekiel 25:3-4 (ESV) 3 Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile, 4 therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk.

This is serious.

Is America at risk of being handed over to other nations who will ultimately defeat us? Yes. It’s becoming easier to see a day when America will be no more. I know such a thought will cause the positive thinkers to react and accuse me of not standing in faith or professing doom and gloom. Those accusations don’t move me. If I had no faith for America’s spiritual revival I would never waste time sounding an alarm like I am in this article. A revelation of a possible, or even probable, troubling future is not an exercise in faithlessness, it’s an act of love. Tornado alarms go off to help people prepare for trouble and react accordingly so they might be saved. Can you imagine getting angry at the alarm?

Just as I wrote that I heard very loud thunder exploding outside, and then I heard loud, distinctive tones booming out of my mobile phone. A message is currently displaying that says:

Emergency alert

Flash Flood Warning in this area until 9:00pm CDT. Avoid flood areas. Check local media. National Weather Service. Imminent severe alert.

Interesting timing, don’t you think?

I just read a powerful prophecy of judgment and destruction coming to America by A.A. Allen in Charisma Magazine. In part, he says:

The next thing which I saw was a huge ball of fire. The only thing I have ever seen which resembled the thing I saw in my vision was the picture of the explosion of the H-bomb in the South Pacific. In my vision, it was so real I seemed to feel a searing heat from it.

As the vision spread before my eyes, and I viewed the widespread desolation brought about by the terrific explosions, I could not help thinking,” While the defenders of our nation have quibbled over what means of defense to use, and neglected the only true means of defense, faith and dependence upon the true and living God, the thing which she greatly feared has come unto her!

How true it has proven that “Except the Lord keep The city, The watchman watches but in vain.”

It’s interesting that God’s primary motivation is not making life better for everybody. He’s not interested in affirming people in their sin or letting them know how much he loves them.

So, what is God’s ultimate purpose? To prove himself!

Ezekiel 25:5 (ESV) 5 I will make Rabbah a pasture for camels and Ammon a fold for flocks. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezekiel continues by addressing their celebration of wickedness. God makes it clear that rejoicing in immorality results in judgment:

Ezekiel 25:6-7 (ESV) 6 For thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, 7 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.

Again, this is so that everybody may know that he is Lord! This is a prime motivation!

Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV) 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The day homosexual marriage was legalized across the nation people filled the streets in cities from east to west in mass gatherings of celebration.

Time Magazine: Crowds of people filled the street outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City on Friday, celebrating the Supreme Court’s landmark gay marriage ruling and marveling at how much has changed in the past 50 years.

nbcnewyork.com: Celebrations Erupt in New York City After Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide. From pop-up parties to weddings, New Yorkers are celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Within an hour of the ruling, rainbow flags were hanging outside City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio officiated at two same-sex weddings on the steps of City Hall on Friday afternoon as hundreds of spectators waving rainbow flags and holding signs looked on. Another couple renewed their vows.

acj.com: More than 1,000 people showed up in the rain Friday night to celebrate a milestone they never thought they would see. Gays and lesbians hugged and kissed in joy. They waved rainbow and American flags. Some were in drag, others in suits. Some brought their children. “This was a victory for us all. A victory for civil and human rights,” said Felicia English, trying to feed her 14-month old daughter Samantha, whose adoption was finalized on March 3. “Our daughter had two mothers and I am so happy for her. That she will not have to face adversity and discrimination.” “Today, love wins,” de Blasio said Friday.

We must boldly set our face and prophesy against such unholy demonstrations and celebrations of the defeat of biblical morality regarding gay marriage.

Revival will come when the distinction between light and darkness is its sharpest. It’s messengers of God who must bring definition to our current crisis.

The goal isn’t the affirmation of the people but it’s that they know that Jesus is Lord!

It’s time to clearly decry the darkness and shout the message of light, boldly, no matter if we are imprisoned or not.

That, in fact, may be a not too distant future reality for true prophetic voices today.

Video Podcast: 16 Dangers of the “Positive Christianity” Movement

Watch this video podcast: Are we are forming a culturally acceptable version of God?

 

And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. —Exodus 32:4-6

imageI'll begin by affirming that God absolutely is LOVE! He is good, all the time. However, his goodness may not always register as good on our human grid.

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

There is a rapidly growing aversion to any discussion about God that includes anything that feels negative. The problem? Cover to cover in Scripture we see endless accounts of God displaying His attributes—many of which would not be defined as positive.

Instead of proclaiming the full counsel of Scripture, people today are looking for a buffet Bible when they can load up on chocolate cake and milk shakes while quickly stepping by the peas, carrots and salad.

People want to form a god of their own design as the Israelites did when Moses was meeting with a fearful God. The plan is to sit down to eat and drink and rise up to play.

Today it's nearly impossible (not an exaggeration) to find a church that preaches cutting, hard-core truths of Scripture that break us out of prison and into freedom. If you want to hear about how good God is and little else, then you can pick most any church in the nation.

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

Sixteen dangers of the ‘positive Christianity' movement

False conversions—I could spend a lot of time on this point, and I do address it extensively in my book The Coming Church. For the sake of brevity, we must finally come to the understanding that salvation requires an extreme step—not a casual one. It's when we understand the great drama that includes God, Satan, eternity, heaven, hell, judgment and abundant life that authentic conversions can occur. Who wouldn't sign up to follow a God that promises gold coins and butterflies? The question must not be, “How can I benefit from salvation.” It has to be, “Is God worthy of my surrendering all I value to Him?” When we truly know Him in His fullness, in His grace and wrath, in His mercy and judgment, as a Lion and a Lamb, we will be able to make the fearful decision, “You, Lord are worthy of my entire life.”

Misunderstanding of the fear of the Lord—It's stunning to me that so many are renouncing any fear whatsoever, even the fear of the Lord! If we have a view of God that is only positive, we will reject anything that feels negative, and this includes the fear of the Lord. Let's set the record straight—the fear of the Lord is not simply to be in awe of God or to respect Him. Fear of the Lord is translated over and over as terror, to be afraid, to dread. The love of God and the dread of God are not mutually exclusive. In fact, His love shines brighter we we realize how fearful He truly is.

That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. —Romans 11:20-22

God is limited—When we eliminate a major part of God's personality and character, we greatly limit our revelation of Him and His ability to move in our lives. God is much more than the leader of some euphoric land of fantasy.

Rejection of judgment (that we need so badly)—I believe one of the most important prayers I can pray is, “God, judge me daily.” For those who reject God's judgment because they perceive it to be negative, their lives will be marked by areas not given access to God's loving calibration. Additionally, our nation is in desperate need of loving judgment from a righteous judge. Judgment is not hatred; it's love. It is deep love. We see this in our own society. We are so touchy-feely that we react in anger when we presume someone to be judging us. However, it's true love that will judge an issue and help someone break free into healing. We must embrace judgment in these dire end times.

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

Rejection of God—This is one of the most serious issues. God absolutely still judges in the New Covenant, and those who reject this will be at risk of attributing judgments of God to Satan. God's wrath is still on the Earth, and we have to understand that much of the trouble we see today has actually been initiated by God—all while many of His followers are rebuking Him and calling Him Satan.

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

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit—Even more serious is the risk of blasphemy. I believe we have to be radically opposed to God to fall into this unforgivable sin (I know many wrestle with this, but unpacking it will require more time than we have here), but, the “positive Christianity” movement can nudge people closer to falling into this. When we attribute an act of God to Satan, that is blasphemy, and this occurs often within “positive Christianity.”

“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

Ignoring calls to battle—If we think God is mostly interested in our safety and happiness, we will deem unnecessary and invasive any call to battle. It's time we mature and understand we are already in the midst of a vicious battle, and it's our calling to fight hard. God really is OK with His children being tortured and killed as martyrs for the sake of other people discovering Jesus, and we should be too. We are end-time soldiers, and this means we have signed up for a life of inconvenience, brokenness and struggle. That negative reality is glorious when we understand what it is unto.

Misinterpretations of negative situations—News flash: It's not always the devil. How often do people rebuke demons when it's actually God Who caused the situation? If we think that God only functions positively, then what are we to do with the fact that God actually demonized Paul and refused his deliverance? What about God striking people with sickness? 

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God actually endorsed an assault of Satan on Paul to keep him humble! Paul embraced a “negative” God, because He was True. He was content with weaknesses, hardships, calamities. He didn't rebuke them, and that didn't cause him to attribute them to Satan. Of course, Satan wouldn't want to keep Paul from becoming conceited, so this wasn't his plan. Just as with Job, God will allow attacks of the enemy for our own benefit. In fact, it was Satan who was allowed by God to kill Jesus. He literally had thorns in His flesh as He hung on the cross, and they were not taken away.

Minimized need for intercession—If we think things are getting better and better, as many who support the “positive Christianity” movement do, than we have no need to intercede. However, if we truly understand that some very troubling times are ahead, and God has called us to stand in the gap, then our passion for intercession will skyrocket. We need Abrahams and Jonahs who will see the judgment of God ahead and pray with passion and warn those in its direct path. Our God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, totally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He destroyed the Earth in a flood. His wrath remains on those who reject Him today.

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” —Genesis 18:32

Rejection of call to martyrdom—Martyrdom is the pinnacle of negative experiences for the Christian. Of course, the truth is that it's not negative at all. It's glorious!

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.  But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. —Acts 7:54-58

How powerful is it that Jesus stood as Stephen died! Not only that, but did you notice what young man was mentioned in the story? A young man who would end up turning the world upside down. Saul. Paul. We need Stephens to arise and lay down their lives in such a way that a new company of Sauls are awakened into their destinies.

Universalism—You'd be surprised at how many professing Christians reject any thought of eternity in hell—for anybody! After all, how could a good God cast people into eternal torment? It doesn't register on the grid of “positive Christianity.”

Rejection of tenets of the faith—I'm angered at how many of today's Christians get sad and withdrawn when core tenets of the faith are preached. The cross, hell, fear of the Lord, surrender, brokenness and repentance are minimized as they prefer to focus on how giddy God is about them! We absolutely need a fresh wave of Blood-bought fire-and-brimstone preachers again!

Wrongly discern God's presence and purpose—The presumption is that whenever God is manifesting that the feelings we experience are to be happy, warm and positive. Any manifestation that includes fear of the Lord, conviction, rebuke, challenge or mourning is soundly rejected. If the atmosphere isn't electric, many today check out and disengage.

Using God—A spirit of religion is in this “positive Christianity” movement. The thought is that God is there for our enjoyment and must respond to our cries for satisfaction. We determine the experience instead of letting God use us as He sees fit.

Self-centeredness—Related to using God, instead of focusing on the devastation in the world and our responsibility to bring resolution to it, those in the “positive Christianity” movement are focused on self.

Forsaking our anointing by always being nice—Boy, we have to stop this. We think God always has perma-smile with a twinkle sparkling off of His grin. If we think of God in this light, we'll attempt to do the same. It can manifest many different ways. For example, instead of boldly preaching repentance and the terror of hell, we might just smile and be sweet and sugary by encouraging people to take baby steps toward Jesus. We have become so tentative and passive when dealing with severe threats against the church, such as the homosexual agenda, the false-grace movement and others. We need prophets to rise up and preach judgment and repentance again!

Sometimes we need to look someone in the eye, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and say with no hint of a smile that they are destined for hell. Repent!

Conclusion

Of course, there are limitless positives about God and our relationship with Him. However, we don't want to stop there. We must trust Him enough to embrace Him in His fullness.

The judge is coming, and He will start with the church. How many will fall away when He arrives, disappoints and confuses people by looking nothing like the god of their own design?

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought-after teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. He has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer- and revival-focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John also has a web- and graphic-design business and is continually developing new and exciting ventures. He and his beautiful wife, Amy, have five children and live in the Detroit area. He can be reached via his website at JohnBurton.net.

Live video • theFurnace.tv • 16 Dangers of the Positive Christianity Movement

TONIGHT at 10pm on theFurnace.tv • 16 Dangers of the Positive Christianity Movement

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imageRevival requires that we know and embrace God as he is—in his tenderness and in his severity.

There is a seductive yet extremely dangerous movement in the land that refuses to acknowledge God in any other fashion than good and happy.

Tonight at 10pm EST I’ll be discussing this. (And, yes, Nia will certainly make another appearance.)

You can participate via the chat room and I will address your comments and questions live on the air.

Head over to www.thefurnace.tv/live and get ready to encounter Jesus!

Sixteen dangers of the positive Christianity movement

Are we are forming a culturally acceptable version of God?

And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Exodus 32:4-6

imageI’ll begin by affirming that God absolutely is LOVE! He is good, all the time. However, his goodness may not always register as good on our human grid.

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

There is a rapidly growing aversion to any discussion about God that includes anything that feels negative. The problem? Cover to cover in scripture we see endless accounts of God displaying his attributes—many of which would not be defined as positive.

Instead of proclaiming the full counsel of scripture, people today are looking for a buffet Bible when they can load up on chocolate cake and milk shakes while quickly stepping by the peas, carrot and salad.

People want to form a god of their own design as the Israelites did when Moses was meeting with a fearful God. The plan is to sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play.

Today it’s nearly impossible (not an exaggeration) to find a church that preaches cutting, hard core truths of scripture that break us out of prison and into freedom. If you want to hear about how good God is and little else, than you can pick most any church in the nation.

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

Sixteen dangers of the positive Christianity movement

False conversions—I could spend a lot of time on this point, and I do address it extensively in my book The Coming Church. For the sake of brevity, we must finally come to the understanding that salvation requires an extreme step, not a casual one. It’s when we understand the great drama that includes God, Satan, eternity, heaven, hell, judgment and abundant life that authentic conversions can occur. Who wouldn’t sign up to follow a God that promises gold coins and butterflies? The question must not be, “How can I benefit from salvation.” It has to be, “Is God worthy of me surrendering all I value to him?” When we truly know him in his fullness, in his grace and wrath, in his mercy and judgment, as a Lion and a Lamb, we will be able to make the fearful decision, “You, Lord are worthy of my entire life.”

Misunderstanding of the fear of the Lord—It’s stunning to me that so many are renouncing any fear whatsoever, even the fear of the Lord! If we have a view of God that is only positive, we will reject anything that feels negative, and this includes the fear of the Lord. Let’s set the record straight—the fear of the Lord is not simply to be in awe of God or to respect him. Fear of the Lord is translated over and over as terror, to be afraid, to dread. The love of God and the dread of God are not mutually exclusive. In fact, his love shines brighter we we realize how fearful he truly is.

That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:20-22

God is limited—When we eliminate a major part of God’s personality and character, we greatly limit our revelation of him, and his ability to move in our lives. God is much more than the leader of some euphoric land of fantasy.

Rejection of judgment (that we need so badly)—I believe one of the most important prayers I can pray is, “God, judge me daily.” For those who reject God’s judgment because they perceive it to be negative, their lives will be marked by areas not given access to God’s loving calibration. Additionally, our nation is in desperate need of loving judgment from a righteous judge. Judgment is not hatred, it’s love. It’s deep love. We see this in our own society. We are so touchy/feely that we react in anger when we presume someone to be judging us. However, it’s true love that will judge an issue and help someone break free into healing. We must embrace judgment in these dire end-times.

 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

Rejection of God—This is one of the most serious issues. God absolutely still judges in the New Covenant, and those who reject this will be at risk of attributing judgments of God to Satan. God’s wrath is still on the Earth, and we have to understand that much of the trouble we see today has actually been initiated by God—all while many of his followers are rebuking him and calling him Satan.

 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

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit—Even more serious is the risk of blasphemy. I believe we have to be radically opposed to God to fall into this unforgivable sin (I know many wrestle with this, but unpacking it will require more time than we have here), but, the positive Christianity movement can nudge people closer to falling into this. When we attribute an act of God to Satan, that is blasphemy, and this occurs often within positive Christianity.

“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

Ignoring calls to battle—If we think God is mostly interested in our safety and happiness, we will deem unnecessary and invasive any call to battle. It’s time we mature and understand we are already in the midst of a vicious battle, and it’s our calling to fight hard. God really is OK with his children being tortured and killed as martyrs for the sake of other people discovering Jesus, and we should be too. We are end-time soldiers, and this means we have signed up for a life of inconvenience, brokenness and struggle. That negative reality is glorious when we understand what it is unto.

Misinterpretations of negative situations—News flash: it’s not always the devil. How often to people rebuke demons when it’s actually God that caused the situation? If we think that God only functions positively than what are we to do with the fact that God actually demonized Paul and refused his deliverance? What about God striking people with sickness? 

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God actually endorsed an assault of Satan on Paul to keep him humble! Paul embraced a “negative” God, because he was True. He was content with weaknesses, hardships, calamities. He didn't rebuke them, and that didn't cause him to attribute them to Satan. Of course, Satan wouldn't want to keep Paul from becoming conceited, so this wasn't his plan. Just as with Job, God will allow attack of the enemy for our own benefit. In fact, it was Satan who was allowed by God to kill Jesus. He literally had thorns in his flesh as he hung on the cross, and they were not taken away.

Minimized need for intercession—If we think things are getting better and better, as many who support the positive Christianity movement do, than we have no need to intercede. However, if we truly understand some very troubling times are ahead, and God has called us to stand in the gap, then our passion for intercession will skyrocket.  We need Abraham’s and Jonah’s who will see the judgment of God ahead and pray with passion and warn those in his direct path. Our God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, totally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He destroyed the earth in a flood. His wrath remains on those who reject him today.

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” Genesis 18:32

Rejection of call to martyrdom—Martyrdom is the pinnacle of negative experiences for the Christian. Of course, the truth is that it’s not negative at all. It’s glorious!

 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.  But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”  But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.  Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. Acts 7:54-58 

How powerful is it that Jesus stood as Stephen died! Not only that, but did you notice what young man was mentioned in the story? A young man who would end up turning the world upside down. Saul. Paul. We need Stephen's to arise and lay down their lives in such a way that a new company of Saul's are awakened into their destinies.

Universalism—You’d be surprised at how many professing Christians reject any thought of eternity in Hell—for anybody! After all, how could a good God cast people into eternal torment? It doesn’t register on the grid of positive Christianity.

Rejection of tenets of the faith—I’m angered at how today’s Christians get sad and withdrawn when core tenets of the faith are preached. The cross, hell, fear of the Lord, surrender, brokenness and repentance are minimized as they prefer to focus on how giddy God is about them! We absolutely need a fresh wave of blood bought fire and brimstone preachers again!

Wrongly discern God’s presence & purpose—The presumption is that whenever God is manifesting that the feelings we experience are to be happy, warm and positive. Any manifestation that includes fear of the Lord, conviction, rebuke, challenge or mourning is soundly rejected. If the atmosphere isn’t electric, many today check out and disengage.

Using God—A spirit of religion is in this positive Christianity movement. The thought is that God is there for our enjoyment and must respond to our cries for satisfaction. We determine the experience instead of letting God use us as he sees fit.

Self-centeredness—Related to using God, instead of focusing on the devastation in the world and our responsibility to bring resolution to it, those in the positive Christianity movement are focused on self.

Forsaking our anointing by always being nice—Boy, we have to stop it. We think God always has perma-smile with a twinkle sparkling off of his grin. If we think of God in this light, we’ll attempt to do the same. It can manifest many different ways. For example, instead of boldly preaching repentance and the terror of Hell, we might just smile and be sweet and sugary by encouraging people to take baby steps toward Jesus.  We have become so tentative and passive when dealing with severe threats against the church such as the homosexual agenda, the false-grace movement and others. We need prophets to rise up and preach judgment and repentance again!

Sometimes we need to look someone in the eye, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and say with no hint of a smile that they are destined for Hell. Repent!

Conclusion

Of course, there are limitless positives about God and our relationship with him. However, we don’t want to stop there. We must trust him enough to embrace him in his fullness.

The judge is coming, and he will start with the church. How many will fall away when he arrives, disappoints and confuses people by looking nothing like the god of their own design?

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