I was reading a book recently by Missionary Jack Chalk, “Living Right in a World of Woe” and I am hearing this same statement coming from different cultures and age groups.
The truth is that whether people are repenting or not, God is in the process of cleaning and purifying His Church. His Bride won’t be able to sit with Him, unless her spots and wrinkles are ironed out.
I was one of the 76 million Baby Boomers born in the age group from 1947 through 1964. I became a Jesus person when I was twelve. Both of my parents professed to be Christians and professed their belief in God, but we did not attend church as a family, nor was any form of personal relationship with Jesus demonstrated in our home, before I got saved. My personal relationship with Jesus as my personal Savior and my profession of faith, came as a result of my aunt and uncle, who were Jesus People. They took me to church with them.
They were faithful members of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. The CMA was a denomination with a government much like the Presbyterian denomination. They were conservative, believed in physical healings, focused on missions, and confirmed the ordination of women.
I abandoned my daily walk with Jesus in the summer after my 9th grade year. Although I never denied my Christian beliefs, I was in a rebellious state until my mid-to late twenties. Once I repented and returned to my faith, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in a charismatic, healing mega church in Orlando, Florida with Assembly of God roots.
In the 80’s I returned to the arms of Jesus, and to God’s Word, both in study and prayer.
Nearly a decade later, I felt called to the mission field but because I was divorced I could not become ordained as a minister, pastor or missionary with the denomination of the church I attended. Of course this didn’t stop me from volunteering, and raising my children in this church. But, looking back I can see how this affected my confidence and identity in Christ. Now, nearly thirty years later. I counsel and disciple others who struggle with many of the same conflicting issues with their own identities. It appears there is nothing new under the sun.
The 50’s, 60’s & 70’s birthed many world movements of religion, science, politics, music, wars, decorating styles, and counter cultures. The Jesus Movement born around the end of the 60’s began an unusual style of believers that sprang off of the Hippie and free love movement. (How the Summer of Love ended 50 Years Ago)This is a great article.
Multitudes of mid-century religious leaders; started churches, cults, mission movements, as well as every thing imaginable coming from both the right and left. Many then and now continue to challenge our moral and ethical systems of doing what is right in the eyes of God.
In our world of woe, and as described in times past, Christian men and women who have both the means and platforms to lead, guide and disciple have either closed their mouths, or are being silenced by their own compromised situations. Where have all the Jesus People gone? Surely they aren’t all dead?
What makes a true disciple? John 8:31-32 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 3. Matthew 4:19-20 “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.John 8:31-32
Jesus addresses first and foremost the Jews, who not only knew what God’s law said, but also walked, it and taught it in the synagogues. Jesus later talks about not just making disciples but holding to God’s words and teachings. When Jesus came to the earth, many of the traditional and religious leaders had a form of Godliness, they upheld the Old Testament laws in the strictest forms but had waivered in their hearts and relationships with God. They traded the power of their positions, and relationship with God himself for a position with the government. Persecution and changes in science, religions, and politics caused many who were following God to fall into evil sins such as pride, idolatry, and the fear of man.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,…for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty.”
“In August of 1949, Billy Graham was in San Bernardino, California, just before his ministry exploded during an eight-week tent Crusade in nearby Los Angeles. Late one night, he took a walk through the woods where he laid his Bible on a tree stump after a challenging conversation with a friend about the authority of Scripture.
It was that night he prayed and told God he accepted by faith that the Bible is indeed the Word of God.
Seventy-two years later, against the backdrop of the San Bernardino mountains, his son wrapped up an eight-city tour across Route 66 based on the central message of the Bible: God loves you.
“The Bible is God’s Word from cover to cover,” Franklin Graham said Saturday night. And the story inside tells the greatest love story of all—how God’s infinite love for us caused Him to make a way for us to be with Him forever….” Route 66 Tour…by Tiffany Jothen 10/3/2021
I believe God is calling us all to repentance and is speaking to the church loud and clear, “stand firm, repent and turn back to your first love.”
To the angel of Messiah’s community in Ephesus write: “Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks in the midst of the seven golden menorot: I know all about your deeds and your toil and your patient endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. You have tested those who call themselves emissaries and are not, and have found them to be liars. You have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
“But this I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love. [a] Remember then from where you have fallen. Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent.Revelation 2:1-5
Let’s take a brief look at the history of Judaism (Monotheism), beginning at the Babylonian rule, the Greek rule, the Roman rule and then the birth of Jesus, (i.e.., Christ-followers, New Testament believers, members of the Roman Catholic church, and the Protestant Reformation from which has formed the many denominations that we see and know today and around the world.
In 587 B.C.E. the Babylonians captured Judah, destroyed the Temple,
and led the people off to Babylon.
Although not allowed to leave, the Jews were not treated as slaves – they had freedoms.
Built homes and businesses.
Overall, became quite comfortable and successful.
Not allowed to build a Temple nor publicly practice their religion
Although the Persian King, Cyrus, returned the Jews to Judah, they did not regain their political freedom. The Persians supported the Jewish religious reforms.
The Greeks ruled over the Jews for two centuries.
Periods of terrible persecution.
Under penalty of death, the Jews had to:
Abandon the Law
The Greeks defiled the newly rebuilt Jewish Temple by putting statues of Greek gods inside, and forcing the Jews to worship them.
63 B.C.E. – Romans conquered the Greeks The Romans began ruling the world, built roads, instituted many avenues for commerce and were known for their lavish, and idolatrous lifestyles.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews were under the huge thumb of the Roman Empire, the most powerful of the ancient empires.
A Christian living in the twenty-first century should see the world through the Biblical worldview and through the eyes of God.Missionary Jack Chalk
In Jack Chalk’s book “Living Right in a World of Woe” he makes a very strong observation of today’s world. He makes a statement, “A Christian living in the twenty-first century should see the world through the Biblical worldview and through the eyes of God.” This is what will be seen or not seen:
- No omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God as the Creator of the Universe.
- No absolute truth
- Certain sins against God being protected and promoted
- Absence of rites of passage
- Youth is exalted
- Family is no longer dysfunctional but dissolved
- Everything has become a means with no end
- Life is the ever-present “now” with no thoughts of a future
- Life is a “now” experience with no commitment or responsibility
- Things are not made to last long
- Image is all important; substance does not matter
- Fraud, fakes and deception
- All views are tolerated except the Christian view
- Tolerance means acceptance
- All religions contain truth for their adherents only
- To insist that Jesus Christ is the only way to God is being exclusive
- To be exclusive is to be intolerant
- To be intolerant is the greatest cultural sin
- Sin is the offence against the person rather than an offence against God
- No all-encompassing story that gives meaning to the world and our life in it
Jack closes this portion with the statement: “We have moved from the belief that everyone has an equal right to their opinion, to the belief that everyone’s opinion is equally right.”
We have moved from the belief that everyone has an equal right to their opinion, to the belief that everyone’s opinion is equally right.Missionary Jack Chalk
I recently read this Facebook post by pastor and missionary Cody Matthews,
“Some honest thoughts that are not meant to cause debate but really got me thinking.
What got American society the way it is?
I only ask this question because one has to know where he has failed in order to change. I wonder if some of the reasons those who are 30 and under so hostile to the gospel are: – many of their parents were told they were Christians because when they were young they asked “Jesus into their heart” and that was the extent of the gospel’s power in the home. – parents never took the time to teach and train their children in the word of God and so their friends, TV, music and school did. -we underestimated the power that an atheistic education could have and didn’t start enough Christian schools and colleges or at least teach our children how to navigate through it. -we were too busy playing sports and not enough time at the dinner table together.
Perhaps we spent too much time chasing the American dream and not chasing Christ together?
– the children were brought up only having fun with other children in church and in youth group and not invested in and discipled?
– churches focused more on entertainment and not advancing the kingdom of God through faithfully preaching, teaching the word of God, evangelism, prayer, discipleship and sacrificial love towards their communities?
So now what? We pray. -we raise our children and guard them. We also train them on how to live the Christian life. We protect them. we discipline and disciple them. We start Christian schools or homeschool our children. – we invest in our local churches to be healthy – we stop measuring how healthy we are as a church not only by how we’re doing as members (which is important) but also as to how we’re praying for, sacrificially loving and bringing the gospel to the lost world around us. Churches must be in the frontlines always.”
Who is the church?
Scripture identifies the church for the first time in Matthew 16:
“And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
In response to Peter’s declaration, Jesus said in verses 17-18:
“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in the heavens. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”
Peter realized Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, because the Father had revealed that to him. Then the Lord joined the revelation of who He is with the revelation of the church.
If we are not a true disciple of Jesus Christ it is impossible for us to be considered part of His church.
As we look today for those Jesus People, we have to ask ourselves, where is the power of Jesus, where is the communion and fellowship of a unified body, not individuals, groups or ministries that are building their own kingdoms.
We are seeing an increase in a world of woes. These woes include increased sickness, diseases, homelessness, pestilence, crisis, disasters, mental & emotional health issues, increased fear, poverty, anger, death and destruction.
As we look for Jesus People who began in one of the biggest Christian movements ever on the face of the earth, in currently the richest nation in the world; we must continue to draw closer to Jesus, and rely on His strength.
Judas one of Jesus’ disciples, was not a true follower. He claimed to love Jesus and his fellow disciples, but was not able to develop an intimate relationship with any of them. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him, and this betrayal would ultimately destroy the betrayer.
Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.Maverick Hoenig, Intimate Betrayal
FALSE INTIMACY (Excerpt from Intimate Betrayal by Maverick Hoenig)
When we think of betrayal we often think of derogatory words like, “backstabber”, “liar”, or “deceiver”, yet I want to focus on a different word, “kiss.“
Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.
Why did Judas choose to kiss Jesus when he was in the very act of betraying him? He could have merely pointed at him, and identified him, or maybe he could have sucker punched him right in the gut, because that is probably what it felt like anyways. I believe he did it with a kiss because Judas always had a false intimacy with Christ. He found his intimacy by deceiving, and not by truly connecting. Even in the midst of betraying Christ unto death, Judas thought it was appropriate to kiss Jesus. He figuratively stabbed Jesus in the back while staring into his eyes and kissed him on his cheek.
That is the question I find myself asking in this scenario. What gain was there in deceiving Jesus in this way? The fact is, there was NO GAIN, only LOSS. He was greatly deceived. Just as Eve was deceived back in the garden.
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:3
The Whole Duty of Man
And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set[a] in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find [b]acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of [c]scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
for God will bring every work into judgment,
including every secret thing,
whether good or evil.
For in the end there is nothing to debate but to seek the LORD while He may be found and to live, love, and declare with thanksgiving the life He has given us! For this world full of woes is impossible to live righteous without Him.
I am afraid that we live in a day where sin is being swept under the rug and grace is being misused. Believe me when I say that I am all for grace, because I am in great need of it. But you and I, and all the world, need to know what grace is and why we need it. When we come to an understanding of who we are and what God has done for His beloved through Jesus Christ we have a greater understanding of how AMAZING GRACE really is!Conforming to the Truth Blog
As we enter this season of intercession, thanksgiving, and harvest I pray the LORD will show you the width and depth of His wonderous love!
You are one of God’s Treasures!
Marlene Hoenig, Crisis, Trauma, & Biblical Counselor
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