Thursday, 19 April 2018

An Introduction to Standing in the Last Days. ~ Ganeida

I read a story this week which I have found deeply troubling.  It is troubling
because it took place on an Australian university campus, a place where freedom of thought & rigorous debate should be paramount.  It is troubling because it is only one of a number of similar stories, none of which are making the mainline news. It is troubling because it shows just how far the left is prepared to go in order to impose its views on society & it is troubling because I do not believe the church understands what we are about to face & are completely unprepared.

The short version can be found here. I actually listened to the podcast where *Andrew* himself speaks about what happened. *Andrew*, a Christian, offered to pray for a professed atheist struggling with anxiety & stress over her studies, & with her permission did so.  Please note, he did have this girl's permission to pray for her.  He was not acting against her wishes.  Later, @ a party, he was asked directly, by another student, how he would respond to a gay friend, to which he responded that though he might not agree with his friend's choices he would respond with love & kindness, but not wishing to only express his viewpoint asked this particular girl her views. She did not want to participate in the discussion so the matter was dropped.  However *Andrew* then received a uni email informing him that his actions were inappropriate, made this girl feel unsafe & he was not to speak to her unless it was on a university/class related matter ~ a directive he abided by until the day he asked if she was willing to participate in graduation preparations.  It was after this encounter he was suspended by the university & told that in order to attend classes the following year he would be subjected to fortnightly *retraining* sessions on how to appropriately inter-react with his peers. Pardon?  The ACL took up his case & the matter has been resolved without the *retraining*. 

*Andrew* is not high profile like Margaret Court or Israel Folau; most Christians aren't.  Therefore we need to arm ourselves, to ... sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; [1 Peter 3:15]  

There are 3 main points I wish to make on the subject of persecution & though this is not a matter of lions eating us alive or becoming human torches to amuse Nero, it is a matter of survival.  There are people, here in Australia, who have lost their jobs, been disciplined by governing boards, been subject to the violation of  their consciences because they have expressed a conservative Christian viewpoint on LGBT matters. I am not talking about people expressing vilification or hatred.  I am talking about people saying this is not a lifestyle they agree with or consider a healthy life choice.

The first point is simply that these things will come as we come closer & closer to the return of Christ. [1 Timothy 4:1~ 2] Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron... 

I believe we are going to find several things running in tandem in these end times.  I believe that because the church has always thrived under persecution.  We will come to the *why* of that in a moment.  God does not bring persecution of His people but He will use it for our good & to bring us into closer relationship to Himself. People who are close to the Lord, who have a living & vibrant relationship with Christ, are incredibly difficult to shake.  What's more, as they draw closer to God by way of His Holy Spirit, Christ enables them to rise above themselves in such a way that they draw others to Christ.  We see this with the 1st Apostles.  We see this with the early church.  We see this with the reformation. The kingdom of God thrives when we abide under the shadow of His wings.

As the persecution intensifies we will be forced to choose.  Either we will compromise our faith, follow after the *teachings of demons*  or we will cling to Jesus. Jesus is about to allow the dead wood to be pruned from the vine leaving a remnant that will produce abundant fruit.  So you see we can have great apostasy & great revival @ one & the same time.  They are not mutually exclusive.  The shaking of everything that can be shaken will reveal that which cannot be shaken ~ & those who cannot be shaken will be revealed as *God's Jewels* [Malachi 3:17For they are as the stones of a crown, Sparkling in His land. [Zechariah 9:16]

We know from scripture these things will not pass away:

  • God's Word 

Matthew 3:17 says: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
We know from John 1:1 that God & His word are one, & that Jesus is the Word therefore

  • God & Christ will not pass away
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
  • The Church
...upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:18  Now we do see earthly churches shaken, attacked, even destroyed, but the Living Church, the Spiritual Church is eternal.

My second point is this: 2 Timothy 1:7 
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

We have a little time yet & we must use it wisely to train ourselves in the way of Walking in the Spirit of God in everything we do. It is important because when we are speaking of the Holy Spirit we are speaking about a Spirit of courage. Courage, not rashness.  Not impulsiveness.  Not a spirit of reaction for we are meant to operate in power & discipline from a love base.

If you go to Joshua 1 you find the beginning of Joshua's story as leader of the Israelites.  Moses has just died. Joshua is an untried leader & God says: arise cross this Jordan, you & all this people, to the land, which I am giving them...Then in verse 6, again in 7 & in 9 God says: Be strong and courageous.  The Hebrew is Hazaq, spelt in a variety of ways but the meaning is clear.  

Remember we said Hebrew is a concrete language so the implication is that courage requires being prepared to act, to step out in faith. It is a word often used to admonish soldiers as in to take a stand & hold their ground. It is not referring to physical strength but is an admonishment against fear & dismay. The true man puts it this way: Strength is the counterpart to fear, and courage is the counterpart to discouragement.

The mistake people make is in thinking that courage must come from within ourselves but that is not so. Ephesians 6:10 says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might ~ which leads us to my 3rd point.
Who is your source?

As Christians most of us could quickly respond from Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Or 91:2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" Or 31:3 For You are my rock and my fortress;

So I ask you again: who, or what,  is your source?  It is important we understand this about ourselves.  It is no good being able to spout the scriptures if we do not practice what they teach. When trouble comes where is the first place you go?  It could be the pantry for the chocolate. It could be the fridge for a beer.  It could be the library for a book or the tv remote.  Whatever it is we are using that as a means of alleviating stress & strengthening ourselves for the fray when the first place we should go is to the Lord for it is He who says: Come to me all who are weary & heavy laden.[Matthew 11:28]

We can only be strong, we can only be courageous, when we find our strength in the Lord.  Anything & everything else will fail us & when the hour of testing comes we will fail.  This is why Timothy expressly warns that in the last days some will abandon the faith.  It is not enough to believe.  Beliefs can change if they are not grounded in Truth for we are warned to grow up & become mature so that As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; [Ephesians 4:14]  No, we are to be grounded in Truth, relying not on the wisdom of this world for that is foolishness in God's sight [1 Corinthians 3:19 ]  Rather we are to know God: His word, His character, His love, for then we will know we are never abandoned or deserted, never left defenceless, never without provision & the world will respond as it always has, crying: These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also... [Acts17:6] but in the process they will have to consider the claims of Christ for how else could His people sing praises to their God as they are taken to the lions?


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  2. Today at our small home church we were all reminded that we have been given a very special church by our mighty God. We are different to many other churches because the Lord has kept us a small physical church so we can go that step further and be a discipling church so as to have a church that our Lord uses to heal the Spiritually sick. So they can in safety let the (John 8:32) truth set them free. To help them understand that the Bible is the living word as John 1:1-5 talks about. A person with a need like this Lord's day walked into our church as many others have done over the years. We always pray for Spiritual protection for them. Experience has told us to do this always and hold them close in prayer till their strength in our Lord Jesus grows. Amen.~KGV