For many years, preachers and pastors have been declaring the last days are coming, but reading the Bible, one can see that the last days are now here. True men of God have been attempting to get the people ready for the end of time for so long some people choose to scoff or mock those men of God (2 Peter 3:3-4). Evidence of the Last Days can be found throughout the Bible as the people are described by character and conduct. 2 Timothy describes the Last Days’ people as lovers of self or self-centered, lovers of money or greedy, proud and arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, profane, without natural human affection, relentless or no appeasement, slanderers, loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good, betrayers, rash, full of self-conceit, and lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:2-4). These types of characteristics are abounding in modern society and culture. Everything is all about each person having everything as fast, as convenient, without hassle, and without confrontation as possible. As good as this may sound it has created a society that does not look to God but to themselves for their answers. If they cannot find the answer for themselves they search for it online or from other people who hold similar opinions to ensure no conviction regarding what is lacking. This leads to the last point of 2 Timothy to be powerful on the topic of religion, lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). A person of this mindset desires to have the label of a Christian while denying the very God they declare they serve entrance into their life (2 Timothy 3:5). This denial of power belies the genuineness of their profession of faith. The most condemning part of this type of people is when this character becomes not only the Christians of a region but the preachers and pastors as well. Jesus even warned, “Let no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). The word deceive in this passage means to roam from safety, roam from truth, roam from virtue, or to go astray. In the very next verse, Jesus warns that many will come saying they are Christ or anointed of God deceiving many (Matthew 24:5). Some people may think, “I’m not listening to anyone that declares they are Jesus” but this is not what this verse is stating. Jesus is warning against those who pretend to be anointed of God and teach or declare ways to live that are contrary to how a Christian should walk with God. The spiritual enemy of Christians knows the best way to defeat God’s army is to water down a Christian’s walk with their God not create a full-fledged attack against their faith. More Christians need the truth of God not a religious experience within a lukewarm assembly. Do not settle for a half-attempted walk with God. Jesus did not half-attempt to be crucified for the sins of the world so why do so many people want to give Him less than what He deserves? Jesus deserves His people to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). There is hope! This deception can be overcome. The answer to this deception is to study the Bible to know what God says (2 Timothy 2:15), be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14), be faithful to a true house of God (Hebrews 10:25), and endure to the end (Matthew 24:13). For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
In modern times, some churches hold onto a form of godliness but substitute the power of God (2 Timothy 3:5). This happens when a walk with God is not present. It becomes easier to have this form of godliness and substitute the power of God for worldly agendas to make the church more seeker-friendly or easier than churches that use the power of God. When the power of God is substituted it leaves that church as nothing more than a social club saying a handful of Bible verses and leaving room for the next cultural trend to make its way into the events of the church. This is not the idea that Jesus Christ had in mind when establishing His church. Jesus Christ set up His church on the foundation of Him being the Son of God giving His life that all may be born again and to overcome the spiritual enemies of their faith (Matthew 16:18). When popular trends, worldly ideologies, and a lack of acting on the Word of God are evident the social club with a church name does not see true salvations (Acts 3:37-38), real deliverances (Mark 5:8-9,13), or transformations but gatherings of lukewarm believers if not cold pagans that are present for the social status of the group (Revelation 3:15-16). This makes Jesus want to vomit. Churches should have the power of the Holy Ghost present by carrying out the book of Acts as well as the rest of the Word of God and having lost people born again (John 3:3), believers being discipled in the things of God (Ephesians 4:11-12), and the church being the cleansing station (1 John 1:9) for not only the people present but an influence on the region of holiness through a walk with God. Too many times pastors want their churches to be like the cool kid on the playground with friends everywhere but no real substance to any of the friendships. The purpose of the local church is to help people start a relationship with God, understand the things of God, and mature to know how to lead others in the same process they have participated in. Without these biblical purposes a church assembles and does not build God’s kingdom by impacting the lives of believers but instead gathering people to have a bigger number of members. This is evident when churches become known for the sin that is within their camp rather than the holiness that should be abounding among the people. If substituting the power of God is not a good thing why do some churches conduct themselves this way? The answer is insecurity and longing for acceptance rather than standing for the truth of God. David stood before Goliath not in the number of soldiers on his side, but in the name of God (1 Samuel 17:45). It is not with the social acceptance of everyone else that Christians can have victories in their lives but by standing on the foundation of the Word of God and with the power of God through the Holy Spirit making the difference in those that walk with God. A Christian must run the race even if they are the only one to finish and keep their faith (2 Timothy 4:7) by enduring to the end to be saved (James 1:12; Matthew 24:13). May more Christians and churches not substitute this wonderful power of God that is designed to give His people victory but use this resource to change their lives and the lives of others around them. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
A person can find a church on what seems to be every corner within our region in the Bible Belt. At first thought, this is an amazing testimony to have such access to places established to worship God. On the other hand, how many different doctrines are going forth from so many places of worship? How many churches have substituted the power of God for pleasing people (2 Timothy 4:3-4)? Being a Christian for years and now a pastor in this region, I’ve learned that the best source to do anything from is the Word of God, also known as the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 15:4). When some people read the Bible there are verses they choose to omit or not use because those verses bring conviction or a sense of being uncomfortable for either themselves or the people around them. The Bible even warns readers to not change what it says (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; 2 Timothy 2:15). With this type of mindset the Word of God is diluted to not have the power of God needed to change people’s hearts and lives (2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:13). Christians should be God’s people according to what He describes in the Bible. If Christians add modern culture, modern definitions, or other ideas to the practice of Christianity, this mingles the unholy with the holy (Leviticus 10:10; Leviticus 20:23-26; Mark 7:14-19: 1 John 2:15-17). The new product of this mingling is a form of religion that no longer has the same definition as biblical Christianity (Isaiah 40:8; John 17:17; Matthew 24:35). How many parts of the Word of God does a person have to pull out before that person is no longer a Christian? Much like a game of stacking small wooden blocks into a tower and slowly pulling out one piece at a time from the middle or bottom. How long will this tower last before the right piece is taken out creating its destruction (Proverbs 16:18)? If people are going to declare themselves to be people of God they must conduct their lives according to His Word or they void the credentials of their declaration (Romans 1:28). Christians cannot change the Bible to suit their lifestyle or how they desire to believe, but they must adapt themselves to the whole Word of God and its instructions for living a holy, clean, and repentant life unto God. This is by no means the easiest life to live with such a holy standard but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) especially with His mercy and grace covering those who repent (Hebrews 4:16) making them spotless before Him (2 Peter 3:14). God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8), so why do so many people change the Word of God or the image of God to fit what they desire (Romans 1:25)? The answer will vary depending on the sin that person does not desire to give up to be completely submitted to God, but the overall answer is pride. Pride in thinking they are the exception to the rule (Proverbs 16:5; Psalm 10:4). Pride in living how they desire for God and not allow God to lead them by His Word or His Spirit (Galatians 6:3; Obadiah 1:3). Sadly, this seems to be what most people label as Christianity but true Christianity is being a living sacrifice unto God and being the temple of God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 3:19-20). May Christians everywhere be God’s people according to the Bible. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.