|WARNING DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!
(To quote from a famous line taken from a popular 60’s TV program)
2 Timothy 3:1-9
Perilous Times and Perilous Men
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
Matthew 16:6~“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’”
1 Timothy 4:1 ~ Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
Jesus clearly said that it is the Holy Spirit who is the “great teacher,” which He said He would send to us, to lead us into all truth, and that He will bring to our remembrance everything that Jesus spoke about while He taught on earth.
In my view there are many compromises in the church world today.
I’d like to direct your attention to 2 Timothy 3:5, where we are told that Christians in the last days will have a form of godliness, meaning in other words, that they will be very religious, but that they would deny the POWER thereof!
Anytime the Bible talks about “POWER,” as it relates to the Power of God, it is talking about the Holy Spirit; and this is what Jesus told His disciples about that: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with POWER from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
I think if there is any one reason why the church of today, at least in the Western world has been so anemic, especially when you consider what we hear about happening in some of the third world countries today, where miracles are happening, the dead are being raised, and everything just like we read in the Bible, is happening today; but most importantly people are coming to the Lord in huge numbers, and in some places (like in Africa) it is not uncommon to have a million people receive the Lord at one service.
Why is it that the 1st Century church was able to turn the world of their day upside down; and why is it that these things are happening also in our day, in other places, but not so much here in the West?
In Mark 16:17-18 we read: “and these signs will follow those who believe in my name they will cast out demons they will speak in other tongues and… will heal the sick.”
Earlier, in Mark 16:14, in a narrative where Jesus is again speaking to His disciples, He rebukes them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they refused to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen from the dead.
Folks, this same myopic skepticism and unbelief is still prevalent in the church today, especially in our highly industrialized, intellectual culture that is found here in the West. It is here that also many churches are denying the POWER!
The Bible speaks of the church of the first century, and tells us how the disciples went out and preached the Gospel message and signs and wonders followed their preaching, as evidence to the unbelievers of their day to pay attention that this message is from the living God. Do we not still need that same evidence in our day?
Of course we do; and the reason is, people are just the same today, as many were then… skeptical as ever; and it was because of the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit, in miracle signs and wonders that made the difference!
Today the church, for the most part in the West, has attempted to preach a “Seeker Friendly,” more intellectualized Gospel, and in the absence of the supernatural, and signs and wonders, in many cases they have been reduced to marketing the message of the Gospel using Madison Avenue techniques, that are common in the secular world.
The only problem has been, and this is true in some of the cults, when it comes to the church competing with some of these organizations, using these worldly techniques, we often find that the cults even do a better job at marketing and making their message more relevant to the needs of the people they are preaching to.
This was never what God intended for the Church; and for the church of today to reject the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit, is to cause it to be virtually powerless to do the world that God has called us to do.
I don’t care who you are, you aren’t going to go over into these unreached pockets of people around the world and win them by impressing them with your intellect.
Missionaries have done this for years, and they did a good work in that they laid the groundwork and foundations for later generations; but it wasn’t until the POWER of God showed up that people really started getting saved in large numbers, and that was because of the signs and wonders that were all very obviously being displayed
These manifestations are God’s visible and irrefutable endorsement that the message that is being preached is real, that it is from Him… and that the people who are hearing it had better pay attention!
Unless the church of today has that same power backing them up, in ministry, they may be very sincere and also saved; but nevertheless, when it comes to reaching the masses, they are ineffective!
For the church to attempt to do anything without the POWER of the Holy Spirit to back them up; and without the supernatural Gifts of the Spirit in operation, it is like trying to send our troops to the front lines, to fight a war, without any weapons; or like a carpenter trying to do his work with no tools.
In each of these two examples, without the weapons and tools, all you can do is talk; and Satan and his demons are not in any way threatened, impressed, and nor are they intimidated by OUR words… but the Bible says they tremble at the mention of the name of Jesus!
What the church has drifted away from, in their effort to make the Gospel message more appealing, and have subsequently taken out talking about the Blood and sin; and then they have also said that the Gifts of the Spirit, and miracles are not for today, all of this is the reason why so many of the Western Mainline denominations and churches are so empty today, and are dwindling today in their numbers.
My suggestion to anyone today, who is out there trying to make a difference, and is attempting to do God’s work, is do it exactly the way Jesus taught and exemplified in His earthly ministry.
This is especially needful and important, especially in these days and times, with all that we are facing; and what we know (from the Bible) will soon be coming upon the world, it is imparative that we ALL be endued with this POWER from on High, and walk in it; that we not be like the five foolish virgins, mentioned in the New Testament, who had their vessels empty of oil… a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Selah