Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 27 Dec 2017

The Silence of the Church

By Tavares Robinson

 

We are living in a time where silence has become something admirable. The admiration has led many to believe that promotion from God will come if you just mind your business.

I understand there is a time to be quiet; however, there is also a time to speak. When the Holy Spirit is compelling us to open our mouths, silence is not a badge of honor and humility.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, he scornfully dismissed the church and its leaders as an irrelevant voice posing no threat to his agenda. Sadly, Hitler was right. Many of the German churches remained quiet and looked the other way. Hitler said, “We should destroy the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years reprieve, why should we quarrel? . . . They will betray their God for us, they will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and income.”

The church looked away, thinking that showing “love” instead of confronting evil would turn the tide. But this not only encouraged the sin; in fact, it directly strengthened the hands of the evildoers. Few voices were raised against the monstrous Nazi evil during that time. One of the few was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He understood that love for Christ and others required courage to speak the truth even in unfavorable times. Bonhoeffer was deeply troubled by the church silence:

“We the church must confess that we have not proclaimed often or clearly enough the message of the One God who has revealed Himself for all time in Christ Jesus, and who will tolerate no other gods beside Himself. She must confess her timidity, her cowardice, her evasiveness and her dangerous concessions. She was silent when she should have cried out because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. . . The church is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ. The church must confess that she has desired security and peace, quiet, possession, and honor to which she has no right. She has not born witness to the truth of God and by her silence, she has rendered herself guilty, because of her unwillingness to suffer for what she knows to be right.”

In its thunderous silence, the church became a traitor to the lordship of Christ. She failed to heed Bonhoeffer’s prophetic words, and within a few years Hitler’s agenda was accomplished—with over eleven million people being murdered, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself. True biblical love never turns a blind eye to deception, error and sin. The attitude that we should ignore these things and “just let God deal with it,” is anything but biblical. Compromising for the sake of peace, acceptance and approval is never the answer for devoted Christians.

This type of mindset draws minimal opposition from the Enemy. Satan knows people have the ability to reassess their spiritual condition, so his plan is to keep them as comfortable as possible. It could even appear God is rewarding them because of their increased earthly achievements, adding credibility to the notion that God is blessing them despite their unbiblical view of love. It is a view of love that compromises for the sake of adulation and approval.

What happened among the German churches happened first to the church at Corinth. In First Corinthians chapter five, we see a church that has become seduced by a false notion of grace and love. There was a particular man who was having a sexual relationship with his stepmother. This illicit relationship bore the same stigma as if the man had been having a sexual relationship with his own mother. Incestuous affairs were of course forbidden by the Scriptures: “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father,” intoned Leviticus 18:8. “A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonor his father’s bed,” Deuteronomy 22:30 reads.

This incestuous affair was even considered taboo by the pagan city of Corinth. To say that the city did not approve this sort of thing speaks volume. Corinth was known as the hotbed of immorality. Living a blatant, licentious lifestyle was standard. The city had temple priestesses who served as prostitutes where men would go in and have sexual relations as part of their temple worship. The prostitutes would leave the temple to come into the city and sell their services in the marketplace. They lived the immoral life to the fullest, and the church allowed this to go on. The world was looking at the church and saying, “Even we know that is wrong!” That is what troubled the apostle Paul.

What outraged Paul the most was not just the man’s sin, but the Corinthian church’s response to his sexual immorality. He asked, “And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” (1 Cor. 5:2). There are perhaps two main reasons why the church looked the other way when it came to egregious sin. First, the rejection of the authority of the Word of God. They overlooked the sin even after Paul said, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people, (1 Cor. 5:9). Second, the church had a false view of love, which led directly to the rejection of the Scripture. With the rejection of Scripture came a causal attitude toward sin.

What the church of Corinth displayed in this salacious situation was definitely not biblical love but rather the character traits of worldly love and undiscerning tolerance. Embracing tolerance just because it is politically correct will cause us to ignore what the Scripture says about a particular issue so we can come across as more loving and accepting. But according to Paul, when the church remains silent, this is not evidence of walking in love but in pride. “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?” (1 Cor. 5:6). The Corinthians should have been grieving over the sin within their ranks, but they allowed sin to influence and corrupt the church at large.

How is it that when non-Christians divorce, due to adultery, we call them sinners? But when our favorite church leaders do the same, we call them human, say they’re under grace, and we allow them to hold on to leadership positions? We judge the person in the world, but we protect the one in the church. When someone in the church speaks against our personal idols, whether it is a sinning leader, smoking, drinking, or sexual perversion, it is common to hear, “Who are you to judge?” “That is not the love of God,” “That is not your business” or “Just pray about it.” According to Paul, this should never be. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you,” (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

When the love of God is mishandled and becomes something foreign to God’s Word, we move from an apostolic view of love to a therapeutic view of love. When things are done contrary to God’s Word, and we are not bothered by it, that is a good indicator that we have attached ourselves to a strange love. This love is toxic, the mixture of poison and some truth. Biblical love is indeed the greater virtue, but without the complete truth, it loses its potency.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 17 Nov 2017

The description of a talebearer and their sudden downfall

By Tavares Robinson

The word talebearer is one term that has been overlooked today, due to our habit of redefining words. But as we draw closer to Christ’s return, Satan will aggressively make his way into the church and corrupt the character of many who believe they are Christian. But in actuality, these people are working on behalf of the evil one.

Living in an age full of deception, error is not only coming from the pulpits; in fact, it’s coming from the pews as well. Error has gained access through erroneous teachings and unbiblical spiritual authority. Additionally, it’s been revealed through a perverse character and a fictitious spirituality.

The Apostle Paul warned of this type of behavior in 2 Timothy chapter 3. He warned of those who have a “form” of true godliness but have no true “power.” These people have a reputation among others, but in reality, godliness is not in their possession. These are the same charismatic “believers” with wretched character: blinding others with a heart that seems to care, only to mask its craftiness. These people are no different from the fig tree that Jesus cursed (Mark 11:12-14). They have become fig-tree Christians, who look good and promising from a distance until you get close and realize they are barren and fruitless.

They can quote scriptures because they have been planted in good soil, but what they quote does not match their spiritual condition. If our Savior didn’t eat from that tree, neither should we! Paul goes on to say that these individuals have only a form because they reject the very thing that can produce godliness. They reject the conviction and the purification of the Holy Spirit to transform their heart.

In scripture, the heart is not being referred to as our physical organ; instead, it’s speaking about one’s will, emotions and desires. In essence, it’s the sum total of our character which includes our motives. Satan, in the last days, will begin to move upon those who appear to be saved, but their hearts are unregenerate and deficient in holiness.

You might be thinking, “What does that have to do with a talebearer?” Well, if you read through the exhaustive description that Paul gives us (2 Tim. 3:2-5), you will see very alarming mannerisms and character traits that will be displayed, not from the world, but by those who profess salvation. Paul gives us some descriptions which will be the catalyst for degenerating attitudes among family members and personal relationships.

In the list we see, disobedient to parents… unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control…, and traitors. These sorts of behaviors are covenant breakers! When those who confess Christ as Lord and Savior live out these destructive mannerisms, great strain will be placed on family and personal friendships, along with a door now open for demonic activity.

One word we will extract from the list, is the word slander. This word slander in the Greek is the word Diabolos. This is a very strong and destructive term. Why? Because this is actually the name for the devil. It’s comes from the word which means to “throw between.” Slanderers operate by throwing words in between others. They use false accusations with the intention to divide. They can even take something that is true, but because of a hidden motive, distort what’s true by incorporating innuendos. They are people of unscrupulous speech. These people are malicious gossipers who are so deceptive, that they personally deceive themselves. They have operated this way for so long that they are now indifferent when they actually do it.

Satan has placed them on his payroll. And what’s so alarming is, they don’t even know it. These people are now functioning as Satan’s mouthpiece. He uses their mouth and their tongue to cause others to stumble. They are actually the children of the devil; therefore, they imitate his ways. Jesus, in John chapter 8, knew those Jews could not be children of God simply by their ways, so he identified who their father was (v.44). A slanderer operates under a perverse and lying spirit and cannot be trusted. In the Old Testament, a similar word was used for someone like this, and it was the word talebearer.

Let’s take a look at what the scriptures say about this type of person.

A talebearer is a person who maliciously gossips or reveals secrets. One who spreads the mischief of others but conceals their own personal shame. The word of God is not in favor of character of this sort:

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter -Proverbs 11:13

A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends -Proverbs 16:28

The one who forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends -Proverbs 17:9

The words of a talebearer are as self-inflicted wounds, and they have gone down to the inner parts of the heart -Proverbs 18:8

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore, do not associate with one who flatters with his lips -Proverbs 20:19

Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.  As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. Fervent lips with a wicked heart Are like earthenware covered with silver dross. He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin. -Proverbs 26:20-28

You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. -Leviticus 19:16

A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness. Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure. My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land. That they may dwell with me. He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me. He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. – Psalm 101:4-7

Clearly, this sort of character is offensive to the holiness of God and should not be represented in the lives of fellow believers. But unfortunately, the church in the last days, will have to encounter this spirit and must know how to make sure they are not inflicted by this demonic influence. Sadly, many friendships and family relationships will suffer and be fractured due to talebearing and gossip.

Paul speaks about busybodies and those whose mouth is not tamed, “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not,” (1 Tim.5:13). As believers, we are commanded to confront such actions with the intention of our fellow brother or sister may come to repentance. But If our concern is rejected, God command us to withdraw from such person (2 Tim. 3:5).

We shall all take heed and to guard ourselves knowing that future outcome of this sin is not favorable.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 15 Nov 2016

Revised: A Nation Divided; A Church Delusional

Revised: A nation divided; a church delusional
By Tavares Robinson

An article I wrote in 2012 that seems clearly to be prophetic four years later.

I have never seen, in my adult life, so much division in the U.S. like I see now. This year’s presidential election has the ability to produce another Civil War in the 21st century. I will understand it better if this division stemmed fromunregenerate individuals who are in control and governed by the works of the flesh. But a large portion of this strife and chaos comes from those who say they believe and live by the teachings of Christ and claim to be born-again believers. I am appalled and ashamed by fellow pastoral leaders who use their influence, ethnic race, charisma, power and popularity to sway those under them to their own personal political parties.

The U.S. is divided because the church in this nation is under a delusion! This nation has forgotten about God because the church disregarded God. This nation’s immorality stemmed from the church’s lack of morals; the U.S. has gradually become anti-God because the church has become anti-Christ. This land bleeds self-centeredness because the church promotes narcissism. The people are drowning in humanism because the church’s main focus and objective is self-love. Society despises the Bible because the church doesn’t live and teach the Bible. People have evolved to shun God because the church in America doesn’t know God!

The pulpit is supposed to be the resource and dispenser for the truth of God to mankind, according to 1 Timothy 3:15. The voice and moral conscience of a nation that once flowed from pulpits have ended abruptly.
 
I’m reminded of Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous 19th century French statesman, historian and social philosopher. He traveled to the U.S. in the 1830s to discover the reasons for the incredible success of this new nation. He was impressed especially by the nation’s religious character. Here are some excerpts of Tocqueville’s observations: 

Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country. Religion in America…must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion — for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society. In the United States, the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth. In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people… Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent… I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors… in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom. The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other. Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.

Great is the fall of our preaching today!

Pulpits have become weakened because we were sold a secular version of love that has placed a muzzle on many mouths. In our attempt to be more liked and accepted by society, we stopped proclaiming the hard truths concerning Christ and his word so we can appear more loving and less judgmental. This diabolical scheme was sold to the church, and we paid full price for it. Now, men, who the apostle Paul would have never placed in charge to be the voice to the nations, have hijacked the church’s leadership. Preachers are now businessmen and life coaches. These men no longer preach on sin, but instead, they proclaim and motivate self-esteem. 

God doesn’t need or want politicians in this hour; He needs prophets! He is looking for those individuals whom Jeremiah mentioned in Jeremiah 23:18:  “But who among them has listened to the Lord that he should see and hear His Word? Who has given thought to His Word and listened?” 

Knowing what God is saying to America should be an important role of churches today. Clearly, the handwriting of the Lord is on the wall, and time is approaching quickly when popular celebrity preachers will be called on to diagnose the signs. They, however, won’t have the answer.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 15 Nov 2016

Did The Church Miss It?

Did the church miss it?
By Tavares Robinson

Perusing through the scriptures, and thinking about our recent election, a thought ran across my mind: “Did we miss it?” 

Did the church lose her voice among those who struggled to believe in our Lord and Savior? Was God testing us to see if we would place biblical morals above promised success and prosperity? It is clearly evident that the culture in America is post-Christian. But I would dare to say that the church in America is not far behind. 

What do I mean by post-Christian? It is a culture rooted in the history and practices of Christianity, but the religious beliefs of Christianity have been either rejected or, worse, forgotten. It’s a culture where the views and values of the Bible are no longer the dominant voice; instead, the culture has gradually assumed values and worldviews that are not in line with biblical practices. 

It is one thing for the culture to drift away from biblical standards, but it’s deadly when the church follows in the same path. The rhetoric that’s coming from church leaders is lethal. These leaders are either to the left or to the right, and what’s bringing more confusion is that both sides are declaring that God is either with the new president or that he is not. 

I have heard of the names, “Cyrus” and “Antichrist” to describe president-elect Donald Trump. I think it’s truly vital that we exercise caution in pronouncing biblical names upon people, especially while divorcing the name from the biblical context. 

It’s hard for me to accept the title “Cyrus” for Trump simply because Cyrus was an ungodly leader who God used to help restore the temple. What we also must remember, he was a Pagan king raised up after the people of God suffered 70 years of judgment and became humble and ready to obey. I don’t see the marks of humility in today’s church, I see a pride that’s full grown.

God has never raised up wicked leaders to “bless” His people when they were prideful and walking on paths that were contrary to His way. In my opinion, It seems as if God was weighing the church by presenting two very immoral choices. We can go back and forth about which candidate was who God wanted. Many will say, “Well, Trump was God’s choice because he won,” and I will understand your point. But what if we asked God and He said, “Neither!”

In the book of Joshua, we read of an encounter that Joshua has with a Man (pre-incarnate Christ). 

Joshua asked the Man, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 

The man replied, “Neither.” 

One would, without doubt, be convinced that he would be for Joshua. After all, those enemies practiced diabolical acts and offended God with their pagan worship. Like today, many will assume that God is with Trump because of the obvious evil beliefs of Hillary. But I would advise everyone to place a beware sign on Trump. An evil that’s deceptive is more dangerous than an evil that’s predictable. Has it crossed your mind how Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, who is an arch nemesis of Israel, salutes and admires Trump, who’s supposed to be a great friend of Israel? 

Maybe Putin realized that defeating Israel from without is impossible, so instead, he found someone who would allow him to walk in the side door. Error laid next to truth is hard to see when you are blinded by that truth. Studying the history of God and believing that God will work His history even in judgment, forces me to believe this is all part of the great judgment of God. Sometimes God will allow cause and effect to take place on his behalf. He would allow the people’s decision to be the instrument of judgment. God allowed Saul to be king even though he wasn’t God’s choice. Clearly, he was what the people wanted, and God didn’t resist it. Why? He was allowing his judgment of cause and effect to purify and prepare the heart of his people for his choice: David.

Let’s be honest. God’s judgment, for America, is irrevocable. We have crossed a line in this nation that’s unforgettable. We have performed and carried out more sin than King Manasseh, and in spite of righteous King Josiah, God still didn’t forget the nation’s sins. His judgment is not only in the land, but it’s also in the church. Be careful of leaders who misinterpret God’s delay in judgment to suggest that He is too merciful to judge. As a matter of fact, strong delusion and a stupor are early indicators that His abandonment is approaching.

Did we sell our voice in exchange for a bowl of wealth? Have we lost the world’s respect when it comes down to morality? Was God creating a greater platform in which to preach the gospel, and we failed? Have we become like the church, when Hitler came into power, who said nothing and remained silent because she was enjoying her riches? 

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the church, and her pastors, as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation.

“I promise you that if I wish to I could destroy the church in just a few years,” he boasted to his inner circle. “It is hollow, it is rotten and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse.”

He continued and gave insight on how to keep the leaders in bondage. 

“We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony,” he said. “I shall give them a few years reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. They will be made to dig their own graves; they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.” 

What a sad indictment! Am I calling Trump, “Hitler?” No. But there is a sinister plan going on. Hitler, under the influence of Satan, knew that in order to accomplish his plan, he had to make the church comfortable in her prosperity, thereby disqualifying her voice among others. We need men who can read the handwriting on the wall and not partisans’ “prophets.”

I’m not hopeless, but I am disappointed. I have hope because God will never leave Himself without a witness. He will always have a remnant who will refuse to go along with the prevailing crowds. He will always have people who rather suffer in the caves and not bow down to Baal. He will always have people who will not compromise character for cash and comfort. He will not have leaders who hold a position in Ahab’s house, but outwardly, are trying to protect God’s people.

While writing this, I ran across a statement that was made by Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs:

I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. It’s got nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare, and all of the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all of those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump. I look at the Evangelicals and I wonder, those values don’t mean anything to them? All of those values to me are more important than anybody’s skill in business or anything else because it tells who we are, and how we want to live, and what kind of people we are.

Reading his remark concerning Evangelicals brings me to my original thought: “Did we miss it?”

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 01 Jan 2016

A Subverted Gospel by Pastor Tavares Robinson

Imagine attending your local church one Sunday morning and anticipating hearing a word from the Lord. Your pastor announces to the spiritual hungry congregation that he feels “the Lord is shifting the direction and focus of the church.” With excitement, your heart races for the unknown, and then your pastor reveals the new slogan for the church – “Love God and Love People.” On the surface, this sounds very biblical and godly. But is it really?

In this reading, we will attempt to dive below the surface, and uncover the misleading and dangerous format that has appealed to the hearts of the restless. Those whom ears are constantly itching for the new revelation, as well as those who have been abused by unscriptural authority. I pray that this article will arrest the nature of readers and compel them to reexamine their hearts and direction as it relates to the scriptures. It only takes the tip of an iceberg to sink what most believe is impossible!

As we get closer to the return of Christ, scripture repeatedly warns us about End Time Deception. This deception, so convincing and believable, will be the culprit causing many to become casualties of apostasy. Apostasy, the abandonment or renunciation of ones religious beliefs, is not limited to those who will walk away from the church. Those deceived will also include believers that defect from the truth or original path, change courses, or profess Christianity but deny both essential and historical truths. In the Last Day, deception will not be accidental or by happenstance. People will make a deliberate choice of the heart, will, and desire, to forsake ancient biblical truths and stray from the original pathway.

When we forsake one thing, it will always require us to replace it with something else. That’s just the nature of things. The apostle Paul addressed this specific issue with the Church at Corinth. In the eleventh chapter of the Second Epistle, Paul writes,

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he comes preaching another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different GOSPEL which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

Here, it is clear that Paul was very concerned that the followers of Christ were forsaking what they always knew to be true and turning to another god, another spirit, and another gospel.

God, the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel are all connected. One cannot know God of the Bible and possess His Spirit yet preach a gospel that differs from Jesus’ teaching. This is deception! Leaders profess to follow the same God and possess the same spirit, yet they are preaching a gospel that looks the same on the surface, but operates with a forged set of parameters and a very different motive. But this should come as no surprise. Paul consistently warns us that Satan, who appears as a angel of light – not an angel of “doom and gloom” – will come into the church and present not Islam, Atheism, or Wicca – a pagan, witchcraft religion, but an even Different Gospel.

The Apostle Paul warned us about a Different Gospel. The Greek word for different is heteros, and it means another of a different kind or quality. On the surface, two things may appear to be the same. However, a more thorough examination and comparison will often reveal that although they look alike, there may be significant qualitative differences.

Why is this a concern or a big deal?

Well, the quality or root of a thing is a major issue to Christ; and therefore, should be a major issue for those who follow him.

How Major?

Paul not only addressed this with the Church in Corinth but also with those in Galatia. Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit, twice mentioned, in two separate verses, “If anyone preaches a different or another gospel to you, let him be ac-cursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9). In other words, the Holy Spirit is saying for those who preach another gospel, “let them be anathema” – eternal destruction. To know that Christ has appointed and devoted eternal damnation for those who teach and believe something that is contrary to that which is original is a major cause for concern.

You may still be wondering what does all of this have to do with “Love God and Love People.” To understand, we have to move away from the appearance, and, again, dig beneath the surface. Several years ago, George Barna, the founder of the Barna Group—a market research firm specializing in study in the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans, and the intersection of faith and culture – conducted a poll. In that poll, it was mentioned that non-Christians thought Christians were too judgmental, hypocritical, dogmatic, and unloving. The results of the poll would then rouse some young, “creative and innovative” pastors to collaborate and see how they could reverse the church stigma to make Christianity more relevant to the culture.

What this “golden calf” meeting produced was the core of what we see today. Churches, (1) changing their name to reflect a more relevant, bold tone; (2) removing anything that “seemed” like it was part of tradition Christianity; and (3) surveying their communities to learn what the people desired to see and hear in the church. What soon followed was the slippery slope – a removal of doctrine and expositional teaching and preaching. There was an overwhelming zeal for churches to distance themselves from the hard, “narrow-minded beliefs” that had made Christians seem insensitive. And in the process of becoming more benevolent, the church neglected sound doctrine – the one thing that’s imperative to building maturity, character, and strength in the sheep. Without it, the people cannot be equipped to evangelize at home, in the workplace, to their families, friends, etc.

So there it went! OUT with doctrine and IN with sermons and conferences about fulfilling my “felt” needs, maximizing my potential, reaching my goals, finding my purpose, being significant, living my best life, etc. Needless to say, the extent of duplicity did not end there. The adjustments made to create a seeker-friendly environment would definitely appeal to the non-Christians. But now those that elevated comfort above doctrine, had to persuade the people already in the pews to abandon the formats – structures and standards – that brought them to salvation.

Adopting a new concept of church would not be as difficult a process as one may have assumed. Many were already turned off by spiritual abuse, church hurt and mere boredom and sought something more entertaining. Eventually, a fresh, different idea was fashioned, and it would become the driving force behind our focused slogan, “Love God and Love People”. The latest brand of the church was called “EMERGENT”, and its theme was ”MISSIONAL”. While this may sound like the model aim or purpose of the church, it is important to recall Apostle Paul’s words and reflect on the meaning of another and different. Everything seems great on the surface, but the underlying objective is to reshape the church so that it is more attractive to the world. And with that, the True Gospel is silenced.

So, what does it mean to be “Missional”? Defining such a term can be difficult; especially, when the terms are derived from men-centered creativity having no straightforward definition. This expression has been defined, modified, redefined and changed repeatedly to fit an individual’s liking or choosing. The “on the surface” view is for people to “get out” the four walls of the church and be missionary-like in their communities. “For we all should do the work of the missionary, and not just one particular person.” Well that sounds great, especially to those who have become bored and crave for activities. But this is where the problem occurs. How can you send people out in the communities, to preach the gospel, when you have supplanted and substituted the true doctrine for teachings with that, which meets the people’s needs? People of God, THIS IS END TIME DECEPTION!!

The “Missional” premise only appears to be evangelistic – to pull in seekers, but it’s far from the church described in Acts Chapter 2 verses 40-47, and what Jesus commands in Matthew 8:18-20, which reads:

Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners,  “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day – about 3,000 in all. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayers. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – All the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts:40-47)

Jesus came and told his disciples. “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The foundation of the Missional Movement is to change the emphasis, in a church, from outward driven evangelism with inward devotion and spiritual growth of the members, to outward focused “evangelism” with little or no serious biblical growth of those on the inside. Everything is incarnational. That means that the biblical function of the church and what goes on inside the church (doctrine, true bible study, and discipleship), is replaced by an emphasis on being trained for service in the community. There is no training on BIBLICAL evangelizing. The people are simply instructed to “show love”. Those a part of this mission movement believe the goal is to do enough good deeds for the unsaved, to show the works of Christ. This sounds easy enough, but it is not biblical!

Doing good deeds is not how the apostles reached the unsaved. Neither is it how Christ reached the unsaved. This is not what Christ teaches; therefore it’s not the gospel – it is another gospel. Saint Francis of Assisi’s quote has become the motto for the new mission, “Preach the gospel at all times. And when necessary, use words.” The flaw with this statement is that you can’t “live” the gospel. The gospel must be preached! To preach is to proclaim, tell abroad, and call out with a clear voice. Working solely to meet the needs of a community is not the biblical mandate for the church. As a matter of fact, to assume the role of meeting the needs of people, being their savior, is a form of pride. Why? Because, none of us will ever do more works for an individual than Christ. Christ did not elevate service over preaching The Uncompromising Truth. Even when people desired his help, Jesus made clear to the disciples that preaching, sharing God’s word, was the purpose for his coming. Jesus never sought to convert the souls of mankind apart from preaching the charge of repentance. (Matt. 4:12-17, Mark 1:32-39)

In all honesty, Christ’s mission was to take care of the spiritual needs of people before tending to the emotional and physical need. Note that in Mark 6:32-44, Jesus teaches the people first – giving them what they need spiritually before he fed them naturally. For us to change our approach because of unmet personal gratifications and the results of polls taken in a post-modern America culture, is bold and extremely prideful. Jesus said, “I will build my Church.” How dare we take it upon ourselves to change how it’s done without the Owner’s authorization.

So what’s the “another gospel” that is produced from this intellectual thinking? It’s a Social Gospel. A gospel that seeks and believes the surrounding unsaved “community” is part of the church, and must therefore be reached through acts of charity, social and political action, etc. Notice, again, that with this new gospel there is no preaching on the wrath of God, sin and repentance, hell, or salvation. Teaching is positive and limited to good works. Our Lord and Savior was born and raised in one of history’s most vile, corrupt, unjust, and brutal cultures. Yet he never made it his vision and goal to issue any social justice or social reform. Jesus came to set the captives free from the penalty of sin and death by turning people’s heart back to the Father through preaching. He didn’t do it through works. We do not reach people by building houses, planting trees and rooting grass in the community. Community service is good, but we can’t serve the community and call it the Gospel of Salvation. The Gospel is the teaching of Christ. There is a difference between humanitarian relief and biblical missionary work.

This is the driving force behind the slogan, “Love God, Love People”. Yes, there is nothing wrong with Loving God and Loving People. The duplicity occurs when people allow their distorted view and display of love to override doctrine and expositional teaching and preaching. When our focus is to please and meet the needs of people, we discount biblical truths so as to not offend others. And we do it under the pretense or deception of “LOVE”. Never once did Jesus water down the word or turn a blind eye (to sin) as a demonstration of love. Love is virtuous, but it must be biblical love – doing or saying what’s right in light of eternity.

You see, at the core, slogans like “Love God and Love People” has nothing to do with salvation. Here, relationship is exalt-ed above biblical teachings. This is the compelling appeal of every cult where it is common to hear things like “Loving is greater than teaching” and “We don’t need doctrine, it only divides. Just give us Jesus”. This is the justification of those in this circle. And although this disgust with division is understandable, without sound and proper teaching, one leaves him-self vulnerable to the influence of another Jesus and an unfamiliar spirit.

When you consider the reputation of those that claim to be saved, but live a life that is contrary to biblical standards, it’s not surprising to hear people say, “Those who are all about biblical doctrine and ‘tradition’ lack true love and compassion.” But all these considered, that’s a bold and hypocritical statement when it comes from those that think people who are dogmatic are too judgmental. Some of these same folks are guilty of eisegesis (importing one’s own ideas or biases into the text) when using the church at Ephesus, in Revelation chapter 2, as an example of people who lack love for God and others. The words that should be imprinted in all of our hearts are those written in Proverbs, “Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar” (Proverbs 30:6; Rev. 2:18-19). Here, we are warned about taking away and adding to God’s word. This is something God, clearly, does not take lightly. Truth be told, the church at Ephesus left their first love as a result of obligation not doctrine. Their service to Christ had become mechanical and had taken on a contractual tone; causing them to neglect the love they had for him in the beginning.

Christ frowns upon men who serve him because they “feel” they have to. God desires the service of those who freely choose to do as they do because they love him. Matter of fact, CHOICE is the foundation of biblical love. I choose to love, despite how you treat me. I choose to love, even if I don’t receive anything in return. True love is not sentimental-ism – appealing to emotions or feelings. It’s doing what’s best for the other person in light of eternity. True love would sacrifice reputation for the sake of leading another to repentance. It always has eternity in mind, and is not concerned with seeking acceptance or admiration.

While we are on the subject of love, let us look at an interesting verse in what we call the “Love Chapter”. In 1Corin-thinas 13:3, Paul makes a striking and compelling statement. He says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” Have we overlooked this verse? In other words, I can feed the hungry, give money to the poor, and even give up my life, and still not have biblical love. In our culture, we have been programmed to believe that doing these things equate to me showing love. That’s wrong! It’s sad and shocking to think that another gospel has fed the hungry, housed the homeless, clothed the naked, and financially aided countless souls to hell! In the words of the late author and revivalist, Vance Havner, “If the social gospel was around during the times of the prodigal son, we would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he would have died a comfortable sinner.”

Do we, as the church, supposed to feed the poor, and visit orphans? Yes! But this is not the gospel, but rather a by-product of regenerated hearts. Biblical evangelism may seem like it’s not working, or perhaps working only at a dawdling pace. But one thing is for certain, God’s way is a proven discipline. One that renders eternal results. Christ uses Biblical Evangelism for His glory. Not for the recognition of man or man’s desire to perform activities. This “Missional” movement is a growing trend that will again change, morphing at each breaking moment. And at each turn, it will grow more and more hostile against Christ in an effort to keep up with a culture. Let this be a notice for us to return back to the scriptures, and seek to be equipped, so we are no longer tossed to and fro by every strange wind, and by the trickery of men (Ephesians 4:11-16). There are people whose souls are on the line and they need to HEAR the gospel. Hearts can only be turned from the power of Satan and to the power of God, through preaching, and the regeneration work of the Holy Spirit.

How shall they hear and believe without a preacher?

 

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 29 Jun 2014

8 Signs that a Lying Spirit has Infiltrated YOUR Church Leadership

8 Signs that a Lying Spirit has Infiltrated YOUR Church Leadership by Tavares Robinson

If a ruler listens to lies, all those who serve him will become wicked –Proverbs 29:12

1) Misplaced Authority – The Word of God is no longer the governing and deciding voice. God’s word is replaced by men’s opinion. Members of leadership begin to exalt themselves as more spiritual than those in the congregation; therefore, they are the only ones who are capable of hearing God’s voice. Leadership becomes the source of truth and not the Holy Spirit. Such leaders will use their titles and position to give their dreams, visions and prophecies great value. Their goal is to get the people to view them as the source; consequently, demoting the absolute authority of God’s Word. Eventually, the leaders words seem more important than the scripture. The first sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders place their authority above the Word of God.

2) Misuse of the Scriptures – Bible verses are pulled out of context to defend, support, and protect sins that are done in secret. There’s mixture in the teachings, which usually indicate that the leader is trying to cover up a secret lifestyle lived beyond the church. Stanley Frodsham, in his prophetic warning concerning the coming of seducing spirits stated, “The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise — his life shall agree with the word, and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true — there will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you will know that he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth and then error, to cover their own sins which they love.” The second sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders will twist scripture justify their own secret sins.

3) Emotional Control – When the Word of God is no longer the governing voice, the word is replaced with emotional appeal. Topics like Loving People, Showing Kindness, Forgiveness, Gossip and Submission to Authority are emphasized. And when the truths regarding such subjects are twisted, they have a way of controlling one’s thoughts to the point of unsoundness. When someone is emotionally controlled, they are afraid to discern what’s going on, for fear of being called unloving. They are often afraid to ask other people, within the church, about their concerns for the fear of spreading gossip.  But, this is exactly what the unbiblical leader desires. For one in this position, is neutralized, having surrendered their God given right to inquire and discern. Lying spirits, then, work on the mind of such victims to hinder their ability to see things from God’s point of view. The third sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders will manipulate the teaching to gain control over the mind of the people.

4) The Favoritism Game – Forming a following of persons who will not question unscrupulous things or strange behavior in the leader is the objective of this game. Those who question abnormal issues are usually labeled rebellious or fleshly, or at the very least are considered to be “influenced by demons”. On the contrary, those that believe “hook line and sinkers” and fall for anything the leader says, are regularly recognized by the leadership; placed in visible positions in the church; and are always the recipients of the “good” prophetic words.  This is the bait that causes the others, who once questioned certain leadership behavior, to conform to the “status quo”. The fourth sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders will begin to show favoritism for those that follow without question.

5) About-Face Character – A 180-degree turn will manifest in the character of the leader. Things that were once off limits are now acceptable. The leader’s speech, mannerisms and beliefs have subtly morphed to support the new behavior. Old notebook of messages and recordings of former sermons serve as evidence that a metamorphosis of the leadership has taken place. If one takes the time to examine artifacts, they will recognize that the character is not the only thing have changed, but the teachings and meanings of words, as well. The fifth sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the character and teachings of the leadership will change and, often contradict, what was previously taught.

6) Off-Limits Accountability – The leadership is no longer accessible or “touchable.” They feel as if they are not accountable to the people, and therefore abuse their leadership position as shepherds. Feeding and caring for the sheep is replaced with cruelty and neglect. The leaders are not transparent about the concerns of the people and, eventually, rumors spread throughout the church resulting in a climate of isolation. Once leaders become isolated, they are no longer in a position to accept counsel from those who God, in his mercy, has put in place. Instead, they will reject Godly wisdom and, therefore, remain blind and unresponsive to the attempts of God to reach them. Solomon, clearly, describes this in Proverbs Chapter 18 where he states, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise counsel.” The sixth sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders will gradually become isolated/unreachable.

7) A Tongue on Fire – The picture you see here, is of a hose that spews fire instead of water. The leaders, because they are usually very “sensitive” and defensive while under this spirit, are very angry people. Instead of refreshing souls, mislead leaders damage souls. An irate leader will make the latest church “scandal” the Sunday Morning message. There is nothing more tragic than having an angry watchman responsible for your soul. Such fury is ignited when the people’s actions are not in harmony with the leader’s desire. An untamed and uncontrollable tongue, and explosive rage will always be the fruit of a defiled leader. King Saul’s behavior in 1 Samuel 18 is a perfect example of such conduct. The seventh sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that the leaders will become very sensitive and their emotional instability will be made evident through their angry conduct.

8) A Departure of the Righteous – When those who have lived their lives, by understanding the entire counsel of God, start to exit the building, that’s an indicator that the lying spirit has hardened the heart of the leadership. The Bible talks about Jeroboam, who was the king over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. When he fell under the influence of a lying spirit, he began to alter and change the original order of God by undermining God’s original order that all worship would remain in Jerusalem.  Jeroboam built idols and changed the order to worship in Bethel in order to accommodate the people. When that happened, the scriptures tell us how all the true priest under Jeroboam, left their houses and possessions, and supported the King of South Rehoboam – whom God was with. Take inventory of your church now and ask yourself, “Is the righteous vanishing?” If so, take heed. The eighth and final sign that a lying spirit has infiltrated the church leadership is that those, whom you know to be righteous, are escaping the leadership.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is indeed, some of the most common traits among leaders who fall victim to A Lying Spirit. If you have witnessed such signs among those in leadership, don’t ignore them. Trust me, you are not alone. Others have seen them, as well, but may be afraid to speak – just as yourself.

Once you suspect a lying spirit, pray and ask God to reveal to you those with whom you can share your concerns. God is faithful, and he will create a unique opportunity to voice your issue. If you consistently pray for God’s intervention – for leaders to repent and change behavior – but find that the behavior is only getting worse, this may be a sign that God is no longer in this place and it is time to leave. Our Lord and Savior will never subject his sheep to these types of harsh-and-bully-shenanigans.

Leaving is usually the last thing on one’s mind; especially, because of the meaningful friendships and personal bonds developed over time. However, when it comes to your soul, no friend is worth disobeying God.  Keep in mind what Jesus told his disciples in the book of Matthew:  “Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from them; they are blind leaders. And if a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a ditch.” In other words, if you remain under the leadership of one that has been overtaken by a lying spirit, you will endure the same end – eternal separation from God. God could have allowed you to remain blind. But, the fact that he has allowed you to see the signs is an indicator that he intends for you to make a change. As a body is to the head, so is the relationship between the church body and it’s leader. A leader cannot take you where he or she, themselves, is not going.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 03 Dec 2013

Exposing Apostasy: The Right Motivation, The Right Standard

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Scripture and the Church

Exposing Apostasy: The Right Motivation, The Right Standard

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott

Part four of a series. Read part three.

The only Biblical motivation for confronting apostasy is love for Christ and His church, and the only standard for judging apostasy is the truth of God’s Word.

In this series our theme is an examination of five keys to a Biblically loving response to apostasy. In this article we shall focus on key number two: You need to be absolutely clear about the Biblical motivation for the proper response to apostasy. The proper response, the Biblical response, is based upon genuine Christian love – agape love.

No Motivation But Christ

We have already discussed this, but I believe some additional points are important. The Biblical basis for the proper response to apostasy must be the fact that you love Jesus Christ, and that you love Christ’s people. If Jesus Christ is not precious to you, if His Word is not precious to you, if the faith is not precious to you, if the true faith is not something that you believe must be defended because of your love for Christ and for the body of Christ, then you are setting off on the wrong foot in sounding the alarm about apostasy, and you will stumble and fall.

If you have any other motivation – self-promotion, pride, vengeance, indeed anything of the self, anything of the flesh – then you are acting on the basis of the wrong motivation. You must expose apostasy, you must sound the alarm, by putting your reputation on the line. You must be willing to leave the outcome in God’s hands. You must be willing for other people to think evil of you, for the sake of Christ. What did Jesus say, in Matthew 5:11-12? He said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Notice two things in particular in Jesus’ statement. He said, “Blessed are you when they shall revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you” – and say it falsely.. You must not give those who promote apostasy a legitimate reason to revile you. Acting based on the wrong motive, on a prideful motive, on a fleshly motive, will give them a reason to speak evil of you. Don’t give them that reason. Confront apostasy with the right motivation, with agape love. Love for Christ and His truth. Love for Christ and His church.

Notice also that Jesus said that suffering the ridicule of others because you acted on the basis of the right motivation is suffering for His sake. Christ is the issue. His truth is the issue. That is a vital element in making the right response, the Biblically loving response, to apostasy.

No Standard But His Word

Just as there is only one right motivation for responding to apostasy, there is also only one proper standard for responding to apostasy, and that is the standard of Truth. The only standard for identifying apostasy, and the only standard for confronting apostasy, is God’s Word. What God’s Word actually says, not necessarily what some person or group may say that it says. In Isaiah chapter 8, the Lord challenged the apostate house of Judah with these words. He said, “Go ‘to the law and to the testimony! If anyone does not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in him.’ “In other words, “Go to the Word of God alone as your authority – nothing else. If anyone does not want to be subject to the authority of the Word of God alone, it is because there is no light in him.”

The idea in the original language is quite graphic. It means that in the mind of such a person, who does not want to be subject to God’s Word, dawn hasn’t come yet, Light hasn’t come yet. In other words, if someone consistently does not want to be subject to the authority of the Word of God alone, you have every reason to think that such a person is not truly a believer. Being willing to be subject to God’s Word is essential evidence of saving faith in Christ. Lack of that willingness is evidence that someone does not have saving faith in Christ. Now those are strong words. But this is God’s Word.

In First Thessalonians chapter two, the Apostle Paul commended the church at Thessalonica with these words, beginning at verse 13: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” They welcomed the Word of God. Light had come to their souls.

Scripture-driven Christians are committed to the authority of the Word of God. It is a commitment that comes only because there is light in the soul. Commitment to the authority of the Word is the church’s starting point for everything. The people and leaders of a Scripture-driven church are committed to Scripture alone as their authority. It is their sole and final authority. They are truly “People of the Book.”

Truth, Not People or Personalities, Is the Issue

If you are going to respond in a proper, loving way to apostasy within the church, then Truth must be the issue. Truth – what the Word of God says – must be the focus, not persons or personalities. Don’t let pride get in the way. The Lord condemns pride. “When pride comes, then comes shame. But with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). Don’t let any desire that you might have for vengeance get in the way. The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19). He is the One who decides how and when an apostate’s sins will be dealt with, if a person persists in apostasy. In other words, don’t let “you” become the issue. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Don’t let persons or personalities become the issue. Truth must be the issue. God’s Word must be the issue.

So to sum up what we have seen thus far: The first of the five keys to a Biblically loving response to apostasy is to properly identify apostasy, and the second of the five keys is to have the right basis for your response. That basis is the motivation of love for Christ and His church, and the infallible standard of the truth of God’s Word.

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Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 03 Dec 2013

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 1:18 » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 1:18
I must confess that I would easily trade 50 of today’s sermons for just one sermon by a great expositor such as D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones of last century. His deep and rich treasure chests make most sermons today look like mere tap water. So much preaching today leaves me cold I must say. But I just love to soak up some of the older great preachers, whether a Spurgeon, or a Boice, or a Stott, or so many others.

Consider a lengthy series of sermons Lloyd-Jones preached on the book of Romans. His careful and meticulous exposition of the book covered the years 1955 to 1968, and was eventually turned into 14 volumes. It is a masterful set of sermons, and no one should ignore this masterful work.

Of course Romans itself is a masterful work, perhaps the crown of Pauline theology. So to have around 5000 pages devoted to this marvelous epistle is a wondrous treat. One can never get enough of reading these glorious sermons. The only thing better would have been to hear them preached in person in London.

Here I want to draw attention to just one verse – yes, just one verse: Romans 1:18. It is a vitally important verse in Paul’s argument in Romans, and follows on from vv. 16-17 which is the whole of the epistle in summary, and the entire gospel in shorthand.

After summarizing the gospel in these two verses, Paul launches into a lengthy elaboration of what the gospel is all about. And this begins in v. 18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

Now the incredible thing is that Lloyd-Jones does not spend just one chapter on this verse. Nor two. He spends a full three chapters on this one verse, totaling 55 pages. And the riches found in these chapters are amazing. One could hear a year’s worth of sermons today and they would not equal the value of these three chapters.

One can read them in 30 or 40 minutes, but they need to be read again and again. How many of today’s sermons are even worth a second listen? I am just stunned when I read such works, and wonder how we can have lost so much from the pulpit today.

But here I want to glean a few nuggets from these three chapters, and try to capture a bit of the flavor of what is found here. Lloyd-Jones notes that Paul begins his whole theological argument with the wrath of God: “My dear friends, it is not enough that you and I should be clear about the evangel; our methods of evangelism must correspond to the Scriptures as much as our message does, and here is the method. He starts with the wrath of God, not with the needs of people as such, not with the things which were worrying them, not with that sin which gets them down, which they cannot overcome; nor with their unhappiness, and so on. Not at all! He does not mention these things. Instead, he speaks of the wrath of God!”

He reminds us that this doctrine permeates all of Scripture. It is found all over the Old Testament. And it is all over the New Testament as well. John the Baptist preaches it; Jesus preaches it; the disciples preach it.  Lloyd-Jones explains the importance of all this:

“Now this is so vital for this reason: it is this particular thing, that we are talking about at the moment, that differentiates the Christian message from all the cults. There are so many cults being offered to men in the world today, and they all come and they offer them happiness; they offer them deliverance from something that gets them down. That is always their approach; of course, it is bound to be, they must have something to recommend themselves, and they make their particular message so attractive…

“The one thing that makes it impossible for you ever to put this gospel in line with the cults is that it invariably starts with God, and holds men and women face to face with Him and their relationship to Him. Christian people, let us never so represent the gospel that men and women may mistake it for a cult. Let us be scriptural in our method as well as in our message.”

But the remarkable thing here is what Lloyd-Jones says about the mark of a cult 50 years ago is today the mark of most of our churches – even evangelical churches! Today how many so-called Bible-believing churches put things back to front?

How many churches today put all their emphasis on how men can be served, made to feel good, have their problems solved, make lots of money, and be successful? How many churches today are simply preaching a man-centered gospel which puts men as the priority, as if we are doing God a favor by adding him into the mix?

Lloyd-Jones has nailed it here, and it is such a tragedy that so much of the modern church has moved so far away from the gospel which Paul and the disciples proclaimed. As Lloyd-Jones says, “The business of the gospel is to bring people to God, and to reconcile them to God. Not to fill churches! Not to have good statistics! But to reconcile men to God – to save them from the wrath to come.”

That must be our message. It is God who has been wronged and it is God that we need to get right with. It is not about flattering people and making them feel good about themselves. It is about letting everyone know that our sin is so heinous that Jesus had to come to earth and die for our sins. We deserve the wrath of God, but he graciously offers us a way out.

But as Lloyd-Jones rightly notes, most people do not want to hear about this: “I suppose really there is nothing about the Christian message that is so hated, so much objected to, as this particular doctrine. And therefore I conceive it to be my duty in expounding this great passage, not simply to note and to mention the wrath of God, but to show you its integral place, its vital place in biblical preaching, in New Testament evangelism.”

Ten times alone in this epistle Paul speaks about the wrath of God. It is no mere tangential doctrine, but the heart of the gospel. If so, we may need to be far less flippant and cavalier about what we teach and preach: “I cannot understand a jocular evangelist. . . . Go back and read the lives of the men whom God has used in the mightiest manner, and you will invariably find that they were serious men, sober men, men with the fear of the Lord in them; ‘knowing the terror of the Lord’, they all said with the Apostle Paul. They were not afraid of the people or what they might think of the message; they were only afraid of what God might think of it, and so they started with it and proclaimed it, and God used it.”

The truth is, we can never fully appreciate the love of God until we understand the wrath of God. And we can never fully understand the wrath of God until we understand the enormity of our sin. “God hates sin. Sin is abhorrent to God. There should be no difficulty about the term ‘hate’. If you recognize love in God you must recognize hate also. All that is opposed to God is hateful to God.”

He continues, “it is clear that the very character and being of God as holy, makes this doctrine quite inevitable. You cannot mix light and darkness. You cannot conceive of sin as existing in the presence of God. God’s holiness insists upon this doctrine of the wrath of God. God must deal with sin. God must show his hatred of it. It is part of His own holiness and His greatness and glory that He should do so….

“The wrath is as much revealed as is the righteousness of God by faith. Therefore I do not hesitate to say that ultimately you cannot believe verse seventeen unless you believe verse eighteen as well – indeed, you will never see the real need for verse seventeen if you do not believe verse eighteen. The two things go together.”

Yes the two are inseparable. Calvary only makes sense when both the love of God and his wrath against sin are held together. “If you do not see the wrath of God when you look at the cross of Calvary’s Hill, it is very certain that you do not see the love of God either. It is there that you see the wrath of God revealed. . . . It is only as you have some conception of the depth of His wrath that you will understand the depth of His love.”

There is so very much more terrific material in these three chapters. His writing on the glory of God – what it means and how we are to pursue it – is priceless. So too is his exposition on what sin is – as opposed to sins. But all that will have to wait for another article. Suffice it to say that this sort of preaching is rarely heard nowadays.

Not only is this style of preaching quite rare (that is, detailed and careful expository preaching) but the message is rarely heard as well. Just ask yourself when was the last time you heard the wrath of God mentioned in a sermon in your church. Or judgment, or sin, or holiness, for that matter.

These seem to be long-lost doctrines that almost never get a hearing today. Yet if these vital biblical truths are not preached, then all the sermons in the world on the love of God will of necessity only be weak, ineffectual, and of course only half the truth.

We need to return to the preaching of old, the message of old, and the whole counsel of God. We do ourselves no favors when we water down the gospel to please men, fill auditoriums, and be popular. We instead simply dishonor God and let down those we are meant to be reaching.

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 17 May 2013

Serving God with a Weak Conscience

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I could never do that!” or “That’s not right!” Perhaps you can recall a time when you changed your mind concerning a particular plan because something told you not to.

What is that something we all reference from time to time? What is it that warns us beforehand; causes us to feel guilt; or convicts us when we’re wrong?

IT is our CONSCIENCE – the sense of what is right and wrong that governs our thoughts and actions, urging us to do what is right rather than wrong. The conscience is the inner prompting whose purpose is to not only alarm but correctly instruct us according to the standards of God.

For those that have chosen the narrow path, the conscience plays a far greater role than just making one aware of what is ethical.  It is the inner feeling or voice upon which we strongly depend to hold us accountable to choose what God deems as virtuous. But it isn’t innate or inherent.

Although everyone has a conscience, it is not infallible. But you could’ve guessed that! It’s a fallible, unregenerated conscience that allows one to do the very things we say we could never do. Truth is, we are all born in sin, and therefore shaped in iniquity. Before becoming a disciple of Christ, we, too, suffered from a fallible, weak conscience. But, just as our mindsets have to be changed once we come to God, so must the conscience – which is tied to our soul. The conscience must be retaught – cleansed. It is through teaching, and the application of doctrine that our conscience is strengthened (1 Tim 1:5).

God desires to cleanse our conscience, but we must submit to the process. In order for our conscience to progress from weak to spiritually strong, we must:

(1) Submit to the entire counsel of God (Ps 119: 9-11, 2 Tim 3:13-17, Ps 119: 101-109);

(2) Always be ready to receive correction and constructive criticism regardless of who it comes through (Prv 13:1, Prv 15:5, Prv 15:10, Prv 15:12, Prv 15:31-32);

(3) Admit when we are wrong and do not attempt to protect our image (2 Sam 12:1-15);

(4) Have a heart of forgiveness – pardoning those who do wrong by us (Mt 18:21-35);

(5) Change our associations (Prv 12:26, Prv 22:24-45, 1Cor 15:33-34); and

(6) Repent without excuses or justifications. This means rectifying the situation and remembering what happened so you don’t repeat it (Ps 51).

The job of the enemy is to defile, sear, callous your conscience as to weaken its effectiveness. The fourth chapter of First Timothy says that the enemy will use a deceiving or lying spirit to move people off course by searing their conscience to the truth they used to know and support. Once the conscience becomes weak, the spirit of God can no longer guide us according to the Spirit of God. We become comfortable with that which God considers immoral; eventually losing that which brings conviction and the fear that keeps us from sinning.

The change, however, won’t happen overnight. Apostasy CREEPS in. Once the conscience is seared, we gradually drift from what we once knew as truth – often recognizing but never having the conviction that comes with a strong conscience to remain true to that you once knew.

With every decision, every boundary pushed, apostasy creeps in. Just as a thief becomes comfortable with his sin or the justification for his sin, so will those who continue to override the promptings of God or justify the things that they once knew were displeasing to the Father. Paul says, in Titus 1:15, “The people profess to know God but in their works deny him”. This means that there are many that will testify of God, His power, and even their Christian status, but to look at their lives in action, you would never know that they ever really knew HIM. Their conscience, now drifted from truth and possibly seared, no longer has enough strength to sway their thoughts and actions in the way of righteous.

The goal of every believer, follower, disciple of Christ should be to keep his or her conscience pure. For without the conscience, what then is our guide? To do so, we must remain FAT – Faithful, Available/Accountable, and Teachable – doing what is necessary for maintaining a clean (not necessarily a clear) conscience.

by Pastor Tavares Robinson

Published by Pastor Tavares Robinson on 17 May 2013

Eternity Blindfolded

Have you noticed how fast time is passing by? Do you find yourself saying, “There is not enough time in a day?” It’s as if there has been an acceleration of time in earth.

Things are changing so rapidly. Technology is dated every 6 months; privacy is no longer valued; things that were abnormal are now normal; the forbidden is now tolerated; and freedom of speech, especially when it comes to the sharing of God’s Truth, is now considered a crime of hate to those who don’t agree with the word.

Something is definitely brewing and our generation fails to see it because we have become Eternity Blind-folded.

When a smartphone generation, constantly changing with the latest trends, tries to serve a God that never deviates from His word, the perception of who God is becomes diluted to accommodate the current flow of the culture.  Even “Spiritual” leaders of this generation are convinced that the God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament. Who told you that? Hebrews 13:8 says, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  The judgment seat is now the seat of mercy, but God is still the God that judges.

Jesus provides, beforehand, two examples of what it would be like when the Lord returns and judges a nation of people (Lk 17:22-33). If one would spiritually heed to these judgments, of a people who accepted what God deemed abnormal as normal, they would find that Jesus’ return may be much sooner than one thinks. We can’t allow the number of times that we have heard “Jesus is Coming Back” to desensitize us to the undeniable Truth that Jesus WILL return. And if the Days of Noah and the Days of Lot are any indication of when He’s returning, the Lord’s sudden appearance may be much sooner than any of us ever thought.

Like those in the day of Noah, this nation no longer has a concern for spiritual things. We are preoccupied with living a life of self-indulgence, and to the exclusion of God. Yet, when in need, we do not hesitate to run to him for rescuing. Our perception of who God is, His role as Lord, has been deduced to servant.  And like those in the Day of Lot, EVERYTHING has become about sex – pleasing the flesh and without boundaries.  From the cartoons on television to every product sold on a shelf, sensual appeal is the marketing scheme used to lure the people. Even the churches have become Sin Dens  – home to “Christians” guilty of Sexual Immorality.

The Day of the Lord is near, and the enemy is aware. It is for this reason that he has, cunningly, kept us so consumed with ourselves (our personal issues, desires, our flesh, our lives) that we have been Blind to Eternity – that which is inescapable and swiftly upon us. He knows that if we are consumed enough with just living, we will be distracted from that which is spiritual, and miss the signs of the Lord’s return.

Has the enemy blindfolded you to eternity? If so, what are you going to do about it?

by Pastor Tavares Robinson

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