ARE WE THERE YET?

I am of course a skeptic about the divinity of Christ and a scorner of the notion that there is a God who cares about how we are or what we do. ... Religious skeptics often become very bitter towards the end, as did Mark Twain. ... I know why I will become bitter. I will finally realize that I have had it right all along: that I will not see God, that there is no heaven or Judgement Day.

Kurt Vonnegut

Sadly there is much truth to Mr. Vonnegut’s quote, and that truth is, those who know not Christ as their Lord and Savior not only do not know God, nor will there be heaven on Judgment day for the person. For Hebrews 9:27-28 says “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

This mornings devotional is a little longer than usual, and I will not apologize for it, for I think of what is said is of great importance. For not only this day, but EVERY DAY people die and then receive judgment by God. A judgment far worse than any man could ever do to another in a thousand lifetimes! There are also signs of judgment upon the living today, judgments of holy correction, of warnings, and signs to come! The questions are; are we listening, are we paying attention, are we mindful of what God is and will continue to do? These are of GREAT importance to be aware and to be ready!

I would like to begin by saying in no way, shape, fashion, or form am saying this is what is happening at the moment. However, it gives everyone the opportunity to think on it, and especially the true Christian (for false converts truly do not care for the things of Christ, only that they have their false fire insurance or gain great riches of this world by the misuse of His holy name).

Those who know not the Word of God are so because they do not study the Word of God, and care nothing for it. They are weak at best in their religion, they are still asleep in their sins and self-righteousness, and they have no time for the Word of God or their duties that Christ commands, for they are busy chasing the things of the world instead of the care of their souls.

I do not say these words to be judging or discouraging, but being a Christian is not something to be taking lightly(Christ Himself said to count the cost), nor is it something some one makes themselves by professing by name only. By reading this morning the opening of the seven seals in heaven in Revelation chapter 6, there are two things we are not certain of, and one which we are. The uncertainties are that we do not know when the seven seals will be opened. 2) We do not know how long the period each seal remains in effect until the other is opened, but we do and have been given word to read, that as each one is opened, it progressive gets worse until Christ’s return for His beautiful bride. The thing we know for certainty is that Christ is not only able to open the scrolls, but is divinely appointed to do so at appointed times that no man knows.

Granted, the commentary written is that of another man, and not necessarily divine scripture, yet God was gracious to Matthew Henry in the wisdom given that we be thinking, praying, heeding the warnings therein, for I do believe it is quite possible based upon the signs and translations that it has begun, and if so, that should GREATLY increase our concern and awareness of what is going on in our world daily. For what is about to come is nothing compared to masks and a virus, and the death and destruction will be FAR greater than ANYTHING we have EVER seen! You take the warnings and instructions of mere men and are obedient to them, but will you more so take God at his Word, which is truth.

Revelation 6:1-8 – Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”
7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

Now the commentary focusing on seals 2-4.

On opening the second seal, a red horse appeared; this signifies desolating judgments.

The sword of war and persecution is a dreadful judgment; it takes away peace from the earth, one of the greatest blessings; and men who should love one another, and help one another, are set upon killing one another.

Such scenes also followed the pure age of early Christianity, when, neglectful of charity and the bond of peace, the Christian leaders, divided among themselves, appealed to the sword, and entangled themselves in guilt.

On opening the third seal, a black horse appeared; a color denoting mourning and woe, darkness and ignorance. He that sat on it had a yoke in his hand.

Attempts were made to put a yoke of superstitious observances on the disciples.

As the stream of Christianity flowed further from its pure fountain, it became more and more corrupt.

During the progress of this black horse, the necessaries of life should be at excessive prices, and the more costly things should not be hurt.

According to prophetic language, these articles signified that food of religious knowledge, by which the souls of men are sustained unto everlasting life; such we are invited to buy, Isaiah 55:1.

But when the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition, denoted by the black horse, spread over the Christian world, the knowledge and practice of true religion became scarce.

When a people loathe their spiritual food, God may justly deprive them of their daily bread. The famine of bread is a terrible judgment; but the famine of the word is more so.

Upon opening the fourth seal, another horse appeared, of a pale color. The rider was Death, the king of terrors.

The attendants, or followers of this king of terrors, hell, a state of eternal misery to all who die in their sins; and in times of general destruction, multitudes go down unprepared into the pit.

The period of the fourth seal is one of great slaughter and devastation, destroying whatever may tend to make life happy, making ravages on the spiritual lives of men.

Thus the mystery of iniquity was completed, and its power extended both over the lives and consciences of men.

The exact times of these four seals cannot be ascertained, for the changes were gradual.

God gave them power, that is, those instruments of his anger, or those judgments: all public calamities are at his command; they only go forth when God sends them, and no further than he permits.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN

THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN

If you will not have death unto sin, you shall have sin unto death. There is no alternative. If you do not die to sin, you shall die for sin. If you do not slay sin, sin will slay you.

Charles Spurgeon

Look at the image above to see what I did intentionally. Do you see it? Some may not because of many reasons; colorblindness, hard to see, have issues with contrast, and so it is with the Christian and sin. We are easily deceived! All one has to do is examine oneself in the light of the scriptures to see how true it is! So much so, we have become calloused, unconcerned, ignorant, and lacking of wisdom against it!

One of the saddest things to see in the Christian community and in the world overall, is that of sin; the lack of seriousness against it, the lack of fighting against it, the lack of doing anything against it, and the worst of all… turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to it.

Many today say that sin has been defeated by God, and therefore there is no cause for alarm. Yes, that is true, but that is still to happen in the future. My friends, sin is alive and well in the world! For Satan is still the one who has the power for a time to continue to deceive all. Before we go any further, let us define the three main words in this writing; sin, deceitfulness, and transgression.

A transgression of the law of God. A vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God. an often serious shortcoming. An offense against religious or moral law. an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible. Sin is normally referred to in the verb form (as it is an action that is done or performed). Can you already see and feel the seriousness of sin, just in its definitions?

Deceit (or deception) means the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid, the act of deceiving.

Transgression means: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty, in this case, God’s law(s).

1 John 3:4 puts all of this into prospective that is very easy to understand “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”

Are you still not getting the point, that sin is serious business and very few Christians today take it seriously if at all?  Many have seared their consciences against God and His law(s) and have become His enemies without even realizing it, and yet God has allowed them to do such!

Some of the high points from Romans 1:18-32:

18-22 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools

24-25 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.

26-27 – For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28-32 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

One does not have to look far to see what I am clearly pointing out in God’s Word, but more importantly, in those who “profess AND confess” to be Christians! So what can be done and how can a sinful person or Christian be under grace? Hebrews 3:13 gives us a great start in the right direction.

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Let us get the whole context before we break down the main point of verse 13.

Hebrews 3:7-13 –

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’ 11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

So we are to exhort one another daily. To exhort someone takes effort, it takes courage, above all, it takes love. For exhorting means to incite by argument or advice, urge strongly, to give warnings or make urgent appeals.

Here are some very common examples that many of us know, and many of us have also not listened to wisdom. “Do not text and drive”! “Just say no to drugs! These are exhortations done in concern of dangers and the outcomes that take place when warnings (exhortations) are not heeded to. Now let’s take a look at one of the greatest exhortations of the Bible that just about every Christian is (or if not, needs to be) familiar with, Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The death here referred to is far greater than just a physical death, it is an eternal death, one that without the precious blood of Jesus Christ paying for our sins, and walking in the newness of the free gift of grace, it is nothing more than sheer hypocrisy to the world, and an absolute disgrace to the Gospel!

Take time today to do a word search in your Bible on the word sin. Read the book of 1 John, for there is LOTS of spiritual truth that also speaks of our topic this morning. I will leave you with one of my favorite and very sobering quotes when it comes to sin. It comes from the puritan writer and Pastor John Owen.

“Be KILLING sin or it (sin) will be killing YOU!

#ToGodBeTheGlory