Secret Prayer


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In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. ~ Mark 1:35

 

22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. ~ Matthew 14:22-23

 

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. ~ Luke 6:12

Jesus the Christ, the holy Son of the living God, Who was at the foundation of the world, PRAYED.

And He prayed in secret.

And He prayed a lot.

Jesus prayed early in the morning, He prayed through the night, He prayed when He had a major decision to make, like choosing the 12 disciples.  He is the God of creation, of the entire universe, yet He had need to pray.

Why don’t you and I feel the need to pray?  If Jesus needed to pray how much more so do we?  How is it that men can come to the place where they feel that they need not pray much anymore?  Are they all filled up?  They’re filled up alright but it is not with the Holy Ghost but with self and selfish interests.

Want to know why the church is powerless and ineffective?  Want to know why your prayers are seldom answered?  Want to know why our country is in such dire straights?

Could it possibly be because we have not been in the place of secret prayer?  Have we not found it important to make time for our King and Savior, to get alone with Him?

Nothing will change until the people of God find their way into secret prayer with God.  It will be the hardest thing you will ever do, climbing Mt Everest is easier than spending multiple hours a day in prayer.

Secret prayer is not conducted in the drivers seat of your car on your way to work.  I spend about 2 hours a day behind the wheel of a car and I do pray continuously.  However I do not and cannot consider it secret prayer.  Why?  Because all my attention and energy are not focused on our Lord and Savior.  My attention is divided.  But because I do spend at least 1 hour a day in secret prayer, that two hours means something and is productive.  Why?  Because I have started my day in quiet devotion in secret to the Lord.  I can tell you that during the years when I did not have that early morning secret prayer, little happened compared to what Jesus does not.

Yes there was a time when I did not spend consecrated time in secret before the Lord.  But last year God began to convict me for not praying.  I looked around and asked around, and could not find very many who do pray.  Then I discovered that Jesus slipped away regularly for secret prayer.  If my Lord needed to pray how much more so do I need to pray?  Prayer suddenly became the great imperative, the must have, must do, with all urgency.  The world was slipping into eternity and I was busy sleeping in my comfortable bed and watching my TV.

But Jesus has helped me turn this around, my mornings start between 4:00 and 4:30 with praise and prayer and waiting upon God.  My evening are spent doing work, then praying or reading the word, or watching some brother bring God’s message.  The more I pray the less I can watch regular TV, there is so much that comes out of that screen that promotes the anti-Christ and profaned the living, resurrected Christ.

Over the years I have collected hundreds of movies, I see a shotgun in their future.  You may ask why not sell them or give them away.  If you know something profaned the name of Jesus can you sell it or give it away in clear conscience?  To me it would be like giving away pornography.

There are not many websites I can visit without getting under the burden.  Even a lot of Christian sites allow to many risqué pictures.

I am just starting to find out what it means to be “not of this world”.

I am praying that Jesus can now be able to really use me in His kingdom.

CDP

The Winnowing Fork


To date, I have hardly ever taken on the news on this blog.  However I feel I should on the issue of “gay Christians”.

Christianity Today – World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same Sex Marriage

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil,disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. ~ Romans 1:18-32

There are a few things from the article that triggered this, here are just few quotes.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities.

Tell me, does the decision of some black roped mystic automatically mean that it is right?  Are not these black roped mystics mere men and not gods?  And being mere men what gives them the authority to override the rule of the One true God?  Governments are notorious throughout history of torturing and killing men, women, and children because they did not like them. The Nazis and the Jews.  Every communist country has systemically tortured and killed Christians.  And I have had Marxist defend this practice, saying that those governments killed all their enemies.  Which they did, but when it came to the Christians it was not because they had done something subversive but simply because they believed.  To blindly swallow what some rotten and corrupt judge says for his godless position does not make a law right.

Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians.

A lot of Christians today are addicted to porn, maybe the church should also get into the porn business.  Since it is porn made by Christians for Christians then it should be fine.  Does that sound like a reasonable statement?  If the church can embrace the gay life style, then we can embrace the porn life style as well.

Given that more churches and states are now permitting same-sex marriages (including World Vision’s home state of Washington), the issue will join divorce/remarriage, baptism, and female pastors among the theological issues that the massive relief and development organization sits out on the sidelines.

One fallen head instructing another fallen head.  There is no way to justify the gay life style within true Christianity.  It is impossible.

I have had several people tell me that the gay life style is only as bad as someone cheating on their wife or husband.  Sorry, way wrong answer.  What Bible are you reading? According the Paul here in Romans chapter 1 homosexuality is the final stop, the bottom of the bottom of the pit, in sin.  In other words this is as far away from God as one can get in this life without stepping into hell.

But here is the real issue:  God is taking the winnowing fork to the church to produce a pure bride that has not nor ever will sell herself off as a prostitute to this world.  The chaff is very afraid of being separated from the wheat.  At least with some wheat among them they still have some credibility.

Dear ones, it the not so very far off future (I believe in 5 years or less) persecution of the true church will begin in this nation.  And it will be unbelievably barbaric.  These will be people calling themselves “Christians” doing “God’s work” by killing off those who do His will.  Sound far-fetched?

They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. ~ John 16:2

These are Jesus’ own words.  Jesus is working to purify His church, those who are walking in His will shall be persecuted, those who pretend to walk in His will be doing the persecuting.  As it always has been.

Prepare the way of the Lord and get yourself ready for persecution, it is coming.

CDP

A Hard Truth for Post Modern Western Christianity


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Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me…” ~ Matthew 16:24

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” ~ Mark 8:34

And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” ~ Luke 9:23

And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” ~ Luke 14:27

Interesting.  If you are going to follow Jesus then what is it that you have to do?  How curious.  But there is more…

He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ~ Matthew 10:39

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. ~ Matthew 16:25

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. ~ Mark 8:35

 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. ~ Luke 9:24

Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. ~ Luke 17:33

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. ~ John 12:25

What is the battle cry in the western church today?  GOD HAS A PLAN TO PROSPER ME!!  Really?  Jesus is heading to the cross, He instructs you to pick up yours and follow Him.  Prosper you?  Healthy you?  Study what happened to Jesus and you will find out it ain’t very healthy!  In fact it will kill you.

I can hear it now, “Oh well Jesus came and died so I don’t have to!”  Again, really?  PLEASE EXPLAIN THE SCRIPTURES ABOVE because I am at a loss.  Jesus is biding me come and die, but post modern Christianity is telling me, “no, no, you don’t need to die.  Jesus wants to give you a big new house, and big new car, and big new truck, and big new boat, and big new TV, and big new…”

By the way for about 95% of us, the TV is the common house hold idol.  And yes we worship it all the time, daily in fact.  Don’t think so?  Here is a test for you, tonight turn it off and spend the night in prayer.  I will.

From the Rapture doctrine to the doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity, to name the doctrine, it is about ESCAPING THE CROSS NOT EMBRACING THE CROSS!

leonard-ravenhill-quote
spurgeon It is a bloody gospel!  A gory gospel!  It’s not friendly to this world, in fact this world hates the gospel of Jesus and it has taken every opportunity to try to destroy it.  Jesus said if you follow me this world WILL hate you Matthew 10:22 and 5:10-11, Mark 13:13, John 15:18.

Look at the western church today, we are doing everything we can to avoid persecution.  We dream up doctrines, like the rapture, to avoid suffering.

theCupWe are CALLED to the sufferings of Christ!  Tell me how much value does heaven find in gold if that is their paving material?  Our paving material here on earth is asphalt, you know any body with a vault full of asphalt?  No you don’t and neither do I.  Asphalt only has value when we are trying to avoid mud or dirt.

So tell me what does God in heaven find valuable?  It is the love of Christ.  The love of Christ is the only thing that will shine like gold in the fires of judgment.  All our toys are more than worthless in the judgment, in fact I consider them to be fuel for the fires of judgment and damnation.  What did the love of Christ do?  IT EMBRACED THE CROSS!! Those who love themselves are seeking to save themselves, those who love Jesus and want nothing more than to follow in His foot steps are seeking to lose themselves in the cross of Christ.

Are you embarrassed by the cross or are you embracing the cross?  For most the cross is a worthless symbol we tie around our neck or get tattooed on our body.  Oh yes, we want the cross tattooed on our body, then we can be just as cool as the world but we are holding up the cross.  If you think thus you are an idiot and have no understanding of what it means to hold up the cross of Christ.  You want to find out what it means to hold up the cross?  Go to North Korea and hold it up.

Have you bothered to read the New Testament?  Have you bothered to learn the history of the early church?  Do you even realize that eleven of the disciples who became apostles died horrifically for their faith?  And do you realize that many of those who followed the apostles came to a horrific end?

I have prayed for revival for the better part of 35 years.  Revival has not come and I don’t wonder why?  I know why.  So few are willing to pay the price for revival.  We are not willing to trade sleep for prayer, food for fasting, entertainment for waiting upon God.  No we are far more interested in a church wide super bowl party or some other nonsense that is just as worthless.

I don’t do face book but my wife does.  A while back my wife showed me a statement someone made about tithing.  It is funny to me that in certain ways we are still willing to be tied to the old covenant.  Tithing is never mentioned on the New Testament, that’s because it was an idea whose time has come and gone.  The Christian understands that nothing is his, he is only a steward.  So when God tells us to give a way our car it is no big deal.  Or someone needs a pile of money for something we will gladly empty the old bank account to help out our brothers and sisters of the cross.  We don’t tithe because it all belongs to Jesus any way.  Every pay check my wife and I give until it hurts, giving really doesn’t begin to count until it begins to cost us something.

You want revival?  You want to see America restored to its former glory?  You got relatives you want to see saved?  I could go on and on with the things we all desire and most would be considered good.  But unless they are subservient to the will and desire of Jesus, the are worthless.  But I know this Jesus desires these good things.  But He will not give them to sinners playing Christian.  He will only pour out revival on the blood washed saints who are paying the price required for revival.  As long as we embrace the escapist doctrines we will be part of the anti-Christ.

CDP

 

Cross – Place of Death and a Place of Healing


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22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. ~ Exodus 15:22-25

Do you have some bitterness in your life that you have not let go of?  Last night I found a piece of bitterness that suddenly showed up.  Sometimes we think we have gotten over something, we think we have surrendered to God to deal with and we are healed.  Then out of no where bitter water flows from our mouth at the mention of someones name.  It is an uncontrollable gushing.  And maybe we never utter a word but our mind is churning a mile a second thinking things that would make those around us cringe.  It is an uncontrollable flood of emotion and sometimes even rage.

The cure that God gave to Moses was to throw a piece of wood into the waters.  The wood we should throw into our stream of bitterness is the cross of Christ.  The cross will turn the bitter waters into sweet and we will have victory over the bitterness.

CDP

A Refuge of Lies – Part 2


oldRoad

I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place. ~ Isaiah 28:17

Our text speaks of “the refuge of lies.” Yet it is obvious that men who resort to lies for a refuge regard those lies not as lies, but as truth. This fact leads us to raise the primary fundamental question–Have we any rule or standard which will show what is truth, and what is falsehood? Men have countless opinions about religion; these can not all be true; how can we determine which are true and which not true? We have an infallible test.

Salvation, to be real and available, must be salvation from sin. Everything else fails. Any system of religion which does not break the power of sin, is a lie. If it does not expel selfishness and lust, and if it does not beget love to God and man, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit, it is false and worthless. Any system that fails in this vital respect is a lie–can be of no us–is no better than a curse. That which does not beget in us the spirit of heaven and make us like God, no matter whence it comes, or by what sophistry defended, is a lie, and if fled to as a refuge, it is a “refuge of lies.”

I found this several weeks ago.  Since then I have done a lot of self examination.  You know if people would spend just half the time they spend criticizing others examining themselves thoroughly, the church would be a much different place.

Let me just jump straight into it, are you living in a refuge of lies?  Have you taken the time to honestly examine yourself and your motives to determine wither you are or you are not.  Some of you may ask, how can I know?  Well in this day and age of gross dishonesty it can be very hard to tell.  Not only are we dishonest with each other but we are dishonest with ourselves.  We will not stand and strip away the layers and come to the knowledge of the truth which is to understand that we are actually very proud of ourselves and who we are and what we are.  We think we are something!  And it doesn’t get much more hell bound than that.

Talking to a friend of mine today, he was telling me about a lady he meet at some convention he had just attended, and this lady was awful concerned about her new minister at her church.  You see this new minister will not stand in opposition of homosexuality, or abortion, or even adultery.  Why?  Because we don’t want to offend any body.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~ Matthew 5:11-12

22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

23 “But whenever they persecute you in [t]one city, flee to[u]the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes. ~ Matthew 10:22-23

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. ~ Matthew 25:9

If the Jesus you witness about is not cause some people to hate you, then you may not be giving the gospel at all but some watered down feel-good nonsense.  No, if you preach Jesus the Christ and Him crucified, you will be making people mad, you will upset people, you will most assuredly offend many people.  Why?  Because the Jesus Christ that died on the cross did not die so you could hold on to your sin and satisfy your lusts and pleasures.   When you know Christ crucified, you will have to lay down your selfishness and stupidity, your drunkenness, your sexual depravity, whatever it is you lust for will be put to death.  Sin cannot reside where Christ does and Christ cannot reside in sinful environment.

If your system of religion is not crucifying your pride, putting your lust to death, and causing your selfishness to go up in flames, then it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is no middle ground and noting to straddle, either you are or you are not a Christian.

Simple but deadly.

CDP

 

A Refuge of Lies


The following is a writing done by Charles G. Finney, in the Oberlin Evangelist 1858.  It is interesting to bring up Finney in a church crowd, people either love him or absolutely hate him.  And if you start looking deeply into the lives of those who hate him you will find some unconfessed sin that is being held on to in their lives.  Finney did not cut the sinner a break nor did he cut the “carnal Christian” any slack.  Ironically in Finney’s day, carnal Christians were called convicted sinners.  Convicted sinner is the accurate term, there is no such thing as a carnal Christian.  Finney understood that when you come to Christ everything goes to the cross, the good, the bad, the indifferent.  If it has not been to the cross Jesus cannot and will not use it.  Maybe you played a musical instrument before you got saved or have some other talent that churches need.  When you come to Christ you may have to give that up forever.  Regardless, it must go to the cross and it may not come back.

And that is the thing with Jesus the Christ, you either surrender everything or you surrender nothing and continue your death march to the grave.  Jesus was not selfish and offered up his life for us, what in this world makes us think we possess something so valuable that we don’t need to surrender it to God?

But what I have found more often than not is this, Christians who think they can hold on to parts of their old life and still carry the cross with Christ.  Got news for you, ain’t happening!  Whatever you vice was or is, sex, drunkenness, or some other form of depravity, it must end at the cross or you cannot walk with Christ.  I’ll let Finney explain it here.

[BEGIN VERBATIM]

I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place. ~ Isaiah 28:17

ALL men know themselves to be sinners against God. They know also that as sinners they are in peril and are not safe. Hence their anxiety to find some refuge for safety. They know they might find this in the way of forsaking sin and turning to the Lord; but they do not choose to forsake their sins. Hence there seems to be no convenient resource but to hide themselves under some refuge.

Our text speaks of “the refuge of lies.” Yet it is obvious that men who resort to lies for a
refuge regard those lies not as lies, but as truth. This fact leads us to raise the primary fundamental question–Have we any rule or standard which will show what is truth, and what is falsehood? Men have countless opinions about religion; these can not all be true; how can we determine which are true and which not true? We have an infallible test.

Salvation, to be real and available, must be salvation from sin. Everything else fails. Any
system of religion which does not break the power of sin, is a lie. If it does not expel selfishness and lust, and if it does not beget love to God and man, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit, it is false and worthless. Any system that fails in this vital respect is a lie–can be of no us–is no better than a curse. That which does not beget in us the spirit of heaven and make us like God, no matter whence it comes, or by what sophistry defended, is a lie, and if fled to as a refuge, it is a “refuge of lies.”

Again, if it does not beget prayer, does not unify us with God, and bring us into fellowship
and sympathy with Him, it is a lie.  If it does not produce a heavenly mind, and expel a worldly mind, and wean us from the love of the world, it is a lie. If it does not beget in us the love required in the Scriptures, the love of God and of His worship and of His people–indeed, of all mankind;–if it does not produce all those states of mind which fit the soul for heaven, it fails utterly of its purpose.

Here I must stop a moment to notice an objection. It is said, “The Gospel does not, in fact,
do for men all you claim. It does not make professed Christians heavenly minded, dead to the world, full of love, joy, and peace.”

I reply: Here is medicine which, applied in a given disease, will certainly cure. This healing
power is just what it has and what we claim for it. But it must be fairly applied. A man may buy the medicine, and because it is bitter, may lay it up in his cupboard and never take it; he may provide himself with a counterfeit to take in its stead; or he may follow it with something that will instantly counteract its influence in the system. In any such case, the efficacy of the medicine is not disproved; you only prove that you have not used it fairly and honestly.

So with the Gospel. You must take it and use it according to directions; else its failure is not its fault, but yours.  It is of no avail, then, to say that the Gospel does not save men from sin. It may indeed be counterfeited; it may be itself rejected; but he who receives it to his heart will surely find his heart blessed thereby. The Gospel does transform men from sin to holiness–does make men peaceful, heavenly, in life and in death. Millions of such cases lie out on the face of the world’s history. Their lives evince the reality and preciousness of the salvation which the Gospel promises.

I will now proceed to name some things that lack this decisive characteristic. They do not
save the soul from sin.

1. An unsanctifying hope of heaven. Speaking of what God’s children shall be, John
says–“We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him (Christ) purifieth himself even as He is pure.” A good hope, then, does purify the heart. But there certainly are hopes indulged that fail to purify the heart of those who hold them. Those hopes are lies. They cannot possibly be sound and true. On their very face, it stands revealed that they are worthless–a mere refuge of lies. The stronger and more unwavering they are, so much the more are they delusive. What hope in Christ is that which does not bring the heart to Christ ?

2. An old experience, that is all old, is a lie. You have perhaps, heard of the man who had
his old experience all written down and laid away with his deeds of land to keep till his time of need.  This being all the evidence he had, he used to refer to it from time to time for his comfort. At length, when the time came for him to die, he felt the need of this record of his religion, and sent his little daughter to bring it. She returned with only the sad story that the mice had found their way to his drawer and had eaten up the paper–all the dying man’s evidence of piety! Alas! he must die in despair! He had no other hope but this!  On the face of it, such a refuge is only lies.

3. There are two forms of self-righteousness–the legal and the Gospel–both of which are
refuges of lies.  The legal depends on duty-doing–evermore trying to work out salvation by deeds of law.  The Gospel form sets itself to get grace by works, Men try to get a new heart not by trying to turn from all sin, but by praying for it. I meet such a man. He says, “I tried to become religious.” Indeed, and what did you do? “I prayed for a new heart.” You did! But you did not do what God says you must–“Make yourself a new heart and a new spirit;” you did not repent–you did not bow your heart to God. Therefore, all your doings come short of what God requires. They fail of saving the soul from sin.  There is a great deal of this Gospel self-righteousness–this throwing off the responsibility  upon God.

4. Universalism is an old refuge of lies. And here let me give you a case. Being out from
home in my carriage, I overtook a young man and invited him to ride. Almost immediately he told me he was a Universalist and came out strongly in defence of his system. I said to him–“I am not well and may not live long, and I do not dare to be deceived in this matter.” He said for his part he was sure enough of its truth. He had heard smart men say so, and prove it from Scripture. I said to him–I have one objection. There is a certain train of facts which I cannot account for, if Universalism be true. I have known families once reputed orthodox, which were then upright, moral, and justly respected. These same families I have known become loose in morals, forsake the house of God, turn to strong drink, and become fearfully vicious. Such families I have observed along with this change almost always become Universalists. This is one set of facts.

On the other hand, I have never known a holy, prayerful Universalist backslide into orthodoxy–forsake his Universalism and his morality and degenerate into vice and orthodoxy by one uniform and simultaneous declension. I have known men reformed from drunkenness and vice, and then become orthodox; but I have never known men reform from vice into Universalism. In short, it seems to me that thousands of facts evince a natural sympathy between vice and Universalism on the one hand, and between virtue and orthodoxy on the other.

By this time, he began to feel troubled, and said, I am afraid I am all wrong. Would you
believe it?” said he, “I am running away from being converted. There is a revival in my place, and I am running away from it.” You are, said I. And do you think it will hurt you? Will it do you any harm?

He looked deeply anxious and said–“Had not I better go back? My good father and mother
looked sad when I left my home. I don’t believe Universalism can save me. Everybody knows it never did save anybody and never can.”

The same must be said of proper Unitarianism. Some who bear this name are not such in
fact. But where you find men who deny depravity, regeneration, atonement, you will certainly find that their system does not make them heavenly minded, holy, and humble. You need not reason with them to find this out; you need only to take the facts of their history.

And now let my hearers take notice of what God says. He declares–“The hail shall sweep
away the refuge of lies and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place.” No doubt this hail is the symbol of God’s displeasure. It is fit that God should be displeased with these refuges of lies. He loves truth too well to have the least sympathy with lies. He loves the souls of men too deeply to have any patience with agencies so destructive. Therefore, He loathes all these refuges of lies, and has solemnly declared that the hail shall sweep them all away.

The waters, He declares, shall overflow the hiding-places. Every resort that leaves the soul in sin is a hiding-place. All religious affectation is such, and is nothing better. To put on the mere appearance of devoutness and sanctimony, as if God could be made to believe you sincere and could not see through it all. This is a flimsy hiding-place indeed. So of all religious formality– going through the forms of worship, being in the Church, being baptized–what avails it all unless their piety be instinct with life and that life be the soul of real holiness?

A great many people hide in the church. Judas Iscariot crept in there to hide. A minister
of the Dutch Reformed Church told me once of a case in point just here. A man who had been confirmed in that church was out at sea in a fearful storm. It was a time of intense alarm, and many were exceedingly fearful of death, not to say also of that terrible state beyond. When they said to him, How is it that you are so cool? He replied, “What have I to fear–I believe in the South Dutch!”

Many hide under orthodox creeds. They are not Unitarians; they are not Mormons; they are
not Universalists; they are orthodox! Such religious opinions held so tenaciously must, they think, ensure their safety.

Others hide under the plea of a sinful nature. They are naturally unable to do anything.
Here they have found a sure retreat. They are very willing to do all their duty; but this sinful nature is all against them, and what can they do? This is a refuge of lies.

Some dodge under professors of religion. I fear there are many such here among us. Alas,
your hiding-place will fail you in the day of trial! When the hail comes and the storm rolls up
fearfully, and the awful thunder breaks with appalling crash, you will try in vain to find your
professor–to hide under his wing! Where is he now? Suppose he were as bad as you claim, how much can he help you in that all-devouring storm? If he is not as good as he should be, you ought to be better than he, and not try to hide yourself under his shortcomings.

Sinners know these things to be refuges of lies, because they do not save men from their sins. Certainly they must see this and know it to be the truth.

They resort to these refuges, not as being quite fully true, but as an excuse for delay.
Miserable subterfuge, this! They are not honest, and therefore need not think it strange if they are deluded.

They admit that if one lives like Christ, all will be well; and they know that nothing less than
this will avail for their safety.

Of course, to seek a refuge of lies is to tempt God to destroy you. How can it be otherwise?

Remember the test–this one plain. simple principle: That and only that which saves from
sin is true; all else is false and ruinous. Now you all have some hope of a happy future; what is this hope? Good or bad? Is it truthful and sure, or is it a refuge of lies?

Does your hope sanctify you–does it make you humble, holy, prayerful? Does your faith
purify your heart? Have you the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, long-suffering? Have you daily communion with God? Are you so united to Him that you can say–Truly we have fellowship with the Father? If so, this will be a hiding-place indeed–not one which the hail shall sweep away, but one which shall save the soul.

Have you the life of God in your soul? Does it pervade your heart, and diffuse itself over
all the chambers of your soul? Let nothing less than this avail to satisfy your mind.
Hear Catholics talk about the Virgin and the sacraments and absolution; what are all these
things, and a thousand more such, good for if they do not save from sin? What is the use of running after these things that do not save?

But you say–I love to believe that all will be saved; it makes me so happy. But does it make you holy? Does it renew your heart? This is the only sure test.

But you say–“l do not believe as you do.” I answer–Here are great facts. You are in sin.
Are you saved from your sin by your system? If so, well; if not so, then it is not well. Will your believing it to be one way or the other make it so? Does believing a lie make it the truth? If you were to believe that you could walk on the water, or that water could not drown you, and should leap overboard, would your belief save you?

Dying sinner, all those refuges of lies will surely deceive and destroy you. It is time for you
to arise and say–l must have the religion of Jesus. Not having it, I can not go where Jesus is. With a lie in my right hand, what have I to hope for? None of you, I hope, have reached that forlorn state described by the prophet–“A deceived heart hath turned him aside, neither can he say to his soul, There is a lie in my right hand.”

O, sinner, there is a Refuge for you which is not one of lies. There is a Hiding-place for you
which no waters can reach to overwhelm. It lies far above their course. O, take refuge in Christ! away with these refuges of lies! Cry out-Give me Christ and none besides! Christ and Him only–for what have I to do with lies and delusions? You need to come into such communion with Christ that His power and presence and fullness shall flow through your heart fully and freely, and be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

[END VERBATIM]

Folks, there is no messing around with Jesus and salvation, either get in or get out.  Choice is yours.

CDP

Nominal Christianity


4-way

For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. ~ Leviticus 11:44

For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy. ~ Leviticus 11:45

Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’. ~ Leviticus 19:2

You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. ~ Leviticus 20:7

Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine. ~ Leviticus 20:26

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. ~ Deuteronomy 7:6

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. ~ Deuteronomy 13:2

The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. ~ Deuteronomy 28:9

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:48

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-2

In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~ 1 Timothy 4:6-8

Where I work there is a group of us who get together every week or so for fellowship during lunch.  Yesterday was the day that we meet and had lunch and fellowship.  Being excited and exuberant in the Lord, I began to share how God had helped me.  I have been doing an in-depth study of the church and what the church is supposed to be.  Rediscovering God’s calling upon those that call upon the name of the Lord who are the church.  The day before I have been reading the testimony of Bruce Herring who is the husband of Anne Herring one of the sisters from 2nd Chapter of Acts.

Bruce, in his testimony, talks about how he came to the Lord which was through his former drug dealer!  Isn’t Jesus something?  It just helps me so much to read or hear about the transforming power of Christ the Lord.  Any way, Bruce becomes a Christian, now he is working at a secular radio station there in California which plays, of course, secular music.  Bruce was consuming the Word nightly and learning all he could about Jesus, by the end of his first week he realizes that so much of what he is playing and hearing conflicts with God’s word.  Bruce makes the decision right there that he can no longer stay with the radio station and goes in and quits on the spot.

Bruce was coming to the knowledge of the truth, that the things of this world are in conflict with the things of God.  There is a spiritual warfare that rages constantly battling for the souls of men.  Satan is out to deceive any and all who will listen to his sirens call.  Bruce realized that all things from his former life must go, if he was to hold on to Jesus than he must let this world go.  GLORY!!  Would that God could get a hold of just a few taking up pew space in our churches, peeling back the deception that they have fallen for.  What is the deception?  The deception is this: that we can come to Christ and be filled Him and the Holy Ghost and still walk in the ways of this world.  It doesn’t work, it cannot work, it will never work.  Anyone who thinks this has not come to the knowledge and truth of salvation and what it means to walk with God in holiness.

At my little lunch meeting yesterday it was not long until I was in trouble with some at the table.  Why?  It is simple, they are still living worldly lives, they have not surrendered to the cross of Christ.  They have chosen not to be crucified with Him, which is an absolute necessity if one is to walk with Jesus the Christ.  Our “churches” are filled with people who think they can still drink strong drink, go to rock concerts, dress as the world dresses, act as the world acts, and everything is fine.

We cannot live as this world does and be Christ’s people as well.  We are in this world but not of it (John 15:19).  I have had Christians tell me that because Jesus went into “bars” so can they.  I have a question for you who think this, did the drinking stop, the flirting, the fornicating, when you entered?  I can tell you now when Jesus walked it that all ceased.  Why?  Because holiness and righteousness entered and where it is all hell flees.  Jesus said that because of Him this world will hate you.  Tell me true, does this world hate you or has it accepted you as one of their own?

Holiness and righteousness is not an option it is mandatory if you are to walk with Jesus.  Jesus said in John 14:21 if you love me you will keep my commandments.  In Matthew 5:48 Jesus commanded us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.  Some people say this is not doable, if it wasn’t doable Jesus would not have said it.  The problem is most post modern Christians want to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the church.  This does not work at all.  In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said we cannot serve two masters because we will love one and hate the other.  Care to guess which one you will hate and which one you will love?  I can tell you now, if you are living according to the flesh and not according to the Holy Ghost, you will love evil and hate holiness and righteousness.  In fact you will make fun of those who live in holiness and righteousness and stress purity in heart towards the Lord.  You flesh, your fallen man, cannot and will not love God.  Why?  Because the first command Jesus gives everyone is to follow Him, in Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”  The flesh must be crucified with Christ, self must die, our selfish ways must die, this means that you can no longer live according to your flesh.  You can no longer do what seems right to you, but what is right in the eyes of Jesus the Christ.

This is the way of the cross, and few there be who will dare to walk in the way of the cross.  If you and I are not walking in the way of the cross we cannot claim Christ as Savior.  Many in our pews are taking up a false cross, a plastic cross, a cross that is easy on us.  A plastic cross weighs nothing, and we can get through the door of the movie theatre, the bar door, the brothel, the casino, any of this worlds earthly venues.  But it will not get us into God’s will.  It will not cause us to become a living sacrifice for the Lamb that was slain to take away the sins of the world.  It will never bring us into a life of holiness and righteousness because that plastic cross is easy on the flesh.

Growing up on the farm, I handled rough cut timber a lot.  Rough cut timber, which is what the cross is made of, will fill your hands full of splinters.  Every where your body rubs up against it will rub your skin raw.  It is heavy and takes will and determination to move it.  To handle that timber it will cost you something.  To carry the cross of Christ will cost you everything.  It will cost you all your earthly wealth but you will can in the kingdom of God.

What will you gain?  Jesus which is everything.  Without Him we have nothing.  You can be the wealthiest man or woman on the face of the earth, but if you don’t have Christ crucified you have nothing.  Everything on this earth is temporal.  If you want to follow Christ where He is going, you will need to leave your old life behind.

CDP