As we approach what many are calling the ‘end of the age’, we need to re-examine what Scriptures tell us about these days. I want to aim this article squarely at the professing church of Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught that there would be wheat and tares in the Church right up to the end –
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” – Matt. 13:24-30
The clear lesson is – not all who are in the church are true Christians. There are tares (weeds) hiding among the wheat. What is the main difference? The wheat bear fruit and the tares do not! Many join the church for political reasons, some are baptized in as infants before they have any choice, and some have a conversion experience early in their lives but have grown cold by choosing the world rather than Jesus. Whatever the reason, there are many who go by the name of Christian that are not living as Christians.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul writes about those who have grown cold, having lost their love of the truth (God’s truth). To those who have not yet fallen, Paul gives this encouragement –
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” – 2 Thes. 2:15
These traditions are not church doctrines made by men but, Biblical traditions taught by the Word of God or by the Apostle’s epistles. Years ago I headed a group known as Interfaith Fellowship which was used by God to bring the message of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to those in western Wisconsin. When talking to one Catholic Priest who was baptized in the Holy Spirit, he told me, “We never did Bible studies in seminary, we just studied church doctrine.” He was not taught about being born again or about receiving the Holy Spirit’s fullness! Many in the church today are just in this same condition.
I was in the Lutheran Church but, in my junior year of college I began seeking answers from God. It was during that time my wife’s uncle took me to an evangelistic meeting at a small country church in Wisconsin where I asked Jesus to come into my heart – He did, and my life changed. I began devouring the word of God and soon realized those early disciples had something I didn’t – they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. I asked the Lord for it and He gave it to me. I began to realize I wasn’t born again through infant baptism and I didn’t receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation. They are not given by some man-made formula – I had to seek God for them! Many in the church today have accepted a man-made formula for the real thing, and it doesn’t satisfy! That is why the Church is so weak.
We are fast approaching the end of the age and man-made religion is not going to save you or answer your needs – but, Jesus can and there isn’t a lot of time left!
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“ – Acts 2:38
Years ago as I was seeking God’s leading in my life, the Holy Spirit led me to a meeting where Dick Mills, a man with the gift of prophesy, was speaking. He gave me a prophesy and one of the Scriptures he gave me was Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” This and the many others scriptures given me are as real for today as well. Those who are wanting to follow Jesus and be led by the Holy Spirit must be strong and of good courage and believe God. If you need to be born again, get alone with God and repent and ask Him to come into your heart (Rev. 3:20). If you need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, be born again and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you – open your mouth wide in faith and breath in the breath of God (Ps. 81:10). Remember God is faithful and He has promised to fill you (Acts 2:38).
It is time for those who truly believe in God’s word to stand up and openly confess their faith!
“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” – Luke 12:5.
It is time we stand up and say to those who are saying there are many ways to God what Jesus declared – “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.“ – John 14:6.
The Bible tells us explicitly who will be in hell –
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” – Rev.21:7,8
Notice the cowardly are as bad to God as murderers and sexually immoral. Cowards in the church are afraid to confess Jesus and the words of God because of the fear of man. This repugnant to God and Jesus said –
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” – Matt. 10:32
I am speaking these things out of love. We have all succumbed to the devil’s fear of man at some time but, that is not God’s will. The fear of man cripples us and puts man above God.
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:17,18
Now is the time to rise up and stand for God by confessing His salvation and His word which is alone able to save us. As Scripture says, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”
To those who yet have a glimmer of spiritual life in them, or whose love for the Lord has grown cold, or who are in the church but have never met the real Jesus personally – I say ARISE shake off your sleepiness, the hour is late. If you have questions about anything I have written you can contact me at Pastor Charles Cooley.