The 4 Progressive Steps to Apostasy

Written by Mike Gendron – Intro by Day Ashton

Jesus Himself warns us a number of times, “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you(Matt 24:4) and in Mark 13:5-6 “Jesus began to say to them, “Be careful and see to it that no one misleads you.  Many will come in My name [misusing My name or claiming to be the Messiah], saying, ‘I am He!’ and will deceive and mislead many”This deception is happening before our very eyes both within the church and secular society as a whole.  This excellent article by Mike Gendron shows clearly the deception in the church and the downward spiral to apostasyThis is  a must-read …

 

Throughout the 2000 year history of the Church, we have seen a continual departure of people and churches from the faith of the apostles. As incredibly tragic as this has been, it should not surprise us because Paul warned: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).  Shortly after our Lord began building His Church, the apostle John records one of the first occurrences of apostasy. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).  Since then, many other professing Christians, churches, denominations, and seminaries, who once upheld the truth and authority of God’s Word, have drifted into apostasy. One of the interesting characteristics of apostasy is that it does not happen overnight. It actually develops over a period of time th
rough a process that can be categorized into four steps.

First Step into Apostasy
God’s Word is neglected as the
supreme authority for faith and practice.
  • Man’s words and wisdom become as important as God’s Word.
  • Traditions and movements of men cause confusion and divided loyalties.
  • People start following “Christian” personalities instead of the Word of God.
  • Pastors discard the Lord’s blue print for building His church and create their own strategy.
  • Pastors win the approval of men for the size of their church, rather than their faithfulness and fidelity to God’s Word.
  • The power of the Gospel is weakened by compromise and made more inclusive to gain a larger following.
  • Biblical evangelism is replaced by man’s methods of conversion.
  • Churches give people what they want instead of what they need.
  • The pursuit of sanctification is neglected.
  • Biblical warnings to expose false teachers are ignored. A little leaven in the form of heresy is allowed to circulate.
  • Contenders for the faith are labeled as divisive and intolerant.
  • Women are allowed to teach men.
Second Step into Apostasy
 
Scripture is twisted and distorted for self-serving agendas.
  • Truth becomes subjective and relative.
  • Doctrinal error and sin are tolerated by pastors who neglect their responsibility to protect the sheep.
  • Satan sows his tares with little resistance.
  • Pastors become more determined to build their own church rather than the Lord’s church.
  • The Gospel becomes more inclusive to attract more people.
  • Expository preaching is replaced by topical messages.
  • Biblical ignorance in the pew provides fertile ground for false teachers to prosper.
  • Trials and persecution expose dead and spurious faith.
  • The exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith is ignored.
  • People honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.
  • “Infallible” men claim to be successors of the apostles and are embraced as brothers-in-Christ.
  • Ungodly men creep in and turn the grace of our God into licentiousness.
  • Contenders for the faith are asked to leave.
Third Step into Apostasy
Entertainment, idolatry, liturgy and rituals have
replaced the Lord Jesus from the central focus of worship.
  • Pastors are more interested in entertaining the goats than feeding the sheep.
  • Ear-tickling messages give people what they want instead of what they need.
  • Sound doctrine and truth is suppressed for the sake of ecumenical unity.
  • Hearts become hardened and love for God grows cold.
  • Doctrinal error flourishes and is embraced with stubborn pride.
  • There is no love for the truth and no discernment.
  • People stand for nothing and fall for everything.
  • A form of godliness exists, but it’s void of power.
  • Idolatry is practiced and encouraged.
  • Sin and immoral lifestyles are tolerated.
  • Women are ordained as pastors.
Fourth Step into Apostasy
Teaching is heavily influenced by doctrines of demons.
Jesus has been removed from the church. Deception is full-blown.
  • Lying signs and wonders, including apparitions, are embraced as messages from God or Mary.
  • Idolatry and prayers to the dead are encouraged.
  • Those who proclaim the Gospel truth are condemned with anathema or put to death.
  • Grace is turned into a license to sin.
  • There is no longer any evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.
  • God’s grace and forgiveness are sold for a price.
  • The church’s lamp stand has been removed, and a certain terrifying judgment is now unavoidable.
Are you in a church or denomination drifting into apostasy?
Perhaps you are in a church or denomination that is drifting into apostasy. Will Jesus Christ use you to contend earnestly for the faith and protect the sanctity of His Church? In these last days of growing apostasy and deception, we all need to heed the warning of Peter and encourage others to do the same: “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17). Will you defend the glory and honor of our great God and Saviour and protect the purity of His Gospel?
May God’s Word exhort and encourage us to fight the good fight of faith!
(Article used with permission)
If you have questions about this topic or anything related, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Gendron(1) via his website, Proclaiming the Gospel
(1)Mike Gendron – For over 34 years, Evangelist Mike Gendron was a devout Roman Catholic and a strong defender of the “one true church.” He was taught from a very early age, to trust and rely on the church, its priests, the sacraments and his own good works for salvation. However in 1981 while attending an evangelical seminar, he realized the Bible is the supreme authority for knowing truth.  Find out much more about Mike and his tremendous ministry to the honour of His Saviour, at his website, PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL

 

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This World is Not our Home

Do you remember the brilliant song … This World is not my homeIt goes on to say, “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”  Well that is certainly how I feel.   How about you?

This is why when I think of the prospect of the Lord coming to take us to be with Him imminently, it really excites me.  Whilst exciting for those who are ready to meet the Lord, those of us who know Him as our Lord and Saviour are longing for those who do not yet know Him, to get to know Him and to be ready when that trumpet sounds and we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.  

We do not know the day nor the hour, but the LORD tells us what to look for as the day of His return draws near.  1)

We are living in dangerous but also very exciting times. 2)
What is happening in the Middle East and Europe is very significant.
On May 2, 2018, Pastor Jack Hibbs gave an update on current-events regarding the Middle East developments between Israel and Iran.”  Much more has happened since this particular update, but I have included it below as it has valuable and important info.

As Christians who truly love the Lord, we should be encouraged to be watchmen on the wall and be about our Father’s business.” 3)    

It is time to stop playing church; to stop being “Sunday Christians”.

It is time to stop believing that WE have to make the world a better place before the Lord can come back. That teaching is false folks.” 4)

We need to make people aware of the times we are living in. This is why I am sharing a lot about the end times. We need to be alert and ready for the Lord’s imminent return.”

The footnotes below will provide more detail on the various points in my original post.

And to get back to this world not being our home, we’re just a-passing through …

This world is not our home.  As Christians, Christ followers, we must remember that our citizenship is in heaven“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Saviour” (Philippians 3:20).  We are to live as pilgrims passing through; sojourners. As the New Living Translation puts it: “temporary residents and foreigners” (1 Peter 2:11).  The fact that we are temporary residents does NOT detach us from the world around us and its needs.  On the contrary … we are called to minister and reach out to those around us. We who represent Christ should do so as His ambassadors, showing forth His compassion in whatever way we can.

And, whilst we care for others around us, as Christ’s ambassadors, we need to care not only for the material, social and physical needs around us, but (very importantly) the spiritual needs too.  “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV).  And, as the NLT puts it so beautifully “So, we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!””

Remember Whose we are!  Live for Him.   Be used of Him.  Be watchmen on the walls warning people that it is time to be reconciled with God because Jesus’ return is very close.

 

Footnotes:

  1. To know more about “not knowing the day nor the hour”, read Matthew 25:13 – “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” and also Luke 21:36)
  2. Exciting times? Yes, the reason the times are exciting is because we are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes, with increasing speed.  This tells us that the LORD Himself will soon be coming to take His church, the Bride of Christ, to be with Him.  We’ll be caught up to meet Him in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words
  3. Be involved in the Lord’s work – praying, Bible study & witnessing – living for Jesus- point out the urgency of getting right with God before it is too late
  4. There is teaching that says it is the duty of the church to gain dominion over the world and restore it to a righteous environment and only then to hand it over to Christ when He returns. In other words, Christ will return only after the earth is made righteous by the church.  The only way we are made righteous is through the precious blood of Jesus which He shed for us on Calvary.  It is a finished work.

The Middle East … Understanding the Times

There are SO many people who are totally unaware of the incredible significance of what is taking place in the Middle East at this moment in time.

Some reasons for this?

  1. Secular news coverage is predominantly very biased and the real truth is not told
  2. People have not been taught this in their churches – that Israel is pivotal to end-time teaching (Ezekiel 36-39 & many other Scriptures)
  3. Because of the above, people do not realize what is really happening in Israel at the moment (and the significance of the rebirth of Israel as a nation), nor do they realize there is an alliance forming against Israel (Iran, Russia & Turkey in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy – read more in Ezekiel 38-39

So, to help you understand what is REALLY going on, please watch this videoonly about 18 minutes.

Whether you are a Christian or not, do NOT miss this video

A very Different kind of King!

A DIFFERENT KIND OF KING!

Although the LORD made many references to His Messiah-ship, His Lordship, His Deity, during His years of ministry … He didn’t want that fact trumpeted around.

But now … what is referred to as the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, 6 days before the Jewish Passover, and His crucifixion, there is a change…

Jesus now enters Jerusalem, riding a donkey, and He allows the people to praise Him.  In Luke 19 we read that “As He rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of Him. When He reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. ‘Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!’” (v.36-38).   Or as the NIV puts it: “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”   And when the Pharisees in the crowd saw and heard what was happening and what was being said, they told the Lord to “rebuke Your followers for saying things like that!” (v.39), Jesus replied and said, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

But why was Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey?   Why would a king, leave alone our precious King Jesus, use a donkey?

  • Firstly, it fulfills prophecy“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey,
    A colt, the foal of a donkey”. (Zechariah 9:9)
  • Also, believe it or not, it was common practice for Kings to ride donkeys when they came “in peace”.  King David and King Solomon are just two examples.   However, when coming in “war”, kings used horses(You can read more about this in the book of Judges and Samuel).   Jesus came as King to Jerusalem, in peace, as the Prince of Peace(“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6). 

If we read further, we will see there is something else different that Jesus did which would appear to be unlike a King.   Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. He wept. “But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes’.” (Luke 19:41-42)   And in Matthew 23:37, it says: “”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let Me”.

He came as a loving Saviour! Jesus came in peace, bringing salvation to His people, but they rejected it.

When Jesus comes back a second time, He will not come as the Prince of Peace and Saviour, He will come as Judge, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!   And this time He will be riding a white horse!  Revelation 19:11-16 says: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose Rider is called Faithful and TrueWith justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty On his robe and on His thigh, He has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.   The King who came as a lowly servant. He died for you on Calvary’s tree. He rose again on the third day and is alive forevermore. He would love to be your Saviour too.   There is only ONE WAY to be saved and that is to come to God through what Jesus has done for you on the Cross.   Jesus says: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6)

He made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace.   Have you let Him make the Triumphal Entry into YOUR heart yet?

Don’t delay.  The Lord is coming to take those who know Him as Saviour to be with Him soon.  We just do not know the day or the hour.   Only those who have come to know Him as their Lord and Saviour now will be taken to meet the Lord in the air.   (More about this topic in a few days’ time!!)

TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.

 

If you want to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, follow this link for further help.

Are you ready and watching?

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die … Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you (3:2-3)

Although the letter was sent to this specific church in Asia Minor, it is relevant and applicable to the church today.  These letters apply to all the original churches, as well as churches throughout the church age (which is the time since the first coming of Christ through to His second coming).

The church in Sardis was a small church… and very few of them remained faithful to the Lord, true believers.

They had killed the message and compromised the distinctiveness of ChristThey incorporated pagan cultures into the “church” and were happy to “get along” with other faiths and blend in.  Much like the interfaith, ecumenical movement that is being promoted today.   The distinctiveness of Christ no longer mattered or matters to the church of Sardis, then, and up today!

This church was dead!

The LORD counselled the church of Sardis to do 5 things which, if they’d obeyed, would have made them acceptable to Him:

  • Be watchful
  • Strengthen the things that remain
  • Remember what you heard and believed at first
  • Hold Fast
  • Repent

Today I want to concentrate on the first counsel the Lord gave this church … Wake up! Be Watchful!

Be watchful (Wake Up!)

The opposite of being watchful is being complacent.

The first thing Sardis needed to do was to stop being complacent and be on a state of alert.

The fact that the LORD had to tell them to wake up, be watchful, points to a serious deficiency in the teaching of the Reformation leaders.   This deficiency was because they lacked instruction in Bible prophecy and separation.

The word “WATCH” is used by the Lord in several other passages of Scripture and indicate the attitude that should characterize His children in view of His promised return!   Prophetically instructed Christians are very much more likely to be separated, consecrated Christians than those who are not aware of the promises of our Lord’s second coming and the imminency of the catching away (rapture) of the church, etc.

The church of Sardis represents some of the denominations today that are being swept along by compromise, sin and erroneous teaching. These 3 things kill a church.

We are living in days where people are deciding to pick and choose what they want to believe from the Bible.  This is extremely dangerous!

Christ’s Warning to Sardis
So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thiefor as the New King James Versions puts it: “Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev 3:3)

As is the case for Sardis, so it will be for those who have not heeded our Lord’s warning. It is very clear that they will be taken unawares when our Lord comes.

The Lord Jesus Christ warns Sardis of the consequences of “Not watching”. If Sardis does not watch they will be taken unaware by Christ’s appearing. Throughout the Gospels the Lord stresses the need for the believer to be careful and keep a watchful eye for His “Imminent return

There are many evidences around that reveal the prophetic ignorance on the part of Reformation churches (AND, sadly, many of the evangelical churches today too!).  An example of this includes the fact that they have people from within their midst who are leaders in the World Council of Churches ecumenical program – a program that aims to unite all Protestants, all Catholics and all religions.  If they had any understanding of the prophetic Word of God, they would realize they are playing right into the schemes of the Antichrist.  That One World Religion is his church during the Tribulation.

We all know the parable of the 10 virgins, five were prepared for the bridegroom and five were not.  When the bridegroom came, the five foolish virgins rushed around trying to buy oil for their lamps.  The five wise virgins were ready and went to the wedding. Sadly, the five foolish virgins tried to get to the wedding later, but were kept out, because the bridegroom did not know them.  As it states in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 25 …“Afterward the other (foolish) virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’”

Christ warns His church to be ready.

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13)

Through this prophetic foreshadowing, the dead churches are warned, that unless they WATCH they, like the foolish virgins, will be ushered into the Tribulation period.  They will NOT be ready for the Lord’s return for His Church.

One can recognize a “dead” church in that …

  • It doesn’t proclaim the Gospel
  • It doesn’t uphold the Scripture (Bible)
  • It doesn’t pursue holiness

So, I want to urge you to make sure you belong to a Bible-believing church.  One that teaches that you are saved by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross.   A church that believes “sola Scriptura” (that Scripture – the Bible – is the sole authority for faith).   That the only way to get to heaven and be in a right standing with God is through the Lord Jesus Christ who clearly stated that: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. (John 14:6)

If you need further help or information, please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact form or one of the other options below

Day Ashton

Email: dayashton.uk@gmail.com
Skype: dayashton1

 

Last of the Last Days?

Today I want to share this video by Hal Lindsay.    It is incredibly important to realize that time is running out and the return of the Lord for His Church (the true believers in the Lord Jesus and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary), is drawing closer every moment.

Remember – Living a good life…   Being religious…  Doing good works in and of themselves… Praying to the “saints” and “Mary” (which by the way, is NOT the Mary of the Bible) … these things will not save you.  We need to put our trust in Jesus only.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This video will help you understand how imminent the return of the Lord for His Bride is (the Rapture), and the Tribulation period which will follow the Rapture of the Church.  This video will help you understand how to be sure you are not left behind and get to know the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and precious Friend before it is ever too late!

Please contact us if you need further help in coming to know the Lord and getting right with God.   Remember God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to take our punishment for sin so that we might be made right in the sight of God.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

The Precious Infallible Word of God

The most precious Book one can ever read or study is God’s Word, the Bible.  I love the Bible and love reading it.

What I am finding for myself as I watch, hear and research what is happening globally, (as have many others who love His Word – sound teachers of the Word of God), is that there is an increasing skepticism about the Bible.   Very disturbing.

The Bible is being increasingly marginalized in societies today.  A well-established research group (Barna), say “With each passing year, the percent of Christians who believe that the Bible is ‘just another book written by men’ increases.  So too does the perception that the Bible is actually harmful and that people who live by its principles are religious extremists”¹    There are other polls done which indicate that Americans no longer view the Bible as a guide for living a meaningful life.   The same applies to the UK.   Europe as a whole has pushed God and His Word aside.

The tragedy of this is that churches no longer give the Bible, the reading thereof, the doctrines taught very clearly within its pages and the Truth it conveys, its rightful place.   I have personal experience of this happening.  One such church, for example, removed pew Bibles and did not encourage the reading of God’s Word.   Many churches concentrate on worship and singing and give virtually no teaching from the Word of God anymore.

Is it any wonder that (as the BIBLE says), people are giving way to doctrines of demons, deceiving spirits?   Remove the Bible, which IS the Word of God, and you take away Jesus Who IS the WORD.   1 Timothy 4 tells us “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons”.   I make no apology for putting things bluntly.  I quote His Word.

Even pastors and clergy are “falling away” because they are turning away from believing and trusting the Bible.  Some continue to use the Bible, but water it down and start introducing deception and the serpentine practice of questioning God’s precious and Holy Word,did God really say ...”  I have heard a very recent testimony of this happening and causing incredible spiritual damage to people.   In this way, these so-called Christian leaders sow doubt and confusion into the listener.  And, because many of these “pastors” are highly thought of and have huge followings, they are dragging people into the apostasy the Bible warns us about in no uncertain terms, introducing various forms of teachings and practices which are pagan in origin, but “christianized”.

This is a huge subject and I will be sharing more about it in my next post, BUT, in the meantime, remember that God has given us His Word to hide in our hearts.   Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation.     “For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21-22) “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16)  Start reading His Word and not just what others are saying about His Word.

Hold on to His Word.  Love His Word and learn to love the Lord Jesus Christ all the more.  Remember, Jesus is the ONLY way to God.   Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6)

As people reject the Bible, the precious and true Gospel that saves to the uttermost, will continue to be attacked and undermined.  For many, the fact that Jesus is the only way of salvation is fast becoming anathema, whilst the word of the hour is “inclusivism”

Hold on to the TRUTH of God’s precious infallible Word.  Let no man deceive you.

I close with the words of Jude, one of the four half-brothers of Jesus, “… I was compelled to write to you [urgently] appealing that you fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints [the faith that is the sum of Christian belief that was given verbally to believers]. For certain people have crept in unnoticed [just as if they were sneaking in by a side door]. They are ungodly persons whose condemnation was predicted long ago, for they distort the grace of our God into decadence and immoral freedom [viewing it as an opportunity to do whatever they want], and deny and disown our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  …..  But as for you, beloved, remember the [prophetic] words spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They used to say to you, “In the last days there will be scoffers, following after their own ungodly passions.” These are the ones who are [agitators] causing divisions—worldly-minded [secular, unspiritual, carnal, merely sensual—unsaved], devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life.(Jude vs 3,4,17-21)

If you have questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact me

Day Ashton

¹The Barna Group, The Bible in America, 8,56.  See also The Barna Group, “Bible Engagement in a New World”, May 18, 2016, online report, http://www.barna.com
OTHER REFERENCES:
John MacArthur Study Bible
End Times Super Trends. Ron Rhodes (2017)

Thessalonians … The Model Church

AN INTRODUCTION TO 1 THESSALONIANS

(1 Thes 1:1-10)

The first letter to the Thessalonians was probably one of the earliest of Paul’s many inspiring writings. He wrote it from Corinth very shortly after he departed from Thessalonica.  Tremendous persecution had broken out there and he was sent away for his personal safety.

Subsequent to leaving Thessalonica, Paul had sent Timothy from Athens to visit the church. Following Timothy’s great feedback about them, Paul wrote this letter in which he commends them for their steadfastness and reminds them of the various truths he taught them while he ministered to them for just under a month.

The theme of 1 Thessalonians can be divided into 4 sections:

  • To help and confirm the new converts in the foundational truths he’d already taught them
  • To exhort or encourage them to live a life of personal holiness, pleasing to the Lord
  • To comfort them concerning those who had died
  • To instruct them with regard to their own hope of the Lord’s return

An interesting feature of both first and second Thessalonians is that teaching on the coming of the Lord is very prominent throughout both letters, and forms part of basic doctrinal teaching which is sadly lacking in the church today!

It is also very interesting that even though the time spent in Thessalonica was relatively short (just less than a month), many great doctrines of the Christian faith are referred to in his first letter to them. This would indicate that they would have had more substantive teaching on these doctrines whilst Paul was with them.   Here are the doctrines he alluded to:

  • The Trinity (1:1, 5 & 6)
  • The Holy Spirit (1:5-6; 4:8 & 5:19)
  • Christ’s second Advent (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:14-17 & 5:23)
  • The Day of the Lord (5:1-3)
  • Assurance (1:5)
  • Conversion (1:9)
  • Resurrection (4:14-18)
  • Sanctification (4:3 & 5:23)
  • Christian Behaviour (2:12 & 4:1)

The commentator’s (Scofield) sub-heading for verses 5-10 is “The Model Church”.  Paul said about them “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (v2)

In our next study, if the Lord tarries, we will look at the three “tenses” of the Christian life

Now a prayer

Precious Father.  We come to You in the Name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We thank You for Your Word which is alive and active and that speaks to us.   Thank you that Your Word is Truth and is our Guidebook for living.   Thank you that by Your Blessed Holy Spirit You help us to live a life that is pleasing to You.   We know too that if we do sin, “we have an Advocate Who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous”.  Help us to live each day for You and to Your glory.  Help us to watch for Your appearing.   Help us to tell others about You while we still have time.  We ask this all in the matchless Name of Jesus. Amen.

“… looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment” (1 Thes 1:10).

WATCHING AND WAITING!

WATCHING AND WAITING

You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised. For, “In just a very while little, He who is coming will come and will not delay””  (Hebrews 10:37)

Just recently I shared a post about the return of the Lord Jesus and it was interesting to note how a number of folk shared that they do not hear this message preached in their churches anymore.   I ask the question again … “How long has it been since you last heard a sermon or message in your church or on TV and Radio about the Lord’s return and the Rapture or catching away of the Church?”

The Word of God, the Bible, is very clear about the events of both His first coming and His return.  If the first coming of Christ was fulfilled to the letter, why should His second coming not be fulfilled to the finest detail?  It will.

For those who have never come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, time is running out.  We do not know the day or the hour, but we do know that His coming is imminent!

The Bible tells us very clearly:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father… Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. … So, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:36,42 & 44)

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. … Therefore, keep watch … What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32,33 & 37)

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36)

To illustrate the difference between “watching” and simply “waiting”, I will share two examples I heard recently.  They get their point across very well:

The story is told of sailors returning to harbour following active service during the war.   There were crowds of people on the dock cheering and watching to see the first glimpse of their loved one.  There was one sailor, however, that had no one there to greet him.   He returned home and found his wife at home busy in the kitchen.  When he walked into the kitchen she turned around and said, “I’ve been waiting for you”.     Waiting but not watching.    Expecting his return some time, but not actively watching to see if he would be aboard that particular vessel that returned that day.

The other true story was an example given by Charles H Spurgeon during one of his sermons about the return of the Lord.   He stated that even whilst he was busy preaching to his congregation, his dogs would be eagerly watching for his return home from church.   They knew he would be coming back and they were actively watching and listening!   As soon as they heard the sound of his carriage coming along the road, they would rush to the front door and be ready to greet him.

Are you eagerly watching and waiting for your Saviour’s return?

Did you know that there is a crown of righteousness awaiting those who are longing for His appearing?

 “In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 – Amplified version).   Another version puts it like this… “to all who crave His appearing

Are you eagerly watching and longing for His appearing?

He could come today!

Are you ready?

Share His Word while you still can …

Speaking just a word for Jesus is so important in these days as we see the day of Christ’s return getting very close!

Sometimes one thinks that what one says is not effective or weak.  BUT …. if you share a word or two or three from HIS Word, the Bible, the Lord will assuredly use it to His glory!

As Dr David Jeremiah shared in his devotional reading a few days ago, “Whenever we read the Bible, quote it, teach it, preach it, publish it, or spread it abroad, it speaks loud and clear.  God’s Word NEVER returns void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).   Any old mouthpiece will do – even ours!  You can be confident of HIS POWER whenever you share HIS precepts”  (Turning Point September 2017)

Isaiah 55 verses 10 & 11 state …
10 
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Be faithful in sharing His Word:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthinans 15:58 KJV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose] (1 Cor. 15:58 Amplified Bible)