Welcome to Leaving LaodiceaThe Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
One out of every six people in the world is missing. If 1.5 billion children had not been systematically killed over the past 50 years, the total population of the planet would be 9 billion instead of the current level of 7.5 billion. And of course, I am not even counting the children and the grandchildren that the missing 1.5 billion would have had if they had been allowed to grow up. There have been other great genocides throughout human history, but there has never been one that has literally wiped out one-sixth of humanity. Virtually every nation in the world has eagerly participated in this horrific genocide, and that arguably makes us the most evil generation to ever walk the face of the Earth.
So what would the appropriate punishment be for killing 1.5 billion children?
Not a lot of people think about this. In fact, most of those that approve of all this killing think that they are totally going to get away with it.
These days, even most Christians seem to think that there won’t be any consequences for all of the great evil that we see throughout our society. According to them, it really doesn’t matter that virtually every form of evil imaginable is exploding all around us, because America and the rest of the globe are heading into a golden new era of peace and prosperity that will be greater than anything we have ever seen before whether there is repentance or not.
I am sorry, but it simply does not work that way.
The other day I got an email from one of these believers. He was all upset that my articles were not more “positive”, and I guess he wanted some sort of an explanation.
1.5 billion children are dead and great wickedness is running rampant everywhere we look. Does he actually believe that this is going to lead to a positive ending to our story?
The modern era of abortion began in 1970 when some U.S. states began to pass laws legalizing the practice. The following comes from Wikipedia:
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state to legalize abortions on the request of the woman, and New York repealed its 1830 law and allowed abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Similar laws were soon passed in Alaska and Washington. A law in Washington, D.C., which allowed abortion to protect the life or health of the woman, was challenged in the Supreme Court in 1971 in United States v. Vuitch. The court upheld the law, deeming that “health” meant “psychological and physical well-being”, essentially allowing abortion in Washington, DC. By the end of 1972, 13 states had a law similar to that of Colorado, while Mississippi allowed abortion in cases of rape or incest only and Alabama and Massachusetts allowed abortions only in cases where the woman’s physical health was endangered.
The landmark judicial ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade ruled that a Texas statute forbidding abortion except when necessary to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional. The immediate result was that all state laws to the contrary were null. The Court arrived at its decision by concluding that the issue of abortion and abortion rights falls under the right to privacy.
Today is the first day of a 40 day adventure.
No, this adventure is not about a mission trip to Haiti or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. This 40 day adventure is a time set aside to discover more about the Lord and to specifically learn to hear Him speak. That’s right, it’s my desire during this adventure to draw closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been before and to learn to hear His voice. I’m not talking about hearing Him speak to me through His Word, which is wonderful. But I long for something more personal, more intimate. I long to hear Him speak to me like He has others in Scripture, and as He has also done for me several times in the past. In fact, those times of hearing His voice are some of the high points in my spiritual life.
I know what many of you may be thinking.
“Oh, here we go again. It looks like somebody else is wanting to move beyond the sufficiency of Scripture. I guess Scripture’s not enough for Steve and now He wants more than God has already provided for him. Maybe he wants an encounter like the one described in The Shack or to hear God speak like Sarah Young claims in Jesus Calling or something like that. Doesn’t he know that God only speaks today through His Word?”
No, I don’t know that. In fact, I see many places in Scripture where God speaks to His children in other ways than through the Scriptures. Let me give you a few examples.
In Acts 9, we find Jesus verbally speaking to Paul on the Damascus Road. It wasn’t just a command or some proclamation declared from heaven. It was a conversation where both He and Paul spoke to each other. And in this conversation, Jesus did not only speak through the written Word, which for Paul would have been the Old Testament. Instead, He verbally communicated His personal message and will to Paul. And that personal message could not be found from reading, for example, the Psalms or Isaiah.
Acts 9:4-6 – Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
“Got it,” you say. “But that’s the apostle Paul. He was an apostle and could, therefore, hear God speak to him verbally in ways He doesn’t do today, to anybody, ever. You and I are not apostles. We don’t even have apostles anymore. So how God spoke to Paul back then was just for Paul— and not for us today.”
As we look deeper into the relationship between the disciples of Jesus and John the Baptist, a few questions come to the surface. Why did John still have disciples after he proclaimed Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34)? And why is there a perceived tension between the disciples of Jesus and the disciples of John? In fact, you can almost feel the tension when John’s disciples confront Jesus and chastise Him for not doing what they, and the Pharisees, were doing regarding fasting.
Matthew 9:14 – Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
Or, to put it another way, “Why are we doing things right, and You are not teaching Your disciples to follow us?”
But there is more here than meets the eye. When John proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God, only two of John’s disciples followed Jesus. The rest, it appears, remained loyal to John and continued with him in the ministry of baptism. How is that even possible?
John 1:35-37 – Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
We will also see the blessings that come from following Jesus into the great faith adventure, like these two did, rather than remaining in our comfort zone with John. There is much to learn about the difference between the good, and the best, for each of us.
So join us today as we seek to follow Jesus more.
Jesus said in John 5:39 that the entire Old Testament testifies about Him. And this means everything. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 we see that the account of Moses leading Israel from Egypt and across the Red Sea also speaks of Jesus and, amazingly, the Holy Spirit. We see the cloud and the sea and the Holy Spirit and Jesus all in one incredible Biblical account. Consider the following:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were (what) baptized into Moses (how) in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
What does this mean? And how does this analogy from Exodus 13 and 14 point towards Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Reading further, we find the entire event at the Red Sea and the appearance of the cloud of God was all for our benefit. In fact, they were examples to us of something greater. And soon we will find out the something greater is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now all these things (cloud, sea, baptism) happened to them (Israel) as examples (to us), and they were written for (what) our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11).
We are just beginning to discover about the baptism of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Old Testament as we explore how the cloud and the sea picture the Holy Spirit. So join with us as we look deeper into this amazing and mysterious truth.
There is an incredible statement in John 5:39 regarding finding Jesus in the Old Testament. In essence, it says you can find Jesus in the Old Testament wherever you look. He is found in every verse, every feast, every sacrifice, every strange ritual. Jesus is revealed in both the Old and New Testament. Consider His words in John 5:39:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Remember, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. And the Scriptures He was referring to was the Old Testament.
In this podcast, we will look at the strange list of names found in Genesis 5 and show, amazingly, how they present the message of Christ in an unmistakable way. And this process begins by simply seeing what each name means. But we have some clues.
For example, we know that Adam means “man” and Seth means “appointed”. We can see that in Genesis 4:25:
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
But what do the rest of the names mean? Let’s dig a bit deeper and see if we can enjoy finding Jesus in the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 5.
When looking at the description of the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist lets us know how the Lord told him he would recognize the Messiah. And that one cryptic statement is of profound importance. John the Baptist said he was told he would recognize the Lord when he saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him (John 1:31-32). Let’s look at this account in context.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”
And why was John told to describe Jesus’ ministry as the One who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit? What does that even mean?
The Lord obviously wanted us to know that when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, He descended and rested and remained on Him in a totally different fashion than what we see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit came upon somebody, He came upon them for a season, a short time, for a specific purpose. And then, when what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was removed.
He came upon a carnal man like Samson. He did a mighty work and then the Holy Spirit was gone, leaving Samson still a carnal man. Same with King Saul and many others.
What is happening here? What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to be descending and remaining on Jesus? Let’s take a look at this together.
There is a story that will captivate an audience like no other. It is a story that pulls on heartstrings and leaves the listener perched on the edge of their seats. A story full of pain and suffering, enlightenment and hope, and finally, redemption. As believers, it is the story of our salvation and proves the power of our testimony. And it is exactly what other Biblical characters used when they faced a hostile, unbelieving crowd.
In Acts 9 we see the account of Paul’s salvation on the Damascus road.
Then, facing a mob that wanted to take his life, Paul spoke to them about his testimony in Acts 22.
Finally, when giving his defense to King Agrippa, Paul began with the power of his testimony in Acts 26
It seems the power of our story is a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Our testimony is the story of what happened to us, on a personal level. It could be how we lost weight, or overcame a personal crisis, or came to faith in Jesus Christ. But it is our story, and no one else’s.
And because it is our story it is immune to claims like, “I don’t believe the Bible” or “That’s your version of truth, but that’s not mine” or “Don’t try to shove your beliefs down my throat!” We’re not. We are simply telling you a story of how a hungry person found bread. And if we found bread, so can you.
Some questions from our last session, how is your testimony or witness for Jesus? Is it sharp, like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)? Or has it grown rust and decay from neglect or lack of use? Remember, we are the only ones that have our witness about Him? Everyone else has their own. And it is our responsibility to tell others what He has done for us. That is what love is. And it can be as simple as this:
“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Let’s look at the power behind our testimony.
One of the most powerful tools in our arsenal of evangelism is our testimony about Christ. We, like John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, and millions of others have a first-hand, personal account to proclaim about our Lord. And our testimony, like the testimony of John the Baptist, is something our detractors cannot argue against. Why? Because it happened to us. We are not proclaiming truth they can claim is not true, we are sharing our story, which is just that: Our story.
It is our witness to what Christ has done for us.
It is our proclamation as to who Christ is.
And it is our story that tells our deliverance from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of our God.
Our story is a powerful tool in the hands of our Lord.
The word “testimony” or “witness” is used of John the Baptist six times in the first thirty-four verses of John. It seems that word defined his ministry.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for (what) a witness, to bear (what) witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear (what) witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:6-9)
How is your testimony or witness for Jesus? Is it sharp, like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)? Or has it grown rust and decay from neglect or lack of use? Remember, we are the only ones that have our witness about Him? Everyone else has their own. And it is our responsibility to tell others what He has done for us. That is what love is. And it can be as simple as this:
“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Let’s look at the testimony of John the Baptist.
Whenever God reveals truth, Satan and fallen man try to deny it. Or at least confuse it in some way. And we see this clearly in the relentless attack on the Doctrine of the Trinity. Throughout the history of the church there have been many false views about the Trinity.
Some of these have been adequately dealt with by church creeds and councils. And some still persist today. Remember the three unchangeable truths found in Scripture about God:
One, God eternally exists as three persons.
Two, each person is fully God in every aspect.
Three, there is one God.
The problem now is to try to explain these truths without elevating one at the expense of another.
Let’s list a few we will discuss today.
First, there is Modalism that claims God is one Person who appears to us in three different forms, or personalities, or modes (hence the name).
Then there is the Arian Controversy, named after Arius, a Bishop of Alexandria, whose views were condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Because of the problems Arius and his views caused the early church, the Nicene Creed was written which affirmed, among other things, that Christ was ‘begotten, not made.”
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον) with the Father.…”
And following these are Subordinationism, Adoptionism and Tritheism, and others.
Let’s take a look at these together and see how our enemy tried to confuse the church with false views of the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Once again, we find many passages in the Scriptures that appear to imply Jesus assumed a subordinate role to the Father while on earth, and possibly even in heaven. And, as in the past, we are faced with some questions. But the answer to those questions and, at least on the surface, inconsistencies are found in the reality that Jesus lived to do the will of His Father. Both then, in the pages of Scripture, and even now, in heaven. This is a truth clearly revealed in the Gospels. Consider the following:
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:28-29)
Note, Jesus does not do things to advance His own agenda. He purposes His life to “always do those things that please Him (Father).”
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” (John 6:37-39)
Again, taken at face value, this implies the Father has something the Son doesn’t and then gives it to Him to act on the Father’s behalf or best interest.
What can we learn from this?
Something About Us
This is a collection of the many questions I have struggled with and the answers I have found regarding the relationship between authentic faith in Christ and much of what is portrayed today as Biblical Christianity. Especially with the coming darkness looming over all of us, including the church.
Come with me. It should be a wild ride!
To find out more about us and what we believe, just continue reading…