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Salvation:  The Deception of Non-Saving Faith

Salvation: The Deception of Non-Saving Faith

“Faith or No Faith, That is the Question”

All throughout Scripture we see examples of people who have faith, but it’s non-saving faith.  After all, every one of us has some type of faith and we exercise faith every day.  We have faith a car will stop while we cross the street, we have faith our prescriptions will do what our doctor told us they would do, we have faith a chair will hold us up when we sit down in a crowded restaurant, and we have faith the sun will come up in the morning as we prepare to go to the job we have faith we still have.  We all have faith— but we have faith at different levels and in different things.  And not all faith is the same.

For example, we have a certain type of faith in our government, or our economic system, or in the media.  But that faith is not as strong, nor of the same substance, as the faith we have in the sanctity of our marriage, or the trustworthiness of our best friend, or in our ability to keep a promise to those we love.  Each of these kinds of faith is as varied as the objects of that faith.  And none of these reaches the level of faith or trust or dependence we would expect to have in Christ.  Hence, we would call these examples non-saving faith.

But what happens when a seeking person, just like you or me, comes to Jesus for salvation with nothing more than non-saving faith?  Would that person be saved?  Or would they be deceived into thinking what faith they had, bordering on intellectual curiosity, was sufficient for salvation?

The Deception of Non-Saving Faith

The Scriptures repeatedly warn about the deception of non-saving faith.  In the Parable of the Sower, seventy-five percent of the seeds sown did not lead to salvation (Matt. 13:3-9).  Those who sowed in the shallow soil and the thorny soil were deceived into thinking mere growth, without corresponding fruit, equates to salvation.  Or, to put it another way, faith, without corresponding fruit, leads to salvation.  And the Scriptures clearly state they don’t.

The Scriptures also talk about having a “form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:5).  We see people like Hymenaeus and Alexander, both lost, serving as prominent members of the church (1 Tim. 1:20).  There are those who come to the wedding feast dressed in clothes of their own righteousness.  The result?  They were bound, hand and foot, and “cast into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13).  We have the warning from the Lord about the wide road that leads to destruction and the narrow gate that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).  And, in the book of Hebrews, some were “once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift” but never fully drank of the living waters of salvation (Heb. 6:4).

Remember, Jesus said He “did not come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34) and “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt. 10:36).  How?  Because our commitment to Christ must be greater than our love and devotion for those we hold most dear, even our own family.  Jesus, when asked “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” said of His own family, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:48-50).

The sad truth is many people come to Christ but never fully partake, or drink, of Him (John 7:37) and are deceived into believing they are truly saved.  Many people, most in fact, go part of the way towards Christ and end up short of true salvation.  They feel and recognize their need for Christ and acknowledge He is the only One that can satisfy their deepest longings, yet they fail to appropriate Him into their lives on His terms.  They thirst, they come— but they fail to drink.  They create their own gospel, their own way of salvation, and their own standards of righteousness, holiness, and sanctification.  Yet they are deceived— because a man-made Gospel does not lead to Christ.

Thirst, Come, and Drink

On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, approximately six months before Jesus was to celebrate His last Passover in Jerusalem and was later betrayed and crucified (John 13:1), He stood amid the crowd and gave the following invitation: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).  Jesus gives His gospel presentation to a group of people who have very different views about who He is.  And whenever Jesus presents us with Himself— He always forces us to choose.  We are forced to either accept Him on His terms or reject Him outright.  There’s no middle ground, no gray area, and it’s not open to personal interpretation.  It happened to the crowd at the Feast of Tabernacles and it happens today every time we proclaim the Gospel of Christ.

The questions are always the same:  Who is Jesus?  What is truth? (John 18:38).  Is Jesus who He says He is?  And, if He is, what does that mean for me?  Is it possible to have my sins forgiven?  How can I be reconciled with God?  Tell me, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 2:37).

In this passage, three key words describe the path to true salvation.  The words are thirst, come, and drink.  And the promise, of course, to those who thirst, come and drink is eternal life with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit, the living water Jesus talked about (John 7:39).

Thirst – those who thirst recognize a deep longing, an intense craving, an unsatisfied need in their life.  It’s those who come to grips with the reality that their life has no eternal purpose or meaning and they are “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).  They instinctively perceive there’s more to life than what they’re experiencing and, therefore, they try to fill the void they feel with all sorts of carnal sensations— sex, drugs, food, false religions and philosophies, immoral relationships, pride, selfishness, arrogance— until they finally admit only Jesus can bring light into their darkness.

Come – when the personal longings become unbearable and the promise of redemption seems so alluring, so captivating, and enticing, many come to Jesus for what He promises to offer.  These understand who Jesus claims to be, the exalted Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord, and they understand what He has done for them, redeeming them from the penalty and power of sin by dying for them on the cross.  What they know and understand about Jesus is true.  The problem, however, is what they do with that truth.

In other words, there’s more to salvation than simply coming to Jesus.  You can’t just come and receive Him on your terms as some sort of trade or barter transaction.  You must enter through the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13), on His terms, and His terms are not open to negotiation.  His terms are all or nothing, total commitment, His life for yours.  He doesn’t come to make us better or to enhance certain aspects of our life.  No, He comes to put us to death and raise us to life again in His image, as His child, to do His will and not our own (Rom. 6:3; 1 Peter 3:18).  He is the Lord, the Sovereign One, God Almighty (Phil. 2:10-11), and we are now voluntary slaves, bondslaves, of His.  Remember the words from Romans 10:9: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Note, it’s Jesus as Lord and nothing else.  You cannot come to Jesus as Savior only.  He is Savior, because He is Lord.

Most people never make it this far.  They never move past simply coming to Jesus and they never progress to true salvation.  Most view Jesus as an enlightened master or great teacher or the supreme moral example for all mankind, but never as Lord.  They fail to take Him at His Word, or count the costs of salvation (Matt. 8:19-22), and give their lives to Him in abject submission and humility.  They want what He can do for them to make their life better, but they do not want Him as their Lord.  So they say a prayer and try to incorporate some behavior or moral changes into their life and maybe even experience a deceptive sense of salvation, like a sensation of peace or contentment, but they never yielded or surrendered their life to Him nor submitted to His Lordship.  And, as sad as it may seem, they’re still lost.  Why?  Because their nature has not been changed (2 Cor. 5:17), redemption and conversion have not taken place, and the Holy Spirit does not indwell them as their deposit, the guarantee of their future inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:14).  And then Jesus will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:23).

Drink – this is where true salvation takes place.  You have a thirst and you come to Christ to quench and satisfy your thirst.  Yet simply coming to where the Living Water flows does not, in itself, quench your thirst.  You must drink.  You must partake.  You must be engulfed, enveloped, saturated in Christ, the Living Water.  He must be everything to you if you are to receive anything from Him.  Salvation, being a joint heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17), requires more than reciting some prayer as a nine-year-old at VBS.  It’s a radical, unconditional, total and complete, without reservation and with reckless abandonment, pledge, vow, promise, commitment, and allegiance to Christ as Lord.  You are no longer your own to do what you wish with your life (1 Cor. 6:19).  You have been bought with a price, you now belong to Him, and you are to live to bring Him honor (1 Cor. 6:20).  You are now pilgrims and strangers on the earth (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11) because this world is not your home (Heb. 13:14).

This is this kind of all-or-nothing relationship that marked the disciples, the early church, and every true believer from Pentecost until today.  And, if you truly know Christ and are known by Him, it will mark your life also.

Those Who Believed Jesus… Kinda

The Scriptures tell us when Jesus finished His invitation to the unbelieving crowd to come and drink of Him and those who would come and drink would receive, in themselves, the flowing rivers of eternal life in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), the crowd was divided.  Some believed His words, but only partially.  Some didn’t believe at all, and wanted to destroy Him (John 7:44).

Nothing much has changed.  As it was back then, so it is today.

“Truly this is the Prophet”

John 7:40-41 states:  Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.”  Note, they said He was the Prophet, capitalized, and not a prophet.  This first group was asserting that Jesus was the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15 where Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”  For centuries, this passage had been interpreted to prophetically speak of the coming Messiah, the Christ.  However, by the time of Jesus, the Jewish scholars, from their understanding of Malachi 3, believed the passage spoke more of the forerunner of the Messiah (Mal. 4:5-6), and not the Messiah Himself.  Now the Prophet was someone who would show men their need for a Redeemer, for Christ, and then faithfully point them to the only One who could satisfy their need.  But the Prophet was not the Messiah and could not, himself, satisfy their thirst, need, or longing.  He could just point the way or be a path or channel, but He had no power or authority to grant salvation.

Unfortunately, many people still believe this about Jesus.

They believed Jesus came to point men towards the truth, but they would fervently deny He was the Truth (John 14:6).  They would declare Jesus came to point men to someone or something coming to satisfy all their needs, but He was not that Someone and He did not possess the something they were looking for.  The men who said, “Truly this is the Prophet” (John 7:40), recognized and affirmed the special status Jesus had as a one-of-a-kind religious leader who did things and taught things unlike any religious figure before (John 7:46).  He was in a class all by Himself.  They would even go so far as to say Jesus was sent by God and had a special relationship with God (John 3:2).  But they would not receive Him as God or serve Him as Lord.  They wanted Jesus and something else, anything else.  These were those who thirsted and came, but never drank.

“This is the Christ”

The second group said, “This is the Christ” (John 7:41).  This group recognized and believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of Israel, the One prophesied from the Old Testament (Luke 2:11).  Yes, they knew these facts about Him to be true, but they defiantly refused, like the first group, to bend their knee to Him as Lord (Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10).  They refused to commit their lives and future to Him as the Sovereign One.  The Scriptures do not indicate this group followed Jesus as Lord.  They simply said, “Yes, I believe He is the Son of God and, yes, I believe He is the Messiah and the Christ.  So what?  What does that mean to me?  Now, pass me the butter and biscuits.  I’m hungry.”

This group confessed Jesus as something, but not as Lord (Rom. 10:9).  They had non-saving faith in Jesus as the Christ.

“This is the Christ… uh, but…”

Then there’s the group that fully confessed Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:16), but would rather argue and bicker and debate over trivial matters of their own theology and reject Jesus because, in their mind, He didn’t meet every jot or tittle they thought He should (Matt. 5:18).  These are the ones who argue saying, “He can’t be the Christ because He came from Galilee and the Christ is supposed to come from Bethlehem.  Plus, the Scriptures teach the Messiah must come from the line of David, and I’m not sure where this guy comes from” (John 7:40-42).  So they compared what little they knew about Jesus with their own limited and incomplete knowledge of the prophetic Scriptures and concluded He could not possibly be the Messiah because He failed to meet all their sincerely held convictions of what the Messiah would be.  We have many in the church today who operate the same way.  They smugly elevate their own statement of beliefs or denominational creeds or preferences to the level of infallible Scripture and use them as a litmus test for fellowship or, sadly, salvation, and even truth.

But if this group would’ve investigated further, they would’ve discovered Jesus was from the line of David (Matt. 22:42) and did come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah (John 5:39).  But they were more concerned with being right in the eyes of each other and promoting their own theological brand or position than in knowing the truth.  In their apathy and laziness, they failed to look for the truth because they arrogantly assumed they’d already found it.  And in their pride and hypocrisy, they missed their Messiah.

Again, just like the first two groups, they also missed out on eternal life.

Those Who Did Not Believe Jesus

The final group was those who hated the Lord Jesus and wanted to destroy Him.  These were the ones who wanted to take Him by force (John 7:44) but were prevented because, from God’s perspective, it was not yet His time and His hour had not come (John 7:30).  Needless to say, the people in this group did not understand Christ nor receive the gift of salvation He offered (John 7:37-39).

To What Group Do You Belong?

So where do you fit in?  What is your response to Christ?  Do you believe partially, somewhat, kinda, in Him?  Do you say, “Yes, He was a good man, and yes, He was sent from God, and yes, He’s a great moral teacher and example, and, yes, He’s a path or a way of some sort to God.”  If so, that’s not enough.  Your confession of Him or your profession of faith is severely lacking.  Fatally lacking.  For Jesus, He is all or nothing.  There is no partial with Him.  There’s no halfway, no honorable mention, no consolation prize, and no kudos for trying.  He’s all or nothing, totally in or totally out, through the narrow gate only, and on His terms without negotiation or compromise.

Remember His words,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed” (John 6:53-55).

Or, in other words, Jesus gives eternal life to those who ingest Him into the core of their very being, as their strength, source of daily nourishment, their very sustenance.  Jesus did not come to make us better or to enhance or improve our fallen lives.  No, He came to make us new, to put the old man to death, and to raise the new man to live with Him.  And what kind of life does He promise?  It’s beyond anything we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20-21).  He offers a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).  And He promises we will be children of God, and if children, then heirs, and if heirs, then joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).  Just think, all that Christ is and all He possesses becomes ours as a joint heir with Him— when, and here is the requirement, we give all that we are to Him.  This promise belongs to those who exercise real, genuine, saving faith in the completed work of Christ.

One final thought, the seeds that fell on the path, in shallow soil, and in the soil infested with weeds and thorns, did not produce fruit (Matt. 13:3-9).  They did not lead to eternal life.  Why?  Because Jesus never said you’ll know My disciples by their profession, nor church membership, nor civic good works, nor non-profit activities, nor from the applause of men — you will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16-20).

Fruits.  And nothing else.

Do your fruits show you belong to Him?

560:  If He’s the One Who Builds It, He Will Come

560: If He’s the One Who Builds It, He Will Come

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Our Blueprint for Church Growth:  Acts

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner’s character hears a voice that says, “If you build it, they will come.”  While this quote has become iconic, part of Hollywood folklore, the truth is, if we let God build His church the way He intended, He will come.  And when He comes, He will bring with Him the power to transform lives, just like we see in the Book of Acts.

Can you imagine what it would be like for today’s church to look like the early church?  We would experience prayer meetings with power that would shake the very room we were in (Acts 4:31).  We would have boldness in the face of governmental persecution, no matter how harsh it was (Acts 4:19-20).  There would be miracles and great signs from God authenticating our faith and His message (Acts 3:6-7).  And if we suffered for Him, we would rejoice that He considered us worthy to suffer shame like His Son (Acts 5:41).  Just imagine what Christian life would look like if we lived as they did in the early church.

But sadly, that seems like just a dream.  And many have lost hope of ever experiencing the power and wonder of God we see displayed in the pages of the Book of Acts.  Did you ever wonder why?

Remember what Jesus said:

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock (Peter’s affirmation of faith in Christ) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

And note, Jesus emphasized the “I” part of this promise.  He said He would build His church, and when He did, nothing, not even the gates of hell, could keep His light from shining in the enemy’s darkness.  So this is a promise, an if/then promise.  If we do our part, then He will do His.  And our part is to let Jesus build His church and get out of the way of what He is doing.

Do you think we could do that?  I hope so, but I’m not so sure.  Let me tell you why.

Three Things They Did We Don’t

When we look at the Gospel accounts and the Book of Acts, we see people respond to Jesus in ways we don’t encourage today.  For them, it was a life-altering, “all or nothing” choice.  It was a decision to embrace either life or death, to follow light or darkness, or to travel the wide road of destruction or the narrow path that leads to salvation (Matt. 7:13-14).  There was no third option.

But for us in the church today, we live for the third option.  We want to follow Jesus, but just not as close or as committed as those we see in Scripture.  Their life was full of blessings and hard times.  And for those in the West, the dread of hard times overshadows the joy of His blessings.  So we err on the side of caution.

But that is not how life played out in the early church.  Let me close by sharing three things the early church did that we balk at today.  For us, their lives seem extreme, and we feel more comfortable, and safer, watching from the stands than playing on the field.

They Forsook All and Followed Him

And yes, they really used that word, forsook, to describe what they gave up for Him.  You can read about this in Matthew 4:18-22, 19:21, 27-29, Luke 5:27-28, 9:23, and 14:33, among other places in Scripture.

They Met in Their Own Homes

There were no church buildings on every street corner at that time.  So the early church opened up their own homes, something we shy away from today, and allowed others, including strangers, to come in and sit on their sofas and worship the Lord.  This was the original way God built His church, yet we think we have come up with a better program.  I’m not so sure.  Are you?  You can read more about this in Acts 2:46, 5:42, Rom. 16:3-5, Col. 4:15, Phil. 1:2.

They Met Daily and Not Just on Sunday

This one hits hard, doesn’t it?  The early church met daily in the temple ministering to others and evangelizing, and then again at night, where they shared meals together.  Their lives were intertwined in ways that cannot be done meeting once a week in a neutral building.  Read it for yourself, in Acts 2:46-47.

So continuing (how often) daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread (where) from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.

And what did God do?

And the Lord added to the church (how often) daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).

I wonder, could there be a connection?  Is there something more we could be doing to encourage God’s blessing in our churches today?  And if so, could the answer be found in the Book of Acts?

I think so.  Do you?

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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“Lord Jesus Make Me, a Sinner, as Holy as You Can”

“Lord Jesus Make Me, a Sinner, as Holy as You Can”

Living a Life of Sanctification

For quite some time, we have talked about the importance of the Higher Christian Life, which was a term coined by the Keswick movement of the last century.  And the point of the Higher Christian Life is to experience, in real-time, sanctification. But the questions always persist: What is experiential sanctification? And how is it obtained?

Today I want to share with you the February 8th entry from My Utmost for His Highest that speaks of the cost of sanctification and how to experience it.  I hope this will be a blessing to you as we strive to grow closer to Him.

And remember, it is all summed up in this simple prayer:  “Lord Jesus make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy in Your sight as You can.”  And Jesus will always answer that prayer.

The Cost of Sanctification

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely – 1 Thessalonians 5:23

When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means?  We take the word sanctification much too lightly.  Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification?  The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns and an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns.  Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view.  It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone.  Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us?  And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did?  “For their sakes I sanctify Myself” (John 17:19).  The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective.  Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us.  Are we really prepared for what that will cost?  It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse?  Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”?  Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21–23).  The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him.  Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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We Walk by Faith, and Not Sight… Which is Hard

We Walk by Faith, and Not Sight… Which is Hard

Faith— Not Emotion

In our culture of self-promotion and exaltation that borders on narcissism, it is good to sit back and see how God deals with us from His perspective.  Or, how we are to see ourselves in His kingdom.  This is exactly what happened to me today.  As I was reading Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, I was arrested, no… I literally had my breath taken away by what I read.  And this was not the first time I had ever come across these words.  It has been my practice to read Oswald’s classic every year for decades.  But today, the Lord wanted me to see myself in what I read.  And that is exactly what happened.

Let me share the devotional with you, so maybe you will have your goals and perspective reshaped by these timely words.

For we walk by faith, not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7

For a while, we are fully aware of God’s concern for us.  But then, when God begins to use us in His work, we begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our trials and difficulties.  And all the while God is trying to make us do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight.  None of us would be hidden spiritually if we could help it.  Can we do our work when it seems that God has sealed up heaven?  Some of us always want to be brightly illuminated saints with golden halos and with the continual glow of inspiration, and to have other saints of God dealing with us all the time.  A self-assured saint is of no value to God.  He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God.  We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world.  And we are to do it with an infinitely greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.

If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want.  We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again.  But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.”  How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”?  He will never do it.  We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God.  Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!”  Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises.  God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them.  We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard.

This is what it looks like when we give all to Him.  And that is what I desire to do today.

One final point, this also reminds me of my favorite quote from My Utmost for His Highest, that came at the perfect time in my Christian life.  It is from the January 2nd entry and reads:

Have you been asking God what He is going to do?  He will never tell you.  God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is.

Let those words sink in for a moment.  And read it again, only this time thinking about all the things you have been asking God about, only to find His answer somewhat elusive.  This is just another example of living by faith, and not sight.  I hope you are as blessed and encouraged by these words as I am.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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559:  Apostasy and Deception are Key Signs of the End

559: Apostasy and Deception are Key Signs of the End

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Three Questions and One Long Answer

We find the Olivet Discourse recorded in three places in the New Testament: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  The entire teaching is Jesus’ response to some questions asked by His disciples after they were admiring the beauty of the Temple.  But Jesus did not specify which answer corresponded to which question.  He just answered them all at once, in one long narrative.  Let’s look at a combined account of these questions.

(MT) Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple —(LK) how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations.  (MK) One of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (MK) And Jesus answered and (MT) said to them,  “Do you not see all (MK) these great buildings?  (MT) Assuredly, I say to you, (LK) the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

At this point, the disciples’ understanding of the future of Israel and their own lives was shattered.  Everything in their religious life was temple based.  And the thought of the temple being destroyed was beyond their comprehension.

So they came to Jesus privately for more information or a clearer explanation of what He just said.

(MT) Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives (MK) opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew (MT) came to Him privately, saying, (LK) “Teacher, (MT) tell us, when will these things be? (MK) What will be the sign when all these things (LK) are about to take place? (MT) And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

But even in this narrative, you can see Jesus laying the groundwork for the end times and revealing to us the Seven-Year Tribulation Period and the Second Coming of Christ.   But for us today, we are going to focus on two major characteristics of the end times, and these are deception and apostasy.   Jesus tells us to beware of deception and Paul speaks of the coming (and now here) great apostasy.  And both are telltale signs of the end times.

Jesus’ Blueprint for the End

First, look at what Jesus said about deception during His Olivet discourse.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” – Matthew 24:3-4.

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” – Matthew 24:11-12.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand” – Matthew 24:23-25.

And then the Scriptures speak of a great apostasy, a falling away from the faith, that will happen at the beginning of the end, right before the revealing of the antichrist.  I believe we are witnessing that apostasy today.

Let no one deceive you by any means; (why) for that Day (the coming of the Lord) will not come unless the falling away (apostasía) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

Now the Spirit expressly says that (when) in latter times (what) some will depart from the faith (apostasy), giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who (1) believe and (2) know the truth – 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

And one more…

But know this, that (when) in the last days (what) perilous times will come: (described as) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having (what) a form of godliness but denying its power (dúnamis).  And from such people turn away! – 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

There is so much more we cover in this message.  So join us as we look for His soon return.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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