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550:  There is Nothing New Under the Sun… Really?

550: There is Nothing New Under the Sun… Really?

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The Depression of Solomon

The old adage goes something like this: “Everything the Bible speaks about is true.  And the Bible speaks about everything.”  This is also true, especially concerning some of the timeless questions we ask ourselves, such as “What is the purpose of life?” or “How can my life have meaning?”  Both questions, and many more just like them, are specifically addressed in the Scriptures, especially in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes is a timeless book written by Solomon, the wisest (at least at one time) and richest man who ever lived.  And Solomon wrote it towards the end of his life when he should have known better than to make the profound mistakes he did (remember 700 wives and 300 concubines, just for starters).  It seems as if the wisdom and fervency for the Lord Solomon had as a young man slowly dissipated as he got older, which unfortunately happens to many people, and Solomon failed to finish his life well.  Actually, it is kind of depressing.  But there is so much for us to learn from watching Solomon’s sad decline.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon used the word “vanity” thirty-eight times and wrote about life “under the sun,” which means life on earth.  It seems that was all he was concerned about in his later life.  The desire for money and pleasure dominates the first few chapters of Ecclesiastes.  Yet life on earth, void of a deep relationship with God, is not a wonderful thing.  It is filled with pain and suffering, disease and death, and can bring out the worst in people.  In fact, a Jewish writer once described life on earth as “a blister on top of a tumor, and a boil on top of that.”


Yet Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  I think Solomon may have missed that message.

And the Faulty Conclusion of Solomon

So what was Solomon’s conclusion right out of the gate?  It’s pretty depressing and self-centered.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher (Solomon); “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.  What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3).

Wow.  Sounds like it’s all about Solomon and no one else.  And selfishness always leads to unhappiness.  But note what the Hebrew word translated “vanity” actually means: “emptiness, meaningless, pointless, in vain, breath because of its transitory, fleeting character, the quality of having no value or significance, the result of being futile, nothingness.”  Solomon calls it “grasping for the wind.”

This is how Solomon was viewing his life as he moved closer to his day of final reckoning.  Do you feel the same way?

G. Campbell Morgan puts Solomon’s life this way:

“This man (Solomon) had been living through all these experiences under the sun, concerned with nothing above the sun … until there came a moment in which he had seen the whole of life.  And there was something over the sun. It is only as a man takes account of that which is over the sun as well as that which is under the sun that things under the sun are seen in their true light.”

Or, to put it another way, “Everything in life ‘under the sun,’ outside of Christ, means nothing.  But what we do for Christ, ‘under the sun,’ means everything.”  Keep listening to find out more.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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549:  The Problem is We Make Our God Too Small

549: The Problem is We Make Our God Too Small

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The Problem is Not the Growing Darkness…

As we shared last time, the problem today in our culture is not the increasing darkness, but the ever-diminishing light that is found in believers.  And this seems to be a problem that has stalked believers since the beginning of time, both in the Old and New Testament.

It’s not that our enemy is too big, but that our God is too small.  And we make Him that way through our doubt, fear, insecurity, and lack of faith.  So how can that change?  Simple, we just have to see God for who He is and not who we think He is after we’ve stuffed Him in a box of our own understanding and left Him there.  And we allow our lack of faith to do that all the time.

Today we are going to look at David in Psalm 18, just the first 3 verses, and see how David encouraged himself in the reality of who God is and not who our culture wants us to believe He is, which is impotent, distant, not caring, and apathetic to the cries of His children.  And nothing could be further from the truth.

If you will note, Psalm 18 is also repeated in 2 Samuel 22, written at the close of David’s life, with just a few differences.  So let’s look at the first three verses combined from Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22 in order to see exactly what David said.  But first, notice how the Psalm begins.

To the Chief Musician.  A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD (not king of Israel), who spoke to the LORD the words of this song (when) on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.  And he said:

Now we’ll look at Psalm 18:1-3 and 2 Samuel 22:2-4 combined.

(PS) I will love You, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, (2 Sam) the God of my strength, (PS) in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (2 Sam) and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. (PS) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

But this is only reading these words on the surface.  There is more to discover when we dig a little deeper.

…But the Diminishing Light in Believers

Let’s see if we can understand what David is saying by looking into the specific words he used.  Maybe there is some hidden revelation of God found in these Hebrew phrases.

O Lord (yehōwāh – the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses. The “I AM THAT I AM,” the Ever Present One)

my strength (ḥēzeq – used only once in the Old Testament, means to fortify, be strong and courageous, to make firm and steadfast)

my rock (selaʿ – stronghold, cliff, stone)

my fortress (meṣûḏāh – a fortified defensive structure, a place of hiding in the wilderness)

and my deliverer (pālaṯ – one who delivers others from pain, suffering, hardship, death, to bring to safety, to help escape, to rescue, to save)

the God of my strength (ṣûrʿ – refers to a large rock, a boulder, cliff, or rock wall, a mountain),

in whom I will trust (ḥāsāh – to take / seek refuge, seeking the shade of a tree, to find a safe location);

my shield (māg̱ēn – a defensive piece of armor used to block blows or other forms of attack, means protection, or the scales of a crocodile)

and the horn (qarnayim – represents strength and power, like that of an animal)

of my salvation (yeša – the act of deliverance, to rescue from harm and deliver to safety, liberty),

my stronghold (miśgāḇ – a strongly fortified military structure, a place naturally fortified and secure, a high hill or cliff, rock, a high tower)

and my refuge (mānôs – place of escape, flight, a shelter from danger or hardship, a retreat);

my Savior (mô·šîaʿ – one who delivers and rescues from danger to a point of safety),

You save (yāšaʿ – to save or deliver from ruin, destruction, or harm) me from violence (ḥāmās – implies cruelty, damage, a wrong, and injustice).

I will call (q̣ārāʾ – summon, invite, declare, invoke) upon the Lord (yehōwāh – the proper name of the God of Israel, particularly the name by which He revealed Himself to Moses. The “I AM THAT I AM,” the Ever-Present One),

[who is worthy] to be praised (hālal – to be extolled of the greatness of His works, to commend, shine, shout, exclaim Hallelujah);

so shall I be saved (yāšaʿʾ – to save or deliver from ruin, destruction, or harm)

from my enemies (ʾōyēḇ – all kinds of enemies, personal, national, or an enemy of God, foe, adversary, to be hostile to).

Did you get that?  And do you feel better?  I sure do.  But there is so much more to discover from these three small passages is Psalm.  So keep listening as we learn to see God for who He is and not who we think He is.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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548:  Keeping First Things First… Always

548: Keeping First Things First… Always

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We are the Light of the World… Maybe

The problem today in our culture is not the increasing darkness, but the ever-diminishing light in believers.  For darkness is defined as the absence of light.  And when light appears, it immediately vanquishes darkness without a struggle.  But there is more.  Scripture tells us that Christ is light, and therefore, so are we.  We are children of light and are commanded to “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).  And Scripture describes the enemy as darkness.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (the Baptist).  This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (Christ), that all through him might believe.  He was not that Light (Christ), but was sent to bear witness of that Light (Christ).
Summary: That was the true Light (Christ) which gives light to every man (was) coming into the world – John 1:6-9.

But it gets even better.  Consider what John later says about light.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light (to what degree) and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him (light), and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if (condition) we walk in the light (to what degree) as He is in the light, (result) we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin – 1 John 1:6-7.

So it appears the problem today with encroaching darkness is us, those who are light, yet hide our light from the world (Matt. 5:14-16).  Why do we do that?  Maybe it’s because we fear the darkness.  Or maybe we fear the persecution of the world, of being canceled, mocked, de-platformed, or whatever the darkness tries to do to conceal our light.  But no matter.  We have the mandate from our Lord to “let our light shine before men” (Matt. 5:16).

So maybe we should be about just that.  Remember:

Fact: For you were once darkness, but now you are light (where) in the Lord.
Command:  Walk as children of light – Ephesians 5:8.

Note: We are now (present tense) light in the Lord. We possess the Holy Spirit and take on the nature of Christ (Rom. 8:29), who is Light (1 John 1:5).  And that makes us divinely powerful in Him.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

How Do We Live as Light in the World?

So how are we to be light in this dark world?  And how do we fight against the darkness?  Let me tell you how not to fight against the darkness.  Not with anger, revenge, politics, or personal strength.  None of the Rambo stuff.  Nor by plotting, or scheming, or manipulating circumstances to meet our end.  No, that’s what the darkness does.  We let Him do the fighting for us and rest in His promises and commands.

In Him (Christ) was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (katalambánō – to take, apprehend, overcome, to seize the position of and defeat, to gain control) it – John 1:4-5.

Did you get that?

When we surrender ourselves to the Lord, we allow Him to fight our battles for us (which was His whole plan in the first place).  We find this command to surrender ourselves all throughout Scripture.  Remember, He gets the glory when we allow Him to fight our battles for us, just like a loving Father.  And He has promises for those who choose to trust Him, even in the thick of battle.

Remember the questions in Romans 8?

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” – Romans 8:33.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” – Romans 8:35.
And the one where our faith either grows or fails… “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors (how) through Him who loved us” – Romans 8:37.

And we pray and put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18).  Not sure what that means or why we should do it?  Then keep listening.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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547:  Regeneration – The Greatest Deception in the Church

547: Regeneration – The Greatest Deception in the Church

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The Mark of the End Times?  Deception  

In Matthew 24, Jesus revealed to His disciples the signs to look for when the end of the age appears.  And the number one sign is deception.  He actually began this teaching this way: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matt. 24:4).  And how will they, and you and me, be deceived?  Jesus said Satan would unleash all he has in his bag of tricks.

First, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:5).

Next, we have false prophets who claim to speak for God.  “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matt. 24:11).

This is followed by more false prophets pointing now to false christs who will perform counterfeit signs and wonders that only the real Christ should be able to do.  In fact, the deception is so great, that all but the elect will be deceived.  “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 24:24).

Scripture warns us it is going to get bad.  Real bad.  And real fast.

But there is a deception going on right now in the church that is just as bad as what is to come, maybe worse.  And this deception strikes at the core of our eternal salvation.  It is literally a matter of heaven and hell.

Have You Experienced Regeneration?

It is the deception regarding your salvation.  Are you really saved?  And if so, how do you know?  Is it based on a prayer you prayed or an emotion you experienced, or is it something else?  How do you know you are really saved?

When we are asked that question, we often rely on external evidence.  But for many in the church today, the external evidence of true salvation is sadly missing.  Why?  Because of a lack of regeneration.

Let me explain.

When salvation truly takes place, everything changes.  God doesn’t make us better or allow us to keep parts of ourselves He now sanctifies.  No, the Scriptures teach everything is now new (born again) and the old has passed away, been buried, done away with.  Hence, the external evidence should be a radically changed life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; (defined as) old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new – 2 Corinthians 5:17.

But the key to understanding the difference between regeneration (being born again) and faith and conversion (saying the sinner’s prayer), is best explained by trying to understand what this verse really means.

Therefore, if (since, because) anyone (personal) is (what) in Christ (salvation), he is (present tense) a new (kainós – qualitatively new, original and of a kind not seen before) creation (ktísis – an object brought into creation or existence by God); (defined as) old things have passed away (to pass out of use or go out of existence); behold, all things (pas – each, every, the whole, in entirety without exception) have become (gínomai – to begin to be, to come into existence after not existing) new (kainós) – 2 Corinthians 5:17.

This is a picture of true salvation.  It is a description of regeneration.  Regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts new spiritual life to us.  How regeneration happens is a mystery to us.  But the fact that it does is the bedrock of the assurance of our salvation.  There are many Scriptures that speak of a spiritual interaction between our spirit and the Holy Spirit.  So the question would be:  Have you had this kind of interaction with the Spirit?

Which brings us to the internal evidence of salvation.  Consider this truth:

The Spirit (emphatic) Himself (what) bears witness (summarturéō – to testify, to witness, to confirm, to provide supporting evidence) with our spirit (human spirit) that we are children of God – Romans 8:16.

Ouch.  How does that happen?  And what resulted from His confirmation?  How has that experience, Spirit to spirit, changed your life from that point until today?  And if His confirmation of your sonship hasn’t changed your life, Spirit to spirit, should it have?  In what way?  Can you see where deception could creep in?

I sure hope so, because it is a damning deception.  Join us today as we look into the truth of regeneration as we: Examine yourselves as to whether (what) you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless indeed you are disqualified – 2 Corinthians 13:5.

And nobody wants to find themselves disqualified (adókimos – fraudulent, unapproved, unworthy, spurious, worthless, corrupted).


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546:  Spiritual Preparation for the Lord’s Supper, Revisited

546: Spiritual Preparation for the Lord’s Supper, Revisited

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The Two Ordinances of the Church  

There are two ordinances the church celebrates: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Baptism is a once in a lifetime event for the believer that publicly displays their passage from death to life through the salvation offered by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a picture of being “born again” (John 3:3, 7).  The Lord’s Supper is something different.  It is an event of self-examination and repentance that is celebrated on an ongoing basis, as often as the church desires, whether it be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whenever they choose.

The Lord’s Supper is a reenactment of the Last Passover celebrated by Jesus and His disciples, but with one significant change.  During the Last Passover, Jesus gave deeper meaning to the wine and bread.  He said the bread represents His body that was to be “broken” for them (1 Cor. 11:24).  And the wine represents a new covenant He made with us through the shedding of His blood on the cross (1 Cor. 11:25).  Only Jesus didn’t use the word represents.  I did.  He said the bread is His body, and the wine is His blood.  And this is where the plot thickens somewhat.

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” – 1 Corinthians 11:24.

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” – Mathew 26:27-28.

And the debate about the literal or symbolic use of bread and wine has continued until this day, so we won’t spend our time running down that rabbit hole.  But what we are going to look at is the meaning of what this all conveys, especially when Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24-25), and how celebrating this feast proclaims “the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

Which leads us to ask a few questions.

Question:  What happens at the Lord’s Supper?
Answer:  That really depends on you.

How much have you prepared to commune with the Lord today?  Do you have an expectation of meeting with Him?  And if so, how have you prepared yourself to meet with Him?  Do you realize the Lord of the Universe has invited you to come to His table?  And are you coming to His table in a “worthy manner” befitting Him (1 Cor. 11:27)?

Question:  Ok, then what is supposed to happen at the Lord’s Supper?
Answer:  Again, that really depends on you.

Jesus specifically set this time apart for us to experience an intimate communion with Him.  So it is much more than a religious sacrament.  It is actually a time for us to repent of our sins, cleanse our hearts before Him, and then partake in the sufferings (death) and blessings (resurrection) with Him.

We are to experience this union (key phrase) with Him in our soul, not just in our minds.  And the way to do that (the “how” questions) begins with your spiritual preparation and prayer.  After all, He has invited you to dine with Him at His table at His request.

The 1860 Revival of Cape Town 

For over 38 years, Andrew Murray senior, the father of the well-known pastor and devotional writer, Andrew Murray, prayed for revival to take place in the Cape Colony in South Africa.  And for 38 years, nothing.  Then, in 1860, when his son Andrew Murray was a young 32-year-old pastor of a small church, revival broke out, and everything changed.  In fact, eyewitness accounts (this one from Servaas Hofmeyr) of the revival and its aftermath describe it like this:

“Before the days of Revival, the situation of our congregation was lamentable.  Love of the world and sin; no earnestness or heartfelt desire for salvation; sinning and idleness, that was the order of the day for most.  When the Lord started to move among us, how intense were the prayers for revival and the cries for mercy!  ‘I am lost!’ cries one here.  ‘Lord, help me!’ cries another.  Anxious cries were uttered, heart rendering testimonies of conversion were heard.  Visions were seen.  Corporate prayer, even behind bushes and rocks, on mountains and in ravines, men, women, greyheads, children, gentlemen, servants all kneeling on the same ground crying for mercy.  And none of this was expected by anyone, nor prepared by anyone, nor worked up, or preached by anyone.  It was all the Spirit of God, and not for a few hours or days, but months long.”

It was a time of spiritual wonder.  In fact, a local pastor described it by saying:

“Prayer meetings were overflowing and full of fire and zeal.  Early in the morning and late at night, people would come singing to God’s house.  Repentance, renewal, rebirth, and devotion were deepened, and vision widened.  Cases of heartfelt conversion occurred daily.”

Sounds like something right out of Acts 2, doesn’t it?

So what is the point of the 1860 revival and how does it relate to the Lord’s Supper?  Simply this, in 1887 Andrew Murray wrote a book titled, The Lord’s Table:  A Help to the Right Observance of the Holy Supper.  And in this book, Andrew Murray gave clear instructions and, most importantly, heart-felt prayers that helped those who were experiencing revival in his time to spiritually prepare for the Lord’s Supper.  And by following the instructions of someone who has experienced what we are striving for, we can hope for the same results.

You can download the bookHERE.  And I would encourage you to listen to this message as we move forward in likeness to Him as we, at the same time, leave lukewarmness and apathy (Laodicea) behind.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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