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Monday, June 29, 2015

What's Next?

Yesterday was Sunday. I preached a message called, "What's next?".  In that message I shared a truth. What's next for the church, is for us to continue in what we have always been called to do by God. I won't preach it again here, but as soon as it's uploaded, you can listen online by going to  Notes are also available at Sermon Notes.  However, what this blog is about today is a bit different, yet carries the same title. According to scriptures things in this world will get continually worse.  I want to share just a few things you should expect. I'll start with a scripture...

2 Timothy 3:1-5, 12-14 (NLT) 1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! ... 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

What's next in the world, in relation to this recent US Supreme Court ruling? 
(Here are five things that I expect to happen very soon.)
  1. The government will soon remove tax exempt status that has historically been available to the church.
  2. There will be a further separation of the true church who stands for Biblical truth, and the counterfeit church who have accepted the lies of culture and compromised the truth.  
  3. Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech will be quelled at the expense of so called civil rights. Preaching the full Gospel will soon, legally, be considered hate speech, while certain scriptures will likely be banned. 
  4. Persecution of Bible-believing Christians will become far more common in the US and harassment of those attached to biblical Christianity will be the 'in thing' to do.  
  5. This so called victory for the LGBT community will not be enough, and there will be a push for more depravity. Sin never satisfies for long, only for a season, so they will want to go further. (See below before you think I'm being hateful.)

Tax Exempt Ministries - There is already a cry from many to see this benefit to the church removed as some feel it is a violation of the current thought on 'separation of church and state.' We have seen this coming for some time, yet the current events have hastened the day. Already, in light of the SCOTUS ruling last Friday, Time Magazine has released an article saying, "Now is the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions."  This comes two days, after the courts ruling.  The writer of the article, Mark Oppenheimer, who is a supporter of Friday's ruling, hopes to ride this wave of 'progress', or from my perspective this wave of religious repression. His is just a voice among many who wish to do whatever possible to silence the biblical church, and remove any advantages we might have once enjoyed.

Separation of Sheep and the Goats - Certainly the true separation of the sheep and the goats will happen on the Judgment Day, but I use that analogy for lack of a better description. The true church which stands for biblical Christianity and the counterfeit church which stands for very little, are moving further apart daily. There is, and will always be, a church built on the firm foundation of the words of Jesus Christ, who have taken up their crosses to follow Him. These, who live godly lives, will stand out among the rest who have chosen compromise. God will bless His true church which believe in His power to change them, and He will condemn those who deny His power. You need not condemn them, God will. But I urge you to come out from among those in compromise and walk in holiness, so you may be received by God.

Freedoms - Freedom of Religion and freedom of Speech have been under attack for some time, but there is quickly coming an increase. In the days, weeks and months ahead opinions of Christian faith based on the Bible will likely plummet. The scripture will be considered archaic and many will seek to silence the truth from pulpits, air waves, and even Christian Schools. It may take a period of time to silence us, but it will likely be the next big push.

Persecution - Persecution has always been a part of Christianity. We were told by Jesus that it would be, and that we should not fear it. We here in the US have seen very little persecution in the past, but it may now be our turn. Persecution has historically come quite often through those who are merely religious but have no real relationship with God.  So it's likely that the counterfeit church will play a part in the persecution of the true church. For our belief and adherence to biblical truth, we will be harassed at first. Harassment by the counterfeit church, toward the biblical church, will become fashionable as they consistently slide further from truth. This will prove their faithfulness to culture. Also, bold advocates of the 'new norm' will come into our biblical churches demanding membership and wanting to be married by our pastors. Rejection of the advancement will set many pastors and church leaders up for arrests and jail sentences. In jail pastors will perhaps be abused and mocked for Christ and our adherence to truth.  You may say, "this couldn't happen in America!"  I say, "why not?" We have said the same about the very thing that happened Friday.  

Never Enough - The bible says there is pleasure in sin for a season. What happens in a pleasure-crazy society, when a pleasure grows old? You find a new one. Today LGBT's are celebrating what they call a victory. In a while the celebrations of June 26th will grow quieter and those involved will settle in to their new normal.  Someone though will not be happy. This isn't the end, it's just the beginning. Human depravity can never be satisfied, so there will be a new group who will arise to take our nation further down the road toward hell. One sin is never enough. The lust for more, will resurface.  (I don't say this filled with hate. I love those in the grips of sin. I was there too but have been washed and I'm in the process of being made into Christ's image. Sinners just sin, that's what we do until a work of grace regenerates us, and still we all fail from time to time. However, there is an agenda here toward unholiness, and the freedom in American allows for this push toward what is biblically considered depravity, unless the majority stands against it.)

There is a possible different course we could take though... God said, "I
f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chron. 7:14)  Pray for America!  Repent Church! Turn to God, perhaps He will forgive us and restore us. If not though, "the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell." (Psa. 9:17) 

I do want to tell you not to fear though. If you are in Christ, none of this will harm you. Keep loving one another. Love those who hate us and who are against us. Yet keep speaking the truth. 
Stay focused and endure to the end. Jesus is coming. 

What's Next? We'll see.