Explanatory note: What was at first intended as a short article concerning the warning signs within the house of God signifying the last days, has grown of its own volition into a much larger and more in-depth study, and as such I have opted to post only the first two parts of the teaching on our website, and put the completed writing in booklet form which will be available shortly. Taking into account the fast paced life to which all have become accustomed, I fear posting the study in its entirety would be a strain on the attention span of most, and rather than overlook certain nuggets of wisdom by skimming the surface we thought it wiser to have it in print.Michael Boldea Jr.
August 24, 2006
Matthew 24:32-34, "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see al these things, know that it is near, at the very doors. Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till al these things have been fulfilled."
The house of God is either missing, or ignoring the signs that are all around them. I am not referring to the events unfolding throughout the world, but rather to those things taking place within God's own house.
We have become so enthralled with the prospect of being granted a seat at the table of influence, so preoccupied with programs and building projects, with expansions and market share, that the prophecies being fulfilled concerning the condition of the church in the last days is going largely unnoticed. We are too busy, too consumed with building our kingdoms, with having reputation, with watering down the message of the gospel of Christ, to bother with such things.
The wise and enlightened however, cannot help but take notice, for these are the precursors the forewarnings of a great and turbulent time coming upon the earth. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul prophesied by the unction of the Holy Spirit, of the sins, which would be found in the house of God during the last days, and the coming apostasy that would sweep through His temple in the final hours of earth's existence. Although it is exciting to see prophecy unfold in a global sense, one need look no further than the modern day church to see where we find ourselves on the prophetic timetable.
2 Timothy 4:3, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;"
I will begin by saying the following: The last thing God wants His children to be is ignorant of the times in which they live. Foreknowledge is one of the many graces bestowed upon God's true servants, in fact a grace that is reserved exclusively for them. The fact that we are given to know those things, which are to be, is one of the beautiful aspects of walking with God. True faith, will always lead to spiritual knowledge, and that knowledge will constrain the faithful to walking the path of righteousness and humility.
The word of God, is for us, His children the foundation and mainstay, of the truth. If we seek truth outside the pages of God's word, we are bound to err or be deceived.
Two thousand years ago, the time was coming, today, the time is here, upon us, wherein men no longer endure the sound doctrine of truth that leads to purity and holiness, they cannot suffer discourse on the soon return of Christ and His kingdom, and grow outright agitated when one attempts to show Christ as the only way to salvation, the focal point and purpose of all who desire eternity. They cannot endure such doctrine, for it conflicts with the flesh, with living for the now, with the material world that has become their singular obsession, and with the kingdoms that they have built for themselves all the while purporting it was for the kingdom of God that they labor so. Because they can no longer endure the Word in the fullness therein, many have turned to teachers who preach a message according to their own desires, teachers absent of the light of God, or the word of truth, teachers who will readily allow their followers to wallow in sin and duplicity, asleep and ignorant of the will of God, perpetrating and fueling the indifference of an entire generation toward the greater things of the Creator. The law of supply and demand is alive and well even within the Church, for if there is a demand for deception, for an easy gospel, for salvation without sacrifice, then surely the supply will be abundant.
Earnest desire for truth has been substituted in this country, with the quest to find that one teacher who will not challenge our spiritual condition, who will speak to us easy things, and placate our burdened conscience with soothing words designed to nullify our own accountability toward a sovereign God.
Daily devotion, and reading of the Word, has been replaced with channel surfing for preachers that do no offend, that do not insist upon holiness or righteousness, and tell us how we too can grow obscenely rich. Such men being in great abundance, we then attempt to find that one, that is not at that very moment rehashing the story of the widow of Zarephath, (who first having made a cake for the man of God, had miraculous provision), a task more difficult than one might think. The fact that it was an issue of survival for Elijah, not of financing the new private jet, and all he asked was for the woman to make him a small cake, knowing the faithfulness of his God to provide for his needs, and not his wants, seems to be overlooked amidst the rabid mantra, of 'give till it hurts, and you'll get a thousand percent return.'
A great majority of those who would consider themselves of God's house, receive such messages with glee, for in their hearts they say, 'ask me to give of my time, ask me to give of my money, but preacher, when you ask me to surrender my heart in its totality to Christ and His will, that is where we will have a parting of the ways.'
Men's desires are varied to say the least. Some are desires of the flesh, and that they may defend their fallen condition, men comb the word of God to find a verse, which taken out of context and read from the right translation, would grant them leniency and freedom to satisfy those desires. Other desires are of a spiritual nature, such as devotion to a denomination rather than to God, to a system of teachings, or certain philosophies that would widen the narrow path of salvation.
Because many would rather receive their spiritual education from badly made and Biblically inaccurate movies, rather than studiously seeking out what the Word says concerning these topics, so many relevant and spiritually maturing scriptures are misconstrued, and altogether misunderstood.
The Bible is a book that must be read, its content more captivating than any Hollywood production. Within the pages of this sacred book, one finds the beginning, and the end of the world, allowing us to peer into the future, and know the things that are to come, and sees the greatest of dramas unfold, that of the son of God nailed to a cross for the sins of mankind, His glorious resurrection, and the promise of His imminent return.
The Bible is God's book, the instruction manual that He lovingly assembled for His creation. With diligent study one discovers the very secret of life, as well as the secrets of the universe. What a truly wondrous thing that the Creator of all that is would take the time to give us insight into His plans for the future, His promises toward His beloved, and His love for His creation.
There was a time when this book, the Bible was opened and perused with great reverence, fear and trembling, when simply owning one was the greatest of treasures, while today many who call themselves sons of God, and children of the promise, no longer know what this book contains, and though within most households one finds more than one copy of this sacred book, it is left to gather dust on a shelf, long abandoned and forgotten in lieu of other preoccupations. Only when the Bible is consumed can it nourish, and only when it is studied can God reveal Himself in the fullness of His majesty.
Who are those that cannot endure spiritual things, those that cannot endure sound doctrine? It is once more, the Bible that gives us the answer, and uncomfortable as it may be to some, it is the word of God, that which has the final say concerning spiritual things.
1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man does not receive the tings of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
May we search our own hearts, and in the light of God's word, know that we can endure the entirety of Scripture, that which was given through Christ, and His apostles by the unction of the Holy Spirit. If we find that we cannot endure the sound doctrine of Christ, then we must with all diligence remedy that which impedes us, for the hour is late, and the Groom is preparing to return for His bride.
Whether in the world or in an individual heart, once sin begins to multiply the love of truth begins to diminish, the progression of sin being as such, that those who have allowed it in their hearts, eventually come to the place of no longer having pleasure in truth or the works of righteousness. The nature of sin is such that it fills every alcove of the heart, every nook and crevice, that there no longer remains any room for the truth. Truth has become a hindrance and a thorn to many a soul, who now only seek after those who would tickle their ears, who would speak to them beguiling things, accepting of spiritual deficiency, and absence of righteousness. Appeasement of conscience has become big business in today's Christian circles, and those who would dare trample underfoot the word of God, and offer alternatives to repentance and salvation through mortification of the flesh are handsomely rewarded for their compromise.
The pure of heart however, those who are followers of Christ not only in word but in deed, know that there is but one way, one truth, and one life, and that there is no salvation by no other name, than by the name of Jesus. They know to follow in their Master's footsteps, and live according to God's holy Word.
Be not deceived dear friend, the tempter is still about seeking to deceive if possible even the elect. He does not grow tired, and his anger toward those who would find the truth, who would know life, and discover the beauty of God's grace, has not diminished over the centuries, but rather increased exponentially.
In light of this knowledge, our only recourse is to be ever vigilant, ever aware of our relationship with Christ, ever looking, ever clinging to Him, laying aside every weight, every burden, every sin, running with endurance the race that is set before us, knowing that though men may lead us astray, our good Shepard never will.
Hebrews 12:1-3, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside very weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Whether tradition, custom, ceremony or habit, whatever practices we may hold to that are not in God's Word we must do away with for the sake of our very souls. For all that was given us to know, all that is defined as sound doctrine, as contributing to the health of the soul or salvation can be found within the pages of the Bible. However good a teaching may seem, however exciting a newly discovered movement, if it is unscriptural, if it is not found in God's word it is something from which we should flee without hesitation. May we be wise enough not to exhaust ourselves attempting to untie the Gordian knot of certain teachings, or interpretations of scripture, but rather cut through them with the sword of God's word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 4:4, "And they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
It is impossible for a man to have an equally divided heart, just as it is impossible for him to be in two places at once. Our ears cannot be turned to truth, and away from it at the same time, in the same manner in which we cannot face east and west in the same instant. Every man's heart is either filled with truth, or deception, with light or darkness.
When we turn our face toward God, as a matter of course we naturally turn our back to the world, but by the same token it is logical and reasonable that when we turn our face toward the world, we have turned our back toward God.
It is a grim and disturbing portrait of the end times that Paul paints, but one we dare not overlook, uncomfortable as it may be. It is in these end times, that the deceiver will succeed in deceiving many who claim to preach the Gospel, who claim to be teachers of the Word, but whose hearts were never truly Christ's. They will turn their ears from the truth, not because someone forced them, or because they were threatened with imminent death, but because they willed it so, because they saw more profit in speaking a fable, an imitation of the truth, rather than the truth itself.
If man is unwilling, the devil cannot drag him into sin, nor can Christ force him to repent. It is by our own choosing, by our own desire, that we either embrace Christ, or turn our back on Him, that we either follow righteousness, or fall into the snare of deception.
Luke 9:23, "Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
God will hold us accountable for both the evils we could have avoided and chose not to avoid, as well as for the truth we knew, but did not live. Whether it is the path of life that man walks, or the path that leads to destruction, he does not do so ignorantly, or without his knowledge. No man can stand before God and say, 'unbeknownst to me, I was on the wrong path' for every man chooses the path he walks. With vigilance we must keep our eyes fixed upon Christ Jesus, and our ear turned toward truth. Failure to be ever vigilant and watchful, and search for Christ in all that we hear, may result in the dangerous condition of being turned aside to fables.
What comforts the faithful is that the Spirit of truth will perpetually protect the sons of truth, those who have surrendered their lives and hearts in their entirety to Christ, who are steadfast in their walk on the narrow path of the cross. As we daily carry our cross, as we daily meditate upon the things of God, we become immune to fables and imaginings. Every deception perpetrated upon a Christian, every sin to which they became shackled can be traced back to the root cause of either denying or attempting to modify the cross. Many men have attempted to make their walk easier by either altogether doing away with the cross, or shrinking it that it may be lighter to carry, and so were overcome by the spirit of deception and vainglory. Carry your cross faithfully, and you will know victory in every trial, and every circumstance.
Although even some of the most respected and honored preachers of our time have chosen to shy away from this singular most important truth for fear of sounding narrow minded, or worse, politically incorrect, I will not for it is the essence of our faith: Jesus is the only way that leads to salvation. He is not one of many paths, one of many truths, one of many ways that leads man from the darkness of sin to the light of righteousness, but the only way, and there is no other but through Him.
Too many Christians today accept the universal perspective, the ideal that all religions are good, that all lead to the Promised Land, as long as you are faithful to your religion. The idea that it's the same God, just with different names, and all our paths lead to one inevitable paradise, are decried, rejected and condemned, by Christ's own words, the Lamb of God, the Savior of mankind, for it was Christ who said, "I AM THE WAY."
Herein lies the danger of minimizing the importance of Christ, and turning aside to fables, be they fables of a certain denomination or another religion. No matter how good a path may seem, if Christ is not the doorway through which we must pass, if Christ is not the truth we must proclaim, and the life we must live, it is a lie, a deception, a fable, and the consequences of believing such lies are nothing less than the eternity of the soul.
In a world of uncertainty, where all things are passing, where all that is born is bound to die, when those closest to us often refuse to understand us, it is comforting to know that Jesus is always there. When we make Him our friend, and constant companion, not only will He always be there, but we will also have a sure and unshakable foundation, and the promise of everlasting life with Him. May God keep us in the ways of His truth, and may we with humility and obedience walk in the light of His word.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.