Category Archives: Devotions

The Cost of Unbelief

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:5-6).

How is your faith quotient? On a scale of 1 to 10 where would you rank yourself? Everyday, I marvel at the faith most of us exercise without even thinking about it.

We drive our cars 60-70 miles per hour with an oncoming car doing the same with only a white line and six to eight feet separating us. We place our faith that every car will not cross into our lane. We fly on airplanes that take us over oceans, trusting the pilots with our very lives. We ride on thrilling amusement rides that take us several stories into the air and travel fifty to seventy miles per hour down a winding slope. We trust the operators of that ride with our own mortality.

There is a great irony in the fact that we can place our faith in such things but cannot place our faith in the hands of our Creator. God got angry with one of his priests named Zechariah when he questioned his angelic messenger about his wife becoming pregnant with John the Baptist.

“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’ The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time'” (Luke 1:8-20).

Zechariah was struck mute because of his unbelief for nine months until the birth of John the Baptist. What consequence have you suffered from a lack of faith? Jesus is always looking for faith on the earth. Is there an area in your life where you have not been able to trust God? Why not repent of your unbelief and place your faith totally in His hands today.

Elijah and the prophets of Baal

One Man Against the World – 1 Kings 18:1-40

In our day and age, have you ever felt as if everyone is against us, as Christians? With immorality spreading, does it feel like many people are against the truth of the Bible? Elijah felt the same in his day. In the time of Elijah, the nation of Israel was ruled by King Ahab, who did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, along with his wife Jezebel (1 Kings 16:30; 21:25). In fact, King Ahab did “more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). He led the people to turn to Baal, a pagan god, and reject the Lord as the one true God. The people of Israel were divided.

The problem in Elijah’s day is very similar to the problem in our day. It’s not so much that we have rejected God, we have just made Him a very small part of our lives. He’s our Sunday God. He’s our church God. We put Him in a little section of our life, but not as the one and only true God. We worship Him, but we also worship other things: success, financial achievement, popularity, and so on. Our lives get filled up with gods and we try to share those gods with the one true God, Jehovah. But you cannot serve two masters.

The Showdown on Mount Carmel
During this seemingly hopeless time in Israel, God called Elijah to perform one of the greatest miracles described in the Old Testament. Elijah issued Ahab a challenge to gather all the prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel (verses 18-19). In fact, he told Ahab to invite the whole nation. Elijah wanted nothing short of a showdown on top of the mountain. On the mountaintop, in front of a crowd of witnesses, they would each pray to their god and ask for fire from heaven to burn the sacrifice on the altar. The true god would be the one who sent fire.

Elijah’s Challenge to Get Off the Fence
At the beginning of the event, Elijah addressed the people in 1 Kings 18:20-24. He was essentially calling to the people to fully commit to God and to stop dividing their heart between Baal and God. Elijah wastes no time in drawing a dividing line in verse 21: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’” He challenged the people of Israel to get off the fence. When Elijah used the word “falter,” it was a Hebrew word used to describe a lame man. He is literally saying, “Quit limping back and forth between two opinions!” They were halfway serving God and halfway serving Baal. There was no more room for compromise.1

No Response from Baal
At Mount Carmel, after the prophets of Baal call on their god, nothing happens. They cut themselves, and they cry out to Baal for hours but there is no response. You can read in 1 Kings 18:26, “But there was no voice; no one answered.” Baal was a non-entity. Baal was nothing. And nothing can do nothing—nothing can’t answer you when you call out!

One of the Greatest Miracles in the Old Testament
So then it’s Elijah’s turn. He is going to win this contest in such a way that there is no way anyone can doubt that God prevails. 1 Kings 18:30-35 details the meticulous preparation that Elijah required for his end of the showdown. Why did he continue to make them drench the bull and fill the trenches with water? Well, Elijah wanted to make sure that when the fire fell, nobody would doubt it was the one true God. So to eliminate any possibility that the altar might be ignited by anything other than a miracle, Elijah saturated the wood with twelve pots of water and literally drowned the wood, the sacrifice, and all of the space under the wood.

Then Elijah offers up a mighty prayer in verses 36 and 37. It is a very simple prayer. It is only 63 words long and you can pray it yourself in thirty seconds. The power of prayer doesn’t reside in the prayer, but in the God to whom the prayer is addressed. Elijah didn’t have to say a lot of words because he knew the God to whom he was praying was real and alive and listening.

For those of us who are familiar with this story, we know what happens next. Verse 38 tells us that the fire from the Lord consumed the sacrifice, the wood, stones, water, and everything surrounding it. The fire consumed everything! In verse 39, the response to this miracle was undeniable: “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’”

Four Lessons from Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
1. All Religions Are Not the Same

There is a modern assertion that all religions are the same. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). There aren’t many ways to heaven–there’s only one way!

2. Activity and Enthusiasm Are Not Always Signs of Spirituality
There is no doubt that the prophets of Baal displayed a lot of enthusiasm and activity on Mount Carmel. They were sincere in their efforts, but how many of you know you can be sincerely wrong? Mount Carmel proves that powerfully.

3. The Act of Faith Is Not the Most Important Thing
Faith is not the important thing. That may strike you as an odd or blasphemous statement, but faith is not paramount. It’s the object of faith that is the most important thing. The people who followed Baal surely had a kind of faith. They had worshiped this god all of their lives. They believed in Baal. They had faith in Baal. But their faith was worthless because the object of their faith was worthless.

Faith doesn’t get you into heaven unless it is faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. This lesson teaches us that only those who believe in Jehovah end up on the winning side. There is no other in which to place your faith.

4. The Faith You Live by Better Be Good Enough to Die By
If your faith doesn’t bring you hope and help you in your crisis, it’s not of much value to you. God built up the faith of Elijah in the quietness of a brook, the confines of a widow’s home, and walking in the wilderness. So when he needed his faith in the big moment, when he drew a line in the sand and chose a side, his faith came through because he truly trusted God.

So which side are you going to be on? Are you going to live for God and be His follower? Or are you going to keep living for the other things that motivate you in your life? That’s the challenge from this story to all of us, and I hope we will hear it.

THE LIFESTYLE OF A COMPROMISING CHRISTIAN:

THE LIFESTYLE OF A COMPROMISING CHRISTIAN: 

Compromising is not only found within so many churches today, but also within so many individual Christian homes as well. These so-called “Christians” are playing the deadly game of “I can live like the world and still go to Heaven”! They want the best of both worlds and justify their worldly lives by saying, “God knows that I am human and that I need to be happy and live a successful life while here on earth”.

They shamelessly watch all of the modern television programs and go to all of the latest movies, despite the subtle and not-so-subtle sexual references, scenes, messages, and distasteful language. Keep in mind that most of the movies that fall into the “family” category actually contain very questionable material as well and are not suitable for a Christian audience!

Use your conscience. Use discretion. Be cautious. Keep it clean. Keep it family-oriented. There are plenty of old movies and old television programs that are fit for Christian families to watch. Why settle for anything less than clean, moral, and decent?

So many Christian parents allow violent video games and rebellious music into their homes, not giving a care to the filth that is being fed into the innocent minds of their children and teens!

So many Christian hearts have pushed out the Holy Spirit to make room for immoral indulgences, sexual lusts, selfishness, and greed. They shamelessly fill their lives with wine, riches, and secular song! They accept all forms of adultery, twisting God’s Word to fit their loose lifestyles. They have become “lovers of their own selves” and “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV)

Something which never fails to shock and sadden us is the immodest clothing which is worn so shamelessly among those who call themselves “Christians”! Bikinis, mini skirts, low-rise jeans, plunging necklines….you name it! They have no shame before The Almighty God, whose Word distinctly includes an important passage about women dressing modestly and behaving soberly.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” (1 Timothy 2:9 KJV) 

You can continue to walk with the world and call yourself a “Christian” and you can keep trying to convince yourself that, “if so many other Christians are doing it, it must be right”…..but that will not excuse your daily moral choices when the day comes that you stand before The Great Judge, your Creator, and have to give account of your life.

Do not follow man. Follow only God. Do not be guided by the decisions of others but rather let God’s Word, The Truth, guide you. 

THE CHURCH & THE WORLD:

THE CHURCH & THE WORLD:

Very few churches today, only a remnant, are actually adhering to every word found in the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Very few church leaders are preaching the consequences of sin. Instead, they choose to preach feel-good messages about “prosperity” and “loving yourself” to cater to their congregations.

The King James Version of the Holy Bible has been deemed as “too old fashioned” and has been replaced with newer, more contemporary versions (perversions!) of the bible, ones that take the Holy Scriptures out of context and change their beautiful meaning altogether!

Cold, hard “Christian rock” music and sensual, impersonal “Christian Pop” music have now replaced the sweet and simple hymns of faith that, in times gone by, had drawn so many of us Christians closer to our Heavenly Father.

LOST REVERENCE FOR GOD’S WORD:

LOST REVERANCE FOR GOD’S WORD: 

Through the years, we have sadly seen many Christians lose their way due to a gradual lack of reverence for God’s Holy Word. They have been carried away by their own scholarly wisdom and have lost touch with the straightforward beauty and simplicity of the scriptures.

Many Christians, including pastors and authors, have tried to take the seriousness out of God’s Word by watering it down and by also adding a touch of “humor” to lighten it up and to make it seem more appealing and acceptable in today’s world.

Christian jokes have no place in a real Christian church, in a real Christian home, or in a real Christian heart! This thing called “Christian humor” is something that sours, curdles, and sickens the sincere Christians’ stomach. There is no such thing as a good joke where Christianity is concerned. 

put away worldliness

When you follow God, you must put away worldliness and be willing to walk the road less traveled, like Noah and Lot did. Jesus Himself was humble and lowly, He was not popular or accepted in this world.

If we are to follow Him, we need to be more like Him. If our King was rejected, we are to be rejected. Otherwise, we are no different than the rest of the world. We need to be different. We need to separate ourselves from the world and the things of the world.

When we are born again, it means that we are starting anew. We are born into a fresh and different way of life, a whole new direction. One that is changed.

A sincere Christian is happy to put away the things of the world and walk with God. We need to let our light shine brightly so that all who see us may know that we are followers of the King.

Worn Out Saints


By Sandee Lloyd

Daniel, speaking of the antichrist, tells that he (the a.c.) will wear out the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:25). The antichrist has not been revealed yet, but it sure seems that he has been hard at work behind the scenes to do just that. We get up every day and seek the Lord and we keep going, but we are tired and the road we are traveling gets harder. For those in a watchman ministry it can become quite heavy if we fail to balance it with prayer and plenty of time in the scripture rehearsing the good news, so we don’t lose sight of it.

When I lose perspective there is one sure way to begin adjusting the focus, and that is by enumerating all my blessings, and recalling all the times and all the ways God has delivered me through trials and difficulties before. And then with perspective restored, go back to the Word and take nourishment that not only strengthens me, but like physical nutrients, it builds up my immunity as well.

In God we have an endless supply of stamina, but generally we don’t tap into His endless reserves until we have exhausted our own. Learning to live “in the yoke” with Him is the only way to continue in His strength as a matter of course in the day-to-day. For most of us, there is a continuous flux. We get in the yoke, and stay there until we feel rested and then we think, “Ok, I can take it from here now”. We go in our own strength again for a while until depleted, and continue the cycle. That is just like a child, and God understands it but His will is that we remain in the yoke at all times. A sign of maturity is that leaving the yoke happens less and less, and when we do step out, we don’t stay out there long.

I think that by design, some of us are more prone to consistency than others. Some of us are up against rhythms and patterns that work against us. I have conditions in my body that undermine the intent to be consistent. For many years I berated myself for this. It isn’t acceptable to give into them entirely, but now I have learned to work with (rather than against) the flow of those rhythms and be a little more compassionate with myself. I still push when it is called for. But for the most part I necessarily live in such a way that I must “keep back” in reserve, some measure of energy by making minimal commitments, and avoiding stress as much as I can. I am certain there are those around me who do not understand this, and come to their own conclusions about it, and I accept that whether it is fair or not, because it simply is the way it is.

It’s not a matter of feelings or preference, but a matter of being the best steward of your resources that you can be.

I realize the scripture in Daniel is referring to actions the antichrist will take during the tribulation, but it is clear to me that the spirit of the antichrist has already been at work in this world for some time. I frankly am, a worn-out saint. I have battled with sickness in my body for 2 decades and am weary beyond words. Even Christians are shocked when I express my deep, deep yearning to be free from this world and this body, when I am not even 50 yet. In a world where fitness and youth are pursued like the brass ring, many likely conclude that I just gave up at some point and ought to “get back in the game”. Back in “the game” is the last thing I want.

I am wearied by the futility of worldly expectations, the illusory gains dangled before us, and the capacity of the human race to willfully ignore and deny and remain blind to an obvious mirage. Even the professing church continues to fail in acknowledging her own role in the current conditions of the world. I look back and I know that I was guilty of that in the past, and it grieves me and I have repented in tears of sorrow. Sin is what wears out the saints. Our own past sin, the sin of those around us, the cesspool of sin we can’t escape because if we are driving down the road, it assails our ears from the thumping stereo of the car in the next lane, and our eyes from the billboards. It has permeated and saturated the culture. And though we may have small ports of safe-haven, it becomes harder every day to breathe without inhaling it. God will remove us from this toxic environment before too much longer. Salt doesn’t just lose its savor from sitting around un-used. Salt also eventually loses its saltiness when it’s saltiness is spent and used up. Salt that stays in the salt-pile among other salt, loses its savor more gradually than salt that has been out there being salt in a decidedly salt-deficient environment such as the world we live in today.

There are many ways to be salt. Entering into the troubles of another, shouldering their burden and offering comfort and hope. Down in the trenches kind of help. Hands getting dirty kind of help. Serving “tirelessly” within the church is one way to give to the Lord, and takes its own toll, but serving in the muck-a-day world in the dark workplace, in the depths of sorrow and suffering and ugly harsh realities, that is costly in terms of giving of one’s self in a way that never quite gets replenished. Because it is a spending of self that truly gives self away. It’s a little like those folks who went in at Fukushima to secure the area and minimize the radioactive fallout. Radiation sickness is a given for them, early death is a given. They bore the brunt, to minimize what others would bear.

I think that we will be surprised at what burns as dross and what remains of our efforts and endeavors down here. A good many deeds which took place far, far removed from the church-house, will likely prove to be of enduring mettle, whilst a surprising number of “church-related” works may burn.  Church in these final hours of the age is no doubt significantly removed in every way, from what it was meant to be when first established in the first century after Christ lived, died and was resurrected. The corruption began immediately. A cursory reading of the first few chapters of Revelation makes it clear that the current state of the church is no surprise to God, and shouldn’t be to us either, if we’ve read the Book. But does that mean we just give up? God forbid! No, we continue to strive and to stand and to proclaim and to work as best we can until that trumpet sounds.

There is one thing that I have learned in life. You can’t have anything “both ways”. Without God we can do nothing, and whenever we do manage to “accomplish” something good and worthwhile to the sake of the Kingdom, it is never we ourselves who accomplished it, but God and His power in us. God gave each human free will. I will share the gospel but I will not make the mistake of thinking that I can do the job of the Holy Spirit. Give the gospel and leave it there. We are not to beg. If God calls someone to preach, that is what God called them to do, and even if the pews are empty, that man ought to preach, and will be answerable to God on whether he did or didn’t. If God called a man to evangelize on street corners or knock on doors that is what he ought to do. Whether he does it alone or with others, he need not turn aside from doing what he knows God called him to do, in order to try to persuade others that it is their calling as well, when it may in fact not be.

My calling and gifting is in writing and in prayer and intercession. Everyone is not an eye, everyone is not an ear, everyone is not a mouth and everyone is not a hand. The feet are for going. The hands are for working and building, and in my case, writing. If I am not “going” what fault of mine is that? I am not the foot. If I am not praying, then I am guilty of disobedience. There are those who are called to preach, and those who are called to administration, and those who are called to travel to “the uttermost parts” to take the gospel, and then there are those who are called to work in the secular world to bring in the funds so that others may preach and go and build and administer. The worker in the secular job ought not to be made to feel lesser for a role “less holy”. In fact perhaps he should be commended all the more for continuing to honor and serve God in a decidedly un-holy environment. Therefore those who have the higher calling of direct ministry should be careful not to look down on those whose role it is to give by means of secular work, that the “holy work” may be sustained. We ought all to “study to be quiet, tend our own business and work” (1 Thes. 4:11).

We are all tired and weary, but our faith is strong and sure not because we are so faithful and committed, but because it is fastened and founded in the sureness of God Himself and His ability to keep us “against that day”, for faith itself is “not of ourselves, but a gift of God, lest any man should boast”(Eph. 2:8). I am weary most of all, of Satan’s ploys to heap condemnation upon us. Am I all that I can be in the Lord and for the Lord? No, but God’s not finished with me yet. He alone will form this lump of clay into the masterpiece He has in mind. My task is to yield. If you ask me, the thing most lacking in the remnant church today, is the yielding. We have altar calls, so we can “get down to these altars and do business with God” but if it is 5 ‘til 12, don’t linger down there too awfully long, we have a program to adhere to, after all.

We never escape being human. We “overcome” our blindness in one area, only to discover we are near-sighted in another. We “correct” only to find we have over-corrected and veered to the other extreme.  There is nothing new under the sun. There are people who truly don’t try in life, who never come close to meeting their potential. And then there are those who refuse to acknowledge the limitations that come with being human. I recognize this maybe a little better than most folks by virtue of having lived most of my existence in the extremes, and having to consciously strive to find the middle ground of stability and realism.

Am I down, discouraged, depressed? No. Not by a long shot. But I can see, in this “paste on a smile, never let ’em’ see you sweat” world, how my lack of Stepford-esque smile might be construed as such. We have surrounded ourselves with fun-house mirrors and optical illusions so prolific, so distorted, that few of us can even recognize our own true reflection any longer. And maybe that is one of the main reasons I am so worn out. There aren’t that many of us left who are still trying to maintain the image and vision of what is true in this mixed up world. It is so much easier to capitulate.

Astronauts and crackpot pilots go through rigorous training for the purpose of being able to maintain equilibrium under sensory-distorting conditions experienced in flight and warp-speed, anti-gravity space travel. These are environments and conditions foreign to average daily life.  Well, it is like we are living under those conditions every day now. And it is very easy to think we still have our wits about us, when we in fact are starting to black out. Under such duress, the merciful relief of succumbing to the black-out state is ever so tempting. But we dare not!

Keep your eyes on the Lord. Stay in the Word!  Do what you know to do. And be true to your own calling. Don’t judge what others are doing, and most importantly, don’t look to others as your reference points. Look to God alone, His Word, alone, test and try the spirits and all doctrine by the infallible Word. Yield to Him and trust Him to keep you. There are times the ride will be so bumpy, the only thing you can do is hold on. And there will be times that will be all He asks.  Thank God the victory is already secured. We have great joy, yes, fullness of joy in Him and in our glorious future, but right now, right now it’s sober times!

Sandee Lloyd

Focus First on God

by Charles R. Swindoll

I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High Psalm 7:17

There is a mystery, an aura about the living God that is designed to force us to trust Him, even when we cannot figure Him out (which is most of the time). 

The mystery is purposeful, because His overall plan is profound. 

His plan is not designed to make us comfortable; it’s designed to make us more like Christ, to conform us to His will. 

In this life, we have focus choices. We can focus on ourselves, we can focus on our circumstances, we can focus on other people, or we can focus on God. When you think biblically, you focus first on God. 

Regardless of what you want, regardless of the circumstances you’re under, regardless of what others say or think, regardless of how you feel, God and God alone is working out His great plan. 

And in the final tally, it will be fabulous!

Woe is me

“Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.” 

Psalm 120:5 

As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry “Woe is me.” Jesus did not pray that you should be taken out of the world, and what he did not pray for, you need not desire. Better far in the Lord’s strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify him in it. The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you, and that more is expected from you than from other men. Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” 

Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, “If I were in a more favorable position I might serve the Lord’s cause, but I cannot do any good where I am”; but the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. 

Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honor to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, “stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?


Lea Sylvester

If Jesus of Nazareth were to return to the earth today, would He recognize the religion(s) that are using His name? Not at all! Mankind has twisted Jesus Christ’s teachings so that the religion bearing His name has practically no relationship to what He and the Apostles actually lived and believed.

Gasp! Did I actually mean what is written above? Yes, and read on…and open God’s Word.

Would He be shocked to find the people claiming to be His followers have been waging war against each other almost continually for the last 1,900 years? That His professed followers believe doctrines totally contrary to what He taught, observing different days of worship, different customs and most importantly – having a totally different concept of God and of His purpose than Jesus and the original Apostles did?

Yet, most genuine religious scholars recognize that vast changes have overtaken professing Christianity – rendering it totally different from the Christianity of Jesus and the Apostles. As respected mainline Protestant scholar Jesse Lyman Hurlbut acknowledges:

“For fifty years after St. Paul’s life, a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. With the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul.” 1

If the leaders, during this time which Hurlbut elsewhere called an “age of shadows,” were filled with and led by God’s Spirit, then would the Church suddenly be “very different”? The Bible tells us that Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Yet the professing Christian church today is not even remotely the same as the one Jesus founded.

Describing the time period after all the original Apostles and their successors had died out, Hurlbut writes:

“The services of worship increased in spendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with chnge of name and of worship. About 405 AD images of saints and martyrs began to appear in the churches, at first as memorials, then in succession revered, adored, and worshiped. The adoration of the virgin Mary was substituted for the worship of Venus and Diana; the Lord’s supper became a sacrifice in place of a memorial; and the elder evolved from a preacher into a priest.” 2

Notice Hurlbut’s statement that “some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals.” They “became” that way because God Himself had predicted that evil men and false leaders would take over most of the church. Paul told the Ephesians as well as us, “For I know this, that after my departures savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone day and night with tears.” (Acts 20:29-31).  Now, was Paul just addressing the Ephesians, or was he also speaking of our time – and the things that have happened prior to the “Reformation” and afterward? Let us keep scripture in context. Paul was speaking to all of these times and these “believers” and the “church.” 

When Paul realized the depth of the apostasy that would overtake most of the church, it hit him emotionally. He then “did not cease to warn everyone day and night with tears! Very few people today seem to be concerned enough about this massive apostasy to even begin to shed tears over this awesome and terrible change.

How did this happen? This occurred because men and women back then, just like today, did not zealously prove to themselves where God’s Truth was being taught. That is why the living Christ corrected those near the end of the Apostalic Era: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5)

Remember, God is not the author of confusion. What about today? How can we account for the more than 400 different denominations and sects – all calling themselves “Christian”? And all of them having some type of different ideas, traditions, and approaches and yet claiming to follow the same Jesus Christ?  Don’t mistake this point. In no way is this pointing to the “eumenical movement” that “all paths lead to God,” “God is love,” or “there are many “gods.” There ARE many “gods” to be sure, but there is ONLY ONE God of Abraham, Jacob and Israel. The path is narrow and FEW will find it – said Jesus Christ! So, who is the author of confusion? The god of this world – satan! Could this “confusion” be caused by satan? Yes!

Part of the answer to these questions is the fact that few professing Christians really study their Bibles. So, they do not “prove” virtually anything they believe by carefully researching it in the Bible. Oh, they may enthusiastically study books and articles on health, on self-improvement or on investing and making more money. But somehow it does not occur to them to thoroughly study the most vital subjects of all: Is there a real God? If so, what is His purpose in creating human belings? And how can we fulfill that purpose? Yet, the Bible commands: “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

Most people have just “accepted” the religion passed down through their families. Most have just “gone along” with the beliefs and with the traditions taught to them as children. Noting the public’s lack of attention to their religion, Los Angeles Times religion writer Teresa Watanabe reported:

“According to one religious research firm, two-thirds of Americans don’t regularly read the Bible or know the names of the Four Gospels. More than half of Americans surveyed can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. And the majority say they find the Good Book irrelevant….’We still hold the Bible in high regard, but in terms of actually spending the time reading it, studying it and applying it—that is a thing of the past,’ said George Barna. The reasons cited range from changes in American culture to the intrinsic difficulty of the text itself.

Now religious organizations are making a major effort to jazz up ancient Scripture’s doddering image. Bible publishers are producing a dizzying array of products, with translations and editions pitched to every conceivable niche market, to convince people that the book is neither archane nor irrelevant.” 3

Of course, the real underlying cause of this massive religious apostasy is that this is satan’s world and that he has totally deceived the vast majority of humanity. In the comfortable surroundings of western civilization, most Americans, Canadians and others fail to realize that the overwhelming majority of human beings have never believed in any form of “Christianity” – let alone the real Christianity of Christ. The vast majority of humans are — and always have been — Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, atheists or agnostics.

The Apostle Paul was inspired to write, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them.” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

Most importantly of all, satan has injected into “mainstream Christianity” a whole series of totally false ideas about the origin and destiny of man, of what God is like, of what God is like, of what God’s awesome purpose is, and how we are to achieve that great purpose. Additionally, satan has confused people about prophecy so much that most professing Christians and even most professing Christian ministers simply throw up their hands and almost totally neglect biblical prophecy. Yet, God devoted almost one-third of His entire Word (the Bible) to the “sure word of prophecy.” (II Peter 1:19).

Instead, mankind has made its own religion that is almost completely different from what Jesus Christ preached and practiced. And, they call that religion “Christianity” as if it were connected with Jesus Christ!

As the philosopher and theologian Soren Kirkegaard put it:

“The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist…what has to be done is to throw light upon a criminal offense against Christianity prolonged through the centuries, perpetrated by millions (more or less guiltily), whereby they have cunningly, under the guise of perfecting Christianity, sought little by little to cheat God out of Christianity and have succeeded in making Christianity exactly the opposite of what it is in The New Testament.” 4

Those are strong words, but are hardly unique. Professor Rufus M. Jones concurs, noting how Christ’s true teachings were quickly detached from the religion bearing His name:

“If by chance, Christ Himself had been taken by His later followers as the model and pattern of a new way, and a serious attempt had been made to set up His life and teaching as the standard and norm for the church. Christianity would have been something vastly different from what it became. Then ‘heresy’ would have been as it is not now, deviation from His ways, His teachings, His kingdom…What we may properly call ‘Galilean Christianity’ had a short life, though there have been notable attempts to revive it and make it live again, and here and there spiritual prophets have insisted that anything else other than this simple Galilean religion is ‘heresy’; but the main line of historic development has taken a different course and has marked the emphasis very differently.” 5

We should not be surprised that mankind tried to remake Christianity its own way. Mankind has tried for thousands of years to find its own way. Humanism, materialism, socialism, communism, or capitalism-human society has invented so many philosophies in the vain hope of giving meaning to life without God, and creating through human effort a happy and prosperous society on earth.

Some might say, “so what?” But this is no small matter we are talking about. Frankly, we are talking about the way to eternal life on the one hand, or eternal death on the other (Romans 6:23). For if you do not have the Christianity of Christ, you have no Christianity whatsoever!

Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “ (Matthew 7:21-23). It is important to realize that Christ will say to those failing to do the “will” of the Father: “I never knew you.” In plain language, these deceived churchgoers will be told that they were, in fact, never acquainted with the Christ they claim to serve. They were never really converted. They were never “Christian”!