This post is going to delve into the aspects of two worlds that most are not familiar with. The first aspect will discuss biblical accounts of demonic possession. The second aspect is the ongoing situation with our son Matthew. It’s important to point out that I “do not” consider autism to be a form of possession. While I often inquire as to the bigger picture that is in play, Matthews behavioral patterns are solidly in line with those of autism. He has never tried to intentionally harm himself, he is incredibly intelligent, and has a very unique personality. He truly does not appear to be under the control of an entity. The reason that I’m discussing the two in one post is that both situations place incredible stress on a family. I can “sort of” relate to what these folks must have went through. As of late, Matthew has been given to increasingly frequent outbursts of aggression; aimed primarily at Mrs timbob and Megan. Other behavioral patterns have become so disruptive that our household is literally at a breaking point. In both situations, possession and autism, the answer lies with the Lord Jesus.
I cannot help but wonder what the consensus would have been concerning Matthew in previous centuries. He may well have been locked away and nobody would have known about the incredible aspects of his personality. Despite the challenges, he is a fascinating person and allowing him to be taken elsewhere is unthinkable. Even now, well-meaning acquaintances who are familiar with the situation will say “just put him in a home.” And after he spent much of last night “totally wound up and howling,” the temptation to entertain such thoughts was profound. (He occasionally has “all-nighters” like this; especially if his diet has been altered) Many are quick to remedy misunderstood, or trying situations by placing them out of site. Matthew is not “a problem;” he is a child who has a problem. He needs folks in his life who are atuned to the Holy Spirit and determined to see to his well-being. A standing prayer request of mine is that the name of Jesus will be glorified in his life. I don’t see every curve and bump in the road ahead, but the Lord sees the end from the beginning. And now, to explore a couple of biblical acounts where a soul was in torment and those closest to them were at their wits end.
Mark 9:14-15 “And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightaway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
Some context is needed here. Jesus is just returning from the mount where he was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John. These three disciples would never again be the same as they were beforetime. Now they are back in the world; standing on a spiritual battlefield where things don’t appear to be going smoothly. There is a post about the transfiguration entitled: HIS COUNTENANCE WAS AS THE SUN SHINETH IN HIS STRENGTH On the mount of transfiguration, they saw Jesus as he is. How imperative it is always be mindful of who Jesus is. He is the King of kings and by him all things were created. He knows the hearts of all and sees the conclusion of all matters. The degree to which this understanding resides in our heart will directly influence our level of faith (or lack thereof) in this contrary world.
Mark 9:16-18 “And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake unto they disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not”
This man was at the point of losing all hope that his son would ever be delivered from the control of this entity. This was amplified when the disciples were likewise unable to cast out the entity. Others were delivered, but his son was still possessed. This must have been beyond discouraging; both for the father and for the disciples who were having to try and explain why they had not been able to cast out the entity. While I can relate to the frustration of not knowing what to when things aren’t as they should be and nobody seems to have any answers, I cannot even begin to imagine what this father was going through. (Even though Matthew is constantly full of surprises, every behavior falls within the defined symptoms of autism) A couple of verses later, we read:
Mark 9:21-22 “And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And oftentimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Matthew is prone to wandering. Several times, he’s wandered into the fields and we’ve had to request the assistance of local law enforcement in locating him. This is one aspect of autism; that of being aloof and given to wandering. We have to literally padlock the doors of the house from inside (In the event of an emergency, however, the brackets can be easily broken) while all of the windows are fixed so that they can only open about five inches. He has escaped often through both. But he has “never” tried to inflict harm upon himself, which seems to be a standing characteristic of possession. The last two words in verse 22 are “help us.” Not only was this son in need of deliverance, this family in need of a solution to a problem that had driven them to the brink. Demonic possession is like a black hole as it seems to distort the very laws of physics. The fallen entities wreck havoc; both upon the victim and in the in the lives of those in the ambience. This writing is causing another moment of wondering “do we have even a remote understanding of the battle that we’re in the midst of?” Oftentimes I go into the streets, feeling almost overwhelmed by both the complexity and intensity of the spiritual battlefield.
In the above account, the incident of possession is a piece of a larger story that’s playing out. In the following story, however, the possessed individual is front and center:
Mark 5:2-3″And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him, out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains.”
I must shift gears for a second as an observation is called for. This man dwelt among the remains of those who were no longer alive. I’ve been noticing lately an alarming increase of imagery that focuses on death. Go into any retail outlet and one will find scores of shirts, jewelry, backpacks, and what have you, with skulls on them. A skull is the remnant of one who is no longer living and it’s become “trendy” to parade such imagery. These skulls are usually accompanied by pictures and wordings that “do not” conjour up thoughts of sunny and seventy. All the while, those in the arenas of theater and merchandise profit from this disturbing fad. One day, while passing through an electronics department, I noticed a movie that was entitled “Drag Me To Hell.” (I mean…WHOA!) This is nothing new, however, this dark imagery and theme seems to be manifesting in every venue. Fascination with death. Fascination with dark sentences and sinister intent. It’s all part of the conditioning. Hell is literally coming to the surface in these last days and folks are becoming increasingly desensitized to the attributes of evil.
Mark 5:4-5 “Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”
We don’t know anything about his early years or his family, however, we do know that every attempt to rein him in had failed. For his parents, there were only the joyful memories of a child who had entered the world and abode with them for a time. These were quickly followed by painful cogitations of a season when things began to go horribly wrong. As for everyone else, he was now “just the guy in the tombs.” No longer were efforts made to bring him into some sort of stable situation. He was driven by Satan and abandoned by contemporaries who had simply run out of options. As time marched on, they had grown accustomed to his presence and went about their lives as though he wasn’t even there. But he was there and when the Lord Jesus delivered him in dramatic fashion, the inhabitors of that place became uneasy. This has always been a point of intrigue. They had no problem with a demon possessed man running around, but they asked Jesus to depart after he had miraculously delivered this man. I know that this is running long, but the next passage is important:
Mark 5:18-19 “And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with devils prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”
An astonishing deliverance wherein a captive was set free and the name of Jesus was glofified. One cannot help but wonder how many souls are in heaven at this moment because of this mans testimony.
Most of us cannot comprehend what these people went through; both the victims and the people closest to them. The circumstances with Matthew seem ever so light in comparison to these two incidents from scripture. If Matthew was always trying to injure himself or throw himself into fire…it would be over the top. We do have to keep all of our knives locked up, however, this is to keep Matthew from opening things, cutting up furniture, and what have you. (Like the one day when we came in from the goat pen and found a pile of stuffing in the living room. In the span of a few minutes, he had gutted the couch and was playing in the pile of stuffing.) He’s very resourceful and if he gets hold of a knife, he can get into almost anything. (However, I’ve never seen him cut himself; not even by accident.) It’s been a ride and continues to be an ongoing situation. Matthew is currently fifteen years old and is now physically stronger than any of us. He has learned to use this to his advantage. The answer is truly a spiritual one and the Lord Jesus can remedy it in a moment. I do believe, however, that a much bigger picture is playing out and that the situation with Matthew is just a small aspect of that bigger picture.
Well I must go. This has now approaching 2000 words. (Sorry.) There’s currently a lot of chaos in this venue; including issues that have nothing to do with Matthew. It’s almost like a spiritual Euroclydon at times. As such, I’m not certain as to how frequently I’ll be able to get by here and make the rounds elsewhere. I will try to keep things as current as possible. Blessings always in Jesus name.
Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
How imperative it is to understand the times in which we live; being aware of the tactics which the enemy will employ and determining in our hearts to hold fast the testimony of Jesus no matter what. Never has it been more important to keep our hearts with all diligence. There is, however, a tendancy to become so focused on what’s soon to take place that we may unwittingly neglect addressing the tragedy that’s unfolding around us daily. If we are truly watching for the return of the Lord Jesus, we’ll also be aware of what the implications. When Jesus returns, multitudes will be unprepared as their response concerning the great salvation will be etched into the fabric of the everlasting. Each day, souls are slipping into eternity without having been born of the Spirit. I apolagize for sounding like a broken record, but, “there are souls in hell at this very moment who were very much alive yesterday.” Last week, I drove past the scene of a horrific accident at the intersection of US 131 and M 60. A mid-sized car had been broadsided by a truck that had been travelling at a high rate of speed. Although I do not know the outcome, such incidents remind us that “we never know when a persons final moment is about to play out.”
Over the past couple of weeks, the first chapter of the book of Acts has been in the forefront as it sheds light both on the return of Jesus and what we are to be doing in during the time of our sojourning.:
Acts 1:1-3 “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infalliable proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
The time of Jesus earthly ministry was unparalleled in all of history, prompting John to write “that if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” The time following the resurrection of Jesus was equally incredible as is shown by the above passage. (Not to mention the saints of old appearing to many, as is mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53.) We are brought to the moment when Jesus is to be taken up into heaven and he is instructing the disciples:
Acts 1:4-5 “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
The importance of this defies explanation and reveals that we truly cannot do what we are supposed to be doing in our own power. We need to be filled with the Holy Ghost and walk in the Spirit continually. In the course of this instruction, a question is posed that, in light of all that had already transpired, seemed very logical.
Acts 1:6 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Just like us, they were pondering the future playing out of events; not understadning that a church age lasting over two thousand years lie ahead. Jesus quickly returns them to the issue at hand:
Acts 1:7-8 “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
This is similar to the following passage, wherein the prophet Daniel made inquiry of a similar nature:
Daniel 12:8-9 “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
Such cogitations are very relevant to those of us who are literally watching a beast system manifest before our eyes. And yet we must be about the task at hand. We must be contionually walking in the Spirit and compelling whosoever has ears to hear to know the Lord Jesus while there’s still time. In the next set of verses are enlightening:
Acts 1:9-11″And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was received up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
This was not only a comfort for the disciples, it was an indication of what the final generation should expect. While the return of Jesus will be as a thief in the night, will not be a secret event. Every eye shall behold him and everyone will know what’s taking place. This is imperative as we know that many false Christs shall rise up and deceive many. As the day approaches, they will appear like chaff; seeking to obscure the truth with an array of falsehoods. I use the word “chaff” because, while writing the previous sentence, a particular military tactic from my days in the navy came to mind. “Chaff” was a canister filled with tiny metalic particles. During a combat situation, these canisters were launched into the atmosphere, where they were detonated; thereby sending the pieces of metalic substance in all directions. The intent was to fill an enemies radar screens with so many readings that they couldn’t tell which blips were real and which were nothing more than strategically placed debris. The devil is continuously attempting to fill our spiritual radar screen with so many blips that we lose sight of the authentic.
It’s imperative to seek the Lord for clarity as spiritual chaff fills the atmosphere and the groundwork for a great falling away is firmly in place. We must be watching at all times; being careful to not over-interpret events, or resort to hyper-sensatinalism, but to properly discern what’s transpiring. Such understanding from on high will enable us to place our priorities in order and lay aside all that is frivilous. We dare not take lightly the seriousness of the hour.
Well I’ll close for now as, once again, things have become lengthy. The August issue of the Last trumpet Newsletter is posted and is entitled
This is the first issue written exclusively by Samuel D. Meyer. It’s been in my heart to keep him in fervent prayer as he continues the work of sheding light on the events of the day and their prophetic implications. I perceive that he’s feeling a little overwhelmed, however, God is able to make him stand and grant discernment concerning the events that are unfolding. As we approach the time of the end and are aware of the conditions that will preceed the return of our Savior, we must walk in the Spirit continually. Below is another link to a post from Michael Boldea entitled:
This is a thorough exposing of the prosperity driven message that has permeated so much of the church. With feigned words, the merchandisers have entered in and are destroying many. Just a side note; on July 22, 2006, this venture into the blogosphere was launched. (I began on Blogger and then moved here in September of 2006) This marks the conclusion of four years in this venue. How much longer it will continue is a mystery. It’s on my heart to continue, however, we never know what tomorrow may bring. The passage at the bottome of this post has been referred to much during the course of this blog, however, I’m compelled to reference it again.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
II Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
It’s the moment that every true saint longs for; that being the time when Jesus returns and establishes the millenial reign. It will usher in a season wherein this present world will be void of iniquity and injustice. It will be a moment wherein those who embraced a lie will no longer be able to deny that Jesus Christ is indeed King of kings, and Lord of lords as they cry out to the rocks to fall on them. When Jesus appears, there will be no controversy as to what’s taking place. The time of great tribulation will be ended, the beast and the false prophet will become the first two occupants of the lake of fire, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years, during which time he will be unable to deceive another. Those who maintained the testimony of Jesus while loving not their lives in this world, will put on incorruption and reign with the Lord Jesus; forever abiding in his presence. Those who rejected him or were “almost persuaded” will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming and will forever regret having neglected such a great salvation.
For a person who dies in their sins, there’s an aspect so horrific that it surpasses even the unquenchable flames, gnashing of teeth, and all loss of hope for better times ahead. The most tormenting thing of all has to be the knowledge that they didn’t have to end up in that state. I pray that the Lord would grant each of us a greater understanding of just how serious this is.
Over the past several days, I’ve been thinking about the various ways that people consider the truth that the return of Jesus is drawing ever closer and that the moment will arrive when every eye shall behold him. It seems that the vast majority of folks don’t really think about it at all. The illusion of continuance, coupled with the worlds array of continuing sagas and lustings which can never be satisfied, has them hard wired to this temporal matrix. Even as they approach the natural end of their allotment of days, many give little heed to matters of eternal significance, other than to occasionally brush through enough ideology to convince themselves that “they’re ok” before returning to their passions. Any inquiry of their spiritual state will usually be met with intense resistance as most people view themselves to be “basically good.” And just as they have no desire to objectively contemplate eternal matters, they likewise give no thought to the return of Jesus. The following passage is as accurate as it is familiar:
II Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own ungodly lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
They love their lives in this present world and are beholden to the lusts thereof. Subsequently, they point to the appearance of continuance in an attempt to keep from thinking about such things. II Peter 3:5 explains that they are “willingly ignorant” as they refuse to give thought to anything that threatens their pseudo-reality. Proverbs 16:2 points out that “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes.” Subsequently, they are quick to label such considerations as “doom and gloom talk” as it exposes the frailty of all that they have been holding in high regard and sheds light on their true sinful nature. Unless the Lord grants them repentance, these will eventually fall for a strong delusion which seems to meet all of the requirements of logic and well-being for all. They will then support efforts to silence any who dare take a stand for the truth; even to the point of abandoning natural affection, as the truth will appear in their eyes to be the problem. (And a mans foes shall be they of his own household.) These are so given over to their lusts that, even when profound judgment is being poured out upon the earth, they will refuse to repent of their deeds.
I think that we tend to seriously underestimate how strong the deceptions of antichrist will be. To those who are lost, he will appear to be the one who has all of the answers; even to the point that folks will ask “who could possibly be against this guy?” Meanwhile, the saints will appear to be the backward ones who are believing things that will seem to have been solidly discredited. During this time, our testimony of Jesus will have to continue, when all of the collaborating evidence seems to support a false way. False signs and wonders will also seem to give credibility to this brave new system. And yet, if we abide in Christ, he is able to make us stand, even in the midst of great tribulation when the whole world has wondered after a beast. It bears repeating, that, we must consistantly examine ourselves to ensure that we’re not harboring a seed of unbelief concerning our faith in Christ. A seed of unbelief can lie hidden for years; only to rise up and lead to shipwreck when the hour of temptation is suddenly before us.
For the saints, this is just a single aspect of the perils that face us. There are other dangers that focuses primarily on those who consider issues of prophetic and eternal significance. One is that of being deceived by a false Christ or falling for doctrines that lead away from the truth. The warnings that Jesus gave us in Matthew chapter 24 clearly define a time of such deception that, if it were possible, the very elect would fall for them. Again, these deceptions seem logical and beneficial for the greater good, and will be accompanied by supernatural demonstration. We know that signs will follow them that believe, however, we must not allow supernatural manifestation to be the primary test of authenticity. We are also warned to not believe someone who tells us that Jesus is “over here or over there there.” It seems obvious at the moment, but in times of tribulation, many will fall for such deceptions. Especially vulnerable are those who emphatically embrace a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine as many of them have never given thought to the idea that they may have to one day lose their heads for the testimony of Jesus.
Again, as this is being written, the seriousness of this issue is so profound that adequate words of description are not to be found. To many, it’s just a theological disagreement (as in “can’t we all just agree to disagree”) but I view the pre-tribulation rapture teaching as being one of the most dangerous doctrines to ever enter the church. There are various differences in beliefs concerning the time of the end that aren’t really dangerous. (We all see through a glass darkly.) But the pre-tribulation rapture dortrine is causing multitudes to not prepare spiritually for the times ahead. Whenever end times conversation is met with a response such as “oh don’t worry brother; we’re not going to be here,” we know that we’re in the presence of one who’s not actively preparing spiritually for such events. These may well become the harshest opponents of those who are standing for truth and are determined to hold fast the testimony of Jesus. I write of this as one who once embraced that doctrine but is now miraculously delivered.
As we draw closer to the time of Jesus return, or the time of our departure from this world via the way of the grave, (either way, time is running out for each of us) it’s imperative to be close to Jesus and to ensure that our heart is residing completely in heavenly places. It’s imperative to not be given to sensationalism or endless debating, but to diligently seek the Lord for proper understanding of what lies ahead. I was planning to delve into the dangers associated with sensationalism and “fill-in-the-blanks prophetic teaching, but this post is already way too long. I am compelled, however to discuss a portion of scripture that goes along with this in a follow-up posting. Lord willing, this can be addressed later this week. I’ll also make a serious effort to make the rounds of other sites. I know that we’re in a different season now, but I truly miss the routine communication with others while reading what the Lord has placed on their hearts. Until then, blessings always in Jesus name.
Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived with christ a thousand years.”
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.”
Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
“Keeping our heart with all diligence” is something that we will have to continually practice until the moment that we depart this theater of atoms. It’s ever so easy for the heart to drift while nothing on the surface seems amiss. The church at Ephesus offers up a primary example as, somewhere along the timeline, they left their first love in exchange for the mechanics of Christianity. They were doctrinally sound and zealous beyond measure, and yet their hearts had drifted to such a point that they were in danger of having their candlestick removed. There was little or no outward evidence that such a problem existed, making the situation in Ephesus more dangerous than any of the other conditions that the Lord Jesus addressed on the isle of Patmos that day. The four familiar passages above reveal that none of us can take this lightly. A heart can convince itself that all is well when all is not well. A heart can believe that it’s doing God service when it doesn’t truly know him. A heart can conceil its true nature until the hour of temptation has arrived, at which time the truth will be made manifest.
This post is a work in progress; even as its being written. While I know the passages of scripture that are soon to be visited, the topic is far too serious and complex for an adequate discussion here. When Jesus stated “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” he revealed a very sobering truth. Many will go into eternity, trusting that they are in good standing with the Lord when in fact they didn’t truly know the Author of life. Some will trust in a myriad of religious endeavors while others will be clinging to a fruitless profession of faith. These aren’t people who spent their days obliviously glued to the matrix; giving no thought to eternal issues. They truly believed that they were on a path that led to eternal life. But somehow the truth never took up permanent residence in the heart. When one is born of the Spirit, it is a life changing thing that will bear fruit. I’ve made a lot of missteps over the years, including a season of rebellion that I don’t like to think about. (with the exception of the lessons learned) But on that Friday morning in September of 1983, the course of my life was changer forever.
Matthew 7:21-22 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
We If there’s a single word in that passage that should cause us all to diligently inquire as to our true standing, it’s the word “many.” Many have, and will, head into eternity expecting to hear the words “enter thou in my faithful servant” only to discover that their heart was not right with God. Whether they had fallen for another Jesus, or the truth had never reached beyond a mechanical understanding, they will head into eternity and be confronted with unimaginable disappointment. Jesus stated that these will run down their list of accomplishments as they plead their case. While they had convinced themselves that they knew, him, they were unwittingly trusting in a laundry list of deeds by which nobody can be saved. (All have sinned and come short of the glory of God) They may have looked and even sounded “Christian.” They may have been outstanding members of the community and engaged in a myriad of charitable causes. But without having an authentic encounter with the Lord Jesus, it was to no avail. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin.
Matthew 7:23 “And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Regardless of our works or persona, until the moment that we are born of the Spirit, we are workers of iniquity. Al McNeely is a saint who was on my ship during the navy years. A couple of years ago, he relayed the story about a navy chaplain whom he had recently led to Jesus. This was a person who had undoubtedly gone through years of grueling theological training, but had never been born again. It’s an incredible testimony of salvation, but it also got me to thinking. The number of folks who are trusting in religious endeavors or a form of godliness is staggering. Multitudes are blindly embracing teaching which are in direct opposition to scripture, and yet thinking to themselves “everythings ok.” A while back, a friend at work tried to explain to me the catholic doctrine of purgetory. When confronted with the fact that there is no scriptural evidence for such a thing, his reply was “well I’m sure that it’s in there.” Many people on the street, when asked about their eternal destination, will say “Oh I’ve got that covered” and then become angry when asked to explain why they believe that.
Works without salvation can profit nothing, however, a profession of faith, without fruit, is equally dangerous and calls into question the sincerety of the profession. For this, we visit another passage of scripture wherein many who believed themselves to be in good standing are confronted with the true nature of their heart.
Matthew 25: 41-43 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the evil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
A true conversion experience will result in outward manifestations that reflect that conversion. It will manifest, not only in our speech and behaviors, but also in our approach to those in our ambience. If the Spirit of Christ is truly in us, we will begin to see others as he sees them. (The words “begin to” are important; this is an area that requires continually growing as we daily become less like us and more like Jesus.) When we are truly born of the Spirit, we not only rejoice in our redemption, we’ll begin to see the incredible amount of lack in our ambience. Priceless souls wandering in darkness and lives torn apart by a myriad of vices. Inhabitors of eternity, created in the image of God, who are at their wits end as every reason for living seems to have faded from view. Loneliness, heartache, overwhelming despair, and want for basic necessities that most of us take for granted. These captives are looking to us; wondering if this Jesus that we talk about is real.
Matthew 25:44-46 “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.”
Works will reveal what a person believes and what’s important to them. Actions will reveal as to whether or not a profession is authentic. Our pastor once stated words to the effect that “he would call into question, the salvation of one who goes go through life with little regard for the well-being of those around them.” If we truly understand the plight of those in our ambience, and the eternal ramifications that are in play, we’ll respond acordingly, allocating both time and physical resources toward reaching, and ministering to the needs of the priceless eternal ones. The following post addresses this in more detail:
Colossians 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobediant, and unto every good work reprobate.”
This has not been an easy post to engage in. It is causing much needed examination on my part, and yet, this is a most needful thing. None of us can be too careful; especially in an age when we are being continually hurried through our routines. The July issue of the Last Trumpet newsletter is a tribute to David Meyer, with individual testimonies from his wife Shirley and each of their sons and daughters. When I first heard of his passing, Philippians 2:30 came to mind. Pastor Meyer was a tireless servant of the Lord Jesus and his works do follow him. Here’s the link:
I have thought much about the legacy of how many lives have been touched through Pastor Meyer. One statement in the newsletter that stood out was offered by Shirley. In mentioning his early years, when he was involved with the occult, she stated:
“Certainly if God had not intervened in his life, his story would be completely different.”
How true this is; not only for Pastor Meyer, but for all who are born of the Spirit. I cannot help but wonder if I would even be alive today, had the Lord not granted me repentance to the acknowledging of the truth when he did. Without a doubt, the the Lord holds the breath of life in his hand and has granted each of us a customized allotment of days under the sun. Sorry about the lengthy posting. Blessings always in Jesus name.
Daniel 12:3 “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”