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My deliverance from Satan
Here is my testimony as I shared it with a dear Sister in the Lord!
Dear Sister in Christ, it gives me great pleasure to share with you what Christ hath done for me. I am sharing this first of all to glorify His matchless Name, and secondly to instill hope in great sinners who might think that they are beyond saving and that God surely cannot save them!
If God can save someone like me, then surely there is hope for the vilest sinner on earth!
My name is Mike and I am Forty three years old. I am married, and am blessed with two sons. I had a Roman Catholic upbringing. My father is a devout Roman Catholic and my mother is a Hindu who is into Transcendental Meditation and Yoga. I am their only child. I had a fascination for the Occult right from my eighth grade and used to spend a lot of time reading occult literature, and by the time I entered college I was a practicing Satanist.
Strangely, my neighborhood was surrounded by Graveyards; a Hindu, Muslim and a Christian Graveyard. And I spent much of my time amongst these graves, even spending nights there, just like the Gadarene demoniac who had his dwelling amongst the tombs. [Mark 5:3]
You may not believe this, but I used to go around exhorting people to quit trusting in Jesus and start worshipping the Devil, and as most Satanists are, I was heavily hooked on Heroin, Marijuana and Alcohol. I also played the Rhythm Guitar for Heavy Metal bands on a local level and spent most of my time listening to this kind of trash. My friend Vincent and I were so involved and engrossed in this that we took great pleasure in burning Bibles and blaspheming God at every given opportunity. We made it a point to dress in black and publicly confessed who it was we were worshipping. Sister, I was really BAD! In fact I got so bad that the Devil didn’t want to hang around with me no more! He thought I’d wreck his reputation!
I have had many real encounters with demons. But in 1986, I had a very horrific, bloodcurdling, eerie encounter with a Principality that changed everything. I cannot really go into the details. But you could say that just as David delivered his lamb literally from the very mouth of the lion, I was literally taken out of the Jaws of Satan. It has been twenty four years since I was delivered, but even now at times I have such horrific nightmares and visits by demons who try to scare me. The Devil does not take betrayal by his servants lightly. I praise God for my Godly wife, Anita, who knows the Lord Jesus and stands by me always.
So God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved me, even when I was dead in my trespasses and sins, quickened me together with Christ and gloriously delivered me from the powers of darkness even as a ‘firebrand snatched from the burning.’ I want you to know that every time I sing that song “Amazing Grace” I am singing my testimony. I straightaway entered full-time ministry because I very strongly felt His call in my heart and was convinced that this was the will of God for me. As a result of this there was great contention between me and my parents and I literally saw Matthew 10:34-38 come to pass before my very eyes!
[shortly after this my friend Vincent got completely demon possessed and was kept locked up in chains. He even tried to hang himself and immolate himself by fire a few times. When I last saw him he was still in the same condition. God could have justly let me perish with him, for I was in every way worse than him]
Just two months after I got saved, I got arrested by the local county cops for one of my past crimes. Generally my parents would have bailed me out in a day or two. But here I was locked up with no word from them even after four or five days in the ‘lock up’.
It kinda got me very discouraged. Here I was, having been saved from all that filth and witnessing for the Lord and now I wind up in Jail, without anyone to bail me out! Anyway I made good use of the opportunity and witnessed to my cellmates.
But you know what, Sister, after spending nine agonizing days in that cramped cell, on the tenth day I knew in my heart that I would be out before nightfall. And sure enough, my folks came and bailed me out. My Dad told me that though he had been trying to get me out from the second day I got arrested, it just did not work out.
When I came back home, I went into my bedroom and started questioning the Lord, “ Why, Why did you let me rot in there for Ten days, when you could have pulled me out earlier! Do you still love me”? etc Just as I was murmuring, I picked up my Bible that was beside me and Cut it open to hear a ‘Word from the Lord’. And guess what verse my eyes fell on?
Finish Article HERE
Escaping the Fire
I’m Kati and I have a LONG story, but I will try to shorten it as best as I can. About 10 years ago my husband and I started attending church when we were stationed in WA state. Shortly after we got orders to San Diego, CA. Through a VBS program we started attending a local AG church. It was here where we were first exposed to Bethel Redding and the teachings of Bill Johnson. Our oldest daughter was 12 years old at the time and went with the youth group to a Jesus Culture conference in Redding. The church had MANY guest speakers and even established their own school of supernatural ministry. One guest in particular named Rob Deluca really sticks out to me because my husband pointed out that he almost NEVER quoted scripture….all he spoke of was his prophetic dreams and visions, and of course THE FIRE.
When we were able to get into military housing we started attending another AG church that was closer to us. Looking back on the surface they seemed to fall into the “emergent” category, but many of the same types of teaching were at the core. They would host special Holy Spirit seminars for people to seek the second baptism, etc. In addition there were a few small groups where the main focus was learning to tune to just the right frequency to hear from God.
From San Diego we went to Virginia. In the beginning we chose to attend the mega Baptist church that everyone recommended. Definitely a little on the emergent side now that I look back, but the teaching was solid and sound. Of course after experiencing all that I had before I thought something was wrong because to my polluted mind it appeared as if the Holy Spirit wasn’t moving. From there we left to attend a Church of God. The people at this church became like our family, but definitely a little suspect now that I look back. Lots of emotional music sang from the Brownsville Revival, some twisting of scripture and prayer meetings where the “gifts” would be used, etc. I decided to do a Daniel Fast one January and basically focused ALL of my attention when my kids were in school on “hearing” from God. I would watch nothing except for Sid Roth and then would look up information about his guests and then start to follow their teachings. I created playlists on my Spotify account with musical guests that he had on his show and would listen exclusively to that music as well.
We moved back to WA state last summer and made it a priority to find a church where they “operated in the gifts”. We started attending a small church because our daughter who by this time was 18 really connected with some of the youth. It was here that we were given a copy of The Holy Ghost movie. I had seen Father of Lights before but was especially intrigued by this movie. Even more so when I heard a testimony of a lady speaking of the weekly trips that she and another church member would make to a local nursing home to basically practice many of the same types of practices that Todd White demonstrates in the film. I was thinking that all of this was SO wonderful and I couldn’t wait to sign up and volunteer also. Thankfully it never worked out!
In January I did another Daniel Fast and saw on FB that a House of Prayer group similar to IHOP was forming locally. I was SO excited and committed to attend the launch which spanned over three days. The guest speakers were the ones who formed the Salem House of Prayer in Oregon and there was also a man affiliated with Latter Glory in Moses Lake. They made a big show of having each one of us come up front to receive a special “anointing” where they would lay hands on us and loudly pray and prophesy over us.
It was here that I met a lady who invited me to attend a special women’s gathering that was in a secluded Christian retreat center deep in the Olympic Forrest. I told my best friend about it and she agreed to fly out to attend with me. There was a woman leading who I’m sure now that they believe has “apostolic” authority. We all ate dinner together and then gathered together in a dark room with emotional workshop music being played before the leader started praying and prophesying over each woman in the room. There was lots of falling down, crying, laughing, flagging, and shofar blowing. The next day was the same only with an emphasis on the praying for our country. The leader had us stand all together holding the American flag signing, shouting, and shaking it declaring and decreeing all sorts of things. On the last day that we were there we were gathered together once more to say a quick prayer that turned into three hours of more pandemonium, of course I didn’t think this at the time! Many of these ladies I have learned take trips to remote areas in our state to blow shofars in order to cast out territorial demons. They clearly subscribe to Dominion Theology.
I started watching the FALSE Fire and Glory Outpouring that is currently happening in San Diego and watched a pastor get prayed over who is a leader at the Seattle Revival Center…..so then I felt God was telling me to go there. I loaded my daughter up in the car and booked a hotel so that I didn’t have to drive home. Crazy, emotional music with eerie shouts and laughter followed by Charlie Shamp bringing everyone up to the front to pray and prophesy. There was one point where he told us that God was giving out gold teeth and asked us all to take out our cell phones and check 7 mouths. There was one lady who supposedly got a gold tooth. She was ushered to the front and fawned over, but I remember thinking that is seemed funny that she just casually sat back down in her seat to check Facebook. Wouldn’t you have been on your face if that was the case? Those were the questions that started to rattle around in my head….but nevertheless, I believed that I was more “anointed” because I had been in the “glory.” Joshua Mill’s grandmother was also there that night and they did a reverse fire tunnel which allowed her to lay hands on everyone. I felt a magnetic force when she came by me and laid hands on me and fell down and was unable to move. The same thing happened to my daughter who then thought it was funny to start following her around in hopes of getting “touched” again.
My husband had to work in San Diego so we traveled together with him and were excited to go to the Fire and Glory Outpouring and experience the source of this “#westcoastrumble”. MORE of the same craziness that when I look back was simply demonic. One night while attending I had a headache and pulled out a roller with some essential oil to roll on my head. Within a minute the speaker, who was Miranda Nelson stopped and asked us if we smelled that “heavenly fragrance.” The whole crowd of course then got whipped up into a frenzy. My daughter wanted to raise her hand and say something, but I smacked her in the leg to get her to stop. I look back and know that between that and the lady with the gold tooth, God was trying to give me some clues, but I wasn’t ready to listen.
After returning home, I wasn’t able to attend church one Sunday and our daughter came home three hours past when she was supposed to arrive with mascara running down her face from her tears. She was telling me how “wonderful” church was because there was preaching all about stepping into the river…and of course, they did an alter call and craziness broke out. There was one lady close to my mom’s age who would always laugh hysterically. One day during church she simply placed her hand on my daughter’s leg causing my daughter to loose complete control of herself laughing in a way we had never heard before. It was then that she began to fail her college classes and and backslid majorly.
I used to sit for hours in my room practicing “automatic writing” and would beat myself up if I didn’t receive a “word” from the Lord. All the time I realize now that he was saying, “READ YOUR BIBLE.” I started praying that God would show me if I was on the wrong path. To expose anything that was not of him….and one night while watching the Jeff Jansen ranting and raving in a lifestream broadcast of the Fire and Glory Outpouring, I started to see things differently. I actually found myself wondering if these people were on drugs! I went to bed and woke up the next morning ashamed of myself for being a “doubting Thomas” but the same thing happened again, and again. I started digging and researching and my eyes began to open wide as the truth became revealed to me. I think I now am up to 356 videos saved to a playlist on my youtube account and have grown a desire to understand scripture in it’s proper context.
Our daughter is doing much better and recently moved out. We are really struggling to find a solid church home here. I was helping recently with a VBS at a local church and sat down with one of their pastors. He asked me what I was looking for in a church and I told him that God has really been doing a work in me and that I have grown to really love expository preaching of the word, how I am no longer interested in what people “think” it means or seeking out allegorical meanings. I told him at this time my husband and I desire line by line, verse by verse teaching. This pastor then reached over, grabbed his bible and flopped it around told me, “If THIS is all you have, then you only have the tip of the iceberg. THIS is ONLY what is written down.” How scary is that? God loved us enough to give us an objective source and it’s our responsibility to be good Bereans and check EVERYTHING out for ourselves. I believe that people, although desperate for the Lord, have become lazy and as a result fall victim to these heretical teachings.
I know that I could have added much more to this and given many more details. Maybe someday I will! Even just sitting here and writing this all out is very helpful to me. The people caught up in the movement are delusional, and I was right there among them. What this has taught me is that God IS a good father and shepherd and he WILL come after and rescue his sheep that have strayed from the path of righteousness….but we have to allow him to by turning from these wicked ways and turning back to the truth that is found in his written word. I’m not sure why God allowed me to experience the things that I did, but I know that what the enemy intended to harm me has certainly been turned around for good! My heart grieves for not only those who are lost, but those who attend church week after week and sit under these false teachings. I question whether many of them have even heard the true gospel or whether many of them are even saved. I’ve been praying about what I am supposed to do with all of this, but I am trusting God in the process. Thank you for reading, and God bless!!!
Thanks to Kati for permission to share her story. It also can be found on another great blog that I recommend.
March 26, 2000 Coy Wylie
1 John – Living in the Light
How to Test the Spirits
1 John 4:1-6
1. “Discrimination” is a bad word in our cultural vocabulary. Our courts are filled with lawsuits based on discrimination. In a multi-cultural society we are taught to be tolerant of one another. To an extent this is appropriate. Our Constitution states that all men are created equally. Acts 10:34 says, “God is no respecter of persons” (KJV); He does not show partiality. Therefore we are not to discriminate racially, economically, socially or culturally.
2. In this passage, John teaches we must discriminate doctrinally. We must “test the spirits.” We must learn to discern between “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” These 6 verses are a parenthesis on his discourse about love. Love evidences our fellowship with God but love can never be divorced from truth.
An elementary school class toured a medical facility. A child asked why the doctors and nurses were constantly washing their hands. The nurse replied, “We wash our hands for two reasons: we love health and we hate germs.” The Christian who abides in Christ and walks in the Spirit loves truth and hates error. He discriminates.
3. As Christians, we are called “believers.” However, every believer is also called to be an unbeliever when it comes to error. The Bible not only encourages us to believe but also to not believe. Just as we can inhale and exhale at the same time, we cannot believe truth and accept error. You cannot love until you reject hatred. You cannot pursue righteousness until you abandon evil. John Stott has written, “Unbelief can be as much a mark of spiritual maturity as belief.” (p.157).
4. With this background in mind, let’s examine the command to test the spirits and three criteria by which we test the spirits.
I. The Command to Test the Spirits (v.1).
A. Why We Are to Test the Spirits.
1. John is speaking to believers. He calls them “beloved.” He says we are not to “believe every spirit” but “test” them as to “whether they are of God.” Why? Because there are “many false prophets” who have “gone out into the world.”
2. Historically, the background of this passage is in the era in which the NT was being completed. There was no NT cannon. The apostles were still in the process of writing the inspired books and epistles that make up our understanding of the Christian faith.
3. God delivered His word to the congregations of believers in part by the verbal word of divinely gifted and inspired prophets. We read about the powerful and prevalent gifts in 1 Cor.12 and 14.
4. John warns his readers not to “believe every spirit” but to “test the spirits whether they are of God” because not everyone who claimed to be a prophet was divinely inspired.
5. There was and is the great necessity of critical assessment of spiritual teaching. There are still many false teachers in the world.
B. What it Means to Test the Spirits.
1. Every believer has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In 3:24, we learned last week that God “have given us… the Spirit.” In chapter 2, John calls the presence of the Spirit “the anointing which you have received from Him…”
2. God has given us His indwelling Spirit but John now points out that there are other “spirits” loose in the world. If we have the Spirit, we ought to “test the Spirits.”
3. Christians often test teaching by how it sounds, the words used, the inflection of the voice, the stories told, if it moves them or makes them feel good. None of these are appropriate tests. “Test” in v.4 means “to approve or examine.” The term was used of gold put in the fire to test its purity.
4. There are two categories of spirits operating in the world. When someone proposes to speak for God, you should “test the spirits” or you might “amen” the wrong spirit! I’ve been in some churches where they would “amen” almost anything.
5. Behind every prophet is a spirit. The great question is does the Spirit of God or an evil spirit lead this teacher. Before we trust any teacher, we must “test the spirits.”
6. Paul wrote in 1 Thess.5:20-22, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
7. Jesus warned in Mt.7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…”
8. Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”
9. Peter also offered this warning in 2 Pet.2:1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”
10. Today there is still a great need for biblical discernment and discrimination. Many believers remain biblically illiterate and spiritually gullible. They naively accept any teaching as truth.
11. In Eph.4:14, Paul says that a sure sign of spiritual immaturity is “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”
C. Failing to Test the Spirits is Dangerous.
Every good parent teaches his children to discriminate, to discern. We teach them to never take candy from strangers or accept a ride from strangers. Why? We know that there are evil people in the world who will take advantage of the naiveté of our kids. Too many of God’s kids have never learned to discern. They don’t discriminate. They are led astray by spiritual candy with a pseudo spiritual wrapper that is nothing more than sugarcoated error. It tastes good and makes them feel good for the moment but leaves them with nothing but empty calories. There is no spiritual nutrition because there is no truth.
1. If you follow the wrong spirit, you will pay a price. The famous circus entrepreneur, P.T. Barnum is quoted as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Satan has many slick sideshows that sidetrack God’s children and rob them of their spiritual riches.
2. There are “many” false teachers in the world today. The spiritual candy store is full. Satan has all flavors of teachers and preachers ready to fill your spiritual appetite with a sugarcoated experience that will leave you with a bellyache. Test the spirits!
3. Remember when Moses first appeared before Pharaoh? He had a rod that turned into a snake. Satan was not to be outdone so the magicians’ rods turned to snakes too. He knows how to put on a good show, to entice and lure us away from the truth.
4. The reformers insisted that even the most humble of believers has “the right of private judgment.” John is writing to the “beloved,” all Christians. You don’t have to have a seminary degree to test the spirits. You don’t have to attend a spirit-testing seminar. Why? Because the Holy Spirit already resides within you.
5. In this church we wear the name Baptist but our allegiance is to the Bible. Just because it is a Baptist teaching does not necessarily mean it is a biblical teaching. We “test the spirits” and the chief measuring stick is the Scripture!
II. The Criteria for Testing the Spirits (vv.5-6).
A. How Do They View the Son of God? (vv.2-3).
1. The first test is the acknowledgement of the historical incarnation of Jesus, that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” Believers are to test for truth based on a teacher’s attitude concerning the person and work of Jesus. The first question is always “What do they believe about Jesus?” because if you are wrong about Jesus you are wrong about God.
2. In John’s day there was a teacher known as Cerinthus who taught that Jesus became the Messiah at His baptism. The Spirit came upon and at His death on the cross, the Spirit left Him and He died and remained dead, thus denying the resurrection. Cerinthus taught his disciples that Jesus did not come as God but became the Son of God for season. This was a terrible false teaching.
3. Jesus did not become the Son of God. He has always existed as the Son. He was incarnated, came “in the flesh” to be our Savior. Jesus was fully God and fully man. The baby in the manger humanly did not know anything but divinely knew everything. The baby in the manger could humanly be only one place at a time but divinely was omnipresent, equally present everywhere. The baby in the manger was humanly terribly weak and hopelessly dependent but divinely was all-powerful. The baby in the manger was humanly unable to speak but divinely had spoken the worlds into existence.
4. Many religions seek to honor Jesus as a great man or a great teacher but do not recognize Him for who He is. Some of them knock on your door with attractive publications and reverent, religious words but they don’t believe that Jesus is the “express image of His person” (Heb.1:3). They will say He is God’s Son but just for a time, not for eternity. They will agree that He is a great prophet, but they want to put him on the level of Mohammed or Confucius.
5. A teacher must not only acknowledge the incarnation as a historical fact but they must also “confess” Him. They must commit their lives to Him.
6. Satan and his demons acknowledge the historical incarnation but do not “confess” Him as Lord. Evil spirits readily recognized Jesus during His earthly ministry. In Mk.1:24 we read the words of one spirit encountered by Jesus, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are; the Holy One of God!” In Mk.5:7 another said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” James 2:19 remarks, “Even the demons believe; and tremble!”
7. Christian Scientists claim that Jesus was a man who received the Spirit of the Christ. Mormons say Jesus was a man who became god to show us how to become gods. Liberal theologians deny the virgin birth of Jesus and thus deny His incarnation and His deity. All these people fail to “confess” Him as God.
8. There are many people in church every Sunday who believe Jesus is the incarnate Christ but have never truly confessed Him.
9. The one who is led by the Holy Spirit will always “confess” Jesus. Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would testify of Him and glorify Him. He said in Jn.16:13-14, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
10. Paul states in 1 Cor.12:3, “No one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
11. John says in v.3, to proclaim anything else about Jesus smacks of “the spirit of the Antichrist.” John has already mentioned the Antichrist in chapter 2. We know there is coming a world leader known as “the Antichrist,” however; “the spirit of the Antichrist” is “now already in the world.”
12. Be careful who you listen to that you do not take false medication.
B. What is Their Relation to the Spirit of God? (v.4).
1. In saying that believers “have overcome them” John is telling us that the false teachers have not succeeded in deceiving us.
2. False teachers are intimidating. They ask, “How can you believe that?” Raise the issue of creation in your biology classroom and watch them go into a frenzy. However, truth is absolute. It is immutable. It never changes.
If I play a B-flat on the piano you will hear a B-flat. A B-flat was a B-flat a thousand years ago and will still be a B-flat in the next millennium. It is absolute. Truth is absolute. Jesus is absolute. Heb.13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
3. Why have we “overcome” them? Not because we are smart, sharp or extremely intelligent, but because of the Spirit is within us. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Although, Satan is great, the Holy Spirit is greater!
We all have insulation in our houses. Insulation keeps the warm air in and the cold air out or visa versa. The Holy Spirit is the God-given insulation in the believer’s life who helps us keep out error. Have you ever heard a sermon or listened to religious discussion and thought, “Something doesn’t sound right?” That is the Holy Spirit filtering out the error and leading you in truth.
C. Are They in Harmony with the Word of God? (vv.5-6).
1. Notice three pronouns in vv.4-6. In v.4 John speaks of “you” or Christians. In v.5 he speaks of “they,” false teachers. In v.6, he speaks of “we” or the God-ordained apostles.
2. Now in v.5 we see that that “they” are heard by the world. The world recognizes its own people and listens to their message. One of the easiest ways to recognize a false teacher is by whether the world is comfortable with him.
3. When you are on the job speak about the truth of Jesus, someone will invariably say, “I don’t want to hear that!” Why? Truth divides. People want to feel good about themselves. Truth always makes them take a hard look at themselves.
4. When I prepare a sermon, I don’t ever ask, “Will they enjoy this message?” My goal is not your entertainment but your edification. Truth always will help you.
In order to survive under the water, you need special equipment. Scuba gear enables a diver to live and function in a hostile environment. In the same way, the Spirit of God and the Word of God enable us to function in the world.
5. When John says, “He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us,” it sounds somewhat arrogant. In effect, he is saying, “You can tell our message is God’s message because God’s people receive it.”
6. I could never say that. It would be prideful and presumptuous for me to say, “Whoever knows God agrees with me and only those who don’t know God disagree with me.” I’ve known a few preachers who’ve come close to that level of arrogance though.
7. John is an apostle; I am a pastor. John personally walked with Jesus. By inspiration, he wrote words of Scripture. To agree with the apostles is to agree with Scripture. Eph.2:20 says the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.”
8. Turn the page to 2 Jn.10-11. Churches met in houses in those days. John was saying don’t let him in the church. In this church we discriminate doctrinally.
9. Someone might say, “Truth, truth, truth! Pastor you major on truth, but what about emotion? What about feelings? I want to feel the presence of God.” Amen! I want to feel Him too. He gave me my emotions. I want both spirit and truth. However, I want to be certain what I am feeling. I don’t want to get off into subjective feelings until I am dead on in objective truth!
We can navigate a course by the use of a compass. A compass points to the north because of the magnetic field. Christians can navigate life by responding to the “true north” of the Word of God. We have the Word of God before us and the Spirit of God within us. Let us “test the spirits” and the teaching of anyone who claims to speak for God.
Copyright © 1998 – 2003 Coy M. Wylie.
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HILLSONG’S APOLOGY FOR THE NAKED COWBOY
(Friday Church News Notes, June 10, 2016, ) from Way of Life
In last week’s Friday Church News Notes, we reported on the appearance at the March Hillsong Women’s Conference in New York City of “a naked cowboy.” Though he wasn’t entirely naked, he appeared to be wearing only a cowboy hat, boots, and a guitar. He was joined on stage by “scantily-dressed ‘cheerleaders,’ an Elvis impersonator,” and others. Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Sydney issued a public statement claiming that his wife, Bobbie, “was clearly unaware that this was going to happen” and that Hillsong New York’s pastors, Carl and Laura Lentz, “were not part of the decision” (“Brian Houston Responds,” The Christian Post, June 5, 2016). Hughie Seaborn, a former Pentecostal who lives in Australia and has followed the antics of Hillsong for decades, makes the following observation: “In the same way he lied about any knowledge of his father, Frank’s, paedophilia, Brian is lying again. This time about Hillsong New York’s leadership, including his wife Bobbie, having any knowledge of a naked cowboy appearing at the Women’s Conference. The video clip clearly shows that the Naked Cowboy was choreographed into the performance. None of the other participants in the debacle was shocked to see a naked cowboy coming onto the stage. He didn’t have to shove anybody out of their place and steal their position. The Hillsong leadership are all complicit in this diabolical event, including his kids and his wife Bobbie, who you might remember produced a series of sexually explicit ‘teaching’ tapes back in 2001 entitled ‘Kingdom Women Love Sex,’ which were available from Koorong ‘christian’ Bookshop for $21.95. Watching this short video clip tells us a lot about the downward progression of Christendom, not just in America, but in the world, when you see a couple of thousand professing Christian women all screaming and acting like lunatics–even before any naked cowboy appears. They all bring reproach upon the name of Christ.”
“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;”
Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent’s wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God’s opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God’s love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ’s work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God’s people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ’s disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
If you are struggling with some area in your life please feel free to contact me by email. I will come along side of you with support that is scripture based.
I came out of a life of addiction, drunkenness, promiscuity, and bulimia. Today I live in total dependency in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who forgives and set me free.
Spiritual oppression can also occur from drug use (recreational or prescription), eastern meditation (TM or Yoga), hyper-charismatic experiences, spiritism, channeling, or any dabbling in the occult. God’s truth shines a way out of these dark paths.
There is a way to overcome these difficulties. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.”
It is my desire that I can give you hope and encouragement based on the truth from God’s Word.
Emails will be held in confidentiality.
Whiplash is an awful and painful condition. After being rear-ended by a pick-up towing a boat….our car was demolished. Our insurance allowed chiropractic treatment and also therapeutic massage.
The massages were fine till one day the therapist said she was going to try something new on me. I was face down so I imagine she started to place her hands on my neck….Suddenly she yelped and jerked back. She said, “I just got shocked. I won’t try that again.”
I had no idea of the implication at the time. Later I realized she had been trained in Reiki and the certificate on her wall then made sense. I did not know at the time what Reiki was and what a Reiki master was trained in.
Looking back I realized that the Lord was sending her a message “Hands Off” and was protecting me. To this day I wonder if He would have still sent her an electrical shock if I had not been witnessing to her. My testimony I believe set me apart. Please read the following article from Way of Life.
The following is excerpted from New Age Health Care, available in print and free eBook editions from Way of Life Literature:
A study on alternative medicine in the January 2008 report in U.S. News & World Report focused on the rapid growth of Reiki (pronounced ray-key). The report says the number of Reiki practitioners worldwide is in the millions, with half a million in the United States and over a million in Germany.
According to the American Hospital Association, 15% of hospitals were using Reiki in 2007.
A report in The Washington Post for May 16, 2014, was entitled “Reiki Goes Mainstream.”
The practice has been praised by Oprah and Dr. Oz.
Reiki is an occultic practice that allegedly channels “universal healing energy” for human benefit such as relaxation and physical healing. The word “reiki” is Japanese for “spiritually guided life force energy.”
It was developed in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui. During a 21 day program of fasting, meditation, chanting, and other pagan contemplative practices he allegedly experienced “the great Reiki energy entering” into him and found that he could use the energy to heal others. It came in the form of a light that moved toward him and entered the middle of his forehead (Mohan Makkar, The New Reiki Magic, p. 5). Usui allegedly began to heal with his touch and to initiate others into the “energy.” Reiki was established in Hawaii in the 1930s and from there spread to North America. The American International Reiki Association was formed in 1982.
The International Center for Reiki Training says:
“Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. … Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect.”
That sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it?
Reiki has three levels or degrees of initiation, the third level being the master level. The degrees are called “attunements” whereby the student is brought into harmony with the reiki energy and taught how to channel it. The initiations are thought to create channels for the flow of Reiki. Paula Horan says, “Through this channel Reiki then flows in through the top of the student’s head, down through the body and out through the hands” (Abundance through Reiki, p. 18).
Reiki masters initiate people into the various levels.
Reiki is transferred or initiated by the laying on of hands. The Reiki manual is subtitled “The healing touch.” The Reiki practitioner places his hands on the same spot of the body for three minutes at a time, and the energy is supposed to be mystically drawn out by the recipient. Horan says, “… if I lay my hands on you to do a treatment, your body will naturally draw the appropriate amounts of energy it needs, and to the proper places” (p. 20).
Reiki is largely Hindu in its philosophy. It is described as “an energy incomprehensible to the intellect which flows through everything, transforming all realms of life … Reiki is oneness” (Horan, Abundance Through Reiki, p. 10).
Reiki is founded on the Hindu concept that God is everything and man is part of God. One Reiki Master says that “Reiki will eventually guide you to the experience that you yourself are Reiki or Universal Life Force Energy. … you and I are that same Universal Life Force Energy” (Abundance Through Reiki, pp. 9, 23).
Reiki is thought to open the chakras of the “astral body,” which is a Hindu doctrine.
Paula Horan said that her Reiki teacher gave her a new name, Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. He said to her, “I am giving you the name Laxmi, because in this lifetime, you will fulfill all of your desires” (p. 152).
The recipients of Reiki describe it as a powerful sense of warmth and security, “a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you.” It is not only supposed to provide healing but also to initiate the recipient into higher levels of spiritual transformation. The International Reiki Center says that “many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.” This is the mystical approach that bypasses thinking with an experiential connection with God or the “higher power.”
Reiki involves not only “life energy” but also spirit guides. The International Reiki Center web site says:
“Occasionally witnessing miracles. Feeling the wonder of God s love pass through you and into another. SENSING THE PRESENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS, feeling their touch, knowing they work with you. Being raised into ever greater levels of joy and peace by simply placing your hands on another. Watching your life grow and develop as your continual immersion in Reiki transforms your attitudes, values and beliefs. Sensing that because of your commitment to help others, BEINGS OF LIGHT ARE FOCUSING THEIR LOVE AND HEALING ON YOU AND CAREFULLY GUIDING YOU ON YOUR SPIRITUAL PATH. This is the promise of a developing Reiki practice. … THERE ARE HIGHER SOURCES OF HELP YOU CAN CALL ON. ANGELS, BEINGS OF LIGHT AND REIKI SPIRIT GUIDES as well as your own enlightened self are available to help you. … There must be congruence, an alignment within you in order for the Higher Power in the form of Reiki to flow through you in a powerful way and in order for THE ANGELS, REIKI SPIRIT GUIDES AND OTHER SPIRITUAL BEINGS TO WORK WITH YOU.”
The Reiki practitioner is taught to get in tune with these spirit guides, to pray to them, and to yield to their control.
“Try the following prayer: ‘Guide me and heal me so that I can be of greater service to others.’ By sincerely saying a prayer such as this each day, your heart will open and a path will be created to receive the help of higher spiritual beings. They will guide you in your Reiki practice and in the development of your life purpose.”
Reiki is even said to open up “psychic communication centers”:
“During the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication centers. This is why MANY REIKI PRACTITIONERS REPORT HAVING VERBALIZED CHANNELED COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SPIRIT WORLD” (Phylameana Desy, The Everything Reiki Book, 2004, p. 144).
The Reiki Journal suggests that message therapy is an excellent tool for spreading Reiki.
Lighthouse Trails observes:
“If US News & World Report is correct in their assessment that Reiki, Yoga, and other types of healing practices are now mainstream, then Reiki is here to stay. One can only wonder if Reiki is going to become as popular in Christian circles as Yoga now has. If it does, then as with contemplative spirituality, the spiritual lives of countless people will be jeopardized and the Gospel of Jesus Christ seriously compromised.”
Following is another warning about Reiki:
“My mom is into the New Age movement and has had Reiki done on her for years; recently she started practicing Reiki. She does it on friends and family members (I am the only Christian in the family). I live with back pain, and she has wanted to do it on me. I have always said no, but after researching Reiki I finally decided to tell her that my beliefs conflict with Reiki and that the ‘energy’ is actually demonic (that was a difficult conversation). … she regularly meditates and talks to ‘her angel,’ whom she credits with anything good happening. She is getting deeper into this. My mother says she prays to ‘Jesus’ before doing Reiki. … She does not believe in the Bible or most of it anyway, nor Jesus’ deity, but rather He came to point the way to God. … Obviously this is a false Jesus. … one of her angels is ‘like a best friend’ and has a name)” (“My Mother Is Doing Reiki,” Lighthouse Trails, Feb. 9, 2016).
The Dead End of Sexual Sin
Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.
I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late twenties, I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part — and not always the biggest part.
I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship, and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.
As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.
Conversion and Confusion
It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions, and with my sexual history.
Conversion brought with it a train wreck of contradictory feelings, ranging from liberty to shame. Conversion also left me confused. While it was clear that God forbade sex outside of biblical marriage, it was not clear to me what I should do with the complex matrix of desires and attractions, sensibilities and senses of self that churned within and still defined me.
What is the sin of sexual transgression? The sex? The identity? How deep was repentance to go?
Meeting John Owen
In these newfound struggles, a friend recommended that I read an old, seventeenth-century theologian named John Owen, in a trio of his books (now brought together under the title Overcoming Sin and Temptation).
At first, I was offended to realize that what I called “who I am,” John Owen called “indwelling sin.” But I hung in there with him. Owen taught me that sin in the life of a believer manifests itself in three ways: distortion by original sin, distraction of actual day-to-day sin, and discouragement by the daily residence of indwelling sin.
Eventually, the concept of indwelling sin provided a window to see how God intended to replace my shame with hope. Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.
As believers, we lament with the apostle Paul, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19–20). But after we lament, what should we do? How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?
Owen explained with four responses.
Daniel’s 70 Weeks
(first published May 26, 2014) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,email@example.com)
Daniel’s “70 week” prophecy is one of the most amazing and important prophecies in Scripture. A Book that foretells the future in detail with perfect accuracy is obviously a Divine Book!
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall beseven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:24-27).
The occasion of this prophecy was Daniel’s prayer that God would have mercy on Israel. The vision is God’s answer. In this vision God reveals to Daniel the time schedule and major events which will lead to the establishment of Israel’s Messianic kingdom.
The purpose of the 70 weeks (Dan. 9:24)
The prophecy pertains to Israel and to the holy city Jerusalem.
1. The prophecy describes the finishing of the transgression and the making of reconciliation. During the 70 Weeks, Israel’s rebellion will be finished, and she will be cleansed from her sin. Israel’s rebellion was the reason for the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC and by Rome in AD 70, and she has never repented nationally. This will happen at the end of the 70 Weeks, and she will be cleansed by the atonement of Christ.
3 The prophecy describes the sealing up the vision and prophecy. It will be the fulfillment of all of the Messianic prophecies.
4. The prophecy will result in the anointing of the most Holy. The temple will be desecrated by the Antichrist, but upon Christ’s return a new temple will be built and anointed by Christ’s own presence.
The length of time of the 70 Weeks
The Hebrew term for weeks (shebuah) means “sevens.” The context must determine whether it is a week of days or of years.
1. The weeks which have already been fulfilled show that these are weeks of years rather than of days. We know that by any reckoning, it was almost 500 years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the coming of Christ. This fits the testimony of Daniel 9:25, which places 69 weeks of years (483 years) between the two events. It is only reasonable to believe that the 70th week shall also be a week of years.
2. The concept of weeks of years was familiar to Jewish thinking (Lev. 25:3-9). There was a weekly sabbath and a yearly sabbath.
3. At the time of the vision, Daniel had been thinking in terms of weeks of years (Dan. 9:2). He was considering the 70 year captivity, which was 10 weeks of years (2 Ch. 36:21).
The events of the 70 Weeks
1. During the first 7 weeks (49 years) Jerusalem was rebuilt in troublous times.
a. The commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 445 BC. The walls were completed the next year, and work of rebuilding the city apparently continued on for another 48 years.
b. This was accomplished “in troublous times,” as we see in Nehemiah. The rebuilding was accomplished in the face of great opposition.
2. The next 62 weeks (434 years) extends from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah.
a. When did the 69 weeks (the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks) end?
It ended when Messiah came as prince (Dan. 9:25). This was when Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey a few days before the crucifixion and was acclaimed as “the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Zech. 9:9; Lk. 19:37-38).
b. When did the 69 Weeks begin?
It began with the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25). This was the commandment by Artaxerxes for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and the city (Neh. 2:1-8). In 536 BC, Cyrus commanded Zerubbabel to build the temple (Ezra 1:1-3), but that isn’t the commandment described in Daniel 9:25.
c. There are some difficulties in determining the exact dates for the beginning and ending of the 69 Weeks.
First, Jews and Babylonians and Persians used different calendars with different months. The Julian or Roman calendar that we use today is different. This is why it is difficult to know exactly what years by our calendar Christ was born and died. Second, the Jewish and Persian calendars were 360-day years instead of the 365-day years on our Roman calendar. This means that the 483 years (69×7) of Daniel 9 was 173,880 days or 476 of our years.
By some reckoning, Artaxerxes’ commandment to Nehemiah was in 445 BC and by other reckonings, it was 444 BC. Sir Isaac Newton set that date at 457 BC, and this date was placed in the margin of the King James Bible beginning in 1701.
Sir Robert Anderson, a lawyer and an investigator with Scotland Yard and a brilliant Bible student, concluded that the commandment was given March 14, 445 BC and Christ entered Jerusalem on the donkey April 6, 32 AD. He documented this position in his 1895 book The Coming Prince.
John Phillips summarizes this position as follows: “We know from Nehemiah 2:1-8 that the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in March (Nisan) of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, who ascended to the throne of Persia in 464 or 465 BC. Thus the beginning of the prophetic period would be 445 BC. Some commentators actually fix the date at March 14, 445 BC., and claim the support of astronomy for so doing. After sixty-nine of these ‘weeks,’ the Messiah would be ‘cut off’ (69 x 7 = 483 years) bringing us to AD 39. Since the Biblical year is 360 days and not 365 days, the difference (5 x 483 – 2,415 days – 6.6 years) must be deducted, bringing us to AD 32. The Lord’s ministry began in the ‘the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’ (Luke 3:1). This Caesar began to reign on August 19, A.D. 14, so that the Lord commenced His public ministry early in A.D. 29. The first Passover of the Lord’s ministry was in the month of Nisan of that year. Three Passovers later, in AD 32, He was crucified. Sir Robert Anderson contends that this prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled to the very day.”
The important thing to understand is that the Jews of Christ’s day knew how to figure these dates, and they had no excuse for not knowing exactly when Messiah the prince would come or what would happen when He came.
3. After the 69 weeks, the following events will happen (Dan. 9:26).
a. Messiah is cut off, but not for himself. This refers to Christ’s crucifixion and His substitutionary atonement. He did not die for Himself, because death is the wages of sin, and Christ had no sin. He died for man’s sins (Isa. 53:5).
b. The city and the sanctuary are destroyed. This occurred in AD 70 at the hands of the Roman armies under the generalship of Titus.
c. There are wars and desolations until the end. The Hebrew word translated “desolation” is also translated “destruction (Hos. 2:12).
(1) This is a perfect description of the last 2,000 years of Israel’s history since Christ was “cut off.”
(2) Even today, though Israel is back in the land, she has no peace and war and desolations continue, and she will have no peace until she repents and receives her Messiah, Jesus.
(3) It also describes what will happen to Israel just before the return of Christ as recorded in Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-18.
4. Between the 69th and 70th week is the interlude of the church age.
a. It is called a “mystery” because it was not revealed to the Old Testament prophets (Eph. 3:3-6). The church age is like a valley that the Old Testament prophets did not see between the peaks of the first and second coming of Christ.
b. During this time, Christ is calling out a people for His name from among the nations (Ac. 15:14-18).
c. Paul describes the church age as the time of Israel’s blindness in Romans 11:25-27.
The 70th week (the final seven years) (Dan. 9:27)
The final week, or seven years, of Daniel’s prophecy remains to be fulfilled.
It is this period that Jesus describes in Matthew 24:3-31.
1. The final week is divided into two parts (Dan. 9:27).
a. At the beginning of the seven years, the Antichrist will make a false peace covenant with Israel.
(1) The Antichrist is a prince of the revived Roman Empire. He is identified as the prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem after Messiah’s death. This was Rome.
(2) Revelation depicts the Antichrist coming on the scene on a white horse, signifying peace, and carrying an empty bow (Rev. 6:2). The horse and empty bow signifies that the Antichrist will have the capability to make war but initially he will come as a man of peace. Five times in Daniel the Antichrist is called a liar and a flatterer (Dan. 11:21, 23, 27, 32, 34). Daniel says by peace he will destroy many (Dan. 8:25).
(3) This is probably when the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt. When he comes on the scene, the Antichrist will be the greatest diplomat the world has ever seen, and he will doubtless solve the “Israel-Palestinian problem.”
(4) It is probable that either the Antichrist or his prophet or both will be accepted by the Jews as their Messiah and by apostate Christians as theirs and by the Muslims as the Mahdi. Both Sunnis and Shiites believe in an Islamic messiah, the Mahdi, who will appear at the end of the world to establish a global caliphate in Allah’s name and rule for a period of time (seven, nine, or nineteen years, according to varying interpretations), ridding the world of evil before the day of judgment. The coming of the Mahdi is believed to coincide with the second coming of Jesus, whom they call Isa, who will join hands with the Mahdi against a false messiah or antichrist.
b. Mid-way through the seven years the Antichrist will break this covenant and exalt himself as God.
(1) The abomination that makes desolate is the desecration of the Jewish temple by the Antichrist. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
(2) This event marks the beginning of the 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:15).
(3) Revelation 6-19 describes the same period of time (the final “week” of Daniel’s vision), and Revelation also divides the time into two 3.5 year periods.
– During the first half of the Tribulation, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will preach for 1,260 days, or three and a half years (Rev. 11:3).
– During the second half, the Antichrist will rule for 42 months, or 3.5 years (Rev. 13:5), and converted Israel shall flee into the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3.5 years (Rev. 12:6).
David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc.’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, an e-mail listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY IS NOT DEVOTIONAL BUT IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.
Way of Life Literature – http://www.wayoflife.org
copyright 2013 – Way of Life Literature
Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin
by Cameron Buettel
We live in a therapeutic culture that seems determined to do away with sin. Adultery and every form of immorality has been re-classified as sex addictions. Addictions to drugs and alcohol are classified as diseases, not the results of deliberate actions. And guns are now perceived as a greater evil than the murderers pulling the trigger. Whatever the sin may be, there always seems to be a way to excuse, redefine, or minimize it.
That determination to separate who a person is and what he does has also infiltrated the church. The exhortation to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is a clever Christian cliché regularly used to deflect people’s responsibility and accountability for their sin. While it’s true that we should both love sinners and hate sin, the cliché distorts those truths by unbiblically severing the two.
That sort of dualism was prevalent among the Gnostic heretics of the first century AD. The error of the Gnostics was so seductive that the apostle John wrote his first epistle as a direct response to their false teaching. John MacArthur made the following observations regarding the situation facing the church in 1 John:
Gnosticism (from the Greek word gnōsis [“knowledge”]) was an amalgam of various pagan, Jewish, and quasi-Christian systems of thought. Influenced by Greek philosophy (especially that of Plato), Gnosticism taught that matter was inherently evil and spirit was good. That philosophical dualism led the false teachers whom John confronted to accept some form of Christ’s deity, but to deny His humanity. He could not, according to them, have taken on a physical body, since matter was evil.  John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1–3 John (Chicago: Moody Press, 2007) 8.
But it was the Gnostics’ personal application of their dualistic views that echoes today in the efforts to separate the sinner from his sin.
The Gnostics’ philosophical dualism also caused them to be indifferent to moral values and ethical behavior. To them, the body was merely the prison in which the spirit was incarcerated. Therefore, sin committed in the body had no connection to or effect on the spirit.  1–3 John, 8.
The cliché of loving the sinner and hating the sin follows the same dualistic reasoning as Gnostic heresies—that we ought to effectively divorce the sinner from the culpability and consequences of his sin.
Worse still, it confuses and corrupts the very concept of what it means to love a sinner. True love does not demand willful ignorance. You wouldn’t simply pretend that a cancer patient was suddenly free from his disease. Nor would you ignore his affliction in hopes that it would go away on its own.
The same holds true for sinners—the most loving thing you can do for them is not to blithely ignore their sin or excuse it away, but to confront it. In other words, you cannot possibly love a sinner if you don’t also hate his sin.
Not Dualism—Dual Responsibilities
I’ll grant that the way we confront sin can vary depending on the nature of the sin and the spiritual condition of the sinner. You might need to show more gentleness with an unbeliever blinded by his own depravity than with a fellow Christian who ought to know better. And even within the church, we need to be measured and considerate with how we confront one another, yet still bold and clear enough to preserve the purity of the Body of Christ.
In fact, church discipline is an essential part of protecting the church’s purity (Matthew 18:15–20). John MacArthur, while commenting on that passage, points out:
A Christian who is not deeply concerned about bringing a fellow Christian back from his sin needs spiritual help himself. Smug indifference, not to mention self-righteous contempt, has no part in the life of a spiritual Christian, nor do sentimentality or cowardice that hide behind false humility. The spiritual Christian neither condemns nor justifies a sinning brother. His concern is for the holiness and blessing of the offending brother, the purity and integrity of the church, and the honor and glory of God.  John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16–23 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985) 128.
In response to those who see the confrontation of sin as inherently unloving, John adds:
In the eyes of much of the world and even in the eyes of many immature believers, such action is considered unloving. But discipline given in the right way expresses the deepest kind of love, love that refuses to do nothing to rescue a brother from unrepentant sin and its consequences. Love that winks at sin or that is more concerned for superficial calm in the church than for its spiritual purity is not God’s kind of love. Love that tolerates sin is not love at all but worldly and selfish sentimentality.
To preach love apart from God’s holiness is to teach something other than God’s love. No awakening or revival of the church has ever occurred apart from strong preaching of God’s holiness and the corresponding call for believers to forsake sin and return to the Lord’s standards of purity and righteousness. No church that tolerates known sin in its membership will have spiritual growth or effective evangelism. In spite of that truth, however, such tolerance is standard in the church today-at all levels.  Matthew 16–23, 128.
Some people appeal to God’s unconditional love as if that trumps or invalidates His other attributes, most notably His wrath. But as John emphatically argues, such sentiment amounts to nothing less than a popular form of idolatry.
Belief in a God who is all love and no wrath, all grace and no justice, all forgiveness and no condemnation is idolatry (worship of a false god invented by men), and it inevitably leads to universalism-which, of course, is what many liberal churches have been preaching for generations. Salvation becomes meaningless, because sin that God overlooks does not need to be forgiven. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross becomes a travesty, because He gave His life for no redemptive purpose. Not only that, but it becomes apologetically impossible to explain the common question about why a loving God allows pain, suffering, disease, and tragedy. Removing God’s holy hatred of sin emasculates the gospel and hinders rather than helps evangelism.  Matthew 16–23, 130.
We should love sinners. We should hate sin. And we shouldn’t divide those two truths into separate categories. Our hatred of sin should manifest itself in a love that warns sinners—compassionately, but no less clearly—of the dire consequences their sin demands. Short of that, how could we ever claim to truly love them?