The number ten is a specific number that holds meaning in the Bible. Like the Ten Commandments which cover all the Laws of Moses. So the number 10 times 10 times 10 is the completeness of the Trinity’s view on a matter within time and history. Two illustrations of that.
Remember the number 144,000 that are saved? Was that a literal number limiting the actual souls of people who can get saved? Of course not. In sermon #27 covering Revelation 14:1-5 I said that This 144,000 represents the twelve tribes of Israel, multiplied by the twelve Apostles, multiplied by a millennium. It’s God’s way of speaking about the Great Host of the Redeemed, united in one Faith Community in Heaven. (12x12x1,000=144,000) Cults think it is literal.
Jesus talked this way when He said that 7 times 70 is all the goodness and kindness we must offer in hospitality. To limit our forgiveness to 490 would disappoint Jesus and the Apostles. We must think deeper than that.
When a period of time is described as a thousand years, God is describing a period of time that is complete and done. God is counting out complete periods of time between one event and another. God is not counting out the exact years. This period of time described as a 1,000 years is God’s way of saying that the specifics of that period of time will never again occur. The uniqueness of that period of time is done. Complete. Satan will never again be bound awaiting his being loosed back to the Earth. Satan is never coming back!
There is a long period of time when Satan is bound, and a short period of time when Satan is loosed. If 1,000 was literal, then why didn’t God give us the exact number of years for the little period of time? Because neither period of time is necessary for us to know in real numbers. Continue reading
What is the Lake of Fire? The Sea of Fire is a place so big, that there are no shores. No islands of refuge. No stable footing and no reachable surface. There is sulfur. Gunpowder is made with sulfur to increase the heat and explosive nature of the compound. Sulfuric acid has lots of sulfur. Sulfur boils at 850 degrees.
So God is asking for us to imagine a sea of boiling sulfur into which the Devil is cast and sinks. That's not a comforting thought, unless you hate the Devil.
And this experience of the Devil is permanent. There's no end to his torment. He is lost under the billowing waves of God’s wrath. He will forever feel like he is burning up. He will forever feel like he is drowning. He will be forever lost to God’s love. Continue reading
In a sin-mad world where evil is called good, light is called darkness, moral is called immoral, and the truth of the Bible is called fiction, there seemed to be no good news. In the godless and unrighteous darkness of ancient Rome, the light of the good news of God in Jesus Christ appeared and shown brightly in many lives. BY FAITH, they exchanged the darkness of Satan and sin for the good news of the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ. BY FAITH, they laid hold of God’s forgiveness of their sins in Christ’s blood. BY FAITH, they came to know the transformation of their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. BY FAITH, they joined Paul in service to the living God of the Bible. BY FAITH, they cried out to God in Jesus’ name, and they were given Paul’s song of salvation to sing:
Plainly, a clear understanding of faith in Jesus as the only way of salvation was Paul’s focus and concern for the church. Paul says the things he had written are important for the Philippians because of the presence of false teachers. Paul writes, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (3.2-3). In other words, because of false teachers, Paul wrote it is imperative we are clear on what we believe.
What we believe about Jesus’ person and work is the foundation of our faith and the standard by which we have unity and fellowship in the church. DELIGHTING in fellowship, GROWING in knowledge, WORSHIPING in the Spirit, and REJOICING in Christ Jesus. Continue reading
Jesus will orchestrate the Omega of this Creation and declare with absolute finality the destiny of every person.
After the war. After He has changed His blood splattered garments. After He has brought us into His eternal rest. God the Father will reveal a new name by which we will know Jesus.
Today we know Jesus as Redeemer. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Savior. Jesus is the Lamb and He is a Lion. Jesus is THE Wonderful Counselor. He is Mighty God, Everlasting Father and THE Prince of Peace. Jesus is the Great High Priest. He is the Great Prophet. Jesus is the Great King.
Revelation 19:12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. This name will be revealed!
Maybe His new name will have something to do with reversing the Fall, ending sin and chaining the Dragon. Continue reading
The betrayal of Jesus by the Jewish religious and political leaders is a tale of hate and malice. The extent of their perfidy is evidenced by their uncharacteristic setting aside of their cherished traditions of justice and mercy. Demonically driven, they abandoned justice and mercy and embraced treachery and hell. In madness, they howled, “Let his blood be on us and our children.” And ignoring the law of consequences, they cursed themselves and future generations of their children and drank down shame and judgment like wine.
For many, Judas stands as the most craven character in the drama of the Cross. Whatever his reasons, he betrayed his friend and teacher and rejected his Savior and Lord for 30 pieces of silver (the price of a common slave). Indeed, at this point, if there were no other reason for hell than the just disposition of Judas, God would have had to commission an angel to construct the contours of hell and set them ablaze as a fiery maelstrom.Continue reading
One day soon God will again send His only begotten Son into the physical realm of this planet.
Jesus will show up in all His glory and splendor with orders from the Father to finish out the victory He already won at the Cross.
The rebellion will not be resurrected. God will call the unclean birds of the air to remove the impurity and filth that they leave behind.
This is a glorious victory for our battle scared Lord Jesus.
Peace will be found at the tip of His sword and He will win the battle. Continue reading
Dear Harriet E. Leslie,
February 24th, 2013
You have completed your active service as a servant of the Church. Your sisters and brothers rejoice with you in the blessed evidence of God’s anointing upon your years of faithful ministry. We thank God for your love and dedication to Jesus Christ, and we praise God for the grace that has allowed your ministry to touch so many lives.
Now we come to mark with you the fulfillment of your calling, as the Church confers upon you the status, Honorably Retired. While we know this begins a time of rest and the enjoyment for other callings, we value the experience you have gained and the skills you have acquired throughout your years of ministry.
Therefore, we welcome your continued participation in the life of the church, using your gifts in meaningful ways. You remain a colleague in ministry, and we will continue to seek your wisdom and your fellowship.
May God continue to bring joy and peace to your life, just as you have blessed so many others throughout the years of your life.
May you know the full joy of the Father’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” Continue reading
Schadenfreude is that wonderful German term for those who experience wicked glee at the demise of others.
If we see someone suffer, someone that we don’t like very much, and our hearts feel malicious pleasure, then we can be accused of Schadenfreude.
Well, are the saints in this passage feeling that? Are we going to sin a little in our hearts while watching sinners receive God’s judgment?
There is an answer, and it isn't what you might imagine. Continue reading
The Holy Spirit is vexed when pride, greed, lust, envy, anger, gluttony and laziness are at home within our hearts. When these traits increase, we know that the end is near.
These are literally the last words of warning before the end of the world comes.
Are you ready for that final moment? Are you saved? Have you repented of your sin and walked away from a love of this world?
God loves you so much. God has been patient for so long. Will you keep testing His compassion? Will you seek His forgiveness? May God give us the grace to repent right now. Continue reading
Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father.
Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children.
By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage.
The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.Continue reading
They hear that their cause is lost, that demographics and the march of history have doomed their campaign to keep marriage only between a man and a woman. But the young conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage - unlike most of their generation - remain undaunted.
They identify themselves as part of the "pro-marriage movement" and see themselves at the beginning of a long political struggle, much like the battle over abortion. If they can begin shifting the terms of the debate away from gay rights and toward the meaning of marriage, they say, they have a chance to survive short-term defeats.
"The primary challenge that our side faces right now is the intense social pressure," said Joseph Backholm, 34, the executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. "To the extent that the other side is able to frame this as a vote for gay people to be happy, it will be challenging for us."
To put it another way, opponents of same-sex marriage say they must argue in favor of traditional marriage, not against gay people or gay rights. "It's really a broader defense of marriage and a stronger marriage culture," said Will Haun, 26, a lawyer and member of the Federalist Society. Continue reading
Everywhere you look people talk about being spiritual. Yoga empties us for spiritual enlightenment. Walking outdoors connects us to the Earth. Buying a hybrid car makes us feel like we are saving the planet.
Many churches participate in meeting spiritual needs without Jesus. They provide religious rituals and sentimental experiences. Churches seek to be relevant to impress and attract "seekers." Worldly techniques for entertainment are used to grow the financial and congregational numbers.
But, what does Jesus think about this alliance between the World and the Church?
Jesus uses a brutal and graphic allegory to share His thoughts. Continue reading
Chinese physicians claim to have murdered over 330,000,000 million babies since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago, according to official data from the health ministry.
The Communist government proudly publishes these numbers, yet reporters outside the country believe the numbers to much, much higher.
China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate. Sadly, world news media are not debating the immorality of these murders, but rather the economic consequences that will arise from an ageing Chinese population. With 34,000,000 million more men than woman, the gender disparity is also a rising concern. Continue reading
The whole book of Hosea is based on the accusation from God that the people of God had prostituted themselves for what the world had to offer.
God illustrates our sin by commanding one of His very godly men to marry a very silly girl who was in love with this world.
Hosea 1:2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”
God does shocking things to teach us valuable lessons. This passage is provocative.
The Church that was started in the Book of Acts has now become, like Israel became, an unfaithful spouse.
How many of these harsh accusations could be applied to us? Continue reading
Outreach North America Director Alan Avera has accepted a job as senior executive for Christianity Explored USA's ministry in North America. He will begin his new job on July 1.
Christianity Explored is a ministry that began 10 years ago at All Souls Church in London, England. The ministry produces tools to help churches in evangelism and discipleship, the primary one being the 7-week Christianity Explored evangelistic Bible study based on the Gospel of Mark.
As the North America executive, Dr. Avera will help increase awareness of the resources available through Christianity Explored, and will help support churches that use Christianity Explored resources. Continue reading
Sometimes my children mess up a LEGO project. I have to disassemble their project until I find the wrong piece in order to fix it. God will disassemble the universe for the same reason.
My children come to me in tears wondering why their project looks wrong and doesn't work right. In love I have to judge certain LEGO pieces as wrong and then break it apart that it might be corrected.
God is going to judge certain things as wrong. God will then disassemble the sinful things and reassemble the Creation perfect and holy.
That’s the message of all the judgment passages in the Bible. God loves us all too much to let things stay imperfect forever.
God looks forward to the day that your body disassembles into the grave that He might resurrect you into life everlasting.
Don't fear the tear down. God is a great re-builder! Continue reading
This passage is one of the most negative chapters in the whole Bible. Let me offer a new view.
When my children disobey, as a parent I place them in crisis through discipline. I might threaten to take away their favorite toy, ground them or spank them. I bring trouble in their life to lead them to repentance.
God did this with the Egyptians. He brought Ten Plagues to upset their life and motivate them to obey His commands.
During the end times God will bring these plagues back. God will bring Humanity into a great crisis that He might lead us all toward the last great invitation for repentance. Continue reading
The people of God crossed over the Red Sea on dry ground. When they looked back from the Promised Land, they watched God destroy their enemies and they sang out in victory.
Jesus also walked through the valley of the shadow of death. From the other side He looked back in victory and sang a song of praise that the curse was defeated, the Dragon was crushed and sin was removed.
The Church will join Israel to sing the Song of Moses, but Jesus will join both of us while we sing the Song of Moses . . . and the Lamb! Continue reading
Jesus holds Death's sharp sickle. He wrestled it from Death after He was taken down off the cross and lay in the tomb for three days.
All will feel the cutting sickle of death severing them from life as promised in the Garden of Eden.
Our nation celebrates this harsh truth when we sing,
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.
His swift sword is for death and judgment. That shatters the average image of Jesus.
How should we feel about that? we should sing with gusto, Glory, glory, Hallelujah! Continue reading
The Gospel informs us that Jesus has all authority and all power in Heaven and Earth, that the Father has given all judgment to the Son, and that the blessings of God will rain down forever upon those who place their faith in Christ.
These are the Big Promises of the Bible that are planted in Genesis and finally bloom in Revelation.
Jesus promised that it hasn't entered our imagination how great Heaven will be for those who love God.
Sadly, it also hasn't entered into the imaginations of men the eternal terrors that await those who reject God's love. Continue reading
When the 144,000 sing, it sounds like Niagara Falls multiplied by Thunder.
And this congregation wears the Heavenly tattoo. They are filled with moxie and bravado. Who are these 144,000?
The Jehovah Witness Church teaches that only 144,000 will be saved. Wrong answer.
Islam says that these are the 144,000 Prophets of Muhammad. No.
The Church Universal and Triumphant teaches that 144,000 souls were brought back to Earth from Venus. Not even close.
Tim LaHaye thinks that only 144,000 Jews are saved during the tribulation and that they become evangelists before the final Armageddon. Who do you think these people are? Continue reading
Why is it 666?
I am going to give you an answer that is so simple, it stretches credulity. I hope you find it beautiful in it’s simplicity.
6 is less than 7. There are 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 lamp-stands, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls, 7 horns. There’s the 7 days of Creation. Seven is the number of fullness, the number of completeness. We enter God’s rest on the seventh day.
Humanity is a six. We are created in God’s image, but on the sixth day because we are less than God. The Dragon is a six. He is a fry short of a Happy Meal. He is a day late and a dollar short. He doesn't measure up to God.
This Demonic Trinity will leave you empty and lost for all they have to offer is 6, 6, 6. Continue reading
The Beast is all the nations in opposition to all that is good. All ten nations symbolize the totality of humanity involved in this rebellion, and the seven heads remind us that the Dragon is the Puppet Master.
Which is why this Beast, through the leadership of the anti-Christ and the power of the Kingdoms of the Earth, targets their anti-Christian rage against the followers of Jesus. This is a Demonic Beast who is Hell bent on the Church’s destruction.
Have you ever wondered why the world is so unified in their hostility to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? This vision answers that question. Continue reading
At a local mall is a dinner theater called Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Their building is made to look like an old European castle.
When my sons saw the castle for the first time I nonchalantly told them that we needed to keep our distance because the dragon inside isn’t very nice.
I looked into the rear view mirror and saw their wide eyes and concerned faces. They were terrified of that Dragon!
Do you believe in Dragons? God does. In Genesis 3 God introduces a Dragon who reappears in Revelation 12 and 20.
This Dragon is the real deal. We should be terrified.
Anyone feel the need to start humming A Mighty Fortress is Our God? Continue reading
When Lot was in front of the people of Sodom, he weakened the message of the Bible so that the people would leave him and his family alone.
Churches do the same thing today. We have lowered our rhetoric against sin.
Maybe this is why there isn't much persecution of believers in America.
We have stopped saying what God told us to say for our own comfort sake. Continue reading
This Sunday I have agreed to join nearly 1,500 pastors nationwide and participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom. In my sermon, I plan to recommend that people vote for one presidential candidate and one political party that I will name. We will then all send our sermons to the IRS.
This action is in violation of the 1954 "Johnson Amendment" to the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations like churches from endorsing any candidate by name. But in our nation, a higher law than the IRS code is the Constitution, which forbids laws "abridging freedom of speech" or "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion (First Amendment).
If you participated, please tell us how your sermon was received in the comment section below.Continue reading
by Reverend Charles Wilson
Psalm 91 1:1-16
In 1868, the blind poet and hymn-writer Fanny Crosby wrote these beautiful words:
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.
Many people are concerned about safety nowadays. We ask questions like:
- What is a safe stock in which to invest?
- Is my money in the bank safe?
- Do I need to build a safe-room in my house to protect me and my family from intruders?
In Psalm 91 God makes promises regarding the safety of the saints. Consider these words from verse #7 . . . Continue reading
The only legal document with measurements that most of us possess is the deed to our homes. Careful measurements were made to determine exact specifications. We identify that area as our possession. God has identified His people by careful measurement.
God's people are Commissioned to speak the sweet and bitter words of the Unsealed Scroll of Destiny.
The World will not appreciate their words and will work hard to cleanse the culture of their Christian message. When a child of God is martyred, the world celebrates like it's Christmas. But God has the final word and calls them to their eternal home in Heaven. Continue reading
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he had signed SB 1172 which prohibits sexual orientation change efforts for anyone under 18.
Conservative religious groups and some Republicans have argued that banning conversion therapy would hinder parents' right to provide psychological care for children experiencing gender confusion.
The Encino, Calif.-based National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality said in August that the bill was a case of "legislative overreach," and Lieu's claims of harm to children were based on politics, not research.
The effect of the law, in brief, makes it illegal to try and convert any gay person under the age of 18 if your goal is to free them from the sin of homosexuality. Continue reading
If you lived in a Muslim country, and lived your faith in the public square, you would be required to act pensive and timid when walking down the street.
You would be forced to submit, at least as reflected in your demeanor, to the superiority of Islam.
Many Christians act that way in America.
Believers act weak when confronted by those arguing for evolution, abortion and same sex marriage.
This weak demeanor is the opposite of the dominant posture modeled by the angel in Revelation 10.
What happened to our confidence when holding God's word? We should be inspired to charge the gates of Hell, not be cowering in fear. Continue reading
Can the ARP Church get stronger in our old age?
Hello, my name is Charles Eugster. When I turned 75 my friends began to pass away. People were getting older around me, but I was just getting ready to retire.
Then at 85 I had a crisis. I looked at myself in the mirror one day, and saw an old man. I was overweight, my posture was terrible and there was skin hanging off me where muscle used to be. I looked like a wreck. I started to consider the fact that I was probably going to die soon.
So in my late-80s I joined a bodybuilding club.
There's no research into bodybuilding for the over-80s, so it's been an experiment. With weight-lifting and protein shakes, my body began to change. It became broader, more v-shaped, and my shoulders and biceps became more defined.
I'm not chasing youthfulness. I'm chasing health. People have been brainwashed to think that after you're 65, you're finished. We're told that old age is a continuous state of decline, and that we should stop working, slow down and prepare to die. I disagree. To me, a 65-year-old is young. I turn 92 this year. It is a frightening prospect – the law of averages is against me, and, yes, one day something will happen and that will be it. But until that day comes, I'm going to carry on working on my abs. Continue reading
Over the recent years I have observed a culture shift in many Western churches.
Many church members today view the church like a cruise ship when it is actually a rowboat! That is, as long as my personal/family needs are met, and as long as programs are in place for when I want to attend, and as long as I feel satisfied when I leave the services which I choose to attend - then all is well.
But don’t ask me to come too often, or to help plan the programs, or to staff the needs or, to put it another way, to help row the boat! Continue reading
Facebook has almost a billion monthly members, but there is a bigger and better community that you really should join!
God has a network. By faith we get connected in a community of saints.
Our connection with Jesus will unite us with the Father, the Spirit, believers alive today, the Church of history and the glorified Church of tomorrow.
This community of believers is the only collection of people who are enabled to stand at the last day. Continue reading
Jesus told us to forgive 7 times 70, but we don't think of 490, rather the spiritual lesson it symbolizes.
The Sealed 144,000 also holds symbolic truth. Do you know who they are?
Want a hint?
This group of people are protected from the wrath of God, but not the wrath of Satan.
They are protected from God's condemnation for sin, but not the natural disasters at the end of the world.
Their eternal destiny is secure, but they will suffer in this life for Jesus' sake.
There are battalions in twelve formations ready to die for the cause. They are soldiers of the Cross. They are beautiful in perfection, symbolized in the number twelve, and full in their assembly as symbolized in the number ten. Before reading further, who do you think they are? Continue reading
If a huge meteor shower hits the Earth (verse 13), then we can only assume that other planets in our solar system will be hit by the same meteor shower, including the Sun.
This is why the Sun turns black. Let me explain.
Have you ever seen a bowl of melted steel. If it is pure then the contents of the bowl glow red hot. But if you drop impure metal into that white hot liquid steel, then the dross, the debris from the impure metal separates. The impurity then floats to the surface and forms a black crust over the molten steel until the dross burns away.
Imagine God throwing billions of tons of dirt into the hot liquid plasma of the Sun via a meteor shower. The dirt will separate, float to the surface and form a crust of debris until it burns off. This is why the sun will turn dark black like sackcloth.
When this happens to the sun the inhabitants of the Earth will understand that the end is upon them. They will understand that God has intervened to judge sinners. They will all know that Jesus is coming. They will all be asking, “Will I be able to stand?” Continue reading
The late Robert Bowers, Jr. directed an astonishing cash distribution from his estate in August of 2012 totaling $1 million. The bequest further directs distributions to the ARP Foundation, World Witness, Christian Education, Outreach North America, Erskine Seminary and the Bonclarken Endowment.
These gift bequests are expected to have a profound impact on furthering virtually every aspect of the mission and message of the ARP Church – strategically strengthening the local church; new church plants and revitalization; and evangelism and discipleship at home and overseas.
“We are grateful for Mr. Bowers’ leadership and generosity that so concretely reflect the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his life, family and work. As a steward, his legacy will be eternal and measured by impact on the Kingdom of God by the changed lives of people,” Nichols said. Continue reading
When Jesus told the disciples about the coming destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, they asked “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” Matthew 24:3.
Jesus answers the what, not the when.
Jesus answered, But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only Matthew 24:36.
There is a soft rebuke for their carnal calendar curiosity. If we know the when, then we might procrastinate our repentance.
Like Paul Harvey, God tells us the Rest of the Story, to encourage us when we suffer for His name sake.
Are you pouring your life out on the altar of total sacrifice for Jesus? Why not?
Do you not know what happens to the souls of the martyrs? Continue reading
These four horseman fan the flame of man's depravity to cause human suffering. I believe the suffering is cyclical and increasing as we approach the end. It started with Cain killing Abel and will end with Armageddon.
God has determined to keep humanity from being at peace on Earth while they are at war with Heaven. Worldwide suffering is a foretaste of God's displeasure that we might be brought to repentance.
Jesus suffered under the hands of men in government who were Hell bent on conquering the freedom and liberty found in His message. The blood of Jesus was shed. Jesus lived a life of poverty and He died. Continue reading
From grade school to college, we are taught that rocks and fossils take a very long time to form and that they are proof that the earth in hundreds of millions of years old. Part of the process of creating fossils is for the soil, dirt or sand surrounding the object to harden into rock.
According to evolutionists, it takes a very very long time, thousands to millions of years for the rocks and fossils to form, or does it?
How long does it take? Can they form quickly? Are there any examples of rocks and fossils forming quickly?
Let’s take a look and see: Continue reading
I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not. Here are five things we may choose to do instead of preach the Word.1. ENTERTAIN: “Music, drama, and video, felt needs, topics, more stories”
2. SHARE: “There are some things I just want to share with you today . . .”
3. WOO: “Careful, careful, don’t offend, always comfortable, never pressured, just a pinch of truth, when they’re ready to handle it.”
4. INTELLECTUALIZE: “I’ve been thinking and researching this in the original languages . . .”
5. ABBREVIATE: “Twenty-minute sermons” Continue reading
The ARP has a slogan that “All of Life is Worship.” How is worship being defined to fit that slogan?
David Peterson defines worship in his wonderful book, Engaging with God, quote “Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible.” I like this definition because it isn’t generic. It applies to Christian Worship specifically.
Revelation chapter 5 gives us a peek into Heavenly worship.
This chapter reveals the Key to Worship .
Worship happens when we rightly profess the identity of Jesus and then rightly respond to that profession.
Said even more succinctly: when we say, "Jesus is Lord!", and we act accordingly, we are worshiping. Continue reading
by Rev. Ebenezer Erskine
Preached March 15, 1715
Sermon Text: Ezekiel 37:9 Come from the four winds, O breath; and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
The Doctrine of the Sermon: That as the generality of a church and people in covenant with God, may be in a very dead and languishing condition as to their souls; so the breathings and influences of the Holy Spirit of God are absolutely necessary for their revival.
This sermon is reprinted with the hope that God would invigorate the ARP Church with a new Spirit of revival. Continue reading
Imagine ripping the most important page out of your favorite novel. On that page is the pivotal event in the story when the plot culminates into one shocking moment of colorful drama.
If you haven't read the book, if you don't know the plot, then that page is without context and without drama. For those who know the larger narrative, that page is the game changer.
Revelation 5 is the game changer. It is the climax of the story that God started in Genesis. Jesus walks from the congregation of the people of God into the center of the Heavenly Throne to take from the Father all authority and all power over the Creation. Jesus receives His inheritance.
It is a peaceful transfer of power from the Father to the Son.
From this moment on, the reader can be assured, that all the rest of eternity will be centered around this One Divine person: Jesus the Son of God. Continue reading
Something began changing in the 1960s. Liberal churches decided that traditional notions of worship were out of date, even embarrassing. They preferred to emphasize intellect, rationality and understanding.
As the United Church found common cause with auto workers, it became widely known as the NDP at prayer. Social justice was its gospel. Spiritual fulfilment would be achieved through boycotts and recycling. Instead of Youth for Christ, it has a group called Youth for Eco-Justice.
Mardi Tindal, the current moderator, recently undertook a spiritual outreach tour across Canada to urge “the healing of soul, community and creation” by reducing our carbon footprint. Which raises the obvious question: If you really, really care about the environment, why not just join Greenpeace?
According to opinion polls, people’s overall belief in God hasn’t declined. What’s declined is people’s participation in religion. With so little spiritual nourishment to offer, it’s no wonder the liberal churches have collapsed. Continue reading
Lions, Bulls, Humans & Eagles . . . Oh My! The most ferocious, strongest, smartest and fastest creatures in the Creation occupy the immediate space around God’s throne.
My dad named his company "Crown" to signal he was offering his greatest career achievement in praise to God. How do you communicate that you're living for Jesus?
Are you ready to be led by these four angels to do God's will for the rest of eternity? God reveals shocking details about Heaven in this chapter.
The greatest shock will be for those who think Heaven is all about them. Continue reading
I watched a television series about the universe this last week narrated by Morgan Freeman. Did you know that at the center of every Galaxy, so science believes, is a Black Hole. As far as they can figure a black hole is billions, maybe trillions of stars, all collapsed into a mass the size of a baseball stadium. Maybe as small as the baseball. And the gravity is so intense that even light can’t escape it’s grasp. The same model holds true in miniature for an atom.
So if a black hole is at the center of every galaxy, then what’s at the center of the universe?
There is a throne at the center of the universe. This is the theme of chapter four as the word throne appears 13 times. The throne may not be visible by our modern telescopes, but it is the centerpiece of all that exists.
And the Bible tells us that this throne stands. It is active and empowered. No disinterested Deity sits on that singular throne. God didn’t complete the Creation and become bored. God didn’t wind it up and wait for the timer to ding.
At the center of the universe the Creator reigns supreme. Continue reading
Just a short walk up the road was the famous natural spring waters of Colossae. Like the bubbly French spring water called Perrier, no water was cleaner, colder or more refreshing.
The city of Laodicea didn’t have their own water supply. They built aqueducts to bring the water in. By the time water arrived from Colossae it had turned salty and lukewarm. It wasn’t good for refreshing the animals. Residents who were native to the city were repelled by it’s taste.
Jesus says that this church leaves Him feeling the same way.
Why would Jesus say this about a church and might we be on His list of people that make Him sick? Continue reading
I love music. Truly I do. I love to sing. But you wouldn’t know it on Sunday morning when I’m visiting your church.
I’m not talking to all of you, of course. I’m sure many churches, maybe even yours, get it right. I just haven’t been there that often, I guess.
Frankly, I’m tired of it. Maybe all the “seekers” are enjoying it, but I’m finding it hard to sincerely engage in anything resembling worship.
Instead of feeling the joy of joining with other believers in offering praises to the Almighty, I often feel insulted, bored, and disconnected from 2,000 years of worship history. And just when I think that maybe it’s just me having a selfish and sinful attitude — a very real possibility — a flamboyant electrical guitar solo breaks out. I’m left deciding whether to waive my iPhone and buy the t-shirt or just shut up and go home.
As best I can sort through my own muddled and messy thoughts, I think there are three things that really bother me about the worship music in many Evangelical Christian churches today . . . Continue reading
There is a difference between being famous and being significant. If Jesus was famous, it’s because he was doing something significant. The problem with many pastors is they make decisions, develop personas and define success from the lens of what will make them a celebrity/famous (even if they don’t know it or see that they are doing this). So in American church culture, it’s pretty easy to become a celebrity: Grow a HUGE church. Now all in all, it’s not terribly difficult to grow to be a giant church if you have the right tools at your disposal…but that doesn’t mean the ends justify the means of getting there.
For instance, though Jesus was a celebrity in his day, he was willing to say things that ran people off in droves. In fact, the book of Mark chronicles the way (from about the mid-point of the book on) how people left Jesus to where, at the end, virtually no one was left. No one wants to be associated with him for fear of the consequences. That’s not something you see too often in American churches.
I suspect it’s because riven deeply into the American psyche is the desire to be a celebrity. And American pastors are very susceptible to this. Many subtle things happen in people who desire to this kind of celebrity status . . . Continue reading
Have you ever felt like you weren’t wanted? Like a fifth wheel? Has a religious crowd ever made you feel like a stranger? Like everyone else was extended brotherly love, but you?
Jesus promises never to let His people feel like outsiders.
Jesus will not withhold His friendliness, favor, brotherly love or praise for His faithful.
We might feel like an alien in this world, but when we approach Heaven, we will find an open door. We will be greeted by Jesus and the saints! Continue reading
A hundred years ago a comet made of frozen gas entered our atmosphere and made impact in Russia, in a swampy forest in western Siberia. When an ice comet travels through Earth’s atmosphere, the friction melts and atomizes the frozen gas into a trail of flammable vapor that spreads from the Earth’s crust all the way back to the highest parts of our stratosphere. When the explosion happens on the surface of the earth, the fire ball has the potential to reach thousands of miles high with the explosive power of a thousand atomic bombs.
The shock wave from that explosion flattened 80 million trees over 800 square miles. The center of the impact left all the trees standing straight up with no branches.
The fireball stretched back into the outer atmosphere, as high as there is burnable oxygen to ignite the trial of gas left in the wake of the comet’s path. This produced so much light that a day later Londoners could read their newspapers under the night sky.
The comet struck at 7:17 am on June 30, 1908. Just over a hundred years ago.
But the energy from that event pales in significance to another explosion that happened 500 years ago in London, an explosion of light that set the world ablaze, and still shines today. That light is the glory of the Son of God shining forth from the pages of Holy Writ. That light wasn’t shining very well for a thousand years before Tyndale. Continue reading
There are five major–and painful–confessions that I am ready to own up to: Prayerlessness, Lack of Personal Focus, Lack of Gospel Centeredness, Lack of Honest Critique, Lack of Partnership.
Looking back, any one of these errors was enough to sink the ship. There are dozens of other failures that I could note. These seem to be the most egregious; the ones that had they been dealt with at the time would likely have made the difference between failure and viability.
It’s my hope and prayer that these confessions will help those who are in the throes of leading a plant or those who will lead a plant in the future, not to make the same mistakes I made along the way. It is also my hope that the Lord will continue to raise up an army of men who will, in spite of the odds, take up the banner of church planting for the glory of God! Continue reading
Jesus writes in Revelation 2:1-7 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. . . . This thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Paul also warned the same Ephesian elders to beware of, to be discerning of, and to protect the church from the false teachers he described as “wolves.” This they did to the point that Jesus commended them for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also hated.
“Hate” is a powerful word. Many of us today recoil from and are offended by it. Some even say “hate” is a sub-Christian response. Nevertheless, it is the word Jesus used and a response He approved of and commended in the Ephesian elders as they contended for the purity of the Christian community in Ephesus. Why? What is it about “false teachers” that brings out of Jesus and Paul the appellation of “wolf” and the visceral emotion of “hate”?
In the hands of Jesus and Paul, “wolf” is a literary device for identifying false teachers and the destructive heresies which are their trade. As the wolf in the forest stalks and kills and devours her prey, false teachers as they come stalking with their God-perverting and idolatrous doctrines kill and devour the souls and lives of men and women.
What is the nature of these “false teachers” the Ephesian elders hated – a hatred Jesus commended? Continue reading
Gospel passions build great organizations, but carelessness let’s them slide into Christian obscurity and Kingdom irrelevance.
Consider the Kingdom Mission of Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale. Gospel passion made them grow, but carelessness left them useless for the Kingdom of Christ. The current fight within the ARP over Erskine is a work of sweat and prayer to keep our Denominational College and Seminary off the list of the spiritually irrelevant.
The Church at Sardis was fast becoming irrelevant to Christ’s Kingdom. Evangelistic zeal had dried up. Fervent prayer was marginalized. A commitment to discipleship was replaced with commitments to programs and fruitless busy-ness.
None of these things were concerns for the Church at Sardis. They had become content with previous spiritual victories. They made their boast in their glorious history, not the Lord, and they lost Christ’s vision for their community.
They looked alive, but Jesus said they were dead. They had a reputation for being alive, but they were spiritually dead. They were the church of the living dead. Continue reading
Christians in Thyatira felt pressure from the trade guilds. We would call them Unions.
Imagine yourself living in Chicago as an electrician. If you are willing to join a Union and vote for the local politicians then you’re fine.
The Unions in Thyatira were teaching immoral and corrupting values. Each guild worshipped a deity who promised financial success and good health.
Worship was like a Mardi Gras Party. The guilds sponsored immoral festivals like what you might see in Rio de Janeiro. Union members were expected to participate or possibly lose their benefits.
Christians faced a huge dilemma. They could attend these festivals and eat the meat offered to the idols, or boycott the festivals and damage their careers. Some Christians did speak out and call the society to repentance. Others, within the church, argued that participation was fine. Jesus calls these church people Jezebels. Continue reading
Abraham Kuyper said that, “There is not a square inch in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan.”
Jesus said that Satan lived in Pergamum. Does Satan dwell in your town?
You can tell be answering this question -- "Do your neighbors publicly express their animosity toward God without shame?"
Is homosexuality celebrated? Are cults and witchcraft treated as acceptable religious options? Does the culture treat abortion as a morally neutral decision? Is living together without the benefit of marriage considered moral? Is pornographic material readily available?
How much animosity against God can citizens flaunt without being shunned? Can people be publically sinful and not become social outcasts?
Answering these questions will measure the level at which Satan is allowed to feel at home within your own community.
Do you help Satan feel comfortable by going along to get along? Have you lost your saltiness? Have you negotiated a ceasefire with Satan to protect your own skin? Jesus calls this the error of Balaam. Continue reading
by Steve Suits
Fathers and brothers, last year Moderator Andy Putnam laid before us a statistical picture of the health of our denomination. His presentation made it quite clear that the trajectory of the ARPC in terms of numbers is not positive. Now, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) identifies in its report to us this year what is eating at the fabric of the ARPC, echoing to a large degree what was said by the Vision Committee over five years ago.
Not only are we experiencing declining membership, diminishing giving, and dying congregations, but, according to what these two committees have reported, apathy and mediocrity characterize much of the attitude of our work, at least in the sphere of denominational affairs. Coming out of this is what the SPC called, “blame-shifting and conflict for control.”
Such negative attributes are probably not as apparent to those among us who do not spend much time in denominational activities, but rather are working hard to serve their local congregations. Nevertheless, this is what has been said by the members of these two committees, who have thought long and hard about our condition. What underlying problems are responsible for this state of affairs?
Why a Synod in the first place?
When I looked to our Confession of Faith for guidance, I found that a Synod is for the better government and further edification of the Church. How does a synod provide for better government and further edification of the Church? Continue reading
by Reverend Andrew Putnam Acts 20:28-32 English Standard Version
There are WOLVES in this very room that pollute the gospel for their own purposes, that will allow the devil to use them for his purposes and will subvert the Gospel for their own power and interests.
How do we deal with the wolves knocking on the ARP’s door? Putnam offered three solutions:
1. Preach the Gospel – hold fast to the Gospel message – love one another.
2. “Shoot them” – don’t let them run free (Joel 3:10); starve them; ignore them; give them nothing.
3. Pray – for the wolves among God’s sheep; for peace and prosperity. “If we don’t do this, we will be standing in the ruins of the ARP Church saying, ‘Oh, what used to be…’” Continue reading