Stand Firm: Time Is Running Out

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Stand Firm Time is Running OutThis following sermon was preached on December 30, 2012 at the Teravista Fellowship Baptist Church in Round Rock, TX

As we fast approach the end of days it will be extremely difficult to stand firm. Standing firm will be especially difficult for those who have wasted their time on meaningless debates and have not developed a solid theological belief system. Core beliefs have been completely ignored while endless arguments are waged over mere words (See II Timothy 2:14, 23). Their false humility and unspiritual minds puff them up capturing weak Christians and casting them into a bed of greater confusion. They go to great length to explain their slant on Christianity while overlooking the historic doctrines believed and practiced by devout Christians from ages past.

As more people flee from the local church no longer resting under the authority and protection of their spiritual fathers they have become easy prey for the devil and his league of false teachers (See I Corinthians 4:15; Hebrews 13:17). As the online community grows exponentially and communication is established with many people who claim to be Christians there is no way to really examine their spiritual fruit (See Matthew 7:15-16). And for those who have not properly developed a solid theological belief system they will be easily swayed by every wind of doctrine, always debating, always arguing, and never arriving at the truth (See Ephesians 4:11-14).

Time is running out! Dear Christian it is absolutely essential to develop a solid theological belief system or you will be taken captive by the devil and step by step indoctrinated to worship the coming Antichrist. Satan has a new tactic to attack our core beliefs of exclusiveness, transformation and sufficiency. All three core beliefs are major themes that run throughout my new book: “Stand Firm.” Each of these beliefs holds a central part in our overall salvation experience.  If we no longer believe and practice the core beliefs then it’s impossible to really depend on God alone and if we don’t depend on God alone then we will depend on another which is nothing less than idolatry or spiritual adultery. Believe me, that is exactly where the Antichrist wants you when he arrives on the scene. I beseech you in the name of Christ to spend your time concentrating on the important beliefs and separate yourself from those who would have you chasing the proverbial rabbit. Dear children we must redeem the time.

I. Stand Firm by Believing in Exclusiveness” (John 14:6)

The Bible says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6) Yet we live in a cosmopolitan world that is embracing every man’s religion for the sake of unanimity and peaceful coexistence. As immigrants flood the world’s cities from various countries, cultures, and religions the walls that had separated them for centuries come tumbling down as they meet, talk, and share a common social interest. While some of the older generation has stayed in their cultural confines, most of the young have ventured out to intermingle, share religious ideas, and even intermarry.

Unfortunately many in political and religious leadership no longer believe that there is only one way to heaven and have worked very hard to bridge the gap between all the world religions in order to bring forth a new world order. This new world order envisions that all religions are equal with no one religion having a corner on the truth. To have this equality among all world religions: Then there can no longer be absolute truth. There can no longer be just one path to heaven. There can no longer be one salvation. There can no longer be just one name given above all other names.

Without absolute truth everyone is free to believe whatever makes sense to them or whatever approves their sinful behavior. Is that not what we are seeing today? Everyone has their own belief system that includes modern psychology, philosophy, teachings from other world religions and even some new age thinking thrown in for good measure. You will never stand firm with a mixed bag of secular and theological beliefs. The whole spirit and tenor of the New Testament proclaims Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God, who is the only way to salvation. Reason with me for a moment. In no other religion does it say that God has been preparing a place for us since the creation of the world (See Matthew 25:34). In no other religion does it say that God already knows who will accept His invitation and have had their names written in the book of life (See Revelation 17:8). In no other religion does it say that our guide to the new life was chosen since the creation of the world (See I Peter 1:20). In no other religion does it say our Savior would come down from heaven to show us the way (See John 1:14). In no other world religion does it give specific detail about the One who would come describing what manner of death He would experience thousands of years in advance (See Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53). Clearly Jesus is the only way to heaven and all other ways will lead you straight to hell.

I implore you dear Christian to shun all the philosophies of man, all of his psychologies, and all other world religions. It is essential that we believe in the exclusiveness of Christianity. It’s critical that we develop a solid theological belief system if we hope to stand firm in the coming days. When you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the only way it opens up a whole new world of unlimited possibilities. Transformation is no longer just theoretical but it’s a reality.

II. Stand Firm by Believing in Transformation (II Corinthians 5:17)

The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17) Our gospel is the gospel of transformation or it’s no gospel at all. We do not deny that forgiveness and the atonement for sin is absolutely essential, because without it man is still trapped in his sin and transformation is just an unfulfilled dream. The world believes that they can change people through their secular counseling, psychotropic drugs, and self-help manuals, but they are simply fooling themselves, which has been proven over and over again. In Colorado this past year we have seen once again a patient of psychological counseling and the use of prescription drugs do the unthinkable. You remember the young man who slaughtered many innocent people in a theater. Until a person is delivered from the power of sin then it’s impossible for them to really change. I know the world is doing its best to help people change, but tragically they are only making matters worse.  I will never doubt their sincerity, but I am convinced that their way will never work. Only God’s way will ever change man into the kind of person he was created to be.

Let’s take a look at God’s way. It’s not just putting on a new set of traditions or learning how to play church. On the other hand, it is all about following the Way. In following the Way man learns how to put off the old life and put on the new. He learns how to take all of God’s commandments seriously and put them into his life. Putting off the old life is dying to self, putting on the new life is learning obedience to His commands.  But, never underestimate the struggle with the old sin nature who simply does not want to die. It will be the most difficult thing you have ever done, but with God all things are possible. Amen.

As the butterfly struggles to free itself from the cocoon he metamorphoses into a beautiful new creation. It may take weeks or even years for the butterfly to accomplish its full transformation into a beautiful new creation. In the same way as we grow from one degree of glory to another, the barnacles of the old sin nature fall off and we too, step by step, become a beautiful new creation in Christ. Everything changes. Old personalities are changed into free loving, even tempered, outgoing children of God. No longer are you stuck in the static personality assigned to you by the world, but you have been set free by the power of God to a new dynamic personality. Old negative attitudes are exchanged for positive attitudes always seeing the best in others and in every situation. The heart of stone is exchanged for a heart of love giving to others without ever expecting anything in return. For the first time in your life you really learn the power of forgiveness and the joy of accepting others you once rejected.  Behold, all things are new!

So why does Satan attack our belief in transformation or the new life in Christ? He does so because he wants to keep you in captivity to the old life. He wants you to believe the lie that your past life will keep you from becoming a new person in Christ. Many remain in their self imposed bondage to the old life unable to experience their new life in Christ, because they have believed the lie. Satan wants you to believe the lie that emotional and psychological problems from your parents have been somehow passed onto you and that there is nothing you can do to escape that bondage.

The lie says if your father was a wife beater then you will most likely beat your wife; or if your mother was an alcoholic then you are also destined to become an alcoholic – the sins of the parents are passed on to the next generation. What a tragedy to see so many trapped by this lie of Satan. Clearly we can learn bad habits from our parents, but they cannot hold us in bondage indefinitely. If we come to Christ and allow Him to make us into a new creation then we are freed from our bondage.  Friend, if you don’t’ believe that Jesus Christ can really transform your life then you won’t believe it will transform anyone else’s life and then your gospel preaching is only empty rhetoric.

There is an old story about two seminary students eager to please the Lord who went downtown in a large city and found the filthiest and most detestable looking homeless person on the street. They took him home, cleaned him up, put medicine on his sores, bought him a new set of clothes, and fixed him a nice hot meal. They even found him a job he could do and then bid him farewell. Two months later while passing by the same location where they had originally found the man, they were both shocked. There he was again, sitting on the same street corner, clothes torn, unshaven, filthy, and in the same state as before. The two seminary students rightly concluded that the outside of the man was cleaned up, but his heart was never changed. With all of man’s wisdom, knowledge, strengths, and riches, he cannot change the heart of man. Only God can truly change man’s heart.

If we stop believing the lie of Satan and start believing the truth from God’s Word then you will be transformed into a beautiful new creation. The truth of God’s Word says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Stop being conformed. Stop believing the lie that you are trapped in the old life. Stop believing the lie that you will never amount to anything. Stop believing the lie that your past sins are so horrible that even God can’t find it in his heart to forgive you.

To believe these lies is to be conformed to the pattern of this world. What does the Bible say, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And to renew your mind is to follow the example of Paul who said, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it” (the perfect life in Christ). But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)  “Forgetting what lies behind.” It’s letting go of the past; those old hurts that tend to weigh us down. It is letting go of the emotional trauma caused by others. It’s letting go of those times when you were the perfect monster. So how do we let go and forget? We do so by accepting God’s forgiveness, who even forgives the guilt of our transgressions. Yes, we must also forgive ourselves. True forgiveness leads to forgetting which leads to transformation the renewal of our minds.

Do you really want to be transformed by the power of God’s love and forgiveness? Do you really want a new life in Christ where old things pass away? Then let’s resist the enemy by rejecting the counsel of the world and accept the counsel of Jesus Christ – the Wonderful Counselor. Let’s reject the “how to” manuals of the world and accept the truth in God’s Word to make you into the kind of person that Christ wants you to be. Let’s reject psychotropic drugs and believe that God will bring both emotional and psychological healing to your bodies. Friends, God loves you. He loves the whole person. Stop believing the lie of Satan and start believing the truth that God wants to make you into a beautiful new creation. We must expect great possibilities. Can you see yourself as a new person in Christ?  In order to obtain transformation it is essential that we believe in the sufficiency of Scripture.

III. Stand Firm by Believing in Sufficiency (II Peter 1:3)

The Bible says: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (II Peter 1:3).  When we ask someone for help we typically want to have the assurance that they can really help us. If I have a serious cold I don’t go to a baseball player, but I do go to a doctor. Or if I need someone to fix my automobile I don’t go to a doctor, but to an automobile mechanic. So in the same way we don’t go to the world’s counselors to fix our emotional and psychological problems, but we go to God. We can be assured when we go to God that His divine power is sufficient to meet all of our needs in this life along with everything needed to make us godly. This gift is made available to us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is, through the ministry of His Son everything needed was given to us and was recorded in the Bible. Remember what Jesus Christ said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12-13). And so He did! All of this truth, more than His disciple could bear was written down and later published as our modern day Bibles. So if we know that’s where the knowledge is located to give us everything we need for life and godliness, then I think we would want to spend an enormous amount of time learning and applying that truth to our lives.

On the other hand, many people in the world seek answers to their psychological and emotional problems from the world’s counselors, because they no longer believe that God has the answer to their problems. They don’t believe the good news that God’s Word in the Bible is sufficient for all of life. When Satan cast his flaming arrows of depression, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, or many other psychological problems then we need to get our Bibles out, dust them off, and discover what it says about the problems that we are facing. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, which tells me people have been having these same kinds of problems for years.  Albeit we live in the modern age so the world now categorized our problems, renames them, and puts them into a book that only the professionals can understand. (I am afraid that prideful men have been doing that since the beginning.) There are over three hundred different (so-called) psychiatric disorders listed in the DSM-IV, which is called the psychiatric bible. The professionals of psychology use it mainly to just explain your condition which now has a new label and then he prescribes a psychotropic drug supposedly to cure your condition.

Well, God has His book too! And He calls it the Holy Bible and it has been used for thousands of years to help people overcome their problems not with the help of drugs but with the help of the indwelling Spirit. Why would God not give us a book for all of life and godliness – is He not the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end? Do we believe that the stresses of the 21st century really caught God off guard and that He’s not prepared to help us to overcome the problems of our age?

Well, I am afraid that a great many people believe that God and His Word are no longer valid for our age. Satan has risen up a counter religion in an attempt to explain man’s bad behavior and his horrific acts of lawlessness. Through many years of indoctrination the world is being led to believe that all bad behavior is an emotional or psychological problem caused by your parents, your upbringing, or your environment. In the midst of the great apostasy the world is no longer trusting in God to deliver them from their sin, but now turning to the professionals of psychology to solve their many problems. Just look at the statistics:  The Surgeon General has reported in 1994, “Consequently, about 28 to 30 percent of the population has either a mental or addictive disorder.” Presently in Marcia Angell’s review of Psychiatry, she wrote: “We are seeing an apparent epidemic of mental illness. 46% of adults are diagnosed with mental illness at some point in their lives.” Here is the tragedy, many of these are professed Christians who have not sought God’s counsel but have lined up at the counselor’s office like the rest of the world believing that God had not given them everything needed for life and godliness.

Are you not ready to put your trust in Him who cares for you?  Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Do you believe that? If we do then we need to ask God to help us with our emotional and psychological problems. And if we do, He will answer and lead us into all truth. I have done just that in my new book “Stand Firm” godly counsel for the last days. God’s Word deals with anxiety, depression, loneliness, guilt, and all the other besetting sins that keep us from experiencing the new life in Christ.

We have looked at three important beliefs that Christians need to tenaciously hold onto as we face the last days.  Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven? If not then you will open yourself up to other belief systems. Do you believe that God will transform you and grow you spiritually from one degree of glory to another? If not then you will remain in bondage to the old life. Do you believe that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness? If not then you will continue to line up at the counselor’s office and freely take their psychotropic drugs. Jesus Christ tells us we must believe if we are to have a new life in Him.

He also asked us to believe that He took your place on the Cross. As He hung on the Cross between heaven and hell all of your sins were cast on Him who paid the price in full. He cried out “Telesti” it is finished! His death on the Cross has forgiven you all your sins and His resurrection in three days has given you a new life in Him. Do you believe that – the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ?  If so then I am going to ask you to do something this morning. I am going to ask you to make this public. Jesus Christ once said if you do not profess me publicly before others then I will not profess you before my Father in heaven. So I am going to ask you to publicly come forward this morning believing the gospel of Jesus Christ asking Him to come into your heart, to forgive you of your sins, and to make you into a new creation.

Copyright © 2013 Rev. Daniel W. Blair – All content (blog articles) have been published in my new book: “Revelation Truth” available in our bookstore or at a bookstore near you.

youtube_icon_resized

 

This timeless article can be viewed as a video blog on YouTube

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone