Friday, July 27, 2007
But make a store for yourselves in heaven, where it will not be turned to dust and where thieves do not come in to take it away:
For where your wealth is, there will your heart be.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
By Dene McGriff
Only in America; only in the fat and sassy western world, could Christians come up with a “cut and run” theology! If the pre-tribulation rapture folks are right, we will be pleasantly surprised, but if they are wrong, we are in for a rude awakening! Although the pre-trib doctrine may seem trivial to some, it may well be the keystone to deception as events unfold and Christians misinterpret their significance.
There are only two types of Christians in the “last days:” those who are deceived and those that aren’t. If you read what the Bible says in the gospels about this period of time, in Paul’s letters or the book of Revelation, you see two main groups: the persecuters and the persecuted, the deceived and those willing to testify.
All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another… For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:8-10, 24)In the “last days” we can expect to see these two groups – real Christians willing to lay down their lives and apostate Christians delivering up real Christians. Just as the religious establishment opposed Jesus and the early church, the apostate church will oppose Christians in the last days as the scriptures above show. Some will be a part of the problem and some a part of the solution. Some will believe the antichrist’s lies and be part of the deception, even turning on other believers in righteous indignation thinking they are doing God a favor.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:16-22)
The Great Deception
How could this possibly happen? Consider for a moment the position of Tim LaHaye, Dave Hunt and the other dispensational Christians who are convinced that the church will rapture before the tribulation. They believe that the church era ends with the rapture and the Lord turns his attention back to the Jews. So what if the church doesn’t rapture and the following scenario occurs? Israel is attacked and America comes to her rescue. The two nations sign a mutual defense treaty and Christians hail the new peace. The walls Israel has built up are torn down and Christians rejoice because America has once again supported the nation of Israel. The Bible clearly tells us that the antichrist signs a treaty with Israel (described in Daniel 9:27). What if this is that treaty and the church is still there?
This scenario is completely discounted because no one believes that America could have a role in prophecy, especially in an evil way (since we have always been one of the good guys standing for truth, justice and the American way). They expect the antichrist to come from Europe and believe that America isn’t even mentioned in prophecy, so even if this were to happen, it would not be an important event. But there is only one country that is Israel’s friend that has the offensive military capability that could make such a defense pact work. Please read the book entitled “In Search of Babylon.” Could it be that a sort of European country (one with a European heritage, laws and language) that grew to dominate Europe is the little horn of Daniel 7?
The average pre-trib Christian won’t get it. After all, they are still here and America is a fine, Christian nation. Even though dispensational scholars realize that this treaty marks the beginning of the tribulation, most won’t recognize it. Christians will get caught up in a patriotic fever because America has sided once again with Israel. They will believe that God has chosen America for just this hour to stand against godless Islam and stand with Israel. This further enrages the Islamic nations who rise up against Israel and you have the Gog-Magog War, which is discussed in great detail on our website. The antichrist takes credit for the miraculous victory and continues to wage war in the region – no doubt bringing democracy and capitalism to the downtrodden masses of the world.
The pre-trib Christian will view this as a marvelous victory, and others will see America as fulfilling her destiny bringing the kingdom of God to the earth as the church and state ride roughshod over evil Islam. Unfortunately, there will be a few Christians caught in the cross fire – those few who understand prophecy and clearly see what is really happening. These will be labeled enemies of the church and state and will eventually be rounded up and eliminated.
Most Christians will fall into one of three groups: 1) the “cut and run” pre-tribbers; 2) those who think America is the chosen nation to bring the kingdom of God to the earth; and 3) those who don’t care about escaping the tribulation but will pay any price to be a testimony. They want to have their cake and eat it too – the good life (split level homes, cruises, soccer, SUVs and all) – only to be plucked out of the world before the going gets rough. They have every expectation of either escaping or ushering in the kingdom by force. They have no thought to stand and testify at the cost of losing everything including their lives.
In the book of Revelation, the word “testimony” is used eleven times. In Chapter 1, it refers twice to the “testimony of Jesus”. In Chapter 6:9, it refers to the “testimony they had maintained.” In Chapter 11:7, they “finished their testimony.” Chapter 12:11 sums it up by saying, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” The root of the word “testimony” in Greek is “marturia” or the word for martyr. In these verses, we see the saints overcoming because they are willing to give up everything, even their lives. These are the few who have not been deceived and are willing to give up their lives for the testimony of Jesus. These are the saints who seek no gain in this world but are willing to follow the saints of old to an ignoble and unfair death.
Why is this Important?
The issue is not the rapture. The issue is not escaping tribulation. The issue is not whether we live or die or whether we suffer a little or a lot. The issue is the testimony of Jesus. The issue is His people, His workmanship and their role in the end. Will they stand with Him until the end as Christians have down through history in the face of beheadings, being burned at the stake, or crucified upside down? I’m not even going to deal with the arguments for and against the pre-trib rapture here because it is discussed in detail in other articles. The pivotal issue is the need for two witnesses because God is going to judge the world. The world is going on trial and God must, by His own law, produce two witnesses if the world is to be guilty as charged. Those witnesses are his two peoples: Israel (at the physical earthly level) and the church (at the spiritual heavenly level).
God has an eternal plan that began in the book of Genesis to work through a people in order to bring salvation to the rest of the world. In the third chapter of the Bible after the fall of man, we see the promise to Adam that “his seed” would bruise the head of the Serpent, Satan (Genesis 3:15) These were the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the people of Israel. “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.” (Genesis 32:13) In Genesis 22:18, we see the promise to Abraham: “and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." The Old Testament is the story of that people and the land they live in leading up to the coming of the Messiah. God’s promises to the Jews are eternal and unwavering; and in Romans 11 we see that one day they will recognize the Messiah.
Once Jesus the Messiah came, a new era began as salvation and a spiritual rebirth are available to all who open their hearts to Him. This is the beginning of the church – a spiritual people born of the Spirit. Over the next nearly 2,000 years we observe two incredible things – the growth of that body of believers throughout the world, and the little remnant of Jews brought back to their promised land.
Although there are some who would say that since the Jews rejected the Messiah, they should be cut off, fortunately, God doesn’t give us what we deserve. Even though Israel is called a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 36), God will still breathe life into them when the time comes. Even though we don’t deserve salvation, God loved us even when we were unlovely and enemies of God.
So we see that God has two peoples – Jews and Christians – those chosen to live in their land and birth the Messiah for the salvation of the nations; and those that are born into a relationship with God though Jesus Christ. The first are recipients of God’s promises to his chosen people who physically inhabit the land and the latter to those people who receive a spiritual rebirth and are looking for a heavenly city.
This brings us to the focal point of prophecy – Chapter 11 of the book of Revelation. We see two witnesses called the two olive trees and the two lampstands testifying on the earth. God is about to judge the earth but can only do so based on the testimony of two witnesses. (Deuteronomy 17:6) “Two” refers to a corporate testimony. Israel is always referred to as the olive tree(s) (it is even on their national flag) and the church as lampstand(s) (Revelation 2 & 3). These are God’s two corporate peoples (physical and spiritual) testifying on the earth to His greatness and faithfulness standing together. Satan makes war against these two witnesses. The word “war” means a “worldwide conflict.” You don’t make war against two people as some propose, but you do against two people groups. We have written on this subject extensively so I’m not going into more detail here.
We come back to the question. Why is this so important? God can’t accomplish His job without both the church and Israel present. The apostate church comes up with reasons for getting rid of one witness or the other. One group, the dispensationalists, say that the church dispensation (age) is over, so it raptures and God turns His attention to Israel (who has to face the Tribulation alone). Another group says Israel lost its right to any promises when it rejected the Messiah, so the church inherits all of their promises and the nation of Israel is of no prophetic importance. A subgroup will even say that the church will take dominion over the earth and set up the kingdom. Both groups ignore the fact that there are two groups of 144,000 in Revelation: Israel in chapter 7 and the Church in chapter 14, as well as the two witnesses in Revelation 11. These are God’s two witnesses.
The net effect of believing in the “cut and run” rapture doctrine is that 1) Christians do nothing to prepare for the “Tribulation”; and 2) since they don’t plan on being here, the events overtake them and they don’t understand what is happening; and 3) one of the two witnesses is removed. The church continues in its complacency and the clergy keeps taking care of the laity so they can go about their business undisturbed during the week. Pastors seldom mention prophecy except in passing and when they do, they usually get it wrong. They don’t understand prophecy because 1) they were taught out-dated interpretations; 2) they don’t expect to be here; 3) it is too negative, scary, and unnecessary if we are all gone anyway. So they just ignore about a third of the Bible. We have explained in other articles why they don’t understand prophecy. They were taught by well meaning Christians who interpreted prophecy based on 19th or 20th Century historical and political realities but they fail to take a fresh new look at prophecy today.
Blind Support for Israel
We firmly believe that God brought the Jews back and allowed the nation of Israel to be reestablished after 2,000 years. We recognize it as not only a miracle and fulfillment of prophecy but a sign that we are getting close to the end. But Christians and Jews alike should be aware of the trap being set. Dispensationalists are great supporters of Israel. They see the restored nation of Israel as the fulfillment of prophecy (which is absolutely true). They believe that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and so forth. This leads the evangelical church to be supportive of any American government that supports Israel. Blind support for Israel and the American government (her only apparent friend in the world) is a trap. Yet, many well-meaning Christians support any administration that supports Israel.
This sets the church up for more deception. The Bible clearly tells us that a great “end times” economic, religious, and military super power will sign a mutual defense treaty with Israel marking the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel; only to turn on it in three and a half years (Daniel 9:27) . Again, we have written extensively on this subject so I am not going into great detail here. Doug has written even more; so, please see his articles. Suffice it to say that the leader of a great “end times” economic, religious, and military superpower signs a treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). That “leader” is the antichrist who later turns on Israel and the church. There is and has been only one nation that has consistently supported Israel and has the economic and military power to enter into a defense treaty with her. If we get too “political” in our support of that nation – supposedly “blessing” Israel – we may inadvertently find ourselves supporting the antichrist.
The deception will be great and the American evangelical church is set up for a fall. Christians predisposed to the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine only compound their ignorance by not understanding prophecy. If ever there were a time to really understand prophecy, it is now. Christians run the risk of completely missing it and falling into deception and apostasy.
Just like anything in the Christian life, divine revelation is required before our fallen minds can understand. After running a website for the past eleven years, I have received hundreds of emails from Christians around the world. I have never received one saying, “Wow thanks! I never saw that until I read your site.” Instead they read, “You have confirmed what the Lord has been showing me. Thank you.”
Unfortunately, we all get locked into our own way of thinking and look for ways to justify and reaffirm it. I have never encountered a doctrine that draws out more emotion, energy and ire than the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. This “cut and run” theology discounts the role of the saints of God in the last days, sets Christians up for deception, dampens interest in prophecy, and fosters the lukewarm spirit in today’s Laodicean church.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Just as 1 Peter 3:15 commands us as Christians to always be ready to give a defense of your faith to those outside (apologetics) the church, Jude 3 to defend it within the Church (polemics). Jude had to have been aware of Peter’s proclamation because his book extends off of Peters second epistle on the false teachers who were beginning to come into the church.
Jesus said: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged” (Mat. 7:2). If you judge something by the word of God you should be willing to be judged by the same standard. Jesus repeatedly taught men to judge rightly, insisting they “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and He praised a man who “rightly judged” (Luke 7:43). the Apostle Paul wrote, “He who is spiritual judges all things” for “we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor. 2:15-16). We are never to judge the eternal destiny of someone, but we are commanded to judge their teachings.
When a teaching or practice does not line up with God’s Word, we are commanded “by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
We are told to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2).
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (show them for what they really are) them.” (Eph.5:11).
All these are stated to protect sheep who do not know better and can be influenced by something non-Biblical that can affect their Christian walk adversely. It is also to stop the aberrant teacher so they can be corrected. Keeping the church open to a person’s ministry that is teaching falsehood is not a loving action. A true shepherd’s first concern is to protect the sheep and then direct his attention to the individual who needs the correction.
Today the Church has moved from the challenges from without to addressing those from within. The center of concern is now within the Churches walls itself. As a result, many had to focus inward and use polemics to protect the Church; which is applying apologetics toward those in the assembly. When we find false teaching outside the Church, for instance from Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, everyone can agree there is a problem. But when false teaching is found inside the Church then the issue becomes delicate, and the act of addressing and exposing it is considered fault-finding! This is a tragic irony, for discernment means bringing into question something that can or already has divided the Church from the doctrine we are to uphold and practice. For the apostle john says 2 John 10, I1. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Back then the house was the church, they were not to give these people a platform to influence the assembly. Today many people watch ministries on TV who bring another doctrine and let them in their house, we are commanded not to.
Its been said by some that the truth can defend itself, there is no need to address falsehood. This statement is not only non-Biblical it can be disastrous. Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, and Jude all addressed error and falsehood.
The famous preacher J. Gresham Machen said it this way: “Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end ... It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of the truth” (What Is Christianity, as cited in Biblical Separation, by Ernest Pickering, p. 97).
If we acted like the Berean’s that Paul commended, much of the teachings we hear today by the Word of God and not according to someone’s popularity, we would have to reject many popular ministers. The fact is--some big ministries should be questioned by the church. Not promoting them is not enough-the people need to warned about them. By discerning what is being said, testing it, we find what is challenging the truth we defend the faith by the Word of God. whatever can anyone find wrong with this?
Some people’s solution is “Test nothing”“ do not expose the unfruitful works of darkness”, they want you to “love the wolves like you do the sheep.” Both Jesus and Paul state that in the last days many are going to be drawn away by false teachers and prophets both in and outside the church, speaking in the name of Jesus. As Walter Martin said prophetically, “The reason is because the people will not test them. The Church will become fragmented and divided because we won’t put them to the test.” But there is a purpose in testing as Paul writes, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions (heresies) exist among you; and in part, I believe it. For there must also be heresies among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you” (1 Corinthians 11:18-19). To test what is said then gives approval to those who correct in doctrine and helps us identify whom we are to separate from who are wrong in doctrine( Romans 16:17). The Church has always chosen to separated from error and falsehood in the past, today it has not come as easily. The main purpose in discerning is to give Christians information equip them to protect themselves and their own congregations. In the times we live in we are to encourage preachers to stand true to the Word of God. Those who follow the truth listen to the Word--those who follow false prophets listen to these men and women even when they contradict the teachings of Scripture. Sounds simple enough to identify, but not when one is in the thick of things.
Discernment is a necessary spiritual practice for ones survival in the jungle of todays non - biblical teaching. Being clever or intelligent does not necessarily mean you are exercising discernment. It is listening to the revealed voice of the shepherd in the Scriptures so that we can know a false shepherd/teacher/prophet in disguise. The Bereans were exercising discernment. A Berean is someone who goes to the Word; he esteems God’s Word over any mans word, personality or the prestige of men. One does not become a Berean overnight; it takes training and time. When Paul came to the Bereans and they looked into the Word to see if what Paul was saying was in fact correct, this was not a new concept but an Old Testament one. When the Pharisees disputed Jesus over His claims, He pointed them to the Word. When Paul reasoned with the Bereans they received what he said with readiness. But they did not just take his word, they went to the Scripture as their source to see if what he was saying was true. Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans “were of more fair minded (noble character) than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness(great eagerness) and searched (examined) the Scriptures daily (every day) to find out whether these things were so (if what Paul said was true).” They had a right spirit and attitude as they questioned the apostle, not by their opinions but from the Scripture. The greater portion of the New Testament is written by the Apostle Paul, yet he allowed for them to question Him. He called them of better blood than their brethren they were noble, because they tested his statements. To honestly investigate truth actually shows that someone has integrity and is willing to believe God and not man. And they are willing to follow it wherever it may lead. If we detect a flaw that arrests our attention it just may be the Holy Spirit giving us some insight. There is nothing wrong with doubting experiences; what we cannot do is doubt His Word. Not all doubt is from the enemy; God can give us doubt so we can test to see if something else might be in operation. 1 Corinthians 2:15 tells us to discern or appraise ALL things (The Greek word is anakrino); there are places the Bible commands us to judge, and there are places we are not to. In this Scripture it tells us he who is spiritual is to judge all things. Just as Hebrews 5:13 explains, it is the spiritual person who will test things, the unspiritual will not. Those who do not test we are told are still immature and on milk. We are able to prove we know spiritual truth by our resistance to the falsehood.
In Isaiah 21:6 it says “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees.” The watchman was the first line of defense of a fortified city. They stood on the watchtower and were trained to spot the enemies of Israel and would warn of an approaching enemy. Watchman in Hebrew is opeh, meaning “one who looks out, spies, watches.”(In this particular Scripture the destruction of Babylon is determined.)
They are under conviction and will become guilty if they do not say something. Just as Ezekiel was the watchman for Israel God has his watchmen for the church. Ezekiel 33: 6,11 “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand” ..... “ As I live' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”’ “(2 Sam 18:25; 2 Kings 9:17-18. 3. Sword. Cf, Ezek 21:1-19. Trumpet. See Hos 8:1; Jer 6:1; Neh 4:19-20”(from Wycliffe Bible Commentary).
God raises up men with ministries to “dig in the walls” and watch for apostasy and warn them when it is taking place. Like Ezekiel was instructed to do for Israel (Ezek. 8:7-10). Ezekiel was then instructed to preach about what he had witnessed (Ezek. 11:4,25). If the Lord has called someone to do this and they do not, the blood is on their hands, as Paul said like Ezekiel woe is me if I do not do it! (Acts 20:27) “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”( 1 Cor.9:16). The prophet is duty bound, and has the responsibility to warn as a watchman concerning any perceived danger, just as the prophet is to sound out God's warning against sin. Paul warned the Ephesian church night and day with tears against the savage wolves that would come from among them. The Ephesians were later commended by Jesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles in Revelation 2:2. This is the Church that Paul warned in Acts 20:29 about savage wolves and they were obedient to his warning.
To Ezekiel God said “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against the Me... neither fear them or fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not...” (Ezek. 2:3,6,7).Paul also told Timothy the very same thing; “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (Timothy 4:2). Some people are appointed and must speak out as it was with Jeremiah, a fire burns within their bones, it is oftentimes a thankless job rewarding only to the one who has obeyed what the Lord required of him. They were not concerned about the numbers but about the truth. Every battle in our spiritual warfare has a mission of falsehood to the body of Christ; it targets the truth.
Instead the watchmen who are warning the church, standing for the truth become the target for all kinds of attacks.
Those who exercise discernment make themselves more of a target to be attacked more than any other ministry because they are contending with the truth against the falsehood that is so prevalent today. Sometimes people don’t know a good thing until they really need it. I often get letters from people I went back and forth on certain issues months before. They write letters of apology because after they have calmed down they investigated what I said and found it to be true and left the church or cult they were involved with. Sometimes things take time but praying in faith I believe god is working on some of these peoples hearts that are at first so argumentative.
Today to obey the negative biblical commands of Christ are unloving-To carefully test things by the Bible is unloving-To warn of false gospels is unloving-To mark and avoid false teachers is mean-spirited and unloving. What ever happened to “IF ANYONE LOVES ME, HE WILL KEEP MY WORD: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our home with him” (John 14:23) “If you love you Me you will continue in MY word.” Keeping His words means to also watch, to discern, to test, to judge. To walk in love means you watch out for others, not just yourself. Speak up when it is necessary.
The Liberals in the church have stripped the people of any inclination to pursue the truth. Everything has become reversed. Pointing out the problem becomes the problem, and the one who sees the error is called divisive.
It now matters more what you say about someone than the truth. A lesson in how not to judge--Don’t judge until someone says something about your teacher then you can judge them and call them every negative name possible to show they are judgmental. This is a sad reversal of what the Bible actually says.
The disputes in the church have become like the politics of the Republicans and Democrats. But this is not about running the country but something much more serious, handling the Word of God correctly. The spiritually correct are no different then the politically correct, they have no opinion except to say no one should have an opinion other than agree with theirs. They tenaciously fight for their opinion then demonize others who stand on the biblical commands. Liberalism has invaded pulpits to the extent that the Bible means only what one think it means. The bottom line is and always will be what does the Bible actually say not twist the words to conform to ones own predilection.
A. W. Tozer wrote before he went to be with the Lord in 1963 in his book The Dwelling Place of God “intentionally or innocently by someone's personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality, but has not checked his story with the facts, nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by God's Word.
However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century, quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truth that was to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-day-light theory:
“Augustine. did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God's people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine or draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to ' this new movement of the Spirit.” So they tell us.
The truth is that the Bible does NOT teach that there will tie new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days. It teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning.
Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or “ holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you. (A.W. Tozer, The Dwelling Place of God)
A pastor is responsible for teaching the truth in his own church, and he needs to know the condition of his flock. Like shepherding a literal sheep flock requires vigilance and a sharp eye for danger (not to mention correcting guidance for grazing), some pastors haven’t taken seriously the call to be watchmen. More watchmen are needed today not less.
Today if someone doesn’t get their prophecy right they adjust it. If someone challenges them on what they have said as unbiblical they just ignore it. Only a few people see things the way they actually are. When they speak up others look at them as the enemy of the church, as if they are coming against Christ has said. It was the same for Israel with their watchmen and their prophets. They refused to hear what they had to say; instead they listened to the false prophets. Israel’s attitude of tolerance for the false prophets is what got Jeremiah at the bottom of a well.
When occult or cultic beliefs become integrated into the church’s practice under the cover of Christian terminology, they pass under the radar screen of many who cannot recognize it for what they are. And it requires an astute person who is trained to discern them and point them out. People should be thankful that someone has the gifting the ability, the willingness and boldness to “tell it like it is. Instead, people in the church scream out, “don’t judge” “don’t touch my anointed.” Don’t judge doesn’t help you one bit if you are in error, but strips you of your discernment and protects those who are teaching falsely. God is into protecting His people from harm, He does not want us to protect false teachers, but be protected from them.
Jude writes to the Church “Contend earnestly for the faith” Attacks were being made on the sacred deposit of Christian truth, doctrines which were to keep everyone on course were being wittled away. So there was need to strengthen them. Contend is a strong word, it means to strive (like an athlete in public games) this word epogomzomai is a unique word, meaning to be combatant, contending, it is not passive. The word earnestly gives an even more serious and forceful meaning to this phrase. 1 Tim 6:12 Paul writes “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” What we believe we are to defend. Christ is to permeate every aspect of our social and personal life. We were not chosen to be frozen to our rear, the time is to do something, and it is up to each one of us not to only a few. How weighty is your Christianity, or is it light. How bright is your light or how dim is it. Its been said if you don’t speak up for anything you will sit down with everything.
This faith Jude says is once delivered unto the saints, means “once for all,” completed. He is referencing the apostles teaching, that we now all share as believers. This confirms the finality of the revelation of God in Christ. If we are in the faith we are implored to use it. But this is not to be done in a contentious way. 2 Tim 2:23-26 “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
We are to strive lawfully, so that we do not disqualify ourselves or give the unbeliever or believer something to point to; we are to testify without ruining our testimony. That no one would have anything to say about our character, but only about the truth that we presented about Jesus. We are not to revile nor seek vengeance, but use the judgment from the word of God not judge by our feelings or own opinions.
Vernon McGee on his commentary of Jude writes: “For ten long and weary years, the Greeks laid siege to the city of Troy, but they did not make a dent in the fortifications. It seemed impregnable, and they could not get an entrance into the city. Then there came forth a suggestion. The suggestion was to build a wooden horse with soldiers concealed inside, to leave it outside the gate, and then to pretend to sail away. So they made the wooden horse, the soldiers were put inside, and it was put by the gate of the city of Troy. Well, curiosity got the best of the Trojans. When they saw the Greeks sailing away, they thought the war was over. They went out, saw the horse, and decided to pull it inside the city. It certainly was a novelty, something to have. That night, the soldiers who were on the inside climbed out, and they were able to unlock the gates of the city from the inside. In the meantime, under cover of darkness, the fleet of Greek ships returned. They had only pretended to sail away. What an entire army of mighty men could not do from the outside in ten years, a few soldiers did from the inside. In the same way, the church has been harmed today and has been taken over by liberalism: Actually, the church has never been harmed from the outside. Persecution caused it to grow by leaps and bounds. Today we are witnessing the destruction of the church from the inside-it's an inside job. Christ was betrayed from the inside, not from the outside. One of His own betrayed Him over to His nation,. His nation betrayed Him over to the Romans, and the Romans: brought Him to the cross. The church is being betrayed today by the ones who, have gotten: in by the side door.”
They snuck in as Peter states and we allow them the best seats in the house, how rude we have been to the Holy Spirit, ignoring the one who is the author of truth by not testing these false ones with His Word.
Today’s ecumenical unity is based on finding and maintaining our lowest common denominator, not interested in pursuit of our highest calling and purpose. When we sacrifice truth for unity no disagreement is found because there is no Biblical standard upheld to agree on.
Grechen Machen stated, “We are told that our theological differences will disappear if we just get down on our knees together in prayer. Well, I can only say about that kind of prayer, which is indifferent to the question whether the gospel is true or false, that it is not Christian prayer; it is bowing down in the house of Rimmon. God save us from it!” (Education, Christianity & The State, p. 28)
2 John 9 writes to us about deceivers and tells us that the only way to know is by doctrine: “Whoever transgresses (goes beyond the boundaries set forth and already established) and does not abide (live in, trust, stay in remain in) the doctrine of Christ does not have God.” Doctrine is must to uphold. Not all things are to be considered serious but some are, some battles are worth fighting over.
I think I can speak on behalf of the many who are discerning, that we all desire to see the body of Christ to have the willingness to address the issues at hand biblically, honestly and with integrity so they can be resolved. But they need to be addressed, they cannot be ignored. 1 Cor. 1:10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
We do not have too much judgment, but little judgment and this is why the church is in the state it is in. The author in Hebrew tells us “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those w ho by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil ”(Heb. 5:13-14).
It is the mature believers who judges, those who are of “maturity,” are those who have trained themselves by exercising their senses to discern between good and evil through the Word. Those who do not judge are babes in the word. Maybe this is the answer, many have not become mature so they are unable to tell the truth from error.
Today there has been a slow weakening of the overall church, but individuals are being strengthened to serve the Lord. I believe the Lord is telling us to strengthen what remains. Strengthen it in our personal lives and strengthen it in the church because we are heading toward some very unusual and unsteady times in the world and the church, everything will most certainly be affected. We are to maintain a constant watchfulness, as though we are in warfare; because we are in spiritual warfare.
Solomon’s guidance: “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27). Solomon says to walk away from those who teach error. Paul does, John does and so does Jesus. God’s Word tells us to judge and put away, separate ourselves from false teachers and false teaching when they first appear in our midst.It is for our spiritual survival.
Let me end with some words of wisdom from Charles Spurgeon who writes “Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it ... Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin ... As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once. Since then my counsel has been 'Come out from among them.' I have felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation from known evil ... That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them” ( C.H.S., The Sword and the Trowel.)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ephesians 3:9, 10 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
During this time, we are beholding the culmination of all things. As the manifestation of evil grows more bold, so does the requirement for those whom God has called and chosen for this hour to let their light so shine as to dispel this gross darkness. We are witnessing with our own eyes the epic struggle of good versus evil… and we must choose this day whom we will serve; whose voice we will follow. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me,” John 10:27. Just as a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit… so those who are not the Lord’s will not follow after Him, nor keep His teachings. This is how we know who is who; by the fruit that they bear. John 5:30 “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Our ‘will’ is a non-issue…period. If we are following Christ, then one of the first requirements of being His disciple is that of laying down our own will and our absolute acceptance of HIS will for us. 1 John 4:17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” As we do this, a transforming work is done within our inner man. It is not accomplished in the twinkling of an eye, as we would like. It usually is a lifelong process of being changed and brought into conformity to the mind of Christ. We are all at different stages in this work of spiritual maturing. We are all individual’s…. and the Lord deals with each one of us as He deems needful.
When God deals with us on a personal level about something specific, it has great impact. We don’t need anyone else to tell us…. We know that we are facing an issue where we must choose… to obey or disobey. Here is where our enemy ‘reason’ rears its ugly head. We can ‘reason away’ what the Spirit is quickening to us very easily…. but we do so at our own peril. As long as we are comfortably involved in the religious systems of men, we have the added support of popular opinion and interpretation. It is not an easy thing to break with tradition. It is not comfortable to choose a different path. Breaking away from the familiar is one of the most difficult things for us to do, yet it is exactly what the Lord requires of His followers. When we follow the doctrines and tenets of man… we are not following Christ. When we ‘fit-in’ with the ‘Christian status-quo’ of our denomination… we are not following Christ. We can have all manner of ‘forms of godliness’ and still fail to be followers of Jesus Christ. Does that possibility make you uncomfortable? Do you cringe at the prospect of having to severe relationships… of giving up creature comforts… of being ostracized and openly rejected by friends and family? Well be forewarned, if you choose to obey the things that the Spirit quickens to your inner man and walk in obedience to what the Lord reveals to you as being a requirement for your life, all the aforementioned things will take place.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14. For many, it is a struggle to separate themselves from other professed believers. There is a very strongly embedded attitude throughout the Church world, of giving the benefit of the doubt… of making excuses and avoiding at all costs calling things as they really are. As we near the end of this age, there is an unprecedented pressure to compromise for the sake of peace, and a false concept that tolerance of evil and error is somehow pleasing to the God we serve. This attitude may be fine for the wishy-washy people-pleasers… but has no place abiding within a child of the King. I challenge you to read through the Gospels taking special note of just how Jesus addressed people, you might be very surprised. There was nothing wimpy about the Christ of God. He walked this earth in the authority of the Godhead. He saw through the false fronts and into the hearts of those who came to Him. At times He spoke very harshly, by any standards, exposing those who were His enemies for what they were….. John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Jesus did not judge by their outward appearance, their social status, their material possessions, all the things that we go by when we encounter individuals. He judged all things by His Spirit. We, as His followers, are to follow His example in all things. We too, must grow up in Christ and learn to hear and heed what the Spirit is telling us. That is what walking in the Spirit is all about. Not making our own judgments, nor following our own agenda’s, but being Spirit led in all things. What is true fellowship? How much of what we engage in is fellowshipping from the realm of the Spirit… and how much is simply socializing from the realm of the flesh. Building one another up with an “I’m o.k. your o.k.” atta-boy pat on the back is not fellowship; it is flesh. No one is ever going to grow up in their personal relationship with God if all they ever get is affirmation that ‘God loves you just as you are, you don’t have to do anything but say a sinner’s prayer.” Many would be utterly appalled to be told that the wrath of a Holy God is the only thing they are going to receive for such conduct. We have become so conditioned to hearing the false presentations of the Gospel of Christ that we have become desensitized to the truths contained in the sacred scriptures, accepting false and erroneous teachings without questioning their validity. Truly we are deserving of being compared to dumb sheep. The great deceiver has had thousands of years to pollute, distort and twist the scriptures to his own ends… that of keeping people from ever grasping the truth and causing them rather to believe lies. Jesus said in Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. “O,” you say, “that is those other churches out there, those other religions, those other denominations, that doesn’t apply to us.” Really?
Ephesians 3:9, 10 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
We are the heirs of this great mystery, that is older than time itself. How can we begin to comprehend that all things were created by Jesus Christ? Right down to the things which we must suffer in this life? How does our human understanding begin to compute that God’s ways are foreign to this world, when this world is all we have ever known? Yet as we allow the Holy Spirit to do the unseen work within our inner man, we are changed into His likeness. It is foolishness to the natural man. This concept of dying to our flesh and all of its lusts, and living according to the power of the Spirit of God is utterly incomprehensible to all that do not know God. Yet we can possess the mind of Christ. We can live in these fleshly bodies, on this darkened and corrupted planet, and at the same time be alive by the Spirit and experience the wisdom of God being made manifest in our lives. In fact, there is no ‘other way.’ There has never been a more critical time for the people of God than today. What we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called to do is to become “followers of HIM.” Not just in word, but in practice. And God alone knows how to bring each one of us into the place He has prepared for us to hold. We are the desire of His heart. That we might know HIM, and walk in close communion with Him, by the power of the Spirit He has placed within us. Striving in the power of our flesh and intellect only serve to keep us from entering into that relationship.
Isaiah 30:20, 21 “And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher. And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.” Amplified.
We need to know people… that we do not judge by the seeing of our eyes and the hearing of our ears…. We do not judge according to our own desires and perceived wants and needs…. We judge by the Word of God and by the life quickening Spirit of God. We need to press in to KNOW HIM, as never before. Judgment belongs to the Lord, and His wrath against all ungodliness is what is coming, first to the Church, and then to the world at large, and nothing is going to stop it. If we are to have any hope of reaching the lost, we must be walking in the power of the Spirit. Fire is coming, and all that is not of God is going to be utterly consumed by this fire. Now is the time to prepare. We are no different than the saints and patriarchs that have gone before us. The nature of man has not changed, and the nature of God is ever the same. What He has purposed will come to pass. We have the choice to be among those who rejoice at His appearing, or among those who wail in terror and try to hide among the rocks. As you read the Word, put yourself in the shoes of those you are reading about. They felt the same exact kinds of emotions, fears, weaknesses and confusion that we feel. Discover what set them apart and made them different from the people around them.
Look at Noah:
Genesis 6:9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God. The world that Noah lived in was just as corrupt as the world we live in today…yet Noah did not compromise with the world, but chose to walk in habitual fellowship with God! We can do the very same thing, in fact that is exactly what we are called to do.
Here is a quote from Ron Schwartz’ “Poets Of The Spirit” that ties in:
James 1:22 KJV “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
The word “doers” comes from the Greek word poietes, which means a maker, author, performer, and from which our English word poet is derived. The etymology of the word means “one who does” and can refer to any sort of doer. However, during the time of Christ and His apostles, it came to have a special reference to literary poets. This word is not the same word used for work, nor is it a reference to a laborer. It carries with it the idea of performance or creation of something, and therefore suggests an artistic proficiency by doing something so often that it becomes a natural part of life.
Because this word is translated as both “doer” and “poet” in the scripture, we understand that it is describing something more than mere mechanical obedience. James had something more in mind when he wrote this passage. If he wanted to say that, he would have used a form of a word like obedient. Instead of describing blind, mechanical obedience to the law, he was describing the artistic performance of God’s love in a way that draws all those around us. Because when the Spirit works through us, it is poetic, not perfunctory as a slave obeying a taskmaster. (God had mindless obedience through the Old Testament, but He has something different in mind with the New Testament.)
When poets performed on their outdoor stages, the public was drawn to watch and listen. People would cease doing that with which they were involved and go to see the artists. They would become drawn into their poetry and hang on every word. That is what being a doer of the word is all about. We are to show the majesty of serving God. We are to attract people with our service. We are to be living examples of God’s grace, to demonstrate His love to those around us. We are to lift Jesus high, and in doing so all men will be drawn unto Him. [end quote].
We know all too well how to conform to what men ask and require of us, but we know very little of what God asks and requires of us. Modern Christianity has created their own god. Why? Because they have chosen to refuse to take up their own cross and follow Christ, regardless of how loudly they proclaim that they are doing the work of the Lord. We cannot do what is right in our own eyes, and be led by the Spirit of God at the same time. We can never do by ‘works’ anything of lasting value that will stand when the judgment of God is in the world. All of our ‘works’ will be consumed and destroyed. The concept of the destruction of all the religious systems that mankind has created down through the ages is unfathomable to the natural man. We worship the works of our hands, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. We love the beautiful edifices we build. We love the pleasing music we sing. We love to sit under the latest, greatest most acclaimed ministers. We love to get a ‘word’ from the ‘man of the hour’ telling us how much God loves us and how great we are doing.
We may know that Jesus said in John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” But we fail to take to heart that He meant it. If we would walk in the Spirit, we will most definitely suffer persecution. Why? The answer is very simply put in John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” We are living in an evil generation just as Noah did; just as Lot did, and just as God judged the world of Noah with the flood, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, we can be assured that the rampant sin and apostasy of today’s world will not be allowed to continue much longer.
We can debate our opinions as to who or what Babylon represents in the scriptures, but we cannot disregard the warnings:
Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Some say this is speaking of the Church, some say America, some have other ideas. Regardless of specifically what Babylon is a type for: it clearly is not a good place to be. What we need to recognize is the fact that God never said He would give us all understanding prior to, He said that He would give us “all things that we have need of.” [Luke 12:30]. What we can conclude, is that there is most definitely a place we need to come out of. It cannot be a nation, or simply a physical place, because the judgment of God is going to encompass the entire world. There is no safe place…no island of neutrality…where one could flee to. The modern day Ark of Noah, is to be found in our relationship with God.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” And again in Luke 6:40 “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” If we are of the household of God, then we are not going to be the most popular kid on the block. If they hated Jesus, then they will hate us as well. This is a part of our cross-bearing. Romans 8:13, 14 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” That is a pretty strong statement, and rather exclusive is it not? What about those who use the name of God, but operate in their own strength and understanding, are they not the sons of God? Is being led by the Spirit of God that important? Consider this passage in Hebrews 12:3-8 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. I fear we have many bastards running the show today. Do you think that sounds too harsh? Then Jesus was pretty harsh when He said in Matthew 23:2-10 The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [of authority]. So observe and practice all they tell you; but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them. They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command]. And they take pleasure in and [thus] love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, And to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ.
If we are to accept and believe Jesus’ words here, then we have all erred along the way. As the darkness increases in the world, so do the errors people hold. We have prosperity ‘masters’ laying heavy loads on the masses, telling them to give them their money as a means of gaining wealth themselves. It is like the Church version of a pyramid scheme, only they twist scripture and use peoples greed to their own ends. The only ones getting rich are the leaders, who are blind to how grossly offensive this kind of manipulation is to God, because they have already crossed the line into full-blown deception. Now they are obsessed with spreading their message, accumulating more wealth, it becomes a never-ending cycle. How did we ever allow things to get to this state? Why does no one take a stand for truth and justice today? Why do we have no qualms about paying honor and respect to men, while we resist against bestowing the same and even greater honor on God? Why do we balk at keeping His commandments, at being obedient? Is it not because obedience burns our flesh? Do we not realize that our flesh, our carnal nature, the ‘old man’ will not go quietly, but kicking and screaming all the way?
There is no escaping the fact that we are required to put our flesh under, and live by the Spirit of God. And ironically, we can’t even do this of ourselves. In fact, God has so orchestrated this way He has called us to walk, so as to make us totally dependent on Himself for all things. As the Apostle Paul so aptly put it in the 7th Chapter of Romans… vs. 19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
Notice in the above passage what Jesus told the disciples, (which is what we are if we are following Christ, so He is speaking to us here), He said to “observe and practice all they tell you.” Remember that at that time they did not have printing presses… the people did not have their own copies of the Old Testament books to refer to in their own homes whenever they wanted. The only way to hear and learn was by going to the synagogues and listening to the scriptures being read aloud. Notice also the next statement: “but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice.” This is the defining point. Practicing what you preach. In our flesh, our practice may look good to other men, but how quickly we forget that God sees the very thoughts and intents of our hearts. We can deceive others, we can even deceive ourselves, but we will never deceive God. That realization alone should sober us, and give us pause to consider what we are holding to, who we are willing to follow, and ultimately where we will be spending eternity, should it not? Stop believing the lies.
We can behold Him.
We can die to our flesh.
We can live by the power of the Spirit of God in these mortal bodies.
We can be more than overcomers.
We can set the captives free.
We can break down the strongholds of the enemy.
But only by the power of the Spirit within….
Never by the power of our flesh, or our own ways and means.
I feel to close here with the words of the Apostle Paul, who was well acquainted with suffering as well as comprehending the knowledge of God:
Eph 3:16-21 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]-- To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.
Amen (so be it).