Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. – Revelation 2:7

      Years ago, when I was in grade school, during music time we would sometimes sing a “round” which I’m sure you’ve heard. It goes like this: “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream; merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!” It’s amazing how our minds easily forget many things, but music seems to stay with us. Whenever this jingle “floats” into my consciousness I picture a warm, lazy summer day with a pretty lady in a long, neck-to-ankle dress holding a parasol sitting in the back of a little rowboat while a smartly dressed gentleman rows the boat down a lazy stream. Then my active imagination kicks in and I sense that somewhere downstream a roaring waterfall threatens to tragically end their idyllic dream; that is, unless they wake up in time to face reality and save themselves before it’s too late.

      The problem is, when it comes to reality in these end days, multitudes of people prefer to remain detached from it, because the reality of God and godly living involves responsibility, and we all know how many people, especially the “lost” generations coming up despise responsibility! For example, until recently the majority of Americans lived their lives totally ignorant of, and detached from, politics and the erosion of our freedoms, the takeover of our educational system by Godless socialists, the loss of biblical morality from the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman to the acceptance of fornication and murder of the innocents, as well as the failure of the Church to remain separate from the world’s philosophies and ways. As a nation we have floated merrily along with the popular currents of anti-Christian sentiments. Instead of confronting this encroaching evil with the reality of the Gospel, and “Thus saith the Lord,” the organized church has detached from the fear of God, thus capitulating into the cesspool of degradation and a myriad of soul-damning heresies. Detached “Christians” who are ashamed of the Gospel have joined the ranks of the Marxist politically-correct far left by apologizing for the truth, and embracing the wickedness of the “god of this world.”

      To be detached from the LORD is to be attached to the devil. There is no safeguard for the person who chooses to reject, detach, and flee from reality and truth, whether it be through witchcraft, mind-altering drugs (sorcery), addictions, illicit sex, crime, cults, idolatry (false religions with false gods such as Islam, contemplative meditation, which is Hinduism and Buddhism, etc.), or by any other means and this includes the average, “nice” person who lives a “normal” life of self-indulgence and pleasure, but who fails to retain God in all his or her thoughts. Unless a person truly repents, believes upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, receives Him as his or her savior and Lord, then he or she belongs to Satan by choice.

      Reality and truth are two sides to the same coin. Neither devil nor man cannot detach one from the other anymore than God’s unchanging attributes can be redefined or altered by cleverly designed lies. God is who He is regardless of how hard man and demons try to convince the world that He is not. The same applies to His written Word, and to the Living Word. “It is written” means that God wrote it, He established it, and that Jesus is the Living Word; the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; not one word shall fail of all that is prophesied by the Holy Spirit; not one word that God has uttered will return to Him void, and not one word shall cease to exist for all eternity. To seek for, believe and live in a “reality” of one’s own making detached from the reality and truth of God is a form of rebellion, and produces the rotten fruit of anger and oftentimes hatred so intense it leads to insanity.

      These fundamental truths sum up the answer to the question put forth in Psalm 2:1, “WHY do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” The heathen rage because they are not God; they are not in control of the earth, or the heavens. They are filled with wrath and hatred towards reality and truth because “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” Psalm 7:11. Fallen mankind wants to be God, it wants to be in control, it wants to rebel to the fullest. It wants to detach from God in every way, and by every means possible, and if that means selling their soul to Satan, then so be it. To detach from God and make self “god” is the greatest tyranny, the greatest delusion and the greatest offense to God. This was the essence of Adam’s sin that has passed down upon all men. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death upon all men, for that all have sinned” Romans 5:12.

      The reality of history and the truth of prophecy can also be likened to two sides of the same coin. You cannot teach the reality of history by eliminating, skewing, or rejecting the truth. Take the Holocaust for example. What happened, happened, yet many today want to change history and say it never took place. Their dishonest, insane goal is to detach both reality and truth from history. When we read Psalm 2:2, 3 we are reading both history and prophecy, and both describe not only past events, but the very hour in which we live: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”  “Bands” in Hebrew means “restraint, halter, chastisement.” “Cords” in Hebrew means “intwined, dense, thick.” These two verses are vital for both Christians and Jews to understand in light of the escalating global vitriol and persecution of both groups.

      What are the “bands” that they hate so much, and want to break? I believe these “bands” are God’s moral laws as given to Moses. The law restrains, halters and chastises trespassers and offenders of the law. Our American civilization is based on the moral laws of God as revealed in the Old Testament, and the heathen hate them, both inside and outside of our borders. To the extent we have allowed those moral laws to be weakened, loosened and ignored, is the extent to which we are, as a nation, becoming detached from our sovereign God. Many in America may be sitting in the boat singing “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, floating down the stream,” but the reality and truth is that there is a cataclysmic end up ahead for those who despise law and order based on God’s laws. “Even Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, and set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities” Jude 7, 8.

      Concerning the “cords,” which the heathen wish to “cast away” I believe they represent the heavy pressures of a guilty conscience, a conscience that is God given. People in America, from “top to bottom” who despise the correction, restraint, realty and truth of our Judeo-Christian underpinnings inwardly seethe and outwardly rage against all that is righteous, holy, godly, and that includes all who stand for reality and truth. In their minds, patriots that “cling to their guns and religion” have to go. Bottom line, the raging heathen of the entire world want to wipe God’s people and God’s Word from off the face of the earth. Any twinges of guilt they might have only produces resentment and fear of judgment; therefore, for the unrepentant wicked that’s a burden too heavy to bear. Rather than fall before God in repentance, people with reprobate minds sear their own consciences as they detach themselves from Him. (See 1 Timothy 4:1, 2, and Romans 1:18-32.)

      At the time of this writing we are indeed living in the days prophesied in Psalm 2:1-5. While we can see this attitude among the heathen in America who hate everything God has established such as Law and Order, Nationalism, reality and truth, i.e. God’s Word and Jesus Christ, this Psalm directly concerns the nation of Israel. Note what “the kings of the earth” are imagining in this excerpted quote from an article in FrontPage Magazine, May 29, 2018, by Joseph Puder, Turkey’s Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, assembled with great urgency Sunni-Muslim leaders from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, as well as Iran’s Shiite President Hassan Rouhani.  The assembled representatives of the 57 member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held this “emergency meeting” in Istanbul, Turkey, by virtue of Turkey’s holding the presidency of the OIC.  The ostensible reason for the meeting was the Gaza “March of the Return,” and the U.S. embassy relocation to Jerusalem. According to Al-Jazeera, the Qatari based network also funded by the Qatari regime, Erdogan called on Muslim leaders to “unite and confront Israel.”  He mentioned “70 years of Israeli occupation,” wrongly charging that Israel, before 1967, “occupied” Palestinian lands.”

      Psalm 2:4 tells us God’s response to the “kings of the earth” and “the rulers” that “take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed” (Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ) is this: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” That means, “laugh to scorn.” Psalm 37:12, 13 says, The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.” The next time you find yourself becoming angry, vexed, distraught and depressed over the evildoers in our nation, as well as the rest of the world, remember that God is laughing at them, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” verses 9-11.

      Knowing that God holds His enemies in derision, however, doesn’t mean that we can go back to sleep while merrily floating “gently down the stream” of life. Until the day comes when we meet Christ either in heaven or “in the air” we are in a very real battle. Jesus doesn’t want us to “detach” from reality because it can be so overwhelming, and fall into the trap that so many Christians embrace in what I call “Christianity lite.” This is a place where people who call themselves “Christians” can escape from the black and white harshness of reality along with the starkness of truth into a comfortable pastel world of positive possibilities. This imaginary world lacks any real spiritual substance, but it’s sustained by a continual diet of positive platitudes, flowery motivational clichés, pretty personal prophecies, along with a few Scriptures taken out of context and rephrased in order not to offend anyone.

      “Jesus saith… “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6. To become detached from “the way, the truth and the life,” is when people choose another way, with another guide or leader (another god). This means their choice to walk in another reality means they are not only deluded and resistant to the truth, but they are detached from it altogether. Instead of gaining life, such people have chosen death. Therefore, we can conclude that Satan, who is the father of lies and the great counterfeiter, offers the people who fail to choose Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life delusion, lies, and death. God always gives us a choice. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:15. 

      The question is, why do professing Christians choose to become detached from Christ in the first place? That can be answered in one word: unbelief. And, since “the just shall live by faith,” where does that leave the unbeliever? Jesus called such people “goats.” They mingle with the sheep and they may claim that Jesus is their Shepherd, but they don’t follow Him. Instead, they want to be in the lead, whereas sheep follow their Shepherd. Goats eat whatever they want (instead of the Word of God); they boast on their pinnacles of outward religion that God loves them, but they are stiff-necked, disobedient and unpredictable. Sheep are totally dependent on the Shepherd, whereas goats are detached. (Concerning goats and sheep, read Matthew 25:31-46.)

      God’s people today can gain much wisdom from studying the seven churches in Revelation and heeding Jesus’ warmings. In regard to the subject of detachment, we’ll look at two churches, the first being the church at Ephesus. In Chapter 2 verses 1-7 we read concerning this church and Jesus’ rebuke in verse 4, 5, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” To leave something is to detach from it, and this is a serious indictment, especially when considering Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Even ministry and good works can become an idol if it takes first place in our heart and minds.

      Jesus commended the Christians at Ephesus who had worked and labored, and stood patiently and firmly against evil. But somewhere along the way in all their zealous works they had detached from their first love, the Lord Jesus Christ! We can look back over the past 2,000 years of church history and point out the same detachment among different groups, churches and individual believers. Undoubtedly many of us can look at our own Christian life and recognize times when ministry itself became our main focus in preference to our personal relationship with the Lord. Jesus wants us to love Him above all else, above our zealous works, labors, hard-won spiritual battles, and accomplishments. God knows how easy it is for His people to stay so busy “rowing the boat” that they leave Jesus behind. The consequences can be shocking to our religious sensibilities as the two-fold reprimand to “repent” and to “overcome” still stands for those who find themselves in the same boat as the church at Ephesus.

      In Revelation 3:14-22 we read Jesus’ indictment to the church of Laodicea. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” verses 15-17. A person doesn’t have to search long in our day and age to find such a church. Outwardly a Laodicean church has a “form of godliness” but it “denies the power thereof.” (See 2 Timothy 3:5.) It’s a church that is “merrily floating down the stream,” in need of nothing. It has everything the world has to offer, but it’s detached from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. It has no power because Christ isn’t lifted up, the Gospel and the cross are not preached, and neither is sin, death, and hell. It seeks to make everyone feel comfortable and good about themselves, because regardless of their depravity, “God loves them.” It has monetary riches, but is lacking in the true riches of Christ. Within its walls no one is confronted and convicted of sin, no one is zealous in seeking to know God and His ways, nor do they care about lost souls, and no one is fearful of the judgment to come. It’s a social center, a super self-exalting motivational center, an entertainment center, and a man-centered substitute for the real church. Such a church is detached from the realty and truth of God, and He says because it’s lukewarm, He will spit it out of His mouth.

      There is only one way to become “reattached” to the Lord, and that is through true repentance, and true repentance involves more than mere lip service. Jesus said, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” verse 18. To be “gold tried in the fire” means a fiery time of affliction, tribulation and testing. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” Job 23:10. In 1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” Being “rich” in Christ is the greatest of all riches, for it is eternal. The white raiment comes with a cost—the cost of picking up our cross, denying ourselves of the right to our own life, becoming an overcomer, and following Jesus. The white raiment represents being clothed with the righteousness of Christ in holiness and purity. To anoint our eyes with eyesalve is a decision we must make to take our eyes off of the world and turn them upon Jesus, so that we may truly see.

      The detachment we see around us in the world today is clear evidence that we are indeed living in the end times as prophesied in the Bible. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was”.

      The above verses give evidence of the detachment of mankind from God. Romans 1:28 gives us the reason and the result: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” (Convenient in this verse means “becoming; fit.”) Or, decent. Thus, they become detached from God because “There is no fear of God before their eyes” Romans 3:18. The evidence of this is plain for all to see thanks to modern technology, but unless, as Christians, we are anchored in the Rock of Ages, we could likewise be swept away with the evil current of the world, the flesh and the devil.

      None of us who knows and loves the Lord wants to become a lukewarm, detached, Christian merrily floating down the stream singing “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever Will Be Will Be), but it takes diligence on our part to guard our hearts from drifting away from center (Jesus). We need to face our own weaknesses, our own tendencies to sink into a state of lukewarmness, our failure to set our “affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Colossians 3:2, and our innate habits of resistance to certain areas of reality and truth. Oswald Chambers said, “The New Testament teaching about regeneration is that when a person is hit by his own sense of need, God will put the Holy Spirit into his spirit, and his personal spirit will be energized by the Spirit of the Son of God— “…until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). The moral miracle of redemption is that God can put a new nature into me through which I can live a totally new life. When I finally reach the edge of my need and know my own limitations, then Jesus says, “Blessed are you…” (Matthew 5:11). But I must get to that point. God cannot put into me, the responsible moral person that I am, the nature that was in Jesus Christ unless I am aware of my need for it.”

      The question is, are you “merrily floating down the stream” today, detached from Jesus who is “the way, the truth and the life,” or are you blessed beyond all measure “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” Colossians 3:3?