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

by  Jeannette Haley

There is a wonderful movie that we wish every Christian in the world could see. This movie very clearly and repeatedly presents the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Its portrayal of the moral decline of our nation, and the lukewarm, worldly, organized church is realistic and sobering. In fact, it leaves a person who is familiar with 2 Timothy 2:1-7 stunned and shaken. The name of this movie is Time Changer.

While this movie, with its priceless message of redemption through Jesus Christ alone, has quietly gone into obscurity, millions of people have viewed the latest blasphemous assault against fundamentalist Christianity. The fallout from this subtle Illuminist production has already caused division, dissention, depression, delusion and destruction. As David Bay from Cutting Edge Ministry stated on a Retaking America Internet radio interview on March 4, Gibson’s film has brought about the “paradigm shift” that the New Age planners have so long waited for among professing Christians.

What is utterly heart-breaking, and at the same time downright frustrating, is the lack of knowledge of “churched” people. In Hosea 4:6, we read: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” God is saying here that His people have no knowledge of Him—that they have rejected the knowledge of the Holy. The result is rejection of them by Him because they have refused to stir themselves up toknow Him.

The majority of people, who call themselves Christians in this country today, have no personal testimony, cannot define or defend what they believe from the Scriptures, do not have a clue as to how to test the spirits, and are lacking in spiritual discernment (and, I might add, any desire to acquire it.) This lack of knowledge of Who Jesus is, why He came, and what His Word declares concerning the Christian life is appalling. (How can you love and obey someone you don’t know?)

Furthermore, with few exceptions, church-goers as a whole are unfamiliar with their Bibles, and have little, if any, inclination towards lost souls. Most people don’t bother to read the Bible for themselves, but depend entirely upon their leaders, or television evangelists, the latest top-selling book, or Masonic paraphrases of the Bible, such as The Message, to tell them what they need to know.

Furthermore, most Christians are ignorant of church history, including the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church which tortured and slaughtered 70 million Christians because they refused to participate in the Eucharist (which symbolizes crucifying Jesus afresh), and because they refused to bow down to the Catholic Church’s queen of heaven. (See Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25.)

Most Christians are ignorant of how the Scriptures have been preserved, and passed down to us (and the great price godly people paid to preserve it). No wonder Christians today resemble a flock of sheep running in all directions with “every wind of doctrine.”

Hebrews 13:9 states: Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. There are no short cuts to being “established with grace.” Being established in God requires diligence in one’s spiritual life. It means pressing in through prayer and study of the Scriptures for oneself. Becoming established occurs as the Word of God exposes what is in your heart and life, and the decision is made to let go of all that is vain, unprofitable, ungodly, unrighteous, and self-serving.

With each decision that a person makes to abandon to God in any particular, the Lord will allow him or her to be tested at that point. Then, as he or she decides to deny self, and to know, follow and obey God, character is developed.

The Lord is so longsuffering with us! He knows that with most of us, total commitment, dedication and surrender to His will is a process. How long that process takes is dependent upon how willing we are to humble ourselves and learn of Him. (See Matthew 11:28-30.)

I think of the three-year-long, daily investment that Jesus made in His disciples. Yet, it wasn’t until after His resurrection that they finally understood God’s plan of redemption. However, after His ascension, and after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given from heaven, new believers didn’t lollygag around for years before they were baptized by immersion, or filled with the Holy Spirit, or commissioned to preach the Gospel to the lost.

My point here is, why are Christians content today to just “get by” and spend their lives warming a pew, and playing “church,” while there is such a great work to do in the harvest field? To bring it closer to home, who is Jesus to you, what part does He play in your life, and what is your vision?

If you have been a regular reader of this ministry’s newsletters, you have undoubtedly noticed a consistent thread running through them. This thread consists of warnings of the different heresies that have infiltrated the Church, along with strong challenges to come higher in Christ, plus insights into the real Christian life. The reason for this is because we live in perilous times.

To be sure, the world itself poses dangers that far exceed any that have been known to mankind in the history of the world. However, the greatest peril is not physical destruction, but spiritual destruction. Jesus warned in Matthew 7:13, 14: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Be not deceived. All of the so-called “Christian” fads and movements of today are leading people, who are without the knowledge of God, His character, and His Word, down the broad path to destruction. It’s all there in the Bible.

Our commission at Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to make disciples to Jesus Christ. In the beginning of this ministry, our hope was to leave America and go overseas to places where people are so hungry for the Word of God that they will walk for days to hear the Good News, or where they will stand for hours in freezing temperatures to hear about Jesus, or where they beg for their very own copy of the Bible. But, God sent us as missionaries to America, the world’s third largest mission field.

You may find this odd, since America is the land of mega-churches, Bible colleges and seminaries, along with tons of Christian literature, tapes, videos, and you-name-it. We have religious radio stations, religious television stations, book stores full of the latest Jesus junk, religious conferences, seminars and the like from coast to coast. Yet, in the midst of all this so-called “Christian” stuff, there is a tremendous famine of the Word of God.

This famine can be likened to a person who eats three meals a day, plus snacks, but suffers from malnutrition. Just because there may be an abundance of food doesn’t mean that it contains any nutritional value. The same goes for the spiritual lives of most people today. They gorge themselves with all kinds of religious “fluff and stuff,” but their spiritual lives are anemic. Psalm 106:15 states: “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”

   This brings us back to why God’s people are perishing. They may have knowledge, but it’s not about God. They simply have no personal relationship with Him. This is because (except for a handful of pastors, standing against the tide, who truly fear God) the Church has failed to make disciples in obedience to Jesus’ command. The result is that most “churched” people are kept preoccupied with church activities, are entertained out of their wits, and have a pseudo-knowledge that is made up of false teachings, platitudes, and religious nonsense that, while exalting the church, fails to lift up the real Jesus of the Bible.

Once people get their eyes off of the real Jesus, their frame of reference is changed, which perverts their perception of Who Jesus is. The next step is to erect a false Jesus that is more appealing to the flesh. This pseudo-Jesus can be someone who elicits great sympathy and pathos like the false one in Gibson’s blasphemous movie, or he can be some non-threatening, wimpy Jesus that is always smiling, and oozing love that requires no self-denial. There is no end to the way a person who lacks the knowledge of the Holy can create their own Jesus in their own vain imagination. He can be whatever they want Him to be. But, these imaginary images can’t save them.

The real Jesus requires more from us than sympathy, or an emotional response. He asks us to come and die with Him. That doesn’t mean that we are to duplicate His physical sufferings, but to die to the self-life, to our “old man,” to the flesh. Jesus said to count the cost. There is a price to pay. Tragically, the majority of church-goers today are unaware of this, or of all the other requirements of the Christian life that are outlined in the New Testament. They figure going to church is enough, but that conclusion cannot be backed by Scripture.

After Jesus declared that He was the “bread which came down from heaven” in John 6:58, many of His followers became offended, and from “that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” vs. 66. These words of Jesus stand as true today for you and me as they did 2,000 years ago. He is still the bread from heaven, God incarnate. He is still the “way, the truth, and the life” and the only way to the Father. His requirements for discipleship have not changed or been altered, and His commandments must be learned and obeyed if we are to be recognized as His own.

Just because the modern churches, with their compromising, tolerant, worldly hireling shepherds, have conformed to the world doesn’t mean that we can embrace the world and not be an enemy of God. His Word says so. Mark it well: His Word cannot change because the immutable God cannot change. On Judgment Day, your leader is not going to stand there with you as you face the Lord face-to-face to give an account of what you did with your life. You alone will be held responsible for your spiritual state.

God is no respecter of persons. Bottom line, He is not impressed with all the “big names” in the religious realm that people love to put on a pedestal and idolize. It’s as if people nowadays (except for a thinking remnant) have checked out their brains to blindly follow anybody who tells them what they want to hear.

The truth is, God is not winking at all the leaders who have led millions astray through their ecumenical leanings (this means embracing Catholicism and every other anti-Christian belief, to form the one-world, antichrist religion).  God will surely judge them along with the popular psychologists’ “faulty focus,” as well as those who have perverted the way of life, and the true Gospel with their purpose-driven plans.

If this is disturbing, may I leave you with Jesus’ question in John 6:67, “Will ye also go away?”