Prophecy games: A culture of eagerly misled people yields few winners

The fear of deception is giving way to a demand for it—often at the cost of people’s souls.

We are living in the days of deception on demand—a prophetic culture that serves encouragement at the expense of truth.

“Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:11-12

image thumb10 Prophecy games: A culture of eagerly misled people yields few winnersIt’s important that you know as I begin this article that I hold a high value for prophecy. I’ve written and taught on it for years, and I strongly encourage everybody to live a bold, active prophetic life.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

It would be equally as easy, and important, to write about movements that are defying scripture by quenching the Spirit and despising prophecies. Today, more than ever, the church must live and walk in the spirit as it hears God’s Rhema voice. God is absolutely talking and we must absolutely hear him—and relay key end-time prophetic data to the church and the world.

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

God has established the office of Prophet, and we need to embrace that office. Additionally, we are all called to live prophetic lives, and we should embrace that gift.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1

With that established, we have to ensure the prophetic revelation is accurate, and that we don’t modify it at all—even if the message will be violently rejected. The way we handle prophecy will result in people either knowing God in the clarity of truth, or in people living a life of deception that may very well lead to an eternity in Hell.

The scripture instructs us not to despise prophecies, BUT it also instructs us to test it and to only hold to what is good. This is what we must do now in the prophetic movement—bad prophecy is doing great damage.

Salvation Deception

Wrong information will lead to a tainted analysis.

While many of today’s prophetic voices trend toward affirming people in their current condition via false words, these people are falling into deception that puts their very souls at risk.

How often have you heard someone affirm somebody’s salvation in order to bring them comfort? This is an example of a violation of prophetic protocol. We should never assure someone of their salvation, especially since we don’t know the depths of their hearts and we don’t know what type of decisions they will make in the years to come. False information like this is dangerous. Just as the disciples did, we need to all wrestle with our own salvation.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

Theologies and prophetic insights today rarely address the issue of salvation in any way other than affirming it—even for those who are only marginally devoted to Jesus. Somehow, there appears to be a certain valiance associated with the idea of easy salvation. What it communicates is that Jesus is willing and able to save every person regardless of their personal commitment and relationship with him. That feels heroic, and it is great news for those who are not fervent in their relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, that great news is not the Good News.

Not everybody who hears the Good News receives it. In fact, the Good News doesn’t usually feel like good news at all. Most reject it.

And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Luke 18:22-23

I am convinced that it is exceedingly rare for people to be legitimately saved. I’ve said before that I often wonder if even 10% of people in vibrant, Spirit-filled churches will end up in Heaven. Of course, there is no way to scientifically arrive at a literal percentage, but the inspection and analysis is appropriate. This is a prophetic process that is much different than the sugary prophetic imitations that are most common today.

When I have this discussion about uncommon salvation with fellow Christians, the reaction is most usually a mixture of shock, anger and fierce resistance. How dare somebody question their salvation!

It’s love that propels me to shine the light on the “angel of light” belief systems that are temporally satisfying yet eternally damning. Feel good messages are delivered which are actually not good at all—they are doctrines of demons.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1

In fact, as I’ve said before, I only give myself an 80% chance of “making Heaven.” I am not exempt from deception. I am not immune to temptation. I have a free will and I can walk away at some point in the years ahead. The great falling away is coming, and every one of us will be courted by it. If I died today, I’m confident I’d be with Jesus, but tomorrow is another day.

Salvation is not a status, it’s a dynamic lifestyle that isn’t gauged by an on and off switch. It’s measured by a deep, growing, intimate love relationship with Jesus that manifests radical obedience and surrender.

Jesus warned about false prophets that will put people’s salvation at risk. This is very real, and we are in those days right now.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

Lying Prophets

Lying prophets would never think of alerting an at risk person of their eternal future. Instead, they serve what is demanded—a promise of a future and a hope.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” Jeremiah 23:16-17

As people are flooding into Hell while thinking they are on the road to Heaven, it’s horrific to think that we wouldn’t warn them!

Today’s lying voices who are building their own reputations are about to experience the reformation of the Lord in their lives. This reformation is coming to the entire prophetic culture in today’s church.

…spirits like Baal and Jezebel are working through those who accepted the call to ministry but have given in to the financial pressure of building their own kingdoms rather than serving the kingdom of God. ~Jennifer LeClaire

When supposed prophetic voices share nothing but happy, encouraging words, they lose credibility. There is absolutely no way, in today’s volatile world, that everything is OK and getting better. Where are the warnings? Where are the rebukes?

True prophets will warn as often as they encourage. They will rebuke just as they build up.

One of the most often misused verses in scripture is Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

This is one verse that doesn’t stand on its own very well. Context is necessary.

This is a perfect example of today’s prophetic culture—encouraging people without supplying the context and the often challenging instructions that are attached. Lets look at the context.

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-14

Instead of receiving a nice, comfy personal prophecy that all will be well, that there’s a great future ahead, the truth is that there’s much more to this prophetic process!

The future comes after seventy years! The hope arrives when God’s plans are reactivated after the exile is over. It’s then that they can pray and be heard. It’s then that they will find God, but only if they seek him with all their heart! Not only is the prophecy about the far off future, it’s also conditional.

The process is spelled out precisely:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:4-9

The prophecy they wanted to hear was that they would be freed immediately. God warned them not to listen to lies, false prophecies that would be exactly what they wanted to hear, and even words that seemed to validate their view of the goodness of God. Certainly, a good God would never approve of being held captive by their enemies, right? Wrong.

Remember, God assigned a demon to Paul. He cast Jonah into a fish. He threw Joseph into a pit. God’s ways most certainly aren’t our ways, and he most definitely is not compelled to fit within our definition of what is good and right.

For those in exile, the true word was inconvenient, disappointing, challenging and irritating. It even put the hearers at risk of losing hope and having an emotional meltdown!

The truth remains—they were to build houses, plant gardens, get married, have kids and even wait for them to get married and have kids. What a prophetic word! Their was no hope until they were grandparents!

Here’s a huge point—God was certainly interested the individual’s plight, but, as always, he was more interested in the bigger picture. This is such a critical issue in today’s narcissistic Christian culture! Yes, God loves us as individuals, but he is more interested in the future of his entire people. He will allow one to go through great trouble for the sake of the freedom of many. Of course, Jesus is the perfect model of this truth.

Martyrdom is another model of this truth. God will allow one to be tortured and murdered for the sake of the advance of the Kingdom. What if today’s prophetic messengers started revealing people’s call to die at the hands of a terrorist for the sake of the Gospel? What if they started affirming our call to die before we live? True prophecy will be troubling as often as it is affirming.

What this means is that our process is not only about us, but for many others.

So, instead of demanding the flaky, invented prophetic words that promise a quick improvement to our personal lives, we need to hear the difficult messages that deal with our sin, our struggle, our disobedience and what should be done to correct. We need the words that call us higher.

There are generally three types of messages:

  1. What God has done for us and the benefits that result
  2. What God is about to do to benefit us
  3. What our responsibility is

The first two are all too common, and when delivered appropriately, these messages are great.

The last one is what we must see an increase of. In fact, we need to hear what we are doing wrong! We have to be OK with that so we can be calibrated to God’s plan for our lives. This is great, great news indeed!

Lets move beyond generic, incomplete words that reveal that God has a future for us. Instead, we need to know what he expects from us, how we have failed, what we can build on, how we can grow and what the big picture is.

Prophecy should propel us to action, not satisfaction.

Eat the Scroll

The prophetic words of God will be weighty, and won’t usually be received very well.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.” Ezekiel 3:1-11

Today’s false or flaky prophetic movement is not birthed in the place of trembling intercession. It’s open to hear the most satisfying words that will result in the church elevating it, affirming it and celebrating it.

That’s why we need true prophetic messengers who will eat the scroll, carry the weight of the revelations of God and fearlessly confront the stubborn rebellion in the church. When we eat the scroll, we are undone, fearful and trembling.

Watch how Ezekiel, a true prophet, responds:

Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!” It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the LORD being strong upon me. And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. Ezekiel 3:12-15

He was lifted up by the Spirit and experienced bitterness and heat in his spirit. His investment resulted in him being overwhelmed for a week. We need prophets who are overwhelmed.

Prophecy on Demand/Paying for Prophecy

I wrestle with the issue of prophecy on demand. On one hand, I do believe that God is always talking and that we can receive messages about others on a regular basis. On the other hand, all too often the prophetic words are nothing more than encouraging words that may or may not be accurate. There’s great immaturity and a lack of the fear of the Lord all too often.

True, biblical encouraging words are great, but I believe we need to take the prophetic label off of that ministry if it’s not truly prophetic.

That being said, there’s something that I am absolutely alarmed about—a growing trend of payment for prophecy. This must stop.

I see this in the prayer movement and there are many who affirm ministries that offer prayer and prophetic words in exchange for financial support. Boy, this is dangerous.

Not only is the financial exchange iffy, it puts people on the spot. If a prophecy is ordered, the supposed prophet must come up with a prophecy. What if God isn’t talking? What if the word is negative? What if the prophetic person is having a bad week? What if they can’t hear easily? We could go on and on with the issues.

The spiritualized fortune telling has to stop. I’m not saying it’s all entirely inappropriate, but the precedent it’s setting is dangerous at the least. The fear of the Lord must hit the prophetic movement, and by all means, ministries that charge for prophetic ministry must be shut down.

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. Acts 8:18-22

Prophecy for payment is functioning today in the spirit of Balaam—administered by for prophet false prophets.

Balak paid Balaam to deliver a specific word of the Lord. Balaam was not invested in the process, but God did in fact put a word in his mouth, as a test. Balaam delivered this word, but Balak was furious—it wasn’t the word he paid for!

Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD. Numbers 31:16

Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:11

Prophecy for payment feels right—Christian people are delivering words that even God may have initiated, just as he did with Balaam, but the foundation is that of divination.

The money changers in the temple are about to be overturned.

If someone wanted me to be their resident prophetic counsel, I’d direct them to a much more reliable source—the Bible.

The Bible

All of this brings me to the issue that’s burning hottest in my spirit. The purest prophetic messages are those that are read directly from scripture.

The Bible must return to front and center in the prophetic culture.

The greatest anointing won’t come when we are foretelling or reading somebody’s mail. It will come when a prophetic spirit comes upon us as we declare the ancient truths of scripture.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

Wow! It seems everything people are looking for in personal prophecy can already be found in the Word of God. Rejoicing, enlightening, reward.

The issue is this—we must invest our lives into the Word of God. It takes effort. Personal prophecy is easy. We ask and receive.

Have you ever wondered why God is intentionally silent when we pray? Is it possible he doesn’t want us to have the information that a supposed prophet would be more than happy to divulge? Is it possible God wants us to search scripture for ourselves?

Personal prophecy has a place, but a reformation must come. It’s time we stop being lazy and resistant to the tough love of God as he either withholds information for a season or requires our radical participation in the process.

The prophecy games must come to an end. It isn’t harmless encouragement if it’s contrary to truth. The players in this game are being setup for eternal loss, and God is about to hold all of us accountable.

Christianity: Failed mission or glorious victory? Yes.

Failure or victory? Yes.

“The big idea is this: I don’t know if you are aware of it, but Christendom is dead,” he says during a recently released video promoting the book’s theme. “The bus is no longer carrying us, it’s running over us. Christianity is no longer popular and there are no social benefits to waving the Jesus flag. All you are going to get is persecution, opposition, and criticism. That’s the day in which we live. The question is what will we do?” ~Mark Driscoll

“We have the victory!”

image thumb8 Christianity: Failed mission or glorious victory? Yes.This is something we hear shouted in churches all the time, and, as stated, it is true. What we need to discuss is the actual reach of that victory. True Christians (who are much fewer in number than we’d realize) absolutely have had victory availed to them through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are two specific issues, however, that we must consider.

  • First, we as Christians can shout “Victory!” all day long, and live in depression, deception, defeat, fear and turmoil if we don’t actively live according to that victory. We have a part to play (a big part).
  • Second, the true scope of the victory is limited. We can get excited about our own victory while failing to see how rare it is—as the high majority of people on the Earth are not victorious at all. They are lost.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

Victory and faith are one in the same. This reveals quite clearly that we must be active in faith in order to experience victory. And, of course, as was stated above, that victory is tragically limited. It’s truly few on the Earth who are living in faith and victory even though the cross and resurrection of Jesus provided victory to everyone in the world—everyone who would respond, that is.

 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

As we, through faith, abound in the work of the Lord, we will live in victory—yet more importantly, our labor will result in victory for others. That’s the true purpose of our lives.

A Rescue Mission

Prior to the cross and resurrection, humanity was flooding into Hell. The rescue mission of the cross was necessary, and the power it released was immeasurable, but its impact was minor when you take into account how few have responded to it.

It’s no surprise that the idea of Christianity experiencing failure feels both ridiculous and offensive. It’s ridiculous to those who are so inwardly focused on their own personal experience that they don’t see reality around them. It’s offensive because it presumes the sacrifice of Christ was insufficient.

The emergence of Christian Universalism and its various sects has resulted in a faux spirituality for innumerable people—people who presume that the cross of Christ resulted in one hundred percent of humanity being redeemed. Any thought of a lesser success rate is immediately resisted with mocking and even rage. After all, their comfortable, eternal utopia is threatened, and any theology that puts it at risk is soundly rejected.

Most play the good vs. bad card just as the lost do. Have you ever seen the interview on the street segments where people are asked, “Why should you be allowed into Heaven?” The answer is always, “Because I’m a good person.”

The thought is that Jesus would certainly allow entrance into Heaven anybody who lived a good live and who voiced even the slightest affirmation of the Gospel. Only the hateful, evil people of the world would be cast into Hell. This thought is rampant in Spirit-filled churches today.

…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18

We have underestimated the power of the blood of Jesus while overstating the role of the blood of Jesus. The shed blood of one Man long ago was powerful enough to eradicate the multiplied trillions of sins that had been committed, and those that would be committed in the future. Further, one drop of that ancient blood was sufficient to heal every disease. We have barely tapped into its power.

However, people wrongly presume upon the blood to apply itself simply because we have voiced a commitment to the one who shed it. The blood doesn’t grant us immunity, it grants us authority. We must apply it. We must live a life empowered by it. Though the blood paid the price for sickness, it is still required that we heal the sick. Though the blood paid for salvation, we must walk that salvation out with fear and trembling.

The church in the Western culture barely has a heartbeat, and this is due largely to a casual, entitled people who presume wrongly upon the blood of Jesus instead of taking up their cross, laying down their lives and operating in the bold authority that such a great sacrifice by a great God demands. We have a part to play.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19

If we tread, then we won’t be hurt. Why? Because we applied the blood of Jesus. We advanced in the authority that it provided. If we don’t tread, we will be stung.

It’s not a prayer alone that saves us. It’s a lifestyle of enduring surrender. Salvation isn’t a status, it’s a lifestyle. We work it out, we endure, we repent. Salvation is not a dime store item on the shelf that anybody with a little curiosity and a minimal investment can receive. Salvation is immersive, dynamic and all consuming, and can’t be simply analyzed with a logical mind. It’s not a switch that’s flipped. It’s a relationship. Anybody who’s been in relationship knows it has up and downs, and it grows, ebbs and flows.

A relationship with Jesus is otherworldly and it is discerned spiritually. This is why so many are so terribly deceived into thinking they are saved simply because they believe in Jesus and live a good life (which isn’t actually possible without living in the power of Jesus). The majority of church attenders presume it’s easy to get saved. This deception is growing deeper and deeper as is evidenced in faulty theologies such as Christian Universalism, false-grace and Antinomianism. (Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.)

For example, an increasing number of professing Christians have subscribed to an expression of Christian Universalism that believes that Hell is a temporary holding place for those who rejected Jesus, and will be released from torment at the end of the Millennium. This is a result of a misunderstanding of the role of the blood. Its reach is only as far as we affirm and apply it.

The cross of Christ, the blood of Jesus, possesses such unimaginable power. However, it didn’t result in salvation for all. This means that the glorious cross and miraculous resurrection set many captives free, but not all. Not most. Not even close.

The question is, is this failure Christ’s or the church’s? Of course it is on us.

Number of Salvations thumb Christianity: Failed mission or glorious victory? Yes.

Victory’s Limited Reach

The fall of Adam and Even was more cataclysmic than any of us could imagine. The general thought is that they fell and God then sent Jesus who would resolve everything. That’s the incorrect belief that this article is addressing.

After the fall, God moved into the world’s most dramatic and comprehensive rescue mission—a mission that by most any standard would be categorized as a massive failure. Contrary to Universalists, this rescue mission will not result in every human being being saved, redeemed. In fact, we should be haunted and grieved by the reality. Statistically, the numbers are horrifying.

It’s been recently reported by Barna Research that only 4% of Americans fit within the category of professing, active Born Again Christians.

Without any true ability to know the exact numbers of people who have or will be cast into Hell, we can at least entertain an estimate.

The official estimate of people who have ever lived on the Earth is approximately 108 billion people. Others who subscribe to a 6,000 year history put the number closer to 50 billion. Let’s use the 50 billion estimate.

How many of the 50 billion people experienced victory and how many did the mission of Jesus fail to save?

At 4%, which may even be a little high (some suggest one in one thousand on the earth today are truly saved), that would mean 2 billion through all of history were successfully saved through the cross of Christ. That would mean 48 billion are currently in Hell (or on their way there).

So, you might wonder just what the point I’m trying to make is.

Here it is: When declaring victory, shout it with boldness and humility and great thanks, but absolutely do not stop there. Cry out to God and volunteer to move outside of your comfortable safe place, focusing on your own victory, and volunteer for the ongoing rescue mission.

To shout about victory without understanding how rare and precious it is, and without brokenness about the condition of the world, is narcissistic, selfish and evidence of a radical lack of revelation of God’s heart for the lost.

Who’s Number One?

image thumb9 Christianity: Failed mission or glorious victory? Yes.Today the church is looking out for number one, and, unfortunately, all too often, number one isn’t Jesus. It’s self.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 1 Colossians 1:18

While others are convulsing, burning, roasting in the fires of Hell for eternity, Christians today are lining up for events that promise health, prosperity and happiness for themselves in their few short years on the Earth. They are already convinced of their own eternal security (often wrongly), so the next obvious step would be to have their life on Earth enhanced.

Every day countless people are entering eternity without Jesus, while never being prayed for, never having a Christian stand in the gap for them, never having the opportunity to know the love of Jesus.

Where are those Christians who should be weeping and hurting over the condition of the lost? Too many are self absorbed, entertained and working on living a more fulfilling life. They are looking out for the wrong number one. They are asking, “What’s in it for me?”

I see a lot of Bible Promise books out there. Where are all of the Bible Command books? What if we asked, “What is required of me?”

A wrong understanding of victory will result in presumption that Jesus did it all, we have no part to play and now all we should do is go about our personal lives.

A right understanding of the status of the mission will result in lives of Believers laid down as willing martyrs for the sake of slowing the flow to Hell.

Simply said, the cross of Christ resulted in glorious victory for those who have received him. However, those people are very few and very far between. Salvation is rare indeed.

Hell is expanding to hold those who are descending into it, and this is a tragedy that we can’t ignore. It’s not about us. It’s about them and it’s about Him.

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. Isaiah 5:14

Reality

We must be realists. We must not reject truth, even when that truth is fearful, traumatic and heavy.

Certainly, in the end, Jesus will win the victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness. We understand the great battles that are coming will be won by Jesus and his army.

That is a mighty victory for sure!

The redeemed will experience such phenomenal, glorious victory and their eternities will shine forever!

This absolutely is news worth rejoicing over!

But, we cannot stop there. Not now. Not when people will die in their sins tonight. Not when it’s so unbelievably rare to make Heaven. It’s time to pray. It’s time to fight. It’s time to lay down our lives—for real this time.

Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. Revelation 6:9

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Revival will both destroy and build up. Do we understand what we are signing up for?

Listen to a provocative podcast on this article:

Much of what people affirm in today’s church is going to be destroyed as revival breaks out. The call to consecration and extreme cost as opposed to personal comfort and ease will cause the majority to refuse participation in revival at even the most elementary phase.

Jeremiah 1:9-10 (ESV) 9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

The good news? We could see revival launch almost overnight—if we contended for it with passion and surrender.

image thumb Eight clear reasons why revival is not as near as it could beREVIVAL IS NOT NEAR

If we cast the wrong vision for revival, which is quite common, we will experience disappointment or false starts. Even worse, we can become satisfied with something far inferior to what God has planned.

The easiest way to say it is this: The coming move of God won’t be defined by happy meetings where we enjoy an experience. That may be a very small part of what is coming, but it is not the goal.

Now, I will admit that I love great meetings. However, all to often they are self-focused instead of God focused. We have become drunk on experiences in the church and the pursuit of enhancements to our lifestyle.

I’ve hosted many amazing, anointed events over the years, and have enjoyed them immensely. But, we do have a problem. Time and again, I’ve watched seemingly zealous people flock to the experiential worship and personal ministry meetings, and then shrink back when the cross is preached. This is not a mark of revival, but rather of immaturity that can in no way bear the weight of the trouble revival will bring.

EIGHT REASONS REVIVAL IS NOT AS NEAR AS IT COULD BE

ONE: Negative messages are resisted.

Again, when revival breaks out it will not all be happy. In fact, we will most likely be in the midst of extreme crisis in our nation and the revival remnant church will be broken and grieved it intercedes for America. Sharp prophetic messages of correction and warning will be the backbone of the move, and it will be resisted and rejected by those who are not willing to bear the burden. Check out the first sermon that was preached in the outpouring in Acts 2:

Acts 2:22-23 (ESV) 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Peter refused to be nice. He ministered by accusing people of murdering Jesus, and the people were cut to the heart. The Acts 2 baptism of fire resulted in boldness and the ability to minister harsh truth in love. Today this is not the case. Revival ideas for most excludes troubling, heavy messages of the cross of Christ.

The warning about refusing to speak painful truth is severe:

Jeremiah 23:16-17 (ESV) 16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

TWO: Repentance and teaching on sin are unpopular.

Related to the first point, but important enough to warrant further discussion, focus on sin and repentance is nearly non-existent today. Historically, repentance has been the hallmark of every revival, and until we hit our faces in a culture of brokenness and repentance, we can’t presume to be anywhere near revival. Revival doesn’t only result in an awakening to the life of God, it’s provides a clear revelation of our own human condition.

Acts 3:19 (ESV) 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

“My heart aches for America and its deceived people…The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.” ~Billy Graham

“When he says America is in trouble, we have to repent…He’s (Billy Graham) gone through global wars as a spiritual shepherd. He’s seen a bunch of stuff and he’s saying America, ‘We have to repent.’ This may be our last chance to repent. We’ve turned away from God and God is just, loving and right to bring judgment.” ~Louis Cataldo

THREE: Prayer is nearly non-existent.

What does revival look like? Everybody praying. The primary purpose of the church will be reestablished in revival. For me, the first step and the goal in revival is the same—a prayer meeting. The church is to be a house of prayer for all nations, which means in revival we will all be fervent in intercession continually. Have you noticed how rare it is to find Christians who burn with a spirit of prayer? This is a problem. In Acts 2 the prescription for revival was simple—wait and pray. To think revival will break out when prayer isn’t the main thing simply doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t follow biblical protocol.

This is one reason I know we could experience revival nearly overnight if we wanted to. Since revival is a regional event, the regional church must participate—at least the remnant. What would happen if every church in the Detroit region cancelled every program, every ministry, every sermon for a year…and prayed in the Holy Spirit in its place? We’d have revival.

Acts 1:13-14 (ESV) 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

image thumb1 Eight clear reasons why revival is not as near as it could beFOUR: Personal experience is the goal.

Personal death must be the goal if we want revival to come. The enemy is just fine with us going after an encounter without being disciplined in the Word. He knows those who are undisciplined will settle for what feels good, even if it’s contrary to truth. We need to be mature enough to know that revival may not look like a dance party, but rather it may result in a remnant on their face in tears with burdens and troubles burning in their spirits. True revival will see the true Christians in tears of both joy and grief.

We must be students of the Word, endure hardship and take up our cross. If we aren’t intentionally grounded, we will be tossed around by whatever feels good to us.

Ephesians 4:11-14 (ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

I’m more convinced than I’ve ever been that the coming revival will actually be an underground movement of intercession minded people who are advancing the Gospel in the face of extreme crisis. It may be a terrorist attack, occupation of our nation by foreign armies or another traumatic event that results in consecration at a level we’ve never experienced. If happy meetings are your picture of revival, I challenge you to consider your position. It’s about to get extremely difficult.

Additionally, there is an ever increasing segment of Christianity falling for the deception that God no longer judges—and this means that those people will have no idea how to respond when judgment and revival come hand-in-hand. We will experience both God’s loving judgment and Satan’s hateful assaults against God’s people at the same time—and this will result in an awakened, revived church.

I was reading the book The Hiding Place by Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom, and God suddenly spoke to me, “Get ready.” It pierced me. Will there be an underground movement like hers in concentration camps? Will it be like the exploding Chinese church? I implore you—get ready. Now.

FIVE: Calls to consecration and holiness are rare.

Today, Christians are entertained by the sins that required the one we say we love to be tortured and murdered on a tree. To think we will have any part in revival with such a lifestyle is an indicator that we truly do not know who God is. He is holy. It’s time for a consecrated remnant to truly separate themselves from the world. Look nothing like it.

Joshua 3:5 (ESV) 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

If we want wonders, consecration comes first.

SIX: We underestimate the scope.

First, we don’t understand just how deeply the pursuit of revival must impact our daily lives. The cares of life must be finally defeated as we allow God to tear into every part of our heart and call us into costly, time consuming devotion. We will be in church continually, in prayer and ministry, when revival hits. This means we must be in prayer and ministry continually now! I watched a video on the underground Chinese church that’s exploding, and they wake up every morning at 4:30am to gather together with the rest of the church and pray for two hours! I met a minister from Africa and he said the entire church walks for miles every Friday to gather together to spend the night in intercession! The cost is extreme!

Acts 2:44-46 (ESV) 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

Second, we don’t understand the scope of the impact of revival. When revival truly hits, it won’t be a local event. It will impact the region. There are over 19,000 cities in the nation and NONE of them are experiencing the biblical normalcy of revival. Not one. Anything short of city impact can’t be defined as revival, or at least, it can’t be the goal.

In Detroit I will be encouraged but not satisfied when stadiums are filled with fiery intercessors. It will be a good start to full blown revival in this region.

SEVEN: There is confusion about salvation.

An offensive element will be connected to the next great outpouring. We are about to receive, through fire, a revelation of the coming reformation of the understanding of salvation. Gone are the days of easy salvations—the true cost of following Jesus will be made known. Most who would quickly sign up to follow Jesus will instead quickly reject him when the true cost is made clear. We have churches filled with Rich Young Rulers who have decided to follow Jesus—at their own pace—and have been affirmed by well meaning but terribly deceived leaders as being truly saved. Today there are millions who are following Jesus in an unsaved condition. Without intervention, they will be utterly shocked and confused to find themselves in Hell one day.

Matthew 19:16-26 (ESV) 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Leonard Ravenhill said he doubts that 5% of professing Christians are in fact truly saved. If you have a church of 100, that might mean that five are saved!

The next revival will not allow for mass false-conversions. The call will be to come and die so that you may live.

Few leaders have the guts to preach in such a way that would result in casual church goers rejecting the message. However, the truth must and will be made clear before revival can come. A desire to burn in prayer will be one indicator of a legitimate conversion. Those who don’t desire to be with the God they presumably decided to follow can’t be affirmed in their position. Revival will result in prayer meetings replacing most everything, and those who are not in relationship with Jesus will be made known.

I boldly and without apology agree that a live devoid of prayer is a life that is, at best, in an at risk position in Christ. The first stop for new converts in the upcoming revival will be the prayer room. It will be their baptism into fervency and intimacy with Jesus—and their entire lives will be marked by an unending passion to intercede with Jesus.

EIGHT: We misunderstand the purpose.

The money changers tables were overturned violently by Jesus because of their heart. By their actions, they presumed the church to be a place where their personal gain was emphasized. They used the temple as they focused on their own welfare. Jesus would have nothing to do with it as he affirmed with passion the purpose of the church is to be a place of sacrifice.

Matthew 21:12-13 (ESV) 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Most people have the same mindset as the money changers when they think about revival. Here in Detroit, even those in the church often focus on financial revival as a prime goal. Others think about awesome meetings where their personal lives get better. The pursuits are most often self-focused.

The purpose of revival is not to make our lives better. It’s to glorify God and to reveal him to the world. It’s to calibrate Christians to biblical standards. It’s to break us, humble us and cause us to return the First Commandment to first place. When revival hits, we will suddenly find ourselves paying prices we have refused to pay—no matter the return. Pure obedience without measuring benefit to us will return to the church.

The return to burning love of Jesus and radical obedience will result in such deep transformation in the church and in our lives that our schedules, plans, dreams and life goals will suddenly shift. We will pay the price of prayer every day. We will live in glorious brokenness and humility. We will boldly declare the Word of God without reservation. We will change the world—all without thought to whether we like the services, feel anything or enjoy the process. We will be dead people raging on fire for Jesus—and the entire nation will know about it.

The Salvation Equation: False-Grace | Hyper-Grace | Distorted-Grace | “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

My life message: The Terror of Hell | “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

image5 The Salvation Equation: False Grace | Hyper Grace | Distorted Grace | “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”Some may wonder why I am so passionate about this issue of grace, and why I continue to sound the same alarm again and again.

It’s simple—this is my life message. Silence on this issue will result in tragedy beyond comprehension.

My burning passion is to see the church shaken out of slumber into a deep, intimate encounter with Jesus. Out of complacency and any false assurance of salvation and into zealous devotion to follow our all consuming leader. This is all about eternity.

It’s shocking to me how sharply resistant Christians can be when the doctrine of salvation is discussed. Many have been lulled into a state of false-comfort through incredibly dangerous and fast spreading theologies—and anything that would threaten their confidence is reacted to fiercely. A pastor once told me that the most violent reaction from Christians against him comes when he deals with false-grace.

Titus 2:11-15 (ESV) 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

My life message is to awaken the comfortable, sleeping church and declare the true, empowering grace of God.

It’s not a message that I chose. In the natural that would be insanity as my fervent attention to it has brought trouble and grief not only to me but to my family. We’ve lost friends and awakened enemies we didn’t know we had.

Here’s an email from our great friend Julia Palermo:

Hi John! I wanted to let you know that the Lord has really put you, Detroit Revival Church and the city of Detroit on my heart the past few weeks. I’ve been following your posts and just carrying you all in my heart. I feel like you are very much in need of extra prayer coverage as you are stepping out very boldly in some areas of proclamation of the truth. Just wanted you to know that I am going to be praying for you and for the church. Would love to talk some time and hear what the Lord is doing. Though I think this bold stand may cost you in some sense, I truly feel that for the remnant who receives these messages and signs up to pursue Him in holiness, He is going to come with His fire and His presence. I believe you are going to experience some times of such a weight of his holiness and nearness in the room that people will only be able to weep on the floor and won’t move for hours. You have not seen before what He is about to do in you and in the church. Be encouraged! He is with you! Julia

Thankfully, it’s a message that has resulted in continual messages from people sharing how their life has been powerfully impacted by it.

Shortly after hearing a teaching that (God forgives all sin, past, present and future) I was ignorantly relieved of the struggles I was having with particular sins and then went soo far away from truth, deep into more self justified sin, self deception, coldness, distance from God, family, etc. …. Now I’ve been hearing teaching from John Burton and others against sin and this false doctrine (false-grace teaching) and now for the first time since I became a Christian almost 10 years ago, I have been free from the power of habitual sin and no longer live a life of torment … All Glory to GOD!!! God needs more TRUTH Ministers.~Nick

It’s a message that, by design, urgently and aggressively provokes those who are personally comfortable yet eternally vulnerable.

The Terror of Hell

It’s a message that was hand delivered to me, by God, over 20 years ago, in a dream where I was dragged toward Hell by a demon that strangely had full authority to do so. In a split second, in my night time encounter, I went from beautiful comfort and complete confidence in my position in Christ to maddening terror as I was slowly, methodically dragged toward Hell. The confusion that gripped me was met by the truth that I was indeed going to spend the rest of eternity—multiplied trillions of years consisting of innumerable hours that feel like decades—being tormented in Hell.

I thought, “It’s impossible! I can’t be going to Hell!”

After all, I’m a Christian!

After I came out of this deeply disturbing experience, God spoke clearly to me: John, in your dream you represented the many in the church who will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.

I knew my life assignment was now to humbly yet boldly—and expediently—warn everybody I can. According to Mike Bickle, his opinion is that the number one most dangerous threat today is the distorted grace message… Even a greater threat than abortion. Greater than 54 million murdered babies! Why is it a greater threat? Because as sickening and horrifying as abortion is, there are 54 million babies in Heaven today. False grace results in millions of casual Christians ending up in Hell.

Christians in Hell?

I have to be perfectly clear at this point:

Yes, it is my conviction that many in the church, many in even the most fiery, vibrant and alive churches in the world, are convinced they are saved while living in an unsaved state. False theologies have been so widely embraced that the thought of them being false seem absolutely ridiculous.

Additionally, I am quite comfortable with differing Christian streams emphasizing different biblical principles, and even disagreeing over them—if they don’t threaten eternity. We can disagree over tongues, prophecy, gifts, the timing of the rapture and a myriad of other doctrines—but, the issue of false-grace is different. Eternity is at stake, and many worshiping, bible reading, tithing professing Christians have been deceived and Hell is being made ready for them.

I will share a lot of scripture in this lengthy article to support my position.

You can watch a video where I deal in detail with the false-grace teaching:

How do works fit into the salvation equation?

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

False-grace teachers are vigilant in their attempts to invalidate any measure of works for the Christian—at least as they relate to salvation. In fact, the logical end to the false-grace theology is actually universalism. We do nothing, God did everything, everybody is saved.

Of course, it would be said that we have to believe to be saved. Well, first, that is a work. It takes participation on our behalf. Second, even the demons believe. Even the Rich Young Ruler believed. He was rejected because he was unwilling to do his part. The true motive of his heart was revealed, yet in today’s churches it would be offensive to turn such a man away at an altar call! The common reaction is to give someone assurance of their salvation, all while they may not actually be saved at all. That is a serious indictment on the church to say the least! How many people are going to Hell because a pastor told them they are eternally secure if they simply repeat a prayer after them? I believe the sinner’s prayer may actually be sending more people to Hell than to Heaven!

Leonard Ravenhill states that he doubts that 5% of professing American Christians are actually saved!

The above scripture in Ephesians 2 is actually quite easy to understand. It’s NOT saying that we don’t have to participate in the salvation process. The truth is that we have to be radically involved. The salvation equation includes us!

What the passage is saying is that we cannot bypass Jesus. We can’t give a million dollars to a charity and volunteer at Habitat for Humanity every weekend in order to work our way into Heaven. We can’t decide that the call to serve Jesus is not appealing to us, so we opt instead for option two or three. We can’t create our own salvation plan and then boast about our own abilities. There is only one way, and Jesus is it. And, obedience is very much a part of the equation.

James 1:21-22 (ESV) 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

  • Works minus Jesus equals no salvation.
  • Jesus minus works equals false salvation.
  • Jesus plus works equals evidence of true salvation.

The cross of Christ doesn’t eliminate our responsibility, it redefines our responsibility. He did what only he could do and we must do what he will not do.

When he said, “It is finished,” he meant it. His job is done—and ours begins. He emphasized this again in Acts 1. The disciples wanted Jesus to do more work (establish his Kingdom), but Jesus made it clear that his job was indeed complete. However, he let them know that their work was just beginning. They must walk in obedience to Jesus.

Hebrews 5:9 (ESV) 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…

We can have ‘intimacy’ with Jesus without works, and death is the result. We can also have works without intimacy and the result is also death.

Being intimate with Jesus doesn’t not automatically mean we’ll do good works, and doing good works doesn’t automatically mean we’ll be close to God. Attention must be given to both endeavors. In Matthew being known by God intimately AND doing God’s will are required. We can’t call him Lord without doing his will, and we can’t do works without also knowing him:

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

This is a quote from the most popular article I’ve ever written, Five Marks of the False Grace Message (www.johnburton.net/grace-message):

It’s striking to me how often I hear that a focus on holiness and obedience equates to legalism. How far from orthodox Christianity has the church fallen?

The only point at which it’s legalism is if we were to reject the cross and resurrection of Christ by attempting to work our way into Heaven. But, if we agree that Jesus is the only one who could have paid for our sins yet we also refuse to work, our salvation is a myth.

Legalism is our attempt to get to Heaven by bypassing the cross of Jesus. Holiness and works are our response to the cross of Jesus.

    • Luke 6:46 (ESV) 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
    • Luke 8:21 (ESV) 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
    • Luke 11:28 (ESV) 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
    • John 8:51 (ESV) 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
    • John 14:15 (ESV) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
    • John 15:10 (ESV) 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
    • John 15:14 (ESV) 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
    • Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Additionally, we see God dealing with the churches in the book of Revelation. Repeatedly he said, “I know your works.” And, their position in Christ absolutely did hinge on what they did or did not do.

Interestingly, when I talk about biblical works, the most common response goes something like this, “John, we don’t have to perform for God to love us.” Hmmm, why is the issue of God’s love introduced into a discussion about an entirely different topic? I didn’t mention God’s love. I didn’t say that we had to do stuff to convince God to love us, but that is the most immediate reaction I receive. Is it possible that we are living in a “me centered” generation where personal satisfaction and experience are the goal? The issue isn’t God’s love of us, it’s our love of God.

We see this play out all throughout the church. Prayer meetings, conferences and other events are full when the focus is on personal blessing, encounter, healing, prosperity and other bonuses. But, when the call is to die, to intercede for the nations, to carry our cross, to do the work of fervent prayer, to lay down our lives to impact the world, the crowds disperse.

Revelation 3:1-2 (ESV) 1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Incomplete works can result in names being blotted out of the book of life.

The ESV Study Bible gives clarity to what is being said in Revelation 3:5-6:

Hope for revival is in the fact that a few names—alert and unstained disciples—can still be found in this church. Their unsoiled garments symbolize consistent obedience and courageous faith. Christ promises them the conqueror’s reward: communion with himself (walk with me) and the white raiment of victory.Their name is secure in his book of life, and he will confess their name before the Father, since they have confessed Jesus in hostile circumstances (Matt. 10:32).

Both obedience and faith make up the salvation equation.

From the AMG Bible Commentary on the same verses:

Believers must wake up, change their ways, and determine to follow the teaching of the gospel they first believed. If not, swift judgment will fall upon them.

From Dake:

Here Christ promises not to blot the name out of the book of life of any man who will obey the commands of Rev. 3:2-3. If some refused to obey these commands, would their names not be blotted out? If we say such is impossible we accuse God of using vain threats on His people. He definitely promised Moses, “Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my book” (Ex. 32:32-33).

Again, we see obedience, works, directly involved in the salvation equation.

The call to wake up and strengthen is a call to works! If that work is not done, that person will in fact one day be cast into Hell.

James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Life Application Commentary on James 2:14:

Faith not accompanied by deeds has no saving value.

Dake:

Christianity demands of its followers good works to all men (Mt. 5:16; 16:27; Eph. 2:10; 1Tim. 6:18; 2Tim. 3:17; Tit. 1:16; 2:7,14; 3:8). One is not justified by works (Rom. 3:25-31; 4:1-6; 9:11; 11:6; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5), but justified ones must do them to prove their Christian consecration (vv. 14-18,20-26).

Faith without works is dead; works without faith is dead (vv. 17,20,26). Neither is complete in itself.

False-Grace is closely related to the false teaching of Antinomianism.

Wikipedia:

Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.

Regarding Antinomianism, Steve Hill wrote:

Purveyors of this poisonous teaching fail to realize that Jesus calls us beyond the requirements of the law in His teaching, stating, for example, that adultery refers to adultery of the heart and not just the physical act (Matt. 5:27-28).

Are our sins forgiven past, present and future?

Steve Hill: Hyper-grace teachers ignore mountains of other scriptural truths and draw wrong theological conclusions. For example, they rightly teach that Jesus died for all our sins— past, present and future—but wrongly conclude that as believers we no longer have to deal with sin (meaning we never have to confess sin or repent of sin, and the Holy Spirit no longer convicts us of sin).

Again, Jesus told us that his job is finished. He died and rose and that was sufficient to cover every sin, past, present and future.

However, that does not mean our future sin is automatically resolved. We have a part to play.

I posted this to Facebook (www.facebook.com/johburton.net) yesterday:

Are our sins forgiven past, present and future? PAST: Yes. PRESENT: Why are you sinning right now? FUTURE: No.

No? Jesus did his part, but we must do ours. We can absolutely lose our salvation due to a decision to sin.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV) 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

The sacrifice that was fully sufficient for the Believer at the time of his conversion to Christ can be invalidated based on our behavior.

Additionally, this scripture clearly reveals that Jesus paid the price for our past sins:

Romans 3:23-25 (ESV) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Leonard Ravenhill said:

“I’ve heard people say “Jesus died for you sins past, present and future.” Imagine a judge tell a thief “you are forgiven of all the purses you stole in the past, the ones you stole today, and the all of the ones you’ll …steal in the future.” If that’s insane in real life is just as insane in so called doctrine.”

The historic church has always taught that Christ died potentially for all sins , in other words provision has been made for all sins. But that provision has to be applied.

In my message Five Marks of the False Grace Message, I deal with a theology of exemption. The presumption is that Christians are exempt from, and can ignore, certain biblical standards and warnings. For example, the following verse would be ignored:

Matthew 6:15 (ESV) 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we believe in a theology of exemption, we’ll rewrite this verse to say, “If we don’t forgive others, we are still forgiven.”

Dan Corner:

Jesus taught openly that sin can drag any person guilty of lust to hell:

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Mat 5:28,29)

The Lord also stated the stipulation for a Christian to get his sins forgiven, that is, he must forgive others who sin against him. Such a teaching would be impossible if his future sins were all automatically forgiven even before they were committed. If that was true then there would be no conditions to get forgiven, unlike what Jesus stated:

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Mat 6:14,15)

Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Mat 18:32-35)

From Five Marks of the False Grace Message:

A theology of exemption states that since we are saved, we are exempt from the penalties of sin. That there are parts of the Bible that no longer apply to us. Yes, it’s a heresy.

The number of people who subconsciously or unwittingly embrace a theology of exemption is far greater than those who explicitly pronounce their agreement with this doctrine.

Many have been lulled into a false sense of security while actually existing in an unsaved state. They are confident they’d enter Heaven if they died, yet the reality is that they would not. They have come to believe they are exempt from certain parts of the Word of God that requires response.

1 Peter 1:15-17 (ESV) 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

Be holy. God judges according to one’s deeds. Those who hold to a theology of exemption don’t believe they are subject to what this verse is communicating. The command to be holy is to them a great goal, but not a mandate. A principle not a command.

Our name can actually be removed from the book of life—and that is determined by our obedience, our holiness. Sin can still separate a follower of Christ from him. The Rich Young Ruler saw that this was the case. He wanted to follow Jesus, but could not. He was not exempt from judgment even though he wanted to follow Jesus.

From Hall Worthington:

To believe you are saved, while still immersed in sin is to ignore, disregard, and treat with indifference the Bible’s many stated exclusions, requirements, and qualifying conditions of salvation plus the commands of Jesus, while relying on a select four verses out of thousands to support an imaginary salvation; never bothering to question how those four verses must be interpreted in conjunction with Jesus’ wonderful commands and the rest of the Bible.

Jesus said: Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mat 5:20

Jesus told five out of seven churches of believers in Revelation that they were lost, on the way to destruction. The Smyrna believers were about to enter tribulation, whom he encouraged. Notice again! Jesus said that five out seven Christian churches of believers were on their way to Hell. Only the church of Philadelphia was doing well because they had kept [obeyed] his word with patient endurance.

Hall also says:

Christendom’s false apostles started teaching the lie of instant grace, excusing all past, present, and future sin by grace 2000 years ago, and the itching ears of the world embraced the lie with heaps of teachers and preachers, just like Paul predicted. By grace through faith in what we hear from within our heart, we are delivered from all sin, which is salvation; but only after we have listened to and obeyed the Lord over time. There is no one-time, instant, receipt of salvation by grace; we must grow in grace and hope until we see the end of Grace, Jesus bringing our salvation:

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 3:18
Therefore be resolute of mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of (you seeing) Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13.

Grace teaches us what to deny. Grace (Jesus) leads us to repentance. With our obedience to His leading and commands, grace then removes the sin, (even the desire to sin), from our hearts — thus to redeem us from all sin and purify us; deliverance from all sin is the true definition of salvation.

Check out this lengthy but wildly troubling story of an encounter by John Mulinde, a leader with a world ministry on every continent except Antartica. God told him, “If I had come today to take My Bride, you wouldn’t be part of that. I wouldn’t take you.” :

Then suddenly a bright light hit my eyes. My eyes were closed. I was on my knees with my head on the ground, but a bright light hit me. I lifted up my eyes and said, “What is this?” I opened my eyes and I couldn’t look in the light. Even when I closed them, it pierced into my eyes. I bowed my head again, and I was trembling and thinking, “What on earth is going on?” Then I heard a voice, deep and calm. He called my name three times. I couldn’t answer. There was no strength in me to answer, but inwardly I was saying, “I’m here.” He called me—“John”—three times. Then He said to me, “I knew you before the creation of the world, and I chose you and set you apart to serve Me as a witness in these last days. I want to say to you, if I had come today to take My Bride, you wouldn’t be part of that. I wouldn’t take you.” I can’t describe the shock that came upon me. I think I was in shock. I didn’t even respond. It hit me. He repeated it. He said, “I wouldn’t take you. For it is written, ‘He will appear to those who wait upon Him’ (Isa. 49:23, paraphrased). You’re not living your life as a person waiting upon Me. You’re allowing all kinds of filth to come into your life. You’re living like one who cares not.” As I said, I couldn’t speak with my lips. At that moment I was thinking, “This can’t be happening to me. I gave up my job to serve the Lord; I gave up my house that my father had given me because I wanted to go to the mission field. I gave up this, I gave up that; this can’t be God saying to me that He wouldn’t take me.” None of my theology and teachings could accept that. He spoke to me these words written in the book of 1 Corinthians 6. He quoted them; I found them later. I couldn’t even remember that they were in the Scriptures, but later on I found them in the Scriptures. It says: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:10). “THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND DESPERATELY WICKED” He went on to say to me, “Your life is so full of filth. You walk with an outward appearance, and you cover many things in your heart. You forget that I am the Lord who examines the heart. You are not ready to meet Me.” He began to say to me, “If your life is full of this and this and this and this, then are you ready for My appearance?” As He measured the various things, I could say, “OK, Lord, have mercy.” But then He mentioned one thing that my heart rejected. In my own understanding, I had never turned into that. He said, “If your life is full of fornication . . . ” And everything in me said, “Oh, no. That cannot be.” I said it in my heart, and the voice stopped. For a moment there was silence. Then He said to me, “There is no crooked word that comes out of My mouth. Do you call Me a liar? But because you don’t even know your own heart, I will show it to you. Remember this day when you were in this place at this hour?” Brothers and sisters, I didn’t even remember. I practically saw myself back in that very moment—not as a memory, but as a reality. I was back in that moment. I saw myself sitting in the taxi waiting for the taxi car to be filled. Then I was looking out at some lady with all kinds of filthy imaginations. The moment it came back, I thought, “Oh, God, I have sinned against You.” He said, “No, you haven’t sinned. You live in sin. You live in that. You live from morning to evening in such imaginations. Even in your bed at night you indulge in the same. I know every moment of your private life. I know your thoughts. You don’t even fear, even sitting in church. Someone steps up on the platform to serve Me and you strip them naked in your imagination. You imagine all kinds of things. I am the Lord who examines the heart. Have you not read that he who even looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her (Mt. 5:28)?” Pictures began to pass before me of how my imagination works. This isn’t something of which I could say, “Lord, I fell in sin. Lord, I was weak.” It was my way of life. It was my constant way of life. I was comfortable in it. I was comfortable that no one else could see it, but God was saying, “I see it. I am the Lord who examines the heart.” I was so ashamed, but then He said, “That’s not the worst of all. You still live in this.” He began to mention things that appear humanly small: the envy, the manipulation and undercutting of one another so that you remain appearing the best, so that you appear to do the best, to preach the best, to work more miracles, to be more anointed; all the manipulation and self-promotions, all the grudges we hold in our hearts when we see someone else being promoted or recognized before us. The way the Lord brought it up, it was so filthy. I cried and cried, and at some point I was so intent on my grief. Then He raised His voice and said, “Keep quiet and listen.” “I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS!” I kept quiet, and He went on and on and on, unveiling more and more things. Even the things which appear so small, at that moment appeared so rotten. I felt like I was standing before the judgment seat with everything being thrown out. I wanted to say, “Stop, stop, I accept it all,” but He wasn’t stopping. At some point I was just saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He said, “Keep quiet.” I wasn’t speaking loudly; I was speaking in my heart. He said, “Keep quiet and listen.” As He continued I thought, “I must have been deceived. All along I thought I was serving God and yet I’m so filthy inside. I must have been deceived. The Devil must have taken my life captive a long time ago.” At that moment I thought of the miracles we were witnessing. I thought of the healings. I thought of all those wonderful things, and suddenly my heart sunk. I thought, “The Devil has so deceived me that he could even use me to produce counterfeit miracles; to produce things I thought God was working—and yet it was the Devil all along . . . ” The voice kept quiet for a moment, and then He said to me, “Why are you imagining such thoughts? I don’t do miracles because you’re worthy. I do miracles because I love My people before whom you stand to preach. Have you never read of how they will come to Me on that day and say, ‘Lord, Lord, in Your name we worked miracles, cast out demons, and prophesied’? Then I will say to them, ‘Get out of My sight, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you’” (Mt. 7:21–23, paraphrased). He said, “Don’t depend on the miracles to assess your worthiness. Your worthiness isn’t in the signs and wonders you witness in ministry. I do miracles because I love the people, and My name shall never be left without witness on earth.” He said, “Have you not ever read that without holiness, no one will see God (Heb. 12:14)? It’s not the miracles; it’s the holiness that comes from God.” He spoke to me the scripture in the book of Hebrews.

Do we need to confess our sins as Believers? Should we be sin conscious?

Yes and yes.

False-grace teachers would say that it’s not necessary to confess sins because there is no sin in us. God’s grace has eradicated it.

Folks, let me be very, very clear: that is a heretical teaching that absolutely puts people at risk of Hell.

1 John 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Life Application Bible notes:

Being God’s people does not mean denying sin (1:8), but confessing it. Because all people are sinners, Jesus had to die. Because sin is not completely eradicated from the lives of those who believe in Jesus, God graciously gave his followers provision for the problem of sin.

It’s not only critical, but it’s wonderful to live in a state of continual repentance! God’s love for us is so amazing, that running away from sin and to him is awe inspiring!

As we daily allow God to search our hearts and reveal issues that are barriers to his love fully impacting us, the freedom and resulting life is amazing!

I often hear people say that Christians shouldn’t be sin conscious. Not only is that not biblical, it does us a disservice. Ignoring sin doesn’t disarm it, it empowers it! Allow God to reveal the darkness and set us free!

2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV) 1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

We must remain diligent regarding sin. As we grow in grace and knowledge we will have the strength to remain stable.

2 Peter 3:14 (ESV) 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Don Corner:

Being found spotless, blameless and at peace with God is not automatic. Christians under grace are to put forth every effort to remain in this condition:

Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (Luke 13:24)

The idea that we don’t have to confess sins because we will never again have to deal with the penalties of sin, is so unbiblical that even the most remedial student would pick up on the heresy.

2 John 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

2 Peter 2:20-21 (ESV) 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

If we don’t live in a state of glorious repentance, the sins can overcome us, and the result would be worse than if we had never been saved! Many have had revelations of Hell where they see special attention given to those who walked in the truth and then fell away. This is special attention that nobody would ever want. Additionally, pastors and leaders who don’t reveal this truth are in danger as well!

Baptized by Blazing Fire by Pastor Yong-Doo Kim: Even later that night, as I continued to pray in tongues, I was taken down to hell. I was in a place where there was some devil jabbing a long, sharp spear into rectangular shaped boxes. With foul language, it shouted, “You think you are a pastor? What kind of life did you live? I am ecstatic that you are here with me.” The evil spirit continued to jab the boxes as it cursed. Loud, painful screams came from the boxes, as blood flowed out. I noticed the tops of the boxes were covered with canvass, with a large cross portrayed on it. The boxes were lined up in an orderly fashion, and they stretched endlessly. I could not see where they ended. I realized that they were coffins. Evil spirits were jabbing their long, sharp spears into the holes unmercifully. I asked the Lord, “Jesus, why are the caskets of former pastors here?” Jesus replied, “These pastors did not preach My gospel. They preached another gospel, and those who followed became depraved. This is their end result, a place in hell.” Jesus said, “Depraved pastors will be judged greater.” (Read more here.)

Don Corner says it well:

It takes a present tense saving faith, which submits to and follows Jesus in obedience to remain righteous after getting born again. Moreover, true saving faith can cease to exist and become destroyed (Luke 8:13; 2 Tim. 2:18; 1 Tim. 1:19; Rom. 11:19-23). After salvation, sin can nullify a Christian’s righteous and holy standing before God and make him unholy, impure, unrighteous and spiritually dead!

But, isn’t it true that God can’t see the sin of a Christian since he’s washed in the blood of Jesus? No, it isn’t true.

Read through the New Testament. Check out the warnings to the seven churches. God saw their sins. Sins that are not repented of are not covered by the blood of Jesus. Willful sinning results in us being removed from right standing in God.

Hebrews 3:12-13 (ESV) 12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Again, if our future sins are forgiven, and there’s no need to repent or confess, why does this verse in Hebrews, written to Believers (brothers), reveal that sin can cause them to fall away from God?

False-Grace teachers will say that the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict Christians of sin. Whoa. This is an extremely dangerous and UNWANTED concept! We want conviction! We are actively involved in the salvation process. Salvation is NOT a one time occurrence, but it’s a life-long life-changing process. We need conviction. We need God to search our hearts!

Additionally, we have a lot to do to ensure we remain saved!

2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV) 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We must know our heart! Let God search it out!

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV) 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

If you don’t believe this is true, spend hours in prayer and ask God to reveal every thought, every motive, every sin, every issue in your heart—and he will do it! In love! What’s our reaction? Life! Rejoicing! Repentance! Confession! An encounter in the love and forgiveness of Jesus! There is nothing like it!

But, if we do not repent, what God finds in our hearts will be used against us! This is serious!

So many in the false-grace movement say that God is always in a good mood. This is ridiculous. In fact, it would make God quite deranged if this were true! What would you think of a God who was happy and laughing and in a good mood when he cast people he loves into Hell? No, though judgment will certainly come from God, his love precludes him from being happy about the devastation that it will bring.

Revelation 2:19-23 (ESV) 19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

Being a willing participant as God searches our hearts is a very good idea! Repenting is critical! Confession is mandatory! To teach a gospel that relieves people of the need to repent and confess can lead them right into fearful judgment at the hands of God!

We even see the results of a non-repentant Christian in the passage about holy communion:

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 (ESV) 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

What about the law?

I’ve often heard Christians say that the OT does not apply to us anymore. That to call Christian to obedience is to put them into bondage under the law. What? It’s an evidence of biblical ignorance.

Some Christians mistakenly think we no longer have to obey any of the basic laws and commandments set out by God the Father in the Old Testament since we are now operating under a new covenant with Jesus. But this view is wrong. Jesus Himself says that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

“Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, KJV)

Romans 7:7 (ESV) 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

There are three kinds of laws in the OT:

Ceremonial laws

These are related to the priesthood, sacrifices, the temple, and cleanness. These are now fulfilled in Jesus (for example, nearly the entire book of Hebrews addresses this issue for Jews who struggled with the Old Testament laws once they were saved). These laws are no longer binding on us because Jesus is our Priest, Sacrifice, Temple, and Cleanser.

Civil laws

These refer to the governing of Israel as a nation ruled by God. Since we are no longer a theocracy, these laws, while insightful, are not directly binding on us. As Romans 13 says, we must now obey our pagan government because God will work through it, too.

Moral laws

Moral laws prohibit such things as stealing, murdering, and lying. These laws are still binding on us even though Jesus fulfilled their requirements through His sinless life. Jesus Himself repeats and reinforces the Ten Commandments.

First we need to understand that the law and works are not the same thing! We are still called to good works… while the law refers to a specific set of commands found in the OT.

Adherence to the law is not a part of salvation. Works, however, is. Faith alone can’t save us.

James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Check this out… there is a certain type of works that does no good:

Romans 3:28 (ESV) 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

…of the law. In the OT it was the Mosaic law that was their only hope. In the NT, faith in Jesus that’s evidenced through New Covenant obedience and works is what saves us.

Joseph Tkach: The New Testament does give us rules and behavioral expectations, but these should be seen as the result of a faith relationship, not as the basis for it.

Romans 3:29-30 (ESV) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

We don’t have to be circumcised, but we do still have to obey, to respond to God’s NT commands.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The power of that scripture is that God’s attributes are affirmed. Loving God and others covers a lot of ground!

In the OT obedience was required and in the NT obedience is required. The difference? Jesus often told people to obey God, but Moses is not the standard by which obedience is now measured.

Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. This gospel focuses on the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

We don’t take the cross lightly, but we realize how profoundly it obligates us to obey the One who gave himself for us.

Matthew 28:20 tells us that Christians should be taught to obey their Lord and Savior in addition to believing in him.

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Wake up church!

The ‘happy Christianity’ movement that is experience-focused and self-serving is not scriptural! When we become Christians we sign up to die, we embrace martyrdom! It’s not all about experiencing happiness and blessing!

Of course, there is significant blessing, joy and life in Jesus, but the focus is not on feeling good about life, it’s about taking up our cross and following Jesus in fear and trembling!

Taking up our cross doesn’t mean to wear it around our necks! It’s the same thing as saying today, “put your head on the guillotine,” or “sit in the electric chair.”

Following Jesus isn’t easy. It’s not about our happiness. It’s about him! It’s falling in love with the lover of our souls and responding to his leadership!

I’d strongly recommend reading my book The Terror of Hell. In it I discuss the connection between intimacy with Jesus and salvation. We want to be known by God in a place of deep intimate encounter and full devotion. We want to avoid God ever saying, “Depart from me I never knew you.”

You may be surprised to discover what salvation is—and isn’t. Revival Church Sunday 6pm.

We are devoted to studying the Word at Revival Church—and Sunday I’ll be teaching on the tenet of salvation.

FIRST: Have you registered for THE WONDERS CONFERENCE with Matt Sorger and John Burton? It begins FRIDAY and registration is FREE but REQUIRED. Register here: www.detroitrevivalchurch.com

FRIDAY’S event takes place at THE CROSSING CHURCH in Farmington (www.atthecrossing.com) and SATURDAY’S event takes place at REVIVAL CHURCH in Madison Heights.


God’s death was required for our justification. Our death is required for our sanctification.

image7 You may be surprised to discover what salvation is—and isn’t. Revival Church Sunday 6pm.This is a critical message! So many are way too comfortable in a risky eternal position.

I want to encourage you to come ready to fall in love with Jesus in a much deeper way—salvation makes that quite easy!

Here’s a sneak peek from my notes:

  • "In regeneration we receive a new life; in justification, a new standing; and in adoption, a new position.”
  • We can live in such a way that we are full of joy! Full of life! Full of the Holy Spirit! Alive!
  • Isaiah 12:3 (ESV) 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
  • Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
  • Life situations do not have the power to steal our joy, if we truly understand salvation.
  • If we find life situations stealing joy, we must reinvestigate our understanding of salvation.
  • Though he’s eager to forgive, he’s not haphazard in the administration of forgiveness.
  • He cannot forsake his position as just judge and overlook sin.
  • Can you imagine a world led by an indifferent God?
  • His passion, not his indifference, led him to the cross.
  • John 3:16-18 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes (to have faith in and commit to) in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe (has faith in and is committed to) is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
  • God’s death was required for our justification.
  • Our death is required for our sanctification.

REVIVAL CHURCH MEETS AT CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 MILE RD, MADISON HEIGHTS, MI 48071.

What is and is not legalism? New audio teaching on the OT and the NT…

The law and works are not the same thing. Discover what is and what is not legalism in this new audio teaching!

image thumb4 What is and is not legalism? New audio teaching on the OT and the NT…FIRST: Have you registered for THE WONDERS CONFERENCE with Matt Sorger? It’s FREE but REQUIRED! Go to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com and register today!

SECOND: REVIVAL FIRES, A monthly regional revival event, takes place THIS FRIDAY at 7:30pm. www.atthecrossing.com


TENETS: LISTEN HERE http://media.johnburton.net/2573801

We have a radical misunderstanding of what legalism is in the church, and it’s resulting in a compromised, tainted bride of Christ.

Listen to the message from this past Sunday where I clearly share on the call to work and produce as a member of the Kingdom.

Can faith save us apart from works? No. Shocking? It shouldn’t be. It’s in the Word: James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

Here’s my personal notes so you can follow along:

a. Divisions of scripture

i. Here is a very good reason to be a teacher of truth!

1. Malachi 2:1-9 (ESV) 1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

2. We see the importance of scripture in the NT as well:

3. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV) 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

ii. OT

1. The word ‘testament’ comes from the Greek word diatheke and can also be translated as a contract (as in a will) or a covenant.

a. The OT (39 books) deals with the line of people who would bring forth the Messiah, who was descended from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, David, and Solomon (Mat 1:1, Luke 3:23).

2. The Hebrew Old Testament was commonly divided into three sections:

a. The Law (Torah), five books:

i. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

ii. The Pentateuch, the first five books of OT, were written by Moses (circa 1500 BC).

b. The Prophets (Nebhiim), eight books:

i. Former Prophets—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings

ii. Latter Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve

c. The Writings (Kethubim), eleven books:

i. Poetical Books—Psalms, Proverbs, Job

ii. Five Rolls (Megillot)—Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes

iii. Historical Books—Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah (in the Hebrew canon, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were combined), Chronicles

iii. NT

1. The NT contains 27 different books and was written between about 50-95 AD.

2. The NT (27 books) was commonly divided into four sections:

a. Biographical (four books): Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

b. Historical (1 book): Acts

c. Pedagogical (twenty-one books): Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

d. Prophetic (one book): Revelation.

iv. Verses

1. The first Bible to be published entirely divided into verse was the Geneva Bible of 1560.

v. Writers

1. The Bible is one Book, but it is also many books written by at least forty different authors, over a period of not less than fifteen hundred years, many of whom never saw each other.

2. Backgrounds of the writers

a. Two of the writers were kings—David and Solomon.

b. Two were priests—Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

c. Luke was a physician.

d. Two were fishermen—Peter and John.

e. Two were shepherds—Moses and Amos.

f. Paul was a Pharisee and a theologian.

g. Daniel was a statesman.

h. Matthew was a tax collector.

i. Joshua was a soldier.

j. Ezra was a scribe.

k. Nehemiah was a butler.

b. Fulfillment

i. "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant …" (Jeremiah 31:31a)

ii. Jesus said, "… all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44b)

c. Similarities between OT and NT

i. The theme of both Books is redemption, and in both Books redemption occurs through faith.

ii. The Redeemer is the same in the Old Testament and the New – though it was not as clear in the Old.

iii. The OT starts with the Tree of Life and the NT ends with the Tree of Life.

1. Revelation 22:1-2 (ESV) 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

iv. God always had the plan of sending His Son to become the Redeemer by dying for the human race (see Isaiah 53, and Psalm 22).

v. It is frequently thought that the OT depicts a God of anger and judgment, while the NT depicts a God of love, however a careful reading will probably show a similar balance between love and judgment in both testaments. If you read the book fairly, you’ll find that the God of the OT is very clearly the God of the NT as well.

1. OT: 551 God’s love/mercy occurrences; 308 God’s hate/wrath occurrences

2. NT: 291 God’s love/mercy occurrences; 71 God’s hate/wrath occurrences

vi. The OT reveals the beginning of the world and the NT reveals the end of the world.

vii. In the OT we see the destruction of the Earth by water, in the NT we will see the destruction of the Earth by fire.

viii. In the OT there were 12 tribes, in the NT 12 apostles.

ix. The OT was written over a long time (1500-400 BC). The NT was written in a short time (40-95 AD).

x. In the OT salvation came to the Jews, in the NT salvation came to the world.

xi. In the OT Jews were circumcised, in the NT Christians are baptized.

xii. Also, in both the Old Testaments and the New, the blood of sacrifice is necessary for redemption.

1. A blemish free lamb had to be killed and sacrificed to atone or give the Jewish people a temporary covering for their sins.

2. Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

3. No animals will ever need to be sacrificed again to get forgiveness from God.

4. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is an extension of the lambs used by His Father in the Old Testament to give God’s chosen people a temporary covering for their sins.

d. The law

1. I’ve often heard Christians say that the OT does not apply to us anymore. What? It’s an evidence of biblical ignorance.

2. Some Christians mistakenly think we no longer have to obey any of the basic laws and commandments set out by God the Father in the Old Testament since we are now operating under a new covenant with Jesus. But this view is wrong. Jesus Himself says that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

3. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

4. “Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2, KJV)

5. There are three kinds of laws in the OT:

a. Ceremonial laws

i. These are related to the priesthood, sacrifices, the temple, and cleanness. These are now fulfilled in Jesus (for example, nearly the entire book of Hebrews addresses this issue for Jews who struggled with the Old Testament laws once they were saved). These laws are no longer binding on us because Jesus is our Priest, Sacrifice, Temple, and Cleanser.

b. Civil laws

i. These refer to the governing of Israel as a nation ruled by God. Since we are no longer a theocracy, these laws, while insightful, are not directly binding on us. As Romans 13 says, we must now obey our pagan government because God will work through it, too.

c. Moral laws

i. Moral laws prohibit such things as stealing, murdering, and lying. These laws are still binding on us even though Jesus fulfilled their requirements through His sinless life. Jesus Himself repeats and reinforces nine of the Ten Commandments. The only exception is the Sabbath, because that is part of the ceremonial law. Now our rest is in the finished work of Jesus, not just a day.

6. First we need to understand that the law and works are not the same thing!

a. We are still called to good works… while the law refers to a specific set of commands found in the OT.

b. Adherence to the law is not a part of salvation. Works, however, is. Faith alone can’t save us.

i. James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

ii. Check this out… there is a certain type of works that does no good:

iii. Romans 3:28 (ESV) 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

iv. …of the law. In the OT it was the Mosaic law that was their only hope. In the NT, faith in Jesus that’s evidenced through New Covenant obedience and works is what saves us.

v. Joseph Tkach: The New Testament does give us rules and behavioral expectations, but these should be seen as the result of a faith relationship, not as the basis for it.

vi. Romans 3:29-30 (ESV) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

vii. We don’t have to be circumcised, but we do still have to obey, to respond to God’s NT commands.

c. The New Testament contains hundreds of commands. Although some of Paul’s comments about the law seem negative, Paul himself gave us hundreds of commands.

i. How does Paul unite the concepts of liberty and obligation?

ii. Galatians 5:13 (ESV) 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

iii. Galatians 5:16-21 (ESV) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

d. Look at Matt 22:

e. Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

f. The power of that scripture is that God’s attributes are affirmed. Loving God and others covers a lot of ground!

g. In the OT obedience was required and in the NT obedience is required.

i. The difference? Jesus often told people to obey God, but Moses is not the standard by which obedience is now measured.

h. Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. This gospel focuses on the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

i. We don’t take the cross lightly, but we realize how profoundly it obligates us to obey the One who gave himself for us.

j. Matthew 28:20 tells us that Christians should be taught to obey their Lord and Savior in addition to believing in him.

k. Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

l. They had to obey then, and we have to obey now. Why?

7. God has never changed and never will!

a. Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV) 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

b. Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

8. The call is actually greater in the NT than in the OT! Only by grace can we fulfill this mandate.

a. Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

b. Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

i. Some Christians commit adultery multiple times every day! In the OT you could get away with this… but not in the NT!

c. Matthew 5:31-32 (ESV) 31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

d. Matthew 5:38-39 (ESV) 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

e. Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

9. So, in the OT, you commit adultery and the law requires you be put to death. In the NT, you simply lust and you are guilty, but you aren’t put to death…there’s the window of grace in the mix that Jesus provided!

a. But, if we die in our unrepentant sin, the result is still eternal death.

10. When considering what was fulfilled and is no longer applicable, ask whether it’s part of the Mosaic ceremonial law or not. There are moral laws in the OT that absolutely do still apply.

a. This is critical!

i. The call to morality doesn’t cease in the NT—it increases!

b. The Mosaic law came 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant. This is the law that was fulfilled.

11. Some people try to interpret biblical laws with this rule: "Old Testament ceremonial laws are valid unless the New Testament specifically says they are not." But this rule is not true. It is proven false by Hebrews 8:13.

a. Hebrews 8:13 (ESV) 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

b. "If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Gal. 2:21)

12. Michael Morrison The laws we keep today may be in the old covenant, but if so, we keep them not because they are in the old covenant, but because they are also in the new.

13. Michael Morrison The old covenant is obsolete. This does not mean the covenant is mostly valid, except for those laws specifically rescinded. No, it means the covenant itself is obsolete. It is like a law code that the government has declared invalid. It is not a valid source for rules about Christian behavior. Of course, some individual laws, such as the prohibition of adultery, are valid, but their validity is based on something more permanent than the old covenant — the more basic law that existed before the old covenant was given and still exists after the old covenant became obsolete.

14. In fact, in the NT we see that all scripture… which includes fulfilled laws… is profitable for instruction in righteousness:

a. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

15. The law of Moses included laws of ritual purification, prophecies about the Messiah, rules about treating livestock, and civil laws about penalties for religious crimes.

16. The Abrahamic covenant was characterized by God’s promise while the Mosaic was characterized by God’s law.

a. The law was temporarily necessary to deal with sin… it revealed how common sin is…

b. Romans 7:7 (ESV) 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

c. …the promise was not annulled… it was made available. The law of Moses, with its worship rituals, civil laws and other customs, was temporary. In the NT, the ceremonial law was dealt with by Jesus.

d. The clearest way to understand what still applies is by studying to see what is re-emphasized in the NT. What OT law was reaffirmed in the NT?

e. Example: Tithing was both pre-law and affirmed in the NT:

i. Matthew 23:23 (NIV) 23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

f. Nine of the Ten Commandments were reaffirmed in the NT (all except to keep the Sabbath).

i. For example, in the OT, stoning was the penalty for those caught in adultery (based on the Mosaic covenant)…

1. Leviticus 20:10 (ESV) 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

ii. …but in the NT Jesus affirmed that the sin of adultery was not acceptable, but he would be the one to take their punishment… if they repented.

iii. In the OT, wrath of God was on that person. In the NT, Jesus took the wrath on himself… UNLESS the individual is unrepentant!

1. John 3:36 (ESV) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

2. Living without Christ in the NT is very similar to living pre-Christ in the OT.

g. The OT is an excellent resource to learn how God feels about certain activities, sins, behaviors.

i. God never changes. He still hates sin. He hates murder. He hates adultery. He hates sexual sin.

ii. However, his wrath was placed on Jesus instead of us, which should compel us to make Jesus our Lord and Master with expedience!

h. In Acts 15 Peter addresses the laws that concern diet and circumcision… but moral laws remain.

i. In the OT if you see regulations and ordinances that are a part of the law, you can be sure they no longer apply—unless they are either reaffirmed in the NT or are covered by the Great Commandment—to love God and others.

j. Some examples of obsolete laws:

i. Animal sacrifice (Go PETA!)

1. Hebrews 10:4 (ESV) 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

ii. Food and drink offerings and ceremonial washings

1. Hebrews 9:6-10 (ESV) 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

iii. Wearing distinctive clothing

1. Numbers 15:37-38 (ESV) 37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.

2. Numbers 15:39 (ESV) 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes…

3. The principle is upheld in the NT, but not the requirement. We are still to obey, but we don’t dress with tassels to remind us to.

iv. Annual festivals (Feast of Tabernacles, Yom Kippur, Passover, etc.)

1. The old covenant required annual worship festivals. It specified the date and the place, the manner and the people to whom the commands applied. God did not command gentiles to keep this festival. It was one of the ordinances that separated Jews from gentiles, and the early church did not require gentile believers to travel to Jerusalem, to make offerings, to gather palm branches or to live in booths. Those things were part of the old covenant, which God made with ancient Israel. They are not part of the new covenant.

v. Dietary laws and uncleanness

1. You became unclean for a variety of things including touching a corpse, lepers, etc.

2. Numbers 19:11-13 (ESV) 11 “Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.

3. Matthew 8:2-3 (ESV) 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

4. Bill Johnson: In the OT if a leper touches you, you become unclean. In the NT if you touch a leper he becomes clean.

vi. Some types of foods were unclean

1. Romans 14:20 (ESV) 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

2. The Great Commandment is at work here.

Audio and notes: Universalism in our churches-Are we over-preaching the benefits of the Believer?

The cross must be the message of the hour—when a focus on personal benefits is all the rage in the church.

image thumb1 Audio and notes: Universalism in our churches Are we over preaching the benefits of the Believer?You can listen to the teaching here: media.johnburton.net/2569257

In this teaching I discuss how easy it is to deviate from clear scriptural truth simply because we don’t personally see God in that light, or because we have adopted a theology of exemption—Christians are exempt from the repercussions of sin and disobedience.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires," (2 Tim. 4:3).

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make it easy for us to get saved. He died so it would be possible for us to get saved.

We must work out that salvation with fear and trembling. Only if we endure to the end will we be saved.

Universalism is creeping into some our most popular churches and movements, and we should be extremely alarmed.

The False-Grace movement has an older brother named Christian Universalism—and both are equally deadly.

From www.carm.org:

Christian Universalists claim to hold many of the tenets of historic Christianity: Trinity, deity of Christ, deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, etc.  However, it also claims that God’s qualities of love, sovereignty, justice, etc., require that all people be saved and that eternal punishment is a false doctrine. Universalists teach that God is so full of love, that He simply cannot send anyone to eternal hell fire. It is against His infinite love. In the truth of God’s word, we find that the Lord has provided one way by which we may be saved. That single way is through Jesus’ sacrifice. For all who trust in Him, salvation will come. But to those who turn away, God’s wrath abides upon them: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him," (John 3:36). God is love (1 John 4:8), but God also punishes the sinner and hates all who do iniquity. God is not one sided. He is not simply an infinitely loving God. He is also infinitely just. He must deal with sin. He must punish the sinner.

Note the difference: False grace teaches that Hell is not a concern for Christians and Christian Universalism teaches that there is no Hell. Different twists on the same false doctrine.

We must move away from declaring that salvation is free—without cost. To follow Jesus it will require every single part of our lives, it demands dying daily, taking up our own cross.

I’ve often heard a dangerous doctrine being taught and embraced: “Your sins are forgiven past, present and future.”

This is not true. Not even close.

image thumb2 Audio and notes: Universalism in our churches Are we over preaching the benefits of the Believer?Confession and repentance is still required for the Believer. A focus on benefits results in a de-emphasis on the mandates, the requirements, the response.

Amy Smith: Misrepresented grace has caused us to respond to the command to be holy with an elbow bump and a wink, wink. "Ok God, we know what you mean. You’re not really asking us to be holy, you’re just telling us to make sure we’re under your grace. We know that You’re overlooking those little sins we’re not dealing with. In fact, your grace allows us to also overlook some things, such as all the scripture verses that call for standards that are higher than we can achieve."

You can listen to the teaching here: media.johnburton.net/2569257 

And here are the notes for you to follow along with:

TENETS: BENEFITS VS. COST

a. The reality of the Gospel

i. So far we’ve touched on doctrines of mixture that I call ‘nephilim doctrines’, false-salvations, the Word of God vs. the Spirit of God, absolutes of scripture and more.

1. If we are to understand the power of the Bible, we must subscribe to it wholly!

b. The Inerrancy of the Scriptures

1. The inerrancy of the Scripture means that in its original autographs the Bible contains no mistakes. In the original languages in which it was written, it is absolutely infallible—without error whatsoever.

2. This Book was written by man—fallen, weak, sinful man, with all the potential of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, lack of memory, and even the possibility of malicious falsehood. Yet, it is claimed that the Book man wrote contains no evidence whatever of all these natural weaknesses.

3. The doctrine of inerrancy comes from the Scriptures themselves. It claims to be inspired by God. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16). "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21).

4. The writers of the Old Testament are most explicit in claiming they were speaking the Word of God. They claim 3,808 times to be transmitting His very words.

5. Moses said in the beginning of scripture: Deuteronomy 4:2 (ESV) 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

6. In the middle of the Bible, Proverbs 30:5-6 (ESV) 5 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

7. At the end of the Bible, Revelation 22:18 (ESV) 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

8. Jesus also found no error in Scripture… he specifically confirmed the whole of the OT. He did not find error or inconsistency with it. He continually based his arguments and exhortations on it.

a. John 10:34-35 (ESV) 34 …and Scripture cannot be broken—

b. Luke 24:44 (ESV) 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

9. Lewis Chafer says the Bible is infinite because it discloses truth concerning the infinite God, infinite holiness, infinite sin, and infinite redemption.

10. Myer Pearlman concludes his section on bibliology with the words: "Intellectual defenses of the Bible have their place; but after all, the best argument is the practical one. The Bible has worked. It has influenced civilizations, transformed lives, brought light, inspiration and comfort to millions. And its work continues."

a. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) 13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

b. It’s God breathed. It’s the same language and meaning that we see when God breathed into Adam.

c. Amazing!

11. Next we’ll look at some very basic Bible realities that are at risk of being overlooked or dismissed today.

12. In the teaching we’ll also look at the divisions of scripture—the difference between the OT and the NT.

ii. Benefits

1. Chuck Missler: The only sure barrier to truth is to assume you already have it.

a. We must be open to the truth of God’s Word.

b. 1 Timothy 2:4 (ESV) 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

c. Salvation and truth go hand in hand.

i. The way you believe has eternal implications!

ii. Galatians 1:8-9 (ESV) 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

iii. Accursed: excommunicated; bind under a great curse

2. Today the church is focused on the benefits of the Believer—to an unhealthy degree.

a. Salvation is not about our comfort, it’s about our obedience.

b. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make it easy for us to be saved, he died on the cross to make it possible for us to be saved.

c. Pastors, quit majoring on benefits in your preaching… let the Word offend, trouble, convict and break people… right into costly freedom.

3. There is a healthy way to focus on blessing as we see in Psalm 103:

a. Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV) 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

i. Even here we are to bless the Lord, not focus on him blessing us!

ii. The Abrahamic covenant… be blessed to be a blessing!

4. But check this out:

a. Psalm 116:12-14 (ESV) 12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

b. Marquee in Dallas

c. Health and wealth

i. There are truths in those movements… but when is the last time you’ve heard these preachers preach the cross??!

d. We focus on getting instead of giving! Man, so many will only give money if they believe that more money will be multiplied back!

5. The reason this is a problem is this: A wrong focus on an incomplete gospel threatens our position in Christ… and it threatens other people too!

a. Many people bypass the cross and live a benefit driven life and are living in an unsaved state… and the ‘salvation’ they may be sharing with others is also illegitimate!

b. 2012 stats: Every second two people die. 151,600 people die every day.

i. So, maybe once or twice an hour someone squeaks through to heaven. Salvation is rare.

ii. Many of them are wrongly convinced of their position in Christ because of a wrong understanding of the gospel.

iii. A theology of exemption where we presume we are immune from repercussions of disobedience is causing many to die in sin.

c. Check out true blessing:

i. 1 Peter 4:12-18 (ESV) 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

ii. If we are righteous, we are this close to not being saved! Yet false doctrine today tells us that if we are saved we are far from losing that salvation!

iii. Once saved rarely saved!

1. Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

2. Psalm 69:28 (ESV) 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

3. Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV) 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

iv. One of the greatest biblical violations, with the greatest eternal impact, is when we eliminate works, suffering and cost by saying we aren’t in the old covenant anymore!

v. The NC didn’t remove works or suffering from the experience of the Christian… it added it!

6. Dag Heward-Mills: Christianity is about losing, sacrificing, suffering and dying.

a. For those who focus on the benefits, what is being communicated is that life isn’t complete for the Christian until everything is perfect.

b. But, for the true Believer, Jesus is enough no matter the circumstances!

c. These are four spiritual appointments that all Christians must expect in one form or another. No one who truly follows Jesus Christ will escape these four appointments.

i. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25)

ii. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

iii. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

iv. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

d. Let’s see the gospel in action:

e. Acts 7:54-60 (ESV) 54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

f. Saul! This was Paul! Stephen’s correct understanding of Christianity did this:

i. Jesus was enough! Jesus stood!

ii. The sharp gospel message was heard by all.

iii. Forgiveness was modeled.

iv. Evangelism at its very best was in action as Paul was being set up to be one of the most important Christians in history!

v. False-grace, which we’ll keep talking about throughout the weeks of this teaching, deemphasizes all of this.

1. We must die! We must be holy! We must be righteous!

vi. Amy Smith: Misrepresented grace has caused us to respond to the command to be holy with an elbow bump and a wink, wink. "Ok God, we know what you mean. You’re not really asking us to be holy, you’re just telling us to make sure we’re under your grace. We know that You’re overlooking those little sins we’re not dealing with. In fact, your grace allows us to also overlook some things, such as all the scripture verses that call for standards that are higher than we can achieve."

vii. Live in the NT requires that we live WELL above what we can achieve!

1. I’ve heard many, many arguments against scripture by zealous Christians… who say that we can’t presume to live holy, to be free from sin!!! What???!!!!

2. People say they sin every day!! What?!

3. Ed Hull: When we die, it will not be what we believed about our identity in Christ that will save us. It will be whether the concept of our identity produced good fruit, the fruit of righteousness.

a. It’s not about our benefits, our happy demeanor, the way we think about ourselves, our emotional condition… it’s about production and obedience!

4. Now, let’s again discuss the importance of the Word of God as we talk about the divisions of scripture.

XPmedia video & notes: “Nephilim Doctrine” : John discusses Hell and the false grace message

Sound the alarm! There are Nephilim Doctrines of false-grace and false-love on the rise in the church.

image1 XPmedia video & notes: “Nephilim Doctrine” : John discusses Hell and the false grace messageOnce saved always saved? No way. My personal salvation theology is this:

Once saved, RARELY saved.

It’s exceedingly rare for people, including people in the church, to avoid Hell. There’s a “theology of exemption” that’s false yet believed by so many in the church. People believe that since they are “saved” they are not at risk of judgment, or Hell, when they sin. My God.

Watch this video titled Nephilim Doctrine on our XPmedia channel here: http://www.xpmedia.com/Z1QglFvIu13K

I also want to include my raw, personal notes that I preached from when I shared the topic of the video more fully this past Friday at Revival Fires here in Detroit:


I. Nephilim Doctrine

a. Wrong beliefs result in horrific and eternal tragedy. I am convinced it’s exceedingly rare for people to avoid hell. I’m convinced it’s rare for church people to avoid hell. We are in a generation that is infatuated with an emotionally passive false-Jesus and refuses to understand that the righteous judge is fearful indeed.

i. Isaiah 8:13 (ESV) 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

ii. We want to enjoy God as we ask him for his glory when he’s requiring the reverse:

iii. Revelation 14:6-7 (ESV) 6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

iv. Wow! The eternal gospel!!!!! Fear God and give him glory!

v. Acts 10:35 (ESV) 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

vi. 5 out of 7 churches in Revelation were found lacking!

b. Sinners in the hands of an angry God: God hath had it on his heart to show to angels and men, both how excellent his love is, and also how terrible his wrath is. So that thus it is, that natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate[1] that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold ‘em up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no interest in any mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of, all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted unobliged forbearance[2] of an incensed[3] God.

c. I am rocked by God. The people I have under my care must be rightly informed of truth.

i. Baptized by Blazing Fire by Pastor Yong-Doo Kim: Even later that night, as I continued to pray in tongues, I was taken down to hell. I was in a place where there was some devil jabbing a long, sharp spear into rectangular shaped boxes. With foul language, it shouted, "You think you are a pastor? What kind of life did you live? I am ecstatic that you are here with me." The evil spirit continued to jab the boxes as it cursed. Loud, painful screams came from the boxes, as blood flowed out. I noticed the tops of the boxes were covered with canvass, with a large cross portrayed on it. The boxes were lined up in an orderly fashion, and they stretched endlessly. I could not see where they ended. I realized that they were coffins. Evil spirits were jabbing their long, sharp spears into the holes unmercifully. I asked the Lord, "Jesus, why are the caskets of former pastors here?" Jesus replied, "These pastors did not preach My gospel. They preached another gospel, and those who followed became depraved. This is their end result, a place in hell." Jesus said, "Depraved pastors will be judged greater."

ii. Play Mary Baxter video: http://youtu.be/Y5_UC-LRopw

d. Nephilim Doctrine Dream

i. Many have an imaginary salvation.

ii. 10 month old child in my house.

iii. Looked like a 50 year old man, wise, disturbing

iv. I got in my vehicle (ministry) looking for help. I was frantic.

v. I called Amy, but it kept connecting to Imago Dei (Image of God).

vi. Nephilim doctrines are when people in the image of God are intimate with demonic information that seems wise and feels good. The offspring is a mixed, demonic doctrine that takes on the image of the enemy.

II. Holiness

a. Finney’s ten principles of revival are: repentance, prayer, holiness, power, faith, joy in the Holy Spirit, righteousness, discipleship, peace and love.

b. Tonight we will hit on holiness.

i. 1 Peter 1:13-17 (ESV) 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

ii. Set your mind on true grace and obey. Be holy. God judges according to our deeds, our works, so have the right revelation of grace so you can be empowered to obey!

iii. We can’t be holy without grace. Grace doesn’t remove the responsibility to be holy, it emphasizes it!

c. Sin sends people to hell post cross just as it did pre cross. God’s true grace that resulted at the cross and the resurrection enables us to live a holy life—if we so choose.

i. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (ESV) 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

ii. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV) 1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

iii. We must cleanse ourselves! The fear of the Lord keeps us from sin.

1. Philippians 2:12 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

iv. The Greek word is actually more severe than what we might consider the English word to be. The Greek is phobos. It means fright, to be afraid exceedingly, terror

1. Fear of the Lord is not awe or respect.

2. It’s terror.

v. Romans 2:6-8 (ESV) 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

1. Works! If we don’t obey, wrath and fury are reserved for us. But if the fear of the Lord drives us to holiness, and our works are tested and true, we will receive eternal life!

d. Works

i. It’s time for the church to return to the cross. The offensive, problem causing cross.

1. Universalism

2. Homosexual “Christian”

ii. The fear of the Lord must strike us!

iii. It is by the fear of the Lord that we depart from evil. It is not by the love of God.~John Bevere

1. http://youtu.be/eoYN3IZCMt0

2. It’s the fear of the Lord and the cross that will result in a holy life.

iv. Pastors, preach and live in such a way that friends flee and the religious attempt to silence you. We need to preach our churches empty!!!

v. There is a false-grace message that is rampant that is literally sending thousands upon multiplied thousands of people to Hell.

1. Francis Howgill, a martyred minister of Christ, states the dangers of the false gospel of grace: Many have been talkers of grace in this professing age, who have neither known of what they spoke, nor have informed the minds of men where grace was to be waited for, nor how grace might be known, nor how, nor what the operation of grace was; but have cried up, in their own imaginations: "We are justified by His free grace from all sin, past, present, and to come;" and, in this conceit, thousands have been led into the pit of darkness; imagining that they were justified by the free grace of Christ,while they were out of the fear of God

vi. We can express faith in Jesus and love Jesus with passion, but if we don’t add in works, death is the result. Hell.

vii. We need a biblical works message again!

1. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 1 John 2:3

2. If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. John 14:23

3. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:14

4. Whoever has been born of God does not sin. 1 John 3:9

5. "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin." John 8:34

6. I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more. John 8:11 (not ‘sin less)

7. Grace enables us to do this! False graces tells us it’s not necessary for us to do this!

8. If you ever find a church that minimizes the cross, doesn’t preach on it, you must know it’s a false church.

9. Brothers, be followers of me, and observe those who walk after the pattern we have set, so as you have us for an example. For many walk, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you weeping, who are the enemies of the cross of Christ; their end is destruction… Phil 3:17-19

viii. James 2:14 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

1. The answer is no!

2. What that means is that people who have faith, love Jesus, go to church, pay their tithes… many, many of them are now in Hell.

3. In my encounter with Hell 21 years ago, God sharply and soberly told me, “Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

e. True grace is this: We should all be going to Hell, but Jesus died, conquered Hell and invited us to join him! We play a part in this! False grace tells us we have no role other than to love Jesus, and that message results in being eternally separated from God.

i. 1 John 5:3-5 (ESV) 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

ii. If we truly believe, we obey! We work! We overcome the world! That’s true grace!

iii. Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

iv. False grace tells us we can be unholy and still see God. True grace can be missed if we are unholy!

f. False grace affirms a high tolerance for sin. True grace empowers us not to sin.

g. False grace minimizes our responsibility. True graces demands our responsibility.

h. False grace is unconcerned with darkness. True grace empowers to deal with darkness.

i. Ephesians 5:11 (NIV) 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

i. False grace affirms slavery to sin. True grace affirms we are free from sin.

i. John 8:34 (ESV) 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

ii. Romans 6:16 (ESV) 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

j. False grace focuses on John 3:16 alone. True grace is seen in context.

i. John 3:16-21 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

ii. False grace keeps sin hidden since we don’t feel its important to deal with. True grace shines the light on every part of our lives.

iii. False grace refuses to acknowledge God’s wrath. True grace is what saves us from his wrath.

k. A false grace message has resulted in a filtered Bible. We presume we are exempt from certain truths because we decided to follow Jesus.

i. John 15:1-2 (ESV) 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

ii. Every branch IN ME! If we are IN JESUS but don’t bear fruit, we are no longer in him! Wow!

iii. Life Application Commentary: The fruitful branches are true believers who, by their living union with Christ, produce much fruit. But this union can be broken. The Father cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit.

iv. How many times to we see people wrestle with unforgiveness in the church? Do we not understand how serious this is? We are not exempt from this!!!

1. Matthew 6:15 (ESV) 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

v. Life Application Commentary: Living in relationship with God requires constant repentance of the sins that plague us. Because believers must come to God constantly for confession and forgiveness, refusing to forgive others reveals a lack of appreciation for the mercy received from God. All people are on common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. If we don’t forgive others, we are in fact denying and rejecting God’s forgiveness of us.

III. Repent!

a. It’s time to repent deeply!

Tenants: A Teaching on the Power of Beliefs : At Revival Church Sunday

TOMORROW, Sunday, May 6th 2012 I will start a new teaching series, TENANTS: A TEACHING ON THE POWER OF BELIEFS

Tenants v2 thumb Tenants: A Teaching on the Power of Beliefs : At Revival Church Sunday

The teaching will include:

  • Nephilim Doctrine: a doctrine of mixture. Part image of God, part image of demons.
  • Sin: It kills regardless of whether you’ve decided to follow Jesus or not
  • Salvation: Once saved always saved?
  • The End Times: What is the position of Revival Church?
  • The Cross: If there is no cross preached in the church, sound a very loud alarm and wave an urgent flag.
  • Heaven and Hell: They are both preparing for your arrival.
  • Plus: Divine Healing, The Holy Spirit, True and False Grace, prayer, revival and more!

Come EARLY for prayer at 5pm and the service begins at 6pm!

5 Alarms : Why does the enemy appear to be winning?

image thumb1 5 Alarms : Why does the enemy appear to be winning?It’s time to take an honest look at the typical Christian experience that is largely disappointing for so many.

Sing along with me:

I went to the enemy’s camp and took back what he stole from me, took back what he stole from me, took back what he stole from me…

This is a fun song to sing and has a sold ring of victory to it, but it has always troubled me. I always wondered why Christians seemed to be playing catch up, perpetually trying to gain back what was lost and attempting to convince themselves that they are victorious. We often try to cheerlead our way to believing we are who God says we are. It’s as if we are sitting on a couch in a counselors office, looking into a mirror and saying, “I’m OK. God likes me. I’m a winner. I’m OK. God likes me. I’m a winner.” If we say it enough, surely it will sink in, right?

Again, let’s be honest. Yes, we as Christians all agree that in the end Jesus wins. Or, do we really believe that? Is it simply easier to believe something that’s far removed and chiseled logically into the stone that holds the tenants of our religion?

What if that end of times war exploded violently and experientially right now? Would we simply embrace peace and easily, confidently know that Jesus wins—or would we freak out and worry as devastation creeps onto our front lawn? Would it it result in a crisis of faith or an eruption of faith?

Our foundation of faith (or lack of it) will result in difficult situations either triggering hopelessness and despair or passionate expectancy.

Lets bring it closer to home.

At any Sunday morning church service I could stand in the pulpit and ask the congregation a question: Who here has a history of financial struggle?

Most hands would shoot to the sky. Yet, we know that scripture declares that every need that we have is provided for!

Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Do you see the conflict? It’s a crisis of faith that is unfortunately experienced by most Christians!

Think about the 1260 promises in the Word of God. How many are inactive in the lives of Christians? How many have the enemy stolen away? Just where is that camp that we have to find so we can take back what he stole from us?

UNBELIEF

Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

That’s a really good Bible promise!

Why does that verse feel more like a pipe dream than a common reality experienced by Believers?

Because many Believers are actually unbelievers.

They doubt. They are gripped by unbelief.

Check out this passage:

Matthew 13:10-15 (ESV) 10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. This issue is gripped the unbelievers in the church!

Why don’t we see extreme prosperity, healing, joy, life and freedom in the church today?

Matthew 13:58 (ESV) 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

Unbelief.

5 ALARMS

  1. Tradition. Another way to say it is historical evidence or past experience. If our confidence and expectations come from past experience and cultural norms instead of the wild realities of the Kingdom, you will live like most every other Christian out there—below the bar of Kingdom wonder.

    Matthew 15:6-9 (ESV) 6 …So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

  2. Powerlessness. Christians are evidenced by their supernatural power. Check out this problematic passage:

    Mark 16:14-18 (ESV) 14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    What a situation we have here! In the same breath that Jesus rebuked them for unbelief he was telling them to wise up and figure this Kingdom thing out. They were commanded to deal with their doubt and change the world. The way they would pass the test? Faith-fueled signs, wonders and miracles. Does it strike you as concerning that there are Christians out there that have not discovered the power of God flowing through them? It’s a very serious issue.

  3. Failure of performance. Have you ever quoted verses that dealt with an issue you were facing? Did you add some prayer to the mix only to be disappointed by a failed mission? The Bible speaks to this directly:

    Matthew 17:19-20 (NKJV) 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

    It’s unbelief. Doubt. The moment we give room for any ending other than what is promised in Scripture, you can label that unbelief. So, what was Jesus’ prescription for their unbelief?

    Matthew 17:21 (NKJV) 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." 

    We don’t pray and fast to cause demons to come out. We pray and fast to cure our unbelief. Apply this verse to any enemy that is winning in your life. Depression, fear, poverty, sickness. If you don’t have belief that joy and power and prosperity and health are yours for the taking, then move into an extreme season of prayer and fasting. Breakthrough hinges on your ability to fully believe without wavering.

    This verse makes the point very clear:

    James 1:5-8 (ESV) 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    If we doubt, we can’t expect to receive. Period. If your mind entertains thoughts like, “God might heal me,” you are pretty much done before you began contending.

  4. No joy of salvation. Ouch. This one hurts, but must be addressed. We see salvation and faith so intertwined throughout scripture that we simply have do deal with this. If we as Believers are living most of our lives in the realm of unbelief can we casually presume to be saved? I’m not so sure. Check this out:

    Luke 8:11-15 (ESV) 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

    Do you see how faith and salvation are connected? Here we see the devil stealing the very thing that ensures their salvation—their belief. The next group experiences the joy of salvation, but didn’t have sufficient belief when the trials came. They fell away. It’s the last group that hears the word (faith comes by hearing the Word!) and endures and bears fruit with patience.

  5. Faith in what is visible. If we default to what is visible and humanly understandable, we will fall well below the mark of belief. This can have often tragic results. The story of King Asa should be an alarm for all of us:
  6. 2 Chronicles 16:12-13 (ESV) 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians. 13 And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.

    I believe one reason we don’t see more healings in America is because it’s too easy to pop a pill and trust that the doctors can heal us. That misguided faith has been devastating in its impact. The majority of our lives as true Believers exists in the invisible realm of the unseen—in the realm of confident belief.

    Hebrews 11:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

    For the Believer, the unseen realm has more substance than what our five senses pick up. For the Believer it’s easy and normal to believe the report of the Lord ahead of the report of human experience or human perception.

Church, it’s time we stop hoping and wishing our way to victory. Hope deferred makes the heart sick! We have to put an end to demonic thievery. Pumping ourselves up and cheerleading our way to a low level confidence in God’s Word must give way to a peaceful assurance of breakthrough. We don’t contend for victory, we start at the point of victory. Now, we don’t have to play catch up as we focus on personal identity and success. We can launch with great faith from the platform of success into the world changing missions that God has assigned us to. As champions and authorities in the Earth we don’t ever allow the enemy to steal anything—instead we take dominion over his camp, his domain!

I see a day coming in the church where everybody who simply yet fully believes is wildly joyful, prosperous, healthy and free—strong and ready to annihilate the kingdom of darkness with force!