Monday, June 30, 2008

It is a message of love

2 Corinthians 7:1-4

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not [this] to condemn [you]: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with [you]. Great [is] my boldness of speech toward you, great [is] my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

Chapter 7
This chapter begins with an exhortation to progressive holiness and a due regard to the ministers of the gospel (v. 1-4). Then the apostle returns from a long digression to speak further of the affair concerning the incestuous person, and tells them what comfort he received in his distress about that matter, upon his meeting with Titus (v. 5-7), and how re rejoiced in their repentance, with the evidences thereof (v. 8–11). And, lastly, he concludes with endeavouring to comfort the Corinthians, upon whom his admonitions had had so good an effect (v. 12–16).

2Cr 7:1-4
These verses contain a double exhortation:—
I. To make a progress in holiness, or to perfect holiness in the fear of God, v. 1. This exhortation is given with most tender affection to those who were dearly beloved, and enforced by strong arguments, even the consideration of those exceedingly great and precious promises which were mentioned in the former chapter, and which the Corinthians had an interest in and a title to. The promises of God are strong inducements to sanctification, in both the branches thereof; namely,
1. The dying unto sin, or mortifying our lusts and corruptions: we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Sin is filthiness, and there are defilements of body and mind. There are sins of the flesh, that are committed with the body, and sins of the spirit, spiritual wickednesses; and we must cleanse ourselves from the filthiness of both, for God is to be glorified both with body and soul.
2. The living unto righteousness and holiness. If we hope God is our Father, we must endeavour to be partakers of his holiness, to be holy as he is holy, and perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. We must be still perfecting holiness, and not be contented with sincerity (which is our gospel perfection), without aiming at sinless perfection, though we shall always come short of it while we are in this world; and this we must do in the fear of God, which is the root and principle of all religion, and there is no holiness without it. Note, Faith and hope in the promises of God must not destroy our fear of God, who taketh pleasure in those that fear him and hope in his mercy.

II. To show a due regard to the ministers of the gospel: Receive us, v. 2. Those who labour in the word and doctrine should be had in reputation, and be highly esteemed for their work’s sake: and this would be a help to making progress in holiness. If the ministers of the gospel are thought contemptible because of their office, there is danger lest the gospel itself be contemned also. The apostle did not think it any disparagement to court the favour of the Corinthians; and, though we must flatter none, yet we must be gentle towards all.

He tells them,
1. He had done nothing to forfeit their esteem and good-will, but was cautious not to do any thing to deserve their ill-will (v. 2): "We have wronged no man: we have done you no harm, but always designed your good.’’ I have coveted no man’s silver, nor gold, nor apparel, said he to the elders of Ephesus, Acts 20:33. "We have corrupted no man, by false doctrines or flattering speeches. We have defrauded no man; we have not sought ourselves, nor to promote our own secular interests by crafty and greedy measures, to the damage of any persons.’’ This is an appeal like that of Samuel, 1 Sa. 12. Note, Then may ministers the more confidently expect esteem and favour from the people when they can safely appeal to them that they are guilty of nothing that deserves disesteem or displeasure.

2. He did not herein reflect upon them for want of affection to him, v. 3, 4. So tenderly and cautiously did the apostle deal with the Corinthians, among whom there were some who would be glad of any occasion to reproach him, and prejudice the minds of others against him. To prevent any insinuations against him on account of what he had said, as if he intended to charge them with wronging him, or unjust accusations of him for having wronged them, he assures them again of his great affection to them, insomuch that he could spend his last breath at Corinth, and live and die with them, if his business with other churches, and his work as an apostle (which was not to be confined to one place only), would permit him to do so. An he adds it was his great affection to them that made him use such boldness or freedom of speech towards them, and caused him to glory, or make his boast of them, in all places, and upon all occasions, being filled with comfort, and exceedingly joyful in all their tribulations.

There are times when boldness of speech must be used. It is not for the purpose of bringing people down to a certain level as much as it is meant to bring people "up" to an acceptable level for the Lord. If we truly love people we must not be afraid to speak the Word of Truth to them with boldness. We do it with an affectionate heart and a loving heart, but we do not back down from what is right. We are called to righteousness. Not a self-righteousness, but a righteousness towards God. It is the idea of being in a "right" standing with God. We do that by being obedient to His Word. He who keeps His commands is he who loves God and the love of the Father is in him.

Won't you stand up for God?
Won't you be bold for His Name?
Won't you display the kind of love that genuinely cares for others?
It is a message of love and not hate towards our brothers and sisters in Christ...
Won't you love God today?

If you do, it will show in the way you talk to others, the way you react to hard times, the way you forgive others. God's love is so very powerful. Wouldn't you like to partake in that love?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vacation Bible School

As the week draws to a close, we are facing our last day of VBS at church. I am helping my fiance with the preschool kids. Wow! They sure do have a lot of energy. I am dead tired when they finally leave around 8pm! Having a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds running around can sure drain a person.

God has definitely blessed my fiance with the gift of helping children. We came to a point last night where the kids just were not listening. So, she abandoned her previous plan for the class and all of a sudden jumped up and got the kids marching and reciting the memory verse. It was amazing to see how well they responded.

God has blessed each one of us with certain gifts that we are to use for His glory. Had I tried to get these kids to listen it would have taken the whole class period (I can handle one kid at a time!! at least at this age group). My gift is to preach God's Word and to reach out to the lost. To discern what is true and what is not. I have a pastor's heart and truly desire to bring a person to the Savior.

Next week, I will have much more time to work on my blog and will be going at it full speed ahead once again!! Please bear with me for the rest of this week. If you have something that you would like to see me write about, please let me know and I will post something.

I thank all of my faithful readers and those who happen to stop by occasionally. May God bless you today and always with His love and may you be faithful to His Holy Word!

God bless

till his nets are full

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Little House on the Prairie??

My fiance and I are in the market to look for a house. As I am typing I see on the Hallmark channel that Little House on the Prairie in on tv. The assortment of houses that we can choose from is amazing. Big houses, little houses, 2 bedrooms, 3 or 4 bedrooms, one bathroom, one and a half bathrooms (how they keep the water from falling out of the toilet in a half bathroom, I will never know!). There are white houses, blue houses and houses with colors that I cannot name!

We stress out so much on finding a house to live in that we must be careful to not stress over material things. We have already been promised a place to live. It is not a house! Oh no!! Not even close!!

We have been promised a mansion!

I did a search on mansion and check out what I found! This comes straight from the official mormon website.,4945,11-1-13-59,00.html

C h a p t e r 4 7

When we lived with our Heavenly Father, he explained a plan for our progression. We could become like him, an exalted being. The plan required that we be separated from him and come to earth. This separation was necessary to prove whether we would obey our Father's commandments even though we were no longer in his presence. The plan provided that when earth life ended, we would be judged and rewarded according to the degree of our faith and obedience. We would then be assigned to the place for which we had prepared.

Jesus taught, "In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14:2). From the scriptures we learn that there are three kingdoms of glory in heaven. The Apostle Paul mentioned that he knew a man who was "caught up to the third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2). Paul named two of the kingdoms in heaven: the celestial and the terrestrial (see 1 Corinthians 15:40-42). The celestial is the highest, and the terrestrial is second. Through latter-day revelation we learn that the third kingdom is the telestial kingdom (see D&C 76:81). We also learn that there are three heavens or degrees within the celestial kingdom (see D&C 131:1).

Have someone tell about our Heavenly Father's plan for us.

What Is Exaltation?

Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation.

If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, just like our Heavenly Father. Exaltation is the greatest gift that Heavenly Father can give his children (see D&C 14:7).

What is exaltation?

Blessings of Exaltation

Our Heavenly Father is perfect. However, he is not jealous of his wisdom and perfection. He glories in the fact that it is possible for his children to become like him. He has said, "This is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ will receive special blessings. The Lord has promised, "All things are theirs" (D&C 76:59). These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:

They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 76).
They will become gods.
They will have their righteous family members with them and will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal family.
They will receive a fulness of joy.
They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have--all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: "The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to his commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom, and power, going from grace to grace, until the fulness of the perfect day shall burst upon them" (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:36).

List some of the blessings that will be given to those who are exalted.

Requirements for Exaltation

The time to fulfill the requirements for exaltation is now (see Alma 34:32-34). President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "In order to obtain the exaltation we must accept the gospel and all its covenants; and take upon us the obligations which the Lord has offered; and walk in the light and understanding of the truth; and 'live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God' " (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:43).

To be exalted, we first must place our faith in Jesus Christ and then endure in that faith to the end of our lives. Our faith in him must be such that we repent of our sins and obey his commandments.

He commands us all to receive certain ordinances:

We must be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
We must receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We must receive the temple endowment.
We must be married for time and eternity.

In addition to receiving the required ordinances, the Lord commands all of us to--

Love and worship God.
Love our neighbor.
Repent of our wrongdoings.
Live the law of chastity.
Pay honest tithes and offerings.
Be honest in our dealings with others and with the Lord.
Speak the truth always.
Obey the Word of Wisdom.
Search out our kindred dead and perform the saving ordinances of the gospel for them.
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Attend our Church meetings as regularly as possible so we can renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.
Love our family members and strengthen them in the ways of the Lord.
Have family and individual prayers every day.
Honor our parents.
Teach the gospel to others by word and example.
Study the scriptures.
Listen to and obey the inspired words of the prophets of the Lord.

Finally, each of us needs to receive the Holy Ghost and learn to follow his direction in our individual lives.

Why are faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ necessary to become exalted?
What ordinances must we accept in order to become exalted?
What laws does the Lord give us that we must obey to become exalted?
Why must we learn to follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to become exalted?

After We Have Endured to the End

What happens when we have endured to the end in faithful discipleship to Christ? The Lord has said, "If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7). President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "If we will continue in God; that is, keep his commandments, worship him and live his truth; then the time will come when we shall be bathed in the fulness of truth, which shall grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:36).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348).

This is the way our Heavenly Father became God. Joseph Smith taught: "It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God. . . . He was once a man like us; . . . God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).

Our Heavenly Father knows our trials, our weaknesses, and our sins. He has compassion and mercy on us. He wants us to succeed even as he did.

Imagine what joy each of us will have when we return to our Heavenly Father if we can say: "Father, I did what you wanted me to do. I have been faithful and have kept your commandments. I am happy to be home again." Then we will hear him say, "Well done; . . . thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:23).

Describe how you might feel to hear the Savior's words in Matthew 25:23.
What must we do to endure to the end?

Additional Scriptures
D&C 132:3-4, 16-26, 37 (pertaining to exaltation)
D&C 131:1-4 (eternal marriage is key to exaltation)
D&C 76:59-70 (blessings of celestial glory explained)


In the spring of 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith sent a letter to John Wentworth, who was editor of a newspaper called the Chicago Democrat. This letter contained an account of many of the events of early Church history. The document also contained thirteen statements outlining Latter-day Saint beliefs. These have come to be known as the Articles of Faith, which are given below.

The Articles of Faith are official doctrine of the Church and have been canonized as a part of latter-day scripture. They are clear statements of belief that help members understand the basic beliefs of the Church and explain these beliefs to others. They are not, however, a complete summary of Church doctrine. Through living prophets, the Church is guided by continuous revelation and inspiration.

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Joseph Smith


Aaronic Priesthood: The lesser of the two divisions of the priesthood in the Church. It includes the offices of deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop.

Adam: The first man; the father of the human race. Before his earth life, he was known as Michael. He led the righteous in the War in Heaven. He helped create the earth.

Administer the sacrament: To bless the sacrament.

Administer to the sick: To anoint and bless the sick by the power of the priesthood.

Adultery: Sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her wife or husband.

Adversary: One of Satan's names.

Affliction: Anything causing pain or suffering.

Agency: The ability and freedom to choose good or evil.

Age of accountability: The age at which a person becomes responsible for his or her actions and may be baptized; in most cases, eight years old.

Altar: Anciently, a raised place on which sacrifices were offered. In Latter-day Saint temples today, a place where covenants are made and couples or families are sealed together for time and eternity.

Angel: A messenger sent from God.

Anoint: To place a few drops of oil on the head, usually as part of a priesthood blessing.

Apostasy: Turning away from or leaving the teachings of the gospel.

Apostle: A person called and appointed to be a special witness for Christ. An office in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Articles of Faith: Thirteen statements written by the Prophet Joseph Smith describing some of the basic teachings and ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Atonement: The suffering and death of Jesus Christ, through which resurrection is provided to all mortals and eternal life is offered to those who have faith in Christ and repent of their sins.

Authority: The right to function in certain capacities in the Church.

Baptism by immersion: An ordinance in which a person is immersed in water and brought up out of the water. It is necessary to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Baptism for the dead: Baptism by immersion performed by a living person for one who is dead. This ordinance is performed in temples.

Bible: One of the standard works of the Church. It includes the Old and New Testaments.

Bishop: A man who has been ordained and set apart as the presiding high priest for a ward. He has responsibility for the temporal and spiritual well-being of all his ward members. He also presides over the Aaronic Priesthood.

Book of Mormon: One of the standard works of the Church. An account of God's dealings with the people of the American continents from about 2,200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ to 421 years after the death of Jesus Christ. It was translated from gold plates by Joseph Smith and contains the fulness of the gospel.

Born in the covenant: Born to parents who have been sealed in the temple.

Broken heart and contrite spirit: A deep, godly sorrow for our sins; humility.

Called: To be assigned a duty or position in the Church.

Celestial kingdom: The highest kingdom of glory, where one is in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Charity: Love and compassion; the pure love of Christ.

Chastity: Avoiding sexual relations with anyone except one's spouse.

Comforter: The Holy Ghost.

Commandments: Directions given by God to his children to prepare them for eternal life in the world to come.

Confirmation: An ordinance in which a person is confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the laying on of hands and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The ordinance is performed after baptism.

Convert: One who has accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and been baptized and confirmed. Usually applied to those who join the Church after eight years of age.

Council in Heaven: The meeting in heaven in which Heavenly Father announced the plan of salvation and chose Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.

Covenant: A binding agreement or promise between God and a person or group of people.

Create: To organize elements that already exist into a new form.

Crucifixion: A method of execution used in the days of the Savior. A person's hands and feet were nailed or tied to a cross.

Death: Separation of a person's spirit from his physical body.

Devil: A spirit son of God who rebelled against the Father and tried to destroy the agency of man. He is also known as Lucifer or Satan and is the author of sin.

Discernment: A spiritual gift that allows a person to understand or know something.

Disciple: A follower, especially a follower of Christ.

Dispensation: A period of time in which truth from heaven is given to people on earth through prophets.

Doctrine and Covenants: One of the standard works of the Church containing revelations given to Joseph Smith and other latter-day Presidents of the Church.

Endowment: A gift of power given through ordinances in the temple to worthy members of the Church. The endowment includes instructions about the plan of salvation.

Enduring to the end: Obedience to God's laws to the end of mortal life.

Eternal: Everlasting, without beginning or end.

Eternity: Time without end.

Eve: Adam's wife, the mother of the human race.

Exaltation: The highest state of happiness and glory in the celestial kingdom; the continuation of the family unit in eternity; "all that [the] Father hath" (D&C 84:38).

Fall of Adam: The change to mortality that occurred when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Family history: Research to identify ancestors.

Fast: To abstain from food and drink for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord.

Fast offering: Contribution to the Church of the money or commodities saved by fasting for two consecutive meals.

First Presidency: A quorum that presides over the entire Church; made up of the President of the Church and his Counselors.

Foreordination: Callings given by Heavenly Father to his children to come to earth at a specific time and place to help with his work in a particular way.

Fornication: Sexual intercourse between unmarried people.

Full-tithe payer: A person who pays one-tenth of his or her annual increase to the Lord.

Gathering of Israel: The spiritual and physical gathering of all the house of Israel in the latter days.

Gentile: A person who does not belong to the chosen people. The scriptures use the word to mean (1) non-Israelites, and (2) nonmembers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gift of the Holy Ghost: The right, received by the laying on of hands, to enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost when we are worthy.

Gifts of the Spirit: Spiritual blessings given by God to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ.

God: Our Father in Heaven, the Father of Jesus Christ in the flesh and of the spirits of all mortals.

Godhead: Our Father in Heaven; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.

Gospel: The plan of salvation, which embraces all that is necessary for us to be saved and exalted; the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Hell: The part of the spirit world where wicked spirits await the day of their resurrection; also the place where Satan and his followers dwell.

Holy Ghost: The third member of the Godhead; a personage of spirit.

House of Israel: Natural or adopted descendants of the sons of Jacob, who was given the name of Israel by the Lord.

Humble: Willing to learn, teachable.

Immerse: To put completely under water.

Immortal: Beyond the power of death. Immortal people cannot die.

Inspiration: Divine guidance that comes through the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Israel: (1) The name given to Jacob of the Old Testament. (2) The name given to the descendants of Jacob's twelve sons. (3) The modern nation to which many Jews have gathered today.

Jesus Christ: The Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh and the Firstborn Son in the spirit; our Redeemer and Savior.

Jew: Someone who belongs to the tribe of Judah, to the ancient kingdom of Judah, or to the Jewish religion.

Kingdom of God: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on earth; also the celestial kingdom.

Last days: The time near the end of the world and the second coming of the Savior.

Latter-day Saints: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Laying on of hands: The placing of hands on a person's head by a priesthood holder to bless, anoint, confirm, ordain, or heal the person.

Lord: God, master; often refers to Jesus.

Lucifer: Satan, the devil.

Mercy: Love and forgiveness.

Messiah: Jesus Christ, the Anointed One.

Millennium: One thousand years of peace when Jesus Christ will reign personally on the earth.

Mission: A period of time during which a person who has been called and set apart preaches the gospel; a task or assignment.

Missionary: A member of the Church who is called to preach the gospel to the people of the world.

Mortal: Able to die; pertaining to this life.

Mortality: Earthly existence in a body that is subject to death.

Nonmember: A person who is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Only Begotten Son: Jesus Christ, the only person who had God the Father as the father of his mortal body.

Ordain: To give a man a priesthood office by the laying on of hands.

Ordinances: Sacred rites and ceremonies that are necessary for eternal progression. God's laws and commandments.

Outer darkness: The dwelling place of the devil and his followers.

Paradise: The part of the spirit world where righteous spirits await the day of their resurrection.

Patriarchal blessing: An inspired blessing declaring a person's lineage and giving inspired counsel and insight about his or her life.

Pearl of Great Price: One of the standard works of the Church, including ancient and modern scripture.

Plan of salvation: Our Heavenly Father's plan for his children by which they can overcome sin and death and gain eternal life.

Prayer: Communication with the Lord.

Premortal existence: The period between the birth of spirit children of God and their birth into mortal life.

Preside: To take charge of; to be in authority.

Priesthood: The power and authority of God given to men on earth to act in all things for our salvation.

Prophecy: Inspired words of a prophet about a future event.

Prophesy: To tell something before it happens.

Prophet: One who has been called of the Lord to be a special witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The prophet refers to the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Quorum: An organized unit of the priesthood.

Recommend: A certificate to identify people as members of the Church and to certify their worthiness to receive certain ordinances or blessings.

Redeem: To free people from the results of sins they have repented of; to free from the effects of physical death.

Redeemer: The Savior, Jesus Christ.

Remission: Forgiveness.

Repentance: Turning from sin and changing the course of one's life to follow the Savior's teachings.

Restitution: Giving repayment for a sin.

Restoration: To make something as it was; to reestablish; to bring back.

Resurrection: Reuniting of body and spirit, never to be separated again.

Revelation: Divine truths communicated from God to mankind.

Sabbath day: A day of worship and rest from daily work and activities; observed by members of the Church on Sunday, the first day of the week.

Sacrament: An ordinance in which bread and water are blessed and passed to members of the Church. The bread and water are emblems of the body and blood sacrificed by the Savior.

Sacrifice: To offer to God something precious; to forsake all things for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Salvation: Inseparable connection of body and spirit brought about through the Savior's atonement and resurrection; eternal life.

Sanctify: To make clean, pure, and spotless; to make free from the blood and sins of this world.

Satan: A name of the devil, who opposes the plan of salvation.

Savior: Jesus Christ, who has saved us from physical death and made it possible for us to be saved from spiritual death.

Scriptures: Words written and spoken by holy men of God when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

Sealing: An ordinance performed in the temple, eternally uniting a husband and wife or children and their parents.

Second death: Spiritual death; death as to things of righteousness.

Seed: In one sense, children or descendants.

Set apart: To authorize someone, by the laying on of hands, to act in a specific calling.

Sin: Breaking the laws of God.

Son of God: The Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sons of perdition: The spirit hosts of heaven who followed Lucifer. Also, those who gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the Savior and then turn from him and follow Satan.

Spiritual death: Separation from the Spirit of God and from his presence.

Standard works: The volumes of scripture officially accepted by the Church: Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.

Sustain: To support and accept.

Telestial kingdom: The lowest kingdom of glory.

Temple: A place of worship and prayer; the house of the Lord prepared and dedicated for sacred gospel ordinances.

Temple ordinance work: Sacred gospel ordinances performed in temples by the living for themselves and for those who are dead. These ordinances include baptisms, endowments, marriages, and sealings.

Terrestrial kingdom: The middle kingdom of glory.

Testify: To declare what one knows; to bear witness.

Testimony: Knowledge revealed by the Holy Ghost, of the divinity of the Savior and of gospel truths.

Tithe: Payment to the Lord of one-tenth of one's annual increase.

Transgression: Violation or breaking of a commandment or law; sin.

Word of Wisdom: A revelation concerning health practices given to Joseph Smith in 1833; section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Worship: Reverence, honor, or devotion given to God.

Zion: The name given by the Lord to those who obey his laws. The name of the place where the righteous live.

There is a mansion that Jesus went to prepare for us. but is it so important to realize that it will only be for Christians. There is no other name under heaven by which we are saved. Only by following Jesus (OF THE BIBLE!!!!!) are you saved. Many mormons have been deceived by the great deceiver, Satan, himself. The Bible does not teach three levels of an eternal heaven. Their lack of knowledge of biblical scripture has led them to their destruction. That is why it is so important to study scripture. We must have knowledge and wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit so that we can rightly divide the Word of Truth. In the preceding paragraphs, how many biblical errors can you find in their teachings??

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Study to Show Thyself Approved!

How many of you recognized the Scripture listed in the title of this post?  It comes from 2 Timothy 2:15.
I would like to break it down a little bit for you.

Let's start with STUDY...
The Greek word for study is spoudazō, which is pronounced, spü-dä'-zō which means --
1) to hasten, make haste (this ultimately means to hurry, or to cause to hurry. It also means to move at a fast speed.)

2) to exert one's self, endeavour, give diligence (use of mental or physical energy, hard work; a purposeful or industrious undertaking (especially one that requires effort or boldness)

The Greek word for to shew is paristēmi, which is pronounced, pä-rē'-stā-mē which means --
1) to place beside or near
a) to set at hand
    1) to present
    2) to proffer
    3) to provide
    4) to place a person or thing at one's disposal
    5) to present a person for another to see and question
    6) to present or show
    7) to bring to, bring near
    8) metaph. i.e to bring into one's fellowship or intimacy
b) to present (show) by argument, to prove

The Greek word of thyself is seautou, which is pronounced, se-au-tü' which means --
1) thyself, thee (Yourself. Used as the reflexive or emphatic form of thee or thou.)

The Greek word for approved is dokimos, which is pronounced, do'-kē-mos which means --
1) accepted, particularly of coins and money.
2) accepted, pleasing, acceptable
Check out this statement on dokimos.
"In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world." (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans: God's Glory, p. 18.)

We can't stop here!  There is more to the Scripture and if we stop right here we will be missing the most important component of this verse.  Let's continue on...
The Greek word for unto God is theos, which is pronounced, the-o's which means --

1) a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities
2) the Godhead, trinity
    a) God the Father, the first person in the trinity
    b) Christ, the second person of the trinity
    c) Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity
3) spoken of the only and true God
    a) refers to the things of God
    b) his counsels, interests, things due to him
4) whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way
    a) God's representative or viceregent

1) of magistrates and judges

The Greek word for a workman is ergatēs, which is pronounced, er-gä'-tās which means...
1) a workman, a labourer
    a) usually one who works for hire esp. an agricultural worker
2) one who does, a worker, perpetrator

The Greek word for this statement is anepaischyntos, which is pronounced, ä-ne-pī's-khün-tos which means --
1) having no cause to be ashamed

The Greek word for rightly dividing is orthotomeō, which is pronounced, or-tho-to-me'-ō which means --
1) to cut straight, to cut straight ways
    a) to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to doing right
2) to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly

The Greek word for the Word is one many people are familiar with and it is logos, which is pronounced, lo'-gos which means --
1) of speech
    a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
    b) what someone has said

1) a word
2) the sayings of God
3) decree, mandate or order
4) of the moral precepts given by God
5) Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets
6) what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim
    c) discourse

1) the act of speaking, speech
2) the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking
3) a kind or style of speaking
4) a continuous speaking discourse - instruction
    d) doctrine, teaching
    e) anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative
    f) matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law
    g) the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

2) its use as respect to the MIND alone
    a) reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating
    b) account, i.e. regard, consideration
    c) account, i.e. reckoning, score
    d) account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment
    e) relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation

1) reason would
    f) reason, cause, ground

3) In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world's life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man's salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

Note: A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe.

The Greek word for of truth is alētheia, which is pronounced, ä-lā'-thā-ä which means --
1) objectively
    a) what is true in any matter under consideration

1) truly, in truth, according to truth
2) of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly
    b) what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth

1) in the greatest latitude
2) the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention
    c) the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians

2) subjectively
    a) truth as a personal excellence

1) that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit

Study to show thyself approved unto God, v. 15.

Observe, The care of ministers must be to approve themselves unto God, to be accepted of him, and to show that they are so approved unto God. In order thereunto, there must be constant care and industry:

Study to show thyself such a one, a workman that needs not be ashamed. Ministers must be workmen; they have work to do, and they must take pains in it. Workmen that are unskilful, or unfaithful, or lazy, have need to be ashamed; but those who mind their business, and keep to their work, are workmen that need not be ashamed.

And what is their work? It is rightly to divide the word of truth. Not to invent a new gospel, but rightly to divide the gospel that is committed to their trust. To speak terror to those to whom terror belongs, comfort to whom comfort; to give every one his portion in due season, Mt. 24:45.

Observe here, 1. The word which ministers preach is the word of truth, for the author of it is the God of truth. 2. It requires great wisdom, study, and care, to divide this word of truth rightly; Timothy must study in order to do this well. And we as pastors, elders, and lay leaders as well as ALL Christians, should study in order to preach the Word to the lost.

Go into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature!

The title of this post is "Study to show thyself approved!" but that does not even come close to what we need to know.  The next key words are UNTO GOD!  Too many people will study to show themselves approved by the world.  That is easy to do.  But as Christians, our goal is NOT to be approved by the world but UNTO GOD!  The time is at hand.  Hasten or hurry to do the hard work set before you. Be prepared to present yourself to others for them to see and to ask you questions.  Will others see you as a counterfeit Christian or will they see you as a person of honor and integrity? Are you doing the work on a day to day basis so that you will not be ashamed?  Will others see you as a laborer or as a lazy person?  Will the evidence of what you have done back up your claims as a Christian?  Are you able to properly teach the Word of God?  Are you able to tell others about the Word?  Do you know who Jesus is and are you able to share Him with others?

In order to properly reach others for Christ, we must study to show ourselves approved unto God!  Use this day to decide to give your life fully to Him who Saves, and go make a difference in the lives of others!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Praise God!

We found out about 10 days ago that our senior pastor has stomach cancer.  Today was spent in the hospital waiting room.  I got off work around 8:30am and it is almost 5pm.  we just got the good news that they got all of the cancer!  The doctor took out 50% of his stomach but it looks like a complete recovery is going to happen!  We praise God for answered prayers!  

This should hopefully be a wake-up call to everyone.  None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.  Have you had your annual physical exam lately?  It was because of an annual exam that our pastor found out about this cancer.  How many people never find out until it is too late?

We might be healthy today but tomorrow is a new day.  Are you prepared today in case something should happen to you?  Maybe your health will fail you.  Maybe you will be in a car accident?  Maybe Jesus will return tonight! We just don't know what the future holds.

Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus?
Have you repented of your sins?
How many people have you talked to about Christ?

The time we spend doing "things" is so large and the time we spend evangelizing the lost is so little.

How important is reaching the lost to you?
Get yourself right with God.
Do it today!

Do not take tomorrow for granted.  Make the most of your days.  Be totally devoted to serving God in all you do.

We thank God today and everyday for answered prayers.  We do not always get the answer we want.  Today we did!

Thank you God and I pray that we all are obedient to your Word.
Sing praises to God!

Day of the Lord Part 3

The Day of the Lord, Part 3
by John MacArthur
1 Thessalonians 5:3

Open your Bible, if you will, to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. We're back to our little text of three verses which has become quite familiar to us over the last several weeks, as we endeavor to understand its truth. I would like to read the first three verses of this fifth chapter so that you might have its setting in your mind.

First Thessalonians 5 verse 1, "Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying peace and safety, then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child and they shall not escape."
A writer by the name of Hendriquez(?) Berkoff(?) wrote a book called Christ, the Meaning of History. And in that book he focuses on the old and crucial issue of where is history leading, where is it going, what is its purpose, what is its meaning, how does it end, does it have a goal? He makes the statement in the book, quote: "Our generation is strangled by fear, fear for man, for his future and for the direction in which we are driven against our will and desire. And out of this comes a cry of illumination concerning the meaning of the existence of mankind and concerning the goal to which we are directed. It is a cry for an answer to the old question of the meaning of history," end quote.

In the century in which we live we have already seen two World Wars and have lived on the brink of another. We have experienced the holocaust of Hitler's Germany, the difficulty of the Korean conflict, the futility of Vietnam, many other revolutions, conflicts, rebellions and riots. And now a time bomb looking like it may explode into an other conflagration in the Middle East. And through it all our generation continues to search for an answer about where is history going. It seems so hopeless and that in the face of unbelievable intellectual economic scientific advancement. We can do so many things so far better than they could ever have been done before, but it seems as though we continue on the path of self destruction. How are we to are we to are we to are we to the chaos and confusion of the meaninglessness of life?

Now there are three possible interpretations, popular ones, to history. It can be viewed perhaps most simply in these three perspectives. Number one, the first view of history is a cyclical view. What this says is that history is an endless circle of repetition. It just continues to circle back through the same things over and over and over again. And we as people are also caught in that endless series of cycles through a process called reincarnation in which we reappear and reappear and reappear and reappear. This view of history basically says that there is no end, there is just the same over and over and over again. It gives no meaning to history, it has no meaning. It cannot gain any meaning because it can only repeat what has already been. And if there's been no meaning, there will be no meaning. A person might have goals in his life but history has no goals.

This particular view of history was very familiar to the ancient Greeks and held predominantly among them. In our more modern world it is the philosophy of Hinduism and has been for centuries. The history is a series of repeated cycles in which you are reincarnated and reincarnated and reincarnated to experience the same things over and over and over from a different vantage point. That Hindu world view has become the world view of the New Age Movement and thus it has worked its way into western culture, New Age being nothing more than Hinduism in the west. And so it is very popular today to believe in reincarnation, to believe in a cyclical view of history.

John Marsh in his book The Fullness of Time writes, "If such a view be true then historical existence has been deprived of its significance. What I do know I have done in a previous world cycle and will do again in future world cycles. Responsibility and decision disappear and with them any real significance to historical life which in fact becomes a rather grandiose natural cycle." He writes, "Just as the corn is sown, grows and ripens each year, so will the events of history recur time after time. Moreover if all that can happen is the constant repetition of an event cycle, there is no possibility of meaning in the cycle itself. It achieves nothing in itself, neither can it contribute to anything outside itself. The events of history are devoid of significance," end quote.

And those who seek to find relief from this endless series of cycles, who seek to be freed from it, believe that the only way to get out of it is somehow to rise to a higher level of mystical consciousness that transcends reality and puts you in the nebulus unconsciousness of nirvana. And so there is this mystical effort to ascend, to transcend, to elevate, to reach another plain so that you can lift yourself above the meaninglessness of mundane repetition.

There's a second world view that is quite popular running also alongside the first one. We can call that an atheistic existential view of history. It says that history is a line, it is not a series of repetition, it is a line but it's started by accident and no one knows how in the world it's going to end. There is no God. We are all the result of a collocation of atoms or some kind of primeval slime that out of it oozed something or other that eventually became what is and who knows what will eventually happen. There is no God. There is no rhyme or reason. There is no method. There is no purpose. There is no creator. There is no progenitor. There is no concluder. We are simply in an accidental existence and the only way to live it is to cram it full of every bit of gusto you can possibly get and make it as meaningful in its meaninglessness as you possibly can. "Existentialism of this type," writes Anthony Hokima(?), "is without meaning. No significant pattern," he says," can be found in history, no movement toward a goal, only a meaningless succession of events. And this being the case, one is left with what would appear to be shear individualism, each person must try to find his way from non-authentic, to authentic existence by making significant decisions. But history as a whole is devoid of meaning."

These kinds of views of history are often articulated in parabolic form by writers. One familiar one is Albert Camu(?) who wrote the novel The Plague. And in that novel he talks about a city called Oran(?) and the city was overrun by rats. And these rats brought with them the dreaded bubonic plague. Valiantly the doctor in the story and those associated with him battle this plague. Finally they succeed in bringing the epidemic under control. At the end of the book, Camu puts these words, however, in the mouth of the doctor, quote: "It is only a question of time and the rats will be back." And that is Camu's comment on the purposelessness, the meaninglessness, the pointlessness of living in this world. They say, do those in an atheistic existential view of history, that everything remains exactly the way its always been, in terms of meaning and meaninglessness. That's the popular view of philosophers and hedonists.

But there's a third alternative. And the third alternative to those world views is that there is a sovereign creator God who is working out His purposeful plan in history. That is the Christian view of life. It has several components. Let me kind of give them to you. The Christian view of history says that history is the working of God's purposes as explained in the Scripture. That's a very important statement. History is the working of God's purposes as explained in Scripture.
Secondly, God is sovereign over all history. He rules it all. By providence which is the supernatural pulling together of all diverse natural factors and by miracle which is supernatural intervention into the natural, He controls it all. The Christian world view of history also says that Christ is the main person of history, that all of history looks to Christ. His coming is the greatest and most notable event in human history. The Christian view of history says that God is moving all history toward a divinely planned goal. And every person has an ultimate appointment with God to determine his eternal destiny. God started it. God controls it. And God is bringing it to its conclusion.

As we look at the goal of history, as God's goal, as we understand that God is working out His eternally planned purposes in time, one event looms with a foreboding character over the end. Paul names that in verse 2 of our text. He calls that event the day of the Lord, a foreboding event that culminates human history. Now as we have already learned in our two previous messages from this little section of Scripture, that term, "the day of the Lord," refers to the final cataclysmic judgment by God on unrepentant sinners who have rejected Jesus Christ. It is the day when the Lord unleashes His final fury.

The Thessalonians had already been taught some things about this, as Paul reminds them in 2 Thessalonians 2:5. They already had been instructed in the time that he was with them several months before he writes this letter about the day of the Lord. But there was something that they didn't know and it is that which is the query on their minds. In verse 1 he says, "Now as to the times and the epochs," the chronos and the kairos, "brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you." Very likely Timothy who had recently visited them came back and said among their questions is a question about the day of the Lord, when is it coming...when is it coming? And he says to them simply in verse 1, "You have no need of anything to be written to you." Why? Because there is nothing to be said about the times. God has not told us that. In fact, Jesus said that the day of the Lord would come in an hour when you think not, in a day and an hour when no man knows. The times and the seasons, He said twice, are not for you to know. The Father hath them in His own power and even the Son of Man does not know them. All you need to know is the character of that day and that it will come unexpectedly so that every generation of human existence since this New Testament was written has had to live with the reality that the day of the Lord could come in their life time.

And so, he says you don't need to know the time. God has not chosen to reveal that to anyone. But though you don't need to know that you do need to be reminded, verse 2, of what you already know full well and that is that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. It's going to come unexpectedly. It's going to come unwelcomed and it's going to come harmfully...that's how a thief comes. But the major concept is the unexpectedness of it. It will be a surprise to those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ.

And as we looked at the first point here, the point of its coming, and we've been looking at three points...its coming, its character and its we looked at the point of its coming we simply stated for you that he reminds them that its coming is like a thief in the night, unexpectedly. And then we began to launch off on that concept to try to fill in some of the gaps in our understanding so we'll better grasp what he means here. Every generation then lives with the possible expectation of the day of the Lord. Now you'll remember that when we studied the Rapture in chapter 4 verses 13 to 18 we also said that every generation of Christians has lived in the light of the fact that the Rapture could take place in their life time. We don't know when the Lord is coming to take His church out before the day of the Lord. We don't know when that is going to take place, so every generation has lived in the light of the fact that the Lord could come in their life time. And every ungodly generation has lived with the reality, though they may not have understood it or known it, that the Lord could come in final judgment in their life time.
Now last time I reminded you that no passage dealing with the Rapture gives any preliminary signs that will indicate the Rapture is near. You have three explicit Rapture passages, John 14, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4. They describe the Rapture of the church, the catching away of the church to be with Christ in heaven. None of those passages gives us any preliminary sign. So we refer to the Rapture as a signless event. But on the other hand, passages dealing with the day of the Lord do mention signs to indicate its nearness. And though the day or the hour cannot be known, the general time frame can be known.

Now remember what I shared with you last time that Scripture says before the day of the Lord can come several things have to happen. According to Malachi 4:5, one like Elijah must come as a forerunner to the Messiah. And until that Elijah-like forerunner comes to announce the Messiah's arrival, the day of the Lord cannot come. Secondly, in Joel 3 and verse 9 it says that before the day of the Lord, the nations will be gathered into the valley of decision. The world will move toward Armageddon before the day of the Lord may come. So when the Elijah-like forerunner comes and starts to announce the return of Christ in judgment, that's an indication it's near. And when the nations of the world begin to converge into the Middle East at Armageddon, that indicates that it's near.

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 it also tells us that the apostasy will come. There will be a world-wide apostate religious system that will develop and grow. In that final form of world rebellion against the true God and the true gospel and the true faith will be preliminary to the day of the Lord. Also we read in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the day of the Lord cannot come until the man of sin is revealed, the Antichrist, and until he moves into the temple and abominates the temple by setting up in the temple in Jerusalem the worship of himself. Then the final preliminary indicator we noted starts way in the Old Testament, moves all through the New Testament, and that is that the stars go out, the sun goes dark, the moon goes black and then the day of the Lord hits...the great and terrible day of the Lord.

So you have these signs that are preliminary to the day of the Lord.

So, those people who are living in the time period between the Rapture and the day of the Lord are going to have ample warning, ample warning. But, look at verse 3, what are they going to say? Are they going to be running around saying it's coming, it's coming, it's coming, it's coming? What are they going to be saying? "Peace and safety." How can they say that? It's inconceivable and yet it's true. Non-Christians in that dark and deceitful Satanic kingdom of Antichrist will not be expecting the day of the Lord in spite of all the signs. And you remember I told you last time that this is a pattern that you can see clear back in the Old Testament. Whenever God announced judgment, the false prophets started to cry...what?...peace, peace, peace, and God said they say peace when there is no peace. Whenever God said I'm going to judge and I'm going to bring retribution and vengeance and wrath, the false prophets would say peace, there's coming peace, peace is coming, have no fear, all is well, everything is fine...but there's no peace. The same Satanically inspired false prophets in the future are going to do exactly what they did in the past.

And it's amazing to think about that because there will be so many indications that this is coming. Let me take you a little bit more deeply into those indications. Now get your Bible and turn to Matthew chapter 24 and I want you to jump around between Matthew 24 and Revelation with me for a few moments, and I want to show you how much is going to be happening to give them the sign that the day of the Lord is on its way. And even though they don't know the specific day or hour, they should know the general time.

In Matthew 24 please notice verse 3. Jesus is privately meeting with His disciples on the Mount of Olives after an incredible conflict with the false leaders in the temple. And they say to Him what people have always been asking, "Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age." They want to know the time. When is it going to happen? When are You going to come and take the kingdom? When are You going to come and judge the ungodly? When are You going to return? That's the question.

And Jesus gives them the answer. And the answer doesn't come until verse 29 and 30, they want to know what's the sign. He says when the sun goes dark and the moon doesn't give its light and the stars fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then the sign. The Son of Man appears in heaven and He's ready to move in judgment. But there are some things even before that...even before that. That's sort of the last major sign. But look at all they're going to be able to see who live in that time.

Go down to verse 8, all these things, this discusses the whole section around verse 8, are the beginning of birth pangs. Now what does He mean by that? Birth pains, listen very carefully, is a very graphic analogy. Birth pains come suddenly, suddenly upon a woman, they come repeatedly and they come progressively more intense. And that's the idea. The world is going to be hit with a pain, followed by another pain, followed by another pain, another pain, and it's going to be intensified, intensified, intensified until finally the event takes place. Birth pains are sudden, painful, repeated, intensified and they result in a great event. And that's why He selects that analogy. And He says there are going to be some things that should hit the world hard enough to know this event is coming. When a woman feels a birth pain, she knows what it's leading to. But these people aren't going to see it because there are going to be some false prophets running around saying "peace and safety...peace and safety."

Notice Jesus' answer, how He points this out. First thing He says in verse 4, the first thing He says in answer to their question, He said to them, "See to it that no one...what?...misleads you." There it is. Satan will always want to mislead about the truth of final judgment because it's going to include him. Don't let anyone mislead you about this. Here is written warning to the generation alive at the time of the day of the Lord.

And then He goes in to the birth pains. What's the first birth pain? Verse 5, first birth pain, "Many will come in My name saying, I am the Christ and will mislead many." The first birth pain is wide-spread deception by a proliferation of false religions, false prophets, false teachers, false leaders, false Christs and out of them will rise one false Christ and say I am Christ, the Antichrist. You see, they have to be in place when it starts so they can explain it all away. They have to be first on the scene. World-wide proliferation of false teachers, false leaders, false religionists, false Christs...I'll tell you, folks, we have a lot of them today, don't we? I think we're ready to sustain this kind of involvement. We've got enough false prophets to carry it off. And they're going to be running around explaining it all away with their Satanic explanations so people will not see it as that which leads to the day of the Lord. And as the birth pains intensify and escalate, so will the deception. The number of deceivers and deceived will grow and grow and grow as people start coming to them for answers to the coming of these tremendous calamities.

And the epitome of these false Christs will be the Antichrist, the beast of Revelation 13, the little horn of Daniel, the willful king of Daniel, the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians by all of those names. The final world ruler who makes a pact with Israel. And I can see that happening. He will be a leader who will rise out of Europe. You have the great greatest power in the world soon will be revived Europe, 1992 you have a unified Europe. It's moving very rapidly that way, out of that concentrated power base in Europe and the revived Roman Empire, as it were, rises this great ruler. Israel, of course, tremendously vulnerable to its neighbors who want to destroy it, looking for some kind of solution, looking for some kind of protection, will do exactly what they did in the Old Testament when they made alliances with Egypt. They'll make an alliance with the Antichrist and Daniel 9 says a pact for seven years of protection. And they'll think now they've got the whole of the great power of Antichrist and all of his kingdom behind them to protect them. This great world ruler will move in to prominence. Three and a half years into that pact with Israel he will move into the land, he will desecrate their temple and their worship, set himself as God to be worshiped. The false prophet will come along as his companion and point everybody to worshiping him. And he'll take over the world. But preliminary to that there will be an accumulation of false prophets and false teachers. We see that in degree today like no other time in human history. They're proliferating. That's the first birth pain. When they see the proliferation of this and the movement of these false Christs, they should know the birth pains have begun.

Compare that with Revelation chapter 6 where you have the seals. There is a scroll in the hand of Christ here. This scroll is the title deed to the earth. It is time for the Lord to take back the earth. It is time for him to bring judgment. It is time for him to unfold His wrath and His judgment. And before the great and terrible day of the Lord breaks out at the sixth seal, there are five preliminary seals that begin to unfold God's wrath in a natural way. Then at the sixth and seventh it comes in supernatural holocaust. But it starts to unfold from the first seal.
Now in ancient times when you had a title deed or a will or a testament to leave a legacy to someone, the Roman government required that it was sealed seven times so that you couldn't break the seal. It was to be sealed seven times for security. And here the Lord takes the title deed to the earth that is sealed seven times in proper legal fashion and He breaks one seal at a time and each time a seal is broken the scroll unrolls a little bit. And it unrolls at the first seal and what does it reveal? Verse 2, a white horse, someone on it with a bow which means power. The white horse was the conqueror's horse. He comes with a crown. He is a ruler and a sovereign. He conquers. You'll notice there's no war here. He has a bow but no arrows. It is a conquest of political nature, probably, of ideological, philosophical. It is a cold war conquering. It is a conquering by treaty, by manipulation or intimidation. And here is the Antichrist who comes and conquers with a false peace, without war, the ultimate false prophet. And this parallels the first birth pain.

Go back to Matthew chapter 24. The second birth pain is in verse 6, you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars, see that you're not frightened for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end, for nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The second birth pain is war. The false peace doesn't last very long. It isn't long until war begins to break out. The details of that conflict are recorded for us in Daniel chapter 11. If you read them there. And also in the book of Revelation.

The second birth pang parallels the second seal. Go back to Revelation again. In the second seal it says in verse 3, the second living creature says, "Come," and another, a red horse this time, "and to him who sat on it was granted to take peace from the earth." And here is war riding a horse. And people kill each other. And a great sword is given. Just like the wars and rumors of wars and nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, in the second birth pain the second seal is the same thing, war begins to hit the earth. And this war escalates and moves more intensely through the time period of the Tribulation. In fact, as you follow through the book of Revelation you see very clear indications of this escalating war. Chapter 9 of the book of Revelation talks about an army of 200 million that moves in a tremendous tremendous massacre, killing a third of mankind in verse 18. And then you have again in chapter 16 of the book of Revelation verse 13 the indication again of that same kind of thing, not only the kings from the east coming, but out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs, they are spirits of demons performing signs, going to the kings of the whole world to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the almighty. And so you see this ultimately ends in Armageddon.
So, war begins and escalates all the way to Armageddon.

The next birth pain you notice in Matthew 24 verse 7 and 8, it says in various places there will be famines and earthquakes, and He says all these things are just the beginning of birth pains. So the third birth pain, famine and earthquake, we'll call that natural disaster, natural disaster. John saw the same thing. Go to Revelation 6 in the third seal, just like the third birth pain. There's a black horse and he has a pair of scales. And you notice in verse 6 a quart of wheat for a denarius, three quarts of barley for a denarius and do not harm the oil and the wine. Those are famine prices when food is so expensive that no one can afford to buy it because it's so scarce. And so John in the Revelation sees in the third seal the same thing that Jesus spoke of in the third birth pain, that is famine conditions around the world, natural disasters.

Go back to Matthew 24. The fourth pain comes in verse 9, "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, kill you, you'll be hated by all nations on account of My name." Persecution. That's going to come too. There will be some believers in that time who have responded to the preaching of the gospel by the two witnesses of Revelation 11, perhaps have responded to the preaching of the gospel by the angel, the everlasting angel, who flies through heaven preaching the gospel. Perhaps they're listening to the forerunner announcing the day of the Lord and there will be some who will believe, certainly Israel will be redeemed. And there will be a great host of Gentiles that no man can number, listed in Revelation chapter 7. And so there will be those saved and then the world will turn on them and hate them and persecute them.

We find a parallel to this also in Revelation 6. Would you please look there? In the fourth seal he discussed more of the natural disasters, a fourth of the people dying from sword and famine and pestilence and wild beasts, but then the fifth seal parallels the fourth birth pain. "I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained," and there you have those martyred saints.

So, follow this, will you? First there's a rise in this proliferation of false teachers and out of them comes the Antichrist who makes a pact with Israel for seven years. That is followed when that false sense of world peace begins to disintegrate, first there are wars and rumors of wars and then nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And the world turns into a blood bath. That is followed by tremendous natural disasters brought upon the world through earthquakes, the collapse of heaven, the pollution of fresh water and salt water, the devastation caused by plagues, pestilences, diseases like AIDS and other things. And then wild beasts set loose on mankind. That is followed by martyrdom of the true believers.

And then you notice Matthew 24 verse 14, there is a final pain in these beginning of birth pains. "And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations and then the end shall come." There's going to be a world-wide preaching of the gospel, world-wide declaration of the truth. As I said, by the two witnesses, by the hundred and forty-four thousand Jews of Revelation 7 who are sealed and protected from Antichrist's persecution so they can proclaim the truth, by the everlasting angel of Revelation 14:6 and 7 who preaches the gospel supernaturally. And it's after that the end comes. You're really moving to the end.

And then in verse 15, the abomination of desolation which Daniel predicted where the Antichrist shows his true colors, moves into the temple, throws out the Jewish worship that is going on there. He desecrates the Jewish temple, sets himself up as God, that's the abomination of desolation. And then he says if you're there then you better run because you don't have much time. It's all going to come. Verse 21, "Then there will be great tribulation." For the second three and a half years there is great tribulation. The apostasy starts to run rampant. Antichrist starts his massacrying of those who believe. And there is tremendous intensification of judgment. You move from those first five seals to the trumpet judgments which are tremendously intense. And ultimately to the seven bowl judgments which are more those birth pains get closer and closer and closer, more intense, more intense, more painful, more painful.

You say, "Well now wait a minute. With all of that, don't they see it coming?" The answer is...what?, they don't see it coming. Why? Verse 5, "Because of false Christs who mislead them." Verse 11, "Because of false prophets who mislead many." Verse 12, "Because lawlessness is increased." In other words, they'll be really sinning to the max. The restrainer has taken back the restraint. The pit has belched out demons so there are more demons now in the world than there have ever been. Sin is running wild and they're loving it and they're into it. And they're believing the lies of the false prophets who are saying peace and safety, peace and safety.

Verse 24, false Christs, false prophets will arise and how do they do this? How do they mislead? "They show great signs and wonders so as to mislead. If it were possible, even the elect." There are Satanic signs, chicanery. They're fakes, phonies, maybe some of what they do is demonic, some of it is just fake, false. I tell you, I worry about this modern proliferation of signs and wonders, I don't think it's getting us ready for what God wants to do, I think it's getting us ready for what Antichrist wants to do. You have even in the church today people running around buying into anybody's signs and anybody's wonders...which they do not even test by the Word of God. There are going to be a lot of folks who say, "We did many wonderful works in Your name," to whom He will say, "I never knew you, depart from Me you workers of iniquity."

It's amazing that they're going to be deceived by signs and wonders. The whole world seems to be curious about this. Everybody wants it. That's why the Charismatic Movement proliferates, that's why Mysticism proliferates, that's why the New Age proliferates. It promises supernatural experiences. It promises you can get in touch with demons, you can channel, you can touch a medium, you can see a miracle, you can...and it's everywhere...everywhere. It's not getting ready for Christ's kingdom, it's getting ready for Antichrist's dominion. And they're going to be in to sin and they're going to be running to their false prophets for answers.

They're already doing that. When I get my haircut I take the same route to the same barber I've been going to for 20 years, a good friend. And I've always gone by a house that has a little sign outside that says, "Psychic reader, Taro cards, Future telling." I've gone by that for a long time. And the weeds used to grow there and the house was kind of shabby and dilapidated and business wasn't too hot, obviously. And I never really took note of it much after that, but the other day I went to the barber and I drove by, somebody had landscaped the whole place, it was painted, they had a brand new sign and there were two Mercedes in the driveway. And I concluded that business is moving up. This is a very disoriented confused world and they're looking for some answers. And there's a premium on psychic readers and mediums and channelers and you know that. And so, they're going to tell all their lies, it will be so easy.
I remember reading a number of years ago a book that was written by a medium and this medium received it through a demon spirit that gave the book and the book was a fascinating book shown to me by a guy who was saved out of the occult. And in the book this demon had given a message to explain away the Rapture. Some day, this demon had said, we are going to remove all the Christians from the earth so that the world can move to the highest level of its potential. If you think when the Rapture takes place and Christians all leave, everybody in the world is going to run to Christ...not so. The false prophets are going to surface and say now that these Christians who are retarding our development are out of the way we can move to the new age. And as this world begins to collapse they will explain it as the end of the old for the dawning of the new. And so people are just going to plunge into sin and carry on as usual.

Look at verse 37, this is amazing, Matthew 24, the coming of the Son of Man is going to be just like the days of Noah. In the days of Noah and before the flood they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were given in marriage. What does that mean? Life as usual. Eating, drinking takes care of now. Marrying, giving in marriage assumes you're going to be around for a long time. Life as usual. Just like in Noah's time. Noah preached righteousness for 120 years and they went on as usual. And after 120 years of warning them that a flood was coming, they all drowned. Nobody bought into it. They had their own false prophets telling them lies. And so they'll not only be doing that, verse 40 says they'll be working in the field and some of them will be in a mill or a factory when it hits. They won't expect it.

Luke 17 verse 26 is a parallel passage. And Luke records the words of our Lord, "As it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating. They were drinking. They were marrying. They were giving in marriage. Until Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all." It was the same as it happened in the days of Lot. They were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building, they were just doing what they normally did. And one day Lot left Sodom and God always delivers His people before His judgment, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. They were warned, too. Just like Noah's time was warned, just like the world of the future, the day of the Lord will be warned, they ignore it all.

You say, "How could they be so deceived? How could they be..." First of all, they have false prophets. First of all they have false prophets. And listen, people believe that stuff when you can show signs and wonders. But listen to Revelation for a moment. Chapter 13 verse 8, "And all who dwell on the earth will worship him...meaning the beast, the Antichrist...they're all going to worship him." And down in verse 11, "I saw another beast coming up out of the earth and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon." This is the false prophet who is sort of second in command. "And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence," he's vice-beast. Verse 12, "He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast." They're going to just believe the Antichrist and all his false prophets, including this one. How does he do it? Verse 13, "He performs...what?...great signs." Listen, people, watch out for the signs and wonders movement. He even makes fire come down out of heaven on the earth in the presence of men. "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast." They believe because of what he can do.

But there's another component, that's right, another component. Second Thessalonians chapter 2, another component in their deception, this is shocking, here comes the Antichrist with all power, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, and signs and false wonders. "And with this all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they didn't receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." You've got Satan, Antichrist, false prophet, false teachers, proliferating all signs and wonders going on around them and all the deceived blind people who refuse to be saved are going to be so deceived as to believe it all, right?

One more component, verse 11, "And for this reason, because they refuse the truth and salvation, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false." Is that amazing? That seals their damnation. "In order that they all may be judged." Why? "Because they didn't believe the truth, the opposite of which is to take pleasure in wickedness." So all the birth pains and all they say...peace and safety, peace and safety...shocking, isn't it?
This is a pattern in the Old Testament. Whenever God says the day of the Lord is coming, that means a final cataclysmic judgment. And day of the Lord passages in the Old Testament which looked at the final escatological day of the Lord also often looked at a historical event. In other words, there was an historical day in which God judged. And if you go back and look at some of those passages, before that historical day of the Lord hit, there were a number of natural things that occurred, natural problems and wars and attacks that were preliminary to that final day of the Lord. And you see that pattern in what I've shown you today.

So, the birth pains and the scroll unfolds those things which indicate the judgment is coming.
Now very briefly look at 1 Thessalonians 5, its character. Very simple, verse 3, its character. It will bring, it says in verse 3, destruction...destruction, then olethros, disaster, ruin, used in the Septuagint to speak of eschatological destruction. It does not mean annihilation, it means destruction from the face of the Lord, utter hopeless ruin, the loss of everything. Not the destruction of being but the destruction of well-being, not the end of existence but the ruination of the purpose for existence. God's going to ruin them, destroy them physically and cast them into hell, destruction.

Notice, "Will come upon them," aren't you glad it doesn't say us? Them, not us. Verse 4, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief." We're not going to be there to be overtaken by the day of the Lord, we will have been raptured. We left in chapter 4 so we're not around in chapter 5. It's going to come suddenly without a moment's notice like lightning. And the devastation, we've already seen. The sky goes black, everything begins to disintegrate, everything in the natural world around men.

It is so graphically described at the end of chapter 6 that I need to just read it. "The sun becomes as black as sackcloth, there's a great earthquake, the whole moon becomes like blood, the stars of the sky fall to the earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind, the sky is split apart like a scroll, every mountain and island is moved out of its place...that's incredible, that's all supernatural...the kings of the earth, the great men, the commanders, the rich, the strong, every slave and every freeman, that means everybody, hid themselves in the caves and the rocks of the mountains, said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the presence of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb for the great day of their wrath has come. And who is able to stand?" And when the seventh seal is broken, chapter 8 verse 1, there was silence...silence.

If you remember Joel and you remember Acts 2, you remember that the day of the Lord is marked by blood, fire and smoke. When you're reading Revelation some time, look how many times it mentions blood, fire and smoke...leading up to enduring the day of the Lord. This judgment will be blood, fire, smoke, darkness, earthquakes, plagues, lightning, thunder, hailstones and it will destroy the wicked. In fact, before the day of the Lord is ultimately over in its second phase Peter says the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up so that God will have to make a whole new heaven and a whole new earth, that's how devastating it's going to be.

That's where history is going, folks. That's where history is going. And the false prophets, Peter says, think they're so smart, the false prophets say, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." There's an atheistic evolutionary world view. It's just the same as it's always been. Or perhaps there's that cyclical view, well it's just the same old cycles, never changes. Oh? It's going to change all right, it's going to change in the day of the Lord.

Notice, would you please, verse 3, one more note on this second point. It's going to come and it's going to come suddenly and look at this, it's going to come like...what?...birth pangs upon a woman with child. Haven't we heard about birth pangs before? The day of the Lord really begins with the...what?...the birth pangs. That's the anticipation of the great and horrible, terrible day which unfolds at the sixth seal. But everything preliminary is part of the birth pangs leading up to that moment. Sudden recurring increasing pain until finally it hits.

Its coming, its character, thirdly and briefly its completeness. How comprehensive is the judgment? Well I told you, it's going to ultimately destroy the whole universe. Nobody will survive and it says at the end of verse 3, "They shall not...what?...escape." Who is they? The same they that believe Antichrist and all his false prophets, lies about peace and safety. The same they that are the them upon whom the destruction comes. Nobody will ekpheugo, the word from which we get fugitive with ek added to it, they'll not be able to run out, to escape completely, to get away. They can't escape. When the day of the Lord hits, no one will escape, no one, none.

Boy, what an important message that is to remind people about. In Matthew 13:41 Jesus said, "The Son of Man will send His angels and they'll gather out of His Kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness, and cast them into the furnace of fire and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Verse 49, "It will be that way at the end of the age, the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous and cast them into the furnace of fire." Nobody escapes, nobody.

You remember the pensive statement of the writer of Hebrews? "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" And all the kings and commanders and rulers and freemen and slaves and everybody will cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, but none will escape, none.

In conclusion, a word of comfort, verse 4, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief, for you are all sons of light and sons of day, we're not of night nor of darkness." Isn't that wonderful? We're not going to be there for the darkness. We're not going to be there for the day to overtake us. We belong in the light. And verse 9 says it, "For God has not destined us for...what?...for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." Let's bow together in prayer.

Father, as we think about this it is an awesome reality and must have implications for what we do with our life. Since this is true. I don't want to spend my life doing anything other than what I'm doing, to warn as many as possible of this coming judgment. And even this day and this place, there are those who hear my voice who will not experience the catching away of God's beloved church, those in Christ, because they have not believed the truth and turned from their sin and wickedness and so they will experience Your judgment, either in the day of the Lord if they live that long, or an eternal hell if they die first. But, Father, we pray that that would not be the case, that no one hearing this message would turn his or her back on the salvation that is in Christ. Thank You for the Lord Jesus who came into this world to pay the penalty for our sin and to offer us eternal life through His resurrection. May we preach, Lord, faithfully the saving gospel to doomed men and women and may they know that if they will turn from their sin, receive the gift of salvation that the Lord Jesus offers and follow Him they will pass from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom and from death to life. Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day of the Lord Part 2

The Day of the Lord, Pt. 2
by John MacArthur
1 Thessalonians 5:3

We've been for many months now studying Paul's first letter to the Thessalonian church. We find ourselves in chapter 5 and I would invite you to turn to chapter 5 and we look again at the first three verses of this chapter...First Thessalonians chapter 5 verses 1 through 3.

Those of you who were hear last Sunday night will remember that we spent some time in the wonderful twenty‑fourth chapter of Acts. A discussion there takes place between the Apostle Paul and the governor by the name of Felix. His wife is by his side, she being named Drusilla. The Apostle Paul comes before the governor and his wife with the purpose of presenting to them the way of truth in Jesus Christ, or the gospel. And as he approaches them it's clearly stated in verse 25 of Acts 24 that he discussed with them three things...righteousness, self‑ control, and judgment. Here was the Apostle Paul confronting a pagan, here was the Apostle Paul confronting the man who was his captor, who really had authority over his life. Here was the Apostle Paul confronting a man that he longed to bring to the knowledge of Christ. And of what did he speak? He spoke of righteousness.

What does that mean? He told Felix and Drusilla that God had a righteous standard, that God was a righteous and a holy God who could not tolerate sin. That's what the righteousness of God is all about. He told them that God demanded perfect sinlessness, even as Jesus said, "Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." And then he spoke to them about self‑ control. That is that not only is God perfect and demands a perfect standard, but man must also meet that standard and must exercise self‑control in so doing. And then he spoke of judgment. What did he mean by that? That man cannot meet that standard and so he is under condemnation. God is righteous and has a righteous standard. Man must control himself to live to that standard. If he fails, he is damned. Paul taught sin. Paul taught judgment.

Paul was really right on target because it says in John's gospel, chapter 16, that the Holy Spirit will come into the world to convict men of sin and righteousness and judgment. Same issues. And so the Apostle Paul right in line with the work of the Holy Spirit was giving to this man a message about judgment. I believe that all faithful prophets, all faithful apostles, and all faithful preachers and teachers preach judgment.

Even though the Apostle Paul was only a few weeks with the Thessalonians and then had to leave and is now some months later writing this letter back, in the few weeks that he was there and was used by God to give birth to the church he taught them about these same matters. He must have brought to them the same kind of message about God, the true God who had a righteous standard, a standard to which all men were called to live and if they didn't were judged. And then the rest of the story which is that God sent His Son to pay the penalty for our failure to keep the standard, to offer us forgiveness and clothe us with His own righteousness.

So they must have known about wrath, surely they did. Go back to chapter 1 and verse 10 for a moment. As Paul writes back and describes them he says that you really are a Second Coming church, verse 10 of chapter 1, waiting for His Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. He doesn't describe what that is because obviously they already knew. Part of his ministry to them was to give them information about the wrath to come. In chapter 2 and verse 16 he again notes at the end of the verse, "But wrath has come upon them to the utmost." And this wrath here is undefined because, no doubt, he had already told them about it. In chapter 4 verse 6 again he refers to the fact that the Lord is an avenger, the Lord will bring vengeance.

And in the second letter that he writes them, a little later, 2 Thessalonians, would you notice chapter 1? This also builds on a previous knowledge that they had about the wrath of God. After an opening greeting and a word of thanks in verses 3 and 4 for their spiritual progress, he then in verse 5 begins to talk about God's righteous judgment. And down in verse 6 he says God is going to repay with affliction those who afflict His church. And then in verse 7 he says the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

In these two letters then there are a number of references to the coming judgment. References which build upon what Paul had already taught them in a presentation of the gospel. Down in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 5 while talking here about the day of the Lord he says, "Do you not remember that while I was still with you I was telling you these things?" In any presentation of the gospel, it is mandatory that there be a discussion of judgment. Paul taught sin. Paul taught judgment. Paul had already delineated some of that information to the Thessalonians when he was there in Thessalonica founding the church. He must have told them about the day of the Lord to some degree for in the second letter, as I read in chapter 2 verse 5, he says, "When I was with you I was telling you these things." He must have told them about the day of fury, the day of wrath, the day of vengeance, the day of judgment when God destroys the wicked and consigns them to eternal hell. Judgment was a part of his message. And it is about that judgment that he speaks here in chapter 5, let's look at the first three verses.

"Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying peace and safety, then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child and they shall not escape."

This reference to the day of the Lord in verse 2 keys this entire text all the way down through verse 11. The prophets of the Old Testament also spoke of the day of the Lord, as I pointed out in our last study. They called it the great and terrible day of the Lord. Amos, for example, is one of the prophets that writes about the day of the Lord, along with others like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah and Malachi. And Amos, for example, shows us that the day of the Lord will be darkness and not light. It will be judgment and not mercy. It will be wrath and not blessing. He shows us that the day of the Lord will bring a disruption of the physical order, a cosmic catastrophe caused by God Himself as He overrules the natural process. Amos tells us that under the fury of divine judgment on the day of the Lord the whole earth will devastated and will become like a turbulent sea or like the rising and falling of the Nile River which overflows its banks for miles, drowning and submerging everything in its wake. Amos tells us that the sun will go out at noon and cover the whole world in darkness. And then Amos says supernatural fire will come to destroy the sea and the land.

The prophetic view of the day of the Lord is indeed frightening...frightening. And while each of those Old Testament prophets was looking at a historical event in the near future in which God would come in wrath and that was a historical day of the Lord, they also saw beyond that to a final ultimate eschatological day of the Lord when God will ultimately destroy all the wicked in the world.

In chapter 5 the Apostle Paul wants to talk about this day. You say why? Because it has implications for his readers. And it has implications for you. Those implications unfold in verses 4 through 11, we'll get to those in a little while, not today. But we have to live in the light of God's eternal judgment. When we understand the fear of the Lord that should put something into our lives that might not otherwise be there in terms of motivation and responsibility. And so he has a message to give to these believers about living in the light of God's devastating, final and eternal judgment on the ungodly. And he'll give that message in these eleven verses.

Now remember in chapter 4 as he ended the chapter, he gave a marvelous insight into the Rapture. That's a different event. The Rapture is the catching away of the church. That's not something to fear, that's something to comfort. In fact, in verse 18 of chapter 4 it says, "Comfort one another with these words." The Rapture describes the catching away of the church. It's a blessed event. It's a wonderful event. It's a hopeful event. It's a joyous event. It's the time of our glorification. It's the time of our reward. It's the time when we become like Jesus Christ. It's the time when we enter into His wonderful and eternal presence in the Father's house, in the room that He's been preparing for us ever since He left. But from that wonderful event, that hopeful event, he moves to that horrible event called the day of the Lord.

I told you two weeks ago the previous section on the Rapture was to comfort troubled Christians. This one is to trouble comfortable Christians. His discussion of the Rapture was not necessarily comprehensive, just enough to comfort them. And his discussion here of the day of the Lord is not comprehensive, it's just enough to motivate us. In both cases there is a practical applicational purpose, there is an ethical behavioral goal in mind. On the one hand, to bring us comfort. On the other hand, to bring us motivation to holy living. So as we come to chapter 5 and the day of the Lord, let's look at these first three verses again, continue where we left off. And remember, there are three features that come clear in these first verses...the coming of the day of the Lord, the character of the day of the Lord and the completeness of the day of the Lord.

He introduces the subject in verse 1, remember this now, we looked at it in our last message. "Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you." Like many people since that time and today as well, they were curious about when Jesus was going to come. When is the Rapture? When is the day of the Lord? When are all these end time events going to take place? He says, "You have no need of anything to be written to you..." Why? Because you don't need to know that. That's not something you need to know. You know what you need to know. You know the Lord Jesus is going to come back in flaming fire and He's going to bring wrath on the ungodly, you already know that. You don't need to know when. You don't need to know the chronos and the kairos, the times and seasons, when is it going to happen, at what period of human history, you don't need to know that. Paul's response, by the way, was exactly like Jesus. Matthew 24:36, Acts 1:7, He said, "It's not for you to know the times and the seasons." It's not for you to know. He even made the amazing and astounding statement that even the Son of Man doesn't know that. But God the Father alone.

God has left us in he dark about that. Why? So that every generation would live in the light of the reality that it could happen in their life time. So that every generation would have to face the fact that Jesus could come in final judgment during their life time. Now the Lord has given us information about the Rapture, described it, told us what is going to happen, the dead in Christ rise first, the ones who are alive and remain meet them in the air and they all go to heaven to dwell in the Father's house and to ever be with the Lord. We understand there's a trumpet and a voice of an angel. But we don't know the timing. We know a little bit about the event but we don't know exactly when it's going to happen. There is no discussion of timing in any passage dealing with the Rapture. There are three explicit passages in the New Testament that deal with the Rapture. They're very clear...John 14, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, none of them tell us when. We have no knowledge of when.

There are numerous passages about the day of the Lord but there is no date given. There is no specific day or hour. Now there are some indications that the day of the Lord is near and we'll talk about those in a moment. But the specific time is not known so that everyone lives in expectation, everyone lives in anticipation. Once the signs that precede the day of the Lord start to happen, a wise and informed person could know that it was coming soon but not know the day or the hour. But as to when those preliminary signs will start and what generation will be alive to experience that, we have no knowledge, none whatsoever. And anybody who sets a date is operating completely independent of God, the Holy Spirit and the Scripture. There is an element in both the Rapture and the day of the Lord that you must recognize and that's the element of unexpectedness...unexpectedness, so that everyone lives in anticipation and accountability and expectation.

Now let's review the coming in verse 2. "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." How did they know that full well? Well, Paul said I taught you many of these things, 2 Thessalonians 2:5. He also probably reiterated that Jesus said that, that the day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. He is borrowing terminology, by the way, from our Lord who is the one who said the day of the Lord would come like a thief. Paul adds the little phrase "in the night" because that's usually when thieves came and come. But the point he makes here is, "Look, you already know because I've told you and because Jesus said it that the day of the Lord is like a thief." What does that mean? The thief doesn't announce his arrival. Your relatives tell you they're coming, you hope. Your friends tell you they're coming. Your enemies never tell you that. The thief does not announce that. His coming is unexpected. And that's the simple analogy that the Apostle Paul wants to review with them. You can't know. It's unexpected.

Back in Matthew chapter 24 the Lord indicated this in numerous ways. He said, "If the householder in the house had known when the thief was coming, he would have been prepared and he wouldn't have had his house broken into." And further in that chapter He says in verse 50, "If the slave had known when the master was coming back, he would have ordered his life a little differently." But there's an unexpectedness. Chapter 25 verse 13 says, "Be on the alert for you don't know when your master is coming." In Luke 12:39 and 40 the Lord says the same thing. So Paul says, "Look, with regard to timing and when it's going to happen, you don't have any need of anything to be written to you because God hasn't given us that information and you don't need it. The only thing you need to know you already know because you know full well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in a time when you don't expect it."

Timing details are not given. "No man knows the day nor the hour, not even the Son of Man but the Father only," Jesus said. So like the Rapture we can know about the event but we can't know when it's going to happen. And so the day of the Lord, we can know about it but we can't know when it's going to happen. Such information is not available because the Lord has not chosen to give it.

But that introduces us then to that concept in verse 2 of the day of the Lord. That's a technical term. That is a technical phrase, appears numerous times in the Old and New Testament. What does it mean? The final cataclysmic judgment by God on the wicked. It refers to the time of the culmination of God's fury and wrath in final climactic judgment. The prophets spoke of it. The writers of the New Testament speak of it. And always it refers to the unleashing of God's final fury on sinners on the earth. As I said, there was a historical day of the Lord the Old Testament writers wrote about. There was only a small preview of that final eschatological day of the Lord that would come in the very end time. In all discussions of the day of the Lord there's a sense of nearness, of expectation, an element of surprise. As I said, this is true for the Rapture and this is true for the day of the Lord. It will be sudden, unwelcomed, harmful and unexpected.

Is there benefit in living without this information? Yes. First John 3 says that he that hath this hope in him purifies himself, speaking of the Rapture really. If you have the hope that you're going to go to be with Jesus Christ and that could happen any moment and you're going to be made like Him and you're going to see Him face to face, that kind of hope should have a direct effect on the purity of your own life, right? Absolutely right. And if...that's with the Rapture...and if with the day of the Lord you realize it could happen to any generation, it ought to make you very very concerned about the generation in which you live...having to face this eternal judgment. Like Paul said, "Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men." We don't know when that terror is going to break loose, but we're busy persuading men because we know it's coming.

Certainly Paul felt the Rapture would come in his life time, followed by the day of the Lord. And when it didn't come, the Thessalonians were concerned and wanted to know when it was going to come. Paul says there's no such information.

Now let me go on and give you some insights that you need to have. No passage, no passage dealing with the Rapture gives any preliminary signs that the Rapture is about to happen. John 14, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4 are the Rapture texts of the New Testament, none of them gives us any preliminary sign. No passages talk about precursors, preliminary events, nothing like that.

On the other hand, follow my thinking, on the other hand, passages dealing with the day of the Lord do mention precursors, preliminary events, signs, signals, so that a person should have some general idea that it's near. You say, "Well, what are these preliminary events?" There are none given in the Rapture passages. There are numerous ones given in the day of the Lord passages, let me give you a sampling.

In Malachi 4:5, don't turn to it, but in Malachi 4:5 Malachi says, "That before the day of the Lord can come an Elijah like forerunner must come first," like John the Baptist came before the coming of Christ, a forerunner. Malachi 4:5 says the day of the Lord cannot occur until this Elijah‑like, this prophetic person, this sort of John the Baptist type comes to announce the coming of the Messiah. So God is actually going to send a forerunner before the day of the Lord to announce His coming, Malachi 4:5. So if the forerunner isn't here yet making that announcement, then the day of the Lord isn't near yet.

Secondly, in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 3 the Apostle Paul says the day of the Lord will not occur until the apostasy, which is a world‑wide rebellion against God and Christ and Scripture. There will be a world‑wide rebellion against God first, then comes the day of the Lord. Second Thessalonians 2:3 and 4 also says, "The day of the Lord will not come until the man of sin be revealed," the Antichrist. "And until he set himself up in the temple," which means that he goes into the temple in Jerusalem, abominates the temple, called the abomination of desolation, then sets himself up as the authority, as the one to be worshiped.

Now Daniel tells us about it. And Jesus reiterates it in Matthew 24 and says that in the middle of a seven‑year period called the Tribulation, in the middle of that seventieth week, that seven‑year period, Antichrist will rise, desecrate the temple, set himself up as God in the temple. That's at the mid point. The day of the Lord will happen toward the end of that Tribulation, some time toward the end of that last three and a half years so when the abomination of desolation takes place by the Antichrist in Jerusalem, you know the day of the Lord is not far away. And then sometime in that same period the great apostasy will take place, the rebellion against God, orchestrated, no doubt, and led by Antichrist. And then will appear and Elijah‑like John the Baptist proclaimer announcing the coming of the Lord. And then another event will begin to take place as an indication that the day of the Lord is about to come and that is in Joel 3:9, it says, "The nations will begin to be assembled in the valley of decision." The nations of the world will move toward the valley of decision in what we know as the ultimate Armageddon will eventually take place as the nations of the world begin to move in to Megiddo in the Middle East. You don't have to be too bright to know that the focus of the whole wide world is on the Middle East. But all of that is going to happen in the last three and a half years of the Tribulation time, just prior to the day of the Lord which comes toward the end of that time.

So, the day of the Lord can't come until an Elijah‑like forerunner comes, a great world apostasy against God comes, the Antichrist abominates the temple and sets himself up, the nations begin to move and migrate into the valley of decision, as it's called, when God is going to decide what to do with them. And then right immediately, we don't know whether it's hours or days or even weeks, before the day of the Lord comes, listen to what else is going to happen. "The sun will be turned into darkness," Joel 2:31, "the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." So just before that day of the Lord comes, the sun and the moon go out. Joel 3:15 says this, "The sun and moon grow dark, the stars lose their brightness," the stars go out. Isaiah 13:10 describes it, "The stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light, the sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light." Matthew 24:29 says, "Immediately after the Tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, the powers of heavens will be shaken." Mark 13:24, "In those days after that Tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light." Luke 21:25, "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars and on the earth dismay among nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves." How did the sea get into it? Put out the sun and you put out the moon, put out the moon and you send the tides of the world into absolute chaos.

And so you have these precursors, these events before the day of the Lord hits. And what actually signals that the day of the Lord has arrived? Matthew 24 says it in explicit terms, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." The whole world sees Christ coming in blazing glory out of heaven, first to gather His elect and then to destroy the wicked of the world. This comes after the Tribulation of those days, after it's run almost its whole course, right toward the end of that seven‑year period. And so the day of the Lord is going to have some preliminary indicators, during that last three and a half years, the abomination of desolation which tells the whole world who the Antichrist is, he abominates the temple. They don't see him as the Antichrist, the agent of Satan, but those who understand Scripture will see it as such. And then you have that followed by the forerunner who announces the coming of Messiah, the nations moving to the valley of decision, the great world‑wide apostasy and then at some point toward the end just before the day of the Lord everything in the universe goes black, the earth goes into utter chaos. And then the Lord comes in judgment, that's the day of the Lord.

Unbelievably, absolutely incomprehensibly the people in the world at that time are going to have an inexplicable response on the surface. Look at verse 3, an inexplicable response, verse 3, "While they are saying, `Peace and safety,' then destruction will come." Stop at that point. You say, "What? They're saying what?" They're saying "Peace and safety." You say, "Now wait a minute. The Bible says you can't know the day or the hour." That's right. "But you can know the general time frame for the day of the Lord." That's correct, not the specific day, not the hour but the general time frame...yes. Why? Because the abomination of desolation has happened, because somebody is announcing the coming of Christ, because of a world‑wide apostasy, because of the nations going into the valley of decision and certainly because everything goes black. But in spite of this, and mark this, even before the mid‑point of the seven years there will be other things to indicate the end, and we'll see those next Sunday. There will be other evidences listed in the first five seals of Revelation that will show that we're moving toward the end. In spite of that, in spite of the Antichrist, in spite of all of those preliminaries, in spite of all of it the response of people is peace and safety. What does that mean? Everything will be fine. We're headed for a time of peace. We're headed for a time of safety.

You say, "That's absolutely ludicrous. That's absolutely ridiculous. Who in the world would ever come up with that kind of a response?" Pretty simple, if you think about it. They're being convinced by a special group...a special group of people are working real hard to convince them that peace and safety is coming. Take a wild guess and imagine who that group represents? It wouldn't be God, would it? It must be the enemy. Peace and safety...peace and safety...everything is going to be fine, we're moving toward a wonderful time, all this is going to be over. This is the beginning of...I can hear it now...this is the beginning of the new age...the old one is falling apart, it's all disintegrating and all of the Christians who have been raptured were the problem, we got rid of them and the whole thing is now being reshuffled and we're going to come in to the dawning of a new age.

You say, "Who is going to be preaching that?" It doesn't take much imagination to answer the question. Let me give you an illustration of how it works. If you go back into Jeremiah's prophecy with me, let's go back to chapter 6. Jeremiah prophesied about the day of the Lord. Jeremiah warned Judah, the southern kingdom, of judgment. And Jeremiah was talking about a historical day of the Lord in which God would come and use another nation to be His judge and executioner. Many of them would be massacred and the rest would be deported off into Babylon. So Jeremiah saw a near historical day of the Lord in anticipation of that ultimate final day of the Lord. But notice what he had to contend with, right? He was predicting that this army was going to come in and wipe out Judah and dispossesses them from their land and haul them off into captivity and all of this. This was Jeremiah's message. But would you please notice chapter 6 verse 1, he tells them that there are some present signs to indicate what he says is true. By the way, he's crying, he's using object lessons, he was the weeping prophet. He's preaching in the streets. He's warning and warning and warning that God's judgment is coming. And here he says, "Look, flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin, run from the midst of Jerusalem, blow a trumpet in Tekoa and raise a signal over Bethhaccerem." Why? "Already look at the north, evil looks down from the north and a great destruction." Look, the army is camped on the northern border. Can't you see the sign? Can't you see the signal? Run, flee, get your life right.

But he had some other people to contend with. Chapter 6 verse 13, he says in the middle of the verse, "And from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely and they have healed the brokenness of my people superficially, saying, Peace, peace. But there is no peace." What are the false prophets saying? Oh, don't worry about that army up there, nothing...we'll just head it in to a new era of peace, this is the dawning of a new time of peace, everything is going to be wonderful.

Where do you think they were getting their message? From Satan himself and his demons who always do everything they can to lie and deceive the people of God. And so these false demon‑ inspired prophets were running around saying, "Peace, peace, we're coming to a time of peace, we're coming to a time of peace."

Chapter 8 verse 11 says essentially the same thing. "They heal the brokenness of the daughter of my people superficially." These prophets can't heal anybody, these prophets can't make people spiritually whole, theirs is a superficial ministry because it's filled with lies. They say peace, peace, but there's no peace. It isn't going to be peace.

Chapter 14, two verses, verses 13 and 14, "But, Ah Lord God, I said, Look, the prophets are telling them you will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place." That's what they're telling the people, lasting peace, no sword, no famine. Ah, Lord God, he says, I've got so much competition, giving people the wrong information.

Listen, believe it, folks, in the latter times before the final holocaust of the day of the Lord, the world will literally be crawling with demonically inspired false prophets lying about what is going on. And that is why they'll be saying peace and safety, peace and safety. In verse 14 the Lord says the prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them, they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. Lamentations 2:14 also written by Jeremiah says the same thing, "Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions and they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles."

Look at Ezekiel, Ezekiel had the same problem. Ezekiel chapter 13, most fascinating, this is a graphic illustration. In verse 10, "God says," God is speaking here, starts speaking in verse 8, but down in verse 10, "It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying peace when there is no peace." And Ezekiel was having to compete with the same kind of thing during the time of his prophecy. And so what he does is...God makes an analogy, God uses an illustration. "And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash." And this is His analogy, "So tell those who plaster it over with whitewash," that is the false prophets, "that it will fall." They put up their prophetic office, they parade themselves as if they are the wall of protection for God's people, they cover themselves with whitewash to make them look holy and good, "You tell them for me that wall is going to fall, that false protection, a flooding rain will come and, ye, O hailstones will fall and a violent wind will break out. Behold, when the wall is fallen, will you not be asked, where is the plaster with which you plastered it?"

In other words, wait a minute, what were all those words you said to us that were supposed to protect us? "Therefore, thus says the Lord God, I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath, there will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones that consume it in wrath, I'll tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground so that its foundation is laid bear...that is you'll see that these false, these prophets were false...and when it falls you will be consumed in its midst, you will be unprotected and judged, you will know that I am the Lord, thus I'll spend My wrath on the wall and on those who plastered it with whitewash and I shall say to you, the wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, along with the prophets of Israel who prophesied of Jerusalem and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace."

Micah said the same thing. Micah looked at the day of the Lord, chapter 3 verse 5, he says, "They cry peace, there's no peace." Look with me at Matthew chapter 24 again for a brief, brief moment. In Matthew chapter 24 you have a description of the events prior to the day of the Lord. And I want you to notice this, we'll see more about this next time, but in Matthew 24 he's describing the Tribulation. He describes here the abomination of desolation in verse 15, where the Antichrist desecrates the temple in Jerusalem. And then the persecution that comes as a result of that. But notice verse 24, he writes, "During that time, right prior to the day of the Lord...the day of the Lord actually breaks out in verse 30, so here in verse that time, false Christs, false prophets will arise, will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if it were possible...and it isn't...even the elect." What makes these false prophets believable? Why is the world that has just seen, mark this, wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, massacres, abomination of desolation, arrival of a forerunner, world‑wide apostasy, gathering of nations in to the valley of decision, why‑‑an imaginable thought‑‑will the world believe false prophets who say this is just the dawning of a wonderful new time of peace? I'll tell you why, because those false prophets will do great...what?...signs and wonders...great signs and wonders.

Whatever capability hell has to put on a show, it will put it on then. And even with all that's happening, the witless world will buy the Satanic lies and go like sheep to a slaughter even though they've been warned and warned and warned and warned.

I believe that it's my responsibility as a servant of God to warn this generation and so next Lord's day I want to take you through all of the preliminary events to the day of the Lord so that you'll know what is coming. You say, "Will we be there at the day of the Lord?" No. We'll be taken out before the day of the Lord. Now as you know through all the years it has been my conviction to teach you that we are taken out before that final seventieth week, that final seven‑year period begins. The great promise is that we have not been appointed unto wrath. We have been appointed unto glory. If you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, the future you look for is all glorious. If you don't know Him, the future you look forward to is all terrifying. It is not insignificant thing that the whole world has its eyes on the Middle East, that's where all the consummation of God's history will take place. It could be in this generation, it could be soon. We must be ready. If you know Christ, you'll be taken before it hits. If you don't, you'll be destroyed when it comes. Let's bow in prayer.

Father, we remember that Paul reasoned with Felix and Drusilla about judgment. He would be a faithless preacher, an unfaithful steward who did not so warn people. So, Lord, for those who do not know Christ, who have no blessed hope, we would pray, O God, that in mighty grace You would sweep over them through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and the belief of the truth that they might come to salvation and to hope. For those of us who are Christians, though we will not experience the day of the Lord, we know people who will, and knowing the terror of the Lord may we do all we can to persuade them to be reconciled to God and Christ. Further, Lord, because of what characterizes the people of the darkness, may we not live like they live. We're not of the night. We're not of the darkness. We're not of the day of the Lord. May we not live like those people live but may this insight into what God will do to people who live like that be a reminder that we are not to live like that. Lord, how could we conduct ourselves in a way that will result in the damnation of other souls? How could we want to identify with their life patterns and so abuse Your forgiving grace? So, Father, teach us how to apply these things in our own lives, for Christ's sake. Amen.