"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (Jas 4:4).
That people are going to be offended after reading this article, I have no doubt. Not only this, but in order to keep me from bringing forth this message, for the past three weeks I have come under the most violent, unrelenting satanic attack launched against me by the evil one thus far in my twenty-six years of teaching God's Word. Not only have I been attacked night and day by a hideous spirit in order to torment me and try to keep me out of prayer, but yesterday, while out in public, an evil spirit, speaking to me through an earthen vessel in a restaurant parking lot, began to curse at me and verbally attack me with vicious words of hatred. The individual through whom Satan spoke was not provoked by me in any way. Out of nowhere, this individual confronted me and erupted, with a face contorted and twisted in anger and rage, and began to spew out obscenities at me. In my spirit, I immediately discerned that it was an evil spirit speaking to me through this individual. When this happened, I knew that it was time to write, for Satan was getting desperate.
While this message pertains to all Christians the world over, it is the Christians who reside in the United States of America who are being particularly addressed, for with them lies Christ's greatest displeasure. They have been given much, yet have given so little to Him but the sin of "adultery."
Many in the United States who profess to be "in Christ," will not be ready to stand before Him when he returns. He will not recognize them as His own, nor will He acknowledge them before His Father and all the holy angels. He will reject them because they were not willing to reject the world and all that it had to offer. They were not willing to completely sever all ties with the world. They refused to loosen their embrace when it came to the love of the world. They did not loosen their embrace because Satan deceived them into believing that they could have both God and the world and still be considered one of God's own.
Am I referring to the man who calls himself a Christian, yet never goes to church? Am I referring to the woman who calls herself a Christian, yet does not devote her life to the works of God's kingdom? Are these the ones who have been the most deceived? Although they have been deceived, there is a group that has been even more cleverly and viciously duped by the prince of darkness, and that is the group that sits in the pews Sunday after Sunday in order to pray, sing, and hear the Word of the Lord.
We have thousands of men and women in the United States (both Catholic and Protestant) who attend church services week after week. They pray to Jesus, sing hymns to Jesus, listen to the words of Jesus, and even put money into the offering basket for Jesus. Many of them have even devoted their time to works for Jesus. They teach CCD or Sunday School classes. They serve as ushers and greeters or they head up committees. They work in church offices, sing in choirs, lead prayer groups, and even preach behind pulpits. They do all of this for Jesus, and yet, many will not be recognized as belonging to Him when He returns.
On the day of Christ's return, they will say to Jesus, "Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Lord, we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. How can you not know us? We went to church, we gave to the church, and we even served in the church. We went to prayer meetings, studied the Bible, and walked around quoting the Saints and the Sacred Scriptures. Master, how can you not know us?" But Jesus will look at them and say, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
With the exception of a holy remnant who have remained faithful to the Master and His teachings, the American church is an adulterous church. She loves the world, and she will not let it go. She wants her pleasures and her God, and she will not make a choice for one or the other. She believes that she can have both, because Satan has told her that she can have both. Her pews are filled on Sunday morning with men and women who are willing to give God His "Sunday-morning due," but who spend the rest of the week pursuing the pleasures of this world and indulging and devoting themselves to the preoccupation of pleasure and comfort.
Hours are spent, not in prayer at the feet of the Master, but
before the television set watching worldly programming and football games - things that do not
profit the spirit of man or nourish his soul. Years are
spent, not pursuing Christ and His righteousness, but the treasures of this world, which are
temporary and passing away.
The American Christian is attached to the things of this world. He places his happiness in these things, not in His relationship with the Son of God. He loathes, and has a particular contempt, for going without, sacrificing, and suffering. He protects himself from discomfort in any degree and will fight to the death to protect himself from the sting of self-denial and the pain of the cross. He has the greatest regard for wealth, pleasure, and honor. In his mind, these are the treasures which ought to be sought, and he pursues them with extreme eagerness. He has the same priorities, values, and desires as does the fool who has said in his heart, "There is no God!" but because he goes to church every Sunday, and says to his fellow man, "Jesus Christ is Lord!" he believes he is saved and on his way to heaven. Let the priests, nuns, and monks withdraw from the world and devote their lives to prayer and good works. Let them be stripped of the things of this world, but leave him alone! Don't tell him how to live and what Christ commands him to give up! Leave the preaching of the Gospel to priests, preachers, and "professional evangelists;" why should he get involved in the salvation of another man's soul?
He is blind to God and the true state of his soul! Jesus said,
first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as
well…" but in his mind, earthly treasures come first; God's kingdom comes later. His only concern is his comfortable easy chair, his television programs, his hobbies and recreational
activities. His only concern is his soft bed, the clothes
that he wears, the food and drink that he consumes, and the pursuit of material things and the
comfortable life. This man goes to church on Sunday morning,
but he has not been stripped of his love for the world and all that it has to offer.
Church attendance, church works, and church offerings aside, he has never made a choice between Christ and this world. He has never made a choice between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God. His lips have never made contact with wine, he's never taken a drag of a cigarette, and he considers himself sanctified in Christ because of these abstinences. From these he has abstained, but not from the pollution of this world. He reeks of the stench and corruption of this world, though he knows it not. He considers himself clothed with Christ, yet his garments are filthy, stained, and defiled. In his unfaithfulness to Christ, he has prostituted himself with the world and committed adultery against the Bridegroom.
Brothers and sisters, do we fully understand what Jesus meant when he warned us not to love the world or anything in the world? Jesus said, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world." (1 Jn 2:15-16).
Many in the American church love the world. They have not separated themselves from the world. They dress like the world, they read the same books as the world, and they watch the same movies and television programs as the world. They listen to the same music as the world, have the same values and priorities as the world, behave just like the world, and spend their free time pursuing the same things as the world.
The severity of many of Christ's teachings has been so watered down in today's typical American church that most people who consider themselves Christians have absolutely no idea what it means to be separated from the world, to be holy and pure, and to belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.
You and I have been called to abandon the world. We are to despise it and to have nothing to do with it. The world is the enemy of Jesus Christ, and it is the enemy of His sacred Gospel. The spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. When we think of "worldliness," we think of sexual immorality, drunkenness, and the telling of lies. We think of murder and other crimes that "people of the world" commit. But "worldliness" consists of much more than this. Many of the things that we have given ourselves over to are permissible and not sinful. Watching television, enjoying a good meal, making a purchase, or attending a football game are not sinful acts. But when we give ourselves over to these things, and the bulk of our time, talent, and treasure are spent in the pursuit of these things, we have crossed a line.
Many people who call themselves Christians like to spend money on things. Americans are always buying something. This is because our entire culture is centered on consumption. This love of material things is also in the church. We're always buying clothes, cars, furniture, and gadgets. We pinch a few dollars out of our wallets in order to give to the church, (and some even tithe 10 percent of their income) but the bulk of our money is either accumulating in a savings account or being spent on things that have no value as far as eternity is concerned. Is this what Jesus taught us to do? Jesus taught that we should only live on what we need and to share the rest of our excess with the poor. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses (or wallets) for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Lk 12:32-34).
And yet, how many of us are actually doing this? How many of us are simply living on what we need and giving out the rest to the poor? Because we are enslaved to the spirit of this world, we are terrified at the thought of being stripped of our comfortable lives. We save our money and put it into the bank because that money is our security. It assures us of tomorrow’s comfort and enjoyment of life. Our enslavement to the world will not allow us to simply live by faith and to trust God to meet the needs in our lives day by day. Instead of selling our possessions, we accumulate them. We do the exact opposite of what our Lord taught us to do. Sell that second car? Sell my stereo and my CDs and give the money to the poor? Sell all of those extra clothes that have been languishing in my closet? Part with my mall money? Is Jesus for real? How's a man supposed to live?
Brothers and sisters, listen to me. Because the spirit of the world has permeated the church, we have lowered the bar when it comes to holy living, purity, and separation from this world. We don't have a clue as to what true holiness entails. Not a clue. When I read "Christian" blogs, I'm appalled at the things Christians talk about on the Internet. I recently read a blog written by a Christian woman who spoke about her trouble sleeping at night because she was always in the mood for sex and had no one in her life to meet that need. Is this fitting speech for a daughter of the Most High? Should we not rather speak of things that will glorify God and lead others to Christ?
Women come into church wearing skin tight jeans and dresses. Sweaters are skin tight and low cut. Many of the dresses are so short that if the woman bent down, her private parts would be exposed for all to see. Is this fitting attire for a daughter of the Most High? Does not Paul teach that a woman should dress with decency and propriety?
Several years ago, I was teaching a women's bible study in my home. Two of the women showed up an hour late. When they walked into my home, they announced to the group that they had gone to a tattoo parlor in order to get tattoos on their rear ends. While announcing this to the group, one of the women pulled down her pants and showed everyone her "artwork." Is this how holy women of God are to conduct themselves? Not only did these women think there was nothing wrong with exposing their rear ends to a male tattooist, but one of them thought absolutely nothing about pulling down her pants and exposing her nakedness before the group in order to show them the tattoo.
We might think that these are just isolated incidents that take place in the lives of a few who are woefully deceived, but this kind of worldliness in the American church is the norm. Both men and women are guilty of indecency when it comes to many things.
The rot of the American culture has taken over the culture of the church to such an extent that immoral behavior, obscenity, vulgarity, indecency, greed, and the love of this world are now considered the norm and are not regarded as sinful or offensive in the sight of God.
Often, I hear Christians wondering aloud why the Lord doesn't move in the midst of His people with the signs, wonders, and miracles that occurred so often in the days of the early church. The answer to this is simple. Jesus doesn't move in our midst because we're filthy, polluted, and corrupt. We reek of the stench of this world. In the days when the Israelites encamped in the wilderness, the Lord instructed them as follows: "Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you." (Dt 23:12-14).
Are these instructions only for Israel? Are they not to be applied to the Church of Jesus Christ as well? The Lord our God desires to move mightily within His church, but He cannot because of the excrement of this world that is cluttering up the church and making her atmosphere foul. The church must be holy. God does not want to see among us anything indecent. If He does, He will turn away from us, and He has turned away from us.
God is not first in the lives of most who call themselves Christians in the United States. Even among those who are attempting to put Him first in their lives, they have not entirely let go of the world. They have not learned what it means to be crucified to this world and to have the world crucified to them. They have not died to self and to the love of this world and all that it has to offer. And because they have not walked away from the world, they do not belong to Christ.
How do you spend your free time? How do you spend your money? What do you do with the talent that God has given to you? How much time do you spend in prayer and in the study of God's Word compared to other activities in your life? Are you living only on what you need and giving out the rest to the poor? Is your speech holy? Does the manner in which you dress and conduct yourself show the world that your name is written in Heaven? Is it only monks and nuns who are called by God to withdraw from the world, embrace poverty, and live in a cell? Should not your home be your cell? Is it only priests, monks, and nuns who are required by God to devote their lives to prayer and good deeds while the rest of God's flock pursues the world and all it has to offer?
If you want to see what dedication looks like, you need only look at the Muslim. His devotion to his God and to his Prophet puts the devotion of the Christian to Christ to shame. The Muslim follows the tenets of his faith with such zeal and intensity that he will die for what he believes! He will give up his life for his faith, while many in the church won't even give up a few hours in prayer for Christ. If you want to see what decency and propriety look like, you need only look at the Muslim woman. She covers herself and dresses conservatively while women in the American church think nothing of entering the sanctuary of God dressed as a prostitute.
Brothers and sisters, Advent is a time of preparation as we focus on the blessed return of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is a time of repentance from acts and choices that are separating us from God and bringing great reproach to His name. Jesus said, "Pray that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man." Many of us who consider ourselves disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ will not be able to stand before Him on the day of His return. When we stand before Him in the blinding light of His glory and holiness, that's when we will see ourselves for what we truly are. We will see clinging to us the pollution and corruption of this world which we refused to have scoured off of us by God and His Spirit because we loved the world too much and were not willing to let it go.
The holiness of God has been outraged by the corruption and pollution found in His American church, and it is just a matter of time before He rises from His throne, visits His church in judgment, and deals with her adultery and unfaithfulness to Him.
If we want to see what holiness, purity, and separation from the world truly look like, let us study the lives of the saints, the desert fathers and mothers, and the Church Fathers. Let us give up what they gave up. Let us pursue what they pursued, and let us embrace what they embraced. Then God will be with us, and He will move among us once more. Then our light will truly shine and many will be added to our numbers as occurred in the days of the early church.
Satan's greatest lie is that he has convinced millions in the American church that they can have both the world and Christ at the same time. He has persuaded them that they don't have to be too terribly different from their neighbors and co-workers. He has taught them how to fit in, to "look normal" so as to avoid the shame of ridicule, the pain of persecution, and the sting of rejection. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you…They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." (Jn 15:18-21).
If you desire to know the true state of your soul, observe how the world (and many false disciples in the church) treat you. Are you esteemed by the sons and daughters of Satan? Do those who have rejected Christ and His teachings respect you, desire your company, and speak well of you? Are they comfortable around you because you’re just like them? Do the people of the world like to hang around you? If the answer to these questions is "yes," you do not belong to Christ. A true disciple will be ridiculed, persecuted, and avoided by those who prefer the darkness to the light. A true disciple will be lonely, outcast, mocked, scorned, ridiculed, hated, misunderstood, and wrongly accused. If you have not known these things, brothers and sisters, then you have compromised your faith somewhere along the line. You have only gone so far in your faith; you have not crossed the line in order to go all the way with Christ. To refuse to go all the way with Christ is to reject Christ; there is no in between. The great deception of Satan is that there is an "in between" for people who still want the world but don't want to miss out on eternal life with Jesus either.
If you are not willing to completely divorce yourself from this world, its values, priorities, behaviors, and all that it has to offer, then you are not a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have been deceived. God will not recognize you as His own because you loved your comfort, pleasures, and the acceptance of your peers more than you loved Him. A man who lets go of the world with nine fingers, but still has one finger clinging to the world, is no different from the man who clings to the world with both hands. He still has an idol in his heart. Is the man who worships only one idol any less offensive in the eyes of God than the man who bows before ten? Idolatry is idolatry! Corruption is corruption, and disobedience is disobedience!
In this holy season of Advent, let us repent of our prostitution and adultery, for we have been utterly unfaithful to Christ. Let us break completely from the world once and for all! Let us turn away from Satan and his lies and understand that we cannot have both God and the world. Let us not be afraid to search our hearts before God to see where we have miserably failed.
God is merciful! He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to Him for salvation. Repentance brings pleasure to the heart of God and causes the angels in Heaven to rejoice! When repentance takes place, souls are snatched from the devil's clutches and names are written in Heaven. God rejoices while Satan "gnashes his teeth."
Let us listen, brothers and sisters, to what the Spirit of God is saying to the church. Only those who have completely renounced the world have overcome the world…
…the rest have been utterly deceived.
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