…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
“The word that most adequately describes this age is crisis. Political convulsions, national upheaval, racial unrest, rebellion against the existing order and outright revolution are becoming almost normal. We know that tomorrow’s headlines will probably bring some new crisis to our attention.
Many people are asking, “Where is history heading?” A careful student of the Bible will see that God controls the clock of destiny. Amid the world’s confusion, God’s omnipotent hand moves, working out His unchanging plan and purpose; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25).
Jesus Christ is coming to earth again. It is Christ who is in control, and He will determine the outcome. If the Bible is clear on any point, it is this: “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time” (Hebrews 9:28).
What is to be the attitude of the Christian toward the fact of Christ’s coming? One man said to me, “Well, the Lord is coming soon; so what is there to do about anything?”
Such a fatalistic attitude is not the one taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He told His disciples of His return to earth, He said, “Do business till I come” (Luke 19:13), and “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).
Dwight L. Moody once said, “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. Its ruin is getting nearer and nearer. God said to me, ‘Moody, here’s a lifeboat. Go out and rescue as many as you can before the ship sinks.’” If the end seemed about to come in Moody’s day (he died in 1899), how much closer must we be to the climax of history?
If there was ever a time when we should man the lifeboats and go out and rescue as many as we can, it is now. That is why we proclaim the Gospel in the strategic centers of the world wherever we can.
We believe this is a day of glorious opportunity to proclaim the saving grace and power of Christ, and to declare the Gospel against the opposition of every false ideology.
George Whitefield, the great English evangelist, said, “I am daily waiting for the coming of the Son of God.” But he did not sit down and do nothing. He burned out his life in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
The prophet Daniel lived in a pagan nation and under the worst possible conditions. He knew that God’s judgment was about to come, but he did not fold his hands and wait for it to strike. He opened wide his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed. And he walked with God.
It would not seem that the reign of Ahab and Jezebel in Israel would have been a good setting for the ministry of a great prophet of God. But Elijah walked with God during that dark period, and he used the treachery of cowardly King Ahab and the clever strategy of the evil Queen Jezebel as a backdrop against which to reflect the glory and power of God.
Crisis times are times when Christ should be proclaimed. Although there has never been a worldwide revival, I believe we may be on the verge of one now. The Spirit of God is making His power felt throughout the world. From Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America, from the islands of the sea and from Australia, there are reports of the activity of the Spirit of God. This is a glorious time to be alive.
I have found that people everywhere, all over the world, will respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we present it simply, with Christian compassion.
There are some who are in deep despair. I receive many letters daily from people who are discouraged, depressed and ready to give up. They are yielding to the pessimism of our times, to the mood and spirit of our day. A man in England wrote, “It’s too late to do anything about the world.”
That isn’t true. All is not lost. We still have the Bible, and “the word of God is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). We still have the Holy Spirit. We still have the fellowship of believers. We still have the prayers of God’s people. We still have an open door to most of the world for proclaiming the Gospel.
There is much to be gained. Remember, Jesus said: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Luke 12:43).
I would like to give you three keys that will open doors of usefulness and power for you. The first is the key of humility—humility born of honest self-evaluation. It is essential for all people to realize their own weaknesses, sins and failures. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The word for sin here is hamartia; it means “missing the mark, failing, falling short.”
To confess that we are sinners is the most difficult thing for us to do, because we are so proud. We want to feel that we can be good and honorable and decent without any help from God.
But God has declared, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that means me.
The Bible tells me that I have sinned.
My conscience tells me that I have sinned.
My reason tells me that I have sinned.
Every part of my nature points an accusing finger and cries, “Guilty! Guilty! There is none righteous!”
John Bunyan said, “When I saw John Bunyan as God saw John Bunyan, I did not say I was a sinner; I said that I was sin from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.”
Great prophets were used of God because they were humble. They saw themselves as God saw them and realized the truth about themselves. When you confess with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5), you will stand on the threshold of a victorious life. When you face the fact of your own inadequacy, your own failure, your own sinfulness, you have taken the first step toward gaining a glorious and wonderful personal victory that will carry you through the days of crisis that lie ahead.
The second key is the recognition that God’s standard of a holy life is not attainable by human effort. God is first of all concerned with what you are. What you do is the result of what you are.
There is no way that we by ourselves can generate sanctification. Our sanctification is Christ. There is no way we can be holy. Our holiness is Christ. This caused Paul to write: “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).
The third key is reliance on the Holy Spirit. To paraphrase Galatians 5:16—“Walk by means of the Spirit.” In Romans 8:14 Paul writes: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
You cannot live the Christian life by yourself. The Holy Spirit must live in you and express Himself through you.
Paul said, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
Sin shall no longer rule or dominate you when you are allowing the Holy Spirit to live Christ’s life through you. It is living by faith, living by trust, living in dependence upon God.
If we look to our own resources, our own strength or our own ability, as Peter did when he walked on the water, we will fail. During these crisis days, we must remember that many stumble along the road of life. We must rescue as many as we can before catastrophe strikes.
God is at work in the midst of crisis. In the midst of the problems, pessimism and frustrations of our day, God is doing His own work. Let us realize that there are certain things we cannot do. Let us be faithful in the things He has called us to do.
Will you surrender totally to Christ? As you look forward to the day when Christ shall return, be up and about your Father’s business—give of your income, spend time in prayer, be faithful in worship, tell others about Jesus Christ—and you will discover the usefulness, the optimism, the confidence, that belong to God’s children.”
Billy Graham 1962
We live in a world of deception and untruths. There was a time when a man was as good as his word. Two people would agree, shake hands, and it was as good as done. Today, we need attorneys, meetings, and clarifications on every single little point, so that we won’t get taken down the primrose path and get stuck holding an empty bag. People live today in very tight quarters, and we are so afraid to come out, we are so afraid of getting taken. This is the world we live in today.
It’s OK to lie, as long as you get what you want in the end. We cheat on our spouses, taxes; lie to our bosses and business partners. Banks lie and cheat their customers and governments make laws to legalize their thievery, so they can vacation in one of their four homes that they own. Congressman and the President’s cabinet members forget to pay their taxes and they get a slap on the wrist, while you and I go to jail.
The point I’m making, is that it is an accepted practice to lie and cheat, in our society today, were as your grandfather and great grandfather would be rolling in their graves, if they could see the world as it is now.
I have a friend that works in a bank and they have to go through extensive training to teach them how to spot a counterfeit bill. The biggest part of the training is to know all the marks and identifying traits of a real bill first. You see, when you know what the real one looks like, you won’t fall for the counterfeit.
The same truth applies to our walk with the Lord, Jesus Christ. Many people have met Jesus, but not a lot of people know who He is. These are the ones that will fall quickly to those that are false teachers of Christianity. Those that believe only parts of the bible, those that say Jesus was just another prophet. These are deceptions and deception is just another word for not telling the truth or lying.
Have you ever heard the story of how to boil a frog alive? You put him in a pot of water and every hour, you turn the temperature up one degree. The water will gradually get hotter and hotter, but the frog will never notice because it is such a slow increase. The frog will adapt to the heat at first, but by the time he realizes it’s getting really hot, it will be to late, and their will be frog legs for dinner that night.
So it is with the deception and untruths of false teachers of Christianity. They tweak a little bit here and there, and to those who don’t know the real thing, they will be lead down the wrong road. After all, “there are lots of people there, and many of my friends are going that way also”.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:11; “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”
Can you tell when someone has erred from the truth of the scripture? Do you know what you believe? Can you give an answer to those who would argue with you, that the Bible is not the very Word of God? If you can’t, then perhaps you need to take another long look at your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 17:3; “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Do you know Jesus Christ? You see, many people have met Him, but not many know Him. You will only know who He is by taking into your heart and mind the very living word of God, the bible.
John 1:1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.
Genesis 1:3; “And God said, ”Let there be light; and there was light”.
I am known by the words that I speak. In my mind are the thoughts formed from the feelings and emotions that make me who I am, and those are expressed to you through the words that I speak to you. Right now, you are reading my words, and if you were standing right here in front of me, you would be hearing my words, but it is by my words that you know who I am. It is the same with God.
Hebrews 1:1-2; “God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds...”
He looked down at this pile of muck and sin that we live in, He loved us and came here to die on the cross and save us from the penalty of our sin, but He also wanted us to know who He is. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to communicate Himself to you. He did that through Jesus Christ, the living Word, and through the Bible, the written Word of God. Jesus Christ has put God on display to the whole world.
John 1:18; “No one has seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.
There is the true, and there is the false. Can you tell the difference? This battle between truth and lies has been going on since the dawn of time.
Go all the way back to the book of Genesis and you will find Satan questioning God’s Word to Eve. He was telling Eve, that you can’t believe what God says. He doesn’t have your best interests at heart. He’s not giving it to you straight.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Listen to what Jesus says about the devil to the religious leaders back in those days. John 8:44; “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.”
My friends, he is still doing that today. There has always been a war on the truth of God’s Word and who God is. Satan does not want you or me to know God. The longer he can keep you out of the truth, the better he has at taking you and me down.
1Peter 5:8; “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Have you met Jesus Christ? Are you one of His children? Then get to know Him by taking the time, every day, to get into His word. Make a quiet time where you can read God’s Word and talk with Him. Tell Him what’s on your heart. Open yourself to Him. Discover what the true looks like, and you won’t fall for the false.
He’s waiting to hear from you.
Matthew 11:28-30; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“He has book sense, but he doesn’t have common sense.” How many of you have heard that said before? I’ve had people say that about me before, and to my shame, sometimes that has been true. This refers to people whose expertise may appear to be vast and impressive, but it’s not really useful. They are well informed in theory, but they are fools in practice.
There are many people in our churches today who are book smart when it comes to the Bible, but no application when it comes to practice. They know the truth of God’s word but their is no root or transformation in their lives. They can give you all the right answers but that truth has never penetrated their hearts or brought about real faith and repentance.
That does not mean that the truth of God’s word is ineffective . It doesn’t mean that the truth of God’s Word always will secure a sanctifying and positive result. When Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt back in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh was continually confronted with the truth of God and he continually hardened his heart toward that truth. The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay.
In James chapters one and two talk about “faith without works is dead.” You don’t have to reject the truth to be become hardened to it. To those who hear God’s Word and don’t do it, actually become desensitized and hardened by hearing it rather than renewed and edified.
Many people have met Jesus Christ, but not many know Jesus Christ. No amount of theology or study of God’s Word can take the place of real repentance and living faith. These are the vital marks of a right relationship with God.
Many of the worlds Bible scholars see the Bible as only as an ancient piece of literature. They have a tremendous knowledge of the Bible but their hearts remain cold and unmoved by the truth.
Every Sunday churches are filled with people who have this same view. Many of them grew up in the church. They are very familiar with the truth and the Bible stories. they may not be completely cold to biblical truth, but they haven’t fully obeyed it yet either.
Many of them lead bible studies and write about it, but to them, the Bible is no more than a hobby, and they never really submit to it’s authority. Others only think about the bible on Sundays. Most of the time it sits on the corner or on a shelf, and the only time it is ever opened is in a special time of need, and then put back to collect more dust.
Knowing about God is simply not enough. Taking in all the facts apart from a true faith and repentance is no better than what James 2:19 describes about the demons. They believe and know that God exists, but they’re not going to heaven or have any kind of relationship with God at all.
To know about God is still a very important part of knowing Him. There are those who through their upbringing or bits and pieces of the bible, have put together a god of their own making. Their concept of God is just a figment of their own imagination. Many of these people are very active members of our churches today.
Some will chose a more favorable attribute of God and camp on it to the exclusion of everything else He has revealed about Himself in His Word. For example, “God is love”. If your theology starts and stops right there, you are worshiping a false god. There is so much more that you need to know about who God is; His nature and character. You just can’t cherry pick the truth.
Bottom line is, what you know about God and what you do with that knowledge touches every facet of your life.
“So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
You don’t see much of that around anymore; truth. We live in a world where truth is relative. What is true for you may not be true for me? The man that I quoted the title of this article from lived a very long time ago. He had, as I believe and many people believe, a lot to say about truth and He had the qualifications to speak about the subject of truth also. But not many listened to him.
It used to be where a person could close a contract with another person and all they had to do was shake hands and give their word on it. That was all that was needed to seal the terms and close the contract. Bam! It was law. Wow, have we come a long way from there.
What is a person’s word today? It is based on the character and the quality of the individual giving it. Think about all the times we give our word to someone and never follow through with it or never have any intention of following through on it. But yet we smile and say;” you can count on me”,” I won’t let you down.” ” I’ll be right there, just call me.” ” I promise next week we will go for sure.” Sound familiar.
The number of students who cheat on exams is increasing, and when asked if they think it is wrong to cheat on an exam, many say no, “Because everyone is doing it.” People lie and cheat on resumes to get the job they want. People lie at the alter before they take their wedding vows, and some have cheated on their fiancé’ before they even get to the alter. Anybody remember Enron? Is it any wonder that we have no trust in our society or government today?
With truth comes trust. Yes trust. That too is in short demand in our world. No one trusts anybody anymore. We don’t trust our government nor the people, who swore an oath, and we elected to run that government. We don’t trust our neighbors, our spouses, our kids, our clergy, teachers, and police officers. My mom always told me that if I ever got lost, I was to find the nearest policeman, and he could be trusted to get me back home.
The list could go on and on. Now I’m not saying that we can’t trust our police or government officials or any of these, all I am saying is that we have come, to what I believe, is a crossroads in this country for truth and justice and doing what is right, no matter what the cost, and this, and only this, will build trust in our hearts for each other. You see, it has to start from within. You can’t fake it.
What will build back the trust that we so desperately need?…Truth…… We are right back where we started……truth….. How? How do we get the truth? How does everyone start telling the truth all of a sudden? Like I said before, truth comes from within. It starts in the heart.
The man that I quoted the title of this article, who lived a long time ago. His name is Jesus Christ. Here is the full quote of what He had to say.
“While he was saying these things, many people believed in him.
Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:30-32
Jesus standing before Pilot at His trial, and Pilot looked right at Jesus and asked Him, “What is truth?” He didn’t know that the author of truth was standing right in front of him. That same scene is played out over and over today.
Is the truth standing before today? Ask Him to come in and make Himself at home in your heart. He will, and He will start to clean up the place.
“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”