Monday, October 28 2013
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke 3:3
The protestant evangelical invitation to the lost is come just as you are, but God's invitation is repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! I never really thought about the "Invitation" given in every church in the world at some time or another for the lost to come and get saved, but no where in the New Testament do we see such an invitation given! Neither John the baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul or anyone else for that matter ever gave an invitation for anyone to get saved.
No wonder most of the modern day church members are lost because they were never convicted that they had broken the laws of God, inherited the generational curse of the sin of Adam and were falling headlong into the very fires of Hell! Never told, just invited to walk an isle, pray a nice little prayer of decision and join up; so simple (every head bowed and every eye closed) and everyone gets weepy and has goose bumps while they allow another guilty sinner entrance into eternal damnation forever!
Jesus came to set the captives free from the bondage of sin and eternal death by the washing of His own shed blood, cleansing the sinner from his rebellious lifestyle of blatant iniquity and evil desire! It would be like sitting before your doctor after his diagnosis has disclosed that you have a terminal disease and unless you submit to his treatment plan you will surely die! So it is with the sinner, the diagnosis is terminal, the disease is sin and the treatment plan is repent and receive forgiveness for your sins and iniquities that you might live!
Then he said to the multitudes that came to be baptized by him, "Brood (offspring) of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Luke 3:7
BEAR FRUITS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE
"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father. 'For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Luke 3:8
John the baptist was preaching to the Jews who came for another religious ritual when he told them that just because Abraham was their father didn't mean they would gain entrance to the kingdom of God. So it is today, there are multitudes who think they are saved because mamma and daddy are saved or because they grew up in church, or attended Sunday school or summer camp and so they go through life thinking they are OK when actually they are busting Hell wide open!
If men like John, Peter or Paul or even Jesus Himself walked into our churches and preached the gospel that they had preached, multitudes would flee for safety, jump out of their stained glass windows and run for cover, because what they would be hearing would absolutely scare the Hell out of them! We have invited people to come and be comfortable while they are entertained and all the while this sugar coated mushy, lukewarm, watered down (perverted) version of a man-centered gospel lulls them to sleep in their seats, reinforcing their belief that are saved when in fact their conscience has been hardened to the point of rejecting the Holy Spirit's call to repent.
Everyone wants to be saved and receive the benefits of eternal life, the joys of Heaven and the riches of God's grace, but not many want to hear the truth of how this is to be obtained. No one wants to walk a narrow path, take up his cross, deny himself, repent of his evil lifestyle or follow Jesus wherever He leads; there must be an easier way. Remember the rich ruler (a seeker) who asked Jesus how he could obtain eternal life? Jesus told him to keep the commandments, something He knew he couldn't do, then He told him to sell all he possessed, give it to the poor and then come follow Him. The rich boy couldn't do it because his heart was tied to his riches. Jesus didn't invite him to pray a prayer, join His church, get baptized or just come along and see if he liked it, He was grieved that the man rejected salvation and was headed to Hell!
"And even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Luke 3:9
WHAT SHALL WE DO?
So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?" He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." Luke 3:10,11
In actuality the invitation is reversed by the sinner inviting the one preaching the gospel to deliver his soul from the torment of damnation. In the days of John the baptist and the formation of the New Testament church the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached exposing peoples sins and bringing them to a point of desperation and conviction leading to salvation. As godly sorrow broke the sinner's heart they cried out for mercy and forgiveness saying, "What shall we do?"
The multitudes coming to be baptized by John cried out wanting to know what to do and he told them to repent of their evil practices: to the tax collectors he told them to collect no more than what was owed, to the soldiers he said for them not to intimidate anyone and so on! When Peter preached to the crowd outside the upper room and the message convicted them that they had put Jesus on the cross they cried out saying the same thing, "What shall we do?" Peter told them to repent and let every one of them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We would do well to rethink our commission and repent of inviting people to come for salvation when God has not drawn them nor convicted them that they are lost and deserving of eternal damnation. Millions I am afraid have prayed a worthless oath because some preacher or so-called evangelist cohearsed them down an isle only to count them saved but actually aborted another spiritual baby by lying to him that if he prayed a prayer he would instantly, if some how by magic would become a Christian. May God have mercy on us!
"I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Luke 3:16
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
IMPORTANT NOTE: The salvation of a person's soul is the most important event in their life and it cannot be taken lightly because their eternal destination depends on the choice they make when God begins to draw them and convict them of sin. Jesus came to not only save our souls but He bled in seven places to give us a complete deliverance from sin, sickness, poverty and eternal death in Hell! If His death, burial and resurrection did all of that for us, should we not in return give our lives and hearts totally back to Him?
Monday, October 21 2013
"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins." Mark 2:22
New wine is wine that has not yet been fermented and when put into a wineskin or goatskin the fermentation process begins to expand because of the chemical reaction taking place within it. If the wineskin is old and dry the new wine will split it open and the wine will be spilled out. The new wine is that which is taking place within the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and just as it has been throughout the centuries, so it is today, the move of God is ever growing and expanding.
The wineskin refers to the assembly of believers in which God is attempting to pour His new wine in to reach the world for Christ and expand His kingdom. God, being a creative and ever changing God is always looking at what the culture will be able to receive when He pours out the new wine upon them. Cultures change and even though the gospel of Christ never changes, the present day landscape does and so the wineskin must be new in order to hold that which God is pouring out.
Since the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth two thousand years ago the wineskins have changed multiple times in order to reach people in whatever time they are living up until the present time upon the earth. Culture, philosophies, ideologies and religions change throughout the history of the world and today in our present place in the modern day technological, fast food, e-everything, virtual reality world of the all about me generation, the wineskin of the body of Christ must change in order for the new wine to be poured out!
"But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. "And no one having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.' " Luke 5:38,39
JESUS IS THE NEW WINE
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." John 2:1-3
Jesus came upon the scene to cleanse the world of sin and to establish a new wineskin that was to represent His spiritual kingdom. When He and His disciples attended the wedding at Cana He was asked by His mother to provide more wine for they had run out. Jesus told the servants to fill the six stone water pots used by the Jews for purification with water and then take some to the master of the feast for his inspection. The master upon receiving the wine was amazed as it was even better than the first that was served to the wedding guests.
The six water pots were used in the purification ceremony that the Jews utilized in cleansing themselves before they ate and the number six, being the number of man represented the fact that man cannot cleanse himself of impurity. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin and Jesus came to do just that in His death on the cross, thereby bringing redemption to all of mankind, to those who would accept His terms of entrance. The wine is symbolic of the blood of Christ and the wedding is a beautiful illustration of God's gift of salvation to all of mankind, to those who would become His bride.
With the advent of the Savior's first miracle, that being symbolic of His death, burial and resurrection, a new wineskin was being introduced to the Jews. A new and living way in which men could now become cleansed of their sins by the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ! This new way would eventually destroy the old dry and cracked wineskin of the religion of the Jews along with their temple, ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices and would be totally done away with. The new wine was about to be poured out for all men to be able to receive the free gift of God's grace and mercy!
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11,12
THE NEW WINESKIN
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
The new wineskin came suddenly to a people who were steeped in thousands of years of tradition and ritual when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. His first miracle was an illustration of the new and living wineskin of His new testament church about to burst forth, completely changed from a hardened and dried out form of religious tradition into a living breathing organism.
Today we are no different from the Jews in the time of Jesus in that we have become entrenched in a box-like religious structure totally unable to hold new wine. Even in charismatic circles our services cater to the flesh and not the Spirit, and if God wanted to do something new in our assemblies He would have to check with the elders or senior pastor for permission in order to disrupt their precious time schedule! Worship is all about God and not man, but today's worship services are all about comfort and entertainment, never wanting to upset the lost or drive away the seekers or rock the religious boats of the big tithers!
The Jews rejected this new wineskin and the new wine of the Savior's love and mercy that He brought to them, ultimately allowing them to kill Him by executing Him on the cross. And what about us, will we reject this new and living way being content to continue in a dead and lifeless man-made structure of good intentions or will we welcome the Lord to come however he desires in order to save this present day generation of lost sheep? Will we be able to expand and change when He comes with something new, or will we remain in a rigid bag of dried out religious tradition?
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth." John 4:23,24
Tuesday, October 15 2013
"For as in the days of Noah before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:38,39
Jesus was prophesying of a time in the future when a flood would come just as it did in Noah's day and would wash away those who weren't prepared for the coming judgment. The flood He was speaking of is not of water because God promised He wouldn't flood the earth again in that manner. So, what was He talking about and how do we prepare for such an event with the magnitude of the flood that devastated the known world in Noah's day?
Today we are being flooded with information of all kinds from every type of electronic device known to man! People are being inundated with tons of messages filling their minds and causing such distraction that they are running into walls and crashing into one another on the highway, have you tried talking to one of your kids or grand-kids lately? I seriously doubt you got through to them because they had an i-phone in their hand receiving some important text message from their friends. It's a wonder anything gets done today with this flood of nonsense filling our minds and hearts!
The devil doesn't have to kill us, he just brings enough distraction to keep us out of the race and with the saints out of the way he can pretty much do anything he desires without interruption! Most of the distraction that we are experiencing is not necessarily evil, just time consuming such as sports, TV, Internet, games and anything else that consumes our thought life, filling our minds with anything but the word of God! It is imperative for the believer to keep his thought life pure and uncluttered from the things of the world and to keep his eyes solely on the Lord Jesus Christ and His purpose for our lives.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5
TOO BUSY FOR JESUS!
Martha welcomed Jesus into her house, and she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said. "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." Luke 10:38-40
Even in ministry people can be caught up with being too busy to have a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus. I know and have experienced it in my own life while directing a large residential ministry and at the same time pastoring a church, it doesn't take long to become exhausted doing good things. I have seen many in the ministry burn out from excessive work in ministry and not paying attention to their devotion to the One they are working for.
When Jesus came to the home of Martha and Mary to teach the Word, Mary sat contently at His feet while her sister Martha was busy serving the guests and becoming distracted by all of her duties. So it is today, people are so distracted, even by doing good in ministry that they neglect the most important thing in their lives, quality time with the Lord.
Are you too busy to spend time in the Word and prayer, meditating on the many promises of God, are you distracted by your job, kids, games or even ministry? I suggest you take an inventory of your time and set in order those things that really matter in your life because we are just a vapor that is here for a short time and then all of a sudden, many times without warning, we are gone! We are entering dangerous times and there is nothing certain, but Jesus, and faith in Him alone, when the bottom drops out where will your devotion be, are you prepared for eternity, or distracted by the things of the world?
And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are troubled and worried about many things. "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41,42
WHO DO YOU LOVE THE MOST?
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:26
The above mentioned scripture upsets most who read it because it says we are to hate our family members and our own life. What Jesus is saying, is that your devotion must be focused on Him alone and not on family members, livelihood or anything else that would distract you from following the Lord in obedience to His Spirit.
The world promotes the love of life and self which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ. This worldly philosophy leads us to be consumed with everything this world has to offer, such as beauty, physical strength, food, drink, the arts and anything else that our flesh desires. Jesus said to deny our self, take up our cross (a cruel instrument of death) and follow Him, but what was He saying and what does that mean for the modern day believer?
Jesus is calling His disciples to live a life of total sacrifice to the will of our flesh and total dedication and obedience to the will of the Father. When you take a hard look at what Jesus said in His word about discipleship you will understand why there simply aren't more of them. The life of a disciple of Christ makes himself available to the leading of God's Spirit in any and all circumstances to be on call forever, listening to the voice of His Spirit calling us into service and consecration by fulfilling His purpose in us! Are you being distracted from fulfilling your divine appointment with God, the highest calling of all, or are you living your life totally for Him who died and rose again for you?
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. II Corinthians 5:14,15
Monday, October 07 2013
"Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20
Jesus is knocking at the door of His own blood bought church and after giving each of the seven churches of Asia a diagnosis of their spiritual condition, He ends up locked out of His own house! The modern day church has made this scripture into an invitation to salvation, but Jesus is not speaking to individuals in the context of the chapter, He is speaking to the last days church of Laodicea!
It is a sad testimony to be locked out of your own church especially after the shedding of your own blood to wash away the sins of a backslidden lukewarm, rich and apathetic assembly of people who could care less about what you have done for them! So it is today, people are unconcerned for the welfare of the poor and needy and the down and out because they simply don't want them in their assemblies and the lost can go on to Hell because they deserve what they get for their actions.
Imagine Jesus coming to your church on Sunday, what would He see, would He be welcomed or shunned because He is definitely different than the rest of us? What would He think of our attitude towards God, our Starbucks coffee and our unconcern for holiness and respect for His word? Would He be asked to preach, probably not, seeing that He is not properly dressed and the elders haven't checked out His doctrine yet, and after all, He is not a member. Sound absurd that the King of all kings, Savior, Master and Lord can't come into His own assembly, but oh so true! Like the pastor who was recently called to take over an affluent church, he dressed like a street person and came in only to be totally ignored and rejected, and refused when he asked for money. When the elders called for the new pastor to come up to the platform, the congregation gasped when they saw who he was and I am sure many were brought under deep conviction of their ungodly attitude towards him.
"He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me, rejects Him who sent Me." Luke 10:16
COLD OR HOT?
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." Revelation 3:15,16
The lukewarm works of the modern day church sicken the Lord to the point of making Him vomit, the warm curdled gospel of grace without repentance, the baptism of membership rather than death to self and the communion of convenience, drinking the cup of devils! Lets face it, there is nothing good about being lukewarm, we are either on fire for Jesus or the obvious of most denominations, becoming the frozen chosen!
There is only one way to please the Lord Jesus and that is to sell out, repent of all known sin, take up your cross, (a cruel instrument of death) and follow the Lord wherever He leads. There is no gospel of just believe and be saved without making Him Lord and losing all for Him that can deliver your soul from eternal damnation but repent therefore and be converted! No conversion, no salvation, no repentance, no forgiveness, no forgiveness, no deliverance, no deliverance, no salvation!
Hell is not a place that is lukewarm, it is a violent white hot display of God's anger and wrath upon a people who refuse to repent of the sins that His Son died for, a place of perpetual judgment and mourning, a place of no-return, a hopeless environment of suffering and torment forever! Hell is reserved for all who have rejected the Lord Jesus and have trampled underfoot the blood that was shed to set them free from sin!
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice (the blood of Jesus) for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation (Hell) which will devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26,27
IS JESUS ALLOWED IN YOUR CHURCH?
"Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Matthew 11:4,5
John the baptist was in prison and had heard about the works of Christ so he sent two of his disciples to ask Him if He was the Coming Messiah or should they look for another. Jesus answered them with the above mentioned scripture that the power of God was being manifested through Him, thus proving Him to be the expected One.
What about your assembly, are the works of Christ visible or just talked about, are the poor, the crippled and lame healed or sent away in the same condition they came in, are blind eyes opened, deaf ears hearing, dead folks raised and is the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to the poor? If not, I would doubt Jesus is in your church, oh He may reside in a few sold-out disciples, but true disciples are few and far between in our consumer driven, all about me, lukewarm assemblies, filled with thrill seekers and lost church members.
The main reason for the absence of the Holy Spirit in churches in America is the absence of true gospel preaching that brings about godly sorrow over sin and brings about repentance leading to true conversion. No running down the isle to pray a little prayer and jump headlong into the water trough not having a clue what you just did, but a realization that you are in a desperate state of busting Hell wide open because of your sin and in need of the Savior's grace and mercy to truly save your soul from damnation! I suggest you take a hard look at your spiritual condition and ask yourself an even harder question, is Christ in me, are His works visible in me, has my life changed, has my heart been broken over my sin and most importantly, am I sold-out for Jesus or just another lukewarm church member on my way to Hell? Your eternal destination depends on the decision you make to follow Jesus with all of your heart!
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38