I need to be honest, that I sat down a couple of days ago to write this post in anger. I found out some criticism (recent) said against me and it upset me. I talked with a couple of pastor friends who encouraged me and I forgave the person who was critical towards me. I think, though, that this issue of being critical of your pastor is not addressed in the church. We are all sinners, yes, that includes your pastor. We are people too, who suffer temptation just like you and fall, wait for it….. just like you. One of the common arguments that I hear (and has been used against me) goes like this: “But we pay him!” So that gives a person or persons the right to slander their pastor, wife, and his children? You pay your pastor for his Christianity? Is that it? If that is true then what’s your excuse for not living a Christ-centered life?
I know these statements seem like I’m angry. But I assure you that I’m not. I just want to try and raise awareness to this problem that plagues our churches today. If we are truly saved, born again believers in our Lord Jesus Christ then why do we serve Satan in our attitudes and behavior towards the pastor that the Lord brought to our churches?
James 3:9-10 states “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” – NIV (84)
1st John 4:20 states “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” – NIV (84)
Romans 13:9-10 state “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does his neighbor no harm. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” – NIV (84)
James, John, and Paul all restate what Jesus told us are the 2 greatest commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor. If you are being critical of your pastor, are you loving him?
Just because your pastor does not dress a certain way (I do not preach in a tie, I know…shocking right?) or stand in the back of the church after service and shake everyone’s hand; or doesn’t visit enough or in your mind “friendly” enough doesn’t mean they have to be fired or disciplined or slandered. Those are un-biblical expectations. Everyone has their own “ideas” or “expectations” of how a pastor should be. News flash: we can’t meet all your expectations! We were never intended to! All of these accusations are petty. If you constantly criticize your pastor because you think you know best how he is supposed to pastor the church you go to, let me ask you a personal question: why didn’t you put your resume in when your church was looking for a pastor?
The author of Hebrews states in chapter 13 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for which such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (15-17 NIV 84)
Obey your leaders so that their work in the Lord will be a joy, but it’s hard to obey when “you pay them.”
Often on Twitter I will post a picture of the passage of Scripture that I'm reading or studying and call it the "Word" of the day as a play on words because the Bible is the "Word" of God. I think it's an easy way of posting God's Word and you can read it for yourself. I personally use/read NIV (1984), it's what I was raised on but I also use other translations as well in my study of Scripture. I hope this passage from Romans 5 will bring you joy or peace or whatever the Lord has intended it to do.
I really love this version of "Just As I Am". I pray it speaks to you.
In my study of the 'Day of the Lord' I came across this passage from Peter. I've read this passage plenty of times what I wanted to point out as Christians is verse 11 and 14.
2 Peter 3:10 - 14 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."
As a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ I know what the Word says about how things are going to end. Since I know this (as a believer) I need to live a holy and godly life. In other words knock off the nonsense and the desires of the flesh. Love God. Love others. I need to strive to be more Christ-like in my daily life. And when I fail, because I will and I do, I have the grace of our Lord to pick me up. The end result (verse 14) needs to be my daily pursuit. How about you?
Since the "Rapture" of the church seems to be a divisive topic among believers today I am undertaking a study of the topic. Today I am comparing 1st Thessalonians 4:13 - 5:11 with 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-12. These are the first two accounts that I have compared, I will compare Jesus' words in the Gospels as well but they are not included here. If you are a believer and are interested in Bible Prophecy I welcome your comments because this is a subject that seems to be a very hot topic. I just want to find the 'truth' of the Word. I was raised in dispensationalism so I've never really challenged my thinking on this until now. If you do comment please be respectful because we are all in this together.
The Return of Christ
1st Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 – Paul doesn’t want the believers to be ‘ignorant’ or unaware of those who have died in the Lord; or to grieve like an unbeliever.
14 – Reminds them of what ‘we’ believe: Jesus died and rose again so therefore He will bring those who have died in Him back with Him when He returns.
15 – Alive believers will not precede dead believers.
16 – A loud command, voice of an Archangel, trumpet call of God, the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 – Then alive believers (‘and are left’?) will be caught up together.
1 – There’s no need to write about the time or date.
2 – Because the ‘Day of the Lord’ will come like a thief in the night. Paul uses a ‘sudden’ type of event: a thief that comes in the night. Jesus uses that same analogy in Matthew 24:43-44 when talking about His coming.
3 – While people (unbelievers) are saying ‘Peace and Safety’
5 – We belong to the ‘light’ (God) not the dark (unbelief).
6 – So don’t be like the ‘others’ (unbelievers? Possibly other Christians who aren’t looking for Christ’s return?)
8 – Contrasting the day and night here also, that since ‘we’ (believers) belong to the day let us be self-controlled (2nd appearance of that term, also a fruit of the Spirit).
11 – Therefore encourage one another (Here again we are told to do this).
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-12
1 – ‘Concerning’ the coming of the Lord and ‘our’ (believers) being gathered to Him. Paul states the context of the passage.
2 – Paul reassures the Thessalonians that the ‘day’ has not happened.
3 – Paul warns against deception then gives an indicator of what must happen first:
6 – ‘He’ (anti-christ) is being held back so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
7 – The secret power of lawlessness is at work but the ‘one’ who holds it back will continue to do so until the proper time. So if the power of lawlessness is already at work then it will be fully unleashed when the ‘one’ who holds it back “let’s go” of its hold. Many believe this is the Holy Spirit and some believe this is a reference to the church (believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit). Either way the Holy Spirit is involved.
8 – Now the ‘lawless’ one will be revealed, whom the Lord will overthrow with the ‘breath’ of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. Now this is an interesting verse because it ties into Revelation 19:11-21. Pay careful attention to Revelation 19:20. This passage seems to speak about the end of the Great Tribulation not a ‘Rapture’ of the church. So is the ‘coming of the Lord’ Paul refers to in verse one at the end of the Tribulation? This passage here feels like the culmination of events that have already happened. The 1st Thessalonians passage uses the analogy of a ‘thief’ a suddenness is applied to it. This passage makes no analogy to that.
So is Paul speaking of a Rapture in the 1st Thessalonians passage and here describing the events at the end of the Great Tribulation?
9 – Satan is working in the ‘lawless’ one to deceive and that deception is displayed with counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. A clear reference to Revelation 13.
10 – Its every sort of evil that deceives those who are ‘perishing’ (unbelievers) and Paul gives the reason for their death – they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 – ‘For this reason’ (not believing the Gospel) God sends them a powerful ‘delusion’ so that they will believe the lie (the anti-christ).
12 – The result is condemnation. Is this a reference to those who have received the mark of the beast in Revelation 13?
These are just two passages that refer to the Coming of the Lord, the question I’m trying to answer is this: Is there a ‘Rapture’ of the church? Is Paul and Jesus (which I have not gotten into yet) speaking of two separate advents?
1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - NIV
I (Scott, Pastor of LSBC) watch a lot of Christian Pastors and Speakers on YouTube; because the old saying goes "Who Pastors the Pastor?". So I watch such preachers as John MacArthur, Francis Chan and Alistair Begg to name a few. One pastor of late has been J.D. Farag of Calvary Chapel in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Pastor J.D. is a prophecy speaker and with the state of current events in the world today I have been more keenly attuned to prophecy in scripture. I like to watch Pastor J.D. to get his take on current events and how they are filtred throuhg the lens of scripture. Pastor J.D. is a big proponent of the rapture of the church, he is "pre-tribber" if you will. Someone who believes that the church will be taken before the great tribulation spoken of in Daniel and Revelation.
Now to the point of my blog post today - the Christian Comment Section of J.D.'s YouTube video's. I watched his latest update today and the people are going crazy, not about prophecy or his interpretation of it but in his belief of a pre-trib rapture of the church. My goodness how divisive these people are over this rapture teaching. The last time I checked the doctrine of the rapture was not what got you into heaven. These people argue about ths teaching like thier salvation depends on who's right or wrong. It's insanity!
John 13:34-35 say's this: "I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - CSB
There is not much love towards one another these days in the christian comment sections and Jesus gives that command to love in John 13:34 and then the result in verse 35. Calm down people. Of course the version I used in the quotation is from the CSB Bible and not the authorized King James, so some people will argue I didn't really use the Bible. But that's another topic for another day.
Trust in the Lord with all with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: Prov. 3:5
Most believers are familiar with this verse and place an emphasis on the opening word, Trust. However, something deeper resides within this verse which is often overlooked. To Trust must be done with the heart, rather than with the (mind) understanding. There is an enormous difference between religion of the heart and religion of the mind. Someone once stated this may be a reason for the feebleness of our Christian lives.
Romans 10:9. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Again, the emphasis of trusting must be with the heart. Believers imagine if they accept the Bible as truth, their spiritual life will grow stronger. This is not correct. In all of our belief and religion, it is the heart that must love, worship, and obey.
The heart trusts. The heart hopes. The heart relies upon God. In other words, the heart waits. The Lord does not hurry. He asks us to trust Him with our heart; and to wait. It is to the heart that God gave His Spirit as a presence and power of Himself, for the purpose of working within us.
The mind wants to-do, to-act, to-perform. Our mind is most often centered upon self: I must get things done; I must accomplish so much today; I wish I had more time. The mind is focused on busyness, imagining this brings us closer to God. Again, this is not correct. The mind is completely helpless in maintaining the spiritual life.
To trust, to wait, to hope: these are not natural. They are far from our human heart. It’s difficult for the natural man to place himself in the hands of another, and yet, that is what God asks.