Whatever Happened to Hell?

“The truth is still the truth, sin is still sin, Hell is still hot and the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and the road narrow that leads to its gates”

king's invite

We’ve all been invited to a royal wedding. Yet, there are still those who think it no big deal nor worth preparing or being inconvenienced for.

The ever expanding culture of anything goes and every deviant behavior is normal and good that’s all around us has permeated the church and had a devastating effect on the Bride of Christ. Very few churches preach holiness any more. I mean, living a life that is different from the world around us, living by God’s standards regardless of what the world is telling us we must believe say and do. Just the fact that I have to explain holiness is a sad testimony.

Many of those who go to church, who want to get that invitation, that ticket to heaven, just want to get their assurances that they’re fine; ‘Jesus loves you no matter what so just do whatever.’

Sin is not confronted, Hell is not preached let alone believed in—If you’ve ever read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) you may have noticed that many of the stories Jesus told end up with people in outer darkness, weeping and gnashing ,and feeding the worms with their burning flesh—apparently Jesus believed in Hell!

Outer Darkness

Here’s the question we need to ask those who argue otherwise; “If there is no hell then why did Jesus pay such a heavy price to redeem us from it?” Why suffer rejection and humiliation, dying a bloody naked torturous death on the cross where a person basically suffocated to death after they became to weak to pull themselves up against the nails in their hands in order to take the pressure of their diaphragm in so they could inhale?

What could be so terrible that the Son of God himself would allow himself to be subjected to that horror in order to save us? Oh wait, I know—Hell. And then there’s the whole wrath of God being poured out in him thing as He who knew no sin became sin while he hung there in the darkness that struck the earth in the middle of the day as the creator was being destroyed, as the author of life was being killed.

And then Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow him. What do you suppose that means? What did it mean to him? What did it mean to those who heard him? They all knew what a cross was; a cross was an instrument of death. We know what that means because Paul would tell us—we must crucify the flesh and it’s evil desires and live for the Spirit.

crucified the flesh

But that’s not a popular message is it? People want to be patted on the head, entertained and not made to feel like they have to change anything in their lives; ‘just show up, put a few dollars in the plate and bring your friends next week and we’ll promise we won’t offend them. We’ll only use scriptures about love and blessings, if we use any scripture at all, and we’ll make sure we have you out of here in time to make the playoff games. You have beer to drink after all.’

You can have it

You know what? If that’s what it takes to build a big church where I can have a full time salary and a staff that does all the tedious or messy work of ministry while I just write fun sermons and get all the acclamations—if that’s what it takes to have enough tithing members that I don’t have to work like a dog in the mud, the dirt, the cold or the heat all day every day, well, I’ll just keep my construction job for as long as this tired old body keeps moving.

And I’ll keep preaching truth to those who show up here serious about going to that wedding. Because if I am responsible for one person getting booted out of the feast because they showed up in their filthy clothes and had no good answer as to why, then I deserve to be cast out with them.

invited to the wedding

You can have it. I was made for this.

I don’t want your fancy suits and your retirement packages. I’d rather work shoulder to shoulder with someone who is desperate for truth and hope and doesn’t know where to begin looking because none of those people from the big fancy churches ever bothered to get to know them, listen to them and love them. They had to get ready for the next retreat where they could teach or hear about how God has a plan for them that no doubt includes abundant blessings.

I am here to make disciples, not converts. I am here to make soldiers for the Kingdom of Heaven, not camp followers. I’m here to turn barbarians loose who will now turn their passion for adventure and overcoming all obstacles into a passion to overcome the prince of darkness and take this world for the King of Kings unashamed and unapologetic. Pillaging the world for Jesus still wild eyed and fiercely determined behind shields of faith but now wielding the sword of the Spirit, no longer being deceived by the lusts of the flesh and the lies of the enemy that once drove us to self-destruction.

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And those of you who have stuck it out with me and lived and preached the word of God as best we can, as honestly and as completely as we can— well, you will be, you and all in the few churches scattered across this land where the truth is still the truth, sin is still sin, Hell is still hot and the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and the road narrow that leads to its gates, we will be a part of a celebration like the universe has never seen nor ever will again and then we will commence to rule with Christ.

faithful over a few

Our day is coming

And our day here in this life is coming as well. Check that– our day is here!

God will use the faithful few of this generation to wake up his called, to prepare the way and to usher in the Kingdom once and for all.

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” -Jesus Christ Mat 22

Barbarians in the Kingdom

Barbarians ad copy axe

Stand up Preacher!

The American church has forgotten that this world is not our home, and when we don’t get our little slice of heaven on earth, then we turn back to the world for satisfaction and solace.bible

We need Pastors, teachers and leaders who will remind us, who will be honest with us, who even know the word in the first place, that this life is full of big problems but we have a God who is bigger and who is more concerned with our hearts and our souls then with our comfort and happiness. We need preachers, biblically literate and Spirit anointed preachers, who will remind us that we are in a battle that we will win but there are scars yet to be earned on the way to victory.

And yes, we can find fulfillment and purpose in this life, but the fulfillment and purpose is found in preparing our souls for eternity and in preparing others to share that eternity with us.

So I charge you, Paul charges you—God charges you—to fight the good fight of faith, to know and teach truth and to stand firm on the rock, not letting your faith become a shipwreck that others get hung up on as well because you led them right into the rocks.

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This is our charge. The time is growing short and the enemy of our souls is getting more desperate and more blatant in his attempts to silence truth, to extinguish the light.

In much of the world he is just outright killing the church. I read a statistic just this week put out by Jay Sekulow that of all the persecuted people groups in the world, Christians make up 80%.

Quote— “An alarming study recently released by the British government described the current state of global Christian persecution as being “close to . . . genocide.” More than 80% of persecution victims globally are Christians.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Christians face horrific violence, abduction, torture, and murder for their faith. It’s genocide.”

“Christian children live in constant fear.” —End quote

And in America we are busy arguing about whether we should sing 500 year old hymns or contemporary music in our worship services or which English translation of the Bible was truly written by the Apostles and the prophets—none of whom spoke English by the way. There are places where you lose your head for singing any kind of Christian song and where people would give anything for even a scrap of God’s word written in their heart language.

We have a duty to speak the truth, to share the word, to be the light, while we still can, before the darkness consumes the entire world.

We don’t have time for petty arguments with believers with a slightly different approach or in house, ‘the preacher offended me I’m going somewhere else, maybe nowhere else,’ offenses.

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It’s time for the church of Jesus Christ that is still standing to get serious about the fight we are in, it’s not with each other. While we are arguing with each other about how literally to take the book of Revelation, how many years ago creation happened, and how wet we should get when we get baptized, our own government is slowly but surely outlawing the very bible we claim to stand on, declaring it offensive and hateful. And our culture, speech and public square is being systematically stripped of anything that could in any way be construed as Christian.

The PC police run roughshod over us all, silencing all honest discourse and somehow everything we now do and say is racist and homophobic. While we worry about plastic straws and which bathroom to use we ignore the high crimes and corruption in our highest offices and law enforcement agencies. We can no longer trust the IRS, the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Dept as they are all being manipulated by the rich and powerful for one another, against one another, and against us.

Our Constitution, the God inspired founding document of this nation under God which protected our rights to worship God as we so choose is no longer heeded nor upheld.

Christians and their leaders stand down and wring their hands, afraid to cause offense as perverts and pagans take over our education system twisting our children’s brains and stealing their innocence before they even get out of kindergarten, as communists and socialists take over our government—both of whom would regulate churches and synagogues right out of existence, take our paychecks and our weapons and leave us at the mercy of the state—which then becomes our god.

The state will provide, the state will decide, you do not need God.

I will not be silent and I will not be silenced. Too much is at stake.

I will speak

I know this sounds a lot like a political rant but I have a purpose here. We need people who are called to lead to stand up and lead, to speak out for truth and to stop running from leaders who are telling us the hard stuff even if what they teach makes us go against the grain of our culture.

I believe we are—you are— those leaders. Don’t fear the darkness, pick up your torch and lead the way through the darkness.

preachen'

 

Right, Wrong—How Do We Know?

 

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts. Psalm 21:2

 

gentiles heart

How do we know?… how do we know indeed. We live in a time when it seems that ‘everyone does what seems right in their own eyes’; to quote an oft used phrase God used to describe Israel in the days before he handed them over to Assyria and Babylon for judgement.

So is that where we are headed; judgement? Destined to be carried off by our enemies to place we do not want to go and where the blessings of God and the freedom to worship him as we see fit are just in the memories of the old? Just wistful stories to tell our children or the stuff of old legends only found in the forbidden books hidden away in the cellar? In Pre-PC history books and forgotten scriptures that now read like Homer’s Iliad or the tales of Gilgamesh?

I hope not, but I often wonder why not. Why haven’t we been weighed on the scales as a nation and found lacking as we revel collectively in sin, flaunt immorality and taunt those who adhere to and dare make a stand on Judeo/Christian values while allowing our history to be rewritten or expunged? Why wouldn’t God turn his back on us and allow our enemies to overrun us and destroy all that we have built as a nation over the brief time we have been a nation, once proudly hailed as a nation ‘under God’, ‘in whom we trust’, but now not allowed to openly say that anymore for fear of being sued or ridiculed?

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Well junior, that’s a darn good question. And honestly, I can’t say we won’t be. But I also think—and pray—we still enjoy a modicum of divine protection because we still have a core body of believers, the remnant of a once vibrant church, who are praying for and interceding on behalf of this nation and it’s leaders. But I also think it’s because we live in a different time and under a different covenant then did the nations of old who were judged and smitten when they failed to turn away from their sin and to the living God.

Gone like Yesterday

They’re gone. “Gone like a freight train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the civil war—bang bang.”   -(Montgomery Gentry)

When was the last time you met an Assyrian, a Roman, a Philistine, a Babylonian—and the list goes on. Great and powerful nations that have come and gone. But, there again, they were all nations who failed to make or accept a covenant with God, as Israel did, so that even in all her failures, Israel, because there was always a remnant that remained faithful, was never fully destroyed and persist as a people, and once again as a nation, to this day.

They had a covenant, as do we, not as a nation necessarily, though we may and should, but I am referring to us as a church, the church of Jesus Christ that was once the majority of this nation, but now—not so much. Possibly in name if you take a poll, but certainly not in the way we behave. The fruit is just not there to prove it anymore. We have gone from being a melting pot where all are free and equal and all life sacred, to a fractured society pitting ourselves against one another while slaughtering millions upon millions of inconvenient lives because they had the gall to be conceived in an unprepared womb.

Yet, we have grace, we still wake up day after day and get another chance. Because we are in the hands of a loving God and we are the recipients of a new and better covenant. A covenant better then the one first made with Israel so long ago, yet one of which Israel is a benefactor also. A covenant first offered to them and brought through them by the Jewish carpenter named, Yeshua, Jesus as it got recorded in the Greek of the day. Even so, many Israelites have and are recognizing Jesus as their Messiah. Accepting the covenant of grace, not of law.

A new covenant that frees us from the judgment of God by virtue of our belief and acceptance of his Son, the one who paid the price to redeem us from that judgement by virtue of dying in our place, experiencing and overcoming the death that was to be the penalty of our failure to keep the covenants requirements.

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”),

22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Heb 7

We have a forever priest and a better covenant. So I think maybe God is delaying his judgment on this earth until that final day when all shall see him return to reap the harvest of the earth, gathering the wheat and burning the tares. On that day there will be no more time, either you are part of the covenant or you’re not.

On that day there will be no more argument as to what is right and what is wrong, it will be plain and sure. Bottom line is, as to what’s right and what’s wrong?

God determines that.

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But it’s not a mystery—and it never changes. Unlike us who always seem to have evolving ideas of what is acceptable and what is not—and we find it written on stone and on parchment, written in our minds and our hearts, sealed by his blood and his Spirit and handed down for generation after generation—God’s eternal word.

And it’s there for all who dare or care to look and hear.

-Stay tuned for Trolls. . .