Storm Warnings - A Conversation with the Apostles

      There’s an old saying that goes, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. Jesus told the religious leadership of His day they could recognize storm warnings in the sky, but they could not discern the times. (Matthew 16:2,3)
     Let’s not make the same mistake and ignore scriptural warnings that are there to protect us from being deceived.
     A lot of people get all their teaching from their pastors, books, or radio and television evangelists, and do not read the word of God for themselves. Friends, you can’t do any better than the words of our Lord and His apostles. When you are willing to sit in the quiet and tune into these guys, you are tuning into the ones who have heard from God directly, but most of all, these words were written by men who genuinely love God’s people.
     When you read the word of God, remember, you are being counseled by people who genuinely love you.
     Real love is corrective and just like any good parent, God gives us words of correction and warnings born from love. Your spiritual welfare is the heart of God’s word for you. You are God’s treasure, His most priceless possession and He wants to guard His treasure from error.
     The Holy Bible contains many warnings about what to expect in the last days. Many of these warnings are there to protect us from being deceived. Jesus said, "Take heed that no man deceives you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. – Matthew 24: 4, 5, 11.
     God’s Holy Spirit continues to minister to us through His apostles for the purposes of guarding our souls from deception. So we have invited the apostles, Paul, Peter and Jude here to the café’ to help shed some insight on what’s happening in the church today.
     They are all seated here with me and I will begin by addressing the Apostle Paul.

     “Paul, it’s great to have you here, and all of you. Thanks for coming.”

     “Our pleasure,” Paul replies.

     “We have entered another year in church history. Paul, can you tell us what you see for the church in the coming years?”

     He sighs heavily and sets down his cup. “There will be and is a definite falling away from the faith – an increase in apostasy that will continue to increase until the antichrist is revealed ( II Thessalonians 2:3). The Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ( I Timothy 4:1).
     “Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…having a form of godliness, but denying the power – get away from them! (II Timothy 3:1-5).

     “The power is the cross, specifically the atonement,” I reply. “It’s interesting to me that Jesus said that many would come in His name, the name of Jesus saying 'I am the Messiah and deceive many.' Paul, what does that mean to you?"

     “They are preaching another Jesus that we have not preached, another spirit, another gospel” (II Corinthians 11:4).

     Peter nods his agreement. “These are false prophets and teachers, and they will bring in damnable heresies,” he says earnestly. “And denying the Lord that bought them is one of them (II Peter 2:1). And it will be through these people that the way of Truth will be maligned," he sighs, sadly (II Peter 2:2).

     “So we can have churches filled with people, supposedly worshipping the Lord, but if the atonement is denied then we can have seemingly prosperous, flourishing churches that are actually operating in the spirit of apostasy, “ I respond. “It’s scary to think about.”

     “If people do not love the truth so they might be saved,” Paul says sincerely, “Then God will send a strong delusion that they will believe a lie” (II Thessalonians 2:10).

     “Woe to them!” Jude suddenly exclaims. “They have gone the way of Cain, Balaam and Korah!” (Jude 1:11).

     He pounds his fist on the table and made the cups rattle in their saucers.

     “Everything is in the word of God, isn’t it,” I reply. “All these examples that you just mentioned are there for us to learn from. These three men, Cain, Balaam and Korah represent the spirits operating through many church leaders today.
     “Cain murdered his brother who brought a lamb as an offering to God, representing the atonement through the Lamb of God, Christ, God’s only plan for the redemption of mankind. Symbolically this spirit of Cain operating in church leadership today, attacks the only doctrine that is acceptable to God for man’s salvation. So when the atonement is rejected we automatically fall into the error of Balaam and these false teachers begin to lead people to symbolically marry “foreign wives,” and embrace foreign doctrine.”

     “Ear tickling,” Paul interjects.

     “Exactly.” I reply. “They tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
     “And that progresses to the spirit of Korah who challenged God’s ordained leadership for His people. To apply that to now, we see the spirit of Korah operating in the church today to negate the authority of the scriptures.”

     At that point, Peter leans over the table and speaks earnestly, “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:20,21).
     “Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and savior (II Peter 3:2).For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (II Peter 1:16).

     “Hey, mind if I join you?”

     We all look up and smile as the apostle John approaches our table. He takes a seat and I pour him some tea.

     “We’re talking about the spiritual condition of the church in the last days,” I tell him. “You know, what to expect and how to avoid being deceived.”

     He looks pensive, and then he says, “Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Messiah is antichrist – they deny the Father and the Son. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out that it would become obvious that they were not all of us (I John 2:19).
     “We are of God,” he continues as he nods in the direction of the others, “he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God does not hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (I John 4:6).

     “That’s the bottom line, isn’t it, fellas? It’s so simple,” I answer. “If we simply put your words first and compare what we are hearing from others with the truth of your words and the words of our Lord, it’s like getting an inoculation against a devastating virus that’s out to destroy and is destroying many of God’s people today."
     We sip our tea pensively in silence for a few moments, contemplating the plague and the simplicity of the remedy.

     Finally I offer, "Before we go are there any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?"

     John smiles, "Love one another" (I John 4:7).

    Paul nods and adds, "Pray without ceasing!"(I Thessalonians 5:17).

    Peter looks at me sincerely, "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever." (II Peter 2:18).

     Jude looks at him affectionately as he speaks, "Remember the words that were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus.." (Jude 1:17).

     “I really appreciate all of you for taking the time to share with me and our readers at Café Logos. I’ve enjoyed our time together immensely. Thanks again for coming, and please take the bagels home with you.”

copyright 2010 by H.D. Shively

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