Church change. I have been praying about this and churning it over in my mind for a few months. And I finely now have made the change. I feel a little sad about it—not to see certain folks regularly. But I feel I must move on to what I think is the right move. I’m not going to talk about the reasons, but there are doctrinal reasons. So, I feel that I am following the Lord, but yet I am sad. I feel a peace about it. Yet I know there will be struggles, and I must endure them and push on.
Working less. This last summer I worked much more that I figured I would. And I was suffering in the heat—90-degree heat for many days. I think I have to push myself to slow down. I have resolved to take more days off between jobs—I’m a house painter; semi-retired. And I will take only easy jobs. I will not quit working completely, because I really like what I do. But I also like days off and having time to write and read more, etc.
Health issues. I’m finding that I’m having more and more health issues—because of my age I suppose. But it is also a challenge to concentrate more on good eating habits and regular exercise, etc. Nobody wants to be sick—unless you have a death wish. I know that much sickness in people is because of heredity. But we can’t use that as an excuse. We all, especially us older folks, must work extra hard to keep ourselves healthy—watch our diet, exercise, and deal with any illnesses. And I find that daily prayer is very helpful. I follow the Jabez prayer. Why not? He prayed that God would bless him and keep him from harm (1 Chron. 4:10).
There is a man that I, for many years, have regarded highly for his knowledge of the bible and his doctrine. But recently I have discovered how he believes in future things. To me his eschatology is wrong. And because of that I have been sulking. I feel so disappointed in him. How can such a brilliant man be so wrong on this—not to believe in the rapture of the church?
I heard a 45-minute sermon by him on Daniel 9:24-27. He took it bit by bit, and he explained the pre-tribulation rapture view perfectly; and then, in just a few minutes, rejected it and taught his preterist view. He just couldn’t except that there is a gap of time between the 69th and 70th week. And he gave the lamest reasons. And then he preceded to cut down the rapture view and said that it all started in 1830 by someone’s vision. You may be aware of all the stories.
But since my great disappointment, and after much prayer, I have come to except that he is just a man who, like us all, is not perfect. And though I think he is wrong with his eschatology (and I try to keep an open mind), he is still very brilliant in his knowledge of the bible and a true believer. And like most scholars his age (he died in 1981), he just missed some of the best teaching on the pre-tribulation rapture. And I do believe that all those who were great scholars of the 1700s and 1800s didn’t hear too much about the rapture either.
But just because a doctrine comes late doesn’t mean that it is wrong. The belief in the rapture is fairly new, yet we believe that it is a correction of the error that the church has had for centuries. I think the apostle Paul has given us a good explanation of the rapture. But it is too bad that just a couple centuries later it was explained away by allegorical views.
But thank God, errors in eschatology will not disqualify a person for salvation. Though some will miss the joy of expecting Him, we who are believers will all meet together in the air before Him—regardless of how we believed.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
This verse (and the following few verses) follows directly after where Jesus spoke on entering by the narrow gate and walking along the narrow way (v. 13-14). Hence, what Jesus is suggesting here is that we beware of those who will try to persuade us not to enter at the narrow gate and walk in the narrow way. These are false prophets.
We will now take a closer look at these false prophets, according to what D. Martyn Lloyd Jones has preached on in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In my reading and note taking, I have come up with ten descriptions of the false prophet.
1. They will appear as Christians. They will come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they will be ravenous wolves. Therefore, they will look like good people and no one will suspect anything false from them. They will be nice and pleasant and appear to be Christians. They will use Christian terms and talk about God, and Jesus, and about the cross, and about the love of God, etc.
2. We will know them by their fruit. When we really get to know them, we will discover that their teaching is wrong and also their life (their conduct).
3. We may recognize them by what they do not teach. As far as recognizing the falseness, it is not so much recognized by what they say, but rather by what they do not say. They will tend to leave out or pass over certain important biblical teachings. And they do this in order to not offend you or to be more popular.
4. His teaching is absent from doctrine. His preaching is almost entirely absent from doctrine. He does not like doctrinal preaching, and when he does preach doctrine, it is vague and in error.
5. He does not speak on holiness. The false prophet rarely speaks about holiness and righteousness and justice and the wrath of God. He will not say that he does not believe these things, yet he says next to nothing about them.
6. He leaves out bible prophecy. The false prophet fails to talk about bible prophecy and future things. This is true of most preachers these days. But I have a remedy for them. If they would just preach through the bible one verse at a time, they would be forced to preach on bible prophecy, since almost one-third of the bible is prophetical.
7. He fails to preach on sin. He will not emphasis the doctrine of sin and the sinfulness of sin.
8. He will not preach on what Jesus did for us on the cross. He will talk about the cross and about the death of Christ, but he will fail to preach on what Jesus’ death did for us—that God made Him to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) and that He paid the penalty for our sins.
9. He dislikes self-examination. He will not emphasize the necessity of entering the narrow gate or walking in the narrow way. He is not interested in true holiness; thus, he dislikes the process of self-examination and the mortification of sin as taught by the Puritans.
10. They reject the idea of being a Christian warrior. They reject talk about fighting the good fight of faith, and they do not see the need for putting on the armor of God. They would rather practice easy salvation and living an easy and prosperous Christian life.