Transcript: Podcast Episode 156

Billy Graham's preaching bible

This week on the Speak Life Church Podcast, I’m going to start off with a long prayer for
you, me, and everybody.

Our biblical study continues with the Book of Revelation.
We’re going to talk about chapter four, the Throne of God, and get a little geeky with the
theology. Before we get to that, we’ll actually talk about what happened to Cain and his
wife, just for those who are skeptical — a little knowledge I want to pass on to you.

Can I tell you how much I love you? Yeah. For listening, for downloading, for subscribing, for
being a part of this ministry — and most of you have probably never even seen me
before! Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting me.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18 and 21, that life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Here, we choose to speak life. We are a 100% online ministry created to restore and
strengthen the family, provide hope for those in need, and offer a nontraditional place of
worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, using technology to be anywhere. All are welcome,
including those souls still searching for what they believe in. My name is Kenn
Blanchard. Welcome.

There’s an old standard gospel song by Tommy Dorsey that says

“Take my hand,precious Lord. Lead me on. Let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. Through the
storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me
home.”

Eternal God, our Father, it is in the Name of Your Son, Jesus that I bow before
You asking that You would forgive me of everything I’ve done contrary to Your Will for
me. Help me, Lord God, to hear Your Voice today. Help me, Lord God, to be still, and
feel Your presence in this place. We come together, Lord God, to wish each other good
will and happiness and thanksgiving, and we pray, Lord God, in the Name of Your Son,
Jesus, that everything we do and say be according to Your Will and Purpose for us, but
we fall short over and over again. We desire to serve You. We desire to do good. We
desire to be good children of Yours, Lord God, but we fall short so many times. Father,
please forgive us, and hear this pray. Father, I had the opportunity to hear from a sister
this week who is grieving, who is relieving, who is going through what only You know.
Father, she asked for some things, and You gave them to her. She might not have even
been sure what she asked for, but You answered her prayer.

I ask that You would help her in her situation, that You would help her in her state, that you would help her move
to the next level with the assurances that You have never left her, and You have not
forsaken her. Thank you, Lord God, for answering prayer. Thank You for being there.
Thank You for being so close to us that, even when we don’t know what to ask for, You
know what we need. Thank You for being a loving Father — an all-powerful, all-
knowing, all-seeing God. There is none like You. There is nothing that can take You
away from us but ourselves. You’ve opened Your Hand to us, Your Eyes to us, Your
Heart to us, and it is us who choose to walk astray, to walk away, to not hear, to not see
the blessings and the gifts that You’ve given us. For that, I also ask for Your
forgiveness, and I also want to just say thank you, Lord God. Thank you for the job that
you gave one, the opportunity that you gave another, the bringing to the light those who
have been in darkness, the answer to pray that they just realized they got. I ask You,
Lord God, for another opportunity to say thank You — for more opportunities to say
thank You. Sometimes, Lord God, we don’t appreciate what You’ve given us.

I appreciate the food, the water, the warmth, the rest, to be in my right mind right now, to
be able to move with all my limbs. I thank You for security and for safety. I thank You for
intimate relationships and for friends. I thank You for those who I might’ve forgotten, that
they actually care about me. Help me not to neglect the gifts and the people in my life.
Thank You for the feeling of accomplishment. Thank You for helping my self worth,
helping me psychologically to arise when everybody else is falling apart and sad. Thank
You for keeping my mind steadfast on You, for keeping my mind not crazy.
Thank You, Lord God, for helping me achieve my potential. Help me to still be creative — I am Your
child. I want to look more like Your Son, Jesus. Help me to remember the person who is
down who doesn’t have to stay there. Help me to continue to be a person who uplifts
and tries to make this world better. Help us, Lord God, to be more agents of You, more
hands and more feet. When we open The Bible, help us to understand the Words that
are written. Help us to understand Your intention for us. Feed us, Lord God. Even if
we’ve read the same thing before a thousand times, give us a newness, a new strength,
a new light.

Renew our spirit afresh. Create in us, Lord God, a clean heart so that we
can act better to our spouses, act better to our friends, act better to our enemies. Again,
Lord, Help us to be more like Your Son. Father, I’m praying for those who are actually
physically sick right now, for those who have coronavirus, for those who have the flu, for
those who have allergies, for those who are suffering in silence from mental anguish
and anxiety and fear and frustration. I pray, Lord, against the enemy who is still coming
to steal and destroy this Your people.
I pray, Lord God, for a steady healing of our nation that has been torn by politics, torn by media, torn by our own arrogance, and
finally, Lord, I pray for the person listening to me right now, who has found this podcast
and has shared it and meditated on it with me, and has studied with me, supported it. I
pray, Lord God, for this church family that I’ve never seen, this church family that You
have given me, this church family I hope to see at Your Feet someday.
This is my prayer. This is Your servant’s prayer, in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

You know, as we go on through this year — and, we’re getting down to the end —
there’s been a lot of folks who are doubting things and worrying about things, and the
Covid didn’t help. I’m just here to tell you that God is still on the Throne. God is still large
and in charge. God is still God. The you look at The Bible — and we’re going back to
the Book of Revelation again. We’re continuing that thing because it’s huge! I’m hoping
that I’m doing justice to it for you. And, if not, please give me a call. Please email me.
Let me know if I’m screwing up because I’m trying to do right, you know? You know one
of the Bible pieces that pops up every once in awhile when somebody says, “Man! I
couldn’t get past Genesis!” I’m saying, “Why?” They say, “Because there’s this thing that
happened with Cain that I just don’t get.” Where did Cain get a wife? — it’s a question
that pops up sometimes, and this is probably one of the favorite questions from those
who are skeptics. Cain was a member of Adam’s family if you remember. He and his
brothers Abel and Seth were the first generations of children born on the earth. Now,
where am I getting this from? Genesis 4:1-2 and 25. After Cain killed his brother Abel —
ah, see? Now, you remember this story, right? — the Lord put a curse on him and drive
him from the land, and later, we read that he went to a place called Nod, east of Eden,
where he took a wife. Presuming that there are no other people on Earth at that time,
the question becomes how Cain was able to find someone there to marry. And, for all
our single people, they’re wondering how the heck Cain found a wife when they can’t
find a husband or wife. Well, that’s something different, right? Well, a few times when
this has come up, there is a logical answer to this. Genesis 4:17 says, “Cain made love
to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.” Notice that The Bible
doesn’t say that Cain found his wife in Nod. The Scripture just states that Cain had a
wife and that he had children. Neither Scripture nor history imply that there were other
races of people on Earth whom Cain somehow stumbled across and from among whom
he found a wife. It is important to note that in Genesis 5:4 it mentions that by the time he
was 800-years-old, Adam had had other sons and daughters. Adam lived a very long
time — 930 years total. And during this time were born other children besides Cain and
Abel. One of these siblings was the female Cain would ultimately marry. Yeah, Cain
married one of Adam’s daughters, making his wife one of his sisters. I know that’s kind
of weird, but in a similar sense, every child descended from Adam marries another child
descended from Adam, i.e. a relative. At this early juncture in history, such intermarrying
was a practical and logical necessity. Just sayin’. [rain forest sounds inserted here]
Ahhh! The birds! The birds! Stop the birds!
Last week in the Book of Revelation study, we were talking about the Rapture, and part
of the Rapture is the Second Coming that happens in two phases — the first is only for
the church that is all living and dead believers, and the second is what they called the
Glorious Appearing which will take place at the end of Tribulation. So, in saying that,
that Glorious Appearing cannot come today. Umm-Hmm. The Glorious Appearing of
Christ cannot come for at least seven years, yet, the early church for three hundred
lived almost every day in the light of His Return, which is why they were so successful in
reaching their world for Christ. When they thought God was coming back any minute,
they worked harder. Even now, millions of Christians expect Christ to return at any
moment as the many Rapture passages that we have been listening to teach. Well, He
won’t disappoint us. He will come, and His Coming could be at any moment, but that
Coming is for His Church only, which is made up of all true believers everywhere who
have received Him personally by faith. But, to expect His Return in power and majesty,
to take control of this earth and set up His Kingdom for at least seven years is to expect
the impossible. The different passages relating to Christ’s Coming are in harmony with
what we read throughout the New Testament. I am convinced that these two phases of
Christ’s Return are what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote the Titus, when he
said, “looking for that blessed hope and the Glorious Appearing.” The blessed hope is
the confident way we put our Christian deceased loved ones to rest in anticipation of
that day just before Tribulation when we will be gathered together with them to meet the
Lord in the clouds and then be taken to His Father’s House. The Glorious Appearing
obviously refers to His Coming to the earth in power and great glory. To those who take
The Bible literally, this interpretation passes the test of “making common sense” out of
the Scriptures.
Many of the texts that we talk about for the Rapture of the Church teach
an imminent coming of Christ. That just means He could come at any moment, right?
So, take, for example, one of the first teachings on the Rapture in First Thessalonians
1:9-10 when it says, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us.
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait
for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from
the coming wrath.” The Christians in Thessalonica were not sitting around waiting for
the Rapture. They were serving the living and true God in an attitude of expectancy to
wait for His Son. That is as it should be for it could take place at any moment, or it could
be a generation or more away. Philippians 3:20 is another example of proper
understanding, and Second Thessalonians 2:1-8 is another, and there are others, but it
must be stressed again that the Rapture is scheduled prior to the Glorious Appearing.
Almost all of those who believe that Christ come back personally to set up his Kingdom,
called Premillenialists — that’s easy for you to say — agree that there is a Rapture
scheduled before the Glorious Appearing. This is where you get into all the theological
stuff. It depends on which doctrine you’re looking at, whether you’re Calvinist or
whatever, I mean, it’s like, if you go to Seminary or you go to a biblical school, you’ll
hear these guys argue all day. So, what should you take out of that? Well, see, some of
the million of post-tribulation believers are even now coming out with books instructing
Christians to prepare for life in the Tribulation, and I find that interesting in view of the
fact that not one verse can be found in the New Testament telling us how to live during
that seven-year period. Why? Because we won’t be here. Those tribulation saints, that
we will study about in future chapters of Revelation, are individuals who do not receive
Christ until after the church has been raptured. Now, it does seem strange that since so
much prophetic content by both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament
apostles describes the seven-year tribulation more than any other prophetic subject
except the Second Coming itself — that, not even one verse can be found instructing
Christians on how to live during that period. This can only mean that the church will not
go through the Tribulation as pictured by John, a member of the Body of Christ, who
was taken up by a vision into Heaven before the vision of the events of the Tribulation
were revealed. For several years, a popular argument against the pre-tribulation theory
of the blessed hope phase of Christ’s Return is that it was invented by some dude
named John Darby in the last century, and was never seen or mentioned by the early
Christian fathers for almost nineteen centuries of church history. That argument is
simply not true. In fact, one post-tribulation writer advertised an offer of $500 to anyone
who could prove a pre-tribulation rapture was seen before John Darby began to
popularize it in Great Britain, the U.S., and Canada in the 1840’s. Subsequently, he had
to pay for that $500 challenge when somebody discovered that the Reverend Morgan
Edwards saw it back in 1742. Since then, that minister has admitted his error and
withdrawn his offer.
Basically, this whole-expecting-a-pre-tribulation-Rapture is not new,
and if I can just dig into some old history with you….this is going off-chart a little bit. This
is straight from school notes: Reverend Morgan Edwards was a Baptist pastor in
Philadelphia who included a discussion on the pre-tribulation Return of Christ for His
Church. In his book, Millennium: Last-Novelties was written in 1788. Although he saw
only a three and half year tribulation, he definitely taught that the Rapture occurred
before the Tribulation. What is even more interesting is that he claimed he had written
the same thing as early as 1742. He may have been influenced by John Gill before him,
or even others whose writings or teachings were available at that time but had not been
preserved. Historically, the Protestant Reformation resulted in a proliferation of Bibles
being translated, printed, and made available to the common people for the first time in
1,700 years. As they began reading it, they were impressed with the many prophetic
teachings it contained.

There was even a commentary by Sir Isaac Newton in the mid-17th century. He was an avid Bible scholar as well as a scientist, and he was obviously
influenced by other writers before him. By the 19th century, The Bible was being read by
millions in the English-speaking world for the first time. It’s said that prophesy was in the
air, particularly at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, which John Darby and other
prophesy scholars attended between 1800 and 1830. Doubtless, some of these Bible
teachers on the faculty had a strong influence on the thinking. Perhaps all of these old
cats were trying to find when it was going to happen, when the date was coming. They
were just as anxious as we are today, and no matter how scholarly you are or how
much you’re into the weeds of this thing, remember in Matthew 24:36 it says:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” in the New King James Version. Let’s continue, lest I hold you too long.

Revelation four through five talk about the Throne of God. Chapter four starts off with: “After these things I looked, and behold, a
door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet
speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take
place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and
One sat on the throne.” That’s Revelation 4:1-2. Somewhere, high in the heavens, out in
the universe, a throne is set which is The Throne of God. This Throne, described in the
passage before us, gives us a glimpse of the Heaven of God. The Bible teaches us that
there are three heavens. Did you know that?

The first, the atmospheric heaven where
the prince of the power of the air hold forth. He will one day be destroyed. The second
heaven is the stellar heaven known to us as the universe. The third heaven to which
John was caught up in (verse one) is the Heaven of God. This could be the “empty
space” referred to by Job in 26:7. Although the heavens are filled with stars, wherever
the telescope can reach, it seems that behind the North Star there is an empty space,
and for that reason, it has been suggested that this could be the third heaven, the
Heaven of God, where His Throne is. How cool is that? So, you gonna float up
somewhere, or you’re gonna rise up somewhere. You’re gonna teleport. You’re goin’ a
long way, Jack! You know the central object of Heaven, this Throne of God is referred to
eight times in Revelation 4:1-6, and eighteen times altogether in chapters four and five.
It seems to be a fixed point with everything else in Heaven located in relation to it. We
find such expressions such as “about the Throne,” “out of the Throne,” “before the
Throne,” and “in the midst of the Throne.” The Throne of God has been considered the
fixed center of the universe, the immovable point of reference, just like the North Star
has been the ancient navigators’ positional guide because of its fixed position among
the stars. So, the Throne of God is the place of authority and the center of God’s
Rulership for all of the activities of Heaven. This Throne before which everyone in
Heaven worships may well be the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians
will stand, as you remember in the Book of Romans (14:2) and Second Corinthians
5:10. Immediately after the Rapture, they will all go there to receive their awards (1
Corinthians 3:10-15), or to have them burned up, depending on how you roll. I always
say, “Which side are you sitting on? Smoking or non-smoking section?” And, I think I’m
going to put a pin in it right there on my notes and stop, so that next week, we’ll talk
about the seven things around the Throne of God, and also the things that are
mentioned here in chapter four, like the Triune God, the 24 Elders, and —what else we
got in here? — the Signs of Judgment, the Seven Spirits of God, the Sea of Glass, the Four Living Creatures, the Heavenly Worship of Christ.

Yeah, It’s gonna get mystical
and special. I

t’s the Word of God. You with me? Thank you for listening.
[music playing] I got a really good email from Laura, and I want to mention something to
you that I probably failed to before. “My sister, Carolyn, is home and working and back
in her normal life after recovering from chemo and radiation for cancer. She is doing
well. God blessed her. God blessed me.” I don’t know what you’re going through this
week. I don’t know what’s happening in your life, but I’m here to tell you that God is still
in control. God is still awesome! God is. He just IS. Sometimes you can’t even say what
He is because the word we would use is too small. Make sure you honor that this week.
Make sure you thank God, personally, for where you are and where you are not. I don’t
care if you’re locked up in a prison, if you are in a hole, if you are down deep, buried in
something, and you can’t see the light of day, God is still able to reach you. God is still
able to lift your spirit up. God is still able to talk to you. God is still able to save you.
Don’t forget that. Don’t let the enemy of God, don’t let the world, don’t let anybody
walkin’ around here now convince you otherwise. You can make it. It ain’t too late for
you. That’s my new theme. It ain’t too late. I’m trying to make sure that I inspire people
to live their best life, and not be a cliche with that. I mean, truly, if you understand whose
you are and who you are, you can do a whole lot better. Amen? I, personally, am
working on being a better husband. I’m working on trying to learn the guitar to the point
where I can be a studio musician, where I can actually play in a band. My desire is to be
like a worship guitarist, to be really, really, really good, so I can take my show on the
road and go to senior homes and retirement places and play Christian music. We can
play jazz and blues, and cheer up people. I get joy from playing the guitar like nothing
else — so much so that I’m actually working on a little book that I’m trying to put into
words that make sense of what I’ve learned about that joy and that feeling. That’s just
somethin’ I’m doing on the side, but that’s not the only thing I’m doin’. I’m actually also
trying to become a professional voice actor. I figure Morgan Freeman and Keith David
and James Earl Jones can’t get all the work! SO, I’m spending my extra money trying to
learn the business. I’ve got coaching. I did my demo tape just last week, or, this week,
rather, in a real studio we paid for, and hopefully the engineers are all going to master
that thing down to a 30-second piece, and I can shop my stuff around. What will that do
for this church? Hmm. When I’m able to pay for everything and not ask for anything,
whoooooo! That’ll make me feel good. I know, for you, it’s biblical to give, to help a Body
of Christ, to help worship, to help the less fortunate, all that stuff is biblical. “Giving” is
written so many times in The Bible. I give of my service with this, but I also want to give
in a way, which will probably be when I’m traveling around and playing in retirement
homes, playing in assisted living, playing with this band that I can actually probably pay
them off of Speak Life Church because I just learned that a lot of people don’t like to
play for free. Where am I coming from with that? So, I’ll be paying them if nothing else,
but if your heart is right, God can do wonders for you. It’s gotten me through my whole
world. Get your heart right, so God can use you. It’s all we got until He calls us all home.
Amen?
Well, that’s it for this week.

May the Lord bless and keep you. May heaven’s face
continue to shine upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day — that we’re talking about right now! — when there is no dawn and there is no sunset, when He calls
us all and we meet in the air, both us and those who have gone before, my friends, my
brother, my sister, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus.

Tell somebody about the Speak Life Church.
Tell somebody about this podcast, and remember, it ain’t over yet.

 

God
bless you.
pastor@speaklifechurch.net

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Spirituality and Continuation of the Church of Laodicea

Transcript of the podcast.

Welcome to the Speak Life Church Podcast. Yesterday, I was talking to an entrepreneur/business guy, successful dude, and he was talking about in his guitar business that he’s getting a lot of older people who are buying guitars and delivering their dreams. It reminded me of something: It’s never too late to get started on that new path of success. You can shape your life the way you want to by putting in that work on a daily basis. Even if it feels like nothing makes sense, just remember that you can make a change so that you can also save lives in the future — your life. You can make  change. If you get nothing else out of today’s message, I wanted to start with that. The Old Testament book of Lamentations (3:21-23) says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” This week, I want to remind you that it’s not too late to change. It’s not too late to improve. It’s not too late to make a new way for yourself. You can still make it. I don’t care if you are nine or ninety-nine.

1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst [1] of the sea; 3  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

6  The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 8  Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9  He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

 

I read for you Psalm 46 in its entirety. How are you doing this week? What you got goin’ on? There are some praise reports in the house! Yes, there are. My friend, Tat sent one, and Sarah sent one, and I think you’ve got something to tell me, too. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Send me an email: pastor@speaklifechurch.net I want to hear the good news! Come on and share it. Next I want to talk real quick about the title of spirituality and what that means. And then, we’re going to do our study on the Book of Revelation, alright?

 

Heavenly Father, may the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in Thy Sight, oh, my Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. Amen.

 

Somebody made a comment and I wanted to just respond to it. They said that they were a “spiritual person” already, and they’re comfortable with what they doubt. Why do I insist that people see God from my perspective? I thought, Wow, ok! Uh, let’s start off right about here: You know, a lot of people would agree with that. They’d say that rather than speak about God in specific terms, how about we just handle the ultimate questions of this life and the next, in terms of vague generalities. You ever heard of a guy by the name of C.S. Lewis? He wrote a really cool book called The Screwtape Letters, and in it, the apprentice demon in this story was encouraged to deceive people by keeping their minds off the plain antitheses between true and false. In other words, a potent way to keep people from the truth of the Gospel is to lull them into assuming there is no actual truth to embrace, nor error to avoid. There are only feelings and opinions — mine, yours, and everybody’s, with none being more or less correct than any other. Now, see, that sounds really cool. C.S. Lewis asserted that such “spirituality” is the oldest heresy in Christian history because it denies devils and denies sin. He says, ‘when talking with somebody who is skeptical that there is an objective truth beyond our own subjective opinions, I found it helpful to ask questions like I genuinely want to understand what that person truly believes. Also, is it likely that most people who embrace an unobstructed, undefined spirituality haven’t really evaluated their position in any depth. If you ask good questions, it kind of forces them to do this.’ For instance, is there a difference between spirituality and religion? Discuss people who are known to have been “spiritual” — Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa, Adolf Hitler, David Koresh, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Morrison, Abraham Lincoln — it’s a big list.

Everybody I named pointed to God, or some transcendent higher power, as the base of their beliefs or behaviors, yet their values and teachings are all very different if not completely incompatible.

 

 Is there a right or wrong way to be spiritual?

Why? Why not? What is our authority on basis for deciding this? You know, the world is full of things that have been described as spiritual: crystal rocks, witches, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, stuff at the art museums, the birth of a baby, youtube concert, yeah, for real. People have said that. So, how are you spiritual, and how is that better than these? Those are the kinds of questions you can ask. How are religion and spirituality different? Do you think objective truth is a religious or a spiritual principle? Why? Or, how about: Do you believe Jesus was spiritual? Why? Jesus made many absolute statements concerning salvation from sin and deliverance from Evil, and He gave warnings about demons and Hell. Was Jesus correct in the things He taught?

What things can hinder a person’s spirituality?

That’s another good question. Sometimes it’s convenient to say, “I’m not into that stuff. I’m just spiritual.” But, see, some religious cults are spiritual, and they are evil. Can you define spiritual goodness without a specific reference point? If there were a specific reference point that determines goodness, wouldn’t that be something above and beyond our individual spirituality? In other words, wouldn’t there be an ultimate standard of the good, i.e. righteousness? The point is that while it may feel good to think of ourselves as spiritual, this means little without specific definitions based on object reality. The cold truth is that many who call themselves spiritual aren’t able to explain what that means — how they became spiritual, how it’s necessary to grow spiritually, or how to meaningfully share this with others. More and more younger Americans say that religious beliefs have no influence on their lives. So, in this context, Christianity offers objective, testable truth claims, corroborated by evidence that may be investigated. So, don’t say you’re spiritual. Alright.

 

Bible Study

Our Bible study this week returns us to the Book of Revelation (3:14-22). We’re talking about Laodicea, that wealthy city forty miles from Ephesus. If we continue like we were doing before, we have the commendation, the condemnation, the counsel, and the challenge of each of these churches. The commendation of Laodicea is that they have the distinction of being the only one whose conduct was so reprehensible that even the Christ of Glory who knew all about her could not find one thing on which to commend her. This was a tragic indictment, indeed, on so-called Christianity in the 20th and approaching 21st century. The condemnation of Laodicea — He said they were lukewarm. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other.” God makes it clear that He is fully aware of our neutral position and condition of the church in these last days. It’s not hot — meaning zealous or good works — nor is it cold — meaning lifeless. Instead, it is lukewarm or indifferent. That’s the description of the modern day church. All kinds of organization, programs, committees: activities, but no power.

The Holy Spirit warned through Paul (in 2 Timothy 3:5). It says that in the last days many will be characterized as having a form of godliness, but denying its power having nothing to do with Him. The lukewarm church that he is talking about claims to represent Jesus Christ, but never sees the transformation of a soul from darkness to life, but instead deceives many because they do not have the power of the Gospel of Christ. These churches are usually more interested in social action than gospel action, more interested in reformation than transformation, more interested in planning than praying, and as a consequence, they are sickening to the Lord. He says, “so, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of My Mouth.” The Lord Jesus Christ does not claim this church for Himself even though its members make broad their claim of Him. They are deceived about themselves. They say, “I am rich. I have acquired wealth. I don’t need a thing,” but they don’t realize they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. All deception is evil, but the most devastating deception is self-deception. The Laodicean Church and this age that she represents are about deceiving themselves. This fact can easily be seen by the comparison of Laodicea’s description of herself and the Lord’s description of her. They are two different things. Here’s what Laodicea describes themselves as: “I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” Material abundance is not conducive to spiritual vitality. The Laodicean church of today is rich. Her churches are the finest. She has fabulous architecture, million-dollar buildings, fundraising organizations, and a large — though unconsecrated — church membership. In saying, “I have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing,” she does not realize her poverty-stricken spiritual nature. We’re talking about the mega-church here. Jesus said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” We, humans, can organize. We can build. We can promote. We can preach. We can teach, but only the Spirit of God can convict human souls. And God will use anybody or anything for that purpose. The person who’s standing behind the pulpit can be a babbling idiot, but if God has called him there and the Word is from Him, it can change souls. It can heal. It can do everything Jesus said it can do. Only the Spirit of God can transform the lives of people. Only the Spirit of God can glorify Jesus Christ who said, of the Holy Spirit, “He will bring glory to Me.” (John 16:14) This is a good test of any work claiming to be performed in the Name of Christ. If it glorifies humanity, it is not the work of The Spirit. The unique test of the Spirit is: Does it glorify Jesus Christ? This church age does not, for instead of preaching the Gospel in Jesus’s Name to reach a maximum number of souls in these days, folks spend their time in doctrinal denial of the faith that was once for all and entrusted to the saints. As one mainline church pastor once said, “I don’t want to condemn anyone by telling them Christ is the only way of salvation. That would condemn their belief as wrong.” Instead of grappling with and teaching the truth about The Bible, this guy spent his time on social causes. His sermons were titled in a catchy way so that it looked like they were up-to-date. He was part of the “growing movement.” The Laodicean church of today would be at the forefront of rights and movements and be the leaders of ordinations of people you know shouldn’t be. The plight of the Laodicean church, which, when she stands before Jesus Christ in judgment, will be the same as that of the group of religious folks described by our Lord Himself in Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then, I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers.” The true state of the Laodicean Church can be seen by noting in detail what Christ saw in this church. To Him, she was wretched, pitiful, poor, and blind, even though she gave herself lessons on positive thinking and read books on how to have peace. In reality, her people were an unhappy, wretched lot, for riches never satisfy the hungry human heart. Even though rich in material things, the Laodicean church members were poor because they did not know Christ, and this is in accord with Our Lord’s Statement in Mark 8:36 where He said, “For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?” And although the Laodicean church members thought  they knew and understood through their sophisticated education and appropriation of “wisdom,” they did not understand the ways of God. Human nature must be changed internally, and only God can do that. The more people try to solve the problems, socially, without Christ, the more confused the problem will become. He also said they were naked. This 20th-century Ladicean Church is clothed with religion. She wraps her religious robes about her, burns her candles, waves her symbols, offers her chants, and reads her creeds, but Jesus Christ sees her as “naked,” for she is not clothed by faith with the garments of righteousness. I feel like I’m mumbling, but do you understand what I’m saying today? God does give us some counsel. He gives us some recommendations. He counsels the Church of Laodicea to do four things, all of which are part of the salvation experience, indicating that this church is not a born-again church. First, He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so you can become rich.” Eternal riches are not appropriated by material possessions. Instad, they have been appropriated by Christ and are available by faith. 1 Peter 1:7 indicates that “these have come so that your faith may be more precious than gold.” It is interesting to note that the Laodicean Church labeled “poor” is asked to buy something. How’s this to be understood? You know, in the Book of Isaiah the prophet (55:1), we can read about God’s invitation to human beings to come and buy what they need without money and without cost. Salvation is not purchased through our efforts. It has been purchased for us by the death of Christ on Calvary’s Cross. Therefore, the poorest of the poor can pay the price, which is to: humble oneself, call on the Name of the Lord, and believe in Him.

 

Secondly, He says, “I counsel you to buy from Me white clothes to wear.” This denotes the righteousness required to come into God’s Presence (Revelation 3:5). He knew their nakedness and their need for the “white clothes” to represent righteousness. Back to the prophet Isaiah (61:10); we read of God’s Provision of garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness, as a bride or a groom might wear. Righteousness is imputed to human beings when they call on the Name of the Lord and are saved.

 

Thirdly, “I counsel you to buy from me salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” What this is talking about is an indication of our need of spiritual illumination. No matter how brilliant people are here, unless they are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, they will never understand the Ways of God. Only the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would be our teacher, can cause human beings to understand the Ways of God. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).

 

And, finally, the fourth thing is to be earnest and repent. This lukewarm, indifferent, materialistic church is challenged by God on the basis of His Love for them even in that lost state, to repent of their sins and return to Him. You know, no matter how far you go off-track, it only takes one step to turn around. Remember that. What is Christ telling us in this couple to the Laodicean Church? Although the church has excluded Him, those who are willing to receive Jesus are given a special invitation that is also applicable to individuals of all church ages. He says, “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This verse of Scripture has been beautifully described by one saint of God as the simplest explanation of the plan of salvation encompassed in a brief statement within the lids of God’s Word. The door, referred to here as the door to one’s heart, is the center of one’s being. The Bible says: Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Consequently, we find Christ knocking at the door of this emotional center called the heart asking entrance. He doesn’t force His way. He patiently knocks. If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in. For almost 2,000 years, our Lord has faithfully, patiently, and wonderfully knocked on the doors of our hearts. How does He knock? In many ways.

Four of which I’d like to share with you now.

 

  1. Through His Word. The Lord Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. Whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) We must hear our blessed Lord’s Word to be saved. Many have felt the gentle knock of The Savior at the door of their hearts as they read some portion of the Word of God or maybe even as you are listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth. Sometimes His knocking is evidenced itself by a violent reaction or rejection, but it does not minimize the fact that Christ has knocked. How else does God knock?
  2. Through His people. Sometimes we look at folks and go, “What was I supposed to talk about with that person? I’m not quite sure.” But, the Scripture says, “and how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14)” We usually think of the great preachers of the church, the Billy Grahams, the Charles Stanleys….but if the truth were known — and it will be when we stand before The Judgement Seat of Christ — Jesus knocks through the ordinary, everyday, often obscure people, like you and me. How does God knock?
  3. Through His Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus made it clear in John 14:8 that He sent the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of humankind of sin and righteousness and judgment. Many who thought they had escaped the preacher and the Word of God have been awakened in the middle of the night to toss restlessly in bed at the conviction of God’s Spirit, which is the gentle knocking of Jesus at the door of one’s heart.
  4. Through Providence. Yeah, Providence is kind of a funky word. It’s often misused as a rather impersonal reference to God, but I want to use it in the sense to mean God’s gentle alignment on the affairs of a person’s life that continually point him or her to the need of inviting Jesus into their life. Many who have felt the hot breath of death recognize they were saved by the Providence of God. They may not recognize that this was the gentle knock of Jesus at their door, but it was just the same. How it happens sometimes throws us off, but sometimes the reason why we’re still here is because God is still knocking. The reason He hasn’t called us all home is because He’s still trying to reach the one. Perhaps you’ve heard that knock at your heart in some of these ways — through His Word, through His people, through His Holy Spirit, maybe even through Providence. The key question is: Have you opened the door and accepted His Promise? He says, “If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” This indicates fellowship with Jesus. You are incomplete until you have fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Word tells us that in 1 John 1:3 that is only possible by inviting Him into your heart.

 

I’m going to stop right there, and next week, we’ll carry on with the challenge of the Church of Laodicea. I’m hoping that you’re thinking about that question I just asked you. You’ve listened. You’ve been at church. You’ve read some words in The Bible, but you don’t have a personal relationship with God. He is trying to get you to tune in to His Station. He’s been knocking on your heart for, maybe, years. When you open The Book, and you read The Word through even this podcast, or other people, through the Holy Spirit, through divine intervention, there’s been something that has happened that has pointed Him to you, and you still haven’t moved. I’m asking you to consider it right now, not to waste another day. Okay?

 

{Hymn Have Thine Own Way, Lord sung here}

 

Eternal God, our Father, we come before You to say thank You for today. Thank you for The Word. Thank You for this message. Thank You for touching our hearts. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Father, we don’t always know what to pray for. We are quite dumb sometimes. We miss the mark so many times, but thank You for allowing us to come back again to Your Throne. We ask that You forgive us of everything we’ve done contrary to Your Will. Help us to be more like Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us, Lord God, to understand when You’re there in our presence. Help us to realize the love that You’ve given us, that You’ve sacrificed for us. Help us to be a better light to other people, better ambassadors. Help us, Lord God, to do what You’ve called each one of us to do. Show us the way. Open our eyes and our hearts so we may receive You. Forgive us, Lord God, for that thing, whatever that thing is. We stand before You naked and unashamed. We are Your children. We ask, Lord God, that You would bless our families, that You would keep us safe, that You would watch over us and put that hedge of protection around us anew and afresh. Heal those who are sick right now. Heal those who are brokenhearted. Heal those who are mourning. Somebody is grieving. Somebody is sad. Lift up our eyes, oh, Lord God. Even in the darkest night, You are there. Help us to remember Your Peace that surpasses all understanding. We ask for that Peace right now. We thank you, Lord God, for this time together. It’s in the Name of Your Son Jesus that we praise You and thank You. Amen.

 

Well, that’s it for this week. You’ve made it to the month of November 2020. We’re headed towards Thanksgiving already! I want to thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing, again, to Speak Life Church Podcast. I’m Reverend Kenn Blanchard, and I’m hoping that the Word convicts you and the Word teaches, that the Word does something that the Lord intended it to do. If you want to reach out to me, I can be found at pastor@speaklifechurch.net Yes, I can. You can call me at (202)579-9435. I’m all over Facebook. Look for Kenn with two “N’s,” and you’ll find Kenn Blanchard. I’m there! Let me know what’s on your mind, alright?

 

May the Lord bless and keep you. May heaven’s face continue to shine upon you and give you great peace. Until that great day when there is no dawn, and there is no sunset, my family, my friends, my brother, my sister, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Until then — or next week! — God bless.

 

Preaching to an Empty Building

The word of the Lord that came to me, from the prophet Micah in the days of Trump, 2020 A.D.. It was a time of uncertainty.  There was a global pandemic of a Coronavirus.  People were dying.  People were getting sick.  People lost their jobs. Some showed their faith through their actions.  The “ISMs” that separate people returned (racism, cronyism, nepotism, nationalism, separatism, paganism) The way of life for many had changed.  The nation was divided.  Foreign powers had succeeded in fueling mistrust and anarchy through the use of arrogance, ignorance and social engineering.

During this time, I got the opportunity to be the worship leader and preacher of the Gospel at St. Matthews Baptist Church, in District Heights, Maryland.  The new church was empty. Except for security, the trustees, the audio-visual engineer and those that rendered the music.  The choir and the musicians struggled to deliver what sounded beautiful in the sanctuary to the limitations of the internet.  Technical problems abounded.

 

The Pastor, a brilliant and humble servant of God, was invited to share at a neighboring church which gave me my first chance to stand in.  Since his installation, he has worked tirelessly to grow and prepare the church for the way things are becoming.  It has not gone without challenge.

 

The threat of COVID -19 shut down traditional church services, celebrations, annual events and things people took for granted in the old Baptist church traditions.  In an instant, leaders had to become televangelist, using the internet instead of the TV.  The need for tech, monitors, WIFI and new procedures had to come fast.  Social distancing, and medical precautious had to be combined to limit exposures and sickness.  Not everyone is onboard.

 

So this pastor of an internet based churched called Speak Life Church, Incorporated that has been prepared for this online situation since 2007, got the opportunity to preach in an empty building, with an outstanding choir, expert musicians that didn’t sound as heavenly as it did it person online.

 

To God be the Glory…

 

You can watch the YouTube video below.

“What Does God Want From Me.”

 

 

God bless you.

 

Rev. Kenn Blanchard

Micah and The Church of Philadelphia

I received this Message from the Lord this week.  It hit me kind of hard and I didn’t know how to use it.  I found out Sunday afternoon that I will be preaching it to a church congregation as well next week.  You got it first.

What does God want from us?

This week has been an interesting episode because I’m being attacked as I try to present this to you. Yeah. A little bit about Micah the prophet, a short message, music created from the Psalm of David, and the continuation of our study of the Book of Revelation: The Church of Philadelphia.

This week I want you to go to the Book of Micah. He is the sixth of one of the twelve minor prophets. Micah 8:6 says, “He hath showed thee, old man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” So, who was this guy? He was a prophet from a place called Moresheth-Gath, which was southwest, about twenty-five miles southwest, of Jerusalem. It’s mostly an agricultural part of the country, and he lived outside big government powers, and he had a strong concern for the regular person, the less fortunate of society, the lame, the outcast, the afflicted. So, most of his prophesy was toward the powerful leaders of Samaria and Jerusalem, the capital cities of Israel and Judah, respectively.

Micah was different because he prophesied about Jesus Christ’s birth, seven hundred years before it happened. Surrounding Micah’s prophesy of Jesus’s birth is one of the most lucid pictures of the world’s future under the Reign of the Prince of Peace. His future kingdom, which scholars call the Millennial Kingdom, will be characterized by the presence of many nations that live with one another in peace and security, and coming to Jerusalem to worship the Reigning King, that is, Jesus Himself.

Because these events have no yet occurred, we look toward that Millennial Kingdom at some undetermined time in the future. Much of Micah’s book revolves around two significant predictions: One, of judgment on Israel and Judah, and the other, the restoration of God’s people in this Millennial Kingdom. Well, that’s some of the biblical study for this.

Micah chapters 1-3 talks about Micah’s vision in God’s grief over Judah and Israel’s evil deeds, their coming destruction, and, later, how He delivers them, the capture of Jerusalem and the future Arrival of Jesus the Christ. Micah chapters four and five discuss the key events: the capture of the City of David and the Coming of the Son of David. Micah six and seven, Micah addresses God’s case against Israel and His compassion for the people. And, as he does so, his confidence grows. There are only seven chapters in this book, but it’s a powerful book of prophesy. I need you to find Micah 6:8, and I have three points in this message for this week.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” 

It’s as if somebody asks, “What does God want from me?”

Well, the first thing is to do the right thing. Act justly. Be fair. Be morally right. Be deservedly.

You know, if I were to just put that into perspective, it’s as if you were a husband, if you’re a married man, do the right thing. Be fair to your wife. What does that mean? Well, the longer you are married to somebody, the less they might look like a supermodel, but to be fair, either are you, but this world judges beauty and all of that, and it can get us caught up in a trick bag, as we would say back in the 70’s, that double standard. And you’ll start looking elsewhere, and that’s not right. It’s not morally right. You should be more deserving.

Act justly. Have more compassion, more forgiveness, more grace, more pity. That’s the second part. And then thirdly — walk humbly, unpretentious, modest, lifting up your spouse. You know you can get more things being sweet than you can being sour. If you would invest just a “hello” or a smile or a touch or do something for somebody else, you can life up somebody else in more ways than just financial. If you want to have a happier home, if you want to do better, don’t be just the only one who’s contributing to the relationship. Do the right thing. Do it justly. Love mercy. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Have some grace. Have some pity, and walk before the Lord humbly, because He sees everything that you’re doing. You know, you can’t be one-sided. It can’t all come from one side. It has to be both of you, so what does God want from you? Well, somebody asked this of Jesus, too, and He said, “Love God with all your heart, and love each other as you love yourselves.” You know, that’s easy to say, but sometimes I’ve noticed in this world, we don’t love ourselves that much. We drink too much. We smoke too much. We don’t take care of our bodies. So, when you’re talking about loving somebody as much as ourselves, you’ve got to love yourself more than you have been. You’re letting yourself go. You’re letting yourself fall away. You’re being self-destructive. That’s also a negative. There’s a message in here somewhere. I’m hoping that you hear what I’m saying. The Great Commandment is what? You’ve heard me say it already: You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment, and the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all of The Law of the Prophets. I’m saying, if you want to do better this week, think about Micah 6:8 — Do the right thing. Love mercy. Walk humbly with thy God. Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love yourself, and your neighbor, your wife, your husband. If you’re not doing a good job on yourself, fix that because you can’t repair things with broken tools. You need to do better with what you have. That is what God requires of you this week — Micah 6:8.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, I ask that You would forgive me of my stammering lips, that You would allow the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be acceptable, even though something is hindering me. I ask that the Holy Spirit will not hinder Your Message. Allow it got go forth. Father, forgive me for everything I’ve done that’s against You. Forgive us as we bow our heads, as we think about You, about Your Greatness, about Your Goodness, about all the things You’ve blessed us with. Help us, Lord God, to do what You’ve called us to do. Help us to obey You, to trust You, to love You. How can we say we love You and we can’t see You? But the person we have in our life, we’re not doing the right thing with, and that You’re judging us based on that. Help us all to understand that. I’m praying for marriages right now. I’m praying for relationships right now. I’m praying for those who are seeking to be loved. Father, clear our hearts and our spirits from past hurt and pain. Allow us Your Grace and Your Mercy to abide so that we can love again, hear again, walk again. Father, I don’t even know who I’m praying for right now, but You do. Touch them in a mighty way. Heal their pain. Bring the spark of love back to their life, to their lives. It’s in Jesus’s Name that I ask this. Amen.

Bible Study

Alright, let’s go to the Church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13. If you get the chance, please read that ahead this week. We’re not going to get all of it today, but Revelation 3 is interesting, and I’m having trouble speaking today. Maybe I’m just fired up, I don’t know. You know, the name Philadelphia literally means “brotherly love.” Our Lord selected that church to describe the kind of church age that was initiated around the year 750 and will continue to the Tribulation. Just as Sardis came out of Thyatira, so does the Philadelphia Age come out of Sardis.

The Reformation Church, as we read and heard before, became dead and cold as a state church. Philadelphia was marked by vitality of life. In this church age, God worked in a manner that produced revivals in Europe and the British Isles, spreading even to America. These revivals, in turn, produced what is now known as the Modern Missionary Movement. It was this moving of the Spirit of God on the part of His people that caused an English shoe cobbler to become so burdened for the lost of India, that in 1793, he became the first foreign missionary. His name was William Carey.

William Carey was followed by other young people whom the Spirit of God touched and thus the present day Faith Missionary Movement was begun, and it is our Lord said, “I have placed before you an open door.” This open door found such men as Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone, Jonathan Goforth, and thousands of people going out to Africa, China, Japan, Korea, India, South America, and the islands of the sea.

The Church of Philadelphia was located in the center of Greek civilization. Founded only 189 years before Christ, the city had a surprising influence on the area of the ancient world. This church must’ve been vital for Philadelphia to remain the independent Christian city until the close of the 14th century when it was conquered by the Turks. The church Christ loved, it’s commendation, is: I know your deeds. I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My Word and have not denied My Name. The condemnation of the church: not one word. The counsel for this church: I’m coming soon. Hold onto what you have so that no one will take your crown. The challenge: He who overcomes I will make a pillar in a temple of My God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the Name of My God and the name of the City of My God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God, and I will also write on him my New Name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Now, compared to the other churches that we talked about, this one you might want to be a part of. You know there are two reasons for the Missionary Movement: One, The Bible was printed by that time in regular languages around the world.

So, when a young guy, by the name of William Carey, read Our Lord’s Command to go into the world and preach the good news to all creation, it was easier to do! Secondly, the Missionary Movement was happening at the same time as the turn of the century, so folks were kind of thinking it was coming now. Like 2020, folks are looking at things thinking, “Man, I bet you it’s coming now.” We’ve always been looking for Christ’s Return in trouble, in bad times like now, but no one knows the hour or the day. One of the things I like about this passage of Scripture is that our Lord commended the Church of Philadelphia for four things which, in turn, invoked a promise from Him.

Number one, He said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut,” and this refers to the doors of opportunity opened to them for the proclamation of the Gospel, one of the chief characteristics of faithful service throughout the church age.

1 Corinthians 16:9 indicates that the apostle Paul considered an open door an opportunity for Christian service. Number two: You have little strength. This refers to the minority status of the believers in Philadelphia. Except for some churches in America, the Philadelphia church age is characterized by smaller congregations which, according to human standards, are weak.

This, of course, is real strength, for as the Holy Spirit tells us through Paul, “When I am weak, then I am strong,” which is a plus for me because sometimes I’m thinking that because I’m in this world with you that couldn’t I do better, maybe, with a larger group? But, I was reminded when talking to my pastor buddy this week when we were walking that somebody has to go after the one. The one is very important to God. When you’ve got the groups that are out there in masses, it’s quite often that the one wanders off and can get snatched by the enemy. I like being the one who can go find the one. And smaller things are often stronger.

Think about how potent cologne and perfumes are in their original forms. You have to thin it out a little. It’s a little strong on the nose. Nitroglycerin is very powerful, and it’s really small. Some of you ladies, physically, are small, but you’re, yeah. You get it.

Number three, He says, “yet you have kept My Word.” You see, this church not only believed the Word of God, it obeyed It. The Reformation churches, past and present, believe the Word of God, but are not characterized by obedience to It. The Church fo Philadelphia, a fitting contrast to this pattern, is characterized by obedience to his Word. Number four, “and you have not denied My Name.” Satan always counters an effective work of God, and that’s one of the things I was telling a married couple earlier.

As soon as you said, “I do,” and that you want to be a Christian marriage, a holy matrimony, you are a huge target to the devil. So, don’t think that the stuff that’s happening to you is just because. It’s bigger than you, and you have to learn to what? Do the right thing. Have some grace, some compassion, and to walk humbly. At the same time, when the church was growing and doing the right thing, it was also the increase of false christ and false religions.

One characteristic of this church age is that is refused to deny the Name of The Lord, thereby offering a challenge that needs to be presented to every faithful Christian as he or she approaches the end of the age. Christ gives a promise to this church, which comes down to two things: vindication and preservation. He says, “I will make those who are of the synagogues of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not but are liars, I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

Christ promised that all the false religionists, imposters, and false teachers and antiChrists, those who claim to be Jews but are not, would someday be subdued before them. Their heretics will realize that in persecuting the faithful church of Christ, they have turned their backs on Him. On the preservation piece: Since you have kept My Command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. The world has never known a universal period of tribulation. What we’re going through right now is not it, but we’re getting close. This passage is obviously in reference to the Tribulation period of seven years that will be covered extensively when we get to, like, Revelation 6-18.

This promise, though, is to the Church of Philadelphia, that she will be raptured before the Tribulation begins. It seems difficult to understand why some false teachers suggest that the church must go through the Tribulation in view of this clear-cut statement of our Lord to keep you — in this case, us — out of the hour of trial which must be understood in light of Jesus’s description of that period in Matthew 24:21: There’s a time when there will be great distress unequal from the beginning of the world until now, and never be equalled again. Obviously, that period has never historically happened yet. Many believe, as we will see, that such a time of Tribulation will not commence until the anti-Christ signs a covenant with Israel for seven years.

The rapture of the church, which we’re going to talk about soon, will proceed after that covenant signing, and this explains why many of us think that the next thing on the prophetic agenda is the Rapture of the Church. And, we’re going to get more into it later. Amen?

That part was so heavy, I had to stop! I mean, it’s just, like, I don’t know, it’s like I need more strength to get into this. The Spirit was holding me back. So, whatever the thing is that’s going on right now, continue to pray for your strength and mine, for this church, for our ministry, for something that you do to be done better. Amen? Amen.

You might not know it, but we had our first Zoom prayer meeting this past week, and I was so nervous, but it turned out pretty good actually, so I want to thank all those who made it. Shout out to Teyonna and Sarah and Jon.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord’s Face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His Countenance unto you and give you that peace. And until that great day when there is no dawn and there is no sunset, my friend, my brother and my sister, I will see you at the Feet of Jesus. Until then, God bless.