November 25, 2013
Why are behavioral attitudes such as blasphemy,
disobedience, lack of gratitude, ungodliness,
lying, and broken promises
signs of Christs return?
Sinful attitudes which move us away from a holy God have been with us since the fall of man. If you read world history, however, you will notice the sins of humankind have become progressively worse-some would say more creative in their evil. The bad news is that tomorrow they even become worse (2 Timothy 3:13). Let us look at the six signs of Christ’s imminent return referred to in the above question.
Blasphemy is a sin against the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul indicated that he “was before a blasphemer” (1 Timothy 1:13). What had Paul done? He murdered Christians and hated the name of Jesus Christ. Today the physical murder of Christians continues unabated. I recently received two reports of hundreds of Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in the nations of China and India. The name of Jesus is not honored in those places. Pastors are being thrown in jail; individual Christians must worship in secret, lest they be taken before the authorities. In many places of our world, the name of Jesus is blasphemed, and Christians are suspect. In fact, this would be a good time to pray for Christians throughout the world who serve the Master faithfully in difficult places, even as it puts them in danger.
However, let us keep the issue on our own doorsteps for a moment. Many so-called Christians are equally blasphemous. Scores of our seminaries, for example, are filled with students and professors who mock the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His deity, blood atonement, and bodily resurrection. Intelligent scholars teach a “higher criticism” of the Bible when, in fact, they proclaim the lowest form of interpretation possible because, in their disbelief, they blaspheme the Christ of the Scriptures. Surveys indicate that 70 percent of our ministers are infected by this spiritual sickness. God help us if these statistics are accurate. Can there be any doubt that Jesus Christ is coming soon?
There is nothing new about this sin, particularly when it comes to children disobeying their parents. Some young people say that they love Jesus Christ, yet when their parents make requests, they treat them disrespectfully and are willfully disobedient. Do these alleged Christian youth really believe the message of God’s Word? It makes me wonder. Ephesians 6:1-3 admonishes, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise … and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
I was moved recently as I studied John 19:26-27. These verses portray Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, dying for our sins. As He was about to die, He looked down and saw His mother, Mary, standing beneath the cross. “Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!” Even in the last moments of life, as He was dying for the entire world, the Lord Jesus Christ fervently loved His mother. He came to fulfill the law, and He said in Matthew 19:19, “Honour thy father and thy mother. ” The growing numbers of disobedient and disrespectful young people are a sign that Jesus is coming soon. We must remember that freedom is not license to do anything we want; freedom is the privilege God gives us to do the right thing! Disobedience to human authority and to God is on the rise; it is one of the major signs that signal Christ’s return.
Many people-Christians included-find it difficult to give credit where credit is due. Because they seek their own glory, they refuse to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of others whom God has sent to share the labor and service. Many simply do not take the time to say, “Thank You, Lord” for answered prayer. Still others are ashamed to pray in a restaurant. When they do bow their heads, they sit there and scratch their eyebrows for a few seconds so no one will think they are talking to Almighty God. My friend, of what are we afraid? Has the world so squeezed us into its own mold that we are indistinguishable from the world system? Are you thankful? Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Show it!
What a graphic picture of our world as we step into a new millennium. During the end times, godly separation from the world, according to the Bible, will be sneered at as bigotry. When one rails against XXX-rated movies, the lewd lyrics of much of today’s rock music, the cancer-producing effects of tobacco (including smokeless tobacco), the soul-damning habits of drugs and alcohol, some Christians immediately change the subject and say, “Let’s not talk about secondary issues.”
The holiness of God and holy living are not secondary issues. First Thessalonians 4:7 declares, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” First Peter 1:16 teaches, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Again, this sign indicates that Jesus is coming soon. I encourage you to read God’s Word and come to your own conclusions. All the signs in 2 Timothy 3 speak of Christendom and the professing Church in the last days. These final days are now upon us.
Lack of Love and Broken Promises
The phrase, “Without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3), refers to the breakup of families through a lack of love. Look at the divorce rate, the murder of babies through abortion, the stories about parents beating their little ones to death, and you will know this sign is being fulfilled. For millions, the marriage vow has become a cruel joke. For millions, commitment is a word in a foreign tongue. Broken promises are the order of the day. Has someone shared a confidence entreating your prayer support? Did you keep it, or did you spread gossip about that person? Promise breaking is a pivotal end-time sign mentioned in the Bible. While stadiums around the world are filled with promise keepers, unfortunately there are more living rooms, boardrooms, and bedrooms filled with promise breakers.
“False accusers” (v. 3) is the term that refers to this sin. Churches in our nation and around the globe are coming apart at the seams because of exaggerated stories (outright lies in many cases) church members spread about their so-called friends. When a person falsely accuses a brother, he breaks God’s ninth commandment. Exodus 20:16 says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Do you know what will happen to false accusers? Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” You will notice that in this book, I am coming down harder on Christians than on unbelievers. We who say we honor Christ should know better. We are held to a higher standard than those who do not know the Savior, Yes, the end-time clock is ticking faster and faster; sins of the flesh and the spirit will increase; lying and half-truths will continue unabated. That is why during these perilous times you and I must remain firm, believe what we say we believe, and stand in the gap as we anticipate the return of our Lord in all His glory.
What about a world that is out of control, with
an increasing number of murders and sex-on-
demand overtures on the Internet? Are these
signs that the return of our Lord is near?
We live in a world that is spinning out of control. Murder is on the increase. Students in our high schools are killing their classmates and their parents. Virtual-reality sex on the Internet is becoming a national pastime for adults and children alike. Our loved ones are increasingly at risk as they download material of prurient interest now available at the click of a mouse button in the privacy of one’s own home. Still, for all the “power” supposedly available to our citizens, people are more powerless than ever. What does the Bible say about such pursuits? How do such sins suggest that the return of Christ may be near?
In Matthew 7:18 we read that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. This is what we are seeing in our society today. There are lots of “trees” growing all around us. The good ones honor God and bring glory to His name. The bad ones, however, continue to put forth branches that are diseased and deformed. Let us look at the four areas mentioned in this question.
Incontinent would be the best term to define this problem. It speaks of the lack of control over one’s sexual appetites. The world says, “Live it up. Premarital and extramarital sex are good and healthy-just be ‘safe’ with your sex.” I say, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). Sex is pure and holy in marriage. Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.” However; the verse continues, “whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” What God demands and what our society craves are light-years apart. Look at these four statistics:
- One out of every two marriages ends in divorce.
- The average age today for divorce is thirty-four for men and thirty for women.
- In the 1960s, a woman was responsible for one of every ten households with no husband present; in 1986, a woman carried out her duties in one of every six households with no husband present.
- One million teenage girls will become pregnant out of wedlock this year.
Some men would be minus their front teeth if they spoke to the server in a restaurant like they talk to their wives at home. They claim they love Jesus Christ. They are great Christians at church, but what a fierce, vicious temper they exhibit at home and at work. Anger is killing people on the freeways; it is responsible for accelerated spousal and child abuse, and it is destroying relationships at the office and in the church. The Bible says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). My friend, when a person has not been redeemed by the love of Christ, he or she will fall prey to an angry spirit. When this unholy spirit takes over a family, a community, a state, a nation, and a world, we know that the end is near.
“Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). In the last days, people-professing Christians included-will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of our heavenly Father. We have become a nation-and a world- of hedonists. This sign is evident as churches increasingly use the tactics of the entertainment business to draw crowds. People want to be amused; so many churches feel they must meet the cravings of their pleasure-mad constituents.
How else are the lukewarm and backslidden going to be held together? How else can halfhearted members be attracted to the services? Consequently, the latest Christian minstrel show takes the place of the Word of God.
God has not called us to run a showboat to entertain those who would be amused but a lifeboat to save the lost from ultimate destruction. Many religious telecasts and crusades today feature unsaved or carnal personalities whose lives are a mockery to God. Still, they appear because entertainers draw crowds. Many evangelistic meetings feature folks who are still working in nightclubs where drinking, gambling, filthy jokes, and solicitation of sex are prevalent. Is this a sign of the end or what! The organizers rationalize their activity by saying, “It does not matter, because the end justifies the means. If these religious fakes draw crowds, then it must be the right thing to do.” God forgive us!
Through it all, people without Christ are lulled to sleep and made to feel religious while every carnal desire of the flesh is gratified under the sanction of the Church. Will this continue? Yes, I am afraid it will. That is why it behooves Bible-believing Christians to stand up and be counted on this issue.
Lack of Power
We eat power lunches, wear power ties, demand more horsepower in our automobiles, and ingest power vitamins. Power, power, power. The Bible talks a great deal about our quest for this power, which is, in reality, a false sense of security. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). It should be obvious by now that the world system has no staying power. Zero! What concerns me more is that there is so little power in the Church. How could it be otherwise, when the Church has strayed so far from seeking and doing God’s will? Study this sign in the Scriptures, and you will be compelled to come to one conclusion: Soon the trumpet of God shall sound and we shall hear three words, “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1). Then, in the twinkling of an eye, we will sweep through the heavens to meet Jesus.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
They Shall Mount Up With Wings
All of us at some point in our lives have had traumatic experiences. Life has a way of forcing us to cope with difficulty, pain, sorrow, and stress.
Some people seem to come through every test stronger… and rise above every tumult. Others appear to be in danger of drowning in their sorrow …of being totally overcome by seemingly insurmountable circumstances.
What makes the difference?
I believe a large part of the answer is a matter of perspective… the point-of-view we have of life and its challenges.
Let me share with you a beautiful experience of Dr. Van Impe’s and mine which helps reveal the way I feel we should look at life’s problems. It happened when a special friend of the ministry called and asked if we’d like to ride in his hot air balloon.
Of course we said yes. And Mr. John Raya, of Father and Son Construction Co. in Rochester, Michigan, set a time for us to meet him.
So on a glorious afternoon, we climbed into the passenger basket and looked up at the beautiful blue-and-white balloon billowing fifty or sixty feet above us. My pulse was pounding with excitement …and I have to admit the tiniest bit of apprehension gripped my stomach.
But not for long! With a blast of flame from a propane burner above our heads, additional hot air was pumped into the balloon… the crew turned loose of the basket… and we took off — up, up, and away!
What a sensation! What a thrill! If you’ve ever gone up in a balloon, you know what I mean — it’s an unforgettable experience.
Ballooning is nothing like flying in an airplane, enclosed by glass and aluminum. Instead, you begin to feel like a free spirit — there is a distinct sense of physical disembodiment as you feel yourself floating upward, leaving the earth, rising higher and higher.
A new way to see!
First of all, I was astonished at what I could see. There was more sky than earth! Once above the walls and enclosures of man-made structures, a panorama of incredible beauty and unlimited space unfolded all around me. I remember thinking that this must be like seeing things from God’s viewpoint.
In their now miniature size, things that appeared so important on the ground seemed somehow insignificant. Dented car fenders, a burned-out house, rushing traffic — everything seemed to blend into a much larger background. The walls and fences separating people diminished before my eyes and faded into mere lines in a magnificent tapestry of soft color and interwoven patterns.
I began to see a bigger picture of life itself. Suddenly I understood as never before how even events that seem like disasters close-up can actually disappear into the perfect pattern of God’s master plan for our lives. And rather than being overwhelmed, it is possible to accept each circumstance as a purposeful part of God’s will… of His greater good for us!
How good it is to develop our spiritual sight in faith. If only we would make it a practice to allow the Holy Spirit to lift us above ourselves and see our situation from God’s viewpoint.
A new way to hear!
The second thing I discovered up in the balloon was that in addition to a new way to look, there was also a new way to listen.
As a musician, I am very conscious of sound — of voices, cries, music. Floating hundreds of feet in the air, I discovered there was no noise — no traffic roar, no barking dogs, no ringing telephones, no blaring radios or TV sets. There was only the soft sigh of the wind… and the silence. It was so quiet I could almost hear my own heartbeat. I actually had to get used to hearing nothing. And in the soothing, uninterrupted silence, I felt a healing, restoring power washing out my brain and smoothing down the wrinkles in my inner being.
With crystal clarity, I sensed a message of reassuring love being whispered inside my heart in a still, small voice. I recognized that Voice! And suddenly I thrilled with new understanding of what my Heavenly Father meant when He gently commanded, Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).
On that crisp autumn afternoon, drifting quietly above the patchwork quilts of the earth and under the brilliant blue of the heavens, I knew God afresh and anew.
The Lord ministered to me through all my senses on that special day. In addition to being blessed through seeing and hearing, I became so aware of God’s presence that I could almost reach out and touch Him — I’m sure I felt Him touch me!
And smell — the air above our beloved Michigan homeland was so pure, so unpolluted at that height. I’ve never smelled anything so clean. It was like the very breath of God… exhilarating… delicious!
I distinctly remember being aware that my senses were totally filled up — that I wanted nothing to be satisfied. I had no need for food or drink. I could cry out with the Psalmist David, O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
All too soon our balloon ride came to an end, and it was time to descend back to earth. Almost reluctantly we left the sky and stood once more on the ground.
But I’ll never be quite the same again. How much I learned about Christian living through what I experienced that day up in the balloon.
I’m told that in stormy weather, that greatest of birds, the eagle, does not seek a shelter or place of refuge. Instead, he flies high into the sky, turns into the wind and sets his wings so that the very force of the storm lifts him safely above it.
Surely it is no coincidence that God’s Word declares —
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack & Rexella,
Thank you so much for the newsletter and your dedication to our Lord, he is coming soon and I await his arrival. Thank you for all you and the millions you reach by your broadcast, newsletter and web site.
May God continue to bless you both as you continue to tell it just like it is with love, conviction and truth Rexella I do know that the Savior will tell you well done thy good and faithful servant.
Much love and thanks,
Dear Jack & Rexella
Hi I love your preaching on TV you are the only one I watch. All the other preachers need to get a clue about what is going On and preach the truth about the bible.
Sister in the lord god bless you
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Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
What does it mean? What does the Bible say about this colossal falling-away from the faith? What does it signal about YOUR FUTURE?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe offer the astonishing answers to these and other riveting questions:
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