October 15, 2012
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
WHO ARE YOU?
I grew up with a healthy appreciation of the arts. All through my school years, I learned to recognize the genius of the great masters of painting, sculpture, architectural design and, of course, music. As a singer at school and in church, I was in awe of the classical composers who could hear, create, and capture such glorious melodies and rich harmonies, making them come alive again and again in different places and times.
So when Jack and I were married and made our first trip to Belgium to meet all his relatives, it was an unbelievable joy to me. In addition to the welcoming and wonderful fellowship with the extended Van Impe family, the history and culture of old Europe was everywhere-the food, the traditions, the sights, sounds, and smells-the very atmosphere itself. Except for being seasick on the voyage over (we decided to fly on future trips), I loved every moment of our adventure.
When we strolled through the streets of Brussels and suddenly came upon the Grote Markt/Grand-Place, the amazing marketplace and celebration center of the capital city, my mouth flew open in amazement. There were flowers everywhere surrounding little booths and open-air shops that offered fresh produce, baked goods, candies, handicrafts of all kinds, and wandering troupes of street entertainers. There was color, sound, and life as far as the eye could see in every direction! And surrounding it all, framing the pulsing heart of the inner city, were the great, historic seventeenth century buildings with elaborate facades of brick and stone and glass, filled with shops, offices, and apartment flats. Amazing!
To this day, Brussels Grand-Place is one of my favorite spots in all the world, an ever-changing spectacle of vitality and excitement. But on my first trip to Europe as a young bride, the experience was almost overwhelming.
To further highlight my first visit to Europe, Jack and I got a car and drove from Brussels to Paris! I dont have the words to describe my excitement at seeing the countryside, villages, and towns-most of them with their own marketplaces bustling with life-and soaking up the sounds of old languages accented with laughter and shouts. The people were real, live characters from folk literature, with costumes that would have seemed too elaborate even for my active imagination.
And then we were in Paris, standing outside perhaps the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre! Could this really be happening to me? Id always loved great art, and enjoyed visiting fine museums during family outings and school field trips. But the Louvre? As we walked through galleries filled with some of the most famous works of art in the world, I was literally overwhelmed. My mind could barely take in the reality of seeing the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Aphrodite, and works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Renoir, Mondrian, Monet, Cézanne, El Greco, and scores of other great masters from the past. Too soon my brief visit was ended-I could have spent days there.
Fortunately, Jack and I got to go back to Europe to spend time with his relatives about every other year, and on each trip we tried to take in some notable or worthwhile place. I learned so much each time we went for a visit.
Life is all around you-dont miss it!
Here at home, my husband and I also try to keep up with significant news developments and often visit historically important places. Connected with our ministry on our trips abroad-weve been in about fifty countries-weve explored noteworthy local sites and sought to better understand the people and cultures. Of course, Jack is always aware and sensitive to people, places, and events around the world with prophetic significance.
So many times as weve visited some historic site or an area with prophetic importance, suddenly the realization would hit me that I was seeing something important…that I was literally part of something significant or noteworthy. I felt a little nudge that I should pay special attention to what was around me at that moment-as if the Holy Spirit was whispering, “He that hath an ear, let him hear…” (see Revelation 2-3).
That happened to me again just this week! While Jack was getting his hair cut, I wandered through a little antique shop nearby and soon found myself browsing a small art exhibit. Id never heard of the artist before, but he was extremely talented-Id put him in the category of a great master-painter. I was drawn to a powerful work he had done that captured the images of two young girls. As I looked at them, it seemed they took on a life of their own as they laughed together and looked out on the vista before them.
The girls seemed so much more real than just a painting. They seemed so relaxed, so comfortable, so real. I felt that I should know them…that Id like to know them. As I stood there for several long moments, I actually said aloud, “Who are you?”
It was the kind of deeply introspective moment a person may have in his life on occasion when he looks into a mirror and wonders, “Does anybody know who I am? Do I even know? Does God know that Im here?”
As I looked into the skillfully created faces of those two youngsters in the painting, I whispered again, “Who are you?” And I thought in response, “I know Someone who knows you better than this artist, and that is the Lord. No matter where you are today, He knows you!”
I didnt see anybody else in the quietness of that little gallery, but in that instant I became keenly aware that the “Someone” Id just thought about had seen me…and recognized me…and knew me!
God knows us even before we are born
God spoke to Jeremiah and said, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee (Jeremiah 1:5). What a phenomenal statement. When did Jeremiah become a “viable,” individual person? At conception? At some point in the prenatal process? At birth? According to the Lord God, He knew Jeremiah long before.
When Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14), the Greek word used for “children”-brephos-can refer to born and unborn, Im told. This would mean that Jesus was not just saying, “let these children come unto me, but all children-those who have been born…and those who are not yet born.”
I have a little sister in heaven who was miscarried. I have a brother in heaven who was born but lived only three hours. I will see them both in heaven someday! Every child who was ever conceived is known of God. He declared that before a child is formed in the belly or is born, He knew that baby! Before I was completely developed in my mothers womb, God knew that I would be born and called Rexella Shelton. He knew who I was before I was!
I know He knows our names because in Revelation 3:5 He declares that He will not blot our name out of the book of life. Every name is in the book-it can only be blotted out if a person rejects the Lord. Thats why every child goes to heaven, no matter what. Jesus himself said that our names are written in heaven (see Luke 10:20).
What a great promise! So many childrens lives have been snuffed out in wars, epidemics, and famines. Millions more have been destroyed by abortion. But, thank God, how wonderful to know that every child is safe with Him…and He knows them all by name! Every single one of these precious lives is now with the Lord. Oh, that blesses me!
God walks with us in life
Have you ever needed to know that you were not walking lifes road all alone? Did you ever need the strong shoulder of the Lord to lean on in lifes hard places?
Thank God, the Word says, For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee (Deuteronomy 23:14).
I believe all of us have plenty of occasions when we need to be delivered. The longer I serve the Lord, the more times I recognize His presence in my camp, walking close beside me to deliver me from all harm and danger.
I remember getting up to sing one night to an audience of eight thousand people. As I looked over the crowd, I saw four men in the fifth row with stockings over their heads. God gave me peace so I was not afraid to go ahead and minister although it was obvious the men were there to try and disrupt the service or intimidate Jack and me. We later learned there was great turmoil in that city because a number of drug dealers had been converted, and the drug bosses wanted to threaten our lives. But God protected us from violence.
Another time in South America, we were on our way to the airport when a huge riot broke out. We were trapped in the middle of the violence, but Gods hand kept us safe.
Over the years weve received threats in the mail and over the phone, but Jack and I never were afraid, knowing that: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 91:10-11).
More recently, I was not afraid when Jack was attacked by a serious, life-threatening physical illness. Somehow the Holy Spirit reminded me that God was in control and that my husband would be delivered. And he was!
How sad when people-even believers-lose contact with the presence of the Lord who is always with us. How tragic when they can no longer see the hand of God at work in their lives and are overwhelmed by despair. Thinking that nobody cares for them or is looking out for them, they try walking alone through the dark valleys of this world and are overwhelmed. The sad statistics reveal that more and more people are committing suicide, taking matters into their own hands.
Recently our long-time friend and team member, Chuck Ohman, told us of a friend of his who committed suicide. Some time ago, a pastor friend of our family in Detroit, took his own life. Another Detroit pastor we knew well had lunch with his daughter, kissed her and sent her on her way, then went into his office bathroom and hanged himself.
How sad to see these precious souls reach such a state of futility that they ended it all. Oh, if we had known their need! It hurts so much to see people destroy themselves in despair. Oh, if they had just come to us-or some other believer-for encouragement and help. Perhaps someone could have helped them find the answer to the question, Who are you? The answer for them-and for all of us-is: “I am the beloved child of my Father, God almighty!” If we know who we are, then we know there is help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless in Jesus. Nothing or no one is more powerful than God, and no one cares more than the Lord.
God remembers us in death
Several years ago I was in Israel interviewing some of the more influential members of the Israeli government, including members of the Knesset and various other leaders. One person I was to interview was the heroic military leader, General Moshe Dayan.
He was standing on a staircase, in uniform, complete with his trademark eye patch, ready to begin. As I greeted him, he suddenly said brusquely, “I am not going to do this interview!”
I was stunned because I had worked hard to make all the necessary arrangements, and politely inquired what had happened to change his mind. “Oh, its nothing you have done,” he said. “Ive just realized that this is pointless because no one will remember me when I am dead anyway!” And he walked away.
I believe General Dayan was wrong. A great many people knew and cared about him. They appreciated his patriotism, and his heroic efforts to preserve the nation of Israel in the face of overwhelming odds. To this day, his name is remembered and revered as a great soldier and leader.
But even if no one on earth remembered Dayan after his career and his life were ended, there is Someone who will not-who cannot-forget who you are in birth, in life, and in death. This friend is aware of even the most minute details of our lives-He is the Lord!
The Bible says, But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7).
I have interviewed some 250 outstanding leaders and world figures, and I made it a practice to try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to share something uplifting with them as well as seeking information and comments from them. I wish Id had the opportunity to witness to General Dayan. Id love to have been able to tell him that, indeed, someone would remember him-and walk with him-after death. Someone would remember, and walk with him through the valley of the shadow of death. He is God almighty!
Perhaps you think your life has been less distinguished and noteworthy than someone like General Dayan. But you are not less important to God. He has been with you before birth, and throughout life. And He will not desert you when you come to the end of life in this world. Who are you? You are Gods child…and one of His favorite traveling companions!
The time will come for all of us when it is time to cross over from this world to the next. And the Lord will walk with us, faithful to the end, until the shadows of life are illuminated by the light of heaven. So we can make that final walk in confidence.
The Bible says, We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). My husband, Jack, says that the phrases “absent from the body, present with the Lord” in the Greek are both instantaneous and simultaneous! When the time comes, just as you close your eyes-youre there!
And He will have been with you all the way!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Jack and Rexella,
Having received your October 8th, 2012 newsletter I must say THANK YOU! What a confirmation to my husbands and my early morning devotional time. We were just this morning (10-10-2012) studying Luke 21: and then got your e-post on the net. Your information about increasing Earthquake statistics from the 1890’s to 2012 were amazing and staggering facts. Those alone should awaken the sleeping church goer. Rexella your article about The Easy Burden brought tears.
Thank you both AGAIN for continuing on in YOUR utmost for HIS highest.
Thanks you all for your weekly email I sincerely enjoy reading them. I am a retire soldier of the US Army and have always carried God in my heart and on the battlefield. He has always got me through it. I sincerely agree with you that we are in the end of times. And Christ is soon to come. I see so many Christians that I call “weekend warriors”. They sin like crazy Monday through Saturday. And on Sunday that asks God to forgiven them of their sins. Or theyre the ones I call “putting on the dog” on Sunday. People better get right with the lord soon. Because the sand in the hour glass are running out. I believe that these part time Christians are going to miss the boat. May God bless you and your wife.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
The President of Change Shortchanges America
- Is America, under President Barack Obama’s leadership, moving toward socialism? Maybe even communism?
- What radical cadre of left-wing extremists is out to destroy the USA’s moral foundations?
- Who was the first ‘radical’ known to man, and where is his kingdom?
- How are demonic spirits controlling some of the most influential politicians, kings, and dictators of this world?
- What did noted pundit Peggy Noonan mean when she described President Obama as ‘devious’ and ‘dishonest’?
- Can President Obama (or anyone else) really be a Christian if they believe there are many ways to heaven?
- Who said Barack Obama could be America’s most biblically hostile president – and why?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe answer these and other critical questions about the administration of President Obama and where his leadership is taking America! Discover the moral and spiritual repercussions of the dubious ‘change’ President Obama promised, and is making to this nation.
Awake America! The Worlds Final Warning
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are set to ride – and the USA slumbers in ignorance of the catastrophe about to descend upon her! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe want to awaken this nation to the perils that lie ahead, and the soon return of the Savior! Discover the answers to critical questions:
- How soon will apocalyptic judgments begin?
- What does the Bible say about the prediction of the world’s end in 2012?
- How do current events fit with prophecies of Christ’s coming?
- What is the Mark of the Beast and who will control it?
- And much more!