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Friday, July 22, 2016

Seasons of False Teaching

115 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, ” The use of the word “times” here in the phrase “latter times,” is significant because it speaks of “seasons” or periods of time (rather than a single era of history) when people will depart from the faith as they give ear and credence to false teachings. One only has to look at church history to see the ebb and flow, the rise and fall of this phenomena. It's like the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. It was hot and heavy for a period of time (40 days) and then the devil backed off for a while. Lu 4:13 says, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” These “latter times” are marked by a rise in people falling away from the faith because they give heed (hold their minds toward) the false teachings of deceiving messengers. These “false teachers, (deceiving spirits) are not outsiders. They rise up in the church and if possible deceive even the elect! The Apostle John wrote about these deceiving spirits, calling them “antichrists” who had appeared already in his day, and would continue to appear in the last hour, in which he and we now live! He said in 1Jo 2:18,19 “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. These little false teachers are only prepping us for the big show, the final apostasy that comes before the end. This is scary stuff! How do ordinary Joes, like you and I guard against falling for these deceptions? Two things. First of all, Jesus withstood the deceptive temptations of the devil by using the Word of God. “It is written!” He said, and secondly, John reminds us to continue with him and the other apostles, “if they had been with us, (he said) they would have continued with us.” In other words, stick with the basic teachings of the Apostles! My friend deceptive teachings are here. They rise and fall like the tides. Fight them with the Word of God and if you need to, circle back and continue with John and the other Apostles as you cling to their apostolic teachings!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The End Will Be Sudden

115 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, ” The Holy Spirit has a warning for the church as He reiterates some of what Jesus warned about concerning the Last Days. But what are the Last Days? Can we get some kind of a time frame in order that we might be better prepared? Personally, I think there can be no better preparation for the Last Day than to follow the advice of Jesus who said, “Watch and pray!” It's not so much about watching for the signs of the end as it is about standing watch over your faith! While we anticipate our Lord's soon return, we certainly don't want to be one of those who while waiting, “give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” and wind up departing from the faith! Jesus said this about “watching and praying:” Lu 21:34-36, "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 "For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." So, guard your faith, that you will be able to stand before Jesus on that Day! For it will come as a snare. Think about that! Have you ever seen someone caught in a snare? One minute you are walking through the forest enjoying the view, and the next moment you are hanging upside down by your ankles. That's how sudden and unexpected the end will be. We Christians ought to know that! We expect it to be sudden and therefore we must always guard our faith! This snare of the Last Day will come on ALL those who dwell on the face of the earth. No one is excepted! Therefore, watch and pray that when it suddenly comes, you will be found in the faith and worthy to escape. The snare has been set since the pouring out of the Spirit on Christ's church. The Apostles and the early church believed it could happen at any moment! And we ought to believe it too! Mankind is marching relentlessly toward it, and only God knows when He will spring it. Therefore: Watch and pray!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How To Test Words of Prophecy

115 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” How reassuring to the church today, to know the Holy Spirit is still in the business of “expressing,” God's Words through prophecy. “Whatever HE hears He will speak,” (Jn 16:13) Something to pay attention to here is these words of prophecy, spoken through these prophets of Paul and Timothy's day, are first and foremost tied in directly to what Jesus said would happen in the latter days. These “words from the Lord,” spoken of here in Timothy, speak of the rise of false prophets, and what did Jesus foretell in Mt 24:11? "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” and in Mr 13:22 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” The Holy Spirit isn't bringing some off the wall word to the church here. He is starting by reiterating something that Jesus had said earlier, and this is very important to note when discerning prophecy! We must ask ourselves this question: IS IT IN LINE WITH WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES? You see, prophecy is always judged by the Scriptures as it is written in Isa 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” and the veracity of prophetic utterances are also borne out when that which is prophesied actually occurs. . De 18:21 "And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' - 22 "when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. We will do well if we follow these two rules, as we judge any and all “prophetic utterances” given today.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Holy Spirit Is Alive and Well

114 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 4:1,2, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (1 Tim 4:1,2) So good to hear from the Holy Spirit isn't it? Jesus had assured His Apostles on the night in which He was betrayed that the Holy Spirit would come to them and among other things would guide them into the truth and tell them of things to come! We read about it in Joh 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” This portion of 1 Timothy is a beautiful confirmation that the Holy Spirit is indeed still with us and carrying out His manifold missions just as Jesus said He would. Jesus has not left His church orphans. The Holy Spirit is here guiding, foretelling necessary things, convicting of sin, and all the other things that Jesus said He would do! How was His presence manifested in this portion of Scripture? There is no mention of fiery tongues here, only the fact that He “expressly says.” The word means, “outspokenly,” “distinctly,” and it comes from a word that means a “pouring forth of utterance.” So the Holy Spirit has uttered through chosen vessels in His church, these words we are about to hear. He could've done it in plain language or HE could've done it with the gift of tongues with interpretation. We are not told the “how's” only the distinct specifics of the prophecy. Take heart from this passage my brothers and sisters! The Holy Spirit is alive and well, building His church through the exercise of the gifts that He has poured out on His church through individual believers, thereby equipping us to stand against the very gates of hell!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sticking To the Basics

114 - 1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. This is the creed of the early church and it is our creed as well. This is what we profess to believe as followers of Jesus Christ. It has a beautiful flow to it, much like the creeds we use in the church today. We believe that Jesus was and is God in the flesh. We believe that He is the sinless Son of God, justified in the Spirit, by His resurrection from the dead. We believe He was seen in a resurrected body by His angels, (personally selected and appointed Apostles) Who then were commanded to preach Him to the Gentiles, where many in the world would come to faith, and then this Jesus ascended into heaven, where HE was received up in glory. This part of the early church Creed should serve as a wake up call for the church of all ages. This is a reiteration of Jesus' last words to His angels as recorded in Mt 28:19,20, and in the Book of Acts. He said in Matthew: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. And in the Book of Acts we read: Ac 1:2,3, “ until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And then in v8,9, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” This is what the early church believed about Jesus. Do we believe the same? Do we remind ourselves often of who Jesus is and the importance of the great Commission He has given His church? Never hurts to revisit these truths, does it? Never hurts to stick to the basics.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More of What We Believe About Jesus

112 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, This is the creed of the early church and it is our creed as well. This is what we profess to believe as followers of Jesus Christ. It has a beautiful flow to it, much like the creeds we use in the church today. We believe that Jesus was and is God in the flesh. We believe that He is the sinless Son of God, justified in the Spirit, by His resurrection from the dead, as the Apostle Paul stated in Ro 1:4”and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” He was seen by angels, the word “angel” here means messenger. Who were the “messengers” who saw Jesus? They were the Apostles. This declaration is more important than we make it out to be. Not only because these “messengers” or Apostles had a personal post resurrection encounter with Jesus, and serve as reliable eye witnesses, but they were all personally taught by Jesus and have handed His teachings down to the church. Much of these letters written to Timothy are encouragement from Paul to Timothy to continue steadfast in these doctrines and to be sure to hand them down to others. 2Ti 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. It was this apostolic doctrine that was first emphasized in the early gathering of believers after Pentecost! Ac 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” These “angels” messengers have spoken and written in great depth of what it means to be a follower of Christ, and their words carry just as much clout as the red-letter words of Jesus as found in the Gospels. I think we would all do well to remember that fact. Just because it's not in red-letters, doesn't mean it's not a direct quote from Jesus. The words of the Apostles have been handed down to them directly by Jesus. Hear them church! Heed them!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This IS What We Believe About Jesus

110 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit,” This portion of Scripture is likely a creed of the early church. It's what they believed about Jesus and therefore it is what we should be believing about Jesus as well. First of all, they and we believe or assert that Jesus was God, manifested in the flesh. Next, they and we believe that He was “justified in the Spirit.” These first two declarations boil down to the fact that Jesus is the sinless Son of God! The word “justified” here is like a verdict. Jesus is declared to be fully righteous, ever without sin. We declare here that He is the “Just One” (completely innocent one ) spoken of in Ac 7:52 "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One,” And in 1Jo 2:1 Jesus is referred to as “Jesus Christ the righteous.” Then in 1Jo 2:29 “He is righteous,” And in Ac 22:14 "Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One,” And in Re 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: "You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be,” Well, you get the idea, Jesus is declared to be righteous by the Spirit of God Himself, and this declaration was obviously an important part of the message that the church declared to the world! “Jesus is the Christ, the sinless Son of the Living God!” This justification by the Spirit was further proved for us at His baptism when the Spirit descended on Jesus and God declared, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased. And later on the Mount of transfiguration, when the disciples saw Him in all His pure glory and heard the Father declare again: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" This Spirit revealed truth about Jesus is held dear in the heart of the believer who clearly hears the voice of the Father, while to the unbeliever the voice of the Father remains muffled thunder, as it was in . Joh 12:28 "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered.” “Jesus, the sinless Son of God.” Muffled gobbledygook to the unbeliever, but a crystal clear Holy Spirit revelation to those who believe. We are Christians and this is what we believe about Jesus!