June 22, 2009
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
I want to open with our foundational scripture that we have been sharing of late. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. [2 Thess. 2:7 NKJV] We have been looking at what the Holy Spirit through Paul referred to as, the mystery of lawlessness.
As we said in our first session along this line, the word mystery is from the Greek mysterion, and speaks of that which has been hidden or carried out in secret. This has been a covert operation. It has not been carried out in the open. This is the secret of lawlessness. This is the Greek, anomia, being without, willfully ignorant of, and in violation of the law. It is the undercover working of sin, if you will, to subvert, supplant, and substitute the Law of God. It has been at work since the entrance of sin into the earth realm back at the Garden. I needed to lay this foundation to get us up to speed with where we need to go next.
We said that even though this “mystery” has had many channels through which it has worked, the primary means has been through the three God-ordained institutions of the family, human government, and the Church. This mystery has worked covertly to subvert, supplant, and substitute the plans and purposes of God for these institutions. We have looked at both the family and government. We now turn to the covert working of lawlessness in,
III. THE CHURCH:
Make no mistake; the Church is God’s idea. He instituted the Church. Jesus said, And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. [Matt. 16:18 NKJV] Thank God, the Church is being built by Jesus! He has been building it now for 2,000 years and when the last “living stone” has been added, He will return to receive us unto Himself. [See John 14:3]
Because the Church is God’s institution, the “Mystery of Lawlessness” has also been at work to subvert, supplant, and substitute God’s plans and transform the Church into a vehicle to help eventually dominate the world and bring in the ultimate “son of perdition”, the antichrist himself. This is the ultimate purpose of the “mystery.” In fact, in the end I believe the antichrist’s twisted world religion will consist of an apostate branch of Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and radical Islam. I will have more to say on this in a future edition of THE WEEKLY WORD.
Some time ago in a time of prayer and waiting on the Lord, I heard the clear voice of the Spirit say, The greatest threat to the world is radical Islam. The greatest threat to the Church is false doctrine. Please read that last statement again. We need to get a hold of these truths. Even though the current administration in the White House chooses to no longer use the terminology, “War on terror”; it does not negate the fact that this Country is still in a very real war with a belief system that hates everything we stand for, including our long standing support of the State of Israel. This is an ideological system that few understand. It is the single greatest threat to our way of life and our very existence as the West.
In much the same way, the “mystery of iniquity” threatens the effectiveness of the Church through false doctrine. False doctrine is the greatest threat to the Christian Church today. Why is this? Because Christian doctrine defines who we are. Our doctrine, the foundational truths that all Christians believe and adhere to, marks us out from all other world religions. Correct doctrine is essential and non-negotiable. Even though this is the case, few Pastors will stand anymore and sound the clarion call that we must stand unflinchingly in the face of every assault of the world and the devil and declare without shame the, “Thus saith the Lord”; once and for all settled Word of God! We don’t need to apologize for the truth; we just need to preach it.
Please understand, when I talk about the importance of sound doctrine, I am not referring to either our preferences or our distinctives that we can debate in house, but do not need to separate over. We can debate among ourselves things like the mode of baptism, frequency of the Lord’s Supper, Bible translations, and even our particular eschatological opinions and positions. These are differences that exist among sincere brethren that though often separating us, don’t define us as Christians. I am talking about essential Christian doctrines that define us and must be believed and adhered to if we indeed intend to name the Name of Jesus and really call ourselves Christians.
Yet in many circles doctrine is looked upon with disdain. Sadly, in many Christian assemblies doctrine can’t be taught without people becoming board and refusing to hear it. We truly live in a prophetic hour where, people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. [2 Tim. 4:3b, 4 NLT] This is where we have arrived at dear people in this “enlightened” 21st Century.
If you want to see this in action, you need look any farther than the local Christian book store or your favorite Christian TV station. Please understand I am not knocking either Christian book stores or Christian TV. I love and am blessed by both. We have a wonderful Christian book store here in my hometown that is a blessing to the local churches and the community. I thank God for it. In the same manner, we are blessed with the ability in this Country to hear good Bible teaching on Christian radio and TV stations. These things are a blessing of the Lord. However, for all of the good, there is a great deal of bad out there as well. It calls for discernment, which is sadly lacking in many Christian communities today. Both Christian book stores and Christian media are a microcosm of the Church. If you want to gauge the health of the Church, look at them.
I will share more along these lines next time.
The Weekly Word is found in 2 Timothy 4:1 – 4. Here the Bible says,
1I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:
2Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
4And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. [2 Tim. 4:1 – 4 AMP.]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson