““And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
Acts 20:25-31 NKJV
Reading Acts chapter twenty this morning, hit me particularly hard this morning. Through tearful eyes, I could see that all that Paul was warning the Ephesian elders, had indeed happened, and is still happening even today. Now though, the pace has greatly accelerated. I am greatly saddened that savage wolves had indeed entered the church with the passing of the apostles. Those who had known the Lord have faded from the scene, their voices leaving only echoes, distorted by the passage of time.
There are many mornings when I awaken, and I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, pondering and lamenting the general loss of the magic of knowing Jesus, that seems so pervasive in the Christian world today. There was a time when there was an awe, a sense of expectancy and confidence, knowing that God was indeed powerful.
The word of God stood supreme, marking the path between the spiritual living and the dead. It was the standard for the world. In my waking moments, I wonder if there will be anyone found with any faith at all when the Lord comes again. I examine the word of God daily, poring over it, as it examines me. It is the ultimate x ray machine and nothing is hidden. I want to be found still having a strong faith.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
If I had to point to the root cause of the general departure from the true faith, it would be the neglect of Scripture. I remember a conversation years ago with a young, lost woman who said she did not like the Bible. She said that when she read it, it told her that she was a sinner and didn’t like that.
There are many churches that have surrendered to people like the young woman, caught up in sin, unsaved, and not liking the conviction that rightly dividing the word of God brings. The Holy Spirit uses the word to convict the world of its sin, it is the Holy Spirit that the world hates, the born again followers of Jesus in whom He resides.
““If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”
John 15:18-20 NKJV
The likelihood of being hated is what lures even the most devoted followers to relinquish that peculiarity that sets them apart from the world.
They gradually begin to reflect the world and lose the scent of Christ. They being to smell of sin, but it is not perceived, for it has a certain sweetness that deceives.
Brothers and sisters, let us heed the warnings of Paul and be leery of those who enter in amongst the flock, sowing spiritual lies and half truths, seeking to draw people after themselves.
Let us be deliberate in praying for our pastors, who are the overseers and shepherds responsible for the protection of the flock. Pray for their endurance, pray for their integrity, pray for the families, especially for their families. The evil one is focused on the destruction of the testimonies of the saints. He is about accusing the brethren, and his biggest target is the family.
My people, pray for the children. If you have not noticed, then devil seeks most to devour the young. He is destroying all that he can in the womb, and in the school, and he is seeking to corrupt their minds.
““So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Acts 20:32 NKJV
In these late days, we are battling for the inheritance. Those of us who have called upon the name of the Lord for salvation, worry not about hell, but now we work toward that great sanctification, for that place in glory, the opportunity to rule and reign with Christ. Let us all work hard to go and tell, and show ourselves approved. Even now the Lord is examining the hearts of the saints.
May we be found faithful, even as so many have fallen away. Let us be mindful of those warning signs, and take action. Let us start with ourselves, asking the Lord to examine us and show us any impurities and weakness.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV
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