“So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying: “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord, then how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.””
Deuteronomy 31:24-29 NKJV
Reading the passage in Deuteronomy chapter thirty one, seemed very relevant to me today, as I wondered about the state of the church today and the coming of the season of refinement that the Lord is bringing to the earth. I use the word refinement, because we have become so detached for what the Lord intended. Like a refiner of gold, the Lord is soon bring the fire of persecution.
When I consider the simplicity of the Gospel and the intent of God, I am greatly saddened. Goods desire was for His creation to know Him, to love Him, and that He would be able to tabernacle with him forever. But man is stiff necked, turning away from God for other false deities.
When I consider the writing of Moses, near the end of his life, he knew that the children of Israel would not keep a word of what he had shred from the Lord. As I read I thought to Paul at Miletus instructing the Ephesian elders of what would come to them once Paul and his generation had left the scene.
““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
Like the children of Israel, there is a warning of great destruction coming to the house of God. When one surveys the spectrum of what we refer to as Christianity, we find that there are some thirty thousand denominations in the world. The differences between them are vast with some, holding closer to the word than others and a few having become so detached that they are deemed cults.
The multiplicity of denominations is the result of the reliance on the traditions of the people superseding the word of God. The more the word is supplanted by a greater reliance on experience or tradition, the further it is from the orthodoxy of the Bible.
As a result the church more reflects the world than it reflects God, and we are at a time when there is great need for the refinement of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we are about to enter the refining fire.
It is not long before the Lord allows the clarifying force of persecution to remove the impurities that have accumulated in the church. In the coming months, many things are going to happen that will shake Christians to the core. In that time of great turmoil, the Christian will become the enemy of the world, for the values that we hold to will be anathema to the dwellers of the earth.
As the pressures mount, the focus will narrowed for all the things that we have added to the faith will be stripped away, and we will be left with what is essential. The word of God, the Holy Spirit, and each other.
It is in this time that we should consider where we have fallen and seek now to find our way back.
The word of God is our main point of contact with the Lord. Let each of us take the time to dig into our bibles, poring over them, seeking to know Him like never before. In the word we have the assurance of knowing that the Lord is sovereign. We also have the advantage of the Lord examining us, searching us to reveal our weak places.
“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
“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. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
Though the coming days my be painful, out of them will come a great fruitfulness, for the Lord deliver to heaven a vast number of saints, saved out of tribulation. What He did with the early church, He will do again.
The church of the end times will not be defined by denominations, will not be segregated, will not be a social club, but a collection of small assemblies completely focused on spreading of the Gospel. These will be those who do life together, breaking bread from house to house as the Lord adds to their number.
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:44-47 NKJV
It will be the final revival, the last gasp of the Gospel, for soon after it starts, it will end, as many will be translated, through their shed blood, to throne room of God.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-14 NKJV
Have a blessed Saint Patricks Day!
One thought on “Refining fire”
If we are in Christ, then we have been crucified with Christ, Galatians 220. Therefore, we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Luke 9:23. Praying with you, Bernie, that the Lord would use us to speak his truth to share his love, and to bring him glory? Thank you, my friend!
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