A TIME TO CHOOSE
by Phil Enlow
Adapted from a message preached at the Bible Tabernacle on March 19, 2017.
It seems like periodically it’s appropriate to come back to a scripture that we’ve used many times over the years and it’s in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. I’m going to back up and pick up the context a little bit. But I believe with all my heart, we’re seeing the unfolding of things that Paul is talking about in this passage. And we need to ever keep in our minds and our hearts the sense of perspective of what’s really going on in the world and our place in it, and the reality that we are in a time when men are choosing, and they’re making eternal choices.
It’s always been true, but there are times in history when that’s seemingly been more true than others, if you can put it that way. Noah’s day was certainly an example, because there was an expiration date on that ancient world. God had fixed a time when He was going to destroy it and save the few that were His. So, it wasn’t a matter of, well, I’ll decide next week. For many, next week never came. We are in a similar time.
I’m going to go ahead and pick up a little of the context here to see what he’s talking about. Paul is rejoicing at the beginning of chapter 1 in the strength, the perseverance, the faith, that was demonstrated in the lives of the saints at Thessalonica.
They demonstrated it by standing up to a hostile world. And it was the Spirit of God that strengthened and enabled them and their conviction was real. It was a heaven-sent conviction that was the result of God’s supernatural work in the heart. And so, they were standing against the hostility of the world and Paul takes note and he’s thankful for it.
And then in verse 5 he says, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right” (NIV). So basically, he’s introducing a subject: coming judgment! In other words, judgment is coming and the fact that you are standing up for God and the world is opposing you is a pretty good indication that God’s judgment of the world is right. There is a sense of justice.
How many times have you been tempted to look at the world and its condition and things that are happening to Christians around the world, the persecutions, the seemingly senseless deaths of people at the hands of the devil’s crowd, and you wonder, what in the world? Where is God in all of this? Why is it like it is?
God is tolerating the wickedness of this world for a time and He’s using it to accomplish something in His people. He’s using it as a testimony of His righteousness. In the midst of some of the worst things that are happening in the world, God is reaching hearts that He might not reach any other way. We are going to be able to look back on that day and we are going to be amazed. We are going to be blown out of the water with the amazing wisdom and the righteousness of God!
And it’s certainly reflected in that song. God will stand by His own, one way or another. It doesn’t mean we won’t be killed. It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer. It doesn’t mean a lot of things with respect to this world. But God’s people are going to come out the winners in the end. There is no one who has put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who will ever put to shame on that day, because there is a day coming when everything will be put right. And that’s where Paul is going with this.
So it’s, “… evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” So now, he talks about the justice of God. “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.”
So, when’s that going to happen? He says, “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” And we’re going to see as we go along that it’s not simply a lack of something, there is an adamance of spirit that refuses to obey.
They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
Now, I’m not trying to give a lecture here on eschatology, on the end-time events, but there’s an awful lot in here that is pretty plain. If you start with the New Testament and you start with the words of Jesus, you’re seeing one event here. Here’s a world that looks like it’s out of control. Here’s a world where Christians look like they’re the losers.
But God is just! And He has appointed a day and He’s going to take care of both sides on that day. One day He’s coming with fiery destruction, but He’s coming to rescue and put on display His people that He’s been working in all this time. So, this is just one little indicator here of how that’s going to play out.
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill ….” Over and over again you get this sense: none of this depends on me and my strength. If it did, I’d have no hope today. There’s nothing in me that can stand up to my own flesh, let alone the world, or the Devil and all of his cunning and all his wisdom.
But it’s, “… by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God ….” Over and over again — His power, His grace, isn’t it? That’s what stands behind us and underneath us.
“… The grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” I believe with all my heart this is a prophecy, it’s a word of warning, of instruction to God’s people, and I believe we are in the fulfillment of this. It’s happening as we speak. It has been happening for a long time. It’s something we need to understand. We need to re-visit it, and really take in its implications.
So, Paul is writing and says, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
You see the context here. Paul is writing because apparently word has reached him that there have been some false teachers. Someone has come behind him and said, “The Day of the Lord has already come.” It sounds like somebody may have written a letter and perhaps even signed Paul’s name to it, so that it would carry a little more weight with those who heard about it.
But Paul is saying, don’t you be deceived. Don’t pay any attention to that; even if it seems like it’s coming from me, don’t pay any attention. Don’t you remember how I told you about the coming of the Lord? That’s what this is about.
Notice how these things, the last day manifestation of evil and the Lord’s coming, all dovetail into one event, because he launches right into a discussion of the last rebellion, doesn’t he? But yet, what he’s talking about is the coming of the Lord and our being gathered to Him. That sounds like it’s all together, doesn’t it? It is.
So, Paul’s subject is, basically, the great rebellion. I believe with all my heart that many of us here, particularly the older ones, can remember some of the things that the Lord revealed in our midst years ago.
I’m certainly old enough to remember the 1960’s. How many of you here can remember that time and the things that were going on? It was a time in which there was a very definite rebellion against every value that had gone before. The whole younger generation was inspired by a spirit of darkness to rise up and say, “We cast off everything of the past!”
“If you’re over 30, you’re over the hill and we reject your values! We reject everything you’ve ever stood for! We reject any authority of moral law over us. We’re going to do as we please! We’re going to get high, be immoral, whatever comes to our minds. We are in charge! By God, we are rebelling.”
There has always been some of that. Doesn’t he say that? The mystery of iniquity, this spirit of rebellion, has always been here, but there has been a degree of restraint. So, Paul is looking down the stream of time and saying, this is not right now. Right now that spirit is here but it is being restrained to a degree. But there is coming a period of time that will usher in the time of the end. It will lead up to the time when Christ will come, because He’s the One who’s going to crush it when He does come.
But there will come a definite time of rebellion. And it doesn’t just say “a” time of great rebellion. It says “the” rebellion. There’s something specific about it.
This was particularly interesting to me when I first came here, to the old Tabernacle. I had lived as a college student through that period, watching my generation absolutely go crazy, and wondering what in the world was going on.
It just didn’t make any sense the stuff they were teaching and believing. What they were doing was simply outright rebellion, not just against society, but against God. And then I arrived here and found out how the Lord had been revealing that this was the time of the loosing of Satan. And it was very specific. It wasn’t just some loosing. This was the last loosing before the end of all things.
There was a point in time when God said, “All right, now I am stepping back. I’m going to let men have what they want.” And so, we have seen the unfolding of that in amazing ways.
How many of you look at the news today of what’s happening, the attitudes of people, the hateful behavior, the choices that are being made, the values that are being shoved down our throats — how many of you look at that and you say, “Good Lord, what planet are they on?” It’s just mind boggling to see the things that five years ago would have been unthinkable. Today, they’re just normal, not only normal, but you better shut up and agree with them or you are the one that’s in trouble!
If the spirit that is in the world today has its way, it will shut us behind our walls, and tell us, “Don’t you dare peep about God outside of these walls!” And when they succeed in that, they will then come in here and do their best to shut us down all together. Satan’s aim is to destroy the influence of God everywhere.
I don’t know how it is here now, but some of us, especially older ones, remember what school was about. It was about actual education — reading, writing, arithmetic and a little bit of sociology and history. There was a reasonable presentation of what was right. We learned about the Constitution. I mean, I’ve heard of campuses where if you hand out a copy of the Constitution, they’re going to throw you in jail. It’s absolutely insane.
You could go on and on talking about that kind of stuff. I don’t think we have a clue what’s going on in schools today. I don’t know how it is here. It’s probably not as bad as where I grew up. I grew up in what has become one of the more liberal areas. But, I mean, they are teaching sexual deviancy beginning in kindergarten.
You don’t think Satan is loose? You don’t think the spirit of the age has come in and is just flooding men’s minds with darkness and programming them about the normalcy of everything that is against God? You don’t think there is a relentless rebellion against God’s institution of the family and how the family works? For example, you see this idea that children don’t belong to families, to fathers and mothers. Children belong to the state. You see the spirit of it.
I’ve told you before about just one example over in Europe. The government building of the European Union was modeled after a painting of the Tower of Babel. It’s just like man is shaking his fist in God’s face! There is a spirit of defiance that is out there and that’s what Paul is talking about. There is a rebellion.
It sounds like, in one sense, he’s talking about an individual man. And I don’t know whether there’s an individual man coming or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is. But I’ll tell you, there’s no man who could come and fit this description and succeed in gaining any kind of influence over the people of the world if the people hadn’t first had their hearts and minds prepared for it.
This is not just some bad guy that’s going to come and, oh my, he’s going to wow us and trick us all. This is a spirit that is at work right now in hearts and minds, trying its best to influence even people right here. Everywhere, the spirit of the age is to absolutely turn men against God and to a spirit of rebellion against everything that He stands for.
This thing called sin — it’s not just a list of do’s and don’ts, it is a life force that takes possession of hearts and minds and drives them to every form of selfishness, every form of evil behavior, in every way. There are many people who would point their finger at somebody who’s guilty of a particular sin and they have something that’s worse going on in them, just like the religious people of Jesus’ day. Oh my!
I can’t wait for the day when there won’t be anything of that. I see a new heaven and a new earth. God’s glory is filling the universe. Won’t it be something to be set free from everything of this world? To be able to be what God created us to be in the first place, to be energized with divine life and all the gifts and abilities, whatever God has invested in every single one of us, flourishing to their highest degree, not though selfishness, but through selflessness, enjoying the riches of God’s grace? Praise God! Oh, don’t you long for that? Oh, I’ll tell you, it’s coming. Thank God!
So, here’s the destiny. This is why Satan is so angry. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” Now, remember, the beginning of this passage talks about Christ’s coming and our being gathered to Him. But here’s something else that happens at that coming. He is going to destroy by the splendor of his coming all of this rebellion and all that’s wrong.
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.” Now, it’s easy just to say, watch out, there are going to be lying signs and wonders. There are going to be miracles that really aren’t from God, and that is part of it. But there are a lot of people who wouldn’t be moved by that. It doesn’t limit it to that, does it? It says, “every” sort of evil.
I’ll tell you, we have a nature that runs to everything that God hates. If you follow the inclinations of this nature, you’re going to go into a dark dungeon of sin and destruction. And Satan knows how to appeal to every single person on this planet. He knows how to appeal to their nature and to portray sin in a way that makes it seem like that’s the thing that will give you what you’re looking for in life. It’ll be moral corruption for some. It’ll be riches and power for others. It’ll be every kind of thing that Satan can use to appeal to people. I’ll tell you what, we need the Lord, don’t we?
So anyway, “… counterfeit miracles … and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.” Now why do they perish? What’s the deal here? What’s going on? Why are people perishing? Does God just get a kick out of saying, “Hey, you broke the rules, I get to judge you”? That’s not the spirit of it.
It’s interesting to contrast this with Jesus. You want to know what God is really like, what His heart is like toward the race of men who have fallen into sin? You look at Jesus. And you’ll see Someone who looked at people with compassion. You’ll see the Son of God who came into the world to die a sacrificial death, and He didn’t come to condemn.
Sin was there! It was terrible! But He didn’t even come to condemn! He came to forgive. He came to save. He came to shine light on darkness so people could be rescued from that. That’s God’s heart! It’s always been His heart! It’s still His heart! That’s why today He’s reaching out in amazing ways in far corners of the world. God’s still at work in His creation. But I’ll tell you, there is something else going on.
But how is it that God could approach the woman at the well with such compassion and then deal with these in such violent wrath? What’s going on here? How do you understand that? Do you ever wonder about that, how to put that together?
“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” See, what you’re dealing with is not people who are simply caught by the power of sin, don’t know how to escape it, don’t know what to do. You’re talking about people who do know, people who have been confronted one way or another with divine truth.
Jesus said himself, “And this is the condemnation … “ (KJV) — this is the reason for condemnation — “… Light is come into the world …” But, what? “… Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” They refused to come to the light. They didn’t want their sin exposed.
We need to understand what’s going on in the world in which we live. We need to realize the hour in which we live and the incredible importance of taking our stand with Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God! He is Lord! I don’t care what the Devil says, what he is allowed to do! Jesus Christ reigns!
And we need never to look at this world and be dismayed by what we see and say, “Oh we’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to do something.” We’ve got to shine our light and not be ashamed of Jesus Christ in this world, just take what’s coming and trust God to bring us through.
Do you see what’s going on? People hate the truth! You look back at the days of Noah. How often we’ve used that. It’s because Jesus used it. That’s what He said: this is what it’s going to be like when I come, like the days of Noah. And what an amazing, demonstration of God’s mercy and God’s love we see in spite of the terrible judgment that came.
We have the Lord’s testimony at the beginning of that particular account, that the thoughts and intents of men’s hearts were what? Only evil continually. It sounds like they were already in this condition, and God says, yet, there’ll be 120 years! We don’t have a God that’s rushing to judgment, looking to kill people, looking to judge people. We have a God who is going to reach out with mercy to that last soul that will hear His voice and embrace His Son. Thank God!
Folks, if you’re here today, this should not frighten you. This should cause you to find hope in Jesus Christ, because the smallest child that puts their faith in Jesus Christ is safe for eternity! God sees every heart and He is in charge! There’s not a devil in hell that can steal anything out of God’s hand. Thank God!
But, oh, we see that awful time of judgment when God waited that 120 years and then finally the day came. Those who were ready were prepared. They walked with God. They listened to His voice. In the midst of all of this they stood with God and God made a way for them to be rescued out of that.
I’ve made this point many times over the years. You know, so many people talk about being left behind and all that stuff that’s supposedly going to happen. What happened to those who were left behind? They died, didn’t they? All of them — every single one that was left behind died. Man, this is not one of those deals where you can say, I’m just going to just wait and see. One of these days the Rapture’s going to happen, then I’ll get serious because I’ll realize, hey, it really was true. It doesn’t work that way.
This is the day of decision. This is the day when men are choosing. They’re either going to be with Jesus or they’re going to be with the world. There’s a division that’s happening right now. It’s astounding what’s going on. How many of you who can think back to the days when the Lord was showing us many of these things, and we looked at the world and we saw plenty wrong? But how many of you could have imagined some of the things that are part of our daily life today?
Imagine if Brother Thomas suddenly, not knowing any of this, stepped back into this, and looked around and read the headlines. My God, what an incredible down-hill slide. And we’re in the middle of it. It happens a little at a time, a little at a time. But suddenly you look back and see where you were. We’re not just heading for the cliff, we’ve gone off the cliff. But, oh, thank God, Jesus is in charge.
Thank God! There are so many things you could bring into this. I don’t want to belabor it, but I don’t want to soft-pedal it either. I don’t know, for some reason my mind went back to this. It’s just something we need to bring out from time to time, so people don’t lose sight of where we’re at, people understand why things are going on in the world.
Do you ever wonder, do you ever look and say, why is this? Why is God allowing it? What’s going on? Well, here’s the answer. God is letting lost men choose what they want. Oh my, how we need Him! My God, how we need Him! If there’s anybody that’s got a heart in which something is pulling you towards the Lord, something is still tugging at the heart, you had better run to Him!
You had better run to the Lord, because, I’ll tell you, you’re going to go through one of two doors. There are only two destinies. There are only two doors through which any human being can go. One of them is to bow at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, surrender to His Lordship, open up the heart, invite Him in as resident Lord and Savior, and stand uncompromisingly with Him! That’s door number one.
Door number two is to say, God, I am my own god. I reject Your Word. I reject Your life. It’s my life! I’m going to do with it as I please. That’s door number two. Those are the choices! It’s God or the Devil. And we are seeing the human race, more and more, being divided into those two categories.
What do you think it’s going to be like when Jesus comes? It’s going to be total delusion on one side, total shock. And for others it’s going to be hands in the air. Praise God! The race is run! There’s going to be a handful still here on that day who will get to look up and say, praise God, the day has finally come! Jesus is here! Justice is finally going to be served! We don’t have to live in this awful place anymore! We’ve got Jesus coming to take us to another place. The same Jesus who came out of that tomb so long ago has now come as He’s promised.
Of course, there’s another door, isn’t there? And that door is in the heart. And that’s the one that Jesus comes to and knocks. And what determines everything, everything, is what men do when He comes. When He brings the conviction of His truth, what do we do with it?
You have this contrast drawn: you’ve got a group here that have believed the lie; and you’ve got another group down here who have believed the truth. So, you see, it’s exactly the same thing Jesus was talking about. There is a truth that will come knocking on the door of every individual heart.
And that truth will show you some things about yourself that you don’t want to see. It will show you that you’re a sinner. You’re not the person you think you are. It’ll show you that you are not ready to stand before Him. It’ll show you what’s wrong but yet it won’t do it in a condemning way. It will do it in a truthful way that lifts up.
And I’ll tell you, once we are willing to humble ourselves to that conviction, then God will lift up a Savior, and say, but I have provided completely for you. I love you. I’m not showing you this because I hate you. I’m showing you this because I love you and because I’ve made a way out of this.
You see, there’s a choice that’s involved. There’s a choice that is made at some point. Do I push Him away and say, no, or do I open the door and say, yes, You can have my heart. I’ll tell you one thing, this is not a deal where we’re interested in taking our young people and brainwashing them with religion. That’s no defense against the great rebellion.
Christianity is not a lifestyle. It’s not a set of beliefs you embrace, and “belonging to a church,” and participating in its activities and carrying on a certain lifestyle. There’s only one thing that God is looking for. He is looking to take up residence in the heart and impart a brand-new life.
If Jesus has not come in, you’ve never been born again. If that never takes place, you are going to be swallowed up by this darkness that is overtaking our world. Sooner or later, it will overtake you and that is where your destiny will lie.
Oh God! I don’t know, I somehow sense that His heart is reaching out and wanting to warn, wanting to cause people to recognize what’s going on in the world, because it is a time to choose. It’s a time when men are making up their minds.
I believe it’s a time when God is going to reach out and pull in a harvest in the middle of all of this. God is absolutely not taken by surprise. There is no dismay in Heaven. There are no emergency meetings! God has everything exactly under control! But the way this is playing out is exactly the way it played out in Noah’s day and also in Lot’s day when he was brought out of Sodom.
Do you think there was anybody in Sodom that Lot could have gone to and explained all of this to? No! There was a point in time when their condition was sealed! There was nothing left to do but get Lot out and bring judgment!
That’s going to be the way it is when Jesus comes! There won’t be any gray area! There won’t be any middle ground! Everyone will have totally identified themselves with Jesus, or they will have identified themselves with the world and they will be blind and shocked at that moment when He comes.
That’s the reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe — now I noticed this years ago: it does not say they will believe “a” lie. This is not just any old lie. This is “the” lie. There is something specific. And if you will go all the way back to the beginning, what was the lie that the human race was sold?
You will not die. You will be as gods. You see the connection? There is the lie. If you will take an independent course, you will be like a god. You have the right to choose your own path, to do your own thing, and you shall be as gods. And you will have a race of people on this planet who will embrace that lie. And there will be people you will not be able to explain this to. Folks, we’re going to have to battle in prayer.
We’re going to have to fight with God’s armament, God’s weapons. We have the privilege of standing in an amazing hour. And we have a God who will bring His people through. He will never leave us nor forsake us, not ‘til the end of the age. But it’s a challenging time. We’re going to have to trust people into God’s hands. We’re going to have to pray, and pray that God, who alone can penetrate that darkness, will do it, and change hearts and break them out of the dungeons of sin that hold them in darkness.
But, oh praise God for what comes next! This is one of the glorious “buts” of scripture. All of these terrible things that He describes, this period of the time of the end that’s coming, when evil will be allowed to reign and find full expression in the earth — “but!” And that’s a message to everyone here that loves the Lord and knows Him today.
“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers, loved by the Lord.” (NIV). Doesn’t that sound good? He doesn’t say, all you righteous people who have measured up and earned your way into His favor. This is, “loved by the Lord.” That’s the amazing thing, when people embrace the darkness that is overspreading the world, what they are saying, no, to is not the anger and the dominion and the Spirit of God that wants to take over somebody’s life and ruin it. It’s the love of God! They’re refusing it! They’re saying, I will not bow!
But for those who bow, it’s not to a tyrant: it’s to Somebody who loves us with an everlasting love. God made us to love and to be loved. There are a lot of empty hearts out there, hearts that have been wounded. And God has the answer to every wound, every hurt, everything: it’s His love. I’ll tell you, when we open our hearts to that love and it begins to percolate out into all of the things that have affected us, what a glorious thing it is! Thank God! Loved by the Lord!
“… Because from the beginning God chose you to be saved, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit ….”! You see God coming to work in our hearts, God coming to knock on our door, God coming to convict us when we’re going down the wrong path, God intervening in our lives!
You know what God said in Noah’s day. He said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” (KJV). But think what He is saying there. In spite of all of the things that were terrible, that were wrong with the society of that day, all the evil things that men were doing, God was still working! God was striving! God was there trying to resist, trying to convict, trying to speak! What a God we serve! That God is still at work. That God knows how to work with a heart, knows how to reach us, knows how to set us apart.
“… Through belief in the truth.” (NIV). Folks, that’s what we have in the world. We have the lie and we have the truth. And it’s not just a set of doctrines. It’s not a philosophy. It’s not just my worldview versus yours, and they’re all equally good. This is, Jesus Christ who is the truth and this lie that Satan has peddled, that you are really gods, and if you will take the independent course you will find your destiny. And that is what will separate the human race into two camps when Jesus comes.
But, “He called you to this through our gospel …” Through the good news, why? “… That you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Folks, the challenge to God’s people is that we take an uncompromising stand, not a hard-hearted, finger-pointing kind of thing, but an uncompromising stand with Jesus Christ, that we live in this world that we live in with an awareness of what’s going on.
The messages that are coming through movies, the messages that are coming through the television, through — you name it — they permeate our society. They can soften our understanding of things, soften our convictions. But folks, we need to stand absolutely for the truth of God and pray for everyone that we have an influence on, pray for our young people, because it’s not enough just to be brought up here and taught the stuff that we teach. You’re going to have to have an encounter with Jesus Christ.
You’re going to have to have an encounter where you surrender your heart. You say, oh God, come in, take my heart. It doesn’t belong to me anymore. I surrender my heart and my life. That’s why You made me in the first place. You made me because You want to love me and live with me and for me to live with You forever and ever. And I see what You’ve done to make that possible. The nail-scared hands that were stretched out, were stretched out because of my sins. Oh, my God! That has got to become real!
It’s got to become personal! Every heart is going to have to make a choice when it comes to this issue. I am with Him or I am with the world. There is a line. We’ve use that analogy before, the line drawn in the sand. If we are not seeing that in our day, when will we? It’s almost been 50 years since some of these things have happened, about 50 years — since I was in college. It hardly seems possible. But I watched my generation absolutely going over the cliff and setting their hearts against God.
And then the Lord began to reveal what’s really going on. It’s not just something in society. There’s a power, there’s a demonic power that has reached out to men and God’s taken His hands back and said, all right. This is a time to choose, because men are choosing an eternal destiny. Folks, if you know the Lord, praise God!
Praise God! As I say, you don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to be wise, you don’t have to be anything, except to trust in Jesus with all of your heart! He will bring every one of His through! We will stand! We will share in this glory that He has promised!
But there is coming a day when God is going to balance the scales of justice. The wicked things that we see in this world, they will not be allowed to stand. They will be brought to an end. There won’t be anybody that will be on the fence at that hour. Everyone will have made their choice. This is the time to choose, because there comes a time when God does take His hand off.
And I know the Devil loves to use that and say, well, you’ve gone too far. If there is something in you that has a desire toward God, you haven’t gone too far. That’s God encouraging you to put your trust in Him. The people that have gone too far don’t care anymore. They don’t have any real desire for God. If you have a desire for God, it comes because God is at work in your heart and it’s because He loves you. You need to latch onto that with every ounce of your being!
You need to say, Devil, get out of here! I don’t believe you! God’s touching my heart! That means He’s reaching out to me! That means He wants me! I want Him! I’m not going to listen to you!
It’s a momentous hour that we live in. I have no idea how long this is going to go on. But, is it not accelerating? Do we not see a progression from day to day to day? It’s just mind boggling! The headlines of today were unthinkable a year ago, some of them. And it’s getting faster and faster.
But you know what, what did Jesus say? When you see these things, what are we supposed to do? Hang our heads? “Lift up your heads.” Rejoice! The day of redemption is drawing nigh.
We live in a momentous hour. But I pray that everyone here, anybody that hears this, if you haven’t made your choice, if God’s knocked on the door of your heart, and you haven’t really made a clear-cut stand where you’re 100 percent with Him, you had better listen to this!
You had better listen! This is God. This is not just me. This is God, reaching out because He loves you. Because if you’re not 100 percent with Him, then you are with the Devil. There’s no way to mix the two. You can’t have one foot in each kingdom. God is absolutely separating and we are seeing it, we’re experiencing it. But oh, the hope that He has given to everyone who will put their trust in Him! Praise God!
Let’s go forward and look to Him and ask Him for the grace to stand in an hour like this, to never lose the sense that the God we serve, the Lord we serve, is on His throne! He will not abandon His own. He is going to come and He’s going to come at exactly the right time. He’s not in a rush because He’s not willing that people perish, remember that?
See, it’s His mercy that’s holding back. It’s His mercy that is giving every possible opportunity to men to make the right choice! But there will come a day when that choice will end. And He’s going to come and everything will wind up. And everyone will stand before the judgment of God.
Oh, Praise God! I know I have no right in myself. There’s no possible way I could qualify myself for any of this. I stand by the grace of God! Everybody who stands at all, stands by the grace and the mercy of God who has done everything necessary to open Heaven’s door to us.
We have every reason to rejoice but we have reason to be sober too. Pay attention to what your kids are getting into. Pay attention to what’s going on in schools, what’s going on in colleges. You have no idea how the Devil is at work. But, I’ll tell you, God is at work too, isn’t He?
Let’s just cast our lot with Him 100 percent. Praise God! Praise God!
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