The Dangers of a Yes Man by Larry W. Peebles

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The Dangers of a Yes Man   by Larry W Peebles   August 26, 2016   16.32

I don’t know if I would have made a good soldier.  I voluntarily subjected myself to the military draft in the late 1960s, but was never selected.  In those days, the draft was conducted by a lottery drawing.   The order in which birthdates were drawn determined the order in which those subject to the draft were called for service in the military.  The year I was eligible, my birthdate was drawn so late in the lottery my local draft board filled its quota before they got to my number.

I have always had a reluctance to follow orders until I knew the reason behind the orders, so following orders in the military without knowing why would have been difficult for me.  It is simply not in my character to say “yes” or “yes sir” without knowing the big picture-the objective.  On the other hand, once I have understood the reasons for an order, and buy in to the plan, I have had no trouble following orders and respecting the person in authority.  In short, I am not a good “yes man”, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “a person who agrees with everything that is said; especially one who endorses or supports without criticism every opinion or proposal of an associate or superior.”

The concept of a yes man is not new.  From Biblical times, both the Old and New Testaments contain interesting stories and warnings concerning this subject.  During the time of 1 Kings 22 (and 2 Chronicles 18), when the children of Israel were split into two kingdoms, we learn that Ahab was the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah.  Three years prior, a treaty had been struck with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, but there remained disagreement over the possession of Ramoth Gilead, a territory claimed by Israel but taken by Aram.  Ahab wanted to advance on Ramoth Gilead to re-take it, and sought Judah’s assistance in the war. Ahab threw a big feast in honor of Jehoshaphat, and asked if he would go down to Ramoth Gilead with him.  In 1 Kings 22:5, Jehoshaphat responded wisely “First seek the counsel of the Lord”.  The counsel of the Lord had left Ahab due to his disobedience (see chapters 20 and 21 of 1 Kings).  Nevertheless, he called on four hundred of his so-called prophets (false prophets), and asked if he should go to war or refrain.  They responded (v. 6) “Go…for the Lord will give it into the king’s hands.”  They told him what the king wanted to hear.  I’m sure the king smiled with delight, because he wanted to take the city back more than he wanted the truth and wisdom from God.

Jehoshaphat had the discernment that these were not prophets, rather mere “yes men.”  He asked (v. 7) “Is there not a [real] prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”  Ahab responded (v. 8) “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad.”  The prophet Micaiah was summoned to the gathering.  He was warned by the messenger that the other prophets were not only encouraging Ahab to fight, they were also making wild and brash predictions about the gore and destruction of the Arameans.  Micaiah agreed to come, but cautioned (v. 14) “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”  This is not the response of a yes man.  It is remarkably similar to what Jesus said in John 12:49-50 “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.  I know that His command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”  How very wise for a man to seek first and solely the wisdom of the Lord on a matter, for it leads to life; and how very wise for a prophet to neither add to nor detract from a word from the Lord.

When Micaiah arrived he sensed the atmosphere.  The king immediately asked him if he should go to war or refrain.  Micaiah knew what he wanted to hear so he answered sarcastically (v. 15), using the very words of the false prophets -“Attack and be victorious…for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”  Sensing the sarcasm, the king pressed him to tell what he really heard from the Lord.  In verses 19-23, Micaiah told the king that he should not proceed to war, that instead every man should go home.  He also described a vision from the Lord where he saw a lying spirit had attempted to deceive Ahab through his prophets.  He concluded by saying “The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”  Speaking the truth landed him a round of insults, followed by a stay in prison on bread and water.

This provoked Ahab into a final decision.  He ignored Micaiah, and proceeded into battle against Aram.  Ahab died in the battle, and his army retreated at the end of the day.  He had believed the lie, and it led to his death.  Although the truth would have saved his life, out of his own pride he refuted the truth because it did not agree with what he wanted to do, and it ended in disaster for him.

In the New Testament Timothy, assistant to the apostle Paul, and described by Paul as “my true son in the faith”, received the following warning from Paul in a letter.  “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self- control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness, but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3: 1-5).  We must also honestly admit we can see this around us today.  We can see the pride in Ahab, and the form of godliness in his false prophets from the story above.

Paul goes on to say in his letter in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  Those who say what itching ears want to hear are “yes men”.  Those who want their ears scratched or rubbed are looking for a massage, not a message.  Jeremiah 6:14 warned about prophets and priests (yes, even the church) who say “Peace, peace….when there is no peace.”

Society in general, and yes even the church, sends messages intended for itching ears.  These include messages that people are not required to change because repentance is outmoded.  Do what feels good.  People are basically good, and there is no need to deal with sin.  A person can come to Jesus just as they are, and stay that way.  God is so loving he will not judge anyone.  God wants his children to be healthy, wealthy and content in this world.

The truth is that God’s ways and priorities are different from ours.  He is more concerned about our character than He is our comfort.  He is more concerned about our forgiveness than He is about our finances.  He will speak the hard truth for our own good.  We can come to Jesus just as we are, in a low and sinful state, but He will operate on us by grace through His Holy Spirit until we are convicted and convinced of the need for a change for our own good.

Rather than walk away from hard truth, consider these additional words from Paul’s letter to Timothy, a remedy for today’s situation.  “Preach the word (as an official messenger); be ready when the time is right and even when it is not (keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome); correct (those who err in doctrine or behavior), warn (those who sin), exhort and encourage (those who are growing toward spiritual maturity), with inexhaustible patience and (faithful) teaching.”  (2 Timothy 4:2, Amplified).

A yes man answers according to the current direction of the wind.   The truth is not dependent on the wind.  A yes man answers according to what he thinks one wants to hear.  The truth speaks of what one needs to hear.  The truth is not a philosophical concept.  The truth is a person, Jesus Christ.  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).  When we know the Truth (Jesus), we can recognize the truth.  We can then be ready at all times to both speak the truth and hear the truth.  This leads to life.  A yes man is no help at all.  The danger of a yes man is his half-truths and lies ultimately lead to destruction.

Take Up Your Sword by Kay Keith Peebles

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It was hilarious!  I had always been afraid of snakes.  I became afraid of snakes in the third grade when I learned to distinguish the poisonous ones from the non-poisonous.  Since then, I had only seen two poisonous snakes in the wild, one was a baby copperhead.

This summer, after coming up to the mountains for ten years, I saw my first poisonous snake in our area.  I was near one of the small lakes close to our home when I saw a snake swimming on top of the water several feet from where I was standing.  I could see his head and knew he was poisonous!  Although the water was a bit murky, I got a picture of him with my cell phone and discerned he was a copperhead.  I realized, for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid of the snake, just respectful.

A week ago, my husband and I were coming home from a day-long outing and parked our car in the garage.  When we began unloading the car, my husband shouted, “There’s a snake in the garage!”  He was in the corner by the garage door.  We could see that the front half of its body was inside a box which the exterminator had placed in the corner of the garage to catch small rodents and insects as they entered.  It was late in the afternoon and the inside of the garage was dark.  I maneuvered myself to the other side of the car so that I could step outside of the garage to see the snake with better light. “It’s a copperhead,” I yelled to my husband.  We had no rake or shovel with which to defend ourselves.  Upon observing the situation, it appeared he had entered the box to eat something that may have been inside.  We realized he had become caught on the sticky surface and was unable to pull himself free.  I asked the Lord for wisdom and immediately we decided the best thing to do was back the car out of the garage so that we could sweep the box out of the corner and onto the driveway.  Our weapons became a broom and an automobile.  When the box was pushed outside, the snake drew up the rest of his body inside the box which made him fully contained inside. My husband then proceeded to drive the car over the box five or six times to make sure the snake could not harm anyone.  There was no way we could have removed him from the box.  He was stuck there to die a slow death and since he knew small critters could enter our garage, we did not want this happening again.

Once the snake was dead, we both felt relieved.  It was disconcerting to have a poisonous snake in our garage.  It left us feeling a bit vulnerable.  Then we began to laugh.  It was actually hilarious!  The head of the snake could not have touched us.  The snake had been incapacitated!  God had protected us from being bitten when we walked near the snake.  He was a dangerous snake but rendered helpless; unable to harm us.  His poisonous head was covered by a box.  We chuckled at the thought of him chasing us and trying to bite us with this big box on his head.

I began to understand more clearly the victory Jesus gave us through the cross and resurrection and the believer’s call to resist the enemy (devil) to obtain personal freedom from oppression and bondage.  In scripture the devil and the demonic realm is equated with a snake.  It was a snake that spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden tempting them to sin against God.  See Genesis 3:1, 13.  The Apostle John described the devil by what he saw in the Revelation of the end times.  “And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth and his angels were flung out along with him.”  Revelation 12:9 AMP.

The Apostle Paul explained the work of the cross as Jesus redeemed mankind by defeating all the works of darkness (the devil).  “Stripping the rulers and authorities of their power, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by means of the stake (cross).”  Colossians 2:15 Complete Jewish Bible, emphasis mine.  The Amplified version says, “[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”  God had disarmed the snake by sticking his head, which was his weapon, to the inside of the box.  It was impossible for him to bite us.  Christ gave us all the weapons and authority needed to debunk and pull down the enemy’s hold on our lives and the lives of others.

We all came into this fallen world crippled by our sin nature.  We inherited the sins from past generations in our family that did not serve the Lord or they did not deal with the curses of sin on the family tree.  Sins of the father are passed down for several generations and if there is no repentance and breaking of those strongholds, they remain and continue crippling us from one generation to another.  See Exodus 34:7.  Jesus redeemed us from our bondage, giving us all we need to secure our complete freedom.  Unfortunately, some remain bound either because they don’t know how to be free, they are afraid to deal with spiritual matters or they don’t want to be free.

How often do we cower in fear because of the works of the devil?  How many times have we backed off from an opportunity to gain personal or corporate victory over bondages and injustice when the Lord told us the victory was ours?  Fear of the enemy will stifle any hope of victory we have.  It will keep the children of God bound and powerless, always floundering instead of staunchly opposing him.  Victory comes only by resisting every weapon of the enemy, leaning into the fray and wielding our supernatural weapon Jesus provided for us.

We have been given a powerful suit of armor, but that armor only covers the front of our body, not the back.  We were never created to cower or run from the enemy, we were created to face, resist and oppose the enemy because Christ has already defeated him!

Paul encouraged the Ephesian church.  “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].  Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-11.  AMP.

“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”  Ephesians 6:13.

We find the armor of the Lord described in the book of Ephesians in chapter 6:14-18.  We are to be girded about the waist with the belt of Truth, Biblical Truth.  Our breastplate is that of Righteousness (integrity, honesty and transparency; morality according to God’s Word, and our hearts completely surrendered to the Lord).  The shoes upon our feet are Peace, (representing the resolve that we trust in God, believe His Word and rely upon His strength).  Faith is our shield, (faith in the finished work of the cross, the power of the blood of Jesus to redeem and protect us, and the knowledge that He defeated the enemy, we are simply enforcing His victory).  The helmet of salvation guards: 1) our mind which is the mind of Christ Jesus, 2) eyes that look only to Him for our salvation, 3) ears which hear and obey His voice, 4) breath (life in and through Him) and 5) mouths which declare His Word.  Our armor is our defensive protection but our weapon is the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).  His Word is our supernatural weapon used against every attack of the enemy.

We must know who we are in Christ Jesus and what He accomplished through His life, death and resurrection.  Once we are established securely in Him, We are His agents in the earth raised up to uphold and apply His Word against the lies of the devil.  His Word will sustain us and enable us to stand firm until the enemy surrenders and flees.  James 4:7 promises, “So be subject to God, Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.”

Lessons Learned From The Snake:

1)    Do not be afraid of his power because Christ has overcome all the works of darkness.  Colossians 2:15, 1 John 4:18, Revelation 12:7-10

2)    Seek the Lord for His strategy (wisdom) for victory in each battle.  James 1:5,                   1 Samuel 30:8, Judges Chapters 6 and 7.

3)    Put on your armor, understanding the purpose of each piece, which guarantees victory.  Ephesians 6:13-18

4)    Faith (strength) comes through studying/meditating the Word of God, intercession/prayer, praise/worship and waiting in His presence.  Isaiah 40:31, 2 Timothy 2:15

5)    We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by declaring our testimony, and by being willing and able to die for the faith.  See Revelation 12:11.

We are not inherently entitled to victory without participating in the battle.  We were created for this purpose.  We are in a battle for our faith, our family and the nations.  There is no true freedom apart from Christ Jesus.  American soldiers have been willing to go to war and die for our national freedom.  Are we willing to fight the spiritual battles necessary to secure our spiritual freedom and that of others and die to ourselves in order to obey the will of God?  Conscientious objectors will not inherit the Kingdom.  The world is looking for the answers only we can provide.  God is depending on us.  It is time for the church to take up our sword and fight!

Asa Had the Answer by Larry W Peebles

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Asa Had the Answer   by   Larry W. Peebles   August 12, 2016  16.30

What does one do when outnumbered two to one?  We are not talking two against one, or even two hundred against one hundred.  What if we were talking over one million enemy soldiers advancing against a nation, and the King’s army to defend the nation consisted of half that many?  What does one do?

King Asa of Judah found himself in that situation in Chapter 14 of 2 Chronicles.  By way of background, Asa was the fifth King of Judah, following his ancestors King David, his son Solomon, his son Rehoboam, and his son Abijah.   Asa was the son of Abijah.  Much is written and studied about the reign of David and Solomon.  They both loved the Lord with all their hearts, and purposed to follow the Lord and lead the people according to God’s laws and plan. Each had their moments involving personal sin and weakness to overcome.  When Solomon died, the kingdom split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah.  Rehoboam’s first challenge as the new king was to unite the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into the kingdom of Judah, and to fortify the cities of Judah.  The remaining ten tribes formed the kingdom of Israel.  During the first three years of his reign, Rehoboam was successful in doing this as long as he followed the Lord.  However, after his success in establishing himself as King, and fortifying the kingdom, he drifted away from the Lord.  The king of Egypt attacked Judah in Rehoboam’s fifth year, captured the fortified cities, and advanced as far as Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 12).   The prophet Shemaiah gave the word of the Lord to Rehoboam (v. 5) “You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak [king of Egypt].”  The king and the leaders immediately saw the error of their ways, and humbled themselves before God.  Then the Lord sent this word through His prophet (v. 7, 8) “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them…..they will, however, become subject to him [the king of Egypt], so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”

Shishak attacked Jerusalem and carried off the treasures of both the temple and the royal palace.  He took everything, including the gold.  With a valuable lesson having been learned, Rehoboam began again establishing his kingdom and fortifying the cities.  The rest of his reign was then marked with continual warfare with Jeroboam, king of Israel.

Abijah followed Rehoboam as king, and faithfully followed the Lord.  Though he reluctantly carried on the fight against his Israelite brothers, in one particular battle with Jeroboam, Abijah addressed the army of Israel (2 Chronicles 13). He pointed out that God intended the kingship of all of Israel (Israel and Judah) belonged to the descendants of David.  The divided kingdom of Israel was an offshoot of the rebellion of Nabat, one of Solomon’s officials, but not a son.  In verse 12, he said “Men of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the god of your fathers, for you will not succeed.”  God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah that day.  Verse 18 says “the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers.”

With all this as background, we then see Asa, son of Abijah become king of Judah.  2 Chronicles 14:2 says “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” During years of peace, he built up the towns, and put walls, gates and bars around them.  He prospered.  He built an army of 300,000 from the tribe of Judah, and 280,000 from the tribe of Benjamin.

Thirty years after his grandfather’s lesson in the battle with Shishak, Asa learned that Zerah the Cushite was approaching with a “vast” army (literal translation-thousands of thousands, or a thousand thousand [million]).  There is historical evidence to suggest he was a general hired by the current pharaoh of Egypt.  With all the prosperity and peace in the land, Egypt thought it was time to drain the temple treasury again, and loot the royal palace.  How could Asa defend his people against an army of over one million with an army of only 580,000 men?  Verse 11 says “Asa called to the Lord his God, and said ‘Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty.  Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army.  O Lord, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.’”

Verses 12-15 in Chapter 14 tell us the ending of the story.  The Lord struck down the Cushites.  Asa and his army pursued, annihilating such a great number they could not recover.  The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder, including plunder from the enemy villages destroyed in a counter-attack.  They also carried off droves of sheep and camels before returning to Jerusalem.  The Lord turned what could have been a devastating attack into a stunning rout and counter-attack.  Instead of having their treasures plundered, the kingdom of Judah saw its wealth and treasures grow.

Upon their return to Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 15: 1-2 says “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Obed.  He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin.  The Lord is with you when you are with him.  If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”

The lessons we see in these Scriptures contain some jewels of wisdom.  They apply not only to nations and leaders of nations, but to individuals as well.  Consider these twelve take-away points:

  1. We must be careful to attribute our success to the Lord.  Psalm 121:2 says “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
  2. Human nature is to forget where our success comes from, and to drift away from the Lord when we are successful.
  3. When we drift away from the Lord, we must rush back to Him with humility, and ask for forgiveness.
  4. Drifting away from the Lord carries consequences we may have to live with for a while.
  5. When we humbly come back to the Lord, He restores us and lets us start over again.
  6. Men do not prevail when they fight against the Lord.
  7. When going into battle, better to rely on the Lord than on the size of your army.
  8. God helps the powerless against the mighty.
  9. When the Lord is on our side, we can expect astonishing results, but never predictable results.
  10. When we are with the Lord, He is with us.
  11. When we seek the Lord, we will find Him.
  12. If we forsake the Lord, He will forsake us.

When Solomon finished the temple, the Lord appeared to him at night and said (2 Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”  What to do when the problems and opposition that face a person or a nation are overwhelming?  Where do we start when we have lost our moral bearings?   Solomon received the answer when he was king.  Asa remembered the answer when he was tested.  We return to the Lord our God.

Casual Christianity by Kay Keith Peebles

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“Que sera, sera” is a dangerous theology!  The song “Que Sera, Sera” which means- “Whatever will be, will be” was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1956.  It was sung by Doris Day and featured in the movie “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.  The premise of the song was we do not have control over our lives because our fate is determined by the “gods”.  It is a care-free, casual belief which motivates people to live their lives to the fullest centered around their own desires, because they have no say or power to determine the final outcome.  This belief has seeped into the church and is affecting how people regard the good news of the kingdom (the Gospel).

My husband and I attended the funeral for a 16 year old young man several years ago.  He was one of four passengers killed in an automobile driven by a drunk teenager.  They had all been partying and the driver was speeding when he accidentally plowed into a large tree killing everyone in the car.  The mother of the teenager was an employee of the company my husband managed.  The family was inconsolable.  We came to the funeral to express our love and sympathy for their deep loss.

The funeral began with a hymn and a prayer; then the pastor stood at the pulpit to preach a sermon.  He asked the mourners a question:  “Why did God take this young man”?  He then proceeded to answer his question by sharing his version of the sovereignty of God.  His message to the grieving family in essence, was “Que sera, sera” (whatever will be, will be).  He explained his belief that the Lord required the young man in the prime of his life and there was nothing the family could do about it because God is God.  His remarks were similar to things I have heard others say to those grieving; “God needed your _________ (family member) more than you did.”  His message left all those in the pews feeling hopeless and brought no consolation to the family.  It did, however, stir doubt, and perhaps anger toward a God who would “take” our precious loved ones from us.  It was heartbreaking to hear him blame God’s sovereign will for the death of the teenager.  He left the entire room of people questioning the futility of life.

God’s sovereignty is blamed for many things that are not His doing but rather, they are the result of the missteps of others.  Unfortunately, like I witnessed the day of the funeral, many people believe in the theology of “Que sera, sera”.

Although the Lord is sovereign over all of creation, He created mankind with the ability to choose to follow or reject Him.  Those who believe that everything happens according to God’s perfect plan must eliminate the majority of the Bible.  From Genesis to Revelation the written Word of God is filled with God’s intervention in men’s lives, but His will is also subjected to man’s free will choice.  God never made man sin nor was he created with the propensity to do so.  Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s commandment.  Their disobedience caused sin, death and destruction to enter our world.  The Bible is clear, it is not God’s will for anyone to perish eternally, but many do because they reject God’s call to salvation, kingdom living and destiny.  See 2 Peter 3:9.  Many people die every day because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  God is sovereign and all-knowing, but we make our own choices.  He does try to influence our decisions but we have been given the right to choose whether we obey Him or not.

This dangerous theology deceives Christians into thinking they have no part or responsibility in what happens here on earth.  It especially affects their attitudes toward their having an active role regarding their own Christian walk, the salvation of others and the end times.  They feel no need to study the word of God and mature in the things of God.  They participate in church with a casual attitude, lightly esteeming the Lord because they are pre-occupied with their own plans.  They do not know fully what they believe and why, which can make them targets to the lies and doctrines of false prophets within the church.  See Matthew 7:15.  They can then be easily swayed by human reasoning which contradicts Biblical Truth.  This is currently happening today!

We are presently living in a treacherous time and therefore we must know the Word of God because we are daily being positioned with opportunities to speak truth or succumb to lies.  If we do not know the Word, we are in danger of believing whatever is presented as the Gospel, rendering us unable to stand in faith on God’s side.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him what the sign of His return would be and what would take place at the end of the age.  See Matthew 24 (entire chapter).  “Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error].”  Matthew 24:4 AMPV.  He continued, “And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred, And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error…”  Matthew 24:10-11 AMPV.  Jesus continued speaking in parables about our responsibility to be diligent, watchful and busy about the kingdom’s business while we wait expectantly for His return.

Our Christian faith is far from casual.  It calls us to be active, equipped, matured, discerning and focused on Him.  We must not be busy doing solely our own activities while leaving no room for Him, except an hour on Sunday mornings.  Jesus described what the kingdom of heaven is like in Matthew Chapter 25 by comparing 10 virgins.  These virgins represent the church, those who are righteous by receiving salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bridegroom represents Jesus Who will return at the end of the age.  (See Matthew Chapter 22; Revelations 21:9, 22:17; John 3:29 and Isaiah 65:5)  Five of the virgins were described as wise and five as foolish.  The five wise virgins were sensible, intelligent and prudent.  They were prepared by pre-planning and using their time wisely.  The five foolish were negligent, wasteful and casual in regard to their bridegroom’s return.

The bridegroom delayed His reappearance long enough the five foolish virgins nodded off and went to sleep, not considering how long or difficult the night might become.  Unprepared, their lamps burned out and they had no way of acquiring the oil to re-light them before He came back.  When the bridegroom arrived, the five foolish were nowhere to be found, because they were searching for the necessary oil (the evidence of their faithful obedience) in vain.  The five wise virgins who had prepared themselves entered into the marriage feast with Him.  The door was then shut and no one else would be allowed to enter in.  When the five foolish virgins finally returned it was too late.  They insistently knocked at the door of the wedding feast.  The bridegroom answered the door and spoke heartbreaking words to them.  “But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you].”  See Matthew 25.  Although they had been invited to the wedding feast, their casual attitudes toward it and the bridegroom kept them from properly preparing themselves so that they could enter in.  They were sadly rejected from the kingdom for all eternity.

God is sovereign, but we can thwart His perfect will from coming to pass in our lives.  We, like the Israelites before us, can become rebellious, calloused or simply too casual in regard to Him, risking eternal judgement.  It is true, the Word of God says the enemy (devil) cannot snatch us out of God’s hand.  We can, however, be denied entry through our own continual disobedience by having a casual disregard of His Word, His kingdom, His presence and His own sovereign plan for our lives.

The kingdom of God was offered to us at the cost of Jesus’ painful sacrifice.  He was mutilated and crucified because that alone could demonstrate the depth of wickedness our sins created.  He bore the fullness of our shame, guilt and mocking which we deserved.  Salvation was given to us freely by His great love for us, although we deserved eternal judgment.   He fully gave His life for us; therefore, to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must give our lives to Him completely.  Whether we live or die, we are His only.  2 Timothy 2:11-12 proclaims, “The saying is sure and worthy of confidence:  If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him.  If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us.  If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”  His faithfulness to His Word and his righteous character is the very reason He denied the five virgins entrance to the wedding feast.  They were imposters of the true believers.

Many of the churches in Germany succumbed to the pressure of the Nazi regime in World War II, compromising their beliefs and exchanging true Biblical doctrines for the Nazi propaganda.  Today, many in the churches in America are capitulating to the pressures of our society and the escalating resistance to God’s word by our American culture.  There is a growing pressure for Christians to approve those who live godless and immoral lives.  Believers are already being persecuted for taking their stand with God.

Every day we are inching closer to the Lord’s return.  We must be equipped to endure to the end.  The night is drawing nigh.  We must prepare our lamps by filling them with the oil of the Holy Spirit while the Lord’s presence may be found.  The diligent will reap the reward.  The seeker will apprehend the prize.  The faithful will see the Lord.  There is NOTHING casual about Christianity; that is why so few are willing to walk on the narrow path.  Are you one of them?