W R Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Spiritual growth is of upmost importance in the hour in which we live so as not to be deceived through deceptive words and practices. Jude warned of those who would bring falsehoods, saying: I give all diligence to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once (once for all) delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
It was noted that Jude was forced by developments to pen this earnest exhortation. Jude conceived Christian faith as having a definite, unchanging, and unchangeable content!
In a prophecy given in a camp meeting in 1965 were these words: When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead. With the glory shall come great darkness, for the glory is to prepare My people for the darkness. I will enable My people to go through because of the visitation of My Spirit.
In the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers lusts and because of sin abounding. But if you will seek Me diligently, I will put My spirit within you. When one shall turn to the right hand or to the left you shall not turn with them, but keep your eyes wholly on the Lord.
After I have visited My people, the way shall become more and more narrow, and fewer shall walk therein. But be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan becomes as an angel of light hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are not of Me.
There are many walking away from the Unadulterated (pure) Word of God, in many once godly nations, that once stood firmly planted on God's Word. Jude revealed: There are certain men crept in unawares (unnoticed), who were before (long ago) of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (license to immorality), and denying the Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage (flattering people to gain advantage) (Jude 1:16). These be they who separate themselves (cause divisions), sensual (worldly), having not the Spirit (Spirit of God) (Jude 1:19).
Rather than spiritual growth in God; many nations are experiencing chaos, a trend towards the domination of immorality, a Sodom and Gomorrah setting that is receiving approval rather than reproach. It was noted that Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned often in Scriptures as an example of God's severe judgment on sexual sin, in particular sexual perversion.
Immorality has clearly entered the ranks, as spoken of by Jude, who wrote that such were of old ordained to this condemnation. God's Word clearly denounces ungodly practices that have been placed in effect today; practiced in the past, but are escalating in these latter days towards acceptance of the previously unacceptable.
Spiritual growth is the only key to offset the immoral atrocities that have polluted many once godly nations. Satan inspired immoral activities, having been placed on the plate of acceptability need to be exposed for what they are, with the Word of God preached to its fullness, not just the niceties that will tickle the ear.
The Apostle Paul warned of such in saying: The time will come when they (the people) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables (that which is fictitious) (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The Apostle Paul told Timothy to watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). Preach the word; be instant (ready) in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2). It was noted that preaching is the God-ordained means to prevent defection from the truth.
This exhortation was preceded with: I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1). This verifies the seriousness of the matter; not to be taken lightly, but spiritual growth in fulfill one's calling.
Woodrow Wilson stated: The sum of the whole matter is that our civilization cannot survive unless it is redeemed spiritually. It was noted that the Church is being tempted to pursue social status rather than sanctification (being set apart unto God), financial security rather than sacrifice, prestige rather than the presence of God, and respectability rather than the moving of God's Spirit.
Things that once would have shocked Christians are now commonplace. There is much that does not disturb the church like it once did. Many Christians have been lulled into believing that all is well. There may be small victories, a revival here, a church doing a good work there, but where is the moral outrage necessary to petition God for a new reformation or another great awakening?
Noah H. Mack, in a sermon titled "Little Foxes" noted: This writer with much interest and prayer observed the movements and efforts of the church for more than thirty-five years; all this while it has developed a great power to work, but almost as fast as she grows in efficiency for labor she drifts into worldliness in one way or another and all because of fostered pride and love of pleasure.
Those who have been responsible for the housekeeping in the church (spiritual growth) has not been watchful enough and let the little foxes creep into the vineyard and now they are so numerous and big that cannot be driven out by ordinary methods of teaching and warning, for they well-nigh have possession of the vineyard.
There is an inroad towards immorality that far exceeds the Pre-flood days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Babylon which was the hold of every foul spirit. Unrighteousness is knocking at the door of many churches, towards a path of acceptability, rather than reproach for ungodly lifestyles condemned in God's Word.
There is a radical change in the culture of yesteryear that use to condemn ungodly behavior, rather than embrace it. There is a movement to silence any opposition (including the church) by laws and rulings made to accommodate such activity rather than much needed spiritual growth.
The prophet Isaiah said: With my soul have I desired you in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9).
It was noted that while others were asleep, in the times of darkness, the spirit that was within those awake, will with intenseness of spirit and eagerness of soul, be seeking the Lord. When His judgments are in the earth, such as pestilence, famine, and the like, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
We are seeing this happening in our modern day; but unfortunately not enough have awaken the need for the intenseness of spirit and eagerness of soul (spiritual growth) that Isaiah spoke of in the hour of darkness. The call was to learn of the righteousness of God; to live soberly, righteously, and godly in a adulterous generation.
The Apostle Peter wrote: As newborn babies, desire the since (pure) milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). It was noted that the sincere milk of the word is the Gospel; the whole of it, not just the easy truths of it. The word of God is pure and spiritual (entails spiritual growth), unadulterated (pure), not to be deceitfully handled, but rather to be desired (longed after) as a new born babe does its mother's milk.
You may grown thereby means a spiritual growth, increase of faith, utterance of the joy of it, in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, an experience of spiritual strength from Him, and unto Him, not merely in profession, but in the fruits of grace, righteousness, and holiness.
The Apostle Paul wrote: The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are his. And, let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. For in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth (clay); and some to honor, and some to dishonor.
If a man purge (cleanse) himself from these (those who dishonor), he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified (set apart), and meet (useful) for the master's use, and prepared to every good work. Flee youthful lusts; but follow (pursue) righteousness, faith, charity (love), peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:19-22).
Scripture reveals: He that keeps his (God's) commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And thereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us (1 John 3:24).
It was noted that such a one attends to instructions concerning faith in Christ and acts according to them; knowing that one dwells in Christ, and Christ dwells in them, as evidenced by the Spirit of God (for continued spiritual growth), a spirit of regeneration (being born again in Christ) and sanctification (being set apart unto God), of faith and love, of adoption into the household of faith, and a heavenly inheritance.
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