Isaiah 1:2-4 ESV
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
‘Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.’”
“Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.”
This speaks much of the present spiritual decline in the American church, and in perhaps other nations, as well. America is where I live, so America is what I know. And, what I know, and what I have observed, is that the church has been turned upside down, as has the gospel of our salvation.
Instead of teaching people to love and adore God, to worship him and submit to him, to obey his commands, and to walk in the fear of the Lord, showing our Lord enormous honor and respect, many in the church are teaching the opposite.
They are teaching how much God loves and adores us humans, and how much he just loves to be with us, and to expend himself for us, and how he is enthralled with us unconditionally, regardless of whether we honor him as Lord, follow his commands, or forsake our sins to follow him.
It is like having a baby without first going through pregnancy and labor, or like having a home-cooked meal at home without first cooking it. People want the resurrection without first the death on a cross. And, they want all the blessings of obedience without the obedience.
But Jesus said that if any of us want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. If we lose our lives (die with him to sin) for his sake, we will gain eternal life. But if we hold on to our old lives (of living to sin and self), we will lose them for eternity (Lu 9:23-26; cf. Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
Two Opposing Gospels
There are two main gospels being taught here in America. One is true, and one is false. One is of God, the other of the flesh of man. One has holiness, righteous, purity and integrity as its outgrowth. The other has worldliness, spiritual apathy, immorality, and lawlessness as its produce.
The false gospel, though, disguises itself as the true gospel, and many are deceived by its lies. It gives the appearance of truth and hope, but it is a façade, a cover-up for what is underneath. For, it promises freedom and life, while it delivers bondage to sin and death.
But by the deeds of those who follow this false gospel, the truth of what it is teaching and what it is producing is exposed. For, hidden underneath the façade is all kinds of immorality, lasciviousness, self-indulgence, corruption, greed, deception, entrapment, and slavery to sin, not freedom.
And, that is because this false gospel is of Satan and of the flesh of man, therefore it glorifies the flesh, not God. It honors humanity, not God. It is all centered on what God can do for humans, but it has nothing to do with humans worshiping, honoring, valuing, submitting to and obeying the Lord.
So, although it mimics the true gospel, it is a lie straight from hell. For, it delivers no one from hell, for it delivers no one from his slavery to sin, but it leaves him still bound in sin without hope while promising him eternal life with God in heaven when he dies. So, it is a trap! Don’t fall for it!
Isaiah 1:5-8 ESV
“Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.
“Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.”
The church in America has been under siege from enemy forces for many years. For this false gospel has existed within the church all my life, although it has grown increasingly more wicked and debase in the past twenty years, I would say.
It used to be that it merely taught one could be saved and bound for heaven based on words repeated in a prayer to invite Jesus into one’s heart. And, anything that came after that was just considered spiritual growth.
If a person never changed, they would say he was never saved. But the “saved” could live rather worldly lives free from God’s rule and still be regarded as saved and bound for heaven. Church attendance was considered a sign of being a Christian regardless of how one lived his life.
But then it really turned evil when they began to teach that we don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord, or turn from our lives of sin, or walk in obedience to our Lord, but that God does it all, and it is all for our glory and praise, not for his. And, then the true gospel began to be regarded as evil, instead.
And, so the Lord has been sending out his messages through his willing messengers, calling the church to repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ, and to leave “Babylon,” i.e. man-made church and man-made religion and man-made gospels which deny Jesus Christ as Lord (master).
The Lord was/is calling his wayward ones to repent and to leave “Babylon,” or to face his judgment, and now I believe his judgment is upon his wayward church.
In America, some of our cities are being burned with fire, and much land is now lying desolate. Foreigners, I believe, have invaded our land and are wreaking havoc on our nation. And, gatherings of the church have been disbanded or altered to where there is no room for fellowship and the communion of the saints because everyone must wear masks and must social distance one from the other.
Isaiah 1:9 ESV
“If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.”
America is looking a lot like Sodom and Gomorrah, but not everyone here has bowed the knee to “the beast,” and to Satan, and to his false Savior and his false gospel and his false church. A minority of us have left “Babylon,” and we are walking in close fellowship with our Lord, and we are casting sin aside, and we are following the Lord in walks of obedience.
But we are also being persecuted for our walks of faith and for our stands on the truth of God’s word, too. And, greater persecution is on its way, too, for the signs are all there that censorship is coming and that forced unity and compliance with the world are just around the corner. So, we must be steadfast in our faith, and we must not submit to the enemy.
On Zion’s Glorious Summit
By John Kent
On Zion’s glorious summit stood
A numerous host redeemed by blood!
They hymned their king in strains divine;
I heard the song and strove to join,
I heard the song and strove to join.
Here all who suffered sword or flame
For truth, or Jesus’ lovely name,
Shout victory now and hail the Lamb,
And bow before the great I AM,
And bow before the great I AM.
While everlasting ages roll,
Eternal love shall feast their soul,
And scenes of bliss, forever new,
Rise in succession to their view,
Rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Who like me Thy praise should sing,
O Almighty King!
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Holy, holy, holy.
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