Hebrews 3:7-11 ESV
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Satan and his lies
Satan and his lies have permeated much of today’s “churches” here in America, most of which are institutional churches (not the true church), which are of men, not of God, and which are businesses of men incorporated under the state and under the headship of church denominations. Most of them have gone the way of the world and of the flesh and so they are marketing their “churches” to the world so as to be pleasing to the world.
Since they have as one of their goals to attract the world to their gatherings they have largely patterned their gatherings, their music, their teaching, their practices, and the gospel after the ways of this world so as to be acceptable to the world. For they want to draw in large crowds of people of the world into their gatherings. And then they want to keep them there, so they make the gatherings non-offensive so the world will be at home there. So what is wrong with wanting the world to be at home there? Everything!
When Jesus calls us to himself, and God the Father invites us to believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, the calling is to a life of holiness and righteousness. We are predestined to be conformed to the image (likeness) of Jesus. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. We are to be holy in ALL OUR CONDUCT. And holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness (character, heart, conduct) of Jesus Christ.
[Ps 139:13-16; Rom 8:29; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Eph 1:3-4; 1 Pet 1:14-16]
So, the two are in conflict with each other. We can’t live holy lives separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed to the character of Jesus Christ, if we are conforming our lives, and the church, and the gospel to the world in order to be like the world in character so that the world will love us and will want to gather together with us. Either we are like Jesus or we are like the world. We can’t be both. And we can’t live our lives to please Jesus if we are living our lives to be pleasing to the world.
The Destruction to the Church
So, what has happened here is that Satan was able to get control over many church denominations, to a certain extent, to convince them that their mission is to win the world to the church by being like the world. He convinced them that the way to win the world is to soft-pedal the gospel and to make it more acceptable to the world and to human flesh, and to teach their people not to say what will offend the people of the world. And so we have “churches” filled with worldly people seeking more worldliness.
Twenty-three years ago I began to be awakened to what is happening in the gatherings of what is called “church” and how, across denominations, these churches were all buying into a particular church growth movement. This movement led many pastors of churches to compromise the truth of the gospel and the biblical meaning of “church” in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world into their gatherings. But this began long before I became aware of it. For the gospel has been altered for a long time.
Anyway, years ago you could never get churches of different denominations to agree to cooperate with each other on just about anything, but now, all of a sudden, they were all incorporating into their churches this church growth movement which led them away from the truth of the gospel, and away from biblical church and biblical Christianity, to develop “churches” more in sync with the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings so that they could “grow” their churches in this way. No way this would have happened without a coordinated effort from people high up in denominations.
So, what we have here in America are organizations called “church” which may or may not have genuine followers of Christ among them but which, of themselves, are not the church, but are businesses being marketed to the world just like any other businesses. So they have conformed “the church” to the world, and they have conformed the gospel to the world, and so people have hardened their hearts against the Lord by the hordes, and the majority of people are not open to hearing the truth. They prefer the lies.
And so we need desperately to have a great spiritual awakening here in America. But there are fake awakenings that are happening which are professing large numbers of “salvations,” but they are not teaching the true gospel, but an altered half-truth diluted gospel that is permeating the church in order to appease human flesh and to attract the world. So, we can’t trust that those salvations are genuine and of God. For the modern gospel makes no demands at all for crucified lives in dying to sin and in walks of obedience to Christ.
And so we have a whole lot of false confessions of faith in Jesus Christ followed up by multitudes of professing Christians who are living no different from the people of the world. They have not forsaken their lives of sin, they have not surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, he is not truly their Lord (Owner-Master), they do not submit to him as Lord, and they are not walking in holiness and in righteousness in walks of obedience to the Lord. But they are still walking in sin, living to please their flesh.
And so what do the Scriptures say? They say that if we continue living in deliberate and habitual sin, and if sin is our practice, and if holiness, righteousness, godliness, and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice that we will not have eternal life with God regardless of what we have professed with our lips or think we believed in our hearts. For belief comes from God and is persuaded of God, and so it is going to align with God and his moral laws and with his will and purpose for our lives.
Hebrews 3:12-19 ESV
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’
…And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”
For you see here that disobedience is unbelief and obedience is belief. So we need to be exhorting one another every day, while there is still time, so that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For what is happening in today’s market-driven churches in the diluting of the gospel in order to appease the consciences of sinful humans is deceitfulness, and multitudes are being deceived. Please don’t be one of them! Please turn from your sin and obey the Lord so that you do have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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