Until 2006, I thought I was a “Christian” from the age of 16, and having raised my hand and said some kind of “sinners prayer” in a church, I thought I was on my way to Heaven, and that I could never “lose my salvation”, no matter how much I sinned and then said “I’m sorry” like a parakeet over and over again.
Just like the apostle Paul before he was an apostle, I thought I was doing the right thing. But we know the story; he had to unlearn all of the religious error and ritual he had grown to know, and then actually “repent” of his sin, and surrender his WILL to Jesus. Jesus himself spoke directly to Paul. In my case, Jesus also spoke to me but not directly; he used another human being, and it was DEFINITELY Him. When God speaks, He makes it clear that you know it’s him, no matter what or how or who He uses. On June 26, 2006 it was a powerful experience that sent me into a whirlwind, and confounded most of what I formerly thought I believed, and most of what I had been taught in the professed “church” of today, (many of which are now apostate as it is written; that in the last days there would be the “falling away” of the church - 2 Thess. 2:3). What happened to me was like dynamite blowing up inside of my body, yet I remain alive; weak words to describe how much God touched me and changed me from that day on.
Because of what God told me that day, I now admit I was so wrong about so many things; as if I had been buried my whole life in a room with no windows, only to have the walls fall down around me, allowing the bright sun to flood in, and I was utterly stripped bare from one day to the next! Needless to say, what He would reveal to me on that Monday, would change my life forever. It would split me like soft wood. He told me what I was doing, where I wouldn’t be going, where I WAS going, and why I was headed there! And He used another human- a woman no less, to tell me. It’s interesting, how all walls and barriers of sexual prejudice, intellectual pride, presumptions, and much educational learning; are all broken down when GOD breaks you, and when you’re ready for the truth and stop lying to yourself. And then, when the truth comes, it hits you like a train in the face! It dropped me to my knees, and I was left trembling for days after that! God sent a healthy fear of Himself all through me! No room for whining, reasoning, no more leaning onto my own understanding, unknowingly twisting scripture, intellectualizing, or making excuses. My words were shut up, and all of a sudden, I realized who was GOD, and who was dust and ashes before Him! So I did everything He said!
Here’s what happened; and all that God revealed to me. This is my testimony; quite personal as you will see:
IT STARTED ON THURSDAY JUNE 22, 2006
I had been living in Paris France for the last several years; but as a recording artist, I had returned to Hollywood for a few months to present my new album to the American music industry. On this night, I was at a girlfriend’s house (not the woman who God would soon use to introduce me to Him). I liked her, so I was laying my moves on her. And then, she pulled out a piece of paper and started reading me a poem! Strange, I thought, but the artist in me liked the idea anyway. But then, this “poem” she had written turned out to be a prayer to God… about me! Talk about surprise, and subsequent plan change! Then… while she was reading this one page “prayer/poem”, something started happening in me. I couldn’t understand it right away, but somewhere inside, my motivation to continue my “moves” had been completely halted. As in a recording; I bypassed the “pause” button, right to the “stop” and then cut the power. As if all of a sudden at that moment, I received some kind of supernatural mind plug from God with the strong feeling that what I was attempting with this girl- was very wrong! Sort of a jolt of conviction, with God letting me know He was NOT pleased.
Now this was 2006; years after I had gotten divorced. I had a bad marriage; but when I was no longer married, I got into self-pity; feeling “ripped off” and justifying what I knew was wrong, and I began sleeping with my girlfriend(s), consequently leading to lying and deceit. I knew it was all wrong but I seared my own conscience, justifying myself and thinking; “God understands, I’m going through this thing right now, but I’ll be ‘saved by grace’, because He loves me right?” What promoted this way of thinking, was what I had been taught all my life by the pastors of (most) churches that I had been to. I was so brainwashed by them into thinking I couldn’t be righteous; brainwashed into thinking that I just couldn’t do it; because “nobody’s perfect” and “we all have to sin”.
THEN, God spoke to me. I came to find out in my utter amazement, that the “salvation message” according to Jesus in the Bible, was “night and day” different from the alter call ritual they lead you through in many churches at the end of their sermons. (Side note: Please know that whenever I speak about “the church” of today, I am NOT lumping all churches into the same pot. There is still a remnant of churches who are faithful to Jesus and His words, but that remnant is getting very, very small). See if this sounds familiar to you:
THE ALTER CALL RITUAL
It starts with a warm, touching message from the pulpit (sometimes beneficial, sometimes not). Then at just the right moment, the pastor signals the worship leader to come up on stage and start playing a soft, soothing piece of music, to which the pastor will then say; “Would you like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior today?” Then he says; “I’m going to ask that everyone bow their heads… every head bowed every eye closed” (as if those who really want God are ashamed to do this). Then the pastor will say “If you would like to accept Christ, just raise your hand”. Then he reminds us; “no one looking around, just raise it right where you are. Yes, I see you. I’m going to ask now, that you repeat these words after me….” bla bla bla etc, and on goes the ritual. Then the pastor leads everyone in something that THEY call “the sinners prayer” (which, by the way, you won’t find [their] “sinners prayer” anywhere in the Bible. Only a life-change, and surrender of your will as Jesus described). And then after you have prayed this prayer and performed this churchianity ritual, you are led to believe that NOW, no matter what, you have eternal life forever and “you can never lose your salvation”!
Well I came to find out (by experience, and by simply reading my Bible) that the salvation message ACCORDING TO JESUS is completely different from this lifeless ritual.
THE MAJORITY DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW THIS
DOES ANYBODY OUT THERE EVEN WANT TO KNOW WHAT JESUS, THE VERY AUTHOR OF SALVATION SAID MUST BE DONE TO GO TO HEAVEN? I wonder. I’m very upset about this because I was ripped off, having wasted years, and being powerless against sin, having believed this stuff. But I know the answer to this question. No. Most of them really don’t want to know; even if they answer you politely, or they deceive themselves into thinking they do, or they go so far as to say something slick and slippery like “maybe you should go somewhere else where you feel more comfortable”. You can almost see the horns and tail sticking out as they tell you this.
But if you have gotten this far in my testimony, and you are actually still reading this, it’s possible that you may be one of the very few who might want to know. But then, even fewer than those, will be the ones who actually ending up DOING what Jesus said. And my friends, THOSE are the ones who are the very, very, very few that Jesus spoke of when He said this: “Narrow is the gate and hard is the way, which leads unto life, and there are FEW who find it” (Matt. 7:14). “MANY are called but FEW are chosen”. (Matt. 22:14).
THE WORDS OF JESUS
So now, lets just see what JESUS said, shall we? And let’s back this up by scripture. All those “doctrines of man” (like the ritual I just told you about); let’s put them to rest here:
Matt. 19: 16-21: There was a man who ran up to Jesus and asked Him the BIG question that we are talking about here; “Good master, what must I do to have eternal life?” and what’s great, is Jesus answers him! So what do you think Jesus said? Do you really think He said anywhere in His message: “raise your hand, and repeat after me”?? Did He tell those standing around to “bow their heads” so that he could give them the opportunity to secretly not be ashamed of accepting Him too? Doesn’t that sound stupid? Well, let’s get to the meat here. Here is what Jesus DID say. There are THREE things:
FIRST; THE FAITH TO SIMPLY BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS GOD
The first thing Jesus said is this: (vs. 17) “Why do you call me good? Only One is good, and that is God”. In other words; because of the fact that He had been preaching that He is the Christ; God, come down to earth in the flesh, He was saying; call Me God. There was much substantial proof to this, such as the MANY prophesies of Him, dating hundreds of years back; and also His rising from the dead without the help of any man! We have to believe that He is God; that He came from God, and who IS God in the flesh). So that’s the first thing He said, and it’s a simple belief by faith in the prophesies about Him in scripture; that a “Messiah” (Christ) would come and die for the sins of the world for all those who would repent and believe the gospel. This; we must first believe.
Well, I have to give credit to where credit is due; that’s the one part that they DO tell you in the church very commonly out of the three things Jesus demands here, and you probably do hear that part almost every Sunday. But it’s the second thing that Jesus demands, that you rarely hear (if ever) based upon what church you go to. And then, the third thing; forget it, you almost never hear that one.
SECOND; JESUS’ DEMAND TO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS
The second thing Jesus said is this: (and notice His use of the word “if”): (still vs. 17) “IF you want to enter into life [Heaven] keep the commandments.” Then he starts naming off simply the ten commandments. Now stop there. How many times have you ever heard in a church; a pastor tell you: “if you want to go Heaven, you have to keep the commandments”? (and how many times have you heard him say) “and further more, as Jesus said, you’ll go to Hell if you don’t”.
Unless I was day-dreaming in the pew at the time, I don’t think that I’ve ever heard that, unless the pastor was reading right out of the Bible, but then quickly change the subject to something more about grace or love or the importance of tithing. In fact, not to digress here, but I can’t tell you how many sermons (whether it’s in the hundreds or thousands, I don’t know) that I have heard on Malachi 3:8, (about “robbing God” of tithes and offerings) The shear amount of those sermons is mind-boggling. Anyway, rather…. the pastor will usually tell you the opposite; that “you CAN’T keep the commandments”, and that “Jesus’ righteousness is applied to you anyway, no matter what you do”. He’ll use phrases like “nobody’s perfect”, “we all have to sin” and twist scripture, using nice phrases like “He did it all for us”, and the one I just mentioned; the popular, out-of-context phrase: “His righteousness is applied to us”. The verse that they get that from; they don’t bother to read what’s before it, or after it (there was never chapter and verse, only a whole letter); but they don’t bother to read the whole letter to find out that God’s righteousness is ONLY applied or “imputed” to those who repent and walk holy before God, and let God change them. Righteousness IS as righteousness DOES.
But about those “ten commandments”: There are only ten of them, and they’re EASY to keep when you have the power of the Holy Spirit! But still, the practical question remains for many people; how DO I keep them? How do I have victory? I’m glad you asked :-)
The answer to that lies in the third thing that Jesus said must be done to enter into Heaven, and this third thing is the KEY! Do this and you’ll see how easy it is, by the power of His Spirit, to obey God.
THIRD; JESUS’ DEMAND OF TOTAL SURRENDER AND HAVING NO IDOLS
This is the third thing Jesus referred to: IDOLS. Knowing all things, Jesus called that man out on his idol, which for him, happened to be his money, and that’s why Jesus said this: (Vs. 21) “Go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and then you’ll have treasure in Heaven, and then come, and follow me”.
We all have different idols that we have to put to death before we can know God. The Lord actually revealed to me what MY idols were, and money did not happen to be one of them, but I had three others that he showed me, which I had to surrender over to Him. For you, there may be other idols that you have to give up, and that might take much prayer and seeking God with a whole heart with tears, before He reveals them to you down to the last one. If you simply examine your own heart, and WANT to know, you probably already know what they are, for the most part. But back to the rich young man in the Bible; we know the story; he refused to surrender his will to God, and walked away. But what most of us DON’T know, because we are not told by the very leaders of God’s church (who are placed there by God to tell us these things); is that when we lose our WILL for our lives over to Jesus and surrender those idols, He then comes in and empowers us by His Holy Spirit to walk Holy before Him. And when we “abide in Him”, and stay in fellowship with Him, it’s NOT hard to keep those commandments! …and to keep them from the heart. They really are “not burdensome” as the Bible affirms.
Re-inventing the meaning of scripture, from many pulpits, is as common as a kids addiction to Gameboy when it comes down to surrendering “the will”, or obedience to Christ. Whether the pastor who is doing this knows that he’s being used, or not, he’ll have a very slippery way of making the congregation believe that they CAN’T keep those commandments, and when he wants to sound more hardcore against them, he’ll refer to them as “THE LAW” and make it sound very distant and foreboding, and twist Paul’s writing as he’s doing so. Even Peter, in his epistle said people do that to Paul’s writings: “Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom God has given unto him, has written unto you; speaking some things that are hard to be understood, which they who are unlearned and unstable argue and TWIST THE MEANING, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their OWN destruction” (2Pet 3:15,16). One of the favorite verses of Paul that they like to twist is Romans 7:14,15 where he describes his old nature, before his conversion (quite a wretched person he describes throughout the second half of chapter 7). The passage says “I am canal, sold under sin… for what I want to do, I don’t do; but what I hate, that’s what I do”. And just because he’s talking in present tense, they say “see, he’s full of sin, so therefore we all have to sin”. But you have to understand; this is Paul’s style of writing sometimes. He also spoke in present tense when he said this: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen” (1Cor. 15:13) but we all know the truth to that one. But Rom. 7:14,15, where Paul describes his old nature, before his conversion describes a man who is full of sin, and completely powerless against it, and is actually overcome by it. This man has no victory through the power of the Holy Spirit, and is actually quite tormented by his sin. Now if I ask the average 8 year old; “Does this sound like somebody who loves Jesus?” I believe he would say no, unless he’s been defiled by a worldly church doctrine. You see, they don’t bother to read the chapters around that passage; nor Paul’s whole letter to the Romans where he makes himself abundantly clear, to those who WANT to see it. This is ALL from Romans:
“Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be DESTROYED, that henceforth, we should not serve sin”; “You WERE the servants of sin”; “You WERE in the flesh”; “There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH”; “We are more than conquerors through Him”; “They who are in the flesh CANNOT please God”; “If you live after the flesh you will die, but if you, through the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”; “Grace reigns through righteousness”; “Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness”; “To be carnally minded is DEATH… the carnal mind is enmity AGAINST God” etc, etc, etc, etc, and these are only in the surrounding chapters. I could go on and on, believe me…
LEGALISM VS OBEDIENCE FROM THE HEART
Do you know what “legalism” is? Because people who love their own will more than God, love to accuse those who love God more than their own will… of legalism! I know, I’m been there. Here is the definition of “legalism” (in God’s dictionary): Legalism is the Pharisees for example, who obeyed God’s commandments on the outside, but in their hearts, they were breaking them. How? Hating their brothers in their hearts (Jesus said that’s murder; Matt. 5:21); lusting after women in their hearts (Jesus said that’s adultery/fornication; Matt. 5:28); and covetousness, which again, comes from the heart. (Mark 7:21-23) etc.
When you keep God’s commandments FROM THE HEART, that is NOT legalism; that’s wisdom; and it’s your “reasonable service” to God as a “Christian”. “God knows them who are His; let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity [sin]!” (2Tim. 2:19).
So, in conclusion to this part, of what God said that I had to do to have Him; Having never heard in a church, much about what JESUS Himself said must be done to get to Heaven, (repentance and having no idols), I didn’t know I even really had to give up those things or else I would go to Hell, as Jesus also said; and therefore, I felt justified in my sin. As I said earlier, I was told I couldn’t “lose my salvation” because I’m “saved by grace” and I believed it. How tragic it would have been, if I would have died in that state, in my unrepentant sin! I lived that way for seven years. And then, on that night; the night this girl read to me her “prayer/poem”; I, all of a sudden, somehow KNEW I was Not justified, and somehow KNEW- I had better stop this sinning. This was a very difficult decision to make, because my own will was in the way, but with the greatest amount of faith I could muster, I made the frail choice to stop. I said; “God, I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I just make the decision to end what I’m doing, and I trust you to help me”. Little did I know; that one first step to obey God sent a strong message up to Him; that I was finished making excuses, and that I was no longer satisfied with deceiving myself into thinking I was “saved” when I wasn’t. He saw my heart that night; that I WANTED the truth- and three days later, on June 26, 2006, He responded…! I have tears welling up in my eyes right now as I am writing this. He pulled out all the stops, and revealed to me the whole thing -- the “way” to have Him. Just as Jesus described to the people in His day.
…So I did everything He said, and I’ve had victory ever since!
THE BROAD WAY THAT LEADS TO….
Now, pause. There is something that I really shouldn’t leave out. It’s one of the first things that God revealed to me, that I was (almost) in disbelief about, and it really shocked me. It made a difference however in my motivation to do what was right, but it’s something few people talk about. (Except for people like Jesus). I mentioned it in passing just a few moments ago; God showed me the road I was on if the books had been closed on my life that day… it was a certain “broad way”, and it led to the place that Jesus spoke of more than any other subject; HELL! I couldn’t believe it at first. ME…? Going there? There must be some mistake, I thought at first. Up until the last several years, I had always been a good Christian boy, so I thought. I’m the front man of a well-known Christian rock band; I’ve led alter calls; I’ve been a worship leader; I’ve spoken in churches; I’ve introduced people to Christ (so I thought); I’ve given to charity; I tithe; I go to church every Sunday; and I said “the sinners prayer”. What more is there? Besides all that, there was really no reason or motivation for me to (totally) repent, because my pastor told me; “we’re all sinners; we all have to sin- you’ll still go to Heaven anyway”.
26 years of going to church and doing a lot of “good” things, yet constantly struggling with sin; only to find out BY GOD, that if I died that day, it would have ALL been for nothing, and I would have gone to Hell anyway. THAT made me angry when He told me that. But not at God. The best way I can relate to how I felt is this: Like the vision that John had in Rev. 10 where the angel gave him that “little book” and told him to eat it, and said to him that it would be “sweet as honey” in his mouth, but “bitter” in his belly. That’s how I felt, having been lied to, so badly.
Now, since I have put away religion, and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ; because of the substantial victory over sin that I’ve had (and continue to have), this is dangerous to the enemy’s camp, and invaluable to anyone who will read this, who has ears to hear and a heart to repent! And this victory is also proof that this gospel is real. Fig tries can’t bear apples, neither could I find Christ through an apostate gospel given by apostate men “having a form of Godliness, but denying the power” to sin no more (2Tim. 3:5). “You will know them by their fruit” the Bible says. Read John, chapters 14 and 15!! Furthermore, everything that was being said to me that day was busting me left and right, and speaking directly to ME; even telling me things about myself that a stranger could NEVER have known. ONLY GOD could have known these things about me, so it was a direct prophesy from God. Not to mention, only one person is able give a man consistent victory over sin, and that’s Jesus. No man can do that on his own, and NOBODY other than Jesus can do that!
YOU MEAN I CAN’T HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT IT TOO?
Now I already knew that there was nothing I could do to earn my way into Heaven, and that I could only be saved through His grace and mercy, by the sacrifice that Christ made for me on the cross, but what I didn’t know, was that Jesus demands proof of my belief! I had to show Him. He doesn’t “ask” us anything; He knows He’s God, and He demands proof of my belief in Him. Therefore, my faith without works -- is definitely dead, as James said in his epistle. But the Gospel is so perfect, like a marriage; you can’t have one without the other. You can’t go to Heaven on works without what Jesus did on the cross; and you can’t go to heaven on faith without the works that prove your belief in Him! Listen to what the Bible says about this from Rom. 3:28 and James 2: “A man is JUSTIFIED BY FAITH and not by works” (circumcision or other ritual). “Faith by itself, if it does not have works (the commandments), is DEAD” “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe- and THEY tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” “You see then, that A MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY WORKS, AND NOT BY FAITH ONLY” “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also!”
You can’t have one without the other. Jesus said; “Unless you repent, YOU WILL ALL DIE.” (Luke 13:3) That’s Jesus in all of his love. That’s who He is and He doesn’t apologize for it. He said “Go and sin no more” (John 5). Jesus actually commands this on several occasions. In fact, to a paralyzed man, after healing him by His mercy, he even added this: “Sin no more lest the worst thing come unto you” (John 5:14), and what could be worse than early physical death after being paralyzed? HELL. Obviously. I think that’s where I started trembling - when I realized that was the road I was on!
I WAS A LIAR
Then Jesus, who knew my thoughts, and how I had been falsely calling myself a “Christian”, and doing like many do today; who’s “faith without works is dead”, who in vain, trust in the cross to redeem them, and claim His promises; I also falsely claimed His promises, His grace and His mercy. Well, He slam-dunked His message to me by reminding me of this potent scripture: “He who says ‘I know Him’, and does Not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is Not in him!” (1John 2:4). Ouch. That was it! The truth was now hitting me hard in the face, and it hurt. It hurt because it WAS true, I WAS a liar, and my excuses were shut up!
But somewhere down deep I WANTED to know the truth, and I was looking for a way out of sin. God saw that. So I had no other logical choice but to believe Jesus. So in the day of my visitation, I did what He said. I repented to never do those things again. And guess what? I never have, and continue to have total victory to this day! It became easy, because I DIED. Do you hear me? I DIED to those things, therefore they have no more power over me. “I will not be brought under the power of anything” (1Cor. 6:12). If I had kept any one of my former idols alive, I would still be “struggling” with sin to this day. Which leads me to the next part. You MUST hear this in detail about how God sees the idolatry in our lives.
THOSE DEADLY IDOLS
(This thing about idols was so amazing to me because it never even occurred to me as concerning salvation, nor did any pastor ever reveal this to me):
God said to me; “I will Not share My temple (your body) with idols, and YOU have idols!
Very interesting how He brought this up right after the “commandments”, because that’s exactly what Jesus did (as I mentioned earlier) with that rich young man in Matt. 19! Immediately after telling him to “keep the commandments”, He called him out on his idol. But at the time, I didn’t quite understand what He meant about what “idols” actually was, here in the 21st century. I came to find out that it’s whatever you stuff down into your heart, hoping that God won’t take that precious thing away from you. For some, it’s their career or their hobby; or their wife or husband; or their children; or even their ministry; or it can also be food, or T.V. and movies, or anything for that matter that you are not willing to completely surrender over to God, to let Him has HIS way with you, not your own.
For those who have eyes to see, Jesus explained it thoroughly:
“If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to hold on to his life [in the Greek: his will for his life] will lose it [in the world to come], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [in the world to come]” (Matt. 16:24,25).
“Truly, truly, I say unto you, unless a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life shall lose it; and he who hates his life IN THIS WORLD shall keep it unto eternal life.” (John 12:24,25). “He who does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:33).
But more pointedly, so that I could NOT misunderstand; God reminded me of this scripture; (2Cor. 6:16): “For what agreement does the temple of God (my body) have with idols?” None.
Then some time later, I read this, which REALLY helped me to understand how idols lead a man into sin. This is what God said through His prophet Ezekiel:
“They are separated from Me through their idols. Everyone… who sets up his idols in his heart, putting before him THAT WHICH CAUSES HIM TO STUMBLE INTO SIN… I will set My face against that man… and I will cut him off from the midst of MY people” (Ezek. 14:5,7,8).
Wow! Was I stunned. But I thank God for revealing this to me in the way that he did; I didn’t even know I had idols! I wish I could have found this out in church years ago. Because even if they did “mention” it in some light way (before quickly moving on to grace and love), it was God, in the end, who would make it abundantly clear to me.
God was really taking the blinders off of my eyes now, because by His mercy, as I said earlier, He revealed to me what each of my idols were! One had to do with my plans for my life (my music), another one had to do with lust of the flesh (for me, it was sex), and my biggest one was ‘looking for fulfillment in a person’ instead of only from God. Because - (I know many will relate to this) I had been divorced; I had much hurt inside, and I held on to the idolatrous notion; that “If I just had the right woman to love and to be loved by, then I would be fulfilled”. How many women also say “If I just had the right man…” And Jesus revealed to me that to look for spiritual fulfillment from any person or any thing in this world, instead of only from Him, is idolatry. He said “I will NEVER share My temple with idols, and YOU have idols”. He made it very clear that as long as I had ANY idols, He would NOT come to live in me. I could call myself a “Christian” till I was blue in the face, all my friends could think I’m a Christian, and even my pastor could swear to me that I’m a “Christian”, but Jesus would never acknowledge me as His own…. if I had even one idol.
|Jim la Verde & Mike Lee, Elements of Rock 2012|
So that day, I took my heart away from those things, and gave it to Him.
What was interesting; is from the very moment that I gave up those idols, and died to my own will, it became SO EASY to keep God’s commandments, as I got a new nature with power over sin; and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to have victory, and victory ever since! No more constant struggling with the flesh, and telling God “I’m sorry” for this and “I’m sorry” for that - - because “those who belong to Christ have CRUCIFIED the flesh with it’s affections and desires” (Gal. 5:24) just as Jesus told me to do, and I DID. Anyone who just simply DOES what Jesus says, will have victory over sin; because if we “take up our cross” and die to our own will, then we will be free from it. Exactly what Paul said; “He who is DEAD is freed from sin!” (Rom 6:7). That’s why I’ve been free from that struggle with my flesh! Because my flesh is dead, and what is dead is dead. Now keep it dead! It doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes where God is refining my character, but we’re not talking about willful sinning here against God’s commandments, which, as I said earlier, are “not burdensome” to keep (1John 5:3), and which sins the Bible says “all who do such things SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of Heaven.” It’s all over the Bible, but here are just a few places that say that: (Gal. 5:19-21; 1Cor. 6:9,10; Col. 3:5,6; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 1:32; Rev. 21:7,8,27; Rev. 22:12-16).
My will is surrendered to God; to do only His will, Not my own. I FEAR GOD, because I know what will happen to me if I willfully sin and I am overcome by it; which fear of Him keeps me far from evil as well; “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Prov. 16:6). Not to mention, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13), and as if that’s not enough, God promised to provide a “way out” of every temptation; “There is NO temptation that has overtaken you except only what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will NOT allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way of escape, that you may be ABLE to bear it” (1Cor. 10:13). And if THAT isn’t enough to keep you from giving in to temptation, let’s look at Jesus’ solution to temptation. Here is what He said: If your hand makes you sin, CUT IF OFF, or you WILL go to Hell with it (Mark 9:43). He said the same thing about your eyes; Find yourself lusting too much? Don’t know how to control it? Pluck them out or you will go to Hell with both your eyes, said Jesus (Mark 9:47). That’s Jesus…. who is both loving and just. That’s HIS solution to temptation. But believe me, if I can do it, you can, so just leave the knives at home and just do what the Bible says: “Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor. 10:5). Don’t give one second to satan in your mind; (if you let the thought continue, you’ve lost the battle already). “I will not be brought under the power of anything” (1Cor. 6:12); “I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means, when I have preached unto others, I myself should be a castaway” (1Cor. 9:27).
GOD WAS FAITHFUL TO ALWAYS PROVIDE THE WAY OUT… SO WE WILL HAVE NO EXCUSES
So you know what this all means? This means that on the judgment day, NO ONE will have an excuse for sinning. On the judgment day, it will be known that God was faithful, and there was ALWAYS a “way out”, and that it was always OUR CHOICE, whether to sin, or choose the way out that God faithfully provided. You will know this! Don’t make excuses, just repent, and MAKE YOURSELF do the right thing, however you do it! Do you know what Job said? “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I even THINK about a young woman?” (Job 31:1).
WHERE IS REPENTANCE IN THE PULPIT?
Repentance, which is at the very center of the gospel, is sadly missing from the pulpits today. But Jesus and His apostles told us that the church would be in apostasy in these times; it’s referred to as “the falling away” as I said earlier, so we must be careful Not to believe a gospel that doesn’t include the things JESUS stated as being paramount for eternal life! Anything else, including these rituals they do; are vain doctrines invented after some man’s imagination; and will cost you your eternal soul if you believe them, as it is written: “They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8).
PICKING YOUR NOSE VERSUS ADULTERY
Now God is growing me up, and maturing me as I grow in Him with things like- occasional bad attitudes, or raising my voice in an unloving way, or losing patience with other drivers on the road etc. But I DON’T make the mistake of equating “character refinement issues” with a deliberate breaking of God’s commandments: adultery or fornication, lying, hate or lust in my heart, envy or jealousy, idolatry or covetousness!... ALL of which the Bible clearly says they will NOT go to Heaven who do such things, as I gave scripture references to that earlier. That’s the popular error many people make in the church, as an excuse Not to give up their sins or their will; by taking “impatience”, for example and equating that with fornication or adultery, and saying that “all sin is the same to God”. NO IT ISN’T. The wages of ALL sin is death before you repent, yes, but Jesus said we merely have to “keep the commandments” if we want to go to Heaven. That’s what HE said. Just take His word for it! Don’t listen to any MAN tell you anything different from Jesus. I don’t care if they’re your family, or your best friend, or a famous mega-church pastor, or your own beloved pastor, God bless all their hearts. You may not go to Hell for picking your nose in public, or raising your voice, or being late to the charity fund raiser, but according to Jesus, you certainly WILL go to Hell for fornication for example; sleeping with your girlfriend or boyfriend before you’re married, if you haven’t repented of that. That’s what JESUS said. He didn’t say don’t ever raise your voice if you want to enter Heaven! Actually, the Bible says “Be angry, and sin not: don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26). But those character refinement issues: I’m allowing God to perfect in me, and increase the love in my heart for people as I get closer to Him; and how do I get closer to Him? By consistently praying and reading His Word. Give HIM the first fruits of your day. Then watch what happens.
FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
So WHO are the ones going to Heaven? This is the message that God chose to close the entire Bible with, and it has the answer to that question. This is the 7th to last verse in the Bible:
“Blessed are they who DO his commandments, THEY are the ones who have the right to enter in through the gates into the city (of Heaven), and may eat from the tree of life” (Rev. 22:14). AND… only those who are faithful unto death may enter: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life!” said God (Rev. 2:10). But very few will be the ones who “loved not their lives unto the death…” (Rev. 12:11).
JESUS’ WORDS…. OR THEIRS?
I later wondered - - this thing that Jesus was so adamant about with me; concerning surrendering my will, my idols:
Since that was an absolute requirement by Him for my salvation; why don’t I hear about that in our churches? (Food for thought).
If they SAY they believe Him… why don’t they preach the gospel with the same message that Jesus preached? Let me re-phrase that another way: Why don’t all churches who profess the name of Christ preach THE SAME GOSPEL that Jesus Christ preached? Let me ask this yet a third way: Why are they preaching A DIFFERENT GOSPEL than Jesus’ gospel? (Which is exactly what they are preaching when they conveniently leave out a part that is deadly to your soul when you don’t obey it - your soul is the most precious thing you have). And how will you possibly obey it if you don’t even know that you have to?? I guess it’s up to us to read our Bibles at home isn’t it? The Holy Spirit with teach you when you do. Read Psalms 119:98-104! I won’t quote that here because it will infuriate the apostate pastors that I brought this up. I don’t think they would be this far into my testimony now anyway, but nonetheless, I’ll let you read it for yourself, and you’ll understand what I meant by what I just said.
Since Jesus emphasized obedience and surrender; that is to say “keeping God’s commandments” and having no idols, then why are they starving us of that needed water in our churches? THE SHEEP ARE STARVING AND THEY NEED TO KNOW THIS !!! Why aren’t they telling them?
IN A DESERT WITH NO H2O (WATER)
This section that you are about to read is the MAIN point of my entire testimony.
If a man is dying of thirst in a hot desert, he needs water to stay alive. If someone comes along and gives him only the hydrogen part of the water but not the oxygen part, he will still die. If a pastor only tells you; “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13) but he doesn’t tell you that you must “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) you will still die. If the pastor reads Romans 10:9, but he leaves out the first part of verse 10 for example, you will still die if you don’t know any better. You must believe in Jesus to go to Heaven, AND you must OBEY Jesus to go to Heaven - which proves your belief (and vice versa). As I said earlier, you CANNOT have one without the other. YOU WILL STILL DIE in that state. Those words; “REPENT and BELIEVE the gospel” are Jesus’ first recorded words in the book of Mark; (Mark 1:15). They are equal to each other: Repent = Believe. Believe = Repent. Do not trust in man’s dictionary. Trust GOD’S dictionary. These things are a matter of life and death depending upon whether you believe them or not.
THE APOSTASY, AND PERSECUTION
So to answer the question I asked earlier, “Why are the churches that we have grown to trust, preaching a different gospel than Jesus’ gospel?” It’s unfortunate, but the answer to this question is answered in prophesy. We are in the very last hour of the last days now, and it has been prophesied that this is exactly what would happen, and the “falling away” that it speaks of… is now here.
Please know dear reader, that if you agree with these words of Jesus that I’ve declared here, and have been proclaiming the same things, then it is certain that you have very few friends (if they know what you are about), and rather, you are probably hated by most of the leadership in whatever church you happen to go to now (again, if they know what you are about) just like in Jesus’ day. If that happens to be you, listen to what Charles Finney says about you:
“If you have the Spirit of God, you must make up your mind to accept experiencing opposition, both in the church, and in the world. Very likely, the leading men in the church will oppose you. There has always been opposition in the church, it was this way when Christ was on earth. Often the elders, and even the pastor will oppose you if you are filled with the Spirit of God.”
Take this advice dear reader; be careful who you talk to. You know what’s coming, and they will turn against you. “Do not give that which is Holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and tear you” (Matt. 7:6).
But you know…. anybody who really WANTS God will seek Him out, until he or she finds Him. It’s evident: IF we TRULY believe He’s God, then we’ll do WHATEVER He says (John 15:14); we would be afraid Not to. As I said earlier, It’s “by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” (Prov. 16:6). The truth has finally set me free.
THE LAST WORD ACCORDING TO GOD
One last thing now… concerning the “Lukewarm” pulpit.
I believe that all “truth” must be backed up by scripture, God’s Word. As you can see, I have done just that, in this testimony; I have given a lot of scripture to back up what God has told me; so that no one can “gain-say” God’s word. Concerning all that is in my testimony, I am tremendously stirred up inside that I am allowed to reveal this to you, as I would have been dead many times over throughout my life; but since God has preserved me; this truth, with which He has chosen to open my eyes; I am now, for His glory, able to reveal it to you. The thing which makes it unique, is that the “soothsaying / gainsaying”, apostate, lukewarm pulpits, which I have been describing in detail here; much of which permeates many of our churches today; has not, and WILL NOT tell you, MOST of the scriptures from the Bible that the Lord reveals here. Rather, as I showed earlier, they “argue and twist the meaning” of many of the verses they DO tell you, “unto their own destruction” as Peter said (2 Pet. 3:15,16) even though some of them may mean well. But you know, there are a lot of “well-meaning” people in Hell. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” God says about His own people (Hos. 4:6).
They are destroyed because of their idols and their sin…
What I have presented here to you - is the same narrow way that God demanded of me, if I wanted to know Him! We all have to go through the same “narrow gate”. But ESPECIALLY emphasized by Him, He made this clear to me: That I could NO LONGER just be a “hearer”; I would now have to DO IT! For Not the “hearers” shall be just before God, but the “doers” shall be justified (Rom 2:13).
Now that I have, and consistently do, and having total victory through the power of the Holy Spirit, I will NEVER go back! God forbid.
May the words and scriptures herein be a light; exposing the truth to all those who really seek it. And may you be utterly blown away as I was! :-)
I called upon your name, O LORD, out of the lowest dungeon. You have heard my voice; Please don’t hide your ear at my breathing, at my cry. You drew near in the day that I called upon you; you said, “Don’t be afraid.”
Oh Lord, you have pleaded the cause of my soul; you have redeemed my life.