SPIRITUAL WARFARE

LIFE IS A TEST

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(Subjects in this Section)

1–LIFE IS ALL A TEST–WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?
2–THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART, "I DO NOT WANT CORRECTION OR ADVICE, AND I DO NOT INTEND
TO CHANGE."

2B–EDIFICATION
3–WHAT HINDERS A PERSON’S UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S WORD?
4–THE BIBLE IS TRUE
4B–CONSIDER THE TEST ABRAHAM WENT THROUGH—IT INVOLVED CHILDREN
4C–CAN’T YOU SEE THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES?
5–REPENT TODAY, EVEN RIGHT NOW—NOT TOMORROW. DO NOT DELAY
6–INTRODUCTION.  LIFE IS A TEST
7–THE SIN OF NOT DENYING YOURSELF.  INTRODUCTION
8–YOUR CONVERSATION CAN REVEAL YOUR LACK OF DENYING YOURSELF
8B–TYPES OF CONVERSATION
9–NO HOPE.  LIFE IS A TEST
10–FAITHFULNESS.  DO EXACTLY AS DIRECTED
11–LIFE IS A TEST.  NOTE GOD’S WORD
12–ADAM AND EVE WERE TESTED
13–READ YOUR BIBLE.  TEST 1
13B–THE FOUNDATION—BUILDING ON THE ROCK OR BUILDING ON THE SAND
14–LET GOD’S WORD CHANGE YOU.  TEST 2
15–VARIOUS TYPES OF TESTS
16–BLINDNESS UPON BOTH THE UNSAVED AND SAVED
17–THE HEART
18–BACKSLIDDEN PEOPLE
19–CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING.  LIFE IS A TEST
20–SCRIPTURE AND COMMENTARIES SHOWING THAT LIFE IS A TEST
21–THE STORY OF JOB
22–SATAN GIVEN AUTHORITY
22B–PERILOUS TIMES LIE AHEAD.  THE TRIBULATION
22C–Persecutions
23–NO HOPE (JOB).  SCRIPTURE AND COMMENTARIES
24–SUFFER FOR CHRIST
25–CHURCH OF TODAY
26–WHAT DO YOU FILL YOUR EARS AND EYES WITH?  LIFE IS A TEST
27–LEARN
28–BE FILLED WITH
29–FELLOWSHIP WITH BELIEVERS—IF YOU ARE A BELIEVER
30–SUFFERINGS
31–SUFFER.  LIST OF VARIOUS SUFFERINGS
32–SUFFER.  LIST OF WHY YOU MAY SUFFER
33–SUFFER.  LIST OF WHAT OUR ATTITUDE SHOULD BE
34–SATAN’S TRAP:  GETTING PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE AND IN OTHER PEOPLE’S AFFAIRS

PART II



1–LIFE IS ALL A TEST–WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?
2–THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART, “I DO NOT WANT CORRECTION OR ADVICE,
AND I DO NOT INTEND TO CHANGE.”

   What you do and say at home and everywhere is a test. Why don’t you fear God?
   What you do and say in secret can judge you. Will this condemn you to hell?
   If you think you can judge yourself by God’s Word accurately and never need correction, then you are wrong–very, very wrong.

   Most Indian people believe in idols.
   Most of the World does not believe the Bible is the Word of God.
   Even in America, there are only a few that are really saved when viewed in light of the Word of God.
   The Bible tells us in Rev 12:9 THAT OLD SERPENT, CALLED THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD.

   In the family of God, there are many levels. There are brand new Christians.  These have need of the milk of God’s Word, the first principles of the oracles of God.  It is THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST. The milk of God’s Word includes REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, AND OF FAITH TOWARD GOD,…THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, AND OF LAYING ON OF HANDS, AND OF RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, AND OF ETERNAL JUDGMENT.  These are those that are unskillful in the word of righteousness: for they are babes.

   Then there are those that may not need the milk of God’s Word as much as the first group, but neither can they easily endure and understand the teachings of perfection, holiness, and total sacrifice. All of us are either growing or backsliding.

   Then there are those who have grown in the Lord. It is written: STRONG MEAT BELONGETH TO THEM THAT ARE OF FULL AGE, EVEN THOSE WHO BY REASON OF USE HAVE THEIR SENSES EXERCISED TO DISCERN BOTH GOOD AND EVIL. These need the teaching of perfection, which is the meat of God’s Word–ref Heb 5:12 to 6:3. And this will we do, if God permit.

   Thus, this message contains both the milk of God’s Word, as well as that of attaining perfection.
   Depending on a person’s level of faith and understanding, some of this teaching may be difficult, but edifying for others. Yet, there is sound Biblical teaching in this message for everyone in the Lord.

   It is not meant to hinder or discourage anyone in any way. It is meant to help a person’s walk with the Lord and to help edify and strengthen all that hear it or read it. It is meant to give a person direction from God’s Word, in many situations, and to help one understand what the will of the Lord is for them. It is written:
   Ro 15:2–LET EVERY ONE OF US PLEASE HIS NEIGHBOUR FOR HIS GOOD TO EDIFICATION.

      
   2 Cor 10:8–10–FOR THOUGH I SHOULD BOAST SOMEWHAT MORE OF OUR AUTHORITY, WHICH THE LORD HATH GIVEN US FOR EDIFICATION, AND NOT FOR YOUR DESTRUCTION, I SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED: THAT I MAY NOT SEEM AS IF I WOULD TERRIFY YOU BY LETTERS.
   2 Cor 13:10–THEREFORE I WRITE THESE THINGS BEING ABSENT, LEST BEING PRESENT I SHOULD USE SHARPNESS, ACCORDING TO THE POWER WHICH THE LORD HATH GIVEN ME TO EDIFICATION, AND NOT TO DESTRUCTION. That having been said, let us proceed.

   There is a clash between what a person wants to do and what God tells them to do.
   In other words, Satan puts in a person’s heart to go this way, but God’s Word tells the person to go that way.
   Then the person’s heart processes both ways, and it makes the final decision to go the direction Satan wants or the direction God wants.
   Nearly all of the people of the entire world choose to follow that which the deceiver puts in their heart, which is confirmed in God’s Word, as “it is written” Rev 12:9…SATAN, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD…
   Life provides only two roads, two choices. One is toward God, and the other is away from God.
   One road leads to hell, the final Judgment, and then the lake of fire, which is called the second death for eternity.
   The other road leads to heaven, to being present with the Lord, and so shall His family ever be with Him–ref 1 Thes 4:17.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is a lack of trust in God. Life is a test of seeing how a person will react to the various situations they will encounter. Life is a test to see what a person’s understanding of God’s Word really is–for what a person does reflects how much they understand God’s Word and God himself.

   It is also sin. It is the deceitfulness and wickedness in a person’s heart. It is a lack of pureness in a person’s heart. It is having a wayside, stony, thorny, or a lying heart. There are many other types of hearts also.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is Satan putting lying thoughts into a person’s mind but the person does not recognize it is Satan doing this, so they do not cast down the wrong thoughts. The wrong thoughts cause a person to be deceived and to doubt and to disbelieve what God’s Word says–ref Rev 12:3.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is the unwillingness inside a person with regards to changing, plus the stubbornness and rebellion inside a person that has built up over many years. Satan blinds a person to being able to recognize that what they are going through is a test.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   Satan is able to find certain things that the person does not want to repent of, certain areas of their life where they refuse to deny themselves. The person’s refusal to deny themselves in some areas causes them to distort what God’s Word means. In other words—a person denies what God’s Word says–so they can continue in their sinful ways while not admitting what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of a holy God. People do not want to admit that even the appearance of sin, is itself–sin. Life is a test.

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word? Life is a test.
   It is the difficulty most people have regarding admitting certain sins, and the difficulty a person has regarding admitting they need to repent in some area of their life and obey God’s Word. We all have blind spots which we do not see as sinful, yet they are very sinful in God’s eyes. Some examples are excessive talking and gossip. Some people have an inner need of wanting to be liked by people. So they are like talking machines. They dominate conversations. They can’t sense other people’s desire to get away from them because they talk and talk and talk. The Bible tells a person to be slow to speak, but people who are talking machines seem to forget this scripture. They seldom consider what they are doing is wrong. They do not try to change and repent. They are not like Jesus in this manner at all. Their need to talk and tell you everything that is stored inside them overrides God’s Word. They understand not the Word of God that says: LET NOT THINE HEART BE HASTY TO UTTER ANY THING BEFORE GOD…THEREFORE LET THY WORDS BE FEW–Ecc 5:2. There is a time to speak and also a time to keep silence–ref Ecc 3:7. WHEREFORE, MY BELOVED BRETHREN, LET EVERY MAN BE…SLOW TO SPEAK, SLOW TO WRATH–Ja 1:19. The anger and wrath of man is not the righteousness of God. Wherefore, lay aside all sin which so easily overtakes us. Receive meekly and humbly God’s Word which is able to save your soul. Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves–ref Ja 1:20–22. Have you ever seen, even one time, a person who talks way too much, ever repent and change? Life is a test. Then there are those that talk very fast. They can jam hundreds of words into 60 seconds. They understand not what it means to be slow to speak. Their own emotional needs distorts and hinders God’s Word. They say they understand God’s Word, but they deceive and lie to themselves in saying this. It appears to be an absolute fact. A fast talker and a person that is a talking machine does not understand much of God’s Word. Neither are they usually sensitive to other people’s feelings. There are certain areas of their life that they will not deny themselves. Their own emotions override God’s Word.

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word?
   Pride is another thing. A person wants to feel important. They want to be noticed. They want to be someone special. They want to be liked and respected. They do not want to deny themselves. Yet Jesus MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, AND TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS. WHEREFORE GOD ALSO HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM. Do you really want to be like Jesus and exalted by God? Then you must do the same as He did–which is quite the opposite of what your worldly nature wants to do. Those that repent and destroy their pride and put on humbleness shall be exalted. Those that seek man’s acceptance shall perish.

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word?
   Is it having false, accusing thoughts toward people. Example: let’s say you misplace some object. Almost immediately you may have thoughts that so and so took it. When the person tells you they did not, you don’t believe them so you continue to have bad thoughts toward that person. Then two days later you find it under your bed and then you remember that you accidentally dropped it. Now, do you go back and apologize to that person you accused? No, you don’t–so now that person has bad thoughts toward you. Life is a test. Do you act like Jesus all of the time, or act like the devil some of the time?

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word? YOU do.
   Perhaps you go on vacation and tell your boss at work that you will be back in one week. Your boss trusts your word. But then you come back in two weeks, which causes your boss to have to hire someone to do the work you were scheduled to do. When you return, do you go to your boss and apologize and ask forgiveness? Just because you had a good reason to take an additional week off, does not nullify your obligation to make things right with your boss. But you don’t, because you either forget or might feel embarrassed, or you have some thought that you already did so but really didn’t. So from that time on, your boss cannot trust your word. Then when you ask for a raise, you may not receive it. Even worse, you have damaged your witness.

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word?
   Did you ever consider that when you promised to follow and obey God–if you don’t do so, you just lied? All those ungodly emotions a person seems to have in various situations–does, indeed, hinder a person’s understanding of God’s Word. The more self–centered a person is, the more he does not understand God’s Word. There is far more to following Jesus than most people understand.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is the person’s unwillingness to change–because they do not want to. Life is a test.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is a person’s own desires. It is things or people he may love or hate. The love of a man for his wife (or vice versa) over God has led many astray, beginning with Adam. The love for children over God has led many to the bottomless pit.
   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, and covetousness. Life is a test.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   Fear is one of the great enemies of trusting in God. The unprofitable servant was fearful. Peter looking at the water on which he was walking became fearful and began to sink–because he looked at the situation rather than Jesus. What fears do you have that prevent you from trusting and following Jesus in difficult situations? What fears do you have that prevent you from stepping out into the unknown, having no trust in yourself or in anything except Jesus and His Word?

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is an unwillingness to let Jesus take total and complete control of their life in accordance with the Scriptures. It is something that a person is not willing to give up or some Scripture a person is not willing to obey. It might be an unsaved girl or boyfriend that you must walk away from even as the Jews were commanded not to marry a non–Jew.

   What hinders your understanding of God’s Word?
   It is a person’s wrong ideas and beliefs they hang on to. It is traditions they hold. It is cultural traditions. It is family traditions. It is customs they want to hang on to. It is denominational or church teachings and traditions. Pressures from people around you to follow their wrong traditions has led many astray. One such wrong tradition is water baptism by sprinkling and infant baptism. God’s Word is very clear that a person is to be baptized only after believing on Jesus and repenting. There is no such thing as infant baptism in God’s Word. God’s Word is very clear that baptism is by full immersion–ref Ro 6:4 and Col 2:12. But the false traditions of churches make God’s Word of no effect. People willingly choose to follow lies than the truth, just as Adam and Eve did, and just as billions of people have before you that are now in hell awaiting the final Judgment. If you are in a church and sincerely want to follow Jesus, get away from any church or denomination that does infant or sprinkling baptism. However, just because a church teaches baptism correctly, does not mean they are following Jesus. Beware.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It can be peer pressure and the fear that someone will dislike them. Some people will sell their soul, so they can feel loved and accepted. Life is a test.

   All these–can cloud and distort–what God is trying to communicate to a person through His Word.
   Satan knows exactly what situations to create and what obstacles to put in a person’s way to cause them to not believe or understand God’s Word. Satan used many of these against Jesus. Satan challenged the authority of God’s Word when he said to Eve, “Hath God said ye shall not?” Perhaps every person has heard these words in many forms in their thoughts. Children hear them when they disobey their parents and rebel. You may be hearing these words as you read this message. You may hear these words if a clerk at a store gives you back too much money. Satan, in your emotions and in your thoughts, is constantly challenging the true meaning of God’s Word.
   The kind of obedience God expects from those that love Him is exact. During the Tribulation, God tells His people:
   BUT WHEN YE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, STANDING WHERE IT OUGHT NOT, (LET HIM THAT READETH UNDERSTAND,).
   THEN LET THEM THAT BE IN JUDAEA FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS:
   AND LET HIM THAT IS ON THE HOUSETOP NOT GO DOWN INTO THE HOUSE,
   NEITHER ENTER THEREIN, TO TAKE ANY THING OUT OF HIS HOUSE:
   AND LET HIM THAT IS IN THE FIELD NOT TURN BACK AGAIN FOR TO TAKE UP HIS GARMENT–ref Mk 13:14–16. This is during the Tribulation, but it also applies to today.
   There are many that will have a thought contrary to God’s Word, that will say they can just take a moment to go and fetch something important. But when they do, they find the authorities are waiting for them as they try to escape. When God says to do something, and do it exactly His way, and exactly when He says—He means exactly what He says.
   Life is a test.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   Are you the kind of person that puts on a front for your minister and others, but behind closed doors you say or do things you would never do in front of him? It is so sad how Satan can distort things in your mind. You know God can see and hear everything you say and do, yet you willfully persist in wrongdoing. And because judgment is not soon in coming, you believe you have gotten away with it. Maybe you are into pornography, or gambling, or listening to false teaching, or doing other things you should not do. Such conduct hinders your understanding of God’s Word. And when God allows Satan through His Word to bring all sorts of sickness, disease, or hardships on you because you have sinned–you are so blind that you absolutely refuse to admit you are being disciplined for disobeying God. You are so tuned in to Satan’s voice that you cannot recognize God’s chastening. So you do not repent, but continue in your own ways, fully persuaded you are following Jesus, when, in fact, you are on the highway to hell. And no man, no angel, no words of God, at this time, can convince you otherwise. So what is hindering your understanding of God’s Word? It is you.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word??
   It can be the promise of food, clothing, or a place to live. It can be thoughts of enticing possessions and pleasures. It can be thoughts of a better life, riches and fame. It can be the thoughts of just having fun or being able to do whatever a person wants to do most.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It can be trying to get away from persecutions. It can be a person’s refusal to cross a certain line or to go somewhere Jesus wants them to go. It can be the fear that God will ask them to live in a certain place they do not want to live. It can be uncertainty regarding which way to go.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It can be the thought of being loved by a beautiful woman or a wonderful man. It can be the thought of enticing sexual lusts and pleasures. It can be the thought of getting away from feeling rejected and unloved.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is that they will not allow God’s Word to correct or change them in some area of their life.
   They will not allow God’s Word to reign over them.
   They convince themselves they do not have to change, or they keep putting off the changes they need to make. They are not quick to repent and change direction.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It is the promise that Satan puts into a person’s mind that they can have what they want now, they can do what they want now, and yet they can also have heaven later.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   It can be Satan putting into a person’s mind that if they will do this, or that, they will regain their health, or that they will accomplish something they want to accomplish, or receive something they want to receive.

   What hinders a person’s understanding of God’s Word?
   They convince themselves–that when their life ends–they will not go to a place called hell.
   Hell is filling up daily with an estimated 320,000 people. This is based on the average person’s life span worldwide of about 18,250 days. Chances may be over 99 to 1 that you will be among them.
   Yet, even though you have heard or read this, will you repent and stand firm in God’s Word?
   The heart does not want to allow itself to be told it is wrong, and to repent, be converted, and change, for it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can understand this great truth?

   So what ought you to do? Study God’s Word as if it was your last day to be alive.
   Repent of everything right now that comes to your mind.
   Love God above all that exists with your whole being. Love all the brethren as yourself. Put away all those accusing thoughts toward any brethren. Begin trusting in God to take care of all things and to provide all things you need.
   Stop hearing and believing the traditions of men, of denominations, and of churches.
   Put away from you all those smooth–talking, psychology teachers that preach what your deceived heart wants to hear.
   Find a spiritually–minded pastor, who is time–tested and has stood firm in the faith through many adversities. As they follow Jesus, you submit to them. For it is written: 1 Thes 5:12,13–AND WE BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, TO KNOW THEM WHICH LABOUR AMONG YOU, AND ARE OVER YOU IN THE LORD, AND ADMONISH YOU; AND TO ESTEEM THEM VERY HIGHLY IN LOVE FOR THEIR WORK'S SAKE. AND BE AT PEACE AMONG YOURSELVES.

   1 Cor 16:15,16–THEY HAVE ADDICTED THEMSELVES TO THE MINISTRY OF THE SAINTS,)…SUBMIT YOURSELVES UNTO SUCH, AND TO EVERY ONE THAT HELPETH WITH US, AND LABOURETH.
   Heb 13:17–OBEY THEM THAT HAVE THE RULE OVER YOU, AND SUBMIT YOURSELVES: FOR THEY WATCH FOR YOUR SOULS, AS THEY THAT MUST GIVE ACCOUNT, THAT THEY MAY DO IT WITH JOY, AND NOT WITH GRIEF: FOR THAT IS UNPROFITABLE FOR YOU.
   1 Pe 5:5–7–LIKEWISE, YE YOUNGER, SUBMIT YOURSELVES UNTO THE ELDER. YEA, ALL OF YOU BE SUBJECT ONE TO ANOTHER, AND BE CLOTHED WITH HUMILITY: FOR GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD, AND GIVETH GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. HUMBLE YOURSELVES THEREFORE UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD, THAT HE MAY EXALT YOU IN DUE TIME: CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON HIM; FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU.
   Are you a good and faithful servant in light of God’s Word? If you have any lukewarmness in you, as most of us do–repent.

   Quite simply, most people do not want Jesus, the Word of God, to reign over them and to direct their life in every single way. They might think they will not have any fun. What does all this message say regarding you?

4–THE BIBLE IS TRUE

   What you are about to hear or read is true. However, the question is: is it true to you? To most people, it is foolishness.
   Life is a test.
   Will you study God’s Word like it is your last chance, like your life depended on it?
   How far will you endure persecutions?
   How much are you willing to let Jesus change you?
   How far will you follow Jesus?
   How much will you deny yourself?
   How far will you surrender to Jesus?
   How much do you really love Jesus?
   How much do you trust in God’s Word?
   Will you love the brethren no matter what, even unto dying for them?
   Just what commandments of God will you refuse to obey?
   How childlike to correction will you be under extreme pressure?

   In this generation that should see the return of Jesus Christ, there are few preachers, teachers of the Bible, or Bible college professors that will tell you the things you need to hear. Rather, just as God’s Word predicted, what they will teach you is what your itching, worldly ears desire to hear.    And then, the few that teach a more strait gate and narrow way message mix lots of jokes and comedy with it.
   God’s Word, which cannot lie, predicted that the Biblical generation that would lead up to the Rapture would be, at best, lukewarm. But even more than this, God tells us it would be wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
   The anointed preaching of people like Billy Graham has been replaced by teachers that are nothing more than psychology teachers that say how to feel good about yourself. The subjects of sin, repentance, hell, judgment, the Revelation, and the narrow gate has all but disappeared. Messages such as you are about to hear or read have also disappeared.
   It is hoped that this message will stir thankfulness in you, not bitterness, or worse–as we all need to be confronted with our sin, then examine ourselves by God’s Word, and then repent of those areas in which the devil has deceived us and led us astray. Biblical repentance and true change leads toward life, but ignoring areas of our life in which we are deceived leads toward the lake of fire. Time is short. Waiting to change and repent can be Biblical suicide. Everyone in hell right now (billions of people) only wish they could have a second chance to come back and repent, but for all of THEM it is too late. But in these last hours of time, it is not yet too late for you. If you are wise, do not choose to ignore what has just been said.
   Understand this, and understand it good. God does not grant pardon, freedom from the Law, and forgiveness of their sins to continue indefinitely to serve the world and ignore Him.
   And understand this. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God commands those people He saves, to dwell in His Word and to separate from unbelievers. His Word enables your faith to grow, if your heart is right. On the other hand, living amongst unbelievers, even relatives, can be a great hindrance to a person’s spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, living among unbelievers, or even make–believe Christians, can stop and reverse a person’s spiritual growth.

   Sometimes a person just has to trust in God and walk out, forsake all they have, and wait on God to provide a place to live that will be in accordance with His Word. He that can receive this, let him receive it. The more you resist truth, the more blind you really are. Although the spiritually blind cannot understand they are blind.
   The more a Christian is around the unsaved, the more they can be expected to compromise God’s Word in a few things, and then in many things. The more a Christian dwells with unbelievers, the further they usually will be from God, and the more spiritual blindness sets in. This also goes for watching ungodly programs on TV, such as soap operas. How can you fill yourself with the Holy Word of God one moment, and then fill yourself with the ungodly works of evil people on TV the next? The Bible says to you: BE YE SEPARATE. 2 Cor 6:14–BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TO…UNBELIEVERS: FOR WHAT FELLOWSHIP HATH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH UNRIGHTEOUSNESS? AND WHAT COMMUNION HATH LIGHT WITH DARKNESS? If a Christian feels comfortable with these things, there is something wrong with their relationship with Jesus.
   Disobeying any of God’s commands can automatically open the door for Satan to attack you on your blind side in ways you might never expect, which can lead a person further and further from God. This, in turn, can cause a person to backslide and eventually fall, as Paul warned in many of his letters.
   Life is a test, and the Bible is true.
   It seems like many people ask God for the forgiveness of their sins, but they will not forgive others their sins, which is spiritual suicide.
   Many ask God to forgive them of their sins. They promise to follow and obey Him, but then afterwards they go back on their word and treat God like garbage, ignoring His Word and His commands. They forsake their own promise to follow Jesus, to read and obey His Word, and to deny themselves. Yet God, in His love and mercy, loves them and forgives them over and over as they humble themselves, repent and seek His forgiveness. For it is written: 1 Jn 1:9–10–IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE NOT SINNED, WE MAKE HIM A LIAR, AND HIS WORD IS NOT IN US. In other words, if we will not acknowledge that we have done wrong and sinned because of spiritual blindness, we are in deep trouble. Every day that we are doing something contrary to God’s Word, and we delay in repenting, we are heading more and more in the direction of Hell. Slowly, we become hardened to correction. And then when an elder or our preacher trues to correct you in love and mercy, you in return have become so worldly that you get unjustified anger toward them, which is also sin. So you sin even more, because perhaps you want to delay in repenting, or not repent at all, for you are so spiritually carnal that you say you have not sinned.
   Sin is like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill. The more it rolls, the faster it rolls, and becomes a huge ball, which eventually falls over the edge and smashes to pieces. The Bible is true, but do you understand what the Word is telling you. Are you so dumb that you only read it some, now and then, when you ought to forsake everything possible to dwell in His Word–so you can grow? Oh, foolish people! You want heaven, but your heart has not repented enough to obey God. Your job, your unsaved relatives, your desires, your worldly hopes, your own lack of denying yourself have never been repented of. All things that hinder you in any way, leading you away from God rather than toward God, repent of. He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Most people’s ears and hearts are far more comfortable listening to Satan’s voice than to God’s voice. All a person’s life, they have heard Satan’s voice–the voice of “I want,” “I will,” “I hope,” “I” this and “I” that. Now God comes along, saves your soul and tells you to listen to and follow His voice.
   But His voice is hard to hear, mainly because you find all sorts of excuses not to read and obey His Word. Your job hinders you. School hinders you. Chores and things you have to do hinder you. You begin reading, and the telephone rings. Someone is at the door, someone wants you to help them do this or that. A friend just came into to town and wants to see you.
   So Bible reading and study are delayed, and other things come first. Oh, how foolish you can be. And then the Judgment comes, and you will not hear God say: WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. Then you may say, “Lord, give me another chance,” but it is too late. Your second chance is NOW.
   The Bible is true. When it tells you that nearly everyone will perish, which may include you, you had better be afraid and change, if you are wise. The foolish will not.
   Life is a test.

   Life is a test to see how much a person will trust in God–as opposed to trusting in themselves, or trusting in unsaved people or other things.
   Life is a test of seeing how a person will react to the various situations they will encounter.
   Life is a test to see what a person’s understanding of God’s Word really is–under stress. What a person does and says under stress reflects how much they trust in God and understand God’s Word and understand God Himself. Most people fail this test–as when the going gets difficult, they turn to anything but God for help. Jesus said, “Oh, ye of little faith”–Mt 6:30. When a person is flat on their back, and out of options in stressful situations, if they will turn to God and trust in Him with all their heart, God can turn the most impossible situation around. Indeed, that is the bottom line. God wants people to turn to Him, and not to other worldly options, in both good times and bad times. Even in difficult situations, a person needs patience. However, it is true that even when a person is flat on their back and there are no more worldly options, that many still will not turn to God, and God alone, for the answers. And if they will not turn to God, and God alone, with all their heart, expect the devil to provide an answer. The devil’s answer may provide a way out of your difficult situation, but hidden from you–will be a trap to take you further from God. Every person that has a close walk with God has had to go through these tests. It is easy to read God’s Word and to trust in God when no stress is involved, but when the tests come–most shrink back.
   If a person will keep their eyes on Jesus, as they go through storms, He will be there–but if they look in another direction, He will not be there–for if a person does not trust in God, it is impossible to please Him–ref Heb 11:6. Let not that person, who is like a wave, think that they shall receive anything from the Lord–ref Ja 1:6.
   The ultimate aim is this. Through testing, if our heart is right, we should grow stronger as we see God keeping His Word. However, if our heart is not right, we may fall or start going in a direction contrary to what God’s will is. God wants to work a work in us–Phili 1:6. He wants us have a different attitude, to change, to grow, to be overcomers, to depend on Him in all things and in all tests. Through the many storms we are called to go through, those whose heart is right–will grow stronger and stronger in their love for God and in their trusting Him and Him alone. Most, however, will fall by the wayside. We all need to have childlike faith–coupled with the fear of God, a deep enduring love for God and for the brethren, and patience. We are not to trust in ourselves, or our job, or in any thing, or in the unfruitful workers of darkness. It can be easy to follow God when all is going well, but what when all is not going well?
   As Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, so we need to learn obedience through the things we will suffer–ref Heb 5:8. Suffering, as one follows Jesus, is something most people do not want to hear about or go through. If you follow Jesus as He has called you to do, sufferings, persecutions, ridicule, being hated, your loved ones thinking you are crazy, giving up everything you have, and all forms of deception are often part of the tests you will go through. As you follow Jesus, there will be all kinds of “road signs̶ (diversions) along the way: “turn left, take this detour, stop and rest, and the grass is greener this way, or the alternate route will be easier.” If you are one of the few that have a spiritually–minded pastor that has traveled the road before you and not fallen, you are very blessed–if you have a heart for correction. Most do not.

   
   God called him to sacrifice his own son that he had long waited for, whom he loved very deeply. It was Isaac. Abraham obeyed God and almost slew him. But then God provided another sacrifice at the last instant. Then God knew that Abraham loved Him above all, even above his own firstborn child of the free woman. It was a test. Could you pass this test? Would you even recognize that it is a test of God or would Satan be able to cloud your mind so much that you wouldn’t even recognize that it was a test to see which you love the most–your children or God?
   Abraham was also tested previous to this, regarding his son, Ishmael. Conflict arose between his wife, Sarah, and Hagar, her slave–girl. When Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham (so that he might obtain a son by her) and she conceived, her attitude toward Sarah changed, and Sarah was despised in her eyes. Later when Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac, she insisted that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham was greatly distressed over the situation. God spoke to Abraham, and said, “Don’t be distressed because of the boy and your slave–girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through (Isaac) who will be counted. But I will also make a nation from the son of the slave–girl, since he is descended from you.”–Gen 21:12–13 CJB. So Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away into the desert with only a skin of water and some bread. Imagine the pressure and accusations Satan tried to bring upon him in his thoughts and emotions–“What good father would abandon his young son and send him away into the desert with little supplies?” And what about the others around Abraham, what were they thinking? Abraham must have been conscious of what others may have been thinking of him–“How could he be so cruel and send his son away like that?” Despite the tremendous pressure he was under, Abraham chose to believe God and trust Him to take care of the situation.
   It is amazing, how some can read and read God’s Word, but when a test comes along, which is even covered in the Bible, blindness comes on that person, and they cannot comprehend what is happening. When their pastor tries to point it out to them, they just get angry and won’t believe him. Such are the ways of an impure heart. Such are the ways of people that ultimately perish. God loves them far more than they love Him. Likewise their pastor loves them far more than they love him in return.
   Every test we pass, we should grow stronger. Every test we fail, we may grow weaker, but we get up and try again.
   The end result of all these trials, tests, temptations, and storms is to make us more like Christ. Our attitude, our thinking, our understanding of God–all have to be renewed and reshaped even as clay is reshaped by the potter. First, the potter’s clay needs to be softened up. Hard clay cannot be remolded and made into something beautiful. It would just crack. Indeed, many of us, when we come to Christ, are hard clay inside, full of impure, worldly thoughts and emotions. Even though we may have served God for many years, there are still clods of dirt inside of us, which needs to be broken up–ref Isa 28:27. This is so the fruits of the Spirit of God can shine forth in each of us, even under the stress of jail, beatings and of death itself. You have need to recognize Satan working in your thoughts, and you need to cast down wrong thinking. Your thoughts will often tell you to do the wrong thing. God’s Word will tell you to do the right thing–if you have eyes to see, if you have ears to understand–and if you have a soft, loving heart to correction that doesn’t get angry or bitter when you hear things you don’t want to hear.
   Life is a test, and a process to convert you, to transform you, to change you, to remold you, and to reshape you from the inside out. Life is a process to change you from the old worldly person you are–to a totally new person which is remade after the image of Christ Himself–ref Col 3:10. A person needs to be renewed in the knowledge of God’s Word, if they are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Jesus Himself–ref Ro 8:29. Many are called, but only a few will be chosen.
   Will you allow God to work a work in your life to change you from the inside out? Will you obey the Gospel, fear God, but love God with all your heart above all people and things, love the brethren, and follow God, no matter what test you have to go through? God’s Word is pure. God’s Word is true. It can be trusted even to the point of death–but is God’s Word true in your thoughts and in your heart? Is God’s Word true to you, and do you believe it applies to you in the tests you are personally going through? It is sometimes easy to see how God’s Word applies to others, but it is far more difficult to see how it applies to you personally when you are in the middle of a storm.
   And that is the problem. Each of have clods of dirt and blind spots, which Satan knows how to exploit. And if you are sometimes hardened to God’s correction, you are in deep spiritual trouble. There are many that draw some line regarding their walk with God. There are some things they won’t repent of, some things they won’t give up, some things they love in their heart as much as God, or some fears they have more than they fear God, or something else. Satan understands exactly what situation to set up for these people–to cause them to fall from their own steadfastness in God. These people are giving such a big door for Satan–to set up situations to attack them, that they will most likely perish before the end comes.
   We are currently living in a locked countdown in time. Whether you believe it or not, the Rapture of God’s people will come soon. If you are not ready, you will be left behind.
   But for all the knowledge God is giving in these messages through His Word, yet it will not profit most people. For it is written: Acts 13:41–BEHOLD, YE DESPISERS, AND WONDER, AND PERISH: FOR I WORK A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YE SHALL IN NO WISE BELIEVE, THOUGH A MAN DECLARE IT UNTO YOU.
   For some of you hearing or reading this message, the following is for you–
   Are you out of your minds? Are you crazy?

   Israel was reborn after thousands of years exactly as predicted.
   There is now a united Europe (the EEC) made up of the old Roman empire nations just as the Bible predicted.
   There would be weapons that could destroy the entire world. This is now a reality just as predicted. How incredible this prediction is, considering it was written in the time of bows and arrows and other primitive weaponry.
   There would be a nation in the exact location of China that could field an army of 200 million. This is the precise number that China has boasted it could do right now. The list goes on and on.
   There is now a world system of economics and trade just as the Bible predicted it would be. Many products are no longer made in the United States, but are made in China, or Japan, or Korea, or Mexico, or somewhere else. If you don’t believe this–just go to Wal–Mart, and you will find the products they sell are mostly made in China and other places.
   There are approximately 365 Biblical prophecies–that the Bible indicates would all come together in the same generation–which would be after Israel’s rebirth. And these collectively would positively indicate that a horrible period called the Tribulation was about to come upon us. Yet the Bible also indicates that even though it gives us all these signs, that most of the world would be as in the days of Noah. The people would not believe that the end was about to happen until it was too late. The people of the world were undoubtedly laughing and mocking at Noah building that huge boat. Then Noah and his family entered the ark with the animals, and the door was shut.
   One can almost hear the laughing today also. How could a big flood come? There was no rain on the earth in those days, but a mist watered the earth–ref Gen 2:6.
   But then, the sky grew dark. And the rain began to pour. And the people of the world stopped laughing and began screaming. They probably sought for higher and higher ground as the waters rose. The mockers, the unrepentant, the unbelievers, perished. They undoubtedly could not believe that God would destroy the hundreds of millions of people of that day because of sin. Some have estimated that the world’s population of that day was into the billions for many people lived over 900 years.
   Now, here it is again. The Tribulation is nearly upon us. And during the Tribulation and Armageddon immediately afterwards–nearly all life on earth will again be destroyed. Approximately 6 billion plus–will die. But those few now, those very few now, that will follow Jesus, not in word, but in deed and in truth, these will be saved from the Tribulation just as Noah and his family was saved from the flood.
   But, statistically, you will not be one of them.
   Percentage–wise only a very few people will be translated, as only a very few will truly believe God’s Word as it is written. This is because the thoughts from Satan in their mind are contradicting what God’s Word says and means.
   The time for playing stupid games with God is over. Jesus needs to become the center of your life, right now. If you persist in doing things your way, you can expect to go to hell.
   I believe, it is safe to say, that of the billions of people in hell right now, screaming out in their torment–that not one of them thought they would be there. Chances are excellent that you will join them sooner than you think. How spiritually dumb you must be to think that Jesus paid for your sins–but you in return can serve the world and ignore His Word. Have you not read, HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE–ref Lk 4:8, and Mt 4:10. This Scripture means exactly what it says. You are called to deny yourself and follow Jesus. Did Jesus follow this world and serve the world? Are you crazy? Of course, He did not. Is there something wrong with your ability to understand the truth? How dense can you be–to expect you can serve this world, and not God, and yet inherit eternal life? A person that believes this has, indeed, a lying heart, and a lying heart can’t admit it is a liar. But then, the father of lies, who is filling your mind with deceit, he will be with you in the lake of fire for eternity. Those of you that will not surrender all to Jesus now–your day is not yet, but it is soon. And you will be horribly surprised to find that what you are hearing or reading is indeed the truth. You will be terrified as you become yet another victim of Satan’s ability to deceive people–ref Rev 12:9.
   The time for thinking about forsaking everything for Jesus is over. Do it, and do it now, else you go into complete blindness and never again understand.
   Yes, forsaking everything for Jesus may cause some worldly problems for others, but in doing so—you may save your own soul. If you seek to put others first and God second, if you find excuses to use, or if you try to fit God in here and there (which is being lukewarm), make your plans to go to hell, for as sure as the Word of God exists, that is where you will be.
   The Bible predicted that violence would increase as the Tribulation was nearing.
   It predicted that there would be a turning away from God’s Word and Christians would become lukewarm toward God and the understanding of His Word.
   It predicted that the church preceding the Tribulation would be wretched, miserable, and blind just to mention 3.
   It predicted that the church age leading up to the Rapture, would be claiming they were saved–Rev 3:16, but they would not be true Christians as it says they were clothed with lukewarmness and shameful nakedness–which means they were not saved and will be spit out–ref Rev 3:16–18.
   But it gives them hope–that if they would repent, if they will hear God’s Word (the voice of Jesus), if they open the door of their heart to God and His Word, if they will open their eyes to see, and if they would anoint their eyes with eyesalve, then only, might they again begin to understand the error of their ways and be saved.
   However, the Bible also indicates in Rev 3:15–21 that the number that will do this–will be so few, that the word “few” is not even mentioned.
   In other words, the time leading up to the Rapture and the Tribulation will be a time of great spiritual darkness. It will be a time when good is called evil, and evil is called good, and the number of the people that will be raptured will be very, very few. It is only those few that overcome all things that will be allowed to set down with Jesus in His throne–ref Rev 3:21. To overcome means to overcome the world and all that is in the world and also to overcome Satan’s tempting lies in your head.
   For those few that God in His mercy, has opened or reopened their eyes to see, and their ears to understand, this is His Word to you.

5–REPENT TODAY, EVEN RIGHT NOW–NOT TOMORROW. DO NOT DELAY
Drop everything. every obstacle, every weight, and follow Jesus totally.
Follow him and serve him with no more excuses or compromise, starting now

   Because as surely as God’s Word exists, if you do not, you can look forward to eternity in the lake of fire.
   From this moment on, you can never say that God did not speak to you of these things.
   If you will not repent now, from this minute, and forever, for eternity, you can consider that the most stupid mistake you ever made in your life was right now.
   You sold your soul for a piece of bread, or for an idea, or for some thing, or some hope, or some desire, or for somebody, or for a piece of cake that you were hoping might come your way.
   What’s wrong with you? Can’t you hear the screaming of the billions of voices in hell that have gone through the same things you are going through, and they made the same wrong decisions you are making, which led them to hell?
   The Bible–read it, understand it, and obey it, right now. It is God talking to you right now. Repent, and don’t look back, else you be tempted to go back to that place which is corrupting you and leading you astray.
   Your job won’t lead you to Jesus. It will lead you away. Your unsaved relatives won’t lead you to Jesus. They will lead you away. The world won’t lead you to Jesus. It will lead you away.

   You need to begin looking at things the way God looks at them.
   If you do not repent fully, if you will not–then pack your bag with all of your ungodly emotions, ungodly thoughts, ungodly ways, and ungodly excuses, for this is your ticket to the lake of fire–ref Rev 22:11.
   You are either sold–out to God, or you are not.
   You are either following Jesus totally, or you are not.
   You have either repented totally, or you have not.
   You have continued in your repentance, or you have not.
   Don’t be counted among the foolish for eternity. Hell and the lake of fire are no joke. This is not something to take lightly. And don’t try to justify yourself by repeating something that Satan puts in your mind, which contradicts God’s Word.
   If you will not sell out to Jesus 100% now, then when will you? If you will not obey God and lay aside every obstacle that is in your way, if you will not turn from whatever is hindering you from following Jesus totally as His Word commands, then when will you do it? Hell and the lake of fire is your eternal reward. It waits for you just as it has waited for others.
   Enjoy life now to its fullest for it is your only reward. Do whatsoever you want to do now.
   But know this, what you plan to do is obviously not what Jesus had planned for you, but in your stupidity and rebellion, you just had to try to do things your way. Indeed, there is a way which seems right to you, but the end is death–ref Pv 14:12.
   But then, a worldly mind, a carnal nature–cannot and will not–see the things that be of God as they should be seen and can be seen by those with a pure heart–ref Ro 8:7.
   There are situations, which Satan, in his tremendous intelligence, can cause you to become involved in, which there is only one thing you can do–and be in the will of God–it is run away from it and do not look back. For every hour, every minute, even every second you stay in Satan’s trap, you will be pulled in more and more until the gates of hell are opened to receive you. No matter what you think you can accomplish by waiting, by delaying, Satan has a counter in his schemes to thwart your ideas. You have no defense against Satan. That needs to be repeated. You have no defense against Satan except to do exactly what God tells you to do in His Word, when He tells you to do it. Any other idea, any other plans, are of no profit. Wake up! Can’t you hear what is being said?
   Stop hoping that the way you are going will work out.
   Put off your worldly, carnal, easily deceived mind, and these worldly ideas–and put on Jesus Christ and follow Him, according to His Word and His Word only.
   Your way of looking at things needs to stop and stop right now.
   Carnal people do not want to give up certain things. They do not want to forsake everything as God’s Word commands. They do not want to forsake lands, or houses, or possessions, or riches, or plans, or pleasures, or their girlfriend or boyfriend, or their wife, or children, or relatives, or job, or friends, etc.
   So what do they try to do? They try to find ways around their struggles that they hope will please God. They try to compromise. They bend the Scriptures to fit their situation just as Eve did, and just as billions of people in hell have done. This Abraham did not do.
   And when God tries to correct them with His Word, His Word to them does not mean the same things as it does to a spiritually–minded Christian. So the spiritually–minded Christian tries to correct them, but it does no good. They listen, they shake their head in agreement, and say, “I agree with this,” but then nothing changes.
   It is like math or science. It doesn’t mean the same thing to a person in first grade, as it does to a college student. And it doesn’t mean the same to a college student, as it does to the college professor who is trying to teach them. The student who will not learn from their teacher–will fail the tests that are to follow. The Christian that will not learn from his spiritually–minded teacher, will in the same way–fail the tests that are to follow.
   It is a person’s heart that will either repent at these words or not.
   It is a person’s deceived heart that will look for some worldly solution to solve what they are going through. So they wait, and wait, and perish. They don’t look to God’s Word and obey Him, because His way might be the way of faith, which they don’t have much of.
   A worldly solution does not always solve the test. Why? because a person did not change. They did not have to change. A person did not overcome anything by faith. A person did not obey God’s Word in seeking what to do. They simply wanted God to eliminate the test. No growth took place.
   As a matter of fact, quite the contrary happens, if the test they are going through is not handled God’s way. The person’s taste remains in them. They did not have to repent of anything. They were not EMPTIED FROM VESSEL TO VESSEL, NEITHER (have they) GONE INTO CAPTIVITY: THEREFORE (their) TASTE REMAINED IN (them), AND (their) SCENT IS NOT CHANGED–ref Jere 48:11.
   Woe to you! Woe to you that have the Word of God, but will not obey it. Woe to you that claim to be a Christian, but sometimes act like the devil. Woe to you that tell others for forsake everything, but you will not. Woe to you that will not forsake the world, because your trust in God is very shallow. Woe you that say you follow Jesus, but in reality you don’t fully believe His Word as it applies to you. Woe to you that say you love God, but you dare to put other things before God. Woe to you that say you love the brethren, but, in reality, you would rather be around your family of unbelievers, and when you are around them, your conversation centers on worldly things, not on Christ. This is being a hypocrite and double minded–you are one way when you are around born again people and another way when you are around your unbelieving family. Being a moral person does not make you a Christian.
   Hear the Word of the Lord–you who are slow of heart to understand, you who distort God’s Word to fit your situation, you who trample God’s Word underfoot and change its meaning and say that you have done nothing wrong. Hear the Word of the Lord, you who claim to follow Jesus, yet you set an example for others of disobedience to God’s Word and a lack of faith. You set an example for others of compromise. You set an example for others of what God’s Word does not say, and then you think to yourself, " I have done nothing wrong."
   As said previously, if, as a result of the storm you are going through, you haven’t forsaken anything—what good is it? You simply found a temporary way to get around the test you were in.
   That needs repeating. If, as a result of the storm you are going through, you haven’t forsaken anything–what good is it? You simply found a temporary way to get around the test you were in. You learned nothing. No growth took place. No sacrifice was made on your part.
   Woe to you, who think, “What will my relatives think? What will my friends think, if I really totally, 100% commit to Jesus in every way and in all things? How will I survive? Where will I live? Oh, no, no, I don’t want to live there. I just don’t see eye–to–eye with some of those Christians. I mean, I love them, but I don’t want to be around them all the time. There must be another way. I’ll wait on God, and He’ll show me another way out of this situation”.
   And that’s the problem. We look for a way out, instead of overcoming the problem by faith. Our faith has failed the test, but our understanding doesn’t see it this way. To forsake everything the way God commands and to follow Jesus, and to overcome all things the way God’s Word says to do, is just not on the menu of most Christians.
   Many people that go into the Tribulation will cry out to God, OPEN TO US. But God will tell them, I KNOW YOU NOT. You may be among them.
   Most of these same people will not survive the first part of the Tribulation, in which one out of every four people on earth will die, the majority in the northern hemisphere.
   But, if they survive, then most assuredly, those that compromised in their walk with Jesus now will surely take the mark 666. Consider, when a gun is put to the head of their children and they are told take the mark or their children will die before their eyes, they will certainly take the mark. Or, if their children are tortured before their very eyes, they will certainly take the mark.
   If a person will put their work for the world first now, before God’s Word and work, they will surely also take the mark then. Can you be so spiritually blind to think you won’t? If you compromise now, you can expect you will compromise then.
   If you continue to make excuses for putting other things before God now, you will likely make excuses to justify taking the mark of the beast when the time comes.
   And the person that cannot admit this surely lies to themselves and does not understand God’s Word as they ought. But then, chances are, they can’t even recognize this either. Oh, how thick spiritual darkness can be!
   Let’s be straightforward. If you allow other things to stop you from serving God now as you are called to do, then don’t deceive yourself into thinking you are ready for the Rapture. You can confess Jesus till you are blue in the face, but if you make excuses now why you can’t serve Him, as you are called to do, then you can expect to be one of about 6 billion people that will be left behind.
   Will you believe God’s Word?

   It is written: Heb 11:27–HE (Moses) FORSOOK EGYPT, NOT FEARING THE WRATH OF THE KING: FOR HE ENDURED, AS SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE.

   Lk 9:23–25–AND (Jesus) SAID TO THEM ALL, IF ANY MAN (that includes you) WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY, AND FOLLOW ME. Three absolute requirements are here. 1–You must deny yourself, in all things and in all ways. 2–You must take up your cross (the course that God has laid out for you), and 3–follow Jesus.
   FOR WHOSOEVER WILL SAVE HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT: BUT WHOSOEVER WILL LOSE HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE, THE SAME SHALL SAVE IT. Perhaps you didn’t catch those words: You need to lose your life for the sake of Jesus. Your plans, your desires, your wants, your job, your everything–you need to lose for Jesus when He calls you to do so. And that, my friend, is an obstacle for nearly everyone, so they compromise–and compromise is lukewarmness–and lukewarmness goes to hell. FOR WHAT IS A MAN ADVANTAGED, IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIMSELF, OR BE CAST AWAY? The bottom line is this. You either die to yourself totally now, or you will certainly die the second death later and perish. You may say in your evil thoughts that I am just trying to scare you. Yes, yes–Have you not read IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD–Heb 10:31?
   Again, it is written in Mt 16:24–26–THEN SAID JESUS UNTO HIS DISCIPLES (which includes you right now), IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.

   Pv 14:12,14–THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, BUT THE END THEREOF ARE THE WAYS OF DEATH. THE BACKSLIDER IN HEART SHALL BE FILLED WITH HIS OWN WAYS. There are perhaps some backsliders right now hearing or reading this message that are filled with their own deceived heart and hearing voices in their heart which says this does not apply to them. I guess, when they miss the Rapture or wind up in hell, then they will believe, but it will be too late.

   Ro 8:7,8–THE CARNAL (or worldly) MIND IS ENMITY (or hatred) AGAINST GOD: FOR IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW (or Word) OF GOD, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE. SO THEN THEY THAT ARE IN THE FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD. You, who are worldly in your thinking and fruits, cannot please God. You, who delay in obeying God, cannot please God. You, who make excuses, cannot please God. You that try to find ways to escape the tests you are going through, instead of responding the way God says to respond–you cannot please God. Perhaps, this is all nonsense to your worldly mind? Indeed, as just mentioned, in Pv 14:12,14–THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, BUT THE END THEREOF ARE THE WAYS OF DEATH. THE BACKSLIDER IN HEART SHALL BE FILLED WITH HIS OWN WAYS.
   When fighting the good fight of faith, you must fight according to God’s Word. For it is written:
   1 Tim 1:8–BUT WE KNOW THAT THE LAW IS GOOD, IF A MAN USE IT LAWFULLY;
   2 Tim 2:5–AND IF A MAN ALSO STRIVE FOR MASTERIES, YET IS HE NOT CROWNED, EXCEPT HE STRIVE LAWFULLY (or according to God’s Word).

    To the carnally–minded, the worldly–minded, the unconverted, this can be said–Enjoy the creation now. Enjoy your loved ones, your children, your friends, your family, this world, because most of you are selling your soul for their sake, and for a second of glory. You will soon understand this the hard way, as you are not ready to meet the Lord in the air.

    Lk 14:26,27–IF ANY MAN COME TO ME, AND HATE NOT HIS FATHER, AND MOTHER, AND WIFE, AND CHILDREN, AND BRETHREN, AND SISTERS, YEA, AND HIS OWN LIFE ALSO, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE.
   The word “hate” is used in the KJV, NIV, JNT, etc. It means “to love less.”    Nothing, absolutely nothing, is to come before God, His calling, His Word, His work, etc. No job, no people, no desires, no plans, absolutely nothing is to come before what God calls you to do. You were created and called to serve Him. You will either love God, love the brethren and obey God, or you will die the second death. It can’t be put much plainer than this. There may be billions of people screaming and crying, perhaps trying to tell you that these things are true. Are you so deaf that you can’t hear them?–ref Lk chapter 16.
   Assuredly, some people hearing or reading this will justify themselves and say, “It is not so.” You, who try to contend with God’s Word, in any way–you can expect to curse those days that you dared to doubt God’s Word and what it means, as you will have trillions of years in the lake of fire with no hope of escape. It is a future of torment and no hope of any kind.
   It is only the very foolish, the very stupid, the very ignorant, the very blind, the very worldly people, that will not change their ways of thinking, and their ways of doing things after what you are hearing or reading right now.
   A spiritually–minded person should know–instantly, what to do in your situation, but you cannot discern the right or the wrong way, because your head and heart are too deceived and worldly. Most people distort God’s Word to fit their situation. Most makes excuses. Most turn to the wrong place for advice in this lukewarm and spiritually naked generation?

   Can you recognize God is fighting for your soul through His Word and through this message?
   Can you understand Jesus is calling you to forsake everything for Him right now and trust in Him to provide, even as Matthew, the apostles, and many others have done over the years?
   No matter what your situation is, it is common to man. Many have been in your situation before. They have chosen to forsake all and follow Jesus. But you, you make excuses. They will be your judges–1 Cor 6:2,3.
   This is hard teaching for those whose heart is not full of Jesus and their love for Jesus is not as it ought to be; but it should not be hard teaching for those whose heart is totally Christ–centered and their heart is stayed on Jesus, because they trust in Him–ref Isa 26:3.

   During the Tribulation, those that get saved, will not have much chance to grow. Those that survive WW3 (few are expected to survive in the USA and Russia), may each have one chance to be saved, either directly or indirectly, through what might be the teaching of 144,000 male virgin Jews. Then they may have to run from being caught or go into hiding.
   They instantly, either pick up their cross and run from the world and run after Jesus, or they take the mark 666 and worship the image of the beast from which there is no repentance. It is the unforgivable sin.
   How much easier it is now to follow Jesus, than it will be then. So, if you can’t find it in your heart to fully obey God’s Word now, absolutely no doubt, neither will you follow Jesus then. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
   Life is a test, whether you recognize it or not. Jesus shall return for His church soon, whether you believe it or not. Your unbelief shall not delay His coming for even 1 second, and it is an absolute fact that most people will be caught by surprise. Will Jesus find you serving Him and having a Christ–like attitude according to His Word when He returns, or will you be caught sleeping and be rejected because you are not ready?

   Regarding being born–again consider the following. Will Jesus find you having a Christ–like attitude, bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, even under stress–when He returns?
   Do you want to have a Christ–like attitude?
   Is your attitude now–the same as it was many years ago?
   Has your inner being and thoughts been transformed to be more like Christ?
   No matter how much you serve God, if you have not gone through an inner change, an inner transformation, an inner conversion, and become like Christ both on the inside and outside, then prepare to be left behind when the Rapture comes, for you are positively not ready. Remember, life is a test, and for the born again, it is a process of conforming to God’s Word and to Christ.

   The children of God should all have a deep inner desire to be around other spiritual born again children of God. They should not feel comfortable being around old friends, relatives, and other people who are not born again–as these people do not have the same mind of Christ that they do. The thinking of a born again person is drastically different from that of a non–born–again person. If this is not the case–that is–if the professing born again Christian is more comfortable around their earthly, carnal, ungodly un–born–again family than being around the family of God, then something is very, very wrong. That something that is very, very wrong is this. They have become backslidden, or they were never truly born again in the first place, or they have resisted God trying to change them to the point that they are becoming reprobate. This is very scary in view that the Rapture is close at hand, and such people will be left behind, as they are not ready to meet Jesus.

   Ro 15:5–7–GOD…GRANT YOU TO BE LIKEMINDED ONE TOWARD ANOTHER ACCORDING TO CHRIST JESUS: THAT YE MAY WITH ONE MIND AND ONE MOUTH GLORIFY GOD, EVEN THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. WHEREFORE RECEIVE YE ONE ANOTHER, AS CHRIST ALSO RECEIVED US TO THE GLORY OF GOD. A born again Christian is to glorify God and be an example of Christ in their speech, in their attitude, in their works, in their day to day activities, and in every way, and in everything, and sometimes even in their death. For it is written: Jn 21:19–THIS SPAKE HE, SIGNIFYING BY WHAT DEATH HE SHOULD GLORIFY GOD. AND WHEN HE HAD SPOKEN THIS, HE SAITH UNTO HIM, FOLLOW ME.
   1 Cor 6:20–FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH ARE GOD’S.

   Do not, I repeat, do not resist God working in your life, trying to change you to be more like Him. If you continue to follow the ways and fruits and traditions of the world, of your culture, of your country, and of your religion, you can indeed expect to still be in this world after Christ takes His people out. Born again Christians should all have the same mind–that is, the mind of Christ–1 Cor 2:16. It is written, FOR WHO HATH KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE MAY INSTRUCT HIM? BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.
   Do you want further proof that you are to become like Christ?
   It is written: Mt 10:25–IT IS ENOUGH FOR THE DISCIPLE THAT HE BE AS HIS MASTER. In other words, you are to be as Jesus.
   Lk 6:40–THE DISCIPLE IS NOT ABOVE HIS MASTER: BUT EVERY ONE THAT IS PERFECT SHALL BE AS HIS MASTER. All that become perfect, shall be as Jesus.
   Do you want further proof you are to have the mind of Christ?
   Ro 12:2–AND BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD: BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND.
   It is only through the renewing of your mind that comes from God’s Word, through repentance daily, through faith, through love, through your humility, through obeying God, and submission to God, that you will be able to have your mind renewed and become as the mind of Christ which is the will of God who has called you. It is the foolish person who resists. It is the wise person who submits and humbles himself.

   If you do not have a deep, inner craving to be in God’s Word, then do not think you have been saved. For it is written by God himself: 1 Pe 2:2,3–AS NEWBORN BABES, DESIRE THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD, THAT YE MAY GROW THEREBY: IF SO BE YE HAVE TASTED THAT THE LORD IS GRACIOUS. In other words, if you have really become born again, then you absolutely, unconditionally, beyond any doubt, will have the same desire to be to be in God’s Word as a baby has a great desire to drink milk. As a baby craves more milk, so will the new born again Christian crave more milk of God’s Word that he may grow in faith and in the knowledge of God. If the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is present in the person that craving will be there. If the Spirit of God is not present, then the craving may not be there. And if that craving for God’s Word is not there, it is a 100% indicator that the person is not truly saved. This can be amplified in a person’s desire to serve God also. If a person is called by God to serve Him in some way, but the person finds more satisfaction in working in this world, then it is another indicator that the person is backslidden or not truly saved.
   If someone has to tell you to read God’s Word, and it is not a priority, an inner desire for you to do, then true inner repentance would appear not to have taken place. Because, if God is actually in you, he can only grow through God’s Word.
   And if you have been a Christian 5, 10, or 20 years, but you still act and behave like you did in the beginning, then something is very wrong, because a transformation should have taken place, but it probably did not. What probably took place is turning over a new leaf, not being converted. Thus, the person may have some morals of a Christian, but they to not have the mind of Christ, and their attitude reflects this is so.
   A person that is more worldly now, than they were last year, would appear to have backslidden or even fallen.
   A person that has been walking with Jesus for 5, 10, or 20 years, but still can’t easily recognize Satan’s traps and schemes, something is very wrong. For it is written, 2 Cor 2:11–WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF (Satan’s) DEVICES.

   Change takes place in a person’s life, first through knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, and also the Holy Spirit convicting a person of sin. A person that does wrong according to the Scriptures or even takes on the appearance of sin, but does not come under conviction from the Spirit of God that they have sinned, something is very, very wrong. They certainly would not appear to have the mind of Christ, or God may not be in them at all.
   Then there must be the desire and willingness of the person to want to change to be conformed to the image of Christ. To change a person’s thinking and deeds from deep–rooted sin, traditions, habits, and wrong teachings, is a miracle of God. The transformation that takes place is called a conversion, being born again, putting off the old man and putting on the new man. If this transformation of a person’s thinking, works, and fruits, that changes a person to be like Christ from the inside–out, does not take place, then even though a person might be serving God, he is still not Biblically born again, or he is resisting God trying to change him.
   There are, indeed, many people who claim to be a Christian. They are preachers, elders, church workers, missionaries, and lay people, but no true, inner transformation to be like Christ takes place in their attitude and fruits. They may be moral people, but not transformed, converted, born–again people.
   Born again Christians can sometimes sense that certain people are not truly born again, as there is not the harmony in the Spirit between them as it ought to be. Their minds are not on the same page. Their fruits are not the same. Their desires are somewhat different. Their view points are not in harmony. It is written: Ro 8:16–THE SPIRIT ITSELF BEARETH WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT, THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD. Also 1 Jn 5:6–IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT BEARETH WITNESS, BECAUSE THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH.
   True born again Christians have an inner desire for fellowship with other born again Christians, even from different countries and cultures. Missionaries have experienced this many times. A missionary travels overseas to a certain country. He finds instant fellowship with other born again people there despite their different backgrounds. There is fellowship, because they both have the mind of Christ. They have both been conformed, not to their countries ways and traditions, but they both have been conformed to the ways of Christ. Thus, they are one family, whose Father is God, whose Saviour is Jesus Christ. They are true brothers and sisters, not in the way of the world, but because they are born again into the family of God. The family of God is far stronger than earthly family bonds. The family of God is so strong, that as Jesus died for each one, so each one is willing to die for the other. This is love. A person would not be willing to die for another born again person unless they had already died to themself. And if they had died to themself, they certainly would not be following the ways of this world.

   So, is there a difference between real born again Christians and carnal ones? Yes. Is there a difference between real born again Christians and make–believe ones? Yes. Thus, when a make–believe Christian comes among born again Christians, or a carnal born again Christian comes in, there can be an uneasy feeling on both sides. The kinship, the love, the inner sense that a person is a true, eternal brother or sister in Christ is missing. This is an indicator that one has the mind of Christ and the other does not, or both could be saved, but one is more spiritual than the other, or one may be backslidden or have fallen.
   A person that is uneasy around the family of God now, will also be uneasy around the family of God in heaven.
   And beware that none of you act worldly and un–Christ–like, lest you put stumbling blocks in other people’s path. Rather, always be an example of fearing God and of holiness, for WITHOUT (holiness)…NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD–ref Heb 12:14. Be ye perfect as God is perfect. Be perfect in your attitude, in what you do, in all things. Follow Jesus in all things and in all ways. Be transformed. Let God work in you to change you. Resist not Godly correction, for resistance does not bring about a change and growth to become more like Christ. And that is the bottom line. You were saved from your sins to become as Christ as it is written.

   And let no one who has just come to Christ, look to man or woman for an example to follow, but let him look at Christ, for it is Christ that is life and that is the example for us all to follow. Yet, Paul did relate to us to follow him as he followed Christ. Life is a test. God’s Word is true and is truth. Read it. Hear it. Study it. Memorize it. Hide it in your heart. Obey it. Put on the fruits of the Spirit and the mind of Christ. Make yourself ready, for those that are not ready shall be left behind.
   Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life. Submit to God. Resist the devil according to God’s Word.

   Regarding the subject, that only people who are ready will be raptured, it is written:
   Mt 24:44–THEREFORE BE YE ALSO READY:…FOR…THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
   Mt 25:10…THE BRIDEGROOM CAME; AND THEY THAT WERE READY WENT IN WITH HIM TO THE MARRIAGE: AND THE DOOR WAS SHUT.
   Mt 24:44–THEREFORE BE YE ALSO READY: FOR…THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
   Lk 12:40–BE YE THEREFORE READY ALSO: FOR THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
   Acts 21:13–THEN PAUL ANSWERED,…I AM READY“TO DIE…FOR THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.
   Rev 19:7–9–LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE,…FOR THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY. AND TO HER WAS GRANTED THAT SHE SHOULD BE ARRAYED IN FINE LINEN, CLEAN AND WHITE: FOR THE FINE LINEN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS. AND HE SAITH UNTO ME, WRITE, BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH ARE CALLED UNTO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB.
   2 Tim 4:6–8–FOR I AM NOW READY TO BE OFFERED, AND THE TIME OF MY DEPARTURE IS AT HAND. I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH: HENCEFORTH THERE IS LAID UP FOR ME A CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH THE LORD, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, SHALL GIVE ME AT THAT DAY: AND NOT TO ME ONLY, BUT UNTO ALL THEM ALSO THAT LOVE HIS APPEARING.
   Are you ready for the coming of Jesus to rapture His family? Or are you still in a state of carnality, serving the world, serving yourself, some days up, some days down, striving with and not getting along with other saints some of the time, and not feeling comfortable around those that have the mind of Christ? Just how much do you have the mind of Christ?
   It would be good if you can answer this in truth, for if you cannot, then you are not ready.
   Titus 3:1–…BE READY TO EVERY GOOD WORK.
   1 Pe 5:2–…BUT OF A READY MIND.

   So what is the purpose of all that has just been said or written? It is this. Each of us need to carefully and truthfully examine ourself by God’s Word to see just how Christ–like we really and truthfully are. How much like Christ are you on the inside, in your very thoughts? How accurately can you discern your own walk with God? How accurately can you discern the tests you go through? How accurately can you see Satan’s trap for your soul?
   Are you Christ–like in serving God?
   Are you Christ–like in your fruits of the Spirit of God?
   Are you Christ–like when you are around unbelievers?
   Are you Christ–like in your attitude, even under stress?
   Are you Christ–like in all that you do and say?
   Does your very life, day to day, reflect Christ in all ways and at all times?
   Are you an over–comer in all things even as you are called to be?
   Can you even recognize the things Christ has called you to overcome?
   Sadly, most cannot, and most are not ready, and the reason they are not ready is their heart. It has not been purified in obeying the Word. Have you not read, 1 Pe 1:22–SEEING YE HAVE PURIFIED YOUR SOULS IN OBEYING THE TRUTH THROUGH THE SPIRIT UNTO UNFEIGNED LOVE OF THE BRETHREN, SEE THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH A PURE HEART FERVENTLY.
   Your first love is to be God. Your second love is to be the family of Christ. Without these in place, you are absolutely nothing, and you will not be raptured. For it is written: Col 3:14–ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS PUT ON (LOVE), WHICH IS THE BOND OF PERFECTNESS. 1 Cor 13:1–THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT (LOVE), I AM BECOME AS SOUNDING BRASS, OR A TINKLING CYMBAL. Without the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, you are nothing. And when you are corrected with the truth, how should you react? 1 Cor 13:6–(Love),…REJOICETH IN THE TRUTH.

   The closer you are to the light, the more you will be able to see the dirt.
   The brighter the light in you, the more you will be able to see your sin.
   And if you see very little sin in you, then there is very little light in you.
   And if you say you have no sin, then there is no light in you at all, and you may be considered reprobate.
   After a complete self–examination by God’s Word, what do you need to do? Repent, and allow God to change you. For if you fail to allow God to change you, if you resist, you are going down, and down leads to the bottomless pit.
   Spiritual growth does not happen when there is resistance to God and a lack of receiving correction. For correction is a way of life, if you are a born again Christian.
   And consider this—no one is ready for the lake of fire for eternity, yet most everyone is destined to be there.

   Let us presume a person is called to salvation, because they are convicted of their sins and understand that their sins can only be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. They agree to surrender their life to Him. But, seldom, does any person realize what this really means in the beginning. Little do people understand what it is to follow Jesus.
   It means your total life and existence, is to be summed up in one word—Jesus. Jesus has purchased you with His blood. You are no longer called to serve this world. You are called to serve God in whatever way He directs and wherever He puts you. How high a calling you receive often seems to depend on your faithfulness right from the beginning, regarding your faithfulness in Bible reading and study and obeying His Word. You are called to learn all you can about Jesus and allow yourself to be conformed to be as much like Him as is possible. Your life no longer belongs to you. You are literally a bondservant, a slave of Christ. You are His possession. You are to allow Christ to transform your life, your thinking, your innermost being to be like Him. The more you resist, the more problems you may have, and if you resist even more, you could expect to perish. God will tolerate your stubbornness and rebellion for a period, but if it goes on too much and for too long, you may find yourself cut off and in a total spiritual darkness, without any hope; yet you may not even know you have been cut off. God has a work to do in transforming your life and your thoughts to be like Him. He loves you beyond your capability to even understand. However, if you will not love Him back by allowing Him to work a work in your life, you can expect to regret it for eternity. For it is better that you had not known the way of truth, than to have known it and forsaken it–ref 2 Pe 2:21.

   A person that commits their life to Christ by faith and obeys God in Scriptural baptism, then refuses to follow Jesus thereafter, can expect to be punished most severely for eternity. Such people, who trample under their feet the blood of Christ, shall be beaten with many stripes and then cast into the lake of fire for eternity. For it is written: Lk 12:47–AND THAT SERVANT (a born again person), WHICH KNEW HIS LORD'S WILL, AND PREPARED NOT HIMSELF, NEITHER DID ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, SHALL BE BEATEN WITH MANY STRIPES.
   Indeed, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, your Creator, when you have received His gift of the forgiveness of your sins through His blood, but then after you have received this gift, you refuse to do what He commands you to do, especially when He will provide all you need if you trust in Him. You are called to forsake all. Do it. This is not some kind of a joke. It would be wise for you to obey God, before it is too late. Understand, the One you are obeying, or not obeying, is the Creator of the universe. You should have an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that you have been one of the few that God has called out of many to receive the gift of eternal life. Don’t be so foolish as to throw it away. God has a plan for your life–ref Eph 3:10, and that plan includes eternity with God Himself and rewards unspeakable, as one of His chosen few. How blessed each person is that shall be with God for eternity and not in the lake of fire with all those that rebel against God and His Word.

   Wherever God puts you, whether it is in the military or somewhere else, your life is to reflect Jesus. You are not to hide your light and talents for Jesus. You are never to be ashamed of Jesus. You are to BE READY ALWAYS TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVERY MAN THAT ASKETH YOU A REASON OF THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR–1 Pe 3:15. Witnessing to the unsaved world is part of the calling of God. You are called to be an ambassador of Christ–ref Eph 5,19,20, and persecutions can be expected.
   Understand that God gave some of his servants 10 talents, some 5 and some 1. In other words, some people are called to have large ministries with great outreaches–10 talents. Others that receive 5 may help them or be involved in some smaller outreach. While others may be called to be witnesses at their job or some other outreach for the Lord–thus, one talent. Whatever God has called you to do, it is absolutely essential that you be faithful and trustworthy all the time, whether it is serving as a missionary overseas or putting stamps on envelopes.
   But even if a person is only given 1 pound, the Scriptures show that if they have a good heart, if they do not get side–tracked by one of Satan’s schemes, if they will be faithful, they might multiply that one pound into as much as 10–ref Lk 19:16. Now, it is obvious, that if a person won’t obey God’s Word as they ought or is an excuse–maker, they may not be able to multiply their talent at all, or may even wind up losing their one talent and afterward hear the words: THOU WICKED AND SLOTHFUL SERVANT, as they are cast into outer darkness–ref Mt 25:26, 30.
   Servants of God often serve God on teams together. They love each other, work together, help each other, and depend upon each other. Then, Satan successfully deceives one of them, and they stop following and serving Jesus.
   How sad it is, when someone shrinks back and departs from the faith in which they once walked and understood–ref Acts 13:8; 2 Cor 13:5; Col 1:23; 1 Tim 5:8; 6:10,21; 2 Tim 2:18, 4:7; Titus 1:13, 3:15; Rev 14:12.
   How sad it is that they were once correctable, but now they are not.
   How sad it is that at one time the Gospel was written on the tables of their heart, but now it is only in their head.
   How sad it is that they can no longer understand where they are, concerning their walk with Jesus Christ.
   They think they are still in the light, but the light that is in them is really darkness.
   If they are not faithful, they shall not hear the words: WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. THOU HAST BEEN FAITHFUL OVER A FEW THINGS, I WILL MAKE THEE RULER OVER MANY THINGS. ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD–ref Mt 25.
   God cannot say these words to the unfaithful, the excuse–makers, those that choose to do their own desires or own will over that which God has called them to do. There will be no stubborn or rebellious servants of God in heaven. These are not ready for the Rapture and certainly will not be taken in the Rapture. If a person was called to serve God full time and something has hindered or stopped them afterward, it is not God that has done this. God does not hinder His own work that you are called to do. Daily repentance and self–examination are needed for each of us, lest Satan get an advantage of us, and we perish in the way, and lest blindness come upon us suddenly, and we think we will go to heaven when, in reality, we are on a collision course with hell.
   If everyone could only see how the things of this world, which seem so important to them now, will seem very insignificant to them at the Judgment. Many things that are important to people now will be liabilities at the Judgment.

   Some Christians are so intent in fighting against God’s will now, that they never seem to grow much, and their understanding of Scripture, as it applies to them, is at best lukewarm. Yet others around the world in their same situation lay aside every weight, and they grow in faith and in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.
   Indeed, I believe, no one that goes to hell and to the lake of fire, truly realizes that is where they will be going. Satan deceives the whole world so successfully, that (it is estimated) over 300,000 people daily worldwide are completely astonished to find themselves there for eternity. Most do not even believe there is a hell or lake of fire.
   And so are most preachers also blind as every day, many of them worldwide stand at a funeral and announce to the onlookers that the dead person is now really in a better place or in heaven, when in truth, they are screaming in the fires of hell. If you are a person called to serve God, but you serve Him only when you have the time, rather than when He has called you to serve Him, you are absolutely not ready for the Rapture. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you will be with Jesus, when the Bible unmistakably says that only those that are ready will be taken.
   The writer of this message says this.
   The Creator of the universe spent approximately 3 ˝ years teaching humanity about His Father in heaven, many other things, and then giving them the words regarding eternal life. He did miracles which no man had ever done. He raised the dead. During this time, He was challenged, people tried to trick Him. He was called a liar, ridiculed, accused of being of Satan, and endured much verbal abuse.

   Then He allowed Himself to be captured, suffered horrific beatings, and tortured so badly that He was almost unrecognizable. His beard was torn off His face. HIS APPEARANCE WAS SO DISFIGURED BEYOND THAT OF ANY MAN AND HIS FORM MARRED BEYOND HUMAN LIKENESS–Isa 52:14 NIV. Then He (God in the flesh) was hung on a cross, suffered almost beyond description and then died. He did this for YOU, so that if you will trust Him, you would receive eternal life, but not only receive eternal life, but your sins would be forgiven and even beyond that you would receive rewards beyond imagination that would last for ever. In other words, you would never die, but would live forever and be delivered from the lake of fire, which was created for the devil and his angels.
   So what does the Lord ask in return? He tells you first to LEARN OF ME FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY. In other words, study the Bible a lot and faithfully. Put learning His Word above everything, for these are the words of life. He tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, lest we deceive ourselves–ref Ja 1:22. He asks of you to be willing to let Him change you from the inside out–to become like Him. He asks you to deny everything, even your own self, to forsake everything for Him, as He did FIRST for you, and then He asks one final thing: Serve Him the rest of your life and let nothing, but nothing stop you. He asks you to experience some of the same things He went through; to suffer some of the same temptations, abuses, humiliations as He did. Serve Him in accordance with His Word and according to His will and in faith. He guarantees that He will provide for you as you do so.
   How could anyone that understands this do anything, except say yes? How could anyone that understands Who Jesus is and what He personally did for you–do anything except want to fall on his face in humility, and say, "Oh, God, I don’t deserve what You did for me. I am so unworthy. God, thank You for having such great mercy on me, a sinner. I do love You with all my being and heart, as You loved me first. I do love You above everything that exists, even my own self. I will follow You and serve You all the days of my life, and I will not let anybody or anything stop me from serving and following You, not family, not things–nothing."

   I do not understand how anyone can truly understand–that the Creator of the universe went through horrible torture and then death on the cross for them personally–and not be eternally grateful.
   I do not understand how anybody, could ever, even for an instant, turn their back on God, Who did this for them and loved them so deeply.
   Even if someone offered them the entire earth and everything it contains, of what value is it when life lasts only, at best, about 100 years, but eternity, in either heaven with God or in the lake of fire, is beyond a trillion years—for ever and ever.
   Never, never, never have those few that God has opened their understanding of these things, been loved so much. The love of all humanity for you–cannot begin to equal the love God has for you. How could you forsake Him and His Word? How could you allow yourself to put anything before Him, His calling, and serving Him in whatever way He asks?
   A person that receives the gift of eternal life through the costly and precious sacrifice God gave to make it possible, but then won’t obey Him, can only be considered an extremely ungrateful and wicked person. And yet, most that are called, by His incredible mercy and love, do indeed forsake Him–for many are called, but only a few are chosen.
   God goes even further in His love. He gives those He died for, those of His family–a minister, or preacher, or overseer to guide them and to help them along the way. For if you begin to go astray, there is someone to correct you and help you up.
   God forbid, most people that are chosen–even forsake the very person God put over them. They sometimes give that person a very difficult time, accuse him of things they do not understand, and sometimes even turn on him. But then, many forsook Jesus when He was on earth. They turned against Him and lied about Him, and some even participated in killing Him. And so they did to Paul and the Apostles.
   Whose side are you on, when you begin to go astray and Jesus sends someone to try and correct you?
   So understand this. The Bible tells us clearly, it is better that a person does not get saved, than to get saved and turn away. For if a person gets saved, but then turns away because of the devil’s deceit, they will be punished for eternity far more than those that had never been saved in the first place.
   Jesus gave His life for you. In return, you owe Him your life. I said, you owe Him your life from now and forever more. If you do not understand this, then you do not understand the Bible. If you do not understand what all has been said here, you do not understand the Bible. If you will not forsake everything for Him now, do not be so dumb and think you will be with Him.
   He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

   Time is running out. Ready or not, the Rapture is not far off. You had better set your thoughts on letting go of this world and following Jesus right now according to His Word, lest you have eternity to consider how stupid you were, and it cost you your soul. Be grateful that you have been called. Do all you can to make your election sure. Follow Jesus, totally and completely right now, and stop playing games with your salvation and with Jesus.
   Life is a test. Your soul is at stake. Purify your heart by obeying God’s Word, and stop the excuses. Stop now serving this world and yourself, and begin to trust in Him to provide. Let Jesus change your thinking. However, if you doubt that He will keep His Word to provide for you, if you follow Him, then, indeed, He may not provide for you. It is a testimony that your faith is not where it ought to be, nor the truthfulness of your heart, because if God said it, He cannot lie. It is your faith that is a wave, but God’s Word is steadfast and true.
   Faith that is like a wave is not ready for the Rapture. Repent, and change your ways. Follow Jesus totally, for He loves you and gave Himself for you.

   As said previously, people promise to follow and obey God, but then afterwards they go back on their word and treat God like garbage, ignoring His Word and disobeying His commands.

   Life is a test in which many are called to follow Jesus, but only a few will be chosen. This is because only a few will conform to His image, put on the mind of Christ, obey Him in all things, and love Him and the brethren far above all other people and things.

   As outlined in a critically researched article, the Bible has been proven, beyond any doubt, to be the Word of God. This was accomplished through a massive amount of time and research dealing with history, archaeology, and other things, both past and present. The research was carefully analyzed with God’s Word. That being said, let us examine the words of God, Himself, on the most important subjects that exist. So that you may know by the Scriptures that we are of God: we confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son and the second Person of the Godhead (Trinity)–ref 1 Jn 4:2,3,9; Jn 1:1,14; 2 Jn 1:7; Phili 2:11; 1 Cor 12:3; 1 Jn 5:7. It is further written, WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM–Mt 7:20, ref Mt 7:16.

   Why were you born? What is the reason you exist? Is there life after death? Do heaven and hell really exist, and if so, can you personally know what your final destination will be?

   Is there a being called Satan (also known as the devil, also known as the god of this world)–ref Rev 12:9, Isa 14:12–15, Rev 20:10, 2 Cor 4:4, who opposes God, who has his own kingdom–ref Mt 12:26, Lk 11:18, who has many followers in both the seen and unseen world, who works in every person’s thoughts and emotions, and who deceives the whole world–ref Rev 12:9, and if so–why did God create him?

6–INTRODUCTION
LIFE IS A TEST

   Each person that decides to follow Jesus must launch out into the unknown. Virtually no one that begins this journey in the beginning understands what this really means. There will be times of joy, peace, rejoicing, and love, but there are also intense battles to be fought against the powers of darkness. Many of these battles take place in your thoughts. Each person will be called to overcome persecutions, temptations, sufferings, problems, and the unexpected. There is an intense war to be fought against your own desires and wrong thinking. There will be times of great doubt, as you try to go upstream against a world that is going downstream. We are called to fight the good fight of faith. God is with us, but there will be times when it seems as if He is not. We will have to fight against our own fears, our own emotions, anger, bitterness, resentment, and rejection. We need to learn to be like Jesus, which means we must change completely from the way we are. We need to stop looking back. We need to deny ourself completely and become an empty vessel, so God can remold and use us. Our own personal desires that we have are contrary to what God has planned for us. We are called to fill ourselves with God’s Word through reading, hearing, studying, and memorizing. The more a person does this, the more he should be conformed to the image of Christ. The more excuses a person has, the less he will ever become the person God wants him to be. Correction and changing is a way of life for those that follow Jesus. A person that does not want counseling and correction, also does not want Jesus. Such a person is blind and in darkness, but often cannot admit this. In other words, such a person lies to himself and thinks it will all turn out all right. His own wrong thinking, wrong desires, wrong attitude, lack of denying self, and sin blind him. He is often so sure he is right, there is no room for God to tell him he is wrong. Because of a person’s strong desires or hurts, Satan can sometimes take a person’s mind captive, so that he will not listen to Jesus speak to him through His Word. Satan has an inroad to cloud his ability to hear God through His Word and examine himself in light of it. Thus, the person wrongly evaluates himself spiritually, therefore he does not repent. The destination of most people, after their earthly body dies, is hell. These people will not believe the truth even when confronted with this fact, because they cannot. Jn 8:43,45–Jesus said: WHY DO YE NOT UNDERSTAND MY SPEECH? EVEN BECAUSE YE CANNOT HEAR MY WORD. AND BECAUSE I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, YE BELIEVE ME NOT. As said previously, most people cannot believe the truth when they are corrected or confronted with it. Again, why is this? It is written, Lev 26:43–EVEN BECAUSE THEY DESPISED MY JUDGMENTS, AND BECAUSE THEIR SOUL ABHORRED (or despised or hated) MY STATUTES (or rules and commandments). You will be tested. Life is one big test to see if you will follow Jesus or not, and if you will, to what degree.

   There will be times when we feel like there is a chain pulling on both our hands, each one pulling us in an opposite direction. We may feel confused, like we are being torn apart. This spiritual battle rages in our thoughts, in our flesh, and in our emotions. We may feel like we are in a pressure cooker. We need to learn to trust in Jesus in all circumstances and also to learn patience. We need to be filled with God’s love for God and for all the brethren in Christ. We need to be willing to even die for one another as Jesus did for us. How can you be willing to die for the brethren, if you haven’t died to yourself first?

   During this huge battle that rages in our thoughts, flesh, and emotions, most people turn away from God and turn back to the ways of this world. Those that turn back and turn away from God, do not understand that they have turned back and are headed to hell, for God allows Satan to dull our understanding. Satan also is allowed to harden such a person’s heart toward being corrected from God’s Word. There are many ways a spiritual person can know positively that a person has turned away from God. Here are a few.
   The person’s fruits and attitude are more like the world than like Jesus.
   The person does not want or seek correction from the person God has put over them.
   The person does not devour God’s Word as they ought.
   The person does not allow God’s Word to change them to become more like Jesus.
   The person accuses others.
   The person does not point a finger at himself.
   The person slackens off in serving God from the way God had called them to do.
   If the person fits any one of these, it is a very strong indicator that he is no longer following Jesus as he ought.

   In like manner, if a person has said they have committed their life to Jesus, yet they are not devouring God’s Word on a daily basis and do not want Godly correction–it is a positive indicator that even though they might be confessing Jesus, they are not following Jesus–ref 1 Pe 2:2.

   Beware, Satan uses your love for a certain religion, your love for certain people or things, your selfish emotions, your desire for money, the lusts of your flesh, your desire for pleasures, your own pride, your craving for more things, your fears, worries, feelings of rejection, your hurts, your anger, and unforgiveness to deceive you and makes you believe the Scriptures do not mean exactly what they say. The world tells you to buy. God tells you to sell. Even as you are hearing or reading this message, everyone of you has thoughts from the devil in your head contradicting some things presented here. And certainly, Satan is working in your thoughts making it more difficult for you to examine yourself personally by God’s Word to see just how wretched a person you are in light of God–s Word. Paul himself said, in Ro 7:24–O WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! WHO SHALL DELIVER ME FROM THE BODY OF THIS DEATH?
   Jeremiah writes in 17:9–THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND DESPERATELY WICKED: WHO CAN KNOW IT?. Rev 12:9 tells us that Satan deceives the whole world.

   As you try to follow Jesus and read your Bible, Satan will stir up things around you and also create distractions to make it difficult to concentrate and grow. Satan knows exactly how to get you involved in situations, because of your not denying yourself. He knows exactly how to get you involved in and distracted by other people’s affairs. What good is it, if you help an unbelieving friend with their situation, but lose your own soul? Time is running out. Jesus is coming back soon. If you are not watching and ready, you shall surely perish. There is no repenting when you are in hell. The Bible warns you most severely to beware, lest that day come upon you unexpectedly. Remember, the world is a place of spiritual darkness, and it will get worse.
   Because some of you that are hearing or reading this are dull of hearing, we need to remind you again of certain things.
   Satan can be expected to get you involved in other things that are not of God. Satan uses your love for relatives, friends, children, babies, and the elderly. It often starts as Satan sets a trap and then you see a need to help. The rest becomes history. You begin to shrink back from God’s calling on your life, and you take on a new calling because of your concern and love. Then as time goes by you become more and more involved. Then spiritual blindness begins to set in. It usually begins very slowly–so slowly, that you do not recognize it. Then a few weeks, months or years later, you have become hardened to any correction from God–as God tries to draw you back to serving Him as you once did, but you’re love for God has dwindled, and your love and concern for those relatives, friends, children, babies, or the elderly have now consumed your life. Such are Satan’s traps. Few people recognize Satan’s traps, even when they are declared to them from an elder through Scripture. The elder can easily recognize the traps you are in, as his emotions are not involved as yours are. When you are being Biblically corrected, does your love for that elder grow dim?

   It is possible that nearly every person in hell, will be able to look back at his life–ref Lk 16:19–31–and remember that God sent people to them. These people may have been sent in person, perhaps through something they read, perhaps through some other means–that showed them the error of their way. Regretfully, they could not be persuaded that they were going in a wrong direction. For ever and ever they will hate God, but God, in His mercy, tried over and over to get them to repent, but they would not.
   It is written: Lk 16:13–NO SERVANT CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS: FOR EITHER HE WILL HATE THE ONE, AND LOVE THE OTHER; OR ELSE HE WILL HOLD TO THE ONE, AND DESPISE THE OTHER. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.
   You cannot serve this world and God.
   You cannot serve your self and God.
   You cannot serve money and God.
   You cannot serve your relatives, friends, children, babies, the elderly, and then try to fit God in somewhere, somehow.
   You are to serve God the way He directs, not the way you direct.
   You are to serve God at the time He directs, not the time you direct.
   You are not to fit serving God into the time you have available.
   Rather you are to fit doing other things into the time God gives you.
   You’re life is to be summed up in one word–Jesus.
   Your life is to be a life of commitment and obedience to Jesus, prompted by faith which works by your love for God and for the brethren.
   Jesus is your Creator.
   Jesus is your Saviour.
   Jesus is to be your God. Is He your God?
   Are you His servant, or do you try to make Him your servant?
   Are you constantly trying to get God to do your will–or are you humbling yourself to do His will?
   What is the number one priority in your life? What Gospel do you follow? Is it the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the gospel of “Me.” Life is a test.
   Your excuses fade into oblivion, if you look at Jesus and His Word truthfully.
   Be grateful if God has given you some work to do for Him, lest you find yourself unemployed by the Lord and employed by the world.
   Be grateful if God has given you some work to do for Him, lest you find yourself fired by the Lord.
   Be grateful if God has given you some work to do for Him, lest you find yourself doing your own works and calling them works for the Lord, but He sent you not–ref Jere 23:32.
   Even if you are called to dump trash for the Lord–thank God that you have a job for Him. Never regard any job God has given you with a negative attitude, lest you be found to be an unthankful servant. And if you be found to be an unthankful servant, or a servant that puts other priorities before God’s calling, you may be found to be a servant that cannot be trusted by God to do His work faithfully. Woe unto you, if this has happened.
   So if you have no job in the Lord, do not waste your precious time, but spend every moment in Bible study and reading, so He may judge you worthy to serve Him rather than serving the world.
   Oh, that you might have ears to hear and become a faithful servant to God, for indeed, your time is short.
   Woe to the person that is found not serving Him when He comes to take His people in the translation, for many shall be found crying out to God, “Open unto us,” but He will tell them that He does not know them.

   You were created to serve God. You will be tested to see if your heart will follow Jesus Christ or the deceiver. Not long after you are born you begin to learn many things. However, you do not need to be taught to lie, or cheat, or be deceitful. You do not need to be taught to be stubborn, rebellious, self–centered, or prideful. These things come naturally. You need to be taught to tell the truth, not to cheat, not to be deceitful, stubborn, rebellious, or self–centered.

   Not long after you are born, your mind begins to be filled with what your parents believe. What they say to you, and how they treat you can affect the rest of your life. If they make you feel unwanted, you may feel rejected the rest of your life. In most cases, if your parents are Catholic, you will believe as a Catholic. If your parents are Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist, or atheist, you will usually believe as they do. When you go to school, your open mind will be influenced by all sorts of things your teachers believe. If your teachers teach you about evolution, sinful lifestyles, sex, abortions, then you will probably accept them as truth and believe they are right. By the time you become a young adult, you will already be filled with all sorts of prejudices and beliefs. You may believe there is no God. You may believe in reincarnation, idols, or just your own self–reliance. If you are a Moslem, you will probably hate the Jews. If you are a Hindu, you may hate the Moslems. If you are from a certain African tribe, you may hate those from another tribe.

   The answer to why Satan was created is this. He was created to do exactly what he is doing. He was created to deceive the angels of heaven, to deceive the people of the whole world, and to deceive you. He has all the power he needs to do so.
   Satan was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty; perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee; thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty–ref Ezek 28:12, 15, 17. And said in thine heart…I will be like the most High–ref Isa 14:13–14. He is also called the prince of the power of the air–ref Eph 2:2, or the ruler of the kingdom of the air–NIV. He is a liar, and the father of it–ref Jn 8:44. Satan is the embodiment of evil–the most crafty, conniving, lying, hateful, deceitful being ever created. He was full of wisdom (or intelligence)–ref Ezek 28:12, beyond any person God has created. He understands man’s hopes, desires, and weaknesses far beyond nearly any person’s comprehension. He is the master of masters at making a person believe right is wrong and wrong is right. He knows how to test and tempt people to do exactly what he wants. He knows how to set up circumstances, even working through other people, to force you to do whatever he desires. You cannot–I repeat, you cannot out–think, out–smart, or out–maneuver him in your own strength. He has the power to bring every imaginable hardship on you, every form of sickness, even everything you dread. And when he does, he knows exactly what thoughts to put in your mind, so you will blame God or other born again Christians. He knows how to set up situations around you, so you never seem to have time to serve God. The devil knows exactly how to force you to turn to the right or to the left–even if you don’t want to.
   Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy–ref Jn 10:10. He has permission to tempt you and to bring calamity–ref Job ch 1 and 2. He has the power to bring sickness, financial disasters, and what seems like hopeless situations on you. He can destroy your peace of mind, destroy your marriage, make your children hate you, make your friends and parents feel estranged from you, have you fired for no apparent reason, and cause you to be in one auto accident after another. Satan can arrange for you to be thrown in jail and found guilty of things you have no knowledge of.
   So what can we do? It is written: Ja 4:7–SUBMIT YOURSELVES THEREFORE TO GOD. RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU. 2 Cor 10:4–(FOR THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE ARE NOT CARNAL, BUT MIGHTY THROUGH GOD TO THE PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS;). Eph 6:11–PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL. Eph 4:27–NEITHER GIVE PLACE TO THE DEVIL.

7–THE SIN OF NOT DENYING YOURSELF.  INTRODUCTION
LIFE IS A TEST

   God commands: Mt 16:24–26–THEN SAID JESUS UNTO HIS DISCIPLES, IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME. FOR WHOSOEVER WILL SAVE HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT: AND WHOSOEVER WILL LOSE HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE SHALL FIND IT. FOR WHAT IS A MAN PROFITED, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL? OR WHAT SHALL A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL?
   Mk 8:34–(Jesus said to His disciples), WHOSOEVER WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.
   Lk 9:23–AND HE SAID TO THEM ALL, IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY, AND FOLLOW ME.
   What desires do you have in your heart and thoughts? Is it some girl? Is it a guy? Is it a possession you want? Is it some place you want to go? Is it something special you want to do?
   On the other hand, is your sin of not denying yourself fully perhaps something you will not do, or some place you refuse to live, or some place you refuse to go? Such people are easy prey for the devil, who has the power to give you whatever you want. As it is written, Mt 4:9–“All these things will I give thee.” Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light. He comes to you like he is God. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He promises in your thoughts to give you what you want, but doesn’t tell you that the “promise” is the bait to lure you to the trap that is ready to spring on the unsuspecting victim. Hell is filling up daily with more and more people that went after the bait, only to find out too late that spiritual death came with it.
   That is why counsel from a spiritual Christian (if you can find one) is needed. His spiritual eyes are open from much study of the Word and through much reason of use. His emotions are not involved in the trap that is about to swallow you up. Many a person has been saved from hell, because of God–fearing, spiritually–minded pastors that gave good counsel. Likewise, many have perished to hell, because they refused to heed the warnings given them. Have you not read: Pv 12:15–THE WAY OF A FOOL IS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES: BUT HE THAT HEARKENETH UNTO COUNSEL IS WISE. PV 8:33–HEAR INSTRUCTION, AND BE WISE, AND REFUSE IT NOT. Seek Godly counsel and advice.

   Once you have tasted of Satan’s deception, which can be very enticing, you already have one foot in the spiritual grave, which is darkness, even though you don’t know it. Why don’t you know it?–because the darkness blinds your eyes. The independent, self’centered, hard to correct person is a prime target for Satan. They are easy, unsuspecting prey.
   Consider the following. If a person is hired to be a security guard for the President, would he take his job lightly?
   A good security guard for the President would do his homework. He would anticipate potential problems. He would look for places where the enemy could attack. He would be sober and vigilant. When he knew the President was going to travel, he would carefully scan the route, looking for any place where trouble might occur. If the President was going to speak, the security guard would know exactly where to look for danger. He could detect a suspicious person in the crowd, even before they could make a move. If he sensed that the President would be in danger, he certainly would advise the President to avoid going there or to curtail his activity. Should the need arise, he is prepared to sacrifice his life to protect the President. Of course, the President would heed his advice, because he is an expert security guard, and he does his job well.
   In the same way, if you have a time–tested, spiritual minister, who has a good understanding of God’s Word, he is a security guard for you, as he watches for your soul. Listen to him. He is watching for your soul. He knows how Satan works. He knows the kind of traps Satan can set for you far better than you might. That is why God put you under his authority and tells you to obey them that have the rule over you–ref Heb 13:17. Your spiritually–minded minister can often see the dangers ahead for you, even though you can’t. As Paul said–He was not ignorant of Satan’s devices–ref 2 Cor 2:11. Paul warned his flock that wolves would move in not sparing the flock–ref Acts 20:29. What Paul said, came to pass. Those that take heed to wise counsel have God’s protection, because they obeyed God and sought Godly advice. Those that do not seek Godly advice, disobey God; thus, they give an opening to the devil to attack them. Many people in heaven are glad they obeyed this command. Many are in hell, because they ignored God’s Word to seek Godly counsel. It is written Gal 6:7–BE NOT DECEIVED. Don’t play the fool and hide things. Pride is a spiritual killer. Disobedience to God’s Word is a spiritual killer.
   If you have such a minister and he warns you of spiritual danger, do not be foolish and ignore him. As the President would not ignore his top security guard, neither should you do so. If you have any spiritual insight at all, be wise and heed the counsel of God’s servants that are over you in the Lord, lest you perish from the way and Satan devour you. Don’t be a fool and follow your emotions and the thoughts you have from Satan that tell you not to seek counsel from your spiritually–minded pastor.
   Whatever your greatest desire is, expect sooner or later for Satan to meet that desire and trap your soul, as you have not repented of selfish desires. If you have a heart for doing anything other than what God gives you–then you are not denying yourself. Is the mind of Christ that you think you have really a mind of self?
   All of us are guilty of not denying ourselves as God commands. Whatever we do not deny ourself of, expect Satan to use it to try and deceive us. Perhaps we want to go to some special place. Perhaps we want some special thing. Perhaps we want to experience something special. Whatever is in our heart, Satan is just waiting for the time when you will be susceptible to his setting up a situation in which you can have your heart’s desire. And of course, Satan will sugar coat it, so it looks like it is God giving you what you want. What Satan does not show you is there is a catch you will not anticipate. That catch is something that will put you on a path that you do not recognize that leads to spiritual death.
   Along with the sin of not denying yourself fully so you become an empty vessel, fit for the Master’s use, Satan will also put inside you a hard heart toward any correction from ANYONE God may send you to warn you of the spiritual trap that awaits you. With your sin of not denying yourself as God commands in something, coupled with a hardness to correction, you are nothing more than a sheep that is ready to be butchered by the devil. This is all a test. Satan has a trap in mind for everyone. Are you going to be his next victim?

8–YOUR CONVERSATION CAN REVEAL YOUR LACK OF DENYING YOURSELF
8B–TYPES OF CONVERSATION

LIFE IS A TEST

   Check your conversation. How much of it is centered on yourself? How much of it is centered on gossip.
   How much is it centered on God’s Word, God’s works, and praising and thanking God?

   The Bible talks of all manner of conversation–ref 1 Pe 1:15.
   The Scriptures talk of the worldly conversation of the unbeliever, the wicked, and other like people. Much of their talking is self–centered conversation or gossip, or boasting, or accusing others.
   The Scriptures also talk of the conversation of the followers of Christ. It is much different. It is conversation that is free of obscenity. It is decent, undefiled, stainless, pure in style, and simple. It is holy, honest, meek, praising and upright.
   Which conversation most fits you, especially when you are around unbelievers?
   An honest answer to this question could give you some insight as to how worldly or holy you are–if you can truthfully examine yourself.
   Many claim they are saved, but their conversation is from group one, which is the unsaved. Such are false Christians. Compare the two groups:

   Unbeliever’s conversation:
   Accusing conversation–ref Rev 12:10
   Boastful conversation–ref Ja 3:5
   Conversation that curses men–ref Ja 3:9,10
   Conversation that is poison (The tongue…full of deadly poison)–ref Ja 3:8
   Conversation that no man can tame–ref Ja 3:8
   Corrupt conversation–ref Eph 4:22
   Covetous conversation–ref Heb 13:5
   Cursing men–Ja 3:9
   Deceitful lusts conversation–ref Eph 4:22
   Earthly conversation–Jn 3:31
   Evil conversation (The tongue is an unruly evil)–ref Ja 4:8
   Evil conversation–ref 1 Pe 1:18, 3 Pe 3:16
   Filthy conversation of the wicked–ref 1 Pe 3:16; 2 Pe 2:7
   Former conversation of the old man–ref Eph 4:22
   Gossiping conversation (NIV)–ref Pv 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, 26:20, 26:22; 2 Cor 12:20
   Lusts of the flesh conversation–ref Eph 2:3
   Lying conversation–ref Ja 3:14 (Lie not against the truth)
   Sinful conversation (The tongue–a world of iniquity)–ref Ja 4:6.
   Vain conversation–ref 1 Pe 1:18
   Worldly conversation–ref 1 Jn 4:5.

   Believers conversation–ref 1 Tim 4:12
   Blessing God conversation–Ja 3:9
   Chaste conversation–conversation free from obscenity, decent, undefiled, stainless, pure in style, simple
   Conversation as it becometh the Gospel–ref Phili 1:27
   Conversation that blesses God–ref Ja 3:9,10
   Good conversation–ref Ja 3:13; 1 Pe 3:16
   Holy conversation–ref 1 Pe 1:15. 2 Pe 3:11
   Honest conversation–ref ref 1 Pe 1:12
   Meekness of wisdom conversation–ref Ja 3:13
   Praising conversation–ref Ps 50:23
   Right conversation–ref Ps 50:23
   Upright conversation–ref Ps 37:14
   Word of God conversation–ref Heb 13:7

   1 Jn 4:5–THEY ARE OF THE WORLD: THEREFORE SPEAK THEY OF THE WORLD, AND THE WORLD HEARETH THEM.

   Ja 3:9–Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
   Jn 3:31–He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
   Eph 2:3–Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
   Phil 3:19–20–Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
   Ja 3:5–Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
   Ps 37:14–The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
   Ps 50:23–Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
   Eph 4:22–That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
   Phili 1:27–Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
   1 Tim 4:12–Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
   Heb 13:5–Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
   Heb 13:7–Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (NIV)
   Ja 3:13–Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
   1 Pe 1:15–But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
   1 Pe 1:18–Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
   1 Pe 2:12–Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
   1 Pe 3:2–While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. The word “chaste” as defined by Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary means: free from obscenity, decent, undefiled, stainless, white snow, pure in style, simple.
   1 Pe 3:16–Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
   2 Pe 2:7–And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.
   2 Pe 3:11–Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.
   As a follower of Jesus, you should speak as Jesus did, not as the world speaks. And if you do not, why don’t you feel convicted by the Holy Spirit that you are not obeying God?
   Have you disregarded God’s correction for so long that you no longer feel convicted by God’s Word that you are doing wrong?

9–NO HOPE.
LIFE IS A TEST

   You may have an illness. You pray and pray and nothing happens. You fast and nothing happens. You do everything possible to try and please God, but your illness remains. Then all of a sudden, after years of anguish, you are healed. Not long after another illness comes on you, even worse than the first. Years go by before you are healed. Not long after you are healed, another, even worse illness may come on you.    You cry out to God, but there is no answer. You carefully examine yourself for some sin you may have done. You cry out to God to show you, but you hear nothing. You repent of everything that comes to your mind, but the sickness which torments you keeps getting worse. You examine your attitude, but no healing takes place. You fast, have others fast and pray, but there is only silence from God. The illness becomes even worse. You cry, you plead to God for help, but there is only silence. You wonder, “Where is God? Why won’t He answer me? What have I done? What can I do to get Him to help me?” You hurt really bad. You cry out to God, "Why are these things happening to me? Why God, won’t You answer in some way?" You think, "Where is God when I really need Him?"
   You may go through what Job went through. He didn’t understand it was all a test. It is easy to praise God when all is going well. But will you praise Him when all is going bad? Would you sing to God, if you were in jail and had just been beaten with 39 stripes, such as Paul?
   There may be things that you go through that, no matter how much you have studied God’s Word, you will not understand God. Yet, no matter what you have to endure, never stop loving God and following Him.

   Consider Job 13:13,15–16’Job said: LET ME ALONE, THAT I MAY SPEAK, AND LET COME ON ME WHAT WILL. THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST IN HIM: BUT I WILL MAINTAIN MINE OWN WAYS BEFORE HIM. HE ALSO SHALL BE MY SALVATION.
   His situation seemed hopeless. He had served God faithfully. He loved God in deed and in truth, but now he was in a hopeless situation and did not understand why. Even his wife told him to curse God and die.
   As we go through various tests, FEAR and HOPELESSNESS are tools that Satan uses. You become fearful, because there seems to be no hope. You become fearful, because you may lose your job, house, or car. Everything seems to be going wrong. Your health fails. Your wife or your husband dies. Your only child gets hit by a car. Under such situations, Satan can fill your thoughts with promises and hope that may persuade you to do most anything, if you think you can somehow get out from under the nightmare you find yourself in.
   Tests can come because of sin to prove your faith genuine, and, in some cases, you may never know why certain tests come. Don’t look at the "now." Look at everything in light of eternity. It is all a test.
   When you say, "Jesus, I will follow You," few ever realize what this really means. It could lead you to being beaten, tortured, and then beheaded.
   What should be our attitude? If I prosper–I will still serve my Lord and my God.
   If I go hungry–yet will I serve Him.
   If I break a hand–I will still serve Him.
   If I am persecuted–I will remain faithful and serve Him.
   No matter what comes–Yet will I serve HIM.
   Life is a test. Whom will you follow?

10–FAITHFULNESS.  DO EXACTLY AS DIRECTED
LIFE IS A TEST

   You may be tested with finances. God may give you certain funds to see if you will be faithful with it for His purpose. If you pass this test, He may trust you with more.
   Your pastor may ask you to go and buy a certain item at a certain place. It is a test. But then you decide to get a similar item at a cheaper price somewhere else. You don’t call your pastor for advice. Even though your intentions were good, you disregarded the instructions. You were not faithful. You heard a thought from Satan and decided to follow that instead. You never realized that if you would have gone to the place you were instructed, perhaps, there was someone there God sent for you to witness to.
   An elder may give you money for a certain purpose. But then something tempts you to use it for something else. You have just disobeyed God. At the Judgment, some will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Some will not.
   You may want to serve God full–time. But whenever you have a chance to serve Him, you seem to find other things to do. If you will not be faithful in something small, neither will you be faithful in something large. Perhaps you are serving God a few hours a week. Then your preacher gives you a chance to do some additional work for the Lord at your home. However, it seems whenever you try to do the work at home, all sorts of things creep up and distract you. So you are unfaithful, but, of course, you don’t see it that way. After all, you have obligations at home. So you put your home obligations first, and whatever time is left may be for the Lord’s work. Perhaps, when you are at home, you try to do the Lord’s work, but neighbors come to visit or you get sick. Few people understand that when they say they will follow Jesus that is exactly what they are to do. Will God now give you more work to do? It was all a test, and you failed. Afterwards, try as you will, no more openings to serve God full time seem to occur. You wonder why. If you won’t be faithful in a little thing for the Lord, do not expect He will give you a bigger thing to do. The work for God is to come FIRST, and it is to be done with an attitude reflecting the fruit of the Spirit, not with murmuring and complaining. It is all a test. When you follow Jesus, you have need of patience. What is happening to you is in accordance with God’s Word; although, if you have not denied yourself, it may not be according to your desires.
   Have you not read: Lk 9:59–62–Jesus said: FOLLOW ME. BUT HE SAID, LORD, SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO AND BURY MY FATHER. JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD: BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There is nothing more important than obeying God, not even burying your father. AND ANOTHER ALSO SAID, LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE; BUT LET ME FIRST GO BID THEM FAREWELL, WHICH ARE AT HOME AT MY HOUSE. AND JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There is nothing more important than obeying God and trusting God to take care of whatever happens.
   You may have a one time chance to serve God full–time. However, it may require you to live in a place you do not want to live. So, because you have not denied yourself and become an empty vessel, totally submitted to God, you miss out. It was another test, and you failed, because your heart will not totally submit itself to God’s leading. God wants you to surrender control your life to Him. However, few people will allow God to reign over them in all aspects of their life. There are very few spiritual Christians in this world today.

   Satan’s hypnotic powers are so vast that he can make people kill the children of God and think that they are doing God’s will–ref Jn 16:2. He can make a person believe a situation is so hopeless that they commit suicide, never realizing that right after they do, they will be in a far worse situation–hell.

   He knows how to make a person believe God’s Word means something other than what is clearly stated, ie, Adam and Eve. It may be that not one person in the history of the world that is now in hell (billions of them) ever believed they would be there. He is able to deceive most preachers so that they will say at a person’s funeral that this person is now in heaven or in a better place, when clearly the person had not committed their life to denying self, picking up their cross and following Jesus.
    The only hope any person has is to completely surrender by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ and obey God’s Word. Anything short of this can mean spiritual disaster.

   As a result of this, the COURSE OF THIS WORLD walks ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT THAT (IS NOW AT WORK IN THOSE WHO ARE DISOBEDIENT–NIV). Thus, before a person gets saved, they have their CONVERSATION…IN THE LUSTS OF (their) FLESH, FULFILLING THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND; (or GRATIFYING THE CRAVINGS OF {their) SINFUL NATURE AND FOLLOWING ITS DESIRES AND THOUGHTS. Before a person is saved, (they are) BY NATURE THE CHILDREN OF WRATH, EVEN AS OTHERS–ref Eph 2:2,3. All are dead in their sins–ref Eph 1:1.

   Thus, what was said previously needs to be said again. You were created to be tested to see if your heart will follow Jesus Christ or if it will follow the deceiver. If you will not receive God’s Word as truth, as it applies to you, then it is most likely that your eternal destination will be the lake of fire.

   It is written, Hos 4:6–MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: BECAUSE THOU HAST REJECTED KNOWLEDGE, I WILL ALSO REJECT THEE.

11–LIFE IS A TEST.  NOTE GOD’S WORD
LIFE IS A TEST

   There are numerous examples of how people were tested in the Bible. There is a spiritual war going on inside each of us.
   Mankind was created for God’s purpose. There are many purposes listed in the Scriptures. Here are three:
   1–to glorify, worship, praise, and obey Him.
   2–to be transformed and then conformed to the image of Jesus.
   3–to do the works God has prepared for you to do–when, where and in the manner God has ordained–ref Eph 2:10.
   As a person follows Jesus, it seems Satan is constantly trying to get a person not to glorify God, not to be converted and transformed, and not to serve God, or to seemingly serve God in a way other than what God has ordained.
   Satan knows every person–s weakness. He knows how to tempt each person with every ungodly thing that is in their heart.
   Does a person feel rejected? Satan knows how to magnify that so it makes a person ineffective and unproductive in God’s plan.
   Is a person independent? Satan knows how to use this to make a person ineffective and unproductive in God’s plan.
   Does a person want their own ministry? Satan knows how to use that desire to pull a person away from where God has called him to be. Satan knows how to make a person ineffective and unproductive in God’s plan.    Does a person feel, the work God has given him to do is of little use and is a waste of time? Satan knows how to use it to deceive a person.
   And does a person despise authority? Does he shy away from Godly counsel? This person has little hope of being transformed to be as Christ would have him be.
   God’s prescription to this is to deny oneself. A person needs to empty themselves completely and pick up their Bible and fill themselves with the knowledge of God. And as they learn more of Jesus, they need to allow God to conform them to be more and more like Jesus in their thinking, in their attitude, and in what they do.
   Pride must be destroyed in a person. Self–reliance in a person must be destroyed. It is all a test. Life is a test to see if you will follow God, God’s way.
   The first and most important thing for every born again person is to get into God’s Word. Read, and read, and read. This is the foundation. This is the rock. A person that starts their walk with Jesus with only a little Bible reading and lots of excuses, will, in all probability, never mature into a spiritual Christian that has the fruits of Jesus. Few people understand their eternal destination is at stake. Forever and forever in the lake of fire lies ahead for nearly all of humanity. How terrified you can expect to feel, as you stand before God at the Judgment. How insignificant all those worldly things you craved will seem when you are about to be cast into the lake of fire. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints. Fear God, and depart from evil. Following Jesus is not some little game you can afford to lose. If you have been called to follow Jesus, do everything you can to make your election sure. Be faithful, even unto death, so you may be chosen.
   The Bible is your text book. It is life, and it is the number one place Satan attacks. If you are not reading and studying your Bible daily, spending much time in it, then Satan appears to be successful in deceiving you. If you say, “I am just not that interested in reading God’s Word.” Then this applies to you. 1 Pe 2:2,3–AS NEWBORN BABES, DESIRE (or crave) THE SINCERE (or pure spiritual) MILK OF THE WORD, (so) THAT YE MAY GROW (up) THEREBY (in your salvation): IF SO BE YE HAVE TASTED THAT THE LORD IS GRACIOUS (or good).
   God’s Word is telling you that if you are really born again, you will have the same desire as a baby has, the same craving that a baby has for milk, except your craving will be to devour God’s Word. That milk of God’s Word will enable you to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and in faith, and ultimately, your mind should develop through God’s Word and by reason of use, so that you think, do and behave more and more like Jesus; and at the same time, your thirst for this world and the things of this world should grow less and less important.

   David was tested. To illustrate through God’s Word, how easily everyone can be deceived, take note of David. He was a man after God’s own heart–ref Acts 13:22; 1 Sam 13:13, yet he became deceived and followed the desires of his own heart. He delighted in having the people of Israel and Judah numbered and thereby greatly sinned–ref 2 Sam 24:1–25. Then he sinned even more by refusing to receive correction from Joab–ref 2 Sam 24:3. Afterward David admitted he sinned and had done foolishly, ref verse 10, but it was too late. As a result, 70,000 men died by a plague–ref verse 15. After this David admitted he had done wickedly–ref verse 17.
    David saw a beautiful woman, named Bathsheba–ref 2 Sam 11:2, that was married and laid with her. She became pregnant. Then he conceived a plan to have her husband killed–ref 2 Sam 11:15, and afterward took her to be his wife. David despised the commandment of the Lord–ref 2 Sam 12:9.

12–ADAM AND EVE WERE TESTED
LIFE IS A TEST

   Adam was tested. God created man and then the woman. Gen 2:16,17–AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN, SAYING, OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN THOU MAYEST FREELY EAT: BUT OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, THOU SHALT NOT EAT OF IT: FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE. Then the serpent (also known as Satan) tempts the woman. Satan often mixes some truth with lies to make it sound right. He stirs up our emotions, our worldly desires, our curiosity. Satan understands the hearts of men–ref Mt 16:23.
   Gen 3:1–7–YEA, HATH GOD SAID. Satan asks a question to try and cast doubt in Eve’s mind. Satan wants to cause confusion in our mind. At this point, the woman should have turned away, but she made a big mistake. She entered into a dialogue with Satan. Satan is wiser and more crafty than any human–ref Gen 3:1. Satan said, Hath God said, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN? AND THE WOMAN SAID UNTO THE SERPENT, WE MAY EAT OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREES OF THE GARDEN: BUT OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN, GOD HATH SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF IT, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, LEST YE DIE. God did not say NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT. Thus, she was becoming confused. AND THE SERPENT SAID UNTO THE WOMAN, YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE. Satan now contradicts God’s Word, just as he does in many churches and in many people’s thoughts. Satan needed to eliminate the fear of God’s judgment–that they would die–which God had warned of. Satan did this with these words. He does the same today, as people think they can sin and do their own will, and yet it will all turn out all right. Hell is filling up daily with people who thought they could disobey God, and who thought there was no God, or thought there was some other way to be get to heaven. Satan continues by saying: FOR GOD DOTH KNOW THAT IN THE DAY YE EAT THEREOF, THEN YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED, AND YE SHALL BE AS GODS, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL. Satan uses her curiosity. She must have wondered what it would be like to have her eyes opened, and what it would be like to be as a god, knowing good and evil. Satan goes on to tempt her by using her lust for food. AND WHEN THE WOMAN SAW THAT THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD, AND THAT IT WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES, AND A TREE TO BE DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE, SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT,
   Earlier Adam had been tempted by the devil in some way it appears, but it had not worked, as it is written: 1 Tim 2:13,14–For Adam was first formed, then Eve. AND ADAM WAS NOT DECEIVED, BUT THE WOMAN BEING DECEIVED WAS IN THE TRANSGRESSION. Satan now gets Eve to eat of the fruit, and then uses Eve to tempt Adam. This worked. AND (she) GAVE ALSO UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER; AND HE DID EAT. AND THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED, AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES TOGETHER, AND MADE THEMSELVES APRONS. Ultimately, they died just as God had said. From that time to now, this sin nature has passed on to every person. As was said previously, no one has to teach a child to lie. It comes naturally.
   So what did Adam do when God confronted him? He made an excuse and blamed the woman. What did the woman do? She blamed the devil. They should have immediately fallen down before God, confessed their sin, and humbly asked God for His forgiveness. They did not. They would not admit the truth. They now had the sin nature, and their fellowship with God was broken.
   If Satan could deceive Adam and Eve, he can deceive you in your thinking.

   Then there were the 600,000 men plus women and children wandering in the wilderness. They had seen God’s miracles in Egypt. Then after all the firstborn of Egypt had been killed, the Egyptians thrust them out. Moses went up a mountain and while he was gone, they made a golden calf. Then they said, THESE BE THY GODS, O ISRAEL, WHICH BROUGHT THEE UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT–Ex 32:4. Incredible! The golden calf did not even exist until they made it. How then could they think that something they had just made brought them out of Egypt? The power of Satan to put lies in our mind and cause us to believe the lies are true is incredible. If Satan could deceive these people, who had personally witnessed the power of God’s judgments against the Egyptians, he can also deceive you. For 40 years, the children of Israel were tested in about every way imaginable. They murmured. They complained. Most failed the test. These are examples for us. As they were tested, so all of us can expect to be tested.

   Are you as wise as Solomon? No, you are not. Solomon followed God, yet as time progressed, he turned aside. As Satan used a woman to deceive Adam, so Satan used many women to deceive Solomon. 1 King 11:6–11–AND SOLOMON DID EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, AND WENT NOT FULLY AFTER THE LORD, AS DID DAVID HIS FATHER. THEN DID SOLOMON BUILD AN HIGH PLACE FOR CHEMOSH, THE ABOMINATION OF MOAB, IN THE HILL THAT IS BEFORE JERUSALEM, AND FOR MOLECH, THE ABOMINATION OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON. AND LIKEWISE DID HE FOR ALL HIS STRANGE WIVES, WHICH BURNT INCENSE AND SACRIFICED UNTO THEIR GODS. AND THE LORD WAS ANGRY WITH SOLOMON, BECAUSE HIS HEART WAS TURNED FROM THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, WHICH HAD APPEARED UNTO HIM TWICE, AND HAD COMMANDED HIM CONCERNING THIS THING, THAT HE SHOULD NOT GO AFTER OTHER GODS: BUT HE KEPT NOT THAT WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED. WHEREFORE THE LORD SAID UNTO SOLOMON, FORASMUCH AS THIS IS DONE OF THEE, AND THOU HAST NOT KEPT MY COVENANT AND MY STATUTES, WHICH I HAVE COMMANDED THEE, I WILL SURELY REND THE KINGDOM FROM THEE, AND WILL GIVE IT TO THY SERVANT. If Satan can deceive Solomon who was far wiser than you are, he can also deceive you.
   If you will humble yourself before God and place your trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, and Him alone, if you believe and obey all of God’s Word, if you will walk before God with a pure heart, if you will fear God as the Bible tells you to do, and put aside accusations against others and put aside excuses, and put on Godly love for all the brethren, then you can have confidence that you will dwell with Jesus Christ forever and ever.
If you would say to this, “It sounds like only a few will enter heaven,” I would say to you, that the Bible says that only a few find it–ref Mt 7:14.

   Those that have even a fleeting thought that Satan cannot deceive them in their thoughts are already deceived. Those that are not childlike toward correction have no hope of ever entering the Kingdom of heaven. Those that despise counsel from those God places over them, may think they will go to heaven, but when the time comes they will be terribly surprised. There is a chain of command in God’s Word that is to be followed.

   Before you come to Christ you go through a great struggle. There is a war in your mind. You are filled with all sorts of wrong thinking from your past and from what you have been taught. Then you hear God’s Word and your heart must choose what you will believe. Most will not believe God’s Word as it is written, or they will choose to believe a watered–down or distorted version of God’s Word, as put forth by preachers that look like they are of God but are not.
   For those that choose to believe God’s pure Word, once they receive the Christ of the Bible as their Lord and Saviour, then the testing picks up.

13–READ YOUR BIBLE.  TEST 1
13B (The Foundation–Building on the Rock or Building on the Sand)

LIFE IS A TEST

   Number one. From the first day that God places in you a thirst for His Word, you need to begin to read His Word, not books about His Word. No matter what distractions occur, no matter what obstacles happen, no matter how much people get mad at you–read God’s Word. The first week, the first month, the first year, the first few years will set the example you will probably follow for the rest of your life. Over and over, God’s Word tells us and indicates to us to hear, read, study, and memorize God’s Word. Hide God’s Word in your heart. Study to show thyself approved unto God. We are not only to fill ourselves with God’s Word, but we are to do God’s Word and allow the Word to change us to become more and more like Jesus.
   Two people come to Jesus at the same time. They both live under the same circumstances. The first reads God’s Word, a chapter or two a day. The other reads the whole New Testament 3 times, and then the whole Bible, all in 3 months. At the end of a year, the first is a sick Christian, barely hanging on. He still has a very worldly attitude and does not understand very much about obeying God. He justified what he did with all sorts of excuses. The other has grown greatly in faith and knowledge. He now fears God. He serves God, as God calls him to do so. But above all, he keeps reading and reading God’s Word. God can use this second person in a far greater way than he can the lukewarm Christian. The first Christian will be like a wave the rest of his life, with an attitude that is very worldly. The first Christian will think he understands God, but he really understands very little. The second has developed a spiritual mind. His mind has been reprogrammed. When others were listening to music, to the television, to the radio, to all sorts of lukewarm preachers, or reading newspapers, and all sorts of so–called books about the Bible, the second person used all his time he could to simply read and study one book–the Bible. The first person always seem to get involved in whatever happened around him, strife among family members, problems family members had or relatives, while the second person did not. It is obvious that the first person did not love God (the Word) nearly as much as the second person, who obeyed what God’s Word said. Jesus tells you to LEARN OF ME.
   Heb 12:1–4–WHEREFORE SEEING WE ALSO ARE COMPASSED (or surrounded) ABOUT WITH SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES,
   LET US LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, (or every obstacle),
   AND THE SIN WHICH DOTH SO EASILY BESET US,
   AND LET US RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US,
   LOOKING UNTO JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH;
   WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME,
   AND IS SET DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.
   FOR CONSIDER HIM THAT ENDURED SUCH CONTRADICTION OF SINNERS AGAINST HIMSELF,
   LEST YE BE WEARIED
   AND FAINT IN YOUR MINDS.
   YE HAVE NOT YET RESISTED UNTO BLOOD, STRIVING AGAINST SIN.
   Note, God’s commands. As you begin to follow Jesus, command number one is–
   to lay aside every weight or obstacle–everything that may hinder you in any way from following Jesus which is running the race that God has prepared for you to do.
   When you get ready to study God’s Word–turn off the phone. Lock your door. Turn off the door bell. Go hide somewhere. Get your mind off the house cleaning you need to do, the mirror that needs to be straightened, the phone call you need to make, the shopping list you need to write. If you allow Satan to use distractions to hinder you, you are not wise.
   Lay aside (or throw off) every sin. Repent. He then tells us that sin can so easily entangle and overcome us.    Then He tells us to run the race that God has set for us (or follow Jesus) with patience or perseverance.
   Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, not on situations. The world looks at situations. Christians are to trust in Jesus, Who is both the Author and perfector of our faith.
   The race Jesus ran, included being tempted in all ways and ultimately, the cross, but now Jesus has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
   The verse tells us to consider Jesus, Who endured such opposition from sinful men that came against Him, including the cross.

   Regretfully, many people that begin following Jesus try to change the race course God set up for them. They try to set up their own race course, and they leave God’s race to follow one they make themselves. When this happens, they are usually so blinded by Satan that they actually believe the race they are following is still God’s race, when it is in really another race.

   It is all a test. When the test is finished, God will know your heart. Your eternity is at stake, as well as your rewards or lack of rewards. When the Judgment comes, all your petty excuses you make now will seem like nothing, as you stand before the throne of God Almighty.

   If you are saved, your body is the temple of God. It is written: 1 Cor 3:16–18–KNOW YE NOT THAT YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, AND THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLETH IN YOU? IF ANY MAN DEFILE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, HIM SHALL GOD DESTROY; FOR THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE. LET NO MAN DECEIVE HIMSELF. When you come to Jesus in repentance, you begin to build your house. If you build it upon God’s Word, you should be building it on the Rock. If you build it on anything else, on excuses, on other things, you are building it on the sand. When distractions, problems, persecutions, and hardships come, your house will surely fall, because it is not built upon a rock.

14–LET GOD’S WORD CHANGE YOU.  TEST 2
LIFE IS A TEST

   The Pharisees, the scribes, the Herodians, the Sadducees all studied God’s Word, but they did not allow the Word to change them. They did not conform to the image of Christ. They perished. A lack of denying our self is one reason we don’t change. Satan will put obstacle after obstacle in your path to slow down your spiritual growth and sow doubt in your thinking. All that believe in heaven may want to go there, but it is a Biblical fact that only a very few do.
   Many do not believe in a literal hell, yet there are billions of people right now that are there. The rich man of Lk chapter 16 is there, as are many other people listed in the Bible. If you harden yourself against changing, if you come kicking and screaming as God tries to change you, then you are not wise. Eternity is more than trillions of time longer than the short time you have on this earth. How senseless it is to live for yourself now, but lose your own soul. It is better to suffer now, for a little time, and gain Christ. You should have a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and for Christ that is unquenchable. God can fill that hunger and thirst with the milk and meat of His Word. Do not just hear God’s Word, but be ye a doer of the Word. Surrender yourself totally to Jesus.

15–VARIOUS TYPES OF TESTS.
LIFE IS A TEST

   The Scriptures give many verses that reveal our life is all a test:

   Some tests are from God to strengthen you.
   Some tests are to test your faith.
   Some tests are to teach you certain things.
   Some tests are to help you change to become more like Jesus.
   Some tests are so God would know what is in your heart.
   Some tests are for correction.
   Some tests are to discipline.
   Some tests are to see if you will obey God.
   Some tests are to cause you to walk in God’s ways.
   Some tests are to cause you to fear God.
   Some tests are so God can do good for you at the end.

   Some tests are from Satan to try to cause you to fall.
   Some tests are from Satan, as you have given a place for the devil to attack you because of sin.

   These tests fall into various categories and may include:
   wrong thinking
   pleasures
   trials
   temptations
   lusts of this world
   lusts of the flesh
   riches
   cares of this life
   various problems
   personal hurts
   thorn in the flesh
   rejection
   hurts, both physical and mental
   fears

16–BLINDNESS UPON BOTH THE UNSAVED AND SAVED.
LIFE IS A TEST

   Jesus tells us clearly that He spoke in parables so that some might understand what He said, while others would not understand. When people hear God’s Word, there may be different reactions according to what kind of a heart the person has.
   The first person hears the Word of God. Afterward, he goes away and forgets what he heard. In some cases, this person may mock what he heard or even get very angry that the preacher would be allowed to speak God’s Word, which offended him. He may or may not get saved later on. Perhaps, it was not the time God had appointed for the person to get saved.
   A second person hears the same Word of God. Afterward, they go away, but may come back later to hear more. This person may or may not get saved later on.
   The last person hears God’s Word and immediately forsakes everything and follows Jesus. They will not allow their family, their job, their debts, or anything to stop them.

17–THE HEART
LIFE IS A TEST

   There are many different kinds of hearts in the Bible. One is a wayside heart. These reject God’s Word. Their heart is so full of themselves and of the world that there is no place for God’s Word. It is like trying to put more drink into an overflowing glass. It is like trying to make grass grow where there is no good soil. Satan is able to take the Word out of their heart. Satan is able to make them think the Word does not mean what it says. He is able to distort the Word of God in their mind, so this person thinks right is wrong and wrong is right. This person’s ways are right in their own eyes. Even if one rose from the dead and stood before them, they would not repent, because they cannot understand. When it comes to the Word of God, these are uncorrectable. No one can come to God unless He draws them. No one can understand God’s Word correctly, unless God gives them understanding. They think they understand, but their understanding is darkened. Neither can they understand this. Life is a test.

   A second person gets saved. Some of these will have a stony heart. Then several things may transpire. These receive God’s Word, but afterward afflictions, persecutions, various trials, threats, and problems arise. Immense pressures of various kind hit them. Their friends begin to hate them. Their wife and children begin to despise them. Their relatives turn away from them. Sickness comes on them. Their employer becomes angry with them. A loved one dies. It is like they are in the midst of a violent storm with thunder and lightning and heavy rain, or overwhelmed by an earthquake or flood. Under these intense pressures, these fall away. Their mind forgets what sort of a person they were when they were saved. They still believe they will go to heaven, even though their trust, their fruit, and their love testify they will not. Some of these may still do works that make them look like they are saved, but inside, they are spiritually dead. When their pastor tries to correct them, they are spiritually dead. They are unable to understand from God’s Word they are wrong and need to repent. Such people have difficulty examining themselves accurately by God’s Word, when these pressures begin to arise. Life is a test.

   Others that get saved will have a thorny heart. These also receive God’s Word, repent and ask Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour. These get baptized Scripturally. However, as time goes on, the cares of this world slam against them, the deceitfulness of riches entice them, the lusts of their flesh and for other things hit them, or the pleasures of this life surround them. These also fall away. In other words, the heavy rains fell, the winds blew violently, and the floods raged and beat against them. These may have been fruitful, but now have become unfruitful. Their mind forgets what sort of person they were when they were saved. These still believe they will go to heaven, even though their trust, their fruit, and their love testify that they will not. Some of these may still do works that make them look like they are saved, but inside, they are spiritually dead, spiritually uncorrectable. When their pastor tries to show them the error of their ways, these cannot receive it or understand it. They may accuse the very person God sent to help them. They will not take hold of the lifeline of correction, even because they cannot. These believe they are right and the correction is wrong, thus they cannot repent. Such people have difficulty examining themselves accurately by God’s Word.

   Of those that get saved, a few may have a good or good and honest heart. These receive God’s Word. They can be expected to immediately jump with both feet into God’s Word. They want God’s Word as a newborn baby craves milk. These do not fall away, but bear fruit that remains, some 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some 100 fold. These do not bury the talent God gives them. These do not forget God’s Word. They can be corrected. They put aside excuses. They become more humble. They become less and less self–centered. They die more and more to themselves daily. They become softer and softer to correction. They cast down wrong thinking. They keep their mind and heart fixed on Jesus, despite the violent storms that come. As time passes, these become more and more like Jesus in both the fruit of their work and the fruit of their attitude. They become more and more a servant. They come to understand the tests they are going through. By reason of use, they grow from using milk (basic doctrines of God’s Word) to full age and receive the meat of God’s Word, which is perfection. Those that use the meat of God’s Word can understand spiritually where others are by their fruit. They can correct others and help others that have started to backslide. These often receive the brunt of Satan’s wrath, as it is written: Mt 26:31…I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad (ref Mk 14:27). These withstood the torrents of rain, wind storms and the huge floods. The world hated them. They lost friends, relatives, even everything, but they gained Christ. They forsook everything, even denying themselves, but they laid up rewards in heaven. As the end approaches, these are considered but a piece of dirt in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of God, they are precious and holy.
   These were troubled on every side, were perplexed, persecuted, cast down, and bore in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Death worked in them. They were afflicted. Yet they were not distressed, not in despair, not forsaken, and not destroyed. The life of Jesus was made manifest in them. They fainted not, and their inward man was renewed day by day. They did not look at the things which are seen, but at those things that are not seen, which are eternal–ref 2 Cor 4:8–18.
   As the end comes for God’s few chosen and faithful children, who trusted in Jesus Christ to the end, the number of those that inherit eternal life are few–very few. Will you be among them? Life is a test.

18–BACKSLIDDEN PEOPLE
LIFE IS A TEST

   Note: Once a person who was spiritually alive in Christ backslides, falls, and spiritually dies, they seldom return from the blindness that has overtaken them–only a few do, by God’s mercy. The backslidden person seldom recognizes they have fallen. As they slide backward, it is as if their memory of where they were in Christ is distorted. They usually see no difference between their present state and how they were when they were in Christ. As it is written: Ja 1:23,24–FOR IF ANY BE A HEARER OF THE WORD, AND NOT A DOER, HE IS LIKE UNTO A MAN BEHOLDING HIS NATURAL FACE IN A GLASS: FOR HE BEHOLDETH HIMSELF, AND GOETH HIS WAY, AND STRAIGHTWAY FORGETTETH WHAT MANNER OF MAN HE WAS.
   There are many signs that a person has backslidden. Here are just a few.
   The fruit of their work decreases or changes. In other words, they serve God less. Their service for God shrinks. In some cases, they may still serve God, but the backslider leaves the place of service that God ordained for him and “serves” God according to the dictates of his own emotions and thoughts.
   The backslidden person sometimes makes excuses why he cannot serve God. He may use excuses like he doesn’t have enough time, little opportunity, his health is bad, or numerous others.
   The backslidden person will no longer receive correction like a little child.
   The backslidden person has accusing thoughts against his preacher, or elders, or a brother or sister in Christ.
   The fruits of the Spirit of God begin to decrease.
   The backslidden person’s love toward the brethren becomes an outward show and not from their heart. We are to serve one another in love–ref Gal 5:13.
   The backslidden person begins to do less and less fellowshipping with the brethren that are spiritually–minded. They may choose to fellowship with carnal Christians or unbelievers that look like believers, or other fallen Christians, or even the lost.
   God tries to deal with the backslidden person to bring them to repentance. Sickness or physical disabilities may come on them. Various kinds of trials or hardships may come to try to get them to repent. God may send their pastor to try and throw a lifeline to them. It is much harder to climb up a hill than it is to climb down. It takes much more time to grow in the Lord than to backslide. A person can fall far faster than they can climb up spiritually. Once a person has backslidden, if they are able to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, they are open to being easily snared again. It is written: 2 Tim 2:24–26–AND THE SERVANT OF THE LORD MUST NOT STRIVE; BUT BE GENTLE UNTO ALL MEN, APT TO TEACH, PATIENT, IN MEEKNESS INSTRUCTING THOSE THAT OPPOSE THEMSELVES; IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE TO THE ACKNOWLEDGING OF THE TRUTH; AND THAT THEY MAY RECOVER THEMSELVES OUT OF THE SNARE OF THE DEVIL, WHO ARE TAKEN CAPTIVE BY HIM AT HIS WILL. Falling can occur through wrong thinking, which is put in a person’s mind from the devil. Then the fallen person’s heart agrees with the wrong thinking. Life is a test. Again, it needs to be emphasized, if a fallen person closes the door to God’s correction, as 2 Tim 2:24–26 states, then the chances of him ever recovering from this spiritual blindness are slim.
   Life is a test. If you are at home, you are being tested. If you are at work, you are being tested. At all times, even in all places, expect there to be tests. The more you can recognize the tests, trust in Jesus no matter what befalls you, and love all the brethren, the better the chance you will have to survive and ultimately overcome the world, which is through trusting in Jesus, by faith which works by love–ref Gal 5:6. The falling away from Jesus and Biblical truth, from the absolute authority of God’s Word continues to grow in this world, as the ways of this world continue to degenerate at an increasing rate–ref 2 Thes 2:3.
   Pressure is a part of life. For both the unsaved and saved, there are pressures, hurts, rejections. There are times of great joy and times of despair. God’s Word says: Jer 48:10,11–CURSED BE HE THAT DOETH THE WORK OF THE LORD DECEITFULLY… MOAB HATH BEEN AT EASE FROM HIS YOUTH,…AND HATH NOT BEEN EMPTIED FROM VESSEL TO VESSEL, NEITHER HATH HE GONE INTO CAPTIVITY: THEREFORE HIS TASTE REMAINED IN HIM, AND HIS SCENT IS NOT CHANGED. As a person follows Jesus, they must allow themselves to be conformed to the image of Christ, to be tried and purified, as wine is poured from vessel to vessel to purge the dross. They must go through various trials, problems, storms. They must be tempted in many ways. They must learn to obey the Gospel. They must learn to persevere and trust in Jesus in all circumstances. They must stop accusing the brethren. Most accusations people have against the brethren are actually lies from the devil, but their heart chooses to believe these lies. Oftentimes a person that has a wrong attitude or is doing something contrary to the Word may be corrected by their pastor. They become offended and harbor wrong thoughts toward their pastor, who gave them good counsel from the Bible. Because they are not humble and their understanding and spiritual discernment is shallow, they don’t see it that way. So they don’t receive the correction. They came to Jesus, grew a little, but then fell away. Their taste remained. They did not deny themselves as they ought. They go their way and do not change. Then, one day they die and awake in hell, as the rich man did. Now they realize they were wrong, but it is too late.

   It is written, Pv 1:5–7–A WISE MAN WILL HEAR,…AND A MAN OF UNDERSTANDING SHALL ATTAIN UNTO WISE COUNSELS: THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE: BUT FOOLS DESPISE WISDOM AND INSTRUCTION. Fools despise correction. Fools do not seek out Biblical advice, because it may tell them they are wrong, and the personal desires they have, have not been repented of. They are self–centered and prideful. Their own ways are right according to their understanding. Note God’s Word. Paraphrased, it tells us that a wise person will seek out Biblical advice from those that are spiritually–minded. That needs repeating. A wise person will seek out Biblical advice from those that are spiritually–minded. It also shows us that a fool will not. Another trick of the devil is this. A person wants Biblical counsel. However, they don’t want it from the person God puts over them. So they go to someone else for advice and give them a distorted, one–sided view of their situation, leaving out many details. The advice they receive is equally distorted. Since they only wanted advice that says what their itching ears wanted to ear, God may allow them to be given wrong counsel. The counsel they should receive is to go to the one God put over them. It is all a test.

   Can you grasp the following? Can you understand what is about to be said? The degree to which you love correction reveals the degree to which you love God and His Word. God’s Word is profitable for correction–ref 2 Tim 3:16. God’s Word is for correcting–ref NIV. God is the Word–ref Jn 1:1. Thus, correction from God’s Word is God’s way of dealing with us. Reproofs (correction) of instruction are the way of life–Pv 6:23. How much do you love to be corrected according to the Word? Is your love for God merely based on an emotion or feeling of love, rather than sound love as evidenced by obeying His Word?

   We are on the subject of backsliders and life is a test.

   Let’s review a bit. Blindness may begin when a person is experiencing some pressure in their life. Perhaps, it is a problem with their wife or husband. Perhaps, it is with relatives, their job, someone’s opinion of them or any number of things. The person is feeling a bit down or depressed. Or perhaps it is a beautiful day–whatever. Then a thought appears in a person’s mind. It’s just a thought. Perhaps, it is a thought that you are no good. All you do is worthless. Everything is turning out wrong. Problems are getting worse and worse. The problem you are really having is that you are listening to Satan’s voice, and the thought you have received is in harmony with what your heart believes. So now you sin. You are under commandment from God to obey the following:

   2 Cor 10:4–7–For the weapons of our warfare are (not of this world)…They are mighty–through God–to the pulling down of strongholds;) These have divine power to demolish strongholds. The stronghold that Satan has over you is the thought that he has put in your mind that your heart agrees with. The fight that is taking place–is in us, in our thinking–in our thoughts. We are to cast down these thoughts–these imaginations–and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. We are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Then we see the words–when your obedience is fulfilled. If you will not obey God’s Word in this matter, then you can be expected to just keep dwelling on the wrong thought. And as you dwell on the wrong thought your attitude changes. People begin to look at you and say to themselves, “What is wrong with him today?” The answer to this is that you are listening to the devil and are sinning, because you will not cast down the wrong thinking you are having. You are listening to the devil’s voice and not looking at Jesus. You refuse, through deceit, to understand that Satan has a stronghold in your life. It is a stronghold that you have not repented of. You are not denying yourself. You are feeling sorry for yourself. You feel depressed. You feel cast down. You feel rejected.
   We are not to look on things after the outward appearance.
   We are to demolish wrong thinking. We are to destroy every thought that sets itself against the knowledge of God. We are to make every thought obedient to Christ (ref NIV). We are to obey this–God’s Word. We are not to look on the surface of things, but we are to be confident in Christ. If we refuse to obey God’s Word in this area, we are sinning. Therefore, Satan’s stronghold in this matter can get worse and worse, because we have given a place for the devil to attack us–ref Eph 4:27.

   Ultimately, if we keep refusing to obey God–that is, we refuse to recognize that this thought is from Satan and that we need to cast it down and demolish it, then we begin to backslide. Slowly, over time, we get worse and worse. The wrong thinking begins to dominate our thinking. We keep listening to the devil, rather than obeying God’s Word. Make no mistake. Every person that has fallen away from God, has fallen because there is some portion of God’s Word they will not obey. It is because of sin in some area of their life. Not obeying God’s Word is sin.
   We need to look at ourselves in light of God’s Word–not in light of our past, not in light of our circumstances or the thoughts Satan puts in our mind, sometimes minute by minute.
   In such cases, we do not need to spend more and more time in God’s Word. This is not the answer. The answer is, we need to obey the Word of God that we already know. Cast down the lying imaginations you are receiving from Satan. Demolish the stronghold that Satan has in your thoughts, which your lying heart wants to agree with. Stop dwelling on wrong thinking and start looking to Jesus. Start obeying God. Stop embracing the lying thoughts Satan is putting in your mind.
   Learn to be more thankful, no matter what the situation. Look on Jesus as an example. Look at Paul, what he went through. Each of us needs to learn to recognize a wrong thought from Satan. Compare your thoughts with God’s Word.

   Suppose two people are given a certain job. The work they are doing appears to be a failure. Afterwards, their employer compliments both of them for their effort. The one goes away depressed, the other praises God. Which person was listening to Satan’s voice, and which was listening to God’s voice? The answer–the one that praised God was listening to God’s voice.

   Suppose two people are given a certain job to assist other brethren in Christ. The job requires using their own equipment. The one person complains, because he is concerned about possible wear and tear to his personal equipment. The other person praises Jesus for the opportunity to serve his fellow saints in Christ. Which of the two listened to God’s voice, and which was listening to the devil’s voice? The person that complained was the one listening to the devil’s voice. The one that was praising Jesus for the opportunity to serve was the one following Jesus. Which best fits you?

   The Bible clearly tells us to serve one another in love. And even if that is to our own hurt, we should praise God. Those that often complain about the work that God gives them to do are listening to a wrong voice. Be grateful for all that God gives you to do, and give Him glory and honor, whether it is putting stamps on envelopes, mowing lawns, or performing any number of services. A person that complains about God’s work may find themselves having less and less of God’s work to do and may ultimately find themselves shrinking back from God’s Word and increasing their involvement in worldly affairs. Beware, for it is written: Heb 10:38,39–NOW THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH: BUT IF ANY MAN DRAW BACK, MY SOUL SHALL HAVE NO PLEASURE IN HIM. BUT WE ARE NOT OF THEM WHO DRAW BACK UNTO PERDITION. If you are drawing back from serving God, you may be on a track that leads to eternal damnation. For it is written: Mal 3:18–THEN SHALL YE RETURN, AND DISCERN BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED, BETWEEN HIM THAT SERVETH GOD AND HIM THAT SERVETH HIM NOT. Note: the righteous–serveth God; the wicked–serveth Him not. Even if you are confined to a wheelchair or can barely speak, do not shrink back.

   Perhaps, you were a prisoner of war or confined some other way. Then, you were set free. Did God free you to have you follow the world, or self–interests, or relatives, or to follow Him? It is written: HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE–Mt 4:10. Are you so blinded by the cares of this life or its pleasures that you cannot understand this? Is your heart so full of stones or thorns that you cannot examine yourself Biblically? Serving self–interests and self–desires is not serving God. Are you serving God as a result of faith and love or because of a sense of duty?
   The inner attitude of your heart and what you do now–may determine your eternal destiny. Don’t shrink back because of circumstances. It is all a test. Is your heart more toward unbelievers or the family of Christ? You may say it is more toward the family of Christ. Then why are some that are reading or hearing this message fellowshipping more with unbelievers or nominal Christians than born again Christians?
   If you have time on your hands, do not, I repeat, do not go and serve the world, but rather study God’s Word. I said, study God’s Word more and more.

   The Bible speaks of a pure heart–Ps 24:4; 1 Pe 1:22, a pure mind–ref 2 Pe 3:1; and a pure conscience–ref 1 Tim 3:9.
   We need to have a pure heart, because out of the heart proceeds thoughts–ref Mt 15:19. The kind of thoughts we have depends on the kind of a heart we have. It is written: THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS ONLY EVIL–Gen 6:5. It is further written: THE THOUGHTS OF THE RIGHTEOUS ARE RIGHT–ref Pv 12:5. Our thoughts come from our heart. Imaginations come from our thoughts–ref Pv 16:3. The kind of heart we have also determines what voices we choose to believe and follow.

   How do we get this pure heart? The answer–we can purify our heart by obeying God’s Word.
   God’s Word tells us, COMMIT THY WORKS UNTO THE LORD, AND THY THOUGHTS SHALL BE ESTABLISHED–Pv 16:3. Life is a test. Do you recognize this test? Or are you so steeped in your own deceptions that you can no longer see and understand God’s truth, as it relates to you personally? Imagine how anguished Peter was after he had denied Jesus. Yet, it did not stop him from becoming a leader in the church. He repented and went forth. This is an example for us all–that is, all that have ears to hear.

19–CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING.
LIFE IS A TEST

   Life is a test. Murmuring and complaining is dissatisfaction with the way God is doing things. Jesus went through many things before He was tortured and killed. He never complained. He never falsely accused anyone.
   We may say that we want to do this or that.
   We may say that we will go here or there.
   We may do whatever we want, but not necessarily what God wants.
   These things are of the flesh. These things are not of humility.
   These things are not THY WILL BE DONE.

   What good is Bible reading when you will not obey what you read? Where jealousy, self–desire and envy is–there is confusion and evil works.

   Which is your greatest love? Is it self, your family, a possession, your job, or God’s family?
   When you see a brother in Christ blessed in some way–are you envious? If so, you are in sin.

   The harder your heart is–the harder it is for you to examine yourself truthfully.

   You may desire to possess something God does not want you to possess. You may wish to do something God does not want you to do. But you do it anyway. Afterward, you are further from God and on a downward slide, headed away from God–but you don’t recognize it, because your willful disobedience has caused spiritual darkness, “the darkness has blinded your eyes.” You think you are all right with God, when you are not.

   How difficult it is for us to purge ourselves from this world to serve the living God!
   How hard it is, if we once served God full time (but then because of circumstances have shrunk back from serving God), to return to serving God full time. How hard it is to recognize the works of the devil to deceive us. How hard it is to just walk away from the world by faith, not knowing where or how we will live to serve God. It is written: HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE. If you are saved, you are His property. You are not your own. You were created for His purpose. So, what did you do? You chose to serve self–interests, rather than God. How dishonest we can be in examining ourselves. How deceitful we can be to ourselves, as we say we are following God, when we are not. How few are willing to obey the truth, so they might purify their heart. Do you really love God as it is written?

   Mt 22:37–40–JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND. THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT. AND THE SECOND IS LIKE UNTO IT, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF. ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

   To love God in this manner, one must deny self. Are you a person that is too controlled by circumstances, by things that happen around you, by self–interests? Then you are not following God.

   You are to fear God. You are to place your trust in Jesus Christ and turn the control of your life completely over to Him. Jesus is to reign over your life. You are to follow. Few people will ever allow this to happen.
   Few will totally surrender their life by faith to Jesus, to be led by Him and His Word.

   Few inherit eternal life. Many are called to receive eternal life, but only a few, a very few, will survive the circumstances and deceptions that Satan will throw their way. Few ever understand that each of us are to crucify self–our self–will, our desires, our wanting to serve God in our own way, not the way He has called us to do.  Life is a test.

20–SCRIPTURE AND COMMENTARIES SHOWING THAT LIFE IS A TEST
(This subject continues for about the next 30 pages)
(Many of the key verses used in this category contain the words “prove” or “test”)
(The key verses used, regarding the subject Life is a Test, should be arranged in the order they appear in the Bible.
The Scripture numbers should be in bold print.)

   Ex 16:2,3–AND THE…CONGREGATION…MURMURED AGAINST MOSES AND AARON IN THE WILDERNESS:…(and) SAID…WOULD TO GOD WE HAD DIED…IN THE LAND OF EGYPT,…WHEN WE DID EAT BREAD TO THE FULL; FOR YE HAVE BROUGHT US FORTH INTO THIS WILDERNESS, TO KILL THIS WHOLE ASSEMBLY WITH HUNGER. (Their mind was filled with lies from Satan. They believed Moses had brought them into the wilderness. It was not Moses, it was God. Then they believed Satan’s lies that Moses was going to kill them with hunger. They murmured, complained and accused the person God put over them. Most every preacher of God can relate to these accusations from ungodly people in their assemblies. As the sinful people did not want to follow Moses, so many today do not want to follow the minister that God ordains for them. Satan worked in the hearts of the people to turn them against Moses and succeeded.) (It is a test to know what is in a person’s heart.)

   Ex 16:4–THEN SAID THE LORD UNTO MOSES, BEHOLD, I WILL RAIN BREAD FROM HEAVEN FOR YOU; AND THE PEOPLE SHALL GO OUT AND GATHER A CERTAIN RATE EVERY DAY, THAT I MAY PROVE (or test) THEM, WHETHER THEY WILL WALK IN MY LAW, OR NO. (Tests come to see if you will obey God.)

   Ex 16:19–20–AND MOSES SAID, LET NO MAN LEAVE (of the manna) TILL THE MORNING. NOTWITHSTANDING THEY HEARKENED NOT UNTO MOSES; BUT SOME OF THEM LEFT OF IT UNTIL THE MORNING, AND IT BRED WORMS, AND STANK: AND MOSES WAS WROTH WITH THEM. (It was a test to see if they would obey God. Some failed the test.)

   Ex 16:22–25, 27–29–AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT ON THE SIXTH DAY THEY GATHERED TWICE AS MUCH BREAD, TWO OMERS FOR ONE MAN: AND ALL THE RULERS OF THE CONGREGATION CAME AND TOLD MOSES. AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, THIS IS THAT WHICH THE LORD HATH SAID, TO MORROW IS THE REST OF THE HOLY SABBATH UNTO THE LORD. …AND MOSES SAID, EAT THAT TO DAY; FOR TO DAY IS A SABBATH UNTO THE LORD: TO DAY YE SHALL NOT FIND IT IN THE FIELD. AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT THERE WENT OUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE ON THE SEVENTH DAY FOR TO GATHER, AND THEY FOUND NONE. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, HOW LONG REFUSE YE TO KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS AND MY LAWS? (It was a test to see if they would obey God. Some did, some did not.)

   Ex 20:20–AND MOSES SAID UNTO THE PEOPLE, FEAR NOT: FOR GOD IS COME TO PROVE (or test) YOU, AND THAT HIS FEAR MAY BE BEFORE YOUR FACES, THAT YE SIN NOT.
   (There are hundreds of verses in God’s Word showing clearly that this life is all a test. Do you have ears to hear what God’s Word is telling you?)

   Deut 8:2–AND THOU SHALT REMEMBER ALL THE WAY WHICH THE LORD…LED THEE…IN THE WILDERNESS, TO HUMBLE THEE, AND TO PROVE (or test) THEE, TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THINE HEART, WHETHER THOU WOULDEST KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, OR NO. (Tests are to cause your attitude to change, and to know what is in your heart, and to see if you will obey God.)

   Deut 8:3–AND (the Lord) HUMBLED THEE, AND SUFFERED THEE TO HUNGER, AND FED THEE WITH MANNA,…THAT HE MIGHT MAKE THEE KNOW THAT MAN DOTH NOT LIVE BY BREAD ONLY, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LORD DOTH MAN LIVE. (These tests are to change your attitude and to teach you.)

   Deut 8:5,6–THOU SHALT…CONSIDER IN THINE HEART, THAT, AS A MAN CHASTENETH HIS SON, SO THE LORD THY GOD CHASTENETH (or disciplines) THEE. THEREFORE THOU SHALT KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD THY GOD, TO WALK IN HIS WAYS, AND TO FEAR HIM. (These tests are to correct or discipline a person.)

   Deut 8:16–WHO FED THEE IN THE WILDERNESS WITH MANNA,…THAT HE MIGHT HUMBLE THEE, AND THAT HE MIGHT PROVE (or test) THEE, TO DO THEE GOOD AT THY LATTER END. (These tests are to cause a person to change their attitude and to do them good in the end. Life is a test to see to what degree we will obey God.)

   Judges 2:19–23–AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE JUDGE WAS DEAD, THAT THEY RETURNED, AND CORRUPTED THEMSELVES MORE THAN THEIR FATHERS, IN FOLLOWING OTHER GODS TO SERVE THEM, AND TO BOW DOWN UNTO THEM; THEY CEASED NOT FROM THEIR OWN DOINGS, NOR FROM THEIR STUBBORN WAY. AND THE ANGER OF THE LORD WAS HOT AGAINST ISRAEL; AND HE SAID,…I ALSO WILL NOT HENCEFORTH DRIVE OUT ANY FROM BEFORE THEM OF THE NATIONS WHICH JOSHUA LEFT WHEN HE DIED: THAT THROUGH THEM I MAY PROVE (or test) ISRAEL, WHETHER THEY WILL KEEP THE WAY OF THE LORD TO WALK THEREIN, AS THEIR FATHERS DID KEEP IT, OR NOT. THEREFORE THE LORD LEFT THOSE NATIONS. (These tests are to see if a person will obey God under difficult circumstances. Even though God commands us to come out from the unbelievers, there may be times when we will have no choice except to dwell among them. It is a test to see how we will react and what we will do and what kind of an attitude we will display. Will our light so shine before them, or will we take on their nature and ways and become involved in their strife and ungodliness? Will we act as Jesus did, or will we act like the devil at times? God will know our heart through these tests.)

   Judges 3:1,3–8–NOW THESE…NATIONS…THE LORD LEFT, TO PROVE (or test) ISRAEL,…NAMELY,…THE PHILISTINES,…CANAANITES,…SIDONIANS, AND THE HIVITES. AND THEY WERE TO PROVE (or test) ISRAEL BY THEM, TO KNOW WHETHER THEY WOULD HEARKEN UNTO THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD…AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL…TOOK THEIR DAUGHTERS TO BE THEIR WIVES, AND GAVE THEIR DAUGHTERS TO THEIR SONS, AND SERVED THEIR GODS. AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, AND FORGAT THE LORD THEIR GOD, AND SERVED BAALIM… THEREFORE THE ANGER OF THE LORD WAS HOT AGAINST ISRAEL, AND HE SOLD THEM INTO THE HAND OF CHUSHAN–RISHATHA’IM KING OF MESOPOTAMIA. (These tests were to chasten Israel.)
   Another example that life is a test is as follows. Saul was about to be tested.
   1 Sam 15:12,13–AND WHEN SAMUEL ROSE EARLY TO MEET SAUL IN THE MORNING, IT WAS TOLD SAMUEL, SAYING, SAUL CAME TO CARMEL, AND, BEHOLD, HE SET HIM UP A PLACE, AND IS GONE ABOUT, AND PASSED ON, AND GONE DOWN TO GILGAL. AND SAMUEL CAME TO SAUL: AND SAUL SAID UNTO HIM, BLESSED BE THOU OF THE LORD: I HAVE PERFORMED THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD.
   1 Sam 15:14–16–AND SAMUEL SAID, WHAT MEANETH THEN THIS BLEATING OF THE SHEEP IN MINE EARS, AND THE LOWING OF THE OXEN WHICH I HEAR? AND SAUL SAID, THEY HAVE BROUGHT THEM FROM THE AMALEKITES: FOR THE PEOPLE SPARED THE BEST OF THE SHEEP AND OF THE OXEN, TO SACRIFICE UNTO THE LORD THY GOD; AND THE REST WE HAVE UTTERLY DESTROYED. THEN SAMUEL SAID UNTO SAUL, STAY, AND I WILL TELL THEE WHAT THE LORD HATH SAID TO ME THIS NIGHT. AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, SAY ON.
   1 Sam 15:17–23–AND SAMUEL SAID, WHEN THOU WAST LITTLE IN THINE OWN SIGHT, WAST THOU NOT MADE THE HEAD OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, AND THE LORD ANOINTED THEE KING OVER ISRAEL? AND THE LORD SENT THEE ON A JOURNEY, AND SAID, GO AND UTTERLY DESTROY THE SINNERS THE AMALEKITES, AND FIGHT AGAINST THEM UNTIL THEY BE CONSUMED. WHEREFORE THEN DIDST THOU NOT OBEY THE VOICE OF THE LORD, BUT DIDST FLY UPON THE SPOIL, AND DIDST EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD? AND SAUL SAID UNTO SAMUEL, YEA, I HAVE OBEYED THE VOICE OF THE LORD, AND HAVE GONE THE WAY WHICH THE LORD SENT ME, AND HAVE BROUGHT AGAG THE KING OF AMALEK, AND HAVE UTTERLY DESTROYED THE AMALEKITES. BUT THE PEOPLE TOOK OF THE SPOIL, SHEEP AND OXEN, THE CHIEF OF THE THINGS WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN UTTERLY DESTROYED, TO SACRIFICE UNTO THE LORD THY GOD IN GILGAL. AND SAMUEL SAID, HATH THE LORD AS GREAT DELIGHT IN BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES, AS IN OBEYING THE VOICE OF THE LORD? BEHOLD, TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, AND TO HEARKEN THAN THE FAT OF RAMS. FOR REBELLION IS AS THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT, AND STUBBORNNESS IS AS INIQUITY AND IDOLATRY. BECAUSE THOU HAST REJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, HE HATH ALSO REJECTED THEE FROM BEING KING.
   1 Sam 15:24–AND SAUL SAID UNTO SAMUEL, I HAVE SINNED: FOR I HAVE TRANSGRESSED THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD, AND THY WORDS: BECAUSE I FEARED THE PEOPLE, AND OBEYED THEIR VOICE. (Life is a test. Saul failed that test. Rebellion and stubbornness are sins. Justifying our sins with excuses is wrong.)

   1 Chr 29:17–I KNOW ALSO, MY GOD, THAT THOU TRIEST (or tests) THE HEART (NIV). (The Scriptures are clear that every born again Christian will be tested. Satan will tempt each Christian over and over with all sorts of tests to try and get the Christian to shrink back from obeying God.)
   These tests may include all kinds of sickness, injuries, persecutions, cares of this life, pleasures, lusts of the flesh and lusts of the world, and riches or money. These tests may include things such as anger, rejection, emotional hurts, hopeless situations, and things to try to get a person to blame God and blame the brethren. In your thoughts and emotions–this is where Satan can be so effective at deceiving you. Many of Satan’s tests try to get the Christian to disobey God in some way and still think they are obeying Him.
   There is also chastening from the Lord for our own profit so we might be partakers of His holiness–ref Heb 12:10. This chastening is grievous, but afterward should yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that respond in a godly manner. Regretfully, some do not respond as a Christian should to God’s chastening. They will not let that which is turned out of the way be corrected or healed. They will not repent and allow themselves to be healed. They will not put off the old and put on the new. Feelings , if not submitted to the Lord, become a stronghold of the devil to pull a person away from God and to keep them in bondage. Some of these areas that need healing and must be dealt with are: their hurts, their anger, their accusings, their unforgiveness, their lack of love, their feelings of rejection or feeling unwanted, feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, loneliness, hopelessness, bitterness and blame–feeling that many have wronged them or are against them. Those that will not accept God’s chastening and healing have a very dark future. These cannot see afar off, because of the darkness of the deception they are in.
   God tells those going through chastening to LIFT UP THE HANDS WHICH HANG DOWN, AND THE FEEBLE KNEES; AND MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR YOUR FEET, LEST THAT WHICH IS LAME BE TURNED OUT OF THE WAY; BUT LET IT RATHER BE HEALED. FOLLOW PEACE WITH ALL MEN, AND HOLINESS, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD–ref Heb 12:10–14.
   Then there are tests from God that try the heart, that are intended to prove a person’s faith genuine. There are tests from God to show whether a person loves God above all things. There are tests from God to see if a person loves the brethren. Many fail these tests, as they do not love God above the things He created, such as their parents, spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend, or children, or a pet. There are tests from God to help a person grow, yet some fall away. Life is one big test. God’s Word is the anchor, and love is what makes faith work–ref Gal 5:6. God’s Word tells us to PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL–Eph 6:11. Our fight is against PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES̵Eph 6:12.
   Our defensive stand–is truth. Thus, Satan tries to distort God’s Word to make us believe it means something other than what it says. If Satan is able to do this, part of our armour is neutralized. Thus, Satan tries to stir up our emotions through wrong thinking to cause us to accuse the brethren. Often this attack in a person’s mind is directed against the Christian’s pastor. His heart holds on to something it ought not. He is resentful over something he believes that person did to him. If a Christian harbors anything against another Christian, especially his own pastor, and does not deal with it Scripturally–then how can he love others with the love of Christ from his heart? Again, understand some of Satan’s attacks will be against a person’s understanding of God’s Word and against a person’s love for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. With this accomplished, the person’s spiritual armour (described in Eph 6) is defeated. Satan gets the victory. At this point, Satan is able to make the person feel confident that he is still following Jesus, when, in reality, he is not. He is not conformed to the image of Christ in both his deeds and his thinking. His thoughts are not pure. Many of these people will stand before the Judgment and say, “Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful works in Thy name.” And Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you”–ref Mt 7:22.
   You may have bad memories of someone you believe wronged you or hurt you in some way. Although you say you have forgiven them, the proof that you haven’t is bad thoughts of this person keep recurring in your mind. When the thought comes, then bitterness sets in. When you see this person, you may continue to bring it up to them, from time to time. This is not forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of ill feelings and releasing that person in your mind of any guiltiness. By doing this, you are actually freeing yourself from a root of bitterness–ref Heb 12:15. When Jesus forgives our sins, they are no longer brought up but are erased. You should have only thoughts of love and compassion toward them. God has forgiven them–why haven’t you? When thoughts of bitterness arise in you, are they of God or the devil? There should be no root of bitterness springing up in you toward any of your fellow brethren in Christ. If there is, perhaps, you are the problem, not them. Forgive and love the brethren no matter what.
   Mercy, forgiveness, and love are fruits that describe God. Do these describe you?
   Acts 8:23,24–Regarding Simon the sorcerer, it is written–FOR I PERCEIVE THAT THOU ART IN THE GALL OF BITTERNESS.    Ro 3:12–14–THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN SEPULCHRE;…WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF…BITTERNESS:
   Eph 4:31,32–LET ALL BITTERNESS,…AND EVIL SPEAKING, BE PUT AWAY FROM YOU, WITH ALL MALICE: AND BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, EVEN AS GOD FOR CHRIST’S SAKE HATH FORGIVEN YOU.
   Beware. Heb 12:15–LEST ANY MAN FAIL OF THE GRACE OF GOD; LEST ANY ROOT OF BITTERNESS SPRINGING UP TROUBLE YOU, AND THEREBY MANY BE DEFILED. Life is a test.
   (The end of the commentary on Life is a Test, regarding 1 Chr 29:17.)

   2 Chr 32:31–BUT WHEN ENVOYS WERE SENT…TO ASK HIM ABOUT THE MIRACULOUS SIGN THAT HAD OCCURRED IN THE LAND, GOD LEFT HIM TO TEST HIM AND TO KNOW EVERYTHING THAT WAS IN HIS HEART (NIV).

21–THE STORY OF JOB.
LIFE IS A TEST
(Scripture and Commentaries)

   Ref Job 1:1–22–THERE WAS A MAN IN THE LAND OF UZ, WHOSE NAME WAS JOB; AND THAT MAN WAS PERFECT AND UPRIGHT, AND ONE THAT FEARED GOD, AND ESCHEWED (or shunned) EVIL (NIV). Even born again people that are as perfect and upright as Job get tested.
   AND THERE WERE BORN UNTO HIM SEVEN SONS AND THREE DAUGHTERS. (His substance was very great). …And JOB…ROSE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THEM ALL: FOR JOB SAID, IT MAY BE THAT MY SONS HAVE SINNED, AND CURSED GOD IN THEIR HEARTS. THUS DID JOB CONTINUALLY.
   NOW THERE WAS A DAY WHEN THE SONS OF GOD CAME TO PRESENT THEMSELVES BEFORE THE LORD, AND SATAN CAME ALSO AMONG THEM. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, WHENCE COMEST THOU? THEN SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD, AND SAID, FROM GOING TO AND FRO IN THE EARTH, AND FROM WALKING UP AND DOWN IN IT. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, HAST THOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB, THAT THERE IS NONE LIKE HIM IN THE EARTH, A PERFECT AND AN UPRIGHT MAN, ONE THAT FEARETH GOD, AND ESCHEWETH EVIL? THEN SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD, AND SAID, DOTH JOB FEAR GOD FOR NOUGHT? HAST NOT THOU MADE AN HEDGE ABOUT HIM, AND ABOUT HIS HOUSE, AND ABOUT ALL THAT HE HATH ON EVERY SIDE? THOU HAST BLESSED THE WORK OF HIS HANDS, AND HIS SUBSTANCE IS INCREASED IN THE LAND. BUT PUT FORTH THINE HAND NOW, AND TOUCH ALL THAT HE HATH, AND HE WILL CURSE THEE TO THY FACE. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, BEHOLD, ALL THAT HE HATH IS IN THY POWER; ONLY UPON HIMSELF PUT NOT FORTH THINE HAND. SO SATAN WENT FORTH FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.
   Job is now about to be tested. Let us all remember that these things are written as examples for us of things we may go through. All that come to Jesus will be tested to see if their love and trust in God is genuine in very difficult situations and at the most difficult times. The testing continues until the Lord calls a person home. One can expect there will be times when he will not want to get out of bed for the hurts, pressures, and difficult times he must go through.
   Bad days. There will be days when everything seems to go wrong. Example: a person may stub his toe as he gets out of bed. Then soap gets in his eye. As he shaves, he cuts himself with his razor. His comb snaps. He hits his thumb with a hammer as he tries to hang a picture frame. He drops his eyeglasses and one of the lenses pops out. Then a piece of dirt gets in his eye, and his wife is not home to help him get it out. Then he stumbles over something and rips his sleeve on the way down. He receives a late notice on his electric bill and remembers he forgot to pay it and has already spent the money on something else. Then he gets in his car to take care of it, but a tire is flat and also the spare. On his way to pay the bill, a police officer pulls him over and gives him a ticket because his tail light is out. Finally, he arrives at the electric company, and it is closed. When he gets home he finds his electric power has been turned off. There are days like this. Satan is alive and well and hinders us in many ways. Life is a test.

   Regarding Job, the verses continue:
   Job 1:13–19–AND THERE WAS A DAY WHEN…THERE CAME A MESSENGER UNTO JOB, AND SAID, THE OXEN WERE PLOWING, AND THE ASSES FEEDING BESIDE THEM: AND THE SABEANS FELL UPON THEM, AND TOOK THEM AWAY; YEA, THEY HAVE SLAIN THE SERVANTS WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD; AND I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE.
   WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, THERE CAME ALSO ANOTHER, AND SAID, THE FIRE OF GOD IS FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, AND HATH BURNED UP THE SHEEP, AND THE SERVANTS, AND CONSUMED THEM; AND I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE.
   WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, THERE CAME ALSO ANOTHER, AND SAID, THE CHALDEANS MADE OUT THREE BANDS, AND FELL UPON THE CAMELS, AND HAVE CARRIED THEM AWAY, YEA, AND SLAIN THE SERVANTS WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD; AND I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE.
   WHILE HE WAS YET SPEAKING, THERE CAME ALSO ANOTHER, AND SAID, THY SONS AND THY DAUGHTERS WERE EATING AND DRINKING WINE IN THEIR ELDEST BROTHER'S HOUSE: AND, BEHOLD, THERE CAME A GREAT WIND FROM THE WILDERNESS, AND SMOTE THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE HOUSE, AND IT FELL UPON THE YOUNG MEN, AND THEY ARE DEAD; AND I ONLY AM ESCAPED ALONE TO TELL THEE. (This was a test that Job had to go through. If this happened to you, what would you do? How would you react?)
   Job 1:20,21–THEN JOB AROSE, AND RENT HIS MANTLE, AND SHAVED HIS HEAD, AND FELL DOWN UPON THE GROUND, AND WORSHIPPED, AND SAID, NAKED CAME I OUT OF MY MOTHER'S WOMB, AND NAKED SHALL I RETURN THITHER: THE LORD GAVE, AND THE LORD HATH TAKEN AWAY; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD. IN ALL THIS JOB SINNED NOT, NOR CHARGED GOD FOOLISHLY (NIV).

22–SATAN GIVEN AUTHORITY.
LIFE IS A TEST
22B–PERILOUS TIMES LIE AHEAD. THE TRIBULATION
LIFE IS A TEST
22C–PERSECUTIONS.
LIFE IS A TEST

   (Ref Job 1:1–22)
   Many Christians have gone through far less than this. And when some of these things came upon them, they cursed God and forsook Him. Life is a test. Do you follow Jesus or not when you are tested?
   Note: Satan was given authority to cause men to steal from Job.
   Satan was given authority to kill Job’s servants.
   Satan was given authority to destroy with fire from heaven.
   Satan was given authority to kill both people and sheep with the fire.
   Satan was given authority to bring forth wind and destroy a house.
   Satan was given authority to kill Job’s sons and daughters.
   In verses that follow:
   Satan will be given authority to bring great physical torment upon Job.
   Satan will move on Job’s wife to give him evil advice.
   Satan will use Job’s friends to condemn him and torment him with their lying accusations.
   Life is a test. Many born again Christians have been tormented and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
   As this is being written, in various countries born again Christians are tormented in jail in deplorable conditions. Their future is death, and often it is dying with great physical pain, because they will not renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.
   And the worst is yet to come as the Tribulation approaches. Multitudes of people that get saved during the Tribulation will be beheaded for their faith. They will not take the mark of the beast (666), nor will they worship the image of the beast.
   As time progresses, the pressure for ministers to call evil ok is ever increasing. The pressures upon evangelists to not speak against sin is increasing. Tolerance is what the world wants regarding all manner of perverted lifestyles or wrong doing. The Bible, which was once revered by most, is now despised by many. Even the teaching that God created all things is being ridiculed, mocked, and dismissed as false at all levels of the educational institutions. People that dare to teach Creationism may be fired and often have difficulty finding work elsewhere in their field. People that dare to present evidence through science that supports Creationism find themselves on the outside looking in regarding the world system.
   The Scriptures tell us that as it was in Noah’s day, so shall it be during the Tribulation before the Lord returns. As it was in Lot’s day (Sodom and Gomorrah, so shall it be during the Tribulation before the Lord returns. These things shall increase as birth pangs of a woman. As this is being written, the birth pangs are already increasing. If you will not follow Jesus now, what will you do when the pressure to follow evil is even more intense tomorrow?
   Today and in the future, false gospels, false gods, and false religions are and will be tolerated. The lukewarm gospel, prosperity gospel, “feel good” gospel, tolerance gospel, and the gospel that leaves out sin and repentance is embraced. However, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those born again preachers that will not compromise will become more and more despised. They can expect to be persecuted more and more. Pressures against newspapers, radio and television stations, Internet hosting companies, and other media outlets that grant air time or publishing space to the uncompromising Gospel teachers will increase. The Antichrist that comes forth during the Tribulation will have zero tolerance for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As birth pangs of a woman, this zero tolerance is ever increasing worldwide. The pressures will ultimately become so bad that it is written in Jn 9:4–THE NIGHT COMETH, WHEN NO MAN CAN WORK. Who is on the Lord’s side and who is not is evidenced by their fruits and what they say and do.
   It is written: Mt 24:12,13–BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD, BUT HE WHO STANDS FIRM TO THE END WILL BE SAVED (NIV).

   Regarding Job, the verses continue:
Job 2:3–11–AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, HAST THOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB,…A PERFECT AND AN UPRIGHT MAN, ONE THAT FEARETH GOD, AND ESCHEWETH EVIL? AND STILL HE HOLDETH FAST HIS INTEGRITY, ALTHOUGH THOU MOVEDST ME AGAINST HIM, TO DESTROY HIM WITHOUT CAUSE. AND SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD, AND SAID, SKIN FOR SKIN, YEA, ALL THAT A MAN HATH WILL HE GIVE FOR HIS LIFE.
   Note, Satan has in his mind (he is mindful) and understands the things of men. He understands the hearts of me (mankind). With this knowledge, he successfully tempts and leads the whole world astray–ref Mt 16:23, Mk 8:33, Rev 12:9. Satan is so skillful in deceiving people that they never understand what Satan has been able to do to them and how he was able to blind them from the truth. Satan’s deceptions involve four things.
   1–Satan deceives the person into believing wrongly, thus causing the person to go astray.
   2–Satan deceives the person’s conscience, so the person never understands he is going astray.
   3–Satan hardens the person toward any correction from anyone that is spiritually–minded, God–fearing and can see through Satan’s deceptions.
   4–Satan hardens the person toward any kind of correction from God or from God’s Word that might show them they have gone astray. Thus, when sickness or calamities come on the person to try to get them to open their eyes and see they have gone astray–it doesn’t work. The person just can’t understand God is showing they are wrong.
   And even if an angel stood in front of the deceived and told them directly what Satan did to them and how he deceived them, they would not believe it or understand. The Bible shows us that when Jesus spoke to the people and told them the truth, they did not understand, even because they could not–Jn 8:43. Satan is able to blind people from understanding the truth. All the things that Satan did to Job to tempt him, he can do to you and others also. If the things that happened to Job, or Paul, or to Jesus came upon you, would you react the way they did? He that hath an ear, let him hear.
   Satan said to God: BUT PUT FORTH THINE HAND NOW, AND TOUCH HIS BONE AND HIS FLESH, AND HE WILL CURSE THEE TO THY FACE. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO SATAN, BEHOLD, HE IS IN THINE HAND; BUT SAVE HIS LIFE.
   Satan can only go as far as God allows. However, Satan can also go as far as you allow him to go. If you sin, you give a place to the devil to attack you–ref Eph 4:22–32. All of the following, and any sin, can enable Satan to attack you with permission from God by His Word. Some examples are–worldly conversation, corrupt conversation, lustful conversation, evil speaking, having a carnal mind, lying, speaking deceitfully, not being unified with the body of Christ, not loving the brethren in Christ, anger, wrath, stealing, laziness, not a giving spirit toward him that has a need, not ministering grace in your conversation, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, brawling, slander, malice, covetousness, not being kind, tenderhearted or forgiving one to another, and also faith that is like a wave.

   Job 2:7,9–11–SO WENT SATAN FORTH…AND SMOTE JOB WITH SORE BOILS FROM THE SOLE OF HIS FOOT UNTO HIS CROWN. Note, Satan has authority to bring all types of sickness upon a person. THEN SAID HIS WIFE UNTO HIM, DOST THOU STILL RETAIN THINE INTEGRITY? CURSE GOD, AND DIE. Note, at the time of Job’s greatest trial and agony, does his wife have compassion and support him? No. She advises him to do exactly what Satan wanted him to do. BUT HE SAID UNTO HER, THOU SPEAKEST AS ONE OF THE FOOLISH WOMEN SPEAKETH. WHAT? SHALL WE RECEIVE GOOD AT THE HAND OF GOD, AND SHALL WE NOT RECEIVE EVIL? IN ALL THIS DID NOT JOB SIN WITH HIS LIPS.
   NOW WHEN JOB’S THREE FRIENDS HEARD OF ALL THIS EVIL THAT WAS COME UPON HIM, THEY CAME EVERY ONE FROM HIS OWN PLACE;…FOR THEY HAD MADE AN APPOINTMENT TOGETHER TO COME TO MOURN WITH HIM AND TO COMFORT HIM.
   Job 2:12,13–AND WHEN THEY LIFTED UP THEIR EYES AFAR OFF, AND KNEW HIM NOT, THEY LIFTED UP THEIR VOICE, AND WEPT; AND THEY RENT EVERY ONE HIS MANTLE, AND SPRINKLED DUST UPON THEIR HEADS TOWARD HEAVEN. SO THEY SAT DOWN WITH HIM UPON THE GROUND SEVEN DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, AND NONE SPAKE A WORD UNTO HIM: FOR THEY SAW THAT HIS GRIEF WAS VERY GREAT. This is how a friend should act in this situation. In the beginning, Job’s friends did comfort him, but after they turned on him and made all sorts of lying accusations against him.

   So how did Job respond to the great torment he was going through, yet sinned not with his words? How did Job still not sin with his mouth, when his friends began to accuse him falsely while he was in torment?
   Job 3:1–4,11,25,26–AFTER THIS OPENED JOB HIS MOUTH, AND CURSED HIS DAY. AND JOB SPAKE, AND SAID, LET THE DAY PERISH WHEREIN I WAS BORN, AND THE NIGHT IN WHICH IT WAS SAID, THERE IS A MAN CHILD CONCEIVED. LET THAT DAY BE DARKNESS; LET NOT GOD REGARD IT FROM ABOVE, NEITHER LET THE LIGHT SHINE UPON IT. WHY DIED I NOT FROM THE WOMB? WHY DID I NOT GIVE UP THE GHOST WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE BELLY? FOR THE THING WHICH I GREATLY FEARED IS COME UPON ME, AND THAT WHICH I WAS AFRAID OF IS COME UNTO ME. I WAS NOT IN SAFETY, NEITHER HAD I REST, NEITHER WAS I QUIET; YET TROUBLE CAME.
   Then one of his friends began to speak. When his friend first spoke, it was not edifying, but neither was it overly condemning. He said Job 5:8,17–I WOULD SEEK UNTO GOD, AND UNTO GOD WOULD I COMMIT MY CAUSE: BEHOLD, HAPPY IS THE MAN WHOM GOD CORRECTETH: THEREFORE DESPISE NOT THOU THE CHASTENING OF THE ALMIGHTY.
   Job 6:4,14…THE TERRORS OF GOD DO SET THEMSELVES IN ARRAY AGAINST ME. TO HIM THAT IS AFFLICTED PITY SHOULD BE SHEWED FROM HIS FRIEND. Note, Job is showing what kind of an attitude people should have when their friend is in such suffering.
   Job 7:20,21–I HAVE SINNED; WHAT SHALL I DO UNTO THEE, O THOU PRESERVER OF MEN? WHY HAST THOU SET ME AS A MARK AGAINST THEE, SO THAT I AM A BURDEN TO MYSELF? AND WHY DOST THOU NOT PARDON MY TRANSGRESSION, AND TAKE AWAY MINE INIQUITY? FOR NOW SHALL I SLEEP IN THE DUST; AND THOU SHALT SEEK ME IN THE MORNING, BUT I SHALL NOT BE.
   Job 9:24–Then Job MAKES what seems like a prophetic statement that certainly applies to these latter days. He said THE EARTH IS GIVEN INTO THE HAND OF THE WICKED.
   Job 10:1,2,18,19–MY SOUL IS WEARY OF MY LIFE; I WILL LEAVE MY COMPLAINT UPON MYSELF; I WILL SPEAK IN THE BITTERNESS OF MY SOUL. I WILL SAY UNTO GOD, DO NOT CONDEMN ME; SHEW ME WHEREFORE THOU CONTENDEST WITH ME. WHEREFORE THEN HAST THOU BROUGHT ME FORTH OUT OF THE WOMB? OH THAT I HAD GIVEN UP THE GHOST, AND NO EYE HAD SEEN ME! I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AS THOUGH I HAD NOT BEEN; I SHOULD HAVE BEEN CARRIED FROM THE WOMB TO THE GRAVE.

23–NO HOPE (JOB). SCRIPTURE AND COMMENTARIES
LIFE IS A TEST

   (Ref Job 1:1–22)
   Note, Job’s situation seemed hopeless. His oxen and asses were stolen. His servants were killed. His sheep were killed and those servants burned up. His camels were stolen, and servants murdered. His sons and daughters were killed.
   As Job was dealing with the emotional shock of this loss, he was stricken with sores all over his body. He was in utter misery. There were no medications to relieve the pain and itching, no doctors that could help him. His whole body was in agony, moment by moment. Then his wife turned against him, as she told him to curse God and die. Then Job’s friends, who came to bring comfort, began to turn against him and accuse him falsely. How utterly devastated he must have been! It seemed like even God had turned against him.
   Job 11:3–Then another of his friends spoke. He said SHOULD THY LIES MAKE MEN HOLD THEIR PEACE…FOR THOU HAST SAID, MY DOCTRINE IS PURE, AND I AM CLEAN IN THINE EYES. BUT OH THAT GOD WOULD SPEAK, AND OPEN HIS MOUTH AGAINST THEE. His friend accuses Job of being a liar. Then his friend lies about what Job had said, as no where does it appear in the Scriptures that Job said MY DOCTRINE IS PURE, etc. Then his friend wanted God to speak against Job. In Job’s great time of torment and grief, his own friends are accusing and condemning him, further tormenting him with lies. In Job 8:6, his friend had said, IF THOU WERT PURE AND UPRIGHT; SURELY NOW HE WOULD AWAKE FOR THEE. Satan knows how to use people to make you feel worse. When you look for comfort from friends, some will give you more grief.
   Man’s carnal nature seems to want to accuse and find fault with others. Example, let’s say that you lost your hammer. You look and look, but can’t find it. Then you have a thought that someone must have moved it, or used it and didn’t put it back, or even worse–someone stole it. Maybe it was your wife, or children, or a friend. So you go to your friend, and instead of asking him if he had seen your hammer, you insinuate that he took it, by asking him what he did with it. Your friend tells you he didn’t have it, as he was out of town. You feel embarrassed, but later you make the same mistake again and accuse your wife. Afterward, you find the hammer in your drawer. Then, you remember you put it there, so you wouldn’t lose it. Such are the ways of man. It seems to be the nature of mankind to blame others rather than one’s self. It is, indeed, very difficult for some to admit they are a sinner. They want to think of themselves as good, and they can always find someone other than themselves to accuse.

   Then Job speaks. He said:
   Job 12:4–I AM AS ONE MOCKED OF HIS NEIGHBOUR.
   Job 13:4,5–BUT YE ARE FORGERS OF LIES, YE ARE ALL PHYSICIANS OF NO VALUE. O THAT YE WOULD ALTOGETHER HOLD YOUR PEACE! AND IT SHOULD BE YOUR WISDOM.
   Job 14:13–O THAT THOU WOULDEST HIDE ME IN THE GRAVE, THAT THOU WOULDEST KEEP ME SECRET, UNTIL THY WRATH BE PAST, THAT THOU WOULDEST APPOINT ME A SET TIME, AND REMEMBER ME!

   Job 15:1–THEN ANSWERED ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE, AND SAID,
   Job 15:4,5–YEA, THOU CASTEST OFF FEAR, AND RESTRAINEST PRAYER BEFORE GOD. FOR THY MOUTH UTTERETH THINE INIQUITY, AND THOU CHOOSEST THE TONGUE OF THE CRAFTY. Job’s friend was accusing him with lies even as Job was greatly hurting.

   Then Job said: Job 16:11–GOD HATH DELIVERED ME TO THE UNGODLY, AND TURNED ME OVER INTO THE HANDS OF THE WICKED.
   Job 16:16–MY FACE IS FOUL WITH WEEPING, AND ON MY EYELIDS IS THE SHADOW OF DEATH;
   Job 16:20–MY FRIENDS SCORN ME: BUT MINE EYE POURETH OUT TEARS UNTO GOD.

   Job 18:1,21–THEN ANSWERED BILDAD THE SHUHITE, AND SAID, SURELY SUCH ARE THE DWELLINGS OF THE WICKED, AND THIS IS THE PLACE OF HIM THAT KNOWETH NOT GOD. Another of Job’s friends lied and was accusing him of not knowing God or not being saved.
   Job 19:1–3,6–11–THEN JOB ANSWERED AND SAID, HOW LONG WILL YE VEX MY SOUL, AND BREAK ME IN PIECES WITH WORDS? THESE TEN TIMES HAVE YE REPROACHED ME: YE ARE NOT ASHAMED THAT YE MAKE YOURSELVES STRANGE TO ME. KNOW NOW THAT GOD HATH OVERTHROWN ME, AND HATH COMPASSED ME WITH HIS NET. BEHOLD, I CRY OUT OF WRONG, BUT I AM NOT HEARD: I CRY ALOUD, BUT THERE IS NO JUDGMENT. HE HATH FENCED UP MY WAY THAT I CANNOT PASS, AND HE HATH SET DARKNESS IN MY PATHS. HE HATH STRIPPED ME OF MY GLORY, AND TAKEN THE CROWN FROM MY HEAD. HE HATH DESTROYED ME ON EVERY SIDE, AND I AM GONE: AND MINE HOPE HATH HE REMOVED LIKE A TREE. HE HATH ALSO KINDLED HIS WRATH AGAINST ME, AND HE COUNTETH ME UNTO HIM AS ONE OF HIS ENEMIES.
   Job 19:14–24–MY KINSFOLK HAVE FAILED, AND MY FAMILIAR FRIENDS HAVE FORGOTTEN ME. THEY THAT DWELL IN MINE HOUSE, AND MY MAIDS, COUNT ME FOR A STRANGER: I AM AN ALIEN IN THEIR SIGHT. I CALLED MY SERVANT, AND HE GAVE ME NO ANSWER; I INTREATED HIM WITH MY MOUTH. MY BREATH IS STRANGE TO MY WIFE, THOUGH I INTREATED FOR THE CHILDREN’S SAKE OF MINE OWN BODY. YEA, YOUNG CHILDREN DESPISED ME; I AROSE, AND THEY SPAKE AGAINST ME. ALL MY INWARD FRIENDS ABHORRED ME: AND THEY WHOM I LOVED ARE TURNED AGAINST ME. MY BONE CLEAVETH TO MY SKIN AND TO MY FLESH, AND I AM ESCAPED WITH THE SKIN OF MY TEETH. HAVE PITY UPON ME, HAVE PITY UPON ME, O YE MY FRIENDS; FOR THE HAND OF GOD HATH TOUCHED ME. WHY DO YE PERSECUTE ME AS GOD, AND ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH MY FLESH? OH THAT MY WORDS WERE NOW WRITTEN! OH THAT THEY WERE PRINTED IN A BOOK! THAT THEY WERE GRAVEN WITH AN IRON PEN AND LEAD IN THE ROCK FOR EVER! Job’s desire came to pass. His words have become part of the Word of God.
   Job 19:25,26–FOR I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH, AND THAT HE SHALL STAND AT THE LATTER DAY UPON THE EARTH: AND THOUGH AFTER MY SKIN WORMS DESTROY THIS BODY, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD.
   As we read this, remember, this is all a test to see how Job would respond. For those that are reading this, consider yourself. How have you responded to much lesser situations that you have gone through? Were you in sin with your words?

   Job 20:1–3–THEN ANSWERED ZOPHAR THE NAAMATHITE, AND SAID, THEREFORE DO MY THOUGHTS CAUSE ME TO ANSWER, AND FOR THIS I MAKE HASTE. I HAVE HEARD THE CHECK OF MY REPROACH, AND THE SPIRIT OF MY UNDERSTANDING CAUSETH ME TO ANSWER.
   Job 20:29–THIS IS THE PORTION OF A WICKED MAN FROM GOD, AND THE HERITAGE APPOINTED UNTO HIM BY GOD. Zophas was accusing Job of being a wicked man, when, in fact, it was him that was doing wrong.
   Life is a test. Job passed this test. His friends did not.

   Job 21:1,3,34–BUT JOB ANSWERED AND SAID, SUFFER ME THAT I MAY SPEAK; AND AFTER THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, MOCK ON. HOW THEN COMFORT YE ME IN VAIN, SEEING IN YOUR ANSWERS THERE REMAINETH FALSEHOOD?
   Then Job, speaking about God, answered and said,
   Job 23:13–15–BUT HE IS IN ONE MIND, AND WHO CAN TURN HIM? AND WHAT HIS SOUL DESIRETH, EVEN THAT HE DOETH. FOR HE PERFORMETH THE THING THAT IS APPOINTED FOR ME: AND MANY SUCH THINGS ARE WITH HIM. THEREFORE AM I TROUBLED AT HIS PRESENCE: WHEN I CONSIDER, I AM AFRAID OF HIM.
   Job 27:2–4–AS GOD LIVETH, WHO HATH TAKEN AWAY MY JUDGMENT; AND THE ALMIGHTY, WHO HATH VEXED MY SOUL; ALL THE WHILE MY BREATH IS IN ME, AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS IN MY NOSTRILS; MY LIPS SHALL NOT SPEAK WICKEDNESS, NOR MY TONGUE UTTER DECEIT.
   Job 28:28–AND UNTO MAN HE SAID, BEHOLD, THE FEAR OF THE LORD, THAT IS WISDOM; AND TO DEPART FROM EVIL IS UNDERSTANDING.
   Job 29:1,2,5,12,13,15,16–MOREOVER JOB CONTINUED HIS PARABLE, AND SAID, OH THAT I WERE AS IN MONTHS PAST, AS IN THE DAYS WHEN GOD PRESERVED ME; WHEN THE ALMIGHTY WAS YET WITH ME, WHEN MY CHILDREN WERE ABOUT ME; BECAUSE I DELIVERED THE POOR THAT CRIED, AND THE FATHERLESS, AND HIM THAT HAD NONE TO HELP HIM. THE BLESSING OF HIM THAT WAS READY TO PERISH CAME UPON ME: AND I CAUSED THE WIDOW’S HEART TO SING FOR JOY. I WAS EYES TO THE BLIND, AND FEET WAS I TO THE LAME. I WAS A FATHER TO THE POOR: AND THE CAUSE WHICH I KNEW NOT I SEARCHED OUT.
   Job 30:15–17,19–21,25,30–TERRORS ARE TURNED UPON ME: THEY PURSUE MY SOUL AS THE WIND: AND MY WELFARE PASSETH AWAY AS A CLOUD. AND NOW MY SOUL IS POURED OUT UPON ME; THE DAYS OF AFFLICTION HAVE TAKEN HOLD UPON ME. MY BONES ARE PIERCED IN ME IN THE NIGHT SEASON: AND MY SINEWS TAKE NO REST. HE HATH CAST ME INTO THE MIRE, AND I AM BECOME LIKE DUST AND ASHES. I CRY UNTO THEE, AND THOU DOST NOT HEAR ME: I STAND UP, AND THOU REGARDEST ME NOT. THOU ART BECOME CRUEL TO ME: WITH THY STRONG HAND THOU OPPOSEST THYSELF AGAINST ME. DID NOT I WEEP FOR HIM THAT WAS IN TROUBLE? WAS NOT MY SOUL GRIEVED FOR THE POOR? MY SKIN IS BLACK UPON ME, AND MY BONES ARE BURNED WITH HEAT.
   Job 31:3–10,29,30,35–IS NOT DESTRUCTION TO THE WICKED? AND A STRANGE PUNISHMENT TO THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY? DOTH NOT HE SEE MY WAYS, AND COUNT ALL MY STEPS? IF I HAVE WALKED WITH VANITY, OR IF MY FOOT HATH HASTED TO DECEIT; LET ME BE WEIGHED IN AN EVEN BALANCE, THAT GOD MAY KNOW MINE INTEGRITY. IF MY STEP HATH TURNED OUT OF THE WAY, AND MINE HEART WALKED AFTER MINE EYES, AND IF ANY BLOT HATH CLEAVED TO MINE HANDS; THEN LET ME SOW, AND LET ANOTHER EAT; YEA, LET MY OFFSPRING BE ROOTED OUT. IF MINE HEART HAVE BEEN DECEIVED BY A WOMAN, OR IF I HAVE LAID WAIT AT MY NEIGHBOUR’S DOOR; THEN LET MY WIFE GRIND UNTO ANOTHER, AND LET OTHERS BOW DOWN UPON HER. IF I REJOICED AT THE DESTRUCTION OF HIM THAT HATED ME, OR LIFTED UP MYSELF WHEN EVIL FOUND HIM: NEITHER HAVE I SUFFERED MY MOUTH TO SIN BY WISHING A CURSE TO HIS SOUL. OH THAT ONE WOULD HEAR ME! BEHOLD, MY DESIRE IS, THAT THE ALMIGHTY WOULD ANSWER ME, AND THAT MINE ADVERSARY HAD WRITTEN A BOOK.

   Job 34:1,35–37…ELIHU ANSWERED AND SAID, JOB HATH SPOKEN WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE, AND HIS WORDS WERE WITHOUT WISDOM. MY DESIRE IS THAT JOB MAY BE TRIED UNTO THE END BECAUSE OF HIS ANSWERS FOR WICKED MEN. FOR HE ADDETH REBELLION UNTO HIS SIN, HE CLAPPETH HIS HANDS AMONG US, AND MULTIPLIETH HIS WORDS AGAINST GOD. Job was in misery. Now one of his so–called friends accuses him falsely. Then he wanted Job to be tried even more. Then he lied as he made more accusations. Satan can fill people’s evil hearts with all sorts of lies and people believe they are true. Can a dishonest heart admit it is dishonest?
   Job had been tested most severely. As mentioned previously, he had lost much of his possessions. His servants had been killed. His sons and daughters had been killed. His wife had told him to curse God and die. His body was covered with sore boils. He had no hope. He didn’t understand. He cursed his day. He wish he had never been born, his torment was so bad. Then his three friends turned against him and spoke multitudes of lying accusations. Yet, through all this, Job never sinned with his mouth. He never turned against God. Quite the contrary, he magnified God in his misery. He feared God. His faith never failed. His love for God never ceased. In all the earth, there was none like Job.
   Finally, the testing was finished. God now begins to speak.

   Job 38:1–THEN THE LORD ANSWERED JOB OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND…
   Job 42:7–11–AND IT WAS SO, THAT AFTER THE LORD HAD SPOKEN…UNTO JOB, THE LORD SAID TO ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE, MY WRATH IS KINDLED AGAINST THEE, AND AGAINST THY TWO FRIENDS: FOR YE HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME THE THING THAT IS RIGHT, AS MY SERVANT JOB HATH. THEREFORE TAKE UNTO YOU NOW SEVEN BULLOCKS AND SEVEN RAMS, AND GO TO MY SERVANT JOB, AND OFFER UP FOR YOURSELVES A BURNT OFFERING; AND MY SERVANT JOB SHALL PRAY FOR YOU: FOR HIM WILL I ACCEPT: LEST I DEAL WITH YOU AFTER YOUR FOLLY, IN THAT YE HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME THE THING WHICH IS RIGHT, LIKE MY SERVANT JOB. SO ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE AND BILDAD THE SHUHITE AND ZOPHAR THE NAAMATHITE WENT, AND DID ACCORDING AS THE LORD COMMANDED THEM: THE LORD ALSO ACCEPTED JOB. AND THE LORD TURNED THE CAPTIVITY OF JOB, WHEN HE PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS: ALSO THE LORD GAVE JOB TWICE AS MUCH AS HE HAD BEFORE. THEN CAME THERE UNTO HIM ALL HIS BRETHREN, AND ALL HIS SISTERS, AND ALL THEY THAT HAD BEEN OF HIS ACQUAINTANCE BEFORE, AND DID EAT BREAD WITH HIM IN HIS HOUSE: AND THEY BEMOANED HIM, AND COMFORTED HIM OVER ALL THE EVIL THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT UPON HIM: EVERY MAN ALSO GAVE HIM A PIECE OF MONEY, AND EVERY ONE AN EARRING OF GOLD.

   The story of Job is ended. (The end of the commentary on Life is a Test, regarding Job.)

(Life is a Test. Scripture and Commentaries continues on verses using the word “test,” etc.)
   Ps 17:3–THOU HAST PROVED (or tested) MINE HEART; THOU HAST VISITED ME IN THE NIGHT; THOU HAST TRIED (or tested) ME, AND SHALT FIND NOTHING; I AM PURPOSED THAT MY MOUTH SHALL NOT TRANSGRESS (NIV). Through our words, we all transgress. We speak words of no faith. We accuse others. We lie. We speak of things we ought not. We gossip. We get emotional and say things we later regret. God’s Word tells us–Mt 12:34–O GENERATION OF VIPERS, HOW CAN YE, BEING EVIL, SPEAK GOOD THINGS? FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKETH.

   Ps 26:1–5–JUDGE ME, O LORD; FOR I HAVE WALKED IN MINE INTEGRITY: I HAVE TRUSTED ALSO IN THE LORD; THEREFORE I SHALL NOT SLIDE. EXAMINE ME, O LORD, AND PROVE (or test) ME; TRY (or test) MY REINS AND MY HEART. I HAVE NOT SAT WITH VAIN PERSONS,…I HAVE HATED THE CONGREGATION OF EVIL DOERS; AND WILL NOT SIT WITH THE WICKED. (David is asking to be tested and examined. Have you done this?)    Lk 14:16–24–THEN SAID (Jesus) UNTO HIM, A CERTAIN MAN MADE A GREAT SUPPER, AND BADE MANY: AND SENT HIS SERVANT AT SUPPER TIME TO SAY TO THEM THAT WERE BIDDEN, COME; FOR ALL THINGS ARE NOW READY.

   AND THEY ALL WITH ONE CONSENT BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSE. THE FIRST SAID UNTO HIM, I HAVE BOUGHT A PIECE OF GROUND, AND I MUST NEEDS GO AND SEE IT: I PRAY THEE HAVE ME EXCUSED. When a person buys a piece of ground, they have undoubtedly already looked at it. Sounds like his excuse was based on a lie. The verses continue.
   AND ANOTHER SAID, I HAVE BOUGHT FIVE YOKE OF OXEN, AND I GO TO PROVE (or test) THEM: I PRAY THEE HAVE ME EXCUSED. Does a person buy a car or oxen without first testing them? This also sounds like an excuse based on a lie.
   AND ANOTHER SAID, I HAVE MARRIED A WIFE, AND THEREFORE I CANNOT COME. This excuse is based on Deut 24:5, which says: When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. However, we are to love God above all. We are not to serve or worship those things He created, but we are to serve the Creator–ref Ro 1:25.
   SO THAT SERVANT CAME, AND SHEWED HIS LORD THESE THINGS. THEN THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE BEING ANGRY SAID TO HIS SERVANT, GO OUT QUICKLY INTO THE STREETS AND LANES OF THE CITY, AND BRING IN HITHER THE POOR, AND THE MAIMED, AND THE HALT, AND THE BLIND. AND THE SERVANT SAID, LORD, IT IS DONE AS THOU HAST COMMANDED, AND YET THERE IS ROOM. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO THE SERVANT, GO OUT INTO THE HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES, AND COMPEL THEM TO COME IN, THAT MY HOUSE MAY BE FILLED. FOR I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT NONE OF THOSE MEN WHICH WERE BIDDEN SHALL TASTE OF MY SUPPER.
   These were all tests. This could be Jesus inviting you to receive Him as your Lord and Saviour, so you can come to the marriage supper of the Lamb. But all three made flimsy excuses. Note, all three people had their mind centered in the world. All three appeared to be younger people. One was buying a piece of ground, another was buying oxen, and the third was getting married. There was no place for Jesus in their life.
   God tells us: Mt 6:19–21–LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES UPON EARTH, WHERE MOTH AND RUST DOTH CORRUPT, AND WHERE THIEVES BREAK THROUGH AND STEAL: BUT LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, WHERE NEITHER MOTH NOR RUST DOTH CORRUPT, AND WHERE THIEVES DO NOT BREAK THROUGH NOR STEAL: FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO. God also tells us: Lk 12:33,34–SELL THAT YE HAVE, AND GIVE ALMS; PROVIDE YOURSELVES BAGS WHICH WAX NOT OLD, A TREASURE IN THE HEAVENS THAT FAILETH NOT, WHERE NO THIEF APPROACHETH, NEITHER MOTH CORRUPTETH. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO. 1 Cor 2:9–BUT AS IT IS WRITTEN, EYE HATH NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NEITHER HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM. Mt 16:26–FOR WHAT IS A MAN PROFITED, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL? OR WHAT SHALL A MAN GIVE IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL? Lk 9:25–FOR WHAT IS A MAN ADVANTAGED, IF HE…LOSE HIMSELF, OR BE CAST AWAY? Ja 4:14–FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR, THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY.
   How foolish can a man be to go after the things of this world for perhaps 70 years and perish to hell, when he could have eternal life and rewards unspeakable for ever and ever—time without end. It is as if a person is offered two choices. Life is a test. For example, choice one–a person can have $1000 right now, followed by eternal torment. Or he can wait a while and be persecuted, but later receive $100 trillion dollars, plus eternal joy and no more sorrow. Most people of this earth choose the $1000 right now. The rich man of Luke 16 made the wrong choice. The beggar of Luke 16 made the right choice. Life is a test.
   (The end of the commentary on Life is a Test, regarding Ps 26:1–5.)

   Ps 139:23,24–SEARCH ME (or test me), O GOD, AND KNOW MY HEART: TRY ME, AND KNOW MY THOUGHTS: AND SEE IF THERE BE ANY WICKED WAY IN ME, AND LEAD ME IN THE WAY EVERLASTING. Have you prayed this prayer? (NIV).

   Jere 9:6–THINE HABITATION (or dwelling) IS IN THE MIDST OF DECEIT; THROUGH DECEIT THEY REFUSE TO KNOW ME, SAITH THE LORD. Could this be you? (NIV). Life is a test.

   Jere 11:20–BUT, O LORD OF HOSTS, THAT JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY, THAT TRIEST (or tests) THE REINS AND THE HEART (NIV).

   Jere 12:3–BUT THOU, O LORD,…HAST…TRIED (or tested) MINE HEART TOWARD THEE (NIV).

   Lam 3:40–LET US EXAMINE OUR WAYS AND TEST THEM.

   Zech 13:9–THIS THIRD I WILL BRING INTO THE FIRE; I WILL REFINE THEM LIKE SILVER AND TEST THEM LIKE GOLD. THEY WILL CALL ON MY NAME AND I WILL ANSWER THEM; I WILL SAY, “THEY ARE MY PEOPLE, AND THEY WILL SAY, THE LORD IS OUR GOD.” (NIV)

   Jn 6:5,6–WHEN JESUS THEN LIFTED UP HIS EYES, AND SAW A GREAT COMPANY COME UNTO HIM, HE SAITH UNTO PHILIP, WHENCE SHALL WE BUY BREAD, THAT THESE MAY EAT? AND THIS HE SAID TO PROVE (or test) HIM: FOR HE HIMSELF KNEW WHAT HE WOULD DO. We will go through many tests to prove us.

   Ro 12:2–DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. THEN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TEST AND APPROVE WHAT GOD’S WILL IS–HIS GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL (NIV). Note, your thinking needs to change. It needs to be renewed, to be conformed to the Bible way of thinking.

   2 Cor 2:9–THE REASON I WROTE YOU WAS TO SEE IF YOU WOULD STAND THE TEST AND BE OBEDIENT IN EVERYTHING (NIV).

   2 Cor 8:7–12–THEREFORE, AS YE ABOUND IN EVERY THING, IN FAITH, AND UTTERANCE, AND KNOWLEDGE, AND IN ALL DILIGENCE, AND IN YOUR LOVE TO US, SEE THAT YE ABOUND IN THIS GRACE ALSO. I SPEAK NOT BY COMMANDMENT, BUT BY OCCASION OF THE FORWARDNESS OF OTHERS, AND TO PROVE (or test) THE SINCERITY OF YOUR LOVE. FOR IF THERE BE FIRST A WILLING MIND, IT IS ACCEPTED ACCORDING TO THAT A MAN HATH, AND NOT ACCORDING TO THAT HE HATH NOT. (This is concerning giving a gift or giving.)

   2 Cor 13:5–EXAMINE (or check) YOURSELVES, WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH; PROVE (or test) YOURSELVES. DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT CHRIST JESUS IS IN YOU–UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOU FAIL THE TEST? (KJV–NIV). This is a command. Check yourself with the Scriptures to see if you are really saved. Compare yourself with Jesus. Look at the apostles and disciples in God’s Word. Then look at the unsaved in God’s Word. Which are you the most like?
   Does the confession of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, come forth from your lips?
   Does the fruit of your attitude, the fruit of your works, and fruit of God’s Spirit shine forth from you all the time, most of the time, or nearly none of the time–especially when you are among the unsaved?
   Does the confession of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, come forth from your lips?
   Does the fruit of your attitude, the fruit of your works, and fruit of God’s Spirit shine forth from you all the time, most of the time, or nearly none of the time–especially when you are among the unsaved?
   Are you a shining light for Jesus Christ, or are you a dim flicker?
   Do others see Jesus in you so much that some despise you, or do you fit in with unbelievers like a hand in a glove?
   Do you have more fellowship with spiritually–minded Christians or with unbelievers?
   Do you become involved in the affairs of unbelievers?
   Do you like to be around spiritually–minded people who trust in Jesus, or would you rather not be around them?
   When you are around others in Christ as they speak of God’s Word, do you talk about yourself and the things of the world?
   How much is your mind on God’s Word, as opposed to the things of this world? It is written: Ro 8:6–FOR TO BE CARNALLY (or worldly) MINDED IS DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE.
   How much time do you spend in God’s Word each day? Are you a person that picks up their Bible once in a while and reads a chapter now and then? Are you a person that reads a verse here and there? Are you a person that studies their Bible faithfully every day for a good length of time, who puts God’s Word first and all other things after? Or are you one that tries to fit the Bible in with what time is leftover or waits until you are tired?
   Do you go to church, but don’t take your Bible?
   Could you truthfully say that you are among the top 1% of the population in your dedication to Jesus?
   Do you follow a certain denomination, a certain religion, a certain philosophy, a certain church, your own ideas of what you think God is like, and think in doing this that you are following Jesus?
   Do you think you are a good person, therefore God will let you into heaven?
   Do you think because you do good works in this world–you give money to charities, give food to your church, help other people when they need it–that you will go to heaven?
   Do you think because you do certain sacraments or perhaps even kill others in the name of your god that you will go to heaven?
   Do you think because you obey your spiritual leaders and worship idols you will go to heaven?
   Do you truthfully have any idea of what it means to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus daily, and love the brethren even as Christ loved you (which means you also don’t accuse them or speak evil of them)?
   Are you a person that states you are led by the Spirit of God, yet you live contrary to God’s Word? Oh, how deceived man can be!
   Do you base your salvation on what your emotions dictate?    What percentage of your speech is on Jesus as opposed to the world and yourself, when you are around the unsaved or even other Christians?
   Ro 8:6–9–THE MIND OF SINFUL MAN IS DEATH, BUT THE MIND CONTROLLED BY THE SPIRIT IS LIFE AND PEACE; THE SINFUL MIND IS HOSTILE TO GOD. IT DOES NOT SUBMIT TO GOD’S LAW, NOR CAN IT DO SO. THOSE CONTROLLED BY THE SINFUL NATURE CANNOT PLEASE GOD. YOU, HOWEVER, ARE CONTROLLED NOT BY THE SINFUL NATURE BUT BY THE SPIRIT, IF THE SPIRIT OF GOD LIVES IN YOU. AND IF ANYONE DOES NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE DOES NOT BELONG TO CHRIST.
   Ro 8:13,14–FOR IF YOU LIVE ACCORDING TO THE SINFUL NATURE, YOU WILL DIE; BUT IF BY THE SPIRIT YOU PUT TO DEATH THE MISDEEDS OF THE BODY, YOU WILL LIVE, BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD ARE SONS OF GOD (NIV).
   There are none so blind or deceived as those that will not see. Satan deceiveth the whole world, and that probably includes you. If you are asked why you think you are saved, is your answer based entirely on God’s Word in truth or on something else?
   Gal 6:8,9–FOR HE THAT SOWETH TO HIS FLESH SHALL OF THE FLESH REAP CORRUPTION; BUT HE THAT SOWETH TO THE SPIRIT SHALL OF THE SPIRIT REAP LIFE EVERLASTING. AND LET US NOT BE WEARY IN WELL DOING: FOR IN DUE SEASON WE SHALL REAP, IF WE FAINT NOT.
   The Bible commands you to examine yourself, whether ye be in the faith. Prove or test yourself. Can you do this with an honest heart by God’s Word? Most will not or cannot.
   Gal 6:3,4–FOR IF A MAN THINK HIMSELF TO BE SOMETHING, WHEN HE IS NOTHING, HE DECEIVETH HIMSELF. BUT LET EVERY MAN PROVE (or test) HIS OWN WORK, AND THEN SHALL HE HAVE REJOICING IN HIMSELF ALONE, AND NOT IN ANOTHER.
   (The end of the commentary on Life is a Test, regarding 2 Cor 13:5 and Gal 6:3,4.)

   1 Thes 5:21,22–PROVE (or test) ALL THINGS; HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD. ABSTAIN FROM ALL APPEARANCE OF EVIL. Note, born again Christians are to test all things in the light of the Gospel. Just a couple examples. You are looking for a church. You go to one, but they preach very little of God’s Word. They never confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Leave that church and find the one God has ordained for you to attend. Some man asks a born again girl for a date. The man’s fruits do not testify that he is saved, even though he says he is a Christian. Do not go out with him. As God’s Word says, “Prove or test all things.” Then the Scripture tells us to abstain from all appearance of evil. Do you fellowship and hang around with unbelievers? Stop doing this. Do you go to places no Christian ought to go? Stop doing this. If you are a born again guy, do you have a girl that is not a relative living in your house? Stop doing this. Do you join ungodly clubs to try and get ahead in this world? Stop doing this. Stop putting yourself in situations in which you take on the appearance of evil. Doing such things opens the door for Satan to attack you and also ruins your witness. You witness to others to follow Jesus, yet you have the appearance of doing otherwise.

   Ja 1:12–BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO PERSEVERES UNDER TRIAL (or testing), BECAUSE WHEN HE HAS STOOD THE TEST, HE WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE THAT GOD HAS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM (NIV).

24–SUFFER FOR CHRIST
LIFE IS A TEST
Distractions When Reading God’s Word–Life is a Test
Obstacles and Little Faith–Life is a Test
Church of Today–Life is a Test

   Rev 2:10–DO NOT BE AFRAID OF WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SUFFER. I TELL YOU, THE DEVIL WILL PUT SOME OF YOU IN PRISON TO TEST YOU, AND YOU WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION FOR TEN DAYS. BE FAITHFUL, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH, AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE CROWN OF LIFE (NIV). Note the words: The devil will put some of you in prison–to test you. Be faithful–even to the point of death.

25–CHURCH OF TODAY
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   The church of today speaks much about the love of Christ and what He can do for you. However, few speak of your love for Christ and that the evidence of your love for Christ is your obedience to His Word and commandments–ref Jn 14:15. Few preachers speak of surrendering everything to Christ. Few speak of totally giving up control of your life to Christ, denying yourself, and picking up your cross and following Him–ref Lk 9:23. Even repentance is seldom preached in many churches today. Some speak much of being healed by Christ. Some speak much of seed faith–which means giving your money to their ministry, which is not in God’s Word. They appear to be saying that if you do not give your money to their ministry, it is evidence you do not have faith. Such preaching is deceptive. Some even preach about giving by faith money you don’t have to their ministry. God forbid.
   Few preach the whole Gospel and preach it truthfully. Few tell you of the distractions you can expect to go through and the many kinds of tests and trials you can expect. Few tell you of the persecutions and sufferings ahead. Very few churches today tell you exactly how Satan works in your mind and emotions. Few will speak in–depth on Bible prophecy. The list could go on and on. Much of today’s church is described in the following. A church whose people desire to hear words that are pleasing to their itching ears–ref 2 Tim 4:3. A church which is wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked and does not know it. Today’s church is not clothed with white raiment. Today’s church cannot see or understand its true condition or understand God’s Word as it ought. Today’s church is admonished by God TO BUY OF ME GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE. Those that God loves are being told they will be rebuked and chastened. They are being commanded to be zealous and repent. God is standing at your door, knocking. If you are able to hear Him, and if you will open your door, and if you will be zealous and repent, Jesus will come in. However, if you are so deceived that you think you are saved when you are not, then you will probably not believe Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart; therefore, you will not open the door, be zealous, repent, and overcome as Jesus overcame. Thus, you will stay in your deceived state, not understanding how deceived you really are in God’s eyes, and eventually you will certainly perish. You will never sit down with Christ in His throne–ref Rev 3:18–21. Not trusting in Jesus under difficult and sometimes almost impossible conditions, self–confidence, any form of pride, any lack of inner love for the brethren, and not being childlike to God’s correction from those He puts over you–are spiritual killers. Shrinking back from where God has called you to be, or shrinking back from the works God has called you to do–are also spiritual killers. Yes, Satan can be expected to put huge road blocks to hinder you, but you must overcome them. You must deny yourself and all things of this world and follow Jesus. If you let Satan’s huge road blocks slow you down, and especially if they stop you, you are in deep spiritual trouble and spiritual death may lie ahead.
   There will be times you will be called to take a leap of faith into the unknown. Peter did this regarding walking on the water. Every apostle that followed Jesus did this in following Jesus. Every born again Christian can be expected to have to do this at times. Those that fail this test usually begin to backslide. Wrong thinking fills their mind with thoughts from Satan, and they follow a wrong voice.
   What do you love most in this world? Is it some unsaved person, a relative, a dream or goal you have, a hobby, your job, some concern for someone or something? Do you love a possession or children more than you love Jesus? Is the obstacle you have called “uncertainty”–uncertainty of knowing where you will live, how you will survive, how you will get from here to there? Is your obstacle–how you will pay for this or that, or where your food will come from, or the clothes you wear? Is your lack of willingness to step out in faith hindering you? Is the idea that you might be called to live in a place you do not want to live hindering you? What obstacle is Satan using to hinder you or eventually kill you spiritually? As you hesitate to follow Jesus, as Thomas did, because of some obstacle or fear, can you hear Jesus telling you, O, YE OF LITTLE FAITH–Mt 6:30?. Few people will really be honest with themselves when it comes to following Jesus totally. Do you not understand that little faith and doubting faith is not pleasing to God? Are you a person whose faith is such that you will not step out on the water, because you see the waves (or obstacles) more than you see Jesus?

   Few ministers or evangelists will tell you that percentage–wise only a few people are really saved. Few will tell you that the fruit of your attitude, the fruit of your works for Christ, and other such things are indicators that you are (or are not) walking with Christ. The Bible being preached in most churches today is far, far different than the Word that was taught by Jesus and the Apostles. Few churches tell you that if you are a friend of this world, you are an enemy of God–ref Ja 4:4. Few churches tell you to hate every false way–Ps 119:128. Few tell you that God is angry with the wicked everyday–Ps 7:11. Few tell you that if you follow Christ, you can expect to suffer persecutions, suffer many things, and might even suffer being put to death for obeying God’s Word.
   But then, this is the generation which loves to have Bible teaching that says what their itching ears want to hear. Few people want to hear the truth any more. Many are fearful and shrink back.
   The truth is–you can expect to suffer in many ways, if you follow Christ.
   You can expect to be hindered and distracted in many ways, as you follow Christ.
   Few will tell you that this life is a test, and how you react to that test determines your eternity.

   Let us remember. There is a heaven, and there is a hell. The past, present, and future of this world are clearly laid out in God’s Word. You were born at a precise time and put here in a precise place by God to fulfill His purpose. God has provided the means for you to follow Him and also to inherit eternal life. The Bible says, referring to Satan, he “cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”–ref Jn 10:10, and he “deceiveth the whole world”–ref Rev 12:9, exactly what he is doing. He was created to put obstacles in your path. He was created and given the power to influence your thinking in such a way that you will think that wrong is right, and right is wrong. No matter how intelligent you think you are, you are no match for Satan. Your only hope of defeating Satan is through obedience to God’s Word. Disobedience to God’s Word gives Satan permission to attack you in all sorts of deceptive ways.

   You are undergoing tests from God and temptations from Satan. Your heart will determine the outcome. And if you are one of the few that have a time–tested, spiritually–minded follower of Jesus to turn to for advice, it would be very unwise to ignore his advice from God’s Word. God’s Word clearly tells YOU–the following:

   2 Tim 2:4–NO MAN THAT WARRETH ENTANGLETH HIMSELF WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; THAT HE MAY PLEASE HIM WHO HATH CHOSEN HIM TO BE A SOLDIER. In other words–No person that has chosen to follow Jesus gets mixed up in the affairs of this life. Don–t get involved in other people’s situations. Don’t get involved in worldly matters. Don’t do it, and don’t make excuses that stem from your emotions to justify yourselves. For if you do, you are not pleasing God, and you are opening a door for Satan to set up an even bigger trap for you.

   2 Tim 2:7,11,12–CONSIDER WHAT I SAY; AND THE LORD GIVE THEE UNDERSTANDING IN ALL THINGS. IT IS A FAITHFUL SAYING: FOR IF WE BE DEAD WITH HIM, WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM: IF WE SUFFER, WE SHALL ALSO REIGN WITH HIM: IF WE DENY HIM, HE ALSO WILL DENY US. Many do deny Him through their wrong attitude, wrong thinking, and dead works. It is written: HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE. It is written: HIM O N L Y SHALT THOU SERVE. Maybe Y O U didn’t hear that clearly. HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE–Mt 4:10; Lk 4:8.
   2 Tim 2:20,21–BUT IN A GREAT HOUSE THERE ARE NOT ONLY VESSELS OF GOLD AND OF SILVER, BUT ALSO OF WOOD AND OF EARTH; AND SOME TO HONOUR, AND SOME TO DISHONOUR. IF A MAN THEREFORE PURGE HIMSELF FROM THESE, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, SANCTIFIED, AND MEET FOR THE MASTER’S USE, AND PREPARED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK. Note the words: IF a man purge himself from these. In other words, if you are able to purge yourself or free yourself from this world and its obligations, if you are able to free yourself from the cobweb of worldly situations and obligations you have entangled yourself with–then, and only then–will you be a ready vessel for God to use.
   But this know, if you have become so entangled in this life and in all sorts of obligations, and if you do not purge yourself from these by repenting and trusting in Jesus to free you–you can expect to surely perish. Jesus does not ask you to serve Him now and then. He commands you to pick up your cross and follow Him completely, every day. You are commanded to deny yourself, to forsake all things and follow Jesus. All of your clever excuses now, will seem meaningless when you are screaming in hell fire. Fear God, depart from your ways, and follow Jesus. You are to trust Him in all matters. It is written, regarding those that are trapped in this world’s cobweb–they are actually opposing themselves. They are caught in THE SNARE OF THE DEVIL. He has taken them CAPTIVE…AT HIS WILL–ref 2 Tim 2:26. But know this–when Satan has taken a person captive at his will, he is so skillful that they seldom recognize this is what has happened to them. If you can understand this, then understand–Hell has billions of people right now that were deceived by the devil. They never realized that they would perish, until they died and found themselves in hell, with no hope for eternity. If you are reading or hearing this now, it is not too late, but tomorrow, it may be too late for you to forsake all.
   God’s Word indicates that when the Lord returns, if He finds you have prepared yourself and are serving Him, you will be rewarded. However, if He does not find you have prepared yourself and are not serving Him, but rather are making excuses, you can expect to be cut off. You will perish. Then THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH–ref Mt 24:46–51; Lk 12:43–47.
   As Peter walked away from his job, his obligations, his family, perhaps even his wife to serve the living God, you may need to do the same.
   As Matthew walked away from his tax collecting, his obligations, and whatever family he had to follow Jesus, you may need to do the same.
   From the moment you hear or read this message, you have no valid excuse. You may have some difficult decisions to make and very little time in which to make them. Your eternity may depend on what decision you make.
   If you think this is intended to scare you–you better believe it is. Heb 10:31–IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD.

   Today’s church is lacking God’s Word. Today’s preachers use all sorts of worldly stories to illustrate what they want to say. They use worldly stories, stories about themselves, about people they know. It is not uncommon that many in the Christian congregations know far more about their preacher than they do about God. They know far more about their church’s activities than they know about Jesus’ activities. When most people are not in church, they speak little of God’s Word, but a great deal about the world and themselves.

26–WHAT DO YOU FILL YOUR EARS AND EYES WITH?
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   Look at God’s people. It is common–they talk about this, about that, but little about God’s Word and His works.
   What are people filling themselves with? When they wake up, do they turn on the television, radio, computer, or some other device, or read the newspaper? And what are they hearing or seeing? Is it the wonderful works of God? Is it God’s Word? No! It is music, or the news, or talk radio, or sports, or something about the world, or something else.
   And when people are away from the house or even in the house, what are they doing? Many are glued to their cell phones or have on earphones. When someone tries to say something to them, they can’t even hear you. Their ears and their ear phones are as one.
   When walking or running, many have earphones on. When working, many have earphones on. When driving, many are on cell phones or are listening to the radio, or a CD player, or an iPod, or some other device. And what are they hearing? Are they filling themselves with God’s Word? Most are not. They are filling themselves with worldly news, sports, weather, and all sorts of things of this world. People want to be entertained. How little time most people spend to meditate on God’s Word, His works, and the things that be of God.
   As the housewife does her work, what is she filling herself with? Is she listening to something that is filling her with the Word of God, or is it soap operas, or talk shows, or courtroom TV, or a game show? People want to be entertained.
   In many houses in the United States, the television is going most hours of the day, or perhaps the radio, or perhaps some other device. Some have various devices programmed with thousands of songs, which are not Christian. Or if it is Christian music, it is more rock and roll than Christian. Many people are continually filling themselves with what they hear on these devices. Others may continually read books about subjects they are interested in. Few, very few people are continually filling themselves with the wonderful Word of God. And their conversation reflects what they hear. Be it the TV, the radio, CD player, MP3 player, cell phone, the newspaper or surfing the Internet–what are you filling yourself with? Are you filling yourself with games? What are you addicted to? Is your life hid with Christ or something else? Is Christ your life or something else?
   There is great profit in filling yourself with God’s Word. What profit is there in filling yourself with other things?
   The Bible asks this question: Lk 18:8–WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMETH, SHALL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH?
   Life is a test. Are you failing that test, because of the worldly things your heart desires to fill itself with?
   How about yesterday? Did you fill yourself more with God’s Word or with more of something else?
   Were your eyes and ears filled with more of God’s Word or with more of something else?
   Are you a servant of God, or of the TV, a book, the radio, the computer and Internet?
   It is written:

27–LEARN
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   Deut 4:10–GATHER ME THE PEOPLE TOGETHER, AND I WILL MAKE THEM HEAR MY WORDS, THAT THEY MAY LEARN TO FEAR ME.
   Deut 5:1–HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS WHICH I SPEAK IN YOUR EARS THIS DAY, THAT YE MAY LEARN THEM, AND KEEP, AND DO THEM.
   Deut 14:23–LEARN TO FEAR THE LORD THY GOD ALWAYS.
   Deut 17:19–(God’s Word) HE SHALL READ THEREIN ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE: THAT HE MAY LEARN TO FEAR THE LORD HIS GOD, TO KEEP ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LAW AND THESE STATUTES, TO DO THEM.
   Deut 18:9–10–THOU SHALT NOT LEARN TO DO AFTER THE ABOMINATIONS OF THOSE NATIONS.
   Deut 31:12–GATHER THE PEOPLE TOGETHER,…THAT THEY MAY HEAR, AND THAT THEY MAY LEARN, AND FEAR THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND OBSERVE TO DO ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LAW.
   Deut 31:13–THEIR CHILDREN,–MAY HEAR, AND LEARN TO FEAR THE LORD YOUR GOD.
   Ps 119:71–IT IS GOOD FOR ME THAT I HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED; THAT I MIGHT LEARN THY STATUTES.
   Ps 119:73–THY HANDS HAVE MADE ME AND FASHIONED ME: GIVE ME UNDERSTANDING, THAT I MAY LEARN THY COMMANDMENTS.
   Isa 1:17–LEARN TO DO WELL.
   Isa 26:9–LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
   Isa 26:10–THE WICKED, YET WILL HE NOT LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS: IN THE LAND OF UPRIGHTNESS WILL HE DEAL UNJUSTLY, AND WILL NOT BEHOLD THE MAJESTY OF THE LORD.
   Isa 29:24–LEARN DOCTRINE.
   Jere 10:2–THUS SAITH THE LORD, LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN.
   Jere 12:17–God’s Word gives us a warning: BUT IF THEY WILL NOT OBEY, I WILL UTTERLY PLUCK UP AND DESTROY THAT NATION, SAITH THE LORD.
   Mt 11:29–TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME;…AND YE SHALL FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS.
   1 Tim 1:20–LEARN NOT TO BLASPHEME.
   1 Tim 2:11,12–LET THE WOMAN LEARN IN SILENCE WITH ALL SUBJECTION. BUT I SUFFER NOT A WOMAN TO TEACH, NOR TO USURP AUTHORITY OVER THE MAN, BUT TO BE IN SILENCE.
   1 Tim 5:13–(Ungodly women) THEY LEARN TO BE IDLE, WANDERING ABOUT FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE; AND NOT ONLY IDLE, BUT TATTLERS ALSO AND BUSYBODIES, SPEAKING THINGS WHICH THEY OUGHT NOT.
   Titus 3:14–LEARN TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS.
   Jere 15:7–I WILL DESTROY MY PEOPLE, SINCE THEY RETURN NOT FROM THEIR WAYS.
   Jere 18:15–MY PEOPLE HATH FORGOTTEN ME, THEY HAVE BURNED INCENSE TO VANITY.
   Mt 22:5–Most people are like the following, when confronted with God’s Word. THEY MADE LIGHT OF IT, AND WENT THEIR WAYS, ONE TO HIS FARM, ANOTHER TO HIS MERCHANDISE. Ro 3:17,18–AND THE WAY OF PEACE HAVE THEY NOT KNOWN: THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.
   God’s Word warns Christians: Pv 22:24–26–MAKE NO FRIENDSHIP WITH AN ANGRY MAN; AND WITH A FURIOUS MAN THOU SHALT NOT GO: LEST THOU LEARN HIS WAYS, AND GET A SNARE TO THY SOUL. BE NOT THOU ONE OF THEM THAT STRIKE HANDS, OR OF THEM THAT ARE SURETIES FOR DEBTS.
   1 Cor 15:33,34–BE NOT DECEIVED: EVIL COMMUNICATIONS CORRUPT GOOD MANNERS. AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND SIN NOT; FOR SOME HAVE NOT THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD: I SPEAK THIS TO YOUR SHAME.

28–BE FILLED WITH
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   The unsaved–
   They are filled with mischief. They are filled with their own ways. They are filled with wine. They are filled with drunkenness.
   But God wants the believer to–
   Be filled with God’s Word.
   Be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God–Hab 2:14.
   Be filled with the Spirit–Eph 5:18.
   Be filled with the Holy Ghost–Acts 9:17.
   Be filled with the fullness of God–Eph 3:19.
   Be filled with the knowledge of His will–Col 1:9.

29–FELLOWSHIP WITH BELIEVERS–IF YOU ARE A BELIEVER.
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   A Christian’s FELLOWSHIP is not to be with unbelievers. If a Christian is around unbelievers, he may learn their ways and become unfruitful to God. A Christian should fellowship with other believers as it is written.
   Note: a Christian that spends a lot of time with unbelievers usually leads two lives. When they are around other believers, they try to act like a believer. But when they are around unbelievers, they tend to act like unbelievers, talk like unbelievers, and think like unbelievers. They get angry. They get irritated. Their conversation is not about the Gospel. Their attitude does not reflect the ways of God. Then the Christian tends to get involved in the unbeliever’s affairs.
   Over and over, God’s Word tells the believer they are not of this world. They are to fellowship with other Christians, not unbelievers, because they are giving a place to the devil to be led astray by their ungodly influence. EVIL COMMUNICATIONS CORRUPT GOOD MANNERS–ref 1 Cor 15:33. Have you not read in God’s Word: Acts 2:42–AND THEY CONTINUED STEDFASTLY IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE AND FELLOWSHIP, AND IN BREAKING OF BREAD, AND IN PRAYERS. They continued with believers, not unbelievers. They continued in God’s Word.
   1 Cor 1:9–YE WERE CALLED UNTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
   1 Cor 10:20–THE GENTILES…THEY SACRIFICE TO DEVILS, AND NOT TO GOD: AND I WOULD NOT THAT YE SHOULD HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH DEVILS.
   2 Cor 6:14–18–BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: FOR WHAT FELLOWSHIP HATH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH UNRIGHTEOUSNESS? AND WHAT COMMUNION HATH LIGHT WITH DARKNESS? AND WHAT CONCORD HATH CHRIST WITH BELIAL? OR WHAT PART HATH HE THAT BELIEVETH WITH AN INFIDEL? AND WHAT AGREEMENT HATH THE TEMPLE OF GOD WITH IDOLS? FOR YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; AS GOD HATH SAID, I WILL DWELL IN THEM, AND WALK IN THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, AND TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU, AND WILL BE A FATHER UNTO YOU, AND YE SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAITH THE LORD ALMIGHTY.
   Eph 5:11–13–HAVE NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS, BUT RATHER REPROVE THEM. FOR IT IS A SHAME EVEN TO SPEAK OF THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE DONE OF THEM IN SECRET.
   1 Jn 1:3–THAT WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD DECLARE WE UNTO YOU, THAT YE ALSO MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US: AND TRULY OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER, AND WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
   1 Jn 1:6,7–IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM, AND WALK IN DARKNESS, WE LIE, AND DO NOT THE TRUTH: BUT IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT, AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.
   Lk 12:47–AND THAT SERVANT, WHICH KNEW HIS LORD’S WILL, AND PREPARED NOT HIMSELF, NEITHER DID ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, SHALL BE BEATEN WITH MANY STRIPES.

   As said previously, the Bible asks this question. Lk 18:8–WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMETH, SHALL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH?
   Stop filling your ears and eyes with the things of this world. Fill yourselves with God’s Word. Don–t tell me that you take some time to study God’s Word every day. Study it more. As the Rapture draws closer, all those wonderful books you have read, the newspapers, Internet surfing, cell phone conversations, TV viewing, games played, worldly music listened to, all those news programs, talk shows, and things of this world you have participated in will profit you nothing. It is all a test. Satan dangles all sorts of things in front of you to tempt you. He knows what is in your heart. The more things of this world you fill yourself with, the less room there is for Jesus. There are few today with a spiritual mind. And if you are one of those few that are spiritually–minded, Satan knows how to begin to get you to focus on other things that may be indirectly related to God’s Word, in order to deceive you and get you out of the will of God. The more you are focused on worldly situations or anything of this world, the less you are focused on God, on His Word, and on serving Him. What is really the greatest love in your life? Is it God or something else?
   Even if you are a believer, perhaps you need to repent of certain things. Perhaps you need to start putting God first. For it is written: 1 Jn 2:15–17–LOVE NOT THE WORLD, NEITHER THE THINGS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD. IF ANY MAN LOVE THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM. FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, AND THE LUST OF THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE, IS NOT OF THE FATHER, BUT IS OF THE WORLD. AND THE WORLD PASSETH AWAY, AND THE LUST THEREOF: BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOR EVER.

30–SUFFERINGS
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   Regarding suffering, Christians will also go through some of the same sufferings that Jesus went through. Remember, life is a test.
   Whom do you follow? Everyone follows either the God of heaven, that is Jesus Christ Who is come in the flesh, OR they follow the god of this world. All that do not follow Jesus do, in fact, follow the god of this world, which is the god of deception. The god of deception has blinded their understanding so much that they do not even know they have been deceived. It is written: 2 Cor 4:4–THE GOD OF THIS WORLD HATH BLINDED THE MINDS OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE NOT, LEST THE LIGHT OF THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF CHRIST, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF GOD, SHOULD SHINE UNTO THEM. The God of this world DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD–Rev 12:9.
   A person may say they are an atheist or an agnostic. Another may say they are of a particular religion. Another may say they believe in reincarnation, or karma, or just themselves. The fact is, they are all following the god of this world. As said, all that do not follow the Jesus Christ, of the written Word are, in fact, deceived and are following Satan, also known as the deceiver, the dragon, Lucifer, the devil, the serpent, and other names.
   Yet, if someone would attempt to tell the deceived person these facts, they would most probably think the person telling them this is crazy, as wrong thoughts are being put into their mind by the devil. Indeed, 1 Cor 1:18,19–THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS IS TO THEM THAT PERISH FOOLISHNESS; BUT UNTO US WHICH ARE SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD. FOR IT IS WRITTEN, I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND WILL BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT.

   Regarding suffering, it is written:    Mt 16:21–JESUS (began) TO SHEW UNTO HIS DISCIPLES, HOW…HE MUST GO UNTO JERUSALEM, AND SUFFER MANY THINGS OF THE ELDERS AND CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES, AND BE KILLED, AND BE RAISED AGAIN THE THIRD DAY. Jesus suffered. We are also called to suffer.

   Mk 8:31–AND HE BEGAN TO TEACH THEM, THAT THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS, AND BE REJECTED OF THE ELDERS, AND OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS, AND SCRIBES, AND BE KILLED, AND AFTER THREE DAYS RISE AGAIN. There were times when the religious people and their leaders caused Jesus to suffer more than other people.

   Acts 5:41–AND THEY (some Apostles) DEPARTED FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE COUNCIL, REJOICING THAT THEY WERE COUNTED WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME FOR HIS NAME. Do the followers of Jesus today rejoice that they are accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus? Do the churches of today even preach that if we follow Jesus, we shall suffer also? As the time leading up to the Rapture gets shorter, followers of Jesus can expect there will be more and more problems, persecutions, and sufferings. The Bible, once revered by most, is now increasingly ridiculed and despised.

   Acts 9:16–FOR I WILL SHEW HIM HOW GREAT THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE. Paul did suffer many things, as he brought forth the Gospel. The questions that should be asked are—have you suffered for Jesus? or are you a Christian in name only, but not by your works or the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit?

   Ro 8:17–AND IF CHILDREN, THEN HEIRS; HEIRS OF GOD, AND JOINT–HEIRS WITH CHRIST; IF SO BE THAT WE SUFFER WITH HIM, THAT WE MAY BE ALSO GLORIFIED TOGETHER.

   1 Cor 4:12–BEING REVILED, WE BLESS; BEING PERSECUTED, WE SUFFER IT:

   Phili 1:29–FOR UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN IN THE BEHALF OF CHRIST, NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE ON HIM, BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE.

   1 Thes 3:4,5–FOR VERILY, WHEN WE WERE WITH YOU, WE TOLD YOU BEFORE THAT WE SHOULD SUFFER TRIBULATION (or great difficulties); EVEN AS IT CAME TO PASS, AND YE KNOW. FOR THIS CAUSE, WHEN I COULD NO LONGER FORBEAR, I SENT TO KNOW YOUR FAITH, LEST BY SOME MEANS THE TEMPTER HAVE TEMPTED YOU, AND OUR LABOUR BE IN VAIN. In the midst of great sufferings, some turn from God, while others draw closer to Him.

   2 Thes 1:5…THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, FOR WHICH YE ALSO SUFFER.

   1 Tim 4:10–FOR THEREFORE WE BOTH LABOUR AND SUFFER REPROACH, BECAUSE WE TRUST IN THE LIVING GOD.

   2 Tim 1:12–FOR THE WHICH CAUSE I ALSO SUFFER THESE THINGS: NEVERTHELESS I AM NOT ASHAMED: FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED.

   2 Tim 2:8,9–REMEMBER THAT JESUS CHRIST OF THE SEED OF DAVID WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL: WHEREIN I SUFFER TROUBLE, AS AN EVIL DOER, EVEN UNTO BONDS;

   2 Tim 2:12–IF WE SUFFER, WE SHALL ALSO REIGN WITH HIM: IF WE DENY HIM, HE ALSO WILL DENY US.

   2 Tim 3:12–YEA, AND ALL THAT WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.

   Heb 11:24,25–BY FAITH MOSES, WHEN HE WAS COME TO YEARS, REFUSED TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER; CHOOSING RATHER TO SUFFER AFFLICTION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD, THAN TO ENJOY THE PLEASURES OF SIN FOR A SEASON.

   1 Pe 2:20,21–FOR WHAT GLORY IS IT, IF, WHEN YE BE BUFFETED FOR YOUR FAULTS, YE SHALL TAKE IT PATIENTLY? BUT IF, WHEN YE DO WELL, AND SUFFER FOR IT, YE TAKE IT PATIENTLY, THIS IS ACCEPTABLE WITH GOD. FOR EVEN HEREUNTO WERE YE CALLED: BECAUSE CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED FOR US, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, THAT YE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS.

   1 Pe 3:14–BUT AND IF YE SUFFER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE, HAPPY ARE YE: AND BE NOT AFRAID OF THEIR TERROR, NEITHER BE TROUBLED.

   1 Pe 3:17,18–FOR IT IS BETTER, IF THE WILL OF GOD BE SO, THAT YE SUFFER FOR WELL DOING, THAN FOR EVIL DOING. FOR CHRIST ALSO HATH ONCE SUFFERED FOR SINS, THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD, BEING PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH, BUT QUICKENED BY THE SPIRIT.

   1 Pe 4:16–YET IF ANY MAN SUFFER AS A CHRISTIAN, LET HIM NOT BE ASHAMED; BUT LET HIM GLORIFY GOD ON THIS BEHALF.

   1 Pe 4:19–WHEREFORE LET THEM THAT SUFFER ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD COMMIT THE KEEPING OF THEIR SOULS TO HIM IN WELL DOING, AS UNTO A FAITHFUL CREATOR.

31–SUFFER. LIST OF VARIOUS SUFFERINGS
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   Suffer many things
   Suffer shame
   Suffer persecutions
   Suffer tribulation
   Suffer reproach
   Suffer these things
   Suffer trouble
   Suffer affliction
   Suffer temptations
   Suffer as an evil doer


32–SUFFER. LIST OF WHY YOU MAY SUFFER
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   Suffer shame for His name
   Suffer that we may be also glorified together
   Suffer for His sake, on behalf of Christ
   Suffer so your faith will be tested by the tempter
   Suffer because of the righteous judgment of God
   Suffer so that ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God
   Suffer because we trust in the living God
   Suffer because you are doing the work God has appointed you to do (ref 2 Tim 1:10,11)
   Suffer as an evil doer because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead
   Suffer so we shall reign with Him
   Suffer because you live godly in Christ Jesus
   Suffer because you choose to be with the people of God
   Suffer because you choose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season
   Suffer for doing well
   Suffer because Christ suffered for us and left us an example
   Suffer because we follow in Christ’s steps
   Suffer for righteousness sake
   Suffer to test your attitude (ref 1 Pe 3:14) (ref 1 Pe 4:16)
   Suffer according to the will of God
   Suffer because Christ suffered for sins
   Suffer so Jesus might bring us to God
   Suffer because you are a Christian
   Suffer persecutions, blessed are ye (ref Mt 5:11)
   Suffer persecutions, great is your reward in heaven (ref Mt 5:11)

33–SUFFER. LIST OF WHAT OUR ATTITUDE SHOULD BE
LIFE IS A TEST
(Ref Ja 1:12)

   A Christian’s attitude should be the following, when suffering or being persecuted for Jesus’ sake according to the Bible:
REJOICING
WE BLESS
WE SUFFER IT
BLESS THEM
BLESS AND CURSE NOT
RECOMPENSE TO NO MAN EVIL FOR EVIL
AVENGE NOT YOURSELVES
IF THINE ENEMY HUNGER, FEED HIM
IF THINE ENEMY THIRST, GIVE HIM DRINK
BE NOT OVERCOME OF EVIL
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD
REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDING GLAD
I AM NOT ASHAMED
TAKE IT PATIENTLY
HAPPY ARE YE
BE NOT AFRAID OF THEIR TERROR
BE NOT…TROUBLED
NOT BE ASHAMED
GLORIFY GOD ON THIS BEHALF
COMMIT THE KEEPING OF THEIR


REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer–ref Acts 5:41
Being reviled, WE BLESS–ref 1 Cor 4:12
Being persecuted, WE SUFFER IT–1 Cor 4:12
BLESS THEM which persecute you–Ro 12:14
Ro 12:14
Ro 12:17
Ro 12:19
Ro 12:20
Ro 12:20
Ro 12:21
Ro 12:21
When persecuted, REJOICE, AND BE EXCEEDING GLAD: for great is your reward in heaven’Mt 5:11
I…suffer…nevertheless I AM NOT ASHAMED: for I know whom I have believed–2 Tim 1:12
But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye TAKE IT PATIENTLY–1 Pe 2:20,21
If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, HAPPY ARE YE–1 Pe 3:14
1 Pe 3:14
1 Pe 3:13
If any man suffer as a Christian, let him NOT BE ASHAMED–1 Pe 4:16
If any man suffer as a Christian,…let him GLORIFY GOD ON THIS BEHALF–1 Pe 4:16
Wherefore let them that suffer…COMMIT THE KEEPING OF THEIR SOULS TO HIM SOULS TO HIM–1 Pe 4:16.
(The end of the commentary on Life is a Test, regarding Ja 1:12)
 

   1 Pe 1:6–In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
   1 Pe 1:7–These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine (or may be tested to see if it is genuine) and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (NIV). These are tests to prove or see if your faith is genuine and to see what kind of faith you have, i.e. no faith, little faith, wave faith, great faith, etc. Life is a test.
   Will your obedience to God and trust in God in all ways and for all things enable God to use you only occasionally, a great deal, or full time?
   Will your obedience to God and trust in God enable God to use you as a missionary or as a Bible teacher?
   Will your obedience to God and trust in God be an example to other believers, or will it be a stumbling block to others?
   Will your obedience to God and trust in God change your attitude so your entire life reflects Jesus Christ?
   When people look at you, do they see a lukewarm Christian who will not forsake the world, or do they see a spiritually–minded Christian that refuses to compromise their walk with Jesus even to the point of death?
   When people look at you, do they see a spiritually–minded Christian so strong in trusting in God’s Word that they have forsaken all worldly endeavors to serve the living God?
   Serve God occasionally–part–time faith.
   Sold–out to follow Jesus all the time, no matter what happens–great faith.

   Rev 3:10–It is written, SINCE YOU HAVE KEPT MY COMMAND TO ENDURE PATIENTLY, I WILL ALSO KEEP YOU FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL THAT IS GOING TO COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD TO TEST THOSE WHO LIVE ON THE EARTH (NIV).
   Again, we note that life is a test.
   Both unbelievers and believers will be tested.
   God is not willing that any should perish.
   God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity, sent Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, to this earth to pay man’s sin debt in full, so he might inherit eternal life.
   God gave us the Bible containing all the information we need. However, Satan, who is also called the deceiver, is not willing that any should inherit eternal life. Each person will choose to believe according to their heart.
   There is only one person and one book in the history of the world that told us what the future would be like with 100 percent accuracy, using approximately 10,000 prophecies. There is only one book that has ever been proven to be perfectly accurate through prophecies, through archaeology, through research and through science. This book is the Bible.
   However, there are those that resist the truth, that do not want to repent, that have willfully falsified science with unproven ideas to try and discredit the Word of God.
   There is only one book that tells with perfect accuracy about the spiritual realm and how it works.
   There is only one book that explains why some people believe in God and the Bible while others do not.
   There is only one book that explains why some people choose to follow God completely, some part–time, and others not at all.
   There is only one book that explains how some begin to follow God, but then shrink back.
   There is only one book that explains the spiritual warfare each of us go through, as we are confronted with God’s Word; but then Satan puts thoughts in our heart and mind that contradict God’s Word.
   There is only one book that explains how God opens doors for us, but Satan puts all sorts of obstacles in our path.
   There is only one book that gives us the faith to step out and follow Jesus when there seems like there is no way we can do so. But then there is our heart, which is desperately wicked and deceitful–ref Jere 17:9.
   Thus, we have God’s Word telling us what to do. We have thoughts that contract God’s Word. We have difficult circumstances to overcome. And our heart decides what we will do.
   There may be many throughout the world with the exact same circumstances. One will follow God fully. Another will make some excuses and follow God part–time. Another will follow God just a little. Another will not follow God at all. God’s Word is clear that only a few inherit eternal life. Which are you?
   Life is a test, as has been clearly shown to us by many Scriptures.
   How each person responds to these tests will determine their eternal destiny. Consider carefully what has been said.
   Let us not forget–Satan is allowed to test each of us in the areas we are most easily deceived.
   If there is any area in our heart that we have not denied ourself, Satan can be expected to use it against us. If there is anything or anybody that we desire, or love, or have unforgiveness toward in our heart–Satan knows how to use these emotions to deceive and blind us to God’s Word and will.

34–SATAN’S TRAP: GETTING PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE AND IN OTHER PEOPLE’S AFFAIRS
LIFE IS A TEST
(ref Rev 3:10)

   Let us not forget one of Satan’s favorite tactics is to get you to involve yourself in other people’s affairs. It may be the affairs of loved ones, or relatives, or close friends. It might be in some worldly cause or desire. Once you disobey God’s command of not getting involved in other people’s affairs or worldly causes, you get snagged like a fish on a hook. No matter how much you struggle to get off that hook Satan baited you with, nothing seems to work. Usually the only way is to repent of the sin you did to begin with. If you will not repent of getting involved in someone’s affairs, then very slowly Satan reels the fishing line in until, through time, you finally die spiritually. From this moment on, you cannot say you didn’t know. The longer you wait to repent, the closer you come to being pulled out of the living water of life and perish. Sometimes your pastor can help you see this, if you have been spiritually blinded.
   It is written: 2 Tim 2:4–NO MAN THAT WARRETH ENTANGLETH HIMSELF WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; THAT HE MAY PLEASE HIM WHO HATH CHOSEN HIM TO BE A SOLDIER. No person that follows Jesus allows himself to become entangled in the affairs of this life, in the affairs of others, in the affairs of relatives, friends, or anyone, that he may please God who has chosen him to be a soldier and to be free of these things. If you have disobeyed this command, you have sinned and opened a door for Satan to get you involved more and more. You have been snared like a fish on a fishing line, and Satan is holding the rod and reel. You sinned. Now, you must repent quickly. If you say you can’t repent because of this or that, then slowly you can expect to die spiritually, as he reels you in.
   The question arises, who or what do you love most? Is it your friend, your relatives, perhaps some children, or some thing, or is it God and His Word. The person that loves God above all, will obey His Word and should not delay.
   Lk 9:62–AND JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. No person that begins to follow Jesus and looks back or involves himself with the things of the past is fit to serve in the Kingdom of God.
   2 Tim 2:19–THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS.
   But to those that have allowed themselves to become involved in the affairs of this life, as already said–they need to repent. It is written: 2 Tim 2:21–IF A MAN THEREFORE PURGE HIMSELF (or cleanses himself) FROM THESE, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL (or instrument) UNTO HONOUR, SANCTIFIED, AND MEET (or useful) FOR THE MASTER’S USE, AND PREPARED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK. The sad part of all this is that when a person is hooked by Satan, Satan also has the power to blind them to the fact that they are hooked and are slowly being drawn in. They are slowly suffocating, but don’t even know it. So they don’t struggle against Satan’s hook, because they are spiritually blinded to the situation they are in and to understanding God’s Word as it applies to them. If a person repents and turns from being involved in the affairs of this world that have led him astray, then he will be a useful vessel for God, sanctified and prepared to do God’s work.
   Let’s be frank. If there is an opening right now, where you can serve God full–time, that is in accordance with the Bible, and you are not taking it because you are somehow involved in this world or the affairs of others–you are deceived.
   A person in this sort of a trap, sometimes tries to mix the affairs of this life and the work of God. If you could only look ahead and see the end of this wrong thinking, you would repent. Hell is waiting. There is a lot of room. If only you could hear the screams of those there trying to tell you that you are wrong! Don’t you understand God’s Word is telling you that you are wrong? The longer you hesitate to repent, the harder it will be for you to ever repent and free yourself from the hook that has snared you.
   This needs to be emphasized: if Satan has trapped you in the affairs of this life or in other people’s affairs–no matter how good your intentions or how noble a cause it seems to be–you must repent and free yourself of this burden. You must purge yourself, as written in 2 Tim 2:21. If you are unwilling, it is a testimony that your love for God is less than your love for whatever is hindering you from following Him fully. As a noose around your neck can slowly squeeze the life out of you, so is the trap of involving yourself in other people’s affairs. You may help some one else, but lose your own soul. It needs to be said–the longer you wait to repent, hoping for an easy way out of Satan’s trap, the tighter the noose around your neck becomes and the closer to spiritual death you draw. You may plead to God to get you out of this trap, but God tells you what to do in His Word. Repent and forsake being involved in the world’s affairs and trying to help the unsaved in ways that God has not ordained. Repent and return to God’s calling. Return to your first love.
   It is written: Isa 26:3–THOU WILT KEEP HIM IN PERFECT PEACE, WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON THEE. It is not possible to become involved in the affairs of this life and keep your mind stayed on Jesus. Thus, it is not possible to have the peace of God and grow spiritually as is needed–if one disobeys God’s commands. People that try to follow Jesus and yet become involved in the affairs of others tend to become irritable and easily angry. They often have an accusing nature and easily find fault with others, rather than examining themselves by God’s Word. Their thinking becomes more in line with worldly opinions and reasoning, than with the mind of Christ and the love of Christ.
   The Scriptures are clear about forsaking all to follow Jesus. It is written: Mk 10:29,30–Jesus said, THERE IS NO MAN THAT HATH LEFT HOUSE, OR BRETHREN, OR SISTERS, OR FATHER, OR MOTHER, OR WIFE, OR CHILDREN, OR LANDS, FOR MY SAKE, AND THE GOSPEL’S, BUT HE SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD NOW IN THIS TIME, HOUSES, AND BRETHREN, AND SISTERS, AND MOTHERS, AND CHILDREN, AND LANDS, WITH PERSECUTIONS; AND IN THE WORLD TO COME ETERNAL LIFE. Note the words–left house, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, lands for My sake–shall receive…eternal life.
   Mt 19:29–AND EVERY ONE THAT HATH FORSAKEN HOUSES, OR BRETHREN, OR SISTERS, OR FATHER, OR MOTHER, OR WIFE, OR CHILDREN, OR LANDS, FOR MY NAME’S SAKE, SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD, AND SHALL INHERIT EVERLASTING LIFE.
   It is a test. Which does a person love more? Is it a house, brethren, sisters, mother, children, lands, or is it God? God’s Word tells us in Mt 10:37–HE THAT LOVETH FATHER OR MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME: AND HE THAT LOVETH SON OR DAUGHTER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME.
   He that hath ears to hear let him hear. There are many in hell today that Satan trapped much like you have been trapped. They are trying to tell you–repent now, before it is too late. Stop today, right now from involving yourself in other people’s affairs (the affairs of the unsaved) or in your own desires, no matter what they are. Stop disobeying God.
   Will you hear God’s Word? Will your heart respond to God’s Word with excuses, or as a good and profitable servant and soldier that says, “Here I am Lord. I belong to You. You purchased me with your blood. I will do what You say, when You say it. I will go where You tell me, when You tell me. I will stop making excuses. I will stop trying to do things my way and on my time schedule.” Those whose heart is not right with God will make excuses. They may say in their heart, “I can do what God wants me to do tomorrow. I can do it later. I have something more important to do right now. I have to take care of this matter or that matter. I can’t miss my favorite program. I have to meet a friend that just came into town. I have to babysit. I have to cook dinner for my husband. I have to take my wife on a date.” The excuses are from Satan. Satan knows how to use the cares of this life and other things to cause you to delay in serving God. Jesus said, in Jn 10:27,5–MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE…AND THEY FOLLOW ME. AND A STRANGER (Satan) WILL THEY NOT FOLLOW, BUT WILL FLEE FROM HIM.
   Hear God’s Word. Lk 9:59,60–Jesus said–FOLLOW ME. BUT HE (the person) SAID, LORD, SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO AND BURY MY FATHER. JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD: BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The message is clear. When God gives you something to do, He means right now. Not later today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Right now. Don’t even go and bury your father. Is God your Lord and Master all of the time, or only when you have the time? Many are excuse–makers. Only a few follow Jesus totally as they ought. Do you act like a Christian when around other Christians, but act very differently when around unbelievers?
   AND ANOTHER ALSO SAID, LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE; BUT LET ME FIRST GO BID THEM FAREWELL, WHICH ARE AT HOME AT MY HOUSE. Both excuses sound reasonable, but look what Jesus says to them. Jesus tells them they are not fit for the Kingdom of heaven. It is written: JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
   God wants obedient servants, not excuse–makers. God wants people that will follow Him, not the affairs of this life.
   Lk 14:18–21–Jesus invited some to the marriage supper. He invited some to follow Him. AND THEY ALL WITH ONE CONSENT BEGAN TO MAKE EXCUSE. THE FIRST SAID…I HAVE BOUGHT A PIECE OF GROUND, AND I MUST NEEDS GO AND SEE IT: I PRAY THEE HAVE ME EXCUSED. AND ANOTHER SAID, I HAVE BOUGHT FIVE YOKE OF OXEN, AND I GO TO PROVE THEM: I PRAY THEE HAVE ME EXCUSED. AND ANOTHER SAID, I HAVE MARRIED A WIFE, AND THEREFORE I CANNOT COME.
   Now when the Lord heard these excuses, what was His attitude? He WAS ANGRY. Worldly excuses–no matter how good they seem, no matter how important they seem to the excuse–maker–are not of the Lord. They are of the deceiver. God demands obedience. God’s Word is clear for those with a pure heart. God’s Word is distorted for those whose hearts are partly in this world and partly following Jesus. Such people make God angry. They are double–minded. They are a wave. So what did God do regarding these excuse–makers? He sent his servant out to find others to replace those excuse–makers. It is incredible. There are some whose hearts are just not right, that may hear these words of Almighty God but they will continue to make excuses, and they will continue to justify themselves. They do not fear God as they ought. God says to the excuse–makers who are positive their excuses are good ones–Lk 16:15–YE ARE THEY WHICH JUSTIFY YOURSELVES BEFORE MEN; BUT GOD KNOWETH YOUR HEARTS: FOR THAT WHICH IS HIGHLY ESTEEMED AMONG MEN IS ABOMINATION IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. Jesus did not involve Himself in the affairs of the world as you may be doing. Are you esteeming the things you have to do a higher calling than God’s calling? Is it your health that you use for an excuse? Is it children that you use for an excuse? Is the place you live used for an excuse? Is it a worldly obligation you use for an excuse? Is it some job you use as an excuse? Is it a broken down car you use for an excuse?
   Mt 22:2–5–God called certain people to come, BUT THEY MADE LIGHT OF IT, AND WENT THEIR WAYS, ONE TO HIS FARM, ANOTHER TO HIS MERCHANDISE. Did God accept their excuses and say He understands? Absolutely, not. God said in verse 8–THEY WHICH WERE BIDDEN WERE NOT WORTHY.
   God’s Word is crystal clear to those with a right heart. It is not clear to those whose heart is not right. This message is clear. There is no excuse. There is NO excuse that God will accept, when He calls you. When God wants something done–don’t delay. If the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do something at 3pm, do it at 3pm. Don’t make an excuse and say that you can do it at 6pm. And, God forbid, don’t make light of it. Don’t think to yourself that it is no big deal, that you can postpone it.
   Life is a test. Whether it is a big test or a little one, it is still a test.
   If God calls you to do something now, there is no excuse that is acceptable. Drop everything–your family, your job, your obligations, your heart’s desires, your plans, right now and do what Jesus calls you to do. Forget that car you were about to buy. Forget that program you want to watch. Forget that appointment you have. Forget everything, including your excuses, and do what God has called you to do at the exact time He tells you to do it. Mk 1:18, Lk 5:11, and Mt 9:9 all confirm what has just been said. Mt 9:9 says–AND AS JESUS…SAW A MAN, NAMED MATTHEW, SITTING AT THE RECEIPT OF CUSTOM: AND HE SAITH UNTO HIM, FOLLOW ME. AND HE AROSE, AND FOLLOWED HIM. Matthew did not make an excuse and say he had to turn in the tax money and give a two weeks notice. He made no excuse. Will you do the same? Or will you make excuse, which at the Judgment, you may regret for eternity?
   If God calls you to put postage stamps on envelopes at your church at a certain time–do it. If God calls you to go some where at a certain time, obey, and do not go to the left or the right. Do not delay. Do not make excuse. Even if what God calls you to do seems unimportant, don’t make light of it or make an excuse for any reason. Just obey God. And don’t think to yourself something like, “It really isn’t God telling me to do this or that. It is only my preacher.” Exactly. This is one way God may use to tell you when and how to do something. It is through someone He has put over you in the Lord.
   Perhaps part of your life has been one of excuses. And these excuses served you well in the past. But now, God is telling you–stop doing this. Stop making excuses. Stop trying to do things some other way, other than what you have been told, because it seems like a better way. Stop delaying, because you think other things are more important.
   Stop saying, let me first do this or that. Let me first bury my father. Let me first take care of another matter. Let me first say goodbye to my loved ones. Let me first go and look at the oxen, or a car, or something else. Let me first get married. Let me first go on my honeymoon. Let me first cook a dinner for my spouse. Let me first babysit. Let me first go to the doctor. Let me first–STOP. Stop the excuses. Every act of disobedience is exactly that–disobedience.
   Eph 2:2–WHEREIN IN TIME PAST YE WALKED ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE. If you are born again, if you are following Jesus, if you have put on the new man, and put off the old man–stop making excuses. Stop walking according to the ways of this world. Stop trying to do things your way. Stop trying to do anything, when God has called you to do something else. God’s Word tells you, Eph 5:6–LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU WITH VAIN WORDS: FOR BECAUSE OF THESE THINGS COMETH THE WRATH OF GOD UPON THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE. Col 3:6–For which things’ sake THE WRATH OF GOD COMETH ON THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.
   It is time that you to go forward and step into the water. Once you take that step forward, God will do the rest. There is no faith when you can see your way clearly how to do something. There is faith when you see no way, but you see Jesus, and you do what God called you to do anyway. Obey God. Obey God now. Stop using the excuses that Satan gives you, which you think are your own, because of your deceived and disobedient heart.

   Are you a person that God has delivered from some traumatic event, but now you are involved with the cares of this life rather than following Jesus fully? Do you refuse to follow Jesus fully, because you might have to go to or live in a place that you don–t want to? Do you refuse to follow Jesus fully, because of your health, or because of certain people you love, or certain obligations that you have set in your mind are so important? Have you really crucified–your will–to follow Jesus? Have you picked up your cross and denied yourself and forsaken all your excuses to follow Jesus? Most reading or hearing this have not.
   From this moment, you cannot say you didn’t hear God telling you to STOP THE EXCUSES. Stop delaying to do what God is calling you to do.
   If you know God has called you to do something now, do it. Forsake all your worldly obligations which seem so important to you now. Stop thinking to yourself, you cannot not obey right now, because other people are depending on you.
   Hear God’s Word as He is trying to show you that your thinking and what you say can be very wrong and not in harmony with the Word. Have you not read?:
   Esther 4:13–THEN MORDECAI (said)…THINK NOT WITH THYSELF THAT THOU SHALT ESCAPE IN THE KING’S HOUSE, MORE THAN ALL THE JEWS.
   Mt 3:9–AND THINK NOT TO SAY WITHIN YOURSELVES, WE HAVE ABRAHAM TO OUR FATHER.
   Mt 10:34–THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO SEND PEACE ON EARTH.
   Mt 24:44–FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMETH.
   Jere 1:7–BUT THE LORD SAID UNTO ME, SAY NOT, I AM A CHILD: FOR THOU SHALT GO.
   Jn 4:35–SAY NOT YE, THERE ARE YET FOUR MONTHS, AND THEN COMETH HARVEST?
   And don’t say to yourself, “I am following Jesus,” when you have been called to full–time service, but you are not fulfilling that calling.
   Don’t say to yourself that you are following Jesus as you ought when you were serving God full–time, but now you are not. And don’t say to yourself you are following Jesus as you ought, when He has called you to follow Him, but instead you have dulled and suppressed your conscience with excuses.
   Stop the excuses. It is time to follow Jesus completely, not a little now and then. Put off whatever is hindering you and do it right now, for if you delay today, justifying yourself with Satan’s excuses (which you don’t think are Satan’s excuses), then you may also do it again tomorrow. God’s Word has shown you that there is no excuse that is acceptable to Him. To make an excuse is to say, “No,” to God. To delay is to say, “No,” to God.
   Will you begin to serve God completely, right now, as He is calling you? If you delay, how much longer will you delay? Will it be a few days, perhaps a year, perhaps after you miss the Rapture? But then it will be too late.
   This very day, this very hour, may be the time that will set the direction for the rest of your life–whether it will be a full commitment to Jesus or a full–time commitment to excuses.
   Life is a test, and you are being tested. You are being tested right now.
   God tells YOU, right now, through His Word:
   Jesus will return for His people soon.
   Lk 21:28–AND WHEN THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO PASS (which are coming to pass right now), THEN LOOK UP, AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS; FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH.

   1 Cor 7:29–BUT THIS I SAY, BRETHREN, THE TIME IS SHORT.
   Mt 16:24–IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.
   Mk 8:34–WHOSOEVER WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.
   Lk 9:23–IF ANY MAN WILL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY, AND FOLLOW ME. God repeated this command three times. Obey it!
   There is only one instance, as I recall, where Jesus ever told someone do something else first before following Him. Lk 18:22–Jesus said unto him, YET LACKEST THOU ONE THING: SELL ALL THAT THOU HAST, AND DISTRIBUTE UNTO THE POOR, AND THOU SHALT HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN: AND COME, FOLLOW ME. The cares of this life or some other excuse you use to delay following Jesus totally right now, I believe, you will not find as a valid excuse in the Bible, unless you twist the Scriptures to fit what your heart chooses to do.
   Many people spend their whole life helping this world, helping friends, helping relatives, giving them all they have, helping children and fighting for this cause or that cause. But, in the end, they will not hear the words–WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. They will not hear the words–THOU HAST BEEN FAITHFUL WITH A FEW THINGS. I WILL MAKE THEE RULER OVER MANY THINGS. ENTER THOU INTO THY JOY OF THY LORD. Just who is your Lord? Is it your job, your relatives, your friends, some worldly cause, the cares of this life, money, pleasures, lusts, or some other thing? In order to serve God, do you have to ask permission of someone? Do you have to ask your boss at work? Do you have to ask some relative, some friend, or someone else? If so, God is not your Lord. The one that authorizes your service is the Lord, even though your deceived heart may not want to admit this. And maybe that is your problem–your deceived heart. It is not purified in obeying the truth–ref 1 Pe 1:22.
   Time is running out. He will return soon. Will you be ready? Will He find you serving Him when He returns, or will He find you serving something else or serving two masters? If you have heard this message, you will have no excuse as you perish.

   God commands you to do the following. It is written, in Heb 12:1,2–WHEREFORE SEEING WE ALSO ARE COMPASSED ABOUT WITH SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, LET US LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, (lay aside every obstacle, lay aside everything that is hindering you from following Jesus) AND THE SIN WHICH DOTH SO EASILY BESET US, AND LET US RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US, LOOKING UNTO JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH. Jesus has not set before you obstacles of getting involved in this world and the affairs of others. Of this, the Scriptures are clear.    Are you here to do your will or His will? It is written, Heb 10:7–THEN SAID I, LO, I COME…TO DO THY WILL, O GOD. And also Heb 10:9–THEN SAID HE, LO, I COME TO DO THY WILL, O GOD. If you follow Jesus, you are here to do His will, not your own will. Which is first in your life? Is it Jesus or something other than Jesus?.
   It is written in Jn 12:26–IF ANY MAN SERVE ME, LET HIM FOLLOW ME; AND WHERE I AM, THERE SHALL ALSO MY SERVANT BE: IF ANY MAN SERVE ME, HIM WILL MY FATHER HONOUR.
   Jn 10:27–MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME.

Continuing from (ref Rev 3:10)
   Life is a test. The great test is this.
   Will you love God above all things, above all your desires, above all your plans, above everything He has created, including your mother, father, sisters, brothers, friends, and children? Would you be willing to be tortured and die for the brethren and for His Word? Would you be willing to visit the brethren in jail, if you knew you might be arrested yourself? Is there a line you draw regarding following Jesus? Is there some place you would refuse to go for Him? Is there something you would refuse to do for Him? Is there something you would refuse to forsake for Him? Is there some person you would not give up fellowshipping with for Him? Is there some sin you refuse to give up for Him?



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