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CP VOICES | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2022
By Mark Creech, Op-ed Contributor

Christian Cynosure said, “Some folks take up religion as a kind of insurance against hell – and then are not willing to pay the premiums.”

Salvation is not something God requires us to pay for because Christ has already paid our debt of sin in full. However, following the Lord in a righteous walk of life is costly.

In his letter to the church in Pergamos, the Lord Jesus commended the believers for their loyalty. They lived in a city where Satan himself had his headquarters. Yet they held fast to the faith, even amid oppression, maltreatment, and discrimination.

One in their midst named Antipas was martyred for his faithfulness. No one knows much about Antipas, but Christ singled him out for special recognition as the personification of the church’s steadfast resistance to the pressures of persecution.

Christ, whose words are as “sharp as a two-edged sword,” said to them: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.

And you hold fast to my name, and did not deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”

The devil’s efforts to eradicate Christianity by persecution had failed miserably. Not to be outdone, the Evil One decided to employ a sly undetected, and creeping kind of strategy. He would incrementally destroy God’s people and their faithful witness by corrupting them from within.

“Pergamos” means “married.” This church was to become “married” to worldly values and undone by the insidious effects of heresy. It also means “elevated” and speaks of a time in Church history when church and state were united under the Roman Emperor Constantine and his successors.

Pergamos represents the imperial church after Constantine (313-606) — a period when official persecution ceased because the church was “elevated” to a place of political power.

Many reputable scholars have argued it was during this time the institution of the papacy had its inception. However, the church of this era was unfortunately seduced into idol worship and sexual immorality through the rise of the papal system. This compelling argument seems to set the stage for the next letter to the church in Thyatira.

Jesus said to the church in Pergamos that he had a few things against them:

“[Y]ou have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”

When the evil king of Moab, Balak, discovered God’s chosen people could not be defeated in open warfare, the false prophet Balaam counseled the king that the way to destroy them was to undermine their commitment to God. Balam taught Balak to seduce the people away from God by urging them to engage in acts of idolatry and sexual sin. He knew this would weaken them, and God would withdraw his favor.

What a message this provides for the church of today! Two sinful characteristics of the church in the West, more specifically, in America, are most obvious. They are covetousness (a form of idolatry) and sexual immorality. The apostle Paul admonished:

“So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]” (Colossians 3:5, The Amplified Bible).
Preachers of the Prosperity Gospel abound nowadays, telling adherents that financial success and physical well-being are always the will of

God. If one believes sufficiently, if one makes a “Positive Confession” or has a “Word of Faith,” if one “visualizes,” or donates “seed faith money,” then riches, healing, and power over material objects is theirs in the atonement.

Roberts, Hinn, Kenyon, Allen, Tilton, Osborn, Osteen, Dollar, Copeland, Reverend Ike, Hagin, and others who have directed this movement among evangelicals, claim to know Christ and preach the Bible. Instead, they are more like Balaam. They have corrupted Christianity’s message of self-denial, sacrifice, and Cross-bearing into an idolatrous religion of greed. It’s scandalous!

Sexual immorality is also pervasive in churches. There is hardly a mainline denomination that hasn’t been deluded into supporting and celebrating LGBTQ+. Many churches perform same-sex marriages, essentially abandoning God’s charter for marriage and the family.

Marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and his bride, the Church. Same-sex marriage is an insult to that sacred picture.

Priests are caught committing pedophilia with little boys. Pastors are addicted to pornography, engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with their staff, adultery with someone’s spouse in the church, and even rape. This is appalling and a reproach to Christ’s church.

Perhaps the worst form of unfaithfulness to Christ is spiritual whoredom. That is when churches and denominations apostatize, leaving or compromising the teachings of orthodox Christianity.

Another dimension of spiritual adultery is when the churches start to embrace unbiblical teachings such as postmodernism, social justice, critical race theory, wokism, and socialism.

These “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1), these counsels of Balaam, are poisonous and make the church sick and impotent.

Jesus also had harsh words for those in Pergamos holding to the teachings of the Nicolaitans.

In Days of Vengence, David Chilton asks, “What exactly was the Nicolaitan doctrine?” He explains:

“[T]he false Nicolaitan apostles advocated antinomianism — the teaching that, perhaps through the sacrifice of Christ, Christians were “freed from the law,” in a sense completely opposed to the Biblical teaching of sanctification. It was no longer a sin, in their account, to commit idolatry and fornication; the believer was not under obligation to obey the law, but can live as he pleases (although they probably claimed, as antinomians do today, the ‘leading of the Spirit’ as justification for their abominable practices).”

An authentic salvation experience with Jesus Christ as one’s Savior is transformational. Salvation is not just to take a soul to Heaven; it’s meant to empower people to leave and overcome the influence and power of sin. God calls on his people to live holy lives, not “holier than thou” lives but lives separated from the ways of this world.

The church at Pergamos was illegitimately united with the world and needed to repent (v. 16), said Jesus.

It’s right for the Church to be in the world, but another matter altogether for the world to be in the Church. A boat is supposed to be in the water, but never water in the boat.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (v. 17).

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.

Revelation 2: The Church that was devastated from within | Voice (christianpost.com)

BY TIAR’A LITERARY & ILLUSTRATIONS AUGUST 24, 2022

"Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". You may have heard the cliché. Unfortunately, a considerable number have taken it to heart. "The pen is mightier than the sword". According to these clichés, words are not hurtful, yet the written word is mightier than the sword. Well, which is it?

Sadly, "double-speak" has become common place in society. Some say one thing but mean another. Others waver in their opinions more frequently than the ocean tides, yet the resounding effect is that the majority abuse, or misuse the true meaning of words and what they represent.

In The Holy Bible there are no gray areas, despite what modern culture, and some "forward-thinking" churches are perpetuating *(Matthew 6:24: "No man 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"), this is plain as black and white.

As children, we are taught right from wrong - hopefully. Some adults choose to forget their earlier teachings and like to imagine that certain Biblical requests made by God can be broken to suit and justify their adult needs, or those of their social status quo. Let me state; none of us are perfect, not me, not you, "not one", but this should not be used as a crutch to continue defying God's requests, or to outright convolute His emphatic and Divine Word.

In fact, Words, contrary to the opening cliché, can most assuredly be hurtful and far more damaging than sticks and stones could ever be. If you are hit by a stone or a stick, eventually the lash or bruise will fade. However, if a certain negative word is spoken over you, over and over, it can have a lifelong damaging effect to your psyche. Alternatively, words can build us up.

The Holy Bible states in Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". Baring this in mind, let us analyze two words that are significantly meaningful to God that are presently used by society to honor and glorify the opposite of how God defined them.

THE RAINBOW

In *Genesis 9:13-16 God painted a spectacular rainbow across the sky and signified to Noah that the rain had ended, and that He would never again destroy the earth by flood. It was a positive visual, and a positive statement; "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth".

The rainbow was an illustration for mankind to observe and hold to heart - God's everlasting visual in the heavens showing his eternal compassion and covenant towards us. Today, we are painfully aware that what we know to be God's rainbow, has been distorted, and is now being used to glorify sin.

In June of 2022, rainbow flags were raised high outside country Embassy's around the globe - but were not raised in honor of God, and his covenant to man. They were raised in honor of man and his sin.

PRIDE

"Pride comes before the fall", yet our world currently thrives on everything prideful. We hear it frequently; "I am so proud of my accomplishment". "I am so proud that I have a degree". "I am so proud that my son scored the winning touchdown". Let us not forget that God ordains all things that glorify His Kingdom. Anything else is just human accomplishment, and none are that special. For God views us equally, not favoring one over the other (Romans 2:11: "For there is no respect of persons with God"). If you repeat an action enough you will eventually remember how to perform it. Some may call you an expert, but you have simply done what any actor can do - memorize. Remain humble as per Jesus' instruction. "I am so happy I passed the test". "I am so elated I finished the yard work". Take the word proud and "pride" out of your conversation. Proverbs 27:1: "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth".

Psalms 10:4: "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, "There is no God".

Satan was arrogant and overflowing with pride. Clearly, The Holy Bible attributes pride to a negative emotion, and certainly not anything to be celebrated.

In conclusion, and in stark contrast to worldly beliefs, words are the most powerful weapon in the universe. After all, the universe was created by The Word (John I: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"). The Word penned the greatest how-to-live-life study guide - The Holy Bible. Words create business, they create educational curriculums, they create laws, entertainment, and sell product.

Be careful of the words you listen to, condone, and those that escape your mouth. And pay exceptional attention that you know a word's true meaning and that you do not "alter" that word's meaning to suit your own human, or social status quos. The result could be eternally damaging.

Written by Tiar’a Literary & Illustrations

Over The Rainbow - Why Words Still Matter (prophecynewswatch.com)

CP VOICES | THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2022
By Michael Brown, CP Op-Ed Contributor

Are we living in the last moments of human history? Is the whole world about to explode? Has America ever been in a worse condition than it is now?

Certainly, we are living in chaotic times, times of trouble and upheaval. But how bad are things, really? How dire is the condition of the world?

There is a mindset that C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” which he defined as “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited.” In other words, if it’s newer, it must be better.

The exact opposite of this concept is the idea that if it’s newer, it must be worse. Society is not what it used to be. Families are not what they used to be. Morality is not what it used to be.

Education is not what it used to be. Everything is on the decline!

But are things really that simple? Can we make such blanket statements?

Andrew Klavan, who was born in 1954, was describing his early days with the Daily Wire team, which included much younger men like Ben Shapiro and Michael Knowles.

Klavan wrote, “sometimes the younger guys would say things like, ‘This is the most divided era in American history,’ and I’d say, you know, between the ages of 10 and 14, I saw the president of the United States murdered by a Communist, his senator brother murdered by a Palestinian and the greatest civil rights leader of the age gunned down by a racist pornographer. To me, things look pretty chill. I think that was useful to keep the rhetoric in check and align our feelings with reality.”

Of course, it’s easy to think that America is the worst it’s ever been. Doesn’t it often feel like that?

After all, when is the last time we’ve been this politically polarized? When have we had to deal with LGBTQ+ extremism? When have we faced such uncertainty about the future? What about the horrific school massacres? What about the dangers of cancel culture and wokeness? What about the racial divisions? What about the plague of porn? And the epidemic of fentanyl overdoses? The list goes on and on.

The fact is that some things are the worst they’ve ever been in our nation’s history, such as the ubiquity of porn or the rise of radical transgender activism.

On the other hand, other things are better than they’ve been in decades, such as the strength of the pro-life movement, from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to the passing of pro-life legislation in state after state. And despite the racial tension we’re living with, things are certainly far better today for black Americans than they were prior to 1964, let alone prior to 1865.

It’s true that we’re having serious economic struggles. But Americans today, on average, live in far more luxurious conditions than did previous generations, and we’re nowhere near the times of the Great Depression.

And despite the deadly uptick in certain drug overdoses and the legalizing of pot, illicit drug use is lower today than in past decades, as is violent crime. (The murder rate in big cities is back to where it was 25 years ago, but again, that just means things have been really bad before.)

As for being a divided nation, which we are, we are nowhere nearly as divided as we were immediately before and after the Civil War.

Even our colleges and universities, many of which had strong Christian foundations and most of which have swung far to the left, have had bad days before. As revival historian James Edwin Orr noted in one of his lectures, after the Revolutionary War, America experienced a period of spiritual decline.

Things got so bad on some of our campuses that not a single professing Christian could be found at Harvard, which was founded for the glory of God. At Princeton, only two believers were found and only 5 students who did not belong to the filthy speech movement.

Students rioted on some campuses and, on one occasion, took a Bible from a church and burned it. Orr even states that Christian students were so few on some campuses that they met in secret, and recorded their meeting notes in code lest they should be discovered. This really happened in our country! (I strongly encourage you to take 25 minutes to watch this old lecture by Dr. Orr. He also mentions how Thomas Paine joyfully repeated Voltaire’s words that Christianity would be forgotten in 30 years.)

As for the state of the world today, we are actually living in one of the more peaceful times in history, despite Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine. Just compare things today with the worldwide upheaval and massive loss of life during World Wars I and II. Or consider the tens of millions of lives snuffed out due to the policies of Stalin and Mao.

Even in the Middle East, Israel has friendlier relations with more of its neighbors than at any time since its reestablishment in 1948.

To be sure, the whole world is like a tinder box ready to explode. And there is more potential for some kind of global government than ever, not to mention a potentially catastrophic “Great Reset.”

On the other hand, the Gospel is spreading through the nations at an unprecedented rate, and the church is experiencing its greatest growth in history. To borrow the words of Dickens, these are the best of times and the worst of times. These are times for great concern and great hope. These are times of great shaking, of powerful spiritual outpouring, and of intense demonic activity. These are critical times in which the scales could tip either way, quite dramatically and suddenly, in the days ahead.

Let us be vigilant. Let us be active. Let us seize the moment.

As one of my missionary colleagues has said, “This may not be the last generation, but it’s our last generation.”

Let us use these times for the glory of God. These are the only times we have.

Dr. Michael Brown(www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program.

A sober assessment of the state of America and the world | Voice (christianpost.com)

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