Daily Archives: August 25, 2020

August 25 Overcoming Peer Pressure

 

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

One of my favorite television shows over the years has been Candid Camera. I especially enjoyed the segments when the situations illustrated peer pressure. In one sketch, there was an elevator full of actors all facing the back of the elevator. When the doors opened and the unsuspecting “guinea pig” stepped in, he was the only one facing the correct way. But eventually the camera showed him turning around the wrong way as well. He couldn’t take the pressure of being the only one doing the right thing.

The pressure to conform is at its very greatest during the years when a young person is moving from childhood to adulthood. During that time in our lives we want to be accepted so badly that we are very vulnerable to group pressure. And don’t think this pressure doesn’t impact Christian young people. Whether it’s drugs being passed around a car, a party where alcohol is available, or a slumber party where sexual exploits are discussed, there is immense pressure on young people to conform to society’s standards. Peer pressure among young people today is one of the strongest forces for ruining lives. And it’s time we as parents and young people get on top of the problem and begin to develop a strategy to overcome it.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 248). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

Further Proof That The COVID Pandemic Is Being Used As A Power Grab To Force The New World Order Agenda Is Overwhelming At This Point • Now The End Begins

The Church corporately may have become the lukewarm Laodiecan mess, but you and I as individuals are given a special and separate promise if we want it. Jesus says He will knock on the door of the Church, lukewarm though it may be, and is happy to work with anyone of us who still desire to be on the front lines of the end times, and be of service to Him and His Kingdom. Are you one of those people? I pray that you are. I don’t say these things to discourage you, but to encourage you. These are the days of prophecy, and we are watching it come to pass! Go out into the harvest fields and work!
church-age-is-over-prepare-for-flight-777-titus-213-airlines

by  August 25, 2020 

I don’t say these things to discourage you, but to encourage you. These are the days of prophecy, and we are watching it come to pass! Go out into the harvest fields and work!

Everywhere you look, from Bill Gates, the United Nations, the United States and any other world organizational and governing body, we are hearing the same lockstep message droning out from all of them. In unison, we are being told that “we will not, and we cannot go back to the way things were”. They are telling us that our old way of life is gone, and it is never coming back. So if you are patiently waiting for all of this to be over, you can stop now. It will never be over.

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” Genesis 49:1 (KJB)

I have waited for nearly 30 years for these days to arrive, the days foretold long ago in the scripture of truth, about what life would be like at the closing of the Church Age. That day is now here, and it is sickening to watch ministry after ministry falling and failing as they slide into lukewarm apostasy. Sickening to see for my eyes, but my soul rejoices because I know I am going Home soon on Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines. The Church has no power in 2020, no influence, no standing of any kind. It has joined the world.

I think one reason for the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church is because as a corporate body we have ‘lost our savour’, and being no longer productive for the Lord we are removed and taken out. We have become Laodicea! But do not lose heart, brothers and sisters, the Lord has a special promise for those of us who reject Laodicea and still want to get something done for Him.

The End Times Laodicean Church

CLICK TO SEE THE SAD BUT TRUE STATE OF THE PROFESSING CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST

The world we once knew doesn’t exist anymore, it is transitioning into what the bible said it must become in the end of time, the short-lived kingdom of Antichrist. Everywhere you look there is hate, anger, confusion, and bloodshed, babies are killed in an ultra-efficient assembly line that puts Hitler’s concentration camps to shame. America is coming apart at the seams. Where is the Church? Where is revival? You won’t find it anywhere. It’s not coming.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:20-22 (KJB)

The Church corporately may have become the lukewarm Laodiecan mess, but you and I as individuals are given a special and separate promise if we want it. Do you want it? I sure do. Jesus says He will knock on the door of the Church, lukewarm though it may be, and is happy to work with anyone of us who still desire to be on the front lines of the end times, and be of service to Him and His Kingdom. Are you one of those people? I pray that you are. ‘Only one life, t’will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last….’

great-reset-world-econmic-forum-contact-tracing-bill-gates-666-new-order-covid-19-global-lockdown-elites-united-nations-id2020-digital-immunity-passport

THE GLOBAL ELITES ARE CALLING IT ‘THE GREAT RESET’ AND IT IS EXACTLY WHAT END TIMES BOOKS AND MOVIES HAVE BEEN WARNING YOU ABOUT FOR DECADES

I don’t say these things to discourage you, but to encourage you. These are the days of prophecy, and we are watching it come to pass! Go out into the harvest fields and work! Revival is not coming, but souls are still getting saved, at least they are on NTEB. We are seeing people saved on a regular basis, we are seeing believers learn the word and getting on fire for the Lord all the time. I dearly want you to be one of those people.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8 (KJB)

Now, let’s talk about the COVID crisis. The virus is real, but everything surrounding it is not, it is all fake. From the mandatory mask wearing, the lock downs, the fear, all the way up to the day when they knock on your door with a syringe and a chip, all of it is part of the plan to usher in the New World Order. Watch this video from Tucker, the last voice of truth in the mainstream media, and the last voice of truth on Fox News, and listen to what he has to say. He expertly exposes the plan, he shows you how the net is rapidly closing. But what Tucker does not see is how all this figures into end times bible prophecy. But we do.

“Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” James 5:3 (KJB)

So what are we who believe The Book to do? Go tell as many people as possible that Flight #777 is getting ready to take off, and plead with them to purchase their ticket on that flight. That is why the Lord left us here. Forget politics, it’s all corrupt, don’t engage the haters, don’t waste one second fighting the rising tide of end times darkness because you cannot stop it. But what you can do is say, like Isaiah said, “send me.” America is over, it’s finished, the whole world is gathering together to fulfill what God said would be happening in the last days.

The Pretribulation Rapture of the Born Again Church Saints

FLIGHT #777: MY NEW YEAR’S PRAYER IS THAT 2020 WILL BE THE YEAR THAT JESUS CATCHES US UP IN THE CLOUDS IN THE PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

You want revival? Revive yourself and it will have started, it’s really that simple. Do it, for time is almost up. Are you ready for what comes next? This is why NTEB exists, to help you get ready. Let’s get to work while we still can.

We Are At The End, And It’s Time To Go Home

Please Listen To This And Start Your Own Personal Revival

Delivered the Sunday after the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11, this is by far one of the most powerful messages on this site. Every professing Believer should hear this heart cry from the Father. It is a powerful rebuke to superficial and worldly doctrines that have crept into the professing Church of Jesus Christ. It is time to run, into the fire, and rescue the perishing. I invite you to come and run with me. 

https://youtu.be/3UKDm5ApJcI

— Read on www.nowtheendbegins.com/church-age-over-covid-pandemic-bringing-in-new-world-order/

Trump Tells RNC Attendees To Look Under Their Seats For A Free MyPillow And Can Of Goya Beans — The Babylon Bee

CHARLOTTE, NC—The excitement was palpable at the Republican National Convention Monday night as Trump addressed the crowd, reaching a fever pitch as the president revealed that everyone had a “special surprise” waiting for them under their seats.

“But wait — there’s more,” said Trump as he wrapped up his speech. The crowd waited with bated breath. “If you’ll all reach under your seats right now, you’ll find your very own MyPillow and a can of Goya beans, absolutely free!”

The crowd screamed in delight and scrambled to get their free stuff. Several fights and scuffles broke out over who got which kind of beans, with many Republicans looking to trade away their black beans for the more preferable white ones. One man pulled out his AR-15 and fired it into the air several times to ward other attendees away from the giant fort of MyPillows he had constructed.

“You get a MyPillow! And you get a MyPillow! Everybody gets a MyPilloooow!!!” Trump shouted in delirious delight as the wild frenzy continued.

Tonight, attendees will receive a free six-pack of Trader Jose’s Premium Lager.

Trump Tells RNC Attendees To Look Under Their Seats For A Free MyPillow And Can Of Goya Beans — The Babylon Bee

VICTORY! John MacArthur prevails in fourth trip to court — Capstone Report

Pastor John MacArthur, Grace Community Church defeated a fourth attempt by Los Angeles County to shut down worship services. 

This is breaking news. Check back for updates. According to the Thomas More Society, California Superior Court in Los Angeles issued a five-page ruling denying Los Angeles County’s request to stop indoor worship services at Grace Community Church. 

“It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church,” Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur said. “Church is essential.”

Here are more details on the ruling including quotes from Pastor John MacArthur and Thomas More Society lawyers Paul Jonna and Jenna Ellis in the official release from the Thomas More Society:

MacArthur Prevails – Judge Denies LA County’s Fourth Attempt to Shut Down Grace Community Church

Today, August 25, 2020, in California Superior Court, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued a 5-page opinion County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al., denying the County of Los Angeles’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order against the church and Pastor John MacArthur. Thomas More Society attorneys are defending the renowned pastor and his congregation against an aggressive assault by the county over the right to hold indoor worship services.

In a very well-reasoned analysis of the prior proceedings, the court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that the Court of Appeal’s order did not justify a new temporary restraining order; rather, it simply stayed Judge Chalfant’s August 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna explained, “The court correctly concluded that Los Angeles County’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order was both procedurally and substantively defective. This was their fourth unsuccessful attempt to obtain a court order prohibiting indoor worship services at Grace Community Church. We look forward to fully vindicating our clients’ constitutionally protected rights in subsequent proceedings for this important case.”

Pastor John MacArthur said of the decision, “We are very grateful to Judge Beckloff for his reasoned opinion and for taking great care to review this very important matter. As I said in my declaration to the court, we see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power. It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church. Church is essential.”

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis added, “This should signal to LA County that California courts will not quickly or easily trample the constitutionally protected rights of churches. We maintain that their health order is unconstitutionally burdening the right of churches to worship, and there exists no rational basis, much less a compelling interest, to try to shut down indoor services at this point, particularly when the county is allowing strip clubs to operate and massive riots to take place – and not seeking restraining orders against them. We look forward to making those arguments at a subsequent proceeding, where we will ask the court to properly check this power grab by Los Angeles County and the State of California’s executive branch.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on September 4, 2020 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Read the order issued August 25, 2020, by Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff in the Superior Court of California – County of Los Angeles – Central District in County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al. here 

VICTORY! John MacArthur prevails in fourth trip to court — Capstone Report

Religious Liberty Battles — VCY America

Date:  August 25, 2020  
Host:  Jim Schneider  
​Guest:  Mat Staver
MP3  ​​​| Orderhttps://embed.sermonaudio.com/player/a/82520211256171/

Mat Staver is a constitutional attorney, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. Mat has argued before all levels of court including landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He’s an author as well as speaker on the radio programs, ‘Faith and Freedom’ and ‘Freedom’s Call.’

The COVID-19/worship controversy continues to heat up with the State of California as a ‘hot-spot.’  Mat brought listeners details regarding the following related cases: 

–A Baptist church in Santa Clara, California, was warned that they’ll be fined $5,000 every time they meet for worship.  

–Last Friday, Pastor Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, was held in contempt of court for continuing to have his church meet and he’s being fined $500 for every occurrence.  

–Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the Pasadena Prosecutor’s Office concerning Harvest Rock Church.  Any coronavirus violations in the future will subject the pastor, church board members, administrators, operators, staff and parishioners to penalties.  In other words, even those who dare show up for church can be subject to daily, criminal penalties.  

From John MacArthur’s church, to a COVID-19 vaccine and its possible ramifications, spreading the coronavirus via singing vs. talking, to the latest on Sandra Merritt,…all that and more was covered on this edition of Crosstalk.  

More Information

lc.org

lc.org/churches

407-875-1776

Religious Liberty Battles — VCY America

Night #2 – RNC Convention: “Land of Opportunity” – 8:00pm Livestream Feeds and Links — The Last Refuge

The Republican National Committee kicks-off the second night of the 2020 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  [RNC Convention Website Here]  For evening #2 the theme is “Land of Opportunity.”  You can follow the convention via a series of links to multiple media resources.

RNC Convention Facebook Link – RNC Convention Twitter Link

RNC Convention YouTube Link – RNC Multimedia Link

RNC Livestream – Trump Campaign Livestream – CSPAN Livestream – RSBN Livestream

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Night #2 – RNC Convention: “Land of Opportunity” – 8:00pm Livestream Feeds and Links — The Last Refuge

Rand Paul Lauds Trump as First President in Decades to ‘Seek to End War, Rather than Start One’ — National Review

Paul contrasted Trump’s opposition to the Iraq War with Joe Biden’s support for various foreign interventions.

Rand Paul Lauds Trump as First President in Decades to ‘Seek to End War, Rather than Start One’ — National Review

Our Greatest Need: Restoration — Unlocking the Bible

In a world where so much has been lost, destroyed, forsaken, and forgotten, the human heart naturally longs for restoration. In today’s world, there is a longing for the restoration of truth, because truth has been obscured, hidden, and dismissed. There is a longing for restoration of civility, because we are being driven apart by violent, malevolent hordes, self-serving politicians, and vitriolic commentators. There is a longing for justice, because so many have been falsely accused while the guilty walk free. There is a longing for the restoration of marriage, because it has been redefined and abandoned. There is a longing for the restoration of peace, integrity, honesty, equity, and every institution that is good, because the world is governed by evil forces.

There are no stronger longings for restoration than those expressed in God’s Word. For forty years in the desert, Moses presided over a people who longed to be restored to their land. In the time of the Judges, the people longed to be restored to nationhood under a king. David longed to be restored to the fullness of worship where God dwells. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, among other prophets, wrote about the longing of God’s people for the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian captivity. A land, a king, worship, and rescue – all of these are given when God restores our fellowship with Him in Christ.

The Ultimate Restoration: Fellowship with God
The more that is lost, the stronger the longing for restoration. Never was so much lost as when the human race was given over to sin. The fall of mankind (Gen. 3) resulted in our being alienated from God. The removal of that fellowship was the biggest loss in history. It is the loss behind every other loss.

So, we long for restoration of fellowship with God. There is even a whole season, Advent, devoted to our hearts’ longing to be restored to that fellowship. God gave us this longing, because it was in His heart from before the earth was formed to deliver it. He loves to restore. He is a restoring God who knows our needs.

God’s Means: Redemption
When we think of our greatest need, we usually think of redemption, because if we are not redeemed, we will die in our sins and be cast into hell. Sin brings death and judgment, so we must be purchased out of that judgment. We must be redeemed from the penalty that our sins deserve in order to avoid eternal judgment. In God’s beloved Son, and only in Him, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14, cf v. 20). If Jesus does not take our evil deeds upon Himself and die on a cross, we cannot be reconciled to God (Col. 1:21-22).

But God’s program for the world is far greater than individual redemption: it is the total restoration of all that was lost in the fall of mankind.

In other words, we are not only redeemed from something (judgment). We are also redeemed to something. Colossians 1 reminds us that we were ransomed out of the pit of darkness and destruction. But it goes beyond that. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13, italics mine). We had to be redeemed from sin so that we can be restored to fellowship with God. Restoration is the essence of redemption!

The limitless reach of God’s restoring work is breathtaking.

It is easy to think of redemption as the ultimate end, but restoration means that there is more to redemption than the promise of eternal life. The lives of the redeemed are restored to good purpose on earth. God’s restored people “bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-12). We are empowered to walk in obedience and live in harmony with others.

Restoration also makes it possible for us to train our affections – to love God and love others in this life (Matt. 22:37-39). After all, the believer is headed for a place where those affections have been perfected. So, we must see Jesus as glorious and desirable, and we must love the Church. Jesus is the one who redeems and restores us to fellowship with God and with the saints in light.

Far-reaching Effects
God loves to restore. He restored Job’s fortunes (Job 42), Naaman’s flesh from leprosy (2 Kings 5), Hezekiah’s life (Is. 38), David’s soul (Ps. 23) and the joy of his salvation (Ps. 51), and Nebuchadnezzar after he had become like a beast in the field (Dan. 4). He restores lands, borders, inheritances, temples, health, life, repentance, and the priesthood. Whatever He decides to restore, He restores. He even restores youth (Ps. 103)!

At the pinnacle of redemptive history, when God restores all things, He will gather us together (see Deut. 30:3) from every tribe and tongue and nation (Rev. 7:9-10). It is hard to believe there is something better than redemption. But there is, and it means a lot in these troubled times. God is going to restore society as it was meant to be – people living in unity of purpose, gladly submitting to the perfect will of God, who binds us together.

Behold, I am making all things new (Rev. 21:5).

Our Greatest Need: Restoration — Unlocking the Bible

August 25th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

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.—1 Samuel 15:22.

DID you ever notice all but the heart of man obeys God? If you look through history, you will find that this is true. In the beginning God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. “Let the waters bring forth,” and the water brought forth abundantly. And one of the proofs that Jesus Christ is God is that He spoke to nature, and nature obeyed Him. At one time He spoke to the sea, and the sea recognized and obeyed. He spoke to the fig-tree, and instantly it withered and died, it obeyed literally and at once. He spoke to devils, and the devils fled. He spoke to the grave, and the grave obeyed Him and gave back its dead. But when He speaks to man, man will not obey Him. That is why man is out of harmony with God, and it will never be different until men learn to obey God. God wants obedience, and He will have it, else there can be no harmony.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 148). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

What If You Only Had One Hour of Life Remaining? — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

That’s an important question to consider. Suppose you were informed that you would die in one hour, what would you do? Would you make a call to a close friend or family member? Perhaps you would sit down at your desk and write a letter to your family. How exactly would you spend that final hour of life? Needless to say, you would spend it differently than one of the common hours of your life. As we examine Scripture, we find statements that indicate that we as Christians are living in the last hour. What does that mean and how should we be living in these days?

Paul, in writing to the church at Rome, writes the following:

Besides this you know the time, that the houhas come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (Rom. 13:11).

Paul is pressing upon the church at Rome to see their position on the timeline of history. They were living between the first and second comings of Jesus. They were positioned at a time where the great promises of Jesus’ incarnation, his substitutionary sacrifice, his death and burial, his victorious resurrection, and his triumphant ascension had been fulfilled. They were living, according to Paul, at a time where they needed to wake up from sleep. How easy it becomes as a Christian to hit the cruise control and get into a rut whereby you live without urgency—forgetting the fact that we are living in the last days.

While no man knows the day nor the hour of Jesus’ return—the New Testament authors consistently pointed to the season of the last days and urged the church to live in light of the fact that the return of Jesus is near. In Romans 13, Paul speaks of “the time” in Romans 13:11. The Greek term he used there is “καιρός” which refers to a period of time or a season of time. In other words, Paul was urging the church to see the late hour and notice that Jesus could return very soon.

The Greek term eschatos means “last” or “final,” and the theological term that we often use to describe the study of end times is eschatology. It is the study of events leading up to and including the second coming of Christ and the conclusion of human history as we all know it. As we survey the New Testament we find other verses that indicate the reality that the early church believed they were living in the last days.

The writer of Hebrews directed the church’s attention to the Day of the Lord:

Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Consider James’ exhortation regarding the coming of the Lord:

James 5:7–9 – Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Consider Peter’s Words of urgency:

1 Peter 4:7-8 – The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

 Paul warned the churches to be prepared:

Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 – Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

If the writers of the New Testament believed they were living in the last days and urged the early church to be prepared for the coming of Christ—imagine what they would say to us in our day. We must recognize that the culmination of our salvation is nearer today than it has been since we first believed the gospel. Therefore, our lives and our worship should exemplify the fact that we are living in the last days!

While two thousand years of world history could pass before Jesus returns—it’s very likely that Christ could come before the sunrise tomorrow. Are you living with such expectation? After the ascension of Jesus, the angels commanded the disciples to go on about life the reality that Jesus would come again (Acts 1:11). Each and every time we observe the Lord’s Supper as a church—we look back at the death of Jesus and we gaze forward in hope of his soon return.

What if this was your last hour of life? Are you living with urgency or is your Christian walk categorized by complacency or laziness? Be prepared—for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

What If You Only Had One Hour of Life Remaining? — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

August 25, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

16 The phrase your house and your kingdom is a hendiadys which can be translated “your royal house” (McCarter); see 1 Sam. 25:28 for “an enduring house” that refers to the Davidic dynasty. Note that the eternity of the Davidic throne is especially emphasized here with the final clause your throne will be established forever. Even if David’s sons are like Saul and unworthy to sit on the throne of their father, the throne will not remain empty. A line of succession of David’s throne is here promised, until the real son, the messiah, eventually comes.[1]


16. thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee, &c. The chain of Messianic promises which for ages had been broken, or transmitted obscurely under the forms of Mosaic ritual, was now renewed by the addition of a new and most important link, in the great promise made to David of perpetual succession in his family. This promise was understood by him (as it was also by Solomon) as including the exercise of universal dominion (cf. Ps. 2; 72); and although the theocracy soon reached its culminating point of conquest under David, as well as of peace and splendour under Solomon—although it was destined, with all the accompaniment of Mosaic polity and ceremonial institutions, at a remote era to be overthrown—although, in short, ‘the sceptre did depart from Judah’—yet the promise was, in a larger and sublimer sense, fulfilled in David’s son, of another nature (Heb. 1:8). This is the oath which God sware by his holiness to David—the covenant which He made with him respecting the perpetuity of his royal seed and kingdom (Ps. 89:3, 4, 35, 36)—the word upon which He caused him to hope (Ps. 119:49), and which is afterwards so much dwelt upon through the Psalms, and by the succeeding prophets. This promise, like that made to Abraham, has a twofold aspect,—one points to David’s natural posterity and temporal kingdom, the other to the Messiah and the kingdom of heaven. It respected the former only as types and pledges of the latter. Some, indeed, restrict this promise entirely to the Messiah, and deny that it was applicable to David’s natural descendants at all. The passages which seem to apply any part of it to these, refer, in their opinion, to another promise made unto David, which was of a temporal nature, and altogether distinct from this. But we have no account of any such promise in all the history. The truth is, this promise, like many others in the Old Testament, has a twofold sense—it takes in the type as well as the antitype; so that those who saw it accomplished in what respected David’s temporal house, had a proof that the Lord spoke by the prophet Nathan, and consequently a pledge that He would also in due time fulfil the spiritual part of it also. That it included David’s descendants, who by ordinary generation were to succeed him on the throne of Israel, is evident from David’s application of it to his son Solomon, in whom the temporal part of it had a partial accomplishment (1 Chr. 22:6–11; 28:5–8). The Lord himself also applies it to Solomon, when He appeared in vision (2 Chr. 8:7–18). It contains a threatening against such of David’s children as should commit iniquity, which was verified on his royal posterity who succeeded him on the throne, whom the Lord punished for their transgressions, as the sacred history abundantly shows. It was to fulfil the temporal part of this promise that the Lord continued the house of David so long on the throne of Judah, notwithstanding all their frequent and aggravated rebellions against Him (1 Ki. 11:36; 2 Ki. 8:19; 2 Chr. 21:7); and it was repeatedly appealed to by the Jewish Church when the judgments inflicted upon David’s temporal house and kingdom seemed to make it void. This promise as it represented David’s natural seed was conditional, so that the Lord at length deprived them of the kingdom; but He did not by that deprivation violate or nullify the covenant with His servant; for this was only what he threatened at the commencement of it to do in the event of their committing iniquity (1 Chr. 28:9). But how, then, was the promise made good, that David’s seed should sit on his throne for ever? The spiritual and eternal part of the promise pointed to the Messiah, who was to come of the seed of David according to the flesh, and to be raised up from the dead to sit for ever on His heavenly throne. The promise as it respected the Messiah was absolute, and in Him had its full accomplishment (cf. the last words of David, ch. 23:5; Acts 2:25–32 with Isa. 9:6, 7; 11:1–10; 55:1–5; Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:14–26; Ezek. 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Dan. 2:44; Hos. 3:5; Luke 1:31–33, 60–70: see Hengstenberg’s ‘Christology,’ i., pp. 123–145; ‘Edinburgh Evangelical Magazine,’ May, 1803; Hardwick’s ‘Christ and other Masters,’ i., p. 145).[2]


† 7:16 — “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

The Lord ultimately fulfilled this promise in the “Son of David,” Jesus Christ, who rules forever.[3]


7:16 Your house … your kingdom … your throne. Lk 1:32b, 33 indicates that these 3 terms are fulfilled in Jesus, “… and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” forever. This word conveys the idea of 1) an indeterminately long time or 2) into eternity future. It does not mean that there cannot be interruptions, but rather that the outcome is guaranteed. Christ’s Davidic reign will conclude human history.[4]


7:16 The three promises in this verse—the permanence of David’s dynasty, kingdom, and throne—summarize Yahweh’s 10 promises in 2 Sam 7:9–15. They are mentioned three times in Psa 89:4, 29, 36.

Central to the nt is the understanding of Jesus as the culmination and ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. All four Gospels recognize Jesus as the Son of David (especially Luke; see Luke 1:32, 69). The “kingdom of God” (or “kingdom of heaven”) language of the Gospel accounts also affirm the other aspects of 2 Sam 7:16, identifying Jesus’ kingdom as inaugurated on earth but not yet fully realized—with its full realization happening in Jesus’ return. Paul likewise testifies to Jesus’ Davidic heritage, particularly in Rom 1:3 and 2 Tim 2:8. In addition, Revelation acknowledges Jesus’ ancestry (see Rev 5:5; 22:16). By identifying Jesus as a descendant of David, the nt authors affirm their conviction that Jesus is Yahweh’s ultimate anointed ruler (Messiah or Christ) from the Davidic line.[5]


7:16 Beginning with v. 10, Nathan announces the terms of an unconditional promise from God to David. This Davidic covenant was not based upon what David would do or fail to do, but upon what God through His eternal purpose of grace determined to do for David (cf. Gen. 9:13, note). The promise encompassed the following terms: (1) the kingdom of David’s son Solomon would be established after David’s death (v. 12); (2) that son would build the temple which David wished to construct (v. 13); (3) David’s house (family) would never end (v. 16); and (4) David’s throne would be eternally established (v. 16). The first two promises were fulfilled during Solomon’s reign; the last two were messianic, anticipating the future millennial reign of David’s Son, the Christ (cf. Ps. 89:3, 4, 26–37; Ezek. 34:23, 24; Lk. 1:32).[6]


7:16 This important passage is the Bible’s earliest full statement about the enduring Davidic dynasty (but cp. Gn 49:10). Did God break His promise when He allowed the Babylonians to conquer Judah in 586 b.c., ending the independent political rule of the Davidic kings? Although the line of David continued during Israel’s exile (2 Kg 25:27–30) and afterward (Mt 1:12–16.), the family dropped into obscurity after the governorship of Zerubbabel (Hg 1:1). But this passage can be understood as a messianic prophecy fulfilled by Jesus, who was of the line of David (Mt 1:17; Lk 1:32; Rm 1:3). God had promised through several OT prophets that the line of Davidic kings would one day be reestablished (see Is 11:1; 9:7; Jr 23:5; 33:15–17; Ezk 34:23–24; 37:25; Hs 3:5; Am 9:11). With the coming of Jesus the Christ (Messiah, “anointed”), the ultimate descendant of David and King of the Jews (Mt 27:11, 37; Mk 15:2, 26; Lk 23:3, 38; Jn 18:33–34; 19:19–22; Rev 17:14; 19:16), God fulfilled His promise eternally.[7]


[1] Tsumura, D. T. (2019). The Second Book of Samuel. (E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr., Eds.) (p. 139). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[2] Jamieson, R. (n.d.). A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Joshua–Esther (Vol. II, pp. 234–235). London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (2 Sa 7:16). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Sa 7:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 7:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., 2 Sa 7:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 464). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

There Is No Peace Without God’s Wrath — ChurchLeaders

God's wrath

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:18-19).

How striking it is that when God calls us to peace, he speaks about his own wrath and vengeance. Notice there are three things that you need to know in order to have peace and to bring peace.

1. There will be retribution.

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Rom. 12:19).

God has established governing authorities in this world to administer justice. Paul speaks about this just a few verses later. Speaking of one who rules, Paul says, “He is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:4).

God has established authorities in every home, school, workplace, church, community, and nation. Those who are given this authority are responsible for the work of recompensing evil that is necessary to maintaining peace. They “carry out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

The basis of order in any home, community, or nation lies in the wrath of God. God is irreconcilably opposed to all evil. He will bring it to judgment. Therefore, he establishes governing authorities to deal with evil justly.

It is on this basis that parents exercise discipline in the home, and without this there will not be much peace. If parents stop believing in the wrath of God, they will find it difficult to discover another basis for discipline in the home.

The principle for the administration of this justice is clearly given in the well-known words of Scripture, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” There is a quip on this that is often attributed to Ghandi: “An eye for an eye leads to the whole world going blind.”

But this saying is based on a misunderstanding. When God says, “An eye for an eye,” it’s about proportionality. The justice must fit the crime. The proper administration of justice is necessary to the maintenance of peace. Remember this: God never punishes to the full extent of his strength, and neither should a parent.

When God says, “An eye for an eye,” he does not say it to individuals. God gives this directive to judges and others in authority. God does not say, “If someone smashes your window, go and smash theirs.” That would be a formula for anarchy, in which the whole world would soon go blind.

2. You are not to take retribution yourself.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves (Rom. 12:19).

The word ‘beloved’ is significant here. It communicates how deep the pain of evil and injustice is, and how strong the impulse to seek revenge can be. With a great sensitivity of heart to the pain, Paul says, ‘beloved’—or dearly loved ones—never avenge yourselves.

God has given this responsibility to the governing authorities in this world, not to you. This is still true even when governing authorities are far from what God calls them to be. What about crimes that are never solved? Injustices that are never dealt with? Evils that are never brought to light? What about the times when there is a miscarriage of justice?

3. Place the unresolved injustice into the hands of God.

Leave it to the wrath of God (Rom. 12:19).

If people stop believing in the wrath of God, two things will happen. The first is that courts will be overrun with endless disputes, which is where we are in our country now. When people cannot get what they want from the courts, they will feel that they must take the law into their own hands, and there goes their peace.

The Scripture says, “That is never your job! Don’t take it into your own hands. Leave it in the hands of God. Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you” (Prov. 20:22).

What evil have you suffered that has never been brought to justice? What injustice do you need to trust into the hands of God today? When you do this, you are following in the path of Jesus.

Jesus knows all about this. There was no justice for Him in this world. He stood before a judge who said, “What is truth?” What chance of justice do you have when the judge isn’t even sure that there is such a thing as truth? Before the chief priests, Jesus was blindfolded, spit on, and struck while he was in what was supposed to be a court of law (Mark 14:65).

What did Christ do when He faced this injustice? He continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Pet. 2:23). “Father, I know that every evil will be dealt with, and it will be dealt with by you. Every wicked deed will be brought to justice. You have said so, and you yourself will do it!”

The truth of God’s wrath is the assurance that one day there will be justice. God Himself will bring it, and this is the basis on which we can exercise restraint, even in the painful situations where we cannot get justice now.

If we lose sight of the wrath of God, believing that the only justice we can get is in this world, then we will feel that we must take matters into our own hands. And then the world will look in vain for peace. As much as it depends on you, live peaceably by leaving vengeance in the Lord’s hands.


This article is an adaptation of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Overcoming Evil with Peace”, from his series, Overcoming Evil.

This article originally appeared here.

There Is No Peace Without God’s Wrath — ChurchLeaders

August—25 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river-side, where prayer was wont to be made.—Acts 16:13.

What, had they no church, no synagogue, no prayer-house, in the city? Was it like another Athens, wholly given to idolatry? My soul, think of thy privileges, and learn rightly to prize them, and use them to the glory of the great giver. It was on the Sabbath. What a mercy to poor fallen man is the Sabbath! And yet what multitudes slight, despise, and never profit by it! My soul! think again, in this view also, of thy mercies; and bow down to the dust in the deepest humiliation of soul and body, that the Sabbath is precious to thee. “Who made thee to differ from another?” By-and-by thou wilt enter into the everlasting Sabbath of heaven. There is somewhat very interesting in what the apostle here saith of going out “by a river side.” Probably it was in the recollection of the Church, that in Babylon, where the people were captives, the Lord made the river Chebar famous for visions to one prophet, and Hiddekel to another. But, blessed be God! though our land is so sinful, we are not given up to captivity; and while many of the nations around have had their Churches turned into stables, amidst the din and horrors of war, our candlestick is not yet removed out of its place. Precious Jesus! wherever prayer is wont to be made by thy people, let my soul delight to be found. Let me hear thy voice inviting to communion: “Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon.” Yea, Lord, I would follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. I would follow thee to the assemblies of thy people. I would wait to see the goings of my God and King in his sanctuary. I would have my whole soul athirst for thee, as the hart for the cooling streams. And while I join thy people in the great congregation, where prayer is wont to be made, I pray thy grace, and the influences of thy blessed Spirit, to fire my soul with foretastes of that glorious assembly which are keeping an eternal Sabbath above, where the everlasting praises of God and the Lamb will engage and fill my raptured soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory, to all eternity.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 251–252). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Dead to Sin and Perfect in Love — Lighthouse Trails Inc

(see photo credits below)

LTRP Note: Harry Ironside wrote his book Holiness: The False & the True after spending his first six years after conversion in what is called “the holiness movement.” Lighthouse Trails published his book after seeing the role that legalism has played in the lives of so many Christians, causing many to swing to the extreme other side into the emergent church (via contemplative spirituality) or to leave the faith all together. We also published a booklet called Legalism or License Versus the Treasure of Living Water. If you know someone (or you yourself) who is caught in the unbiblical and dangerous trap of legalism, send us your name and mailing address (which will remain confidential) to editors@lighthousetrails.com, and we will send you a free copy of that booklet so you can give it to that person (or to yourself) (or you can print a copy freely from the link above). With the Gospel being the true North point that will lead us to truth, freedom, and peace (and His righteousness), we have seen the devastation that happens when Christians veer away from that true North point into extremes (e.g., holiness movement, Calvinism, contemplative, hyper-charismatic, etc.) that seem to be so prevalent in the church today. We appreciate Ironside’s contribution in helping point people back to the simplicity of the Gospel. The following is a chapter from Holiness: The False & the True:

By Harry Ironside
From his book Holiness: The False and the True

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:16-17)

WHAT is it to be dead with Christ, dead to sin, and to the rudiments of the world? Upon the answer to this question hangs the truth or error of the “perfectionist system.”

In commencing our inquiry, I would remind the reader of what we have already looked at (in chapter 2) as to the distinction between standing and state. Standing has reference to what I am as viewed by God through the work of His Son. State is my actual condition of soul. “That I may be of good comfort,” says Paul, “when I know your state.” He speaks elsewhere of “this grace wherein ye stand.” The two things are very different.

Death with Christ has to do with my standing. “Reckon yourself dead” refers to my state. It should readily be apprehended that no one but the thieves on the cross ever died with Christ actually, and one of them was lost. Thomas on one occasion said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He referred to a literal death with Lazarus and with Christ, for whom to go into Judaea seemed to the disciples to be imperiling His life.

But Christ is now living in glory, and it is nineteen hundred years too late for any one to die with Him, so far as experience is concerned. Supposing the “death” of Romans 6 were state or experience, therefore, it could not be properly described as dying with Christ or for Christ. To many it may seem needless to dwell upon this, but no one would think so who is familiar with the misuse of the expression in the holiness preaching and perfectionist literature of the day.

In these, death is made to be experience. Believers are exhorted to die. They try to feel dead, and if in measure insensible to insult, deprivation, and praise or blame, they consider they have died with Christ never realizing the illogical use of the language in question. When did Christ have to die to these things? When was He ever annoyed by blame or uplifted by praise? How then could stoical resignation be likened to death with Him?

One verse of tremendous importance puts the scriptural use of the term beyond all cavil: “In that he died, he died unto sin once” (Romans 6:10). If it be said that I have “died with Him,” it must be in His death and to the same things to which He died. What then are we to learn from so solemn a statement?

Notice one thing very carefully. It does not—could not—say, “In that He died, His death was the end of inbred sin”! Yet this is what it should have said if my death with Him is the death of my inbred sin. But this could never be for He was ever the Holy One in whom was no sin. Yet He died unto sin. In what sense? Manifestly as taking my place. As my Substitute, He died unto sin in the fullest possible sense—sin in its totality, the tree and the fruit—but all mine, not His! “He loved me, and gave Himself for me,” and in so doing He died unto sin, bearing the judgment of God due to me, the guilty one. God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And having been made sin in my room and stead and died for it, He has done with it forever—He has died unto it once for all, and in His death, I see my death, for I died with Him!

When and where did I die with Him? There on His Cross, nineteen centuries ago, when He died, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” There, I and every other child of God died unto sin with Him, henceforth to live unto God, even as it is written:

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Who that desires to be taught of God and to learn alone from Scripture need stumble here? Christ’s substitutionary death is accounted by God as my death and the death of all who believe in Him, and through that death we are introduced into our new standing as risen from the dead and seen in Christ before His Fathers face. “He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). This is my new and glorious position because I have died with Christ. I need not try to die, or pray to die, or seek to feel dead (absurdity beyond expression!), but Scripture says, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). The practical results of this are many. Learning that I have died with Christ, I see at once the incongruity of denying this in my practical walk or in any way owning the right of sin, which indwells me still, to exercise control over me. It was once my master, but Christ has died to sin—root, branch, and fruit, and His death was mine. Therefore, I must in faith reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ my Lord (Romans 6:11). I do not reckon the sin to be dead, or uprooted, or anything of the kind. I know it is there, but I am dead to it. Faith reckons with God and says, “In Christ’s death, I died out of the sphere where sin reigns. I will not obey it therefore any longer.” And while walking by faith, “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). What folly to speak of sin not having dominion if it be dead! The very pith and marrow of the apostle’s teaching is that though it remains in my mortal body, I am not to let it reign there (Romans 6:12).

While I live in this world, I shall never be actually free from sin’s presence, but I can and should be delivered from its power. God has “condemned sin in the flesh” not rooted sin out of the flesh, and as I condemn it too and refuse all allegiance to it, walking in the Spirit with Christ as my soul’s object, I am delivered from its control.

I reckon myself dead unto sin because in Christ I died to it; but it is only as I keep the distinction between the two phases of death clear in my mind that I am freed from confusion of thought.

Hoping I have been enabled of God to make this plain to any troubled one, I pass on to consider a question often asked at this point: “If what has been taught is the truth, how can I be perfect in love with sin still dwelling in me?” For an answer to this, we must turn to 1 John 4:15-19. To avoid one-sidedness, we shall quote the entire passage; and may I ask the reader to weigh every word:

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Now, with the passage before us, allow me to ask the reader four questions:

  1. Whose love is it which we have believed? See the answer in the first part of verse 16.
  2. Whose love is it in which we are called to abide? Read the latter part of the same verse.
  3. Where do we find perfect love manifested—in me, or in the Cross of Christ? Note carefully verses 17 and 18.
  4. What is the result in me of coming into the knowledge of love like this? The 19th verse supplies the answer.

Is it not plain that there is no hint of that perfect love being developed in me, and thus my reaching a state of perfection in the flesh? On the contrary, perfect love is seen objectively in the Cross of Christ and enjoyed subjectively in the soul of the believer.*


*Editor’s Note: God’s perfect love for us, as accomplished in the Cross, is “perfected” in us in the sense of giving us an assurance of salvation. But perfect love, in the most literal sense, is what God has demonstrated through Christ—the perfect love being in God, stirring us to love Him in return.

(photo taken from cover of Holiness: The False and the True; from alamy.com; used with permission; design by Lighthouse Trails)

Dead to Sin and Perfect in Love — Lighthouse Trails Inc

August 25 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.

Indeed, Lord, I was brought forth in iniquity. No eye pitied me, but I was thrown out into the open field, when I was loathed on the day I was born. And when You passed by me, Lord God, and saw me struggling in my own blood, You said to me, “Live!”

You also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. You have put a new song in my mouth—praise to You, my God.

When I was still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly me. Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But You, Lord God, demonstrate Your own love toward me, in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. You, who are rich in mercy, because of Your great love with which You loved me, even when I was dead in trespasses, You made me alive with Christ.

Thank You, God, for Your mercy, Your forgiveness, Your deliverance, and Your love.

Isaiah 51:1; Psalm 51:5; Ezekiel 16:5–6; Psalm 40:2–3; Romans 5:6–8; Ephesians 2:4–5[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Pelosi: Republicans Are ‘Domestic Enemies’ ‘Trying To Interfere In Our Election’

‘The domestic enemies to our voting system and our honoring of the Constitution are right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their allies in the Congress of the United States.’

Source: Pelosi: Republicans Are ‘Domestic Enemies’ ‘Trying To Interfere In Our Election’

Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan hit back at Pelosi for calling GOP ‘enemies of the state’: Democrats ‘want chaos’

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., on Tuesday blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for calling Republicans “enemies of the state.”

Source: Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan hit back at Pelosi for calling GOP ‘enemies of the state’: Democrats ‘want chaos’

Standoff continues between John MacArthur and Los Angeles County | Baptist News Global

In this March 12, 2020, photo Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, at podium, speaks at a news conference with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes,File)

No agreement was reached Monday, Aug. 24, in the dispute between John MacArthur and his Grace Community Church and the County of Los Angeles over COVID-19 restrictions.

Government officials, citing the public health threat of coronavirus “super-spreader” events, have sought the court’s help to enforce a public health restriction the church has flaunted for four weeks now.

According to court records, a hearing was held in the Superior Court of California on Aug. 24 before Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff. The church filed 18 pages of new documentation defending its position, and the county filed eight pages of documentation restating its case against the church.

Seeking a temporary restraining order

At Monday’s hearing, the county hoped the judge would issue a temporary restraining order against the church holding indoor worship services in defiance of the public health policy of the county. The church hoped the judge would not issue such an order and instead would rule the county health department’s regulations not applicable.

The judge did neither. Instead, he took the county’s request “under submission,” meaning he will issue a decision at some future date after more consideration. The next scheduled hearing on the original lawsuit filed by the church against the county and the countersuit filed by the county against the church is slated for Sept. 4.

At the heart of the current, secondary disagreement between the county and the church is a question of whether there is, in fact, a court order against the church. The county says there is; the church says there isn’t.

At the heart of the current, secondary disagreement between the county and the church is a question of whether there is, in fact, a court order against the church. The county says there is; the church says there isn’t.

That conflict arose because of a ruling from the bench last Friday, Aug. 21, that there is no court order against the church holding indoor, unmasked services, although there is clearly a county public health order prohibiting such mass gatherings. The church and its law firm sent out a news release declaring victory against the government officials because there is “no court order” prohibiting indoor worship. What the church and its law firm did not say is that the same judge also affirmed that the county has the right to issue public health orders.

Because the church continues to defy the county’s public health order, the county continues to seek a court order against the church. To date, the county has prevailed all the way to the California Court of Appeal, which issued an emergency ruling Aug. 15 saying the preponderance of evidence falls in favor of the county health department and therefore the church should not be allowed to hold indoor services while the original lawsuit is pending.

Thus, when county officials say there has been a court ruling against the church’s indoor services, this is the ruling to which they refer. When the church says there has not been a ruling against the church, they are speaking of the Superior Court while ignoring the Court of Appeal.

On Monday, Judge Beckloff did not settle this dispute.

Disputing the state and county health orders

In its latest brief to the court, the county said: “There can be no dispute that the Court of Appeal has upheld the validity of — and the county’s right to enforce — the health order. That health order prohibits indoor services. There is also no dispute that defendants continue conducting indoor services even after the Court of Appeal order. Now, the county seeks a temporary restraining order ensuring that the church complies with the valid health order. As the Court of Appeal stated, the county will likely prevail in this suit and the balance of the equities favors the county’s request for temporary relief prohibiting indoor services. For these reasons, a TRO is appropriate and should be granted.”

Grace Community Church’s website invites members to write to county officials asking them to stop attacking the church.

In comments to his congregation posted online and echoed in legal briefs filed Aug. 24, MacArthur said: “When the devastating lockdown began, it was supposed to be a short-term stopgap measure, with the goal to ‘flatten the curve’ — meaning they wanted to slow the rate of infection to ensure that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. And there were horrific projections of death. In light of those factors, our pastors supported the measures by observing the guidelines that were issued for churches. But we did not yield our spiritual authority to the secular government. We said from the very start that our voluntary compliance was subject to change if the restrictions dragged on beyond the stated goal, or politicians unduly intruded into church affairs, or if health officials added restrictions that would attempt to undermine the church’s mission.

“But we are now more than 20 weeks into the unrelieved restrictions. It is apparent that those original projections of death were wrong and the virus is nowhere near as dangerous as originally feared. Still, roughly 40% of the year has passed with our church essentially unable to gather in a normal way. Pastors’ ability to shepherd their flocks has been severely curtailed. The unity and influence of the church has been threatened. Opportunities for believers to serve and minister to one another have been missed. And the suffering of Christians who are troubled, fearful, distressed, infirm or otherwise in urgent need of fellowship and encouragement has been magnified beyond anything that could reasonably be considered just or necessary.”

The county and state restrictions force churches to “choose between the clear command of our Lord and the government officials,” MacArthur said. “Therefore, following the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, we gladly choose to obey him.”

The case for defying government orders

MacArthur has repeatedly said the church will not obey “illegitimate” government orders.

At trial, the church intends to call witnesses to dispute the science used by the county in its warnings.

Just because the church originally complied doesn’t mean the church ceded its authority to the state, he told the congregation. “To be clear, we believe that the original orders were just as much an illegitimate intrusion of state authority into ecclesiastical matters as we believe it is now. However, because we could not possibly have known the true severity of the virus, and because we care about people as our Lord did, we believe guarding public health against serious contagions is a rightful function of Christians as well as civil government. Therefore, we voluntarily followed the initial recommendations of our government. It is, of course, legitimate for Christians to abstain from the assembly of saints temporarily in the face of illness or an imminent threat to public health.”

His and the church’s argument now rests on the assertion that the state and county are overreacting to the threat of the virus. At trial, the church intends to call witnesses to dispute the science used by the county in its warnings.

While the vast majority of Christian churches in COVID-19 hotspots like Los Angeles have continued to offer only online worship services, some of the most conservative pastors and churches — particularly those who follow and have been shaped by MacArthur — have asserted their urgent need to be open for in-person services.

Don Green

Don Green is pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati and former managing director of “Grace to You,” where he oversaw daily operation of John MacArthur’s radio ministry. He wrote a lengthy Facebook post last week about why churches need to be open for in-person worship. That post was shared on Twitter by Phil Johnson, another of MacArthur’s broadcasting handlers and influencers.

Green lamented that there is too much “unbiblical thinking these days” shaping the debate over COVID-19 and churches.

“The consensus biblical argument against churches holding their normal services is, ‘You shouldn’t do that. You’re putting people at risk. After all, the Christian message is to love your neighbor.” That is a devilish argument as measured by both its superficial plausibility and the more weighty truth it omits,” he wrote.

“The Christian message,” Green said, is not about loving neighbor but about loving God and worshiping God. “Christians love their neighbors in the prior context of the gospel.”

He then accused “our critics” of not truly caring about “biblical love” because their “love your neighbor” message is “their effort to contradict, condemn and control us through the shame tactics that work in other segments of society.”

Of these critics — which presumably would include some government officials and even fellow pastors — Green said: “They don’t get to define acceptable worship” and “we’re right not to cave in to them.”

Green declared that love of neighbor “is not the gospel” and “it’s not even the first goal of the law.” He quoted Jesus from Matthew 22, where he said the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” He stopped short of continuing the passage where Jesus says, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Our obligation to God is greater than our obligation to our neighbor.”

“Loving our neighbor is important, but it comes in second place to love and obedience to God,” Green declared. “Our obligation to God is greater than our obligation to our neighbor.”

He added: “Our preeminent duty to God limits and informs the way we love our neighbor. We do not disregard our Lord for the sake of catering to the fearful, controlling demands of men. We may or may not wear masks and keep social distancing. That’s up to us, not them. Our prior, higher duty is to love and obey God first. Masks and social distancing have to fit around that, not vice-versa.”

In Atlanta, another biblical perspective

Across the country, in Atlanta, another equally prominent pastor as MacArthur has taken the opposite tack and declared his church will not reopen for in-person worship the rest of this year. This church through its various campuses reaches about 30,000 people weekly.

Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta, preached a sermon on Sunday, Aug. 16, titled “Not in It to Win It.” His church’s decision about remaining online only for now may not be in the best interest of his church but it is in the best interest of the community, he said.

This is not “bowing to Caesar,” Stanley said, noting that Atlanta does not face the same government restriction on assembly as Los Angeles. “The church always looks more Christlike when we are defending other people’s rights rather than our own.”

Churches and pastors that make COVID-19 restrictions a hill to die on live in “the version of Christianity consumed with winning” culture wars, the Atlanta pastor said.

Related articles:

MacArthur defies late-night court order against indoor worship

How John MacArthur loves the Bible but not his neighbor

John MacArthur retains Trump lawyer in fight over COVID restrictions

MacArthur sues LA County, county countersues in fight over COVID restrictions

Source: Standoff continues between John MacArthur and Los Angeles County

While MSM Panned GOP Convention As ‘Dark’ – Six Times As Many Viewers Watched C-SPAN Livestream | ZeroHedge News

Monday night’s C-SPAN livestream of the first night of the Republican National Convention attracted nearly six times as many viewers as the start of the Democratic National Convention, with 440,000 watching the GOP stream vs. 76,000 for the Democrats, according to The Hill.

TV ratings from Neilsen Media Research have yet to be released for the GOP’s first night. For reference, 18.7 million people watched the first night of the virtual Democratic convention featuring former first lade Michelle Obama and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden‘s speech on Thursday night was watched by 21.8 million people on TV, beating out the numbers for other major speeches at the party’s convention earlier in the week.

Still, the numbers for Biden mark a 21 percent drop from presidential nominee Hillary Clinton‘s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in 2016. They are also more than 38 percent lower than President Trump‘s acceptance speech at the Republican convention four years ago, which drew 34.9 million viewers. –The Hill

Of course, progressives now want TV networks to delay airing portions of the GOP convention in order to fact-check claims!

Like the did with Joe Biden’s oft-repeated “very fine people” lie about Trump’s response to Charlottesville?

Meanwhile, after Democrats spent three days dropping steaming turds on President Trump and warning that his reelection would spell doom for the country, resistance media’s coordinated word of the day for Monday’s GOP convention is ‘dark.’

Maybe…

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Source: While MSM Panned GOP Convention As ‘Dark’ – Six Times As Many Viewers Watched C-SPAN Livestream