So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” — Isaiah 6:5
It is a fact that Christ and the Apostle Paul prophesied about great endtimes deception and apostasy. We are now witnessing the fulfillment of that and other prophecies, which in my opinion indicates it is likely the endtimes.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” — 2 Timothy 4:3-4
The following prophecy has not been fulfilled. When it is fulfilled, innumerable deceived professing Christians, no matter how much eschatological Scripture they know, will not recognize the Beast that works those lying signs and deceptions. They will be under a supernatural delusion that causes them to believe Satan’s great and final deception.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.“ — 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
The great percentage of professing Christians rejecting love for truth is the obvious reason for the current spiritually malnourished and anemic religious multitude. They read books, such as “Jesus Calling,” and do not recognize the demonic indicators. They watch movies, such as “The Shack,” and cannot recognize the blasphemies, including the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. As of today, Semler (Grace Baldridge), an openly, foul-mouth, homosexual “worship” leader, has the number one “Christian” song. Christians News Net
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth that leads into all truth. In my opinion, when they rejected love for truth, they lost communion with the Holy Spirit. All the religion they can muster is no substitute for that loss.
The fact is that Christianity is not nearly as Christ-seeking as it was even two decades ago. The apostasy took a surge forward in 1970’s as churches changed to appeal to the Baby Boomer generation. Then came Generation X, the Millennials, and now Generation Z (Centennials). Christianity changed and capitulated accordingly to appeal to the generations. All of those generations were born during the apostasy. Furthermore, they were/are strongly influenced by the secular climate of perpetually offended liberals that have zero tolerance for anything resembling godliness. Christianity is rapidly deteriorating as the older ones pass into eternity. Consequently, the decrease of accepting God’s truth and correction that exposes the unfruitful works of darkness is nearing the lowest degree.
Ministers that once preached God’s word without bias or pandering are mostly gone. Few Holy Spirit-fired messages are being preached. What people may call a “hot” message today is barely disguised Positive Confession or New Apostolic Reformation doctrine adjuring people to increase belief in God as the great Geni of a heavenly cornucopia. Then there are political messages, the social gospel, or a hireling reading a speech. They entertain, make people shout, or walk away smugly confident in their alliance with the world system, but none of it compels them to pray, repent, turn their hearts back to God.
Their called out assemblies are now full-blown Churchianity, “the ritual of meeting with an end in itself, and all the trappings thereof.” Filled buildings do not equate with Spirit-filled hearts. Emotional antics during the “worship” band’s performance is not pursuing intimacy with God.
Don’t have enough stuff, comfort, self-esteem, fun, and other “blessings?” No problem! There’s a church designed just for you. Just check the weekly ads. They used to advertise, “The end of your search for the perfect church.” Now they list all the perks, brag about the marvelous sermons that will be preached Sunday Morning (Life changing—you don’t want to miss it!), and all the buzz words and terms that attract the younger generations that want little to do with genuine Christ-following. Church leaders today design meetings with a “gospel” that competes with the world system for the adrenal glands of religious thrill seekers. Not many of those churches are focused on encouraging and equipping people to become devout followers of Christ.
No one can truly follow Christ without a cross. They do not want a cross that is unwilling to surrender to its work. The only crosses they bear are nose, ear, and neck jewelry common with token “Believers.” The cross is an instrument of death.
Consequently, numerous preachers appear to believe that if people do not want what they need, may as well give them what they want. After all, their main goal is to keep and increase attendance. But then some of them moan about how much a great revival is needed. It will never occur as long as they remain reluctant to pay the price of full surrender to God.
If one has an unction to preach the truth, where and to whom shall he preach? It will likely be to a tare-populated congregation or group. One cannot preach or teach God’s truth in such an atmosphere without powerful anointing. For the message to pierce their hard hearts, it will have to pass through their dull and uninterested ears. It is the anointing that causes the word of God to breakthrough. The man with the anointing has died to self, is alive to God, and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s presence.
The Holy Spirit is calling people to challenge the status quo in the present harsh and deceptive spiritual environment. The ones that are called are those that have reached the point where they want more than a staid spirituality fetter-bound in sameness. The Holy Spirit never ceases to draw such people into an encounter with God. If one is born of the Spirit and is aware of His drawing, he or she will be restlessly unsatisfied until responding to the Spirit’s call. One either yields to the Spirit’s leading, or eventually arrives at the point where he or she will settle for mediocrity.
The Cost of Full Surrender
God’s word and history record mighty people of faith and commitment to God. We eulogize them, admire them, honor them, and some people will even worship them, but few individuals will emulate them.
I believe that there are individuals that have genuine hunger to be in God’s will and service. But there are few examples of fully surrendered people to inspire them in this period of great apostasy in Christianity and great wickedness and scandal in the secular realm. Nonetheless, they are praying and seeking God for more than what compromised Christianity offers. When God decides to use such an individual and began preparing him or her, they may think Satan attacked them. I have witnessed people who were being thus tested and purged seeking God’s deliverance. Imagine that—praying for God to deliver them from Himself. Who today can say as the apostle Paul, “Follow my example of following Jesus”?
Bluntly put—the cost of full surrender to God’s will is death to the carnal mind and autonomy It will involve the dissolution of one’s many desires and goals opposed to God’s will. One will meet few travelers on the path to full surrender. The way is narrow and lonely and all uphill. Conversely, the metaphorical path away from full surrender is more populated, well-worn, downhill, and littered with tear-stained handkerchiefs and discarded journals. Not everyone will continue once they realize the costs.
Perhaps I can explain more clearly by the following example.
A man attending our church meetings was convicted and stirred to repent of his shallowness and unfruitfulness. He fasted, prayed, began daily studying the Bible. The difference in his life was noticeable. However, a few weeks later I noticed that he had become evasive and uneasy when I spoke to him.
One day I visited him at his home. In that familiar surroundings, he told me that he simply could not pursue a full surrender to God’s will. He said that after his initial commitment, numerous difficult and stressful problems manifested. The pressure and angst caused so much discomfort that he told God that he needed to back off. He promised God that he would try again after everything went back to normal. The problem was that his “normal” was a comfort zone of autonomy, weakness, and apathy. Today and many years later, that man is in deep spiritual bondage to Satan. By all indications, he is a reprobate.
It is important to understand that we must count the cost of being a light in the present darkness of great apostasy. When we do, a quandary is revealed. That is, we cannot stay as we are and continue to be led and inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, where He leads us is a place of deeply saturating, reality of God. The awareness of His awesomeness, and the reality of His holiness, brilliantly reveals our flaws. As we inch closer to His presence we feel unclean. We are awakened to deep things in us—things we have long kept covered. We become aware of how utterly worthless many things are that we once placed value on. We are ashamed of what we are enamored with, obsessed with, and that we compromised to indulge in. We thought His presence would be a place of great joy, immeasurable blessings, and an ethereal feeling of great anointing. Instead, we feel like a great sinner.
The flesh strongly urges us to return to the place of self-confidence, when we felt spiritual, secure, confident in our religious condition. Caution! We must never go back.
To be very clear, the conundrum is that once we have had that deep experience with God, we can never go back to a mediocre commitment to Him without serious consequences. The awareness of that fact is stark. We may push that amazingly extraordinary experience back into a box and return to our compromised state. The Holy Spirit will convict us continually until our consciences become seared or we try again to fully surrender. But each time we decide to restart the quest of full surrender, the more difficult it is. We should do it once, fully, and maintain the commitment.
The Struggle with Satanic Arguments (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
Make no mistake about it—God did not send His Son to die, send His gifts, send the Spirit of Truth, give us prayer and His armor so that we could be and remain entry-level professing Christians. He is a full-time God! Part-time Christianity leads to full-time apostasy. We either grow or die—produce or be cut off. There is no middle ground, gray area, or abiding in the shadows of turning, reticent to allow God to truly own us.
Where we are before full surrender is where He brought us to. It was all His work and we have nothing to boast about. We did not do anything but repent and receive. However, He ordained us to good works (Ephesians 2:10), to living faith (James 2:18-26), and the full implications of that is a biblical panorama painted by the testimony of the apostle Paul. Anyone or any soteriology that teaches you to believe that the “sinner’s prayer” is all God requires is a satanic lie. The Lake of Fire will teem with people in torment that believed in that well-crafted satanic lie.
The Struggle with the Flesh.
The flesh will become bitter and resentful in God’s presence. We will feel unfairly deprived by full surrender and battle with thoughts that stray back to the “good times” reveling in the desires of the flesh. One’s demeanor can appear legalistic during that struggle. We will long wrestle with bitter flesh until we fully yield it to mortification. The moment that we surrender flesh to our cross, the joy of the Lord is full.
A truly surrendered individual is not bitter but filled with happiness about surrendering his or her flesh to God’s fire. He or she does not attempt to shame or guilt-trip people that have not arrived at that point. Such an individual expresses love and the joy of the Lord. We know we have crossed a threshold when we are in that state.
The Struggle with Apostates: 1 Peter 4:1-5.
If you count the cost of that degree of surrender, add to it the cost of becoming odious to people that are convicted by your example. The degree of surrender will cost you friendships and cause people to regard you as negative and difficult. Consequently, you will experience rejection by all but a few friendly souls. There will be plenteous and gnarly offered accusations of self-righteousness, being too heavenly for any earthly good, of believing one is special, et cetera. They will scrutinize and search for a splinter that they can magnify into evidence of hypocrisy. Many sleepless nights will be spent praying for God to take you deeper—far beyond the reach of the “thorns and briers.”
When we witness the fall of individuals that we believed were great Christians, it is because at some point they retracted their full commitment to God. They reverted—but to a worse state than before they struggled to break out from under the constantly pressing influence of the flesh, the world system, and Satan. Their fall crushed the weak and struggling “faith” of innumerable professing Christians.
This is a dark period that calls for a brilliant defining moment in God’s people. Our cry from the deep in us calls to the deep in Him. Do we expect nothing to come of such a cry? It exposes a need and depth of commitment that we realize we can not ignore, but once made can never retract without sinking back into the squalor of carnal religiosity.
“For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” — 2 Peter 2:21
A Holy and Acceptable Sacrifice.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” — Romans 12:1-2
One must never consider the call to full surrender as an unwilling but necessary commitment. God does not want such a diseased sacrifice. To be a holy and acceptable sacrifice, it must be willingly and joyfully made. We must reject all feelings of victimhood or reluctance. When the cost is realized, we must come before Him as Christ went to His cross—like sheep to the slaughter. The journey to full surrender must be made, but the unwilling and unyielding are not prepared for that journey.
This is a period when God is calling for people who have been graciously fed and cared for to realize that darkness is consuming the earth. It has targeted truth, every good deed, and every godly individual. The only answer to that invasion is for followers of Christ to become increasingly mightier people of faith and commitment to God. We cannot fight today’s battles with yesterday’s strength.
The old hymn, “I Surrender All,” has always been my favorite description of full commitment to God. Can you sing or say the words?
“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.”
All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to His name!
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.