On the Down-Grade or Pressing on for the Prize of the Upward Call?

2018 has been a very interesting year. I am sure like us you have had good times, you have had sad times and you have had bad times. But there is one thing I have learned as Paul learned, to be content in all situations.

There is much wrong with the body of Christ but in the end Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We are also told that there will be sheep and goats, wheat and tares. The decision is, what are you, a sheep or a goat, wheat or tare? The amazing thing about this is it is one of God’s mysteries. Only you know. Jesus said, “What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?” This scripture has haunted me all through this year. Another scripture that has challenged me is where Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7: 22-23)

We see many things in the church today that do not make sense, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit have taken me back to listen to sermons over 100 years old by the mighty men and women of God such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and to look at the great controversy the down-grade, which has found its way into many mainstream churches and sadly has compromised the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is one word which ministers from all persuasions are reluctant to use: repentance. John the Baptist preached it, Jesus preached it and the apostles preached it. Now we are told we cannot offend people. I believe this is much of what Charles Haddon Spurgeon gave his life for, and if you ever look at the story of Charles Haddon Spurgeon you will find he was an ordinary man from the fens. He was called the people’s preacher, but he preached to many hundreds of thousands in his lifetime. You can find his story on YouTube. I suggest if you really want to know the truth, take a look.

Other stories which have challenged me this year are the story of John Hus from Bohemia, Martin Luther from Germany, John Wesley, Tyndale and Coverdale who changed this world, DL Moody and Hudson Taylor, not forgetting dear old Gladys Aylward and many others who have given their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. None of these people looked for fame, adoration or even worship as many do today. They did not ride around in Cessna jets or live in mansions. They were humble and had contrite hearts., So I would challenge these big ministries: are you built on the rock or on sand? Jesus in one of the parables said the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the wise man built his house upon the rock. A brother has just said to me recently, would it not be amazing if Benny Hinn and his like gave everything they had like Zacchaeus did and paid back what I believe they have stolen (but that is just my opinion) to the widow the orphan. We could change this world.

I also believe with many Christians as one great preacher once said, the hardest thing to convert is a man’s wallet. We are all guilty of this. So this holiday season I would challenge you and myself to give fewer presents, reduce our expenditure and what we conserve give to the poor and other ministries around the world. I believe this would send a signal to the world that we are truly God’s people. I know the argument that many use about Christmas, but you owe it to yourself to research all the traditions of men that we have accepted blindly about this season, as I myself have realised much of it has nothing at all to do with our Lord or the kingdom of God. Did not the apostle Paul say that we should not conform to this world or the traditions of men, or have I read a different Bible? Sadly, many Christians do not read their Bibles. They just listen to the opinions of men on YouTube or sermons that they have heard. My prayer for all believers is that we shall get back to our Bibles and if need be challenge public opinion. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Luke 21: 33) As far as I know, these are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, not the opinions of men.

If you have any arguments about this article, do not blame me. I am just the messenger. I believe the Lord is speaking to His church, but most of the time it is not listening. I believe 2019 is going to be a crucial year for the body of Christ and many of us will have to make choices. Unfortunately, those choices may be painful. We can no longer accept compromise, as sin is sin whether it is inside the church or outside the church. I personally will not accept gay ministers, those who practise homosexuality, liars, cheats, deceivers, as God has made it very clear none of these will enter the kingdom of heaven. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, even, as it says in Revelation, if we have to suffer unto death. Are you prepared to do the same as Jesus idid it for you and me when He died at Calvary?

I hope this article challenges you. It many offend you but ultimately you will give an account before the throne one day on how you lived.

If you want to debate this, please add your comment. We should love to hear from you.
God bless you and may you have a good holiday.

Rev Ross Rennie

Aasia Bibi Acquitted

On 31 October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Aasia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam.

Bibi, a mother of four, has been living on death row since 2010 when she became the first woman to be sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.

She was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

The judges said the prosecution had “categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt”. The case was based on flimsy evidence, they said, and proper procedures had not been followed. The alleged confession was delivered in front of a crowd “threatening to kill her”.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, who read out the ruling, said Bibi could walk free from prison immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

On 13 October, Khadim Rizvi, the leader of a new political party dedicated to punishing blasphemy, Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), announced he would “paralyse the country within hours” if Bibi was freed. She has been offered asylum by several countries and was expected to leave the country if acquitted.

For more information and guidance on how to pray, see this Barnabas Fund article.

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