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NEW BOOKLET: Watchful and Discerning Through It All

NEW BOOKLET:Watchful and Discerning Through It All by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Watchful and Discerning Through It All, click here.


Watchful and Discerning Through It All
By Warren B. Smith

Christian seek not yet repose,
Cast thy dreams of ease away;
Thou art in the midst of foes: Watch and pray.
Watch as if that alone were the issue of the day;
Pray that help may be sent down: Watch and pray.
Charlotte Elliot & William H. Monk

Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Night’s almost here, Far spent is the day.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Armor on tight, Keeping the enemy at bay.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Don’t be deceived, Narrow is the way.
If you learn to discern, To watch and pray;
Then close to Jesus You will always stay.
WBS

The following selected verses emphasize the importance of being watchful and discerning.

Watchful

Be Watchful
Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:2-3)

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings. (2 Corinthians 6:4-5)

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. (Isaiah 21:5-6)

Watch and Pray with Supplication and Perseverance
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and Pray with Thanksgiving
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Watch and be Sober
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-6)

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Watch and Pray Regarding Temptation
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Watch and Stand Fast
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Watch For Grievous Wolves
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)

Watch in All Things
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

Watch and Pray Always
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:35-36)

Watch for the Lord
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:35-37)

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:42-44)

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

Discerning

Ninevites Couldn’t Discern Between Their Right and Left Hands
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand. (Jonah 4:11)

Discernment is a Sign of Maturity
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Discernment is Pleasing to God
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said . . . Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. (1 Kings 3:5-6, 9-12)

The Word of God Discerns Thoughts and Hearts
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Search the Scriptures Daily
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

Study to Show Yourself Approved
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Approve Things that are Excellent
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Love Instruction, Wisdom, and Knowledge
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. (Proverbs 12:1)

Holy Spirit Will Teach You All Things
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:27)

Trust in the Lord and Acknowledge Him
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Call Unto God
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Pray for Understanding
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. (Psalm 119:125)

Ask for Wisdom
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Seek God’s Will
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Prove God’s Will
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. (Roman 12:2)

Prove All Things
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Beware of Falling From Your Own Steadfastness
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)

Examine Yourselves
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Bring All Thoughts Into Captivity
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Love Not the World
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Abhor that which is Evil
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Romans 12:9)

Walk Not in the Counsel of the Ungodly
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Understand the Times
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)

Discern the Evil of Today
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

Discern Between the Righteous and the Wicked
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16-18)

Discern Between the Sacred and the Profane
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

Overcome Evil with Good
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Be Aware of Satan’s Devices
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Know the Whole World will be Deceived
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Revelation 18:23)

Take Heed that no Man Deceive You
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:4)

Beware of Men
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. (Matthew 10:17)

Beware of Men’s Traditions
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Beware of Cunningly Devised Fables
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)

Beware of Science Falsely So-Called
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:19-21)

Beware of Those Who Pervert the Gospel
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Beware of Evil Men and Seducers
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (2 Timothy 3:13-14)

Beware of Ungodly Men Who Creep into the Church Unawares
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Beware of False Apostles
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

Beware of False Christs
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)

Beware of Here is Christ, or There; Believe it Not
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:23-25)

Beware of Every Windblown Doctrine
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Not Carried About by Strange Doctrines
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. (Hebrews 13:9)

Beware of Those Who do not Endure Sound Doctrine
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Beware of False Doctrine
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)

Beware of Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Beware of Another Jesus, Spirit, Gospel
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Test the Spirits
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

Don’t Meddle with Those Who Are Into Change
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? (Proverbs 24:21-22)

Mark Those Who Cause Divisions
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)

Remember the Simplicity of Christ
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Abide in the Doctrine of Christ
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)

Walk in Truth
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

Keep the Word
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

Count the Cost
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)

Be Willing to Suffer
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)

Know You Will be Persecuted
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Know You Will be Hated
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

Know You will be Called Beelzebub/Satan
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25)

Be Not Fearful
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be Not Terrified
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (Philippians 1:28)

Do Not Give Place to the Devil
Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Shake the Dust off Your Feet
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (Matthew 10:14)

Gird up Your Mind
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Resist the Devil
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Put on the Whole Armour of God
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Hold Fast
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (Revelation 2:25)

Stand Fast
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)

Enter the Strait Gate
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Keep Pressing on
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

The Need for Discernment

Former Moody Bible Church pastor Dr. Harry Ironside wrote an article regarding the importance of discernment titled “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” It basically echoes and elaborates on what the apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:9 and Ephesians 5:10-13—that it is incumbent upon believers to expose and repudiate any error (leaven) that arises in one’s life and in the church. Ironside writes:

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.1

It is not divisive to point out error. We are told in Romans 16:17 to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” It is a mandate to be watchful and discerning and to expose error when it is in our midst.

Conclusion

Without a watchful and discerning heart, we are too easily deceived by a crafty adversary. While we rejoice, praise God, give thanks, and remain hopeful through it all, we must be alert to the deception that is all around us. Jesus said—“Take heed that no man deceive you.” Be watchful. Be discerning. Keep looking up. Keep pressing on.

Endnote:
1. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?” (public domain; you may view the entire article at www.lighthousetrails.com/ironside-error.pdf).


Pressing On Through It All by Warren B. SmithWant to Have All the Through It All Booklets Under One Cover? Pressing On Through It All is a Beautiful Word-Filled Devotional.

PRESSING ON THROUGH IT ALL
A DEVOTIONAL BOOK BY WARREN B. SMITH
Scriptural Encouragement For These Last Days

Now all the “through it all” booklets combined into one book. May this volume of thematic scriptural inspiration comfort and strengthen you in your endeavor to keep pressing on—through it all. 14 Chapters | 224 Pages | Retail $14.95

Letter to the Editor: Pastor of 50 Years Beholds His Beauty and Dwells in the House of the Lord In the Midst of Changing Times

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.  And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. (Psalm 27:4-6)

Dear Lighthouse Trails,

As a pastor for going on not far from 50 years, I know personally of some I thought to be loyal friends who seem to be set on discrediting the integrity of what God has made of my life. It is sad, but reality.  I never thought 50 years ago that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture would be a challenged concept in my time.

What I am finding as one of the most subtle tools of those who challenge is that they simply remain silent or refuse to address the questions or issues brought up, and if they do, it is to slander character and motive.

I am sure I do not stand alone in these matters, and I know I am not alone when I am in the sanctuary David speaks of in Psalm 27.  That Psalm has become so precious to me.  I have  used it in weddings, funerals, and other messages, noting the powerful truth in that “one thing” put into a three fold cord.  To be always aware of His Presence in our lives (“dwell in the house of the Lord”), to be captivated by His beauty (“behold the beauty of the Lord”), and to be always and only tuned to His Word (“to enquire in His temple”).  Then if I get in deep trouble , He hides me in His sanctuary. In the last verse of this Psalm, we have the word, “wait,” which I have found to mean to literally wrap or twist around. I have taken a thread and shown its weakness and how it is easily snapped with little effort. Then I produce a large tow rope and have another brother help me, and we twist that thread around the rope and then ask anyone to come and break that thread that has now become one with the rope. In weddings, I have taken the rope and asked the bride and groom to each take a thread with their name on a ribbon attached to the thread and twisted it around a large white rope, representing  the strength of the Lord. I placed this into a nice wooden box and give it to them as a wedding gift.

I have done this at funerals  where I placed a white box with a large red ribbon on it near the casket. I left it there during the message and closed by opening the box, in contrast to the other “box,” a coffin. I produced a large white rope with the words of Psalm 27, “wait on the Lord . . . ”  and then followed the illustration showing the widow how she could partake of the strength of the Lord by these three concepts. It was very touching and meaningful.

I pray these simple, yet profound truths can be embraced by you all at Lighthouse trails.

May God continue to use what you are doing.

A servant of the Lord,

Pastor Lyle (USA)

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up – A Woman Whose Friend Pulled Her From the Fire

LTRP Note: The following story was submitted by a Lighthouse Trails reader and was written by her friend who just passed away. We are posting it as an exhortation to those who feel discouraged in trying to talk to friends, family, and church members about spiritual deception. We must pray to the Lord for courage and never think it’s better to remain silent when someone we know is heading in the wrong direction spiritually. Had it not been for an “outspoken” friend, Mary might not be with the Lord today.

By Mary

I was born and raised Roman Catholic. My parents were not especially religious but they raised us (nine children) on Christian principles such as being kind and considerate of others and to follow the Ten Commandments.

I attended mass regularly on Sundays and Holy Days according to church rules. But I always knew something was missing.

I remember at Christmas time, looking at our living room stable scene and thinking that there was more to it than what I knew and that something in my teaching was lacking.

I knew I really did not know God and perhaps it was my own fault for not trying hard enough. So when the Lenten season came, I thought I would do all that the Church asked of me. So I decided to fast but not for candy or easy things, but for things that would really mean true self denial. So I gave up smoking which was a great sacrifice to me and also to get up extra early and attend Mass every morning before work as well as receive communion daily and go to confession every week. I also read spiritual material and studied every word and took them to heart.

Then after about three weeks, I was reading the Beatitudes and could go no further and I said to God, “You ask too much.” And I gave up and went back to ordinary living.

At age 37 years, I met a born-again Christian girl who lived in the same apartment house as my niece. We became casual friends. She talked a lot about the Lord and that was fine with me.

One evening after dinner at my apartment as we were doing dishes, she bluntly asked me “What do you do for your sin?”

I quickly replied. “I go to confession and receive Holy Communion, and that cleanses me of all sin.”

She answered, “No it doesn’t.”

Well! I was very annoyed that she could be so rude and attack my religion when I was so polite about her beliefs. She added that “being good” had nothing to do with going to heaven.

I answered that my mother who was such an exceptionally good woman all her life was certainly in heaven.

She replied, “Only if she had received Jesus Christ into her heart; being good and doing good would not have gotten her there.”

Needless to say, I ended the conversation.

Then one night, June 15, 1969 to be exact, I just could not sleep, which was very unusual. I found this book on my night table which my Christian friend had given me months before called Good News For Modern Man. It had a colorful cover and pictures inside. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a New Testament. She had told me to read “Romans.” (She later told me that she was very surprised at that because she had never told anyone to read Romans and had no recollection of telling me to read it).

Nonetheless, I read it –all 16 chapters of it. To say the least, I was blown away. I remember saying over and over, “She’s right, she’s right, she’s right.” (I had no idea I was reading the Bible.)

I quickly got on my knees and asked the Lord Jesus into my heart. It was an incredible union. (The night before I had listened to a tape by Gert Behanna who’d had a terrible life and finally got on her knees and received the Lord. That was how I knew what to do.) Incredible! Incredible! Incredible!

The following night I remember asking the Lord, “What do I do with your Mother Mary? I won’t pray to her anymore until you tell me to.”

I never heard from Him regarding Mary.

To date, there are 22 members in my family who have come to know the Lord. Amen and amen!

P.S. When my mother was going into the hospital, she asked to borrow these monthly pamphlets I had subscribed to all about the Lord Jesus taken, of course, from the New Testament. When she returned them, she said, “I believe,” her exact words. At the time, I was not saved, but the Lord brought this memory back to me to encourage my heart.

I believe in my heart I will see her in glory.

Used with permission.

WILL A LOVING GOD PERMIT ANY ONE TO BE ETERNALLY LOST?

By Harry A. Ironside

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shalt not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

Will a loving God permit anyone to be eternally lost? The only place we can find an answer to that question is in the Word of God. These poor minds of ours are utterly helpless in answering such a question. Men may reason as they will, but their reasonings will not change facts.

Apart from the revelation that God has given in His Word, we know nothing about what He will do in the eternal ages. One man may come to one conclusion, and another may come to a different one. We may say, “I think,” or “I do not think,” but our thinking will not alter the facts of the case. It is in the Word of God alone that this question is answered. Even if we fall back on mere human reason, it seems to me that no thinking person could come to the conclusion that a man could live in sin and die in sin, without suffering for his sins. “Be sure your sin will find you out” is an unalterable law of nature and of God.

Any argument that might be brought against a loving God permitting men and women to suffer throughout eternity because of sin, could also be brought against a loving God permitting men
and women to suffer in this life because of sin.

Joseph Cook, that stalwart New England fundamentalist, said something like this: One might imagine two angels talking together before the creation of the world, when they learned the divine secret that God was shortly to bring a universe into existence, and saying to each other:

“You have heard that God is going to create a world?”

“Yes.”

“That He is going to have moral and intellectual beings in that world?”

“Yes.”

“Not purely spiritual beings like ourselves, but beings with material bodies, and yet with minds and wills even as we angels have minds and wills of our own?”

“Yes, I have heard that such is His purpose. But can you answer this question? Do you think that our God will ever permit unhappiness to come into that world that He is going to create?”

“Oh, He certainly will not. Our kind, loving God will never permit unhappiness to come into the world that He is about to create.”

“Do you think He will ever allow any of those creatures that He is going to bring into existence to act contrary to His holy will? Do you think He will ever permit sin to lift up its unholy head in the universe He is about to create?”

“Certainly not! Our God, our loving God, our holy God will never permit unholiness. He will never permit unrighteousness or wickedness to spoil that world that he is going to create.”

“Do you think that God will ever allow man to suffer in pain and anguish in that world?”

“Oh, no! The world that God is going to create must of necessity be forever the abode of happy beings.”

Can’t you imagine angels reasoning something like that? But what are the facts? Six thousand years of human history, according to the chronology of the Hebrews, prove that a loving God did permit sin to come into the world, did permit wickedness to enter into this fair creation, and did permit pain, suffering, sorrow, broken hearts, unspeakable anguish, and even death to mar His fair creation.

The Reasonings of Men

bigstockphoto.com

Now just as holy beings might have reasoned before the creation of the world that God, because He is loving, because He is good, and because He is holy, would never permit sin to spoil this world, and would never permit suffering and sorrow and anguish to come in, so men reason today that a good God will not allow the effects of sin to go on for eternity. But how can you and I tell what God will permit unless He is pleased to reveal Himself in His own Word?

People say today, for example, reasoning from man up to God, “You are a father; would you ever put one of your children in a place of intense suffering, if you could help it? Would you ever,  illingly expose a child of yours to a fiery flame?”

Of course I answer, “No.”

Then they ask, and they think they have good ground for what they are about to say, “If you as an earthly father would not allow a child of yours to suffer in this way, can you believe that a loving God will cast people into everlasting fire because of their sins?”

And I have to answer, “The only way I have of knowing what God will do is by observing what He has done, and by turning to the Word to see what He has to say.”

He has permitted men and women and even little children, during the ages of time, to suffer unspeakable anguish. He has permitted innocent little children to be born into the world, the victims of incurable diseases handed down from their parents, and these diseases are often the result of the sins of their forebears. Many of these little children come into the world and grow up never  knowing a moment without suffering and pain. Would you have expected that of God, from your idea of who God is and what He should do? Yet here are the facts, and we have to face them.

The only way we can account for these facts is that God hates sin, and in order to make men realize what a fearful thing it is to sin against Him, He allows dreadful consequences to befall those who commit sin, consequences affecting not only the one who commits the sin, but affecting generations yet to be born.

Men object to the statement in the law, “For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Deuteronomy 5:9). And yet the facts prove that the Word of God is right, for He does this very thing. Sin must be a fearful affront to a holy God, or He would never have allowed the awful sufferings and horrors that have darkened the history of mankind. He wants us to understand that sin is the vilest, the blackest, the most dreadful thing in the universe. His Word says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

Right in this world some men’s sins are open, going before them to judgment. Some men suffer unspeakably during this life because of their sins, but, on the other hand, there are other men of
whom this is not true. There are others who sin just as grievously, and yet there is no evidence that their sin is followed with anything like proper judgment in this world. There are men who
live in luxury and pleasure upon the earth, utterly indifferent to the conditions of those around them, living selfishly for themselves alone, and indulging in all kinds of sins. Yet as far as this life is concerned, the punishment does not fall upon them, but if they are not reaping the due punishment in this life, depend upon it that in another world there will be a straightening up of the account, for it is written, “whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” What does this sentence mean if God did not intend us to understand that men are not through with Him when they leave this world impenitent? Some men’s sins follow after them, and like the blood-hounds of hell which they are, they will track men down and drag them to the judgment bar of God where they shall give account of all the deeds done in the flesh.

The Time Element Involved

But some say, “What sin can a man commit during his brief years on earth to deserve eternal judgment?” Have you ever stopped to consider that a man can commit a heinous crime in a very
short time for which we think he deserves to be punished for all the rest of his natural life? Not very long ago a man of over seventy years of age came out of a prison in New England. Fifty
years before he had been sentenced to that penitentiary for the horrible crime of murder. Because of his youth, the law did not want to condemn him to be hung, so he was sentenced to prison.
Because of his desire for gain, he was stirred to anger, and in a moment, murdered a man, and no doubt he had many a month and year in which to repent of that crime. Yet society felt that it was
only right that he should be shut away for fifty years. You see there may be no connection between the amount of time in which a man can commit a crime and the punishment that befits it.

Down in Kentucky, there lived one of those fine southern gentlemen who had been left a widower. His wife, as she slipped away, left a darling baby who became all in all to him. He watched that child grow till she was a beautiful girl, and then on to budding young womanhood. By and by, she returned from college, and was the very idol of his heart, and the apple of his eye. Then there came into that home a man who won the affection of that young woman and basely deceived her, luring her into grievous sin, ruined her sweet young life, and then cast her off, a poor brokenhearted girl.

That father had been what is called a Universalist, but when that poor girl came sobbing, brokenhearted, seeking her father’s house after weeks of wandering, during which she had been afraid
to go home, and told him what had happened, and when he saw the wreck that had been made of the idol of his heart and life, he exclaimed, with an oath, “If God Almighty hasn’t a hell for
fiends like the one who has wrecked my happiness and ruined my child, He ought to make one!” And this Book says He has one, and it declares that “whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars” shall have their part in it for all eternity.

Why is eternal punishment the result of impenitent sin? Our Lord Jesus has told us in Mark’s Gospel. In Mark 3:28, 29, we read, “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the
sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” There you have it, the man who dies rejecting the Holy Spirit’s testimony as to the Lord Jesus Christ is guilty of an eternal sin. That is why Scripture holds out no hope for his salvation in another world. The man who refuses the testimony the Holy Ghost has given concerning the Savior’s love, His marvelous atonement, and His wondrous grace has no other hiding place by which he may escape the wrath of a sin-hating God. And so I come back to the text with which we began, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

People say, “Oh, Paul or John or Peter may have believed this doctrine of eternal judgment for sin, but give me the words of Jesus—Jesus, the loving, gentle, tender, gracious, Galilean teacher—let me hear what Jesus says; His Word will be enough for me.” Listen, my dear friends, no one ever spoke as seriously and as solemnly of the eternal consequences of sin as Jesus did. It is He who said:

If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:9)

It is Jesus who speaks so solemnly over and over again of that awful pit of woe, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). It is Jesus who said of Judas, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born,” but if there is any possibility of Judas ever being saved, even after the lapse of countless ages of misery, I submit that It would be good  for him that he had been born. But Jesus said, “it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” That man sold his Savior! Suppose you do the same thing? That man companied with Jesus for three and one-half years, and yet sinned against the Holy Spirit in rejecting Christ.

You have heard the Gospel over and over again, and if you should reject Him too, could it not be said of you: “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”?

But now, it is Jesus again who utters these words, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” You cannot find fault with the love of God, for it gave Christ, and thereby
provided a way of salvation. God is not holding you responsible because you are a sinner; you were born a sinner. You are not responsible because you have a sinful nature; you cannot help
that. God is not going to cast you away from His presence simply because that corrupt nature has manifested itself in sin, for Christ has put away sin, and any man who will may be saved
from his sin through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive a new nature. Why are men lost? The answer is clear: “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” You observe how this one sentence plucks up by the very roots two modern forms of error in regard to mankind.

There is Universalism. Is there any hope for a man who dies rejecting Christ in this life, being saved in the life to come? “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Jesus Himself could not have put it more plainly than that. In this world, God is pleading with sinners; He is offering them salvation, but if men reject His Son, it is the solemn declaration of Holy Writ, they shall not see life. There is no hope in another world for men who reject Christ in this.

 

God meant men to understand, and it seems to me there can be no question about it, that if men die in their sins, there is no hope that they will ever be brought into a state of harmony with Him whose grace they have spurned, or with the Savior whose blood they have trampled under foot. And so we read, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). I know we live in a namby-pamby age when men make light of iniquity, but according to the Word of God, sin is a fearful affront to the Divine Majesty. To be uncleansed from sin means to die in sin, exist forever in sin, and be banished eternally from the presence of a holy God.

But, thank God, this is still the day of His grace. One would shrink from proclaiming a truth like this, if he were not permitted to proclaim the other truth: “He that believeth on the Son hath  everlasting life,” and so today, if you are unsaved, you may have eternal life by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe on Him is to trust Him, rest your whole soul upon Him as your Savior. and take Him as your Redeemer.

My Redeemer
None but Jesus in His glories
Shall the honored title wear;
My Redeemer I oh, how sweet to call Thee mine.
Sunk in ruin, sin and misery,
Bound by Satan’s captive chain;
Guided by his artful treach’ry,
Hurrying on to endless pain,
My Redeemer plucked me as a brand from hell.

You can say this if you will come to Christ today.
***

(Harry Ironside’s writings are in the public domain. You may read more of them at www.harryironside.com.)

New Book Release by Warren B. Smith – “Pressing On Through It All”

Pressing on Through It All by Warren B. Smith

Note: Warren B. Smith (along with Gospel musician Trevor Baker) will be speaking at The Berean Call Conference this week in Bend, Oregon. The conference will be livestreamed.

Mountain Stream Press, the publishing ministry of Warren B. Smith, is happy to announce the release of its latest book, Pressing On Through It All. The book is a compilation of numerous devotional articles Warren has written in the past year. The book is a topically laid out arrangement of Scripture verses, hymns, and meaningful commentary. This is book is a special treasure that can be used by those going through difficult times or by those who just want to be reminded how incredible God’s Word is.

Book Information
232 pages
Retail: $14.95
ISBN: 978-0997898286
Available through Lighthouse Trails and most major online outlets.

To order your copy, click here. 

From the book:

NOTE TO THE READER

As former members of the New Age movement, my wife Joy and I have spent the last thirty-three years actively warning about the deceptive teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality that have progressively crept into the church. For the last ten years, to offset the spiritual heaviness that often accompanies this kind of ministry, I would study, compile, and then arrange certain Scriptures around specific themes that would provide my wife and I with encouragement and spiritual uplift. Almost as an afterthought, these personal studies became small booklets that were made available to share with others. I used the theme “through it all” for each of the booklets, hoping people reading them would find the same scriptural encouragement we had received from them.

In writing these “through it all” booklets, Joy and I knew we had to be prepared to face the testing that would likely come with such a project. But little did we know that the testing would unfold as it did. Yet, we have marveled at how the Lord has sustained us and carried us through this difficult period.

Over the last year and a half, we had to cut down and remove well over a hundred dead trees on our property that had become casualties of a recent four-year drought. Then one year ago today, we were suddenly displaced from our home-—and remain displaced as of this writing—by a destructive house fire that also resulted in the deaths of four of our beloved cats. Living in a number of different locations since the fire—many of them motels—we still await the restoration of our home. Adding to this and a number of other challenging events, I underwent three unexpected emergency surgeries after a life that had been virtually free of any medical concerns whatsoever.

As a result of all of these trying circumstances, we soon found ourselves reading our own “through it all” booklets for encouragement and support—Trusting God Through It All, Standing Fast Through It All, Praising God Through It All, along with all the other booklets. And they have given us immeasurable comfort and strength during this demanding time. Now combined in one book, I pray these carefully selected scriptural compilations will provide you with the same degree of comfort and strength they have given us.
God’s Word is truly awesome and encouraging, and oh so necessary, as we all endeavor to keep pressing on—through it all.

—Warren B. Smith
July 3, 2017

To order your copy, click here. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Note to the Reader
1/Praying Through It All
2/Trusting God Through It All
3/Watchful and Discerning Through It All
4/God’s Help and Comfort Through It All
5/Being Thankful Through It All
6/Remaining Hopeful Through It All
7/Remaining Faithful Through It All
8/Rejoicing Through It All
9/Sound Doctrine Through It All
10/Standing Fast Through It All
11/Patiently Waiting and Enduring Through It All
12/God’s Word Through It All
13/God’s Blessings Through It All
14/Praising God Through It All
Endnotes

To order your copy, click here. 

Warren B. Smith

(B.A. University of Pennsylvania; M.S.W. Tulane University)—A veteran who worked at the White House Communications Agency and later became a community social worker, serving as a program coordinator for people with special needs, directing several homeless programs, and working as a Hospice social worker in New Orleans and on the California coast. After leaving the New Age movement and becoming a Christian, he began writing extensively on the subject of spiritual deception. He has written seven books and numerous booklets and has spoken on radio, television, and at seminars and conferences for the last twenty-five years.

RNS Interview Reveals The Message Author Eugene Peterson Changes Mind About “Gay” Issues/Marriage

LTRP Note: The following news story from Religion News Service is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content. The Message “Bible” has had a huge impact on Christianity. Famous pastors, like Rick Warren, have quoted from it extensively, which has played a huge role in developing the present-day nearly apostate church. It’s too bad more Christians didn’t take heed to some of the warnings about Eugene Peterson and The Message over the past several years (see article links below).

Eugene Peterson – Photo: Creative Commons

“Eugene Peterson on changing his mind about same-sex issues and marriage”

By Jonathan Merritt
Religion News Service

When a journalist has a chance to interview a paragon of the Christian faith like Eugene Peterson, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the perfect questions. I’d asked him about why he was leaving the public eye and if he was afraid of death. I’d asked him about Donald Trump and the state of American Christianity. But there was one more topic I wanted to cover: same-sex relationships and marriage.

It’s one of the hottest topics in the church today, and given Peterson’s vast influence among both pastors and laypeople, I knew his opinion would impact the conversation. Though he has had a long career, I couldn’t find his position on the matter either online or in print. I did discover that “The Message,” Peterson’s popular paraphrase of the Bible, doesn’t use the word “homosexual” and “homosexuality” in key texts. Click here to continue reading.

Articles Warning About Eugene Peterson and The Message:
The New Age Implications of The Message “Bible’s” “As Above, So Below”

BOOKLET: The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth

Southern Baptist Convention Rejects Gender-Neutral NIV Bible But Embraces The Message, Renovare Bible, and Contemplative Books

WARNING: Modern-Day “Bible” Versions Used to Promote Liberal Agenda

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation

RICK WARREN RETAINS UNBIBLICAL POSITION IN NEW 2012 EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE

NEW BOOKLET: THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know)

2017 marks the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation period in history. This year, orthodox, ecumenical, emergent, liberal, and even secular groups will be “honoring” the Reformation. In this new booklet by Roger Oakland, certain aspects of the Reformation will be discussed, aspects you won’t find in these other circles.

 THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know) by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.

THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know)

By Roger Oakland
A study of church history reveals that the plan by the serpent to infiltrate Christianity has been relentless through the ages. This plan continues today and is accelerating as the apostasy foretold in the Bible unfolds. In my book, The Good Shepherd Calls, I document how the counterfeit bride (what the Bible calls the harlot) is assembling an amalgamation of apostate “Christianity” with the world’s religions for establishing a peace plan. This peace plan will in turn set up a one-world religion in the name of Christ to further the cause of peace. What is happening right now in the political, economic, and religious sectors is a gradual unfolding of this plan that will build up speed and momentum as we approach the coming of the Antichrist.

While it is impossible to accomplish a complete study of church history in one small booklet, I have chosen one period of time that will help us to comprehend a number of principles we are trying to clarify. While Christianity can become distorted and separated from the foundation of the Bible so it is no longer recognizable as biblical Christianity, God always calls out those who hear His voice. As Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10: 27).

Throughout church history, those who are called out form a remnant. Hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd in the midst of a Christianity that has gone astray and then speaking out against this deception is always met with opposition, hostility, and even death. Of course, this would be expected according to the battle described in the Bible between good and evil, God and Satan.

The area of church history we will be discussing in this booklet is a time known as the Reformation when the reformers split from the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to re-establish what they believed was a Bible-based Christianity. The reformers, and those who followed their lead, then faced what was called the Counter Reformation (by Rome) and were persecuted. In many cases, they were tortured or killed because of their refusal to submit to papal teachings such as those that said Jesus could be found in a wafer (the Eucharist), and they would not pledge their allegiance to Rome or the pope. Many Christians today have either forgotten about the Reformation and the Counter Reformation, do not understand the implications of what took place, or have never even heard about this period of time.

It is also important to point out that those who led the Reformation were not infallible individuals. They were grieved by the way Christianity had departed from Scripture and had a desire to make corrections. But some of their corrections were not biblically based. How tragic it is today that many sheep follow these men (even naming themselves after them) and their ideas more than they follow the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Even though a correction to the course of Christianity was made, the corrections often did not go far enough, or in some cases veered away from biblical truth altogether. In other cases, some reformers did not want to leave the Catholic Church but rather desired to change some things but leave other beliefs that were just as detrimental intact. Nevertheless, many of these men and women suffered greatly for their efforts to stand for truth.

It is essential that we examine and understand the past because many proclaiming Christians today are being led down the same path as the past, as if they are trying to rediscover the wheel, and they don’t understand that the Bible was written so we don’t have to thrash about aimlessly in the tides of life.

As the reformers discovered, contending for the faith is not an easy road to walk. My prayer is that those believers today who are indeed contending for the faith and trying to warn the deceived can do so in love. Contending is not being contentious. Instead, contending should be sharing the truth in love with the deceived.

The Reformation

One source describes the Reformation in the following way:

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes. The disruption triggered wars, persecutions and the so-called Counter Reformation, the Catholic Church’s delayed but forceful response to the Protestants.1

More information from the same document suggests the goal of the reformers was to guide people away from a man-made system of power and control (purported to represent Christ) back to following Christ and His Word alone. We read:

Historians usually date the start of the Protestant Reformation to the 1517 publication of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses.” Its ending can be placed anywhere from the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, which allowed for the coexistence of Catholicism and Lutheranism in Germany, to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War. The key ideas of the Reformation—a call to purify the church and a belief that the Bible, not tradition, should be the sole source of spiritual authority—were not themselves novel. However, Luther and the other reformers became the first to skillfully use the power of the printing press to give their ideas a wide audience.2

The most significant contribution of the Reformation is its illumination and recognition of the true Gospel of justification (salvation) by grace alone through faith in Christ alone apart from earning salvation through works; this fundamental truth exploded as the Word of God (the Bible) became available to the common people. We can even thank the more obscure events, such as the invention of the printing press around 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg and the efforts of Bible translators for making this possible. Meanwhile, many other extra-biblical dogmas and traditions that had reinvented biblical Christianity with outright non-Christian beliefs had been implemented to control the sheep as well. Some of these were:

Selling of indulgences
Purgatory
Praying to dead “saints”
A focus on Mary as the mother of God
The rosary and repetitive prayers to “Mary”
The “Holy doors” opened on Roman Catholic Jubilee for forgiveness
Transubstantiation
The Eucharistic Jesus
Eucharistic adoration
Popery and the infallibility of the pope

While there were many different Reformation leaders in various countries, we will reference only a few.

Germany and Lutherism

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer in Wittenberg when he composed his “95 Theses,” which protested the pope’s sale of indulgences in lieu of doing penance. After Luther read and came to understand Romans 1:17 that says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith,” Luther’s spiritual life was radically changed as he came to realize he was not under this continuous weight of condemnation but through Christ had found justification through faith alone. This understanding helped spark the Reformation.

Although he had hoped to spur renewal from within the Catholic Church, in 1521 he was summoned before the Diet of Worms and excommunicated. Sheltered by Friedrich, elector of Saxony, Luther translated the Bible into German and continued his production of vernacular pamphlets. When German peasants, inspired in part by Luther’s empowering “priesthood of all believers,” revolted in 1524, Luther sided with Germany’s princes. By the Reformation’s end, Lutheranism had become the state religion throughout much of Germany, Scandinavia, and the Baltics.3

Sadly, Luther later turned vehemently against the Jews after becoming discouraged because they wouldn’t convert. Tragically, Adolph Hitler utilized Luther’s anti-Jewish sentiments to help convince the German people to turn against the Jews.4

As far as Luther’s contribution of his discovery of the essence of the Gospel, that justification is through faith and not works, it cannot be understated, and he did suffer persecution for his reform efforts.

Switzerland and Calvinism

The Swiss Reformation began in 1519 with the sermons of Ulrich Zwingli, whose teachings largely paralleled Luther’s. In 1541, John Calvin, a French Protestant who had spent the previous decade in exile writing his Institutes of the Christian Religion, was invited to settle in Geneva and put his Reformed doctrine into practice—which stressed an extreme view of God’s sovereignty and humanity’s predestined fate where man has no control over his fate nor the free will to choose or reject Christ, as these things are predetermined. These teachings have brought much confusion to Christians over the centuries in that Calvin’s doctrine contradicts the message of the Gospel that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) and this verse from the Book of Revelation:

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

The result of Calvin’s work was a theocratic regime of enforced, austere morality. Calvin’s Geneva became a hotbed for Protestant exiles, and his doctrines quickly spread to Scotland, France, Transylvania and the Low Countries, where Dutch Calvinism became a religious and economic force for the next 400 years.5

Like Luther, Calvin was fallible, and in addition, he was the cause of much human suffering. This can be documented in the writings of Bernard Cottret, a university professor who greatly admired Calvin, and whose book (published by Eerdman’s) was intended to be a favorable portrait of Calvin, yet it describes more than 38 executions attributed to Calvin.

[Cottret] documents the dates of each of John Calvin’s despicable acts and shows that Calvin’s methods included imprisonment, torture, and execution by beheading and by burning at the stake.6

Michael Servetus was a scientist and a theologian who was born in 1511. Calvin had given Servetus a copy of his writings hoping for admiration and a favorable review. When Servetus returned Calvin’s writings to him with review and critique comments in the margins, Calvin was infuriated. On October 27, 1553, at the age of 42, Servetus was burned alive at the stake. To add to his agony, Calvin had Servetus’ own theological book tied to his chest, the flames of which rose against his face. While Michael Servetus’ doctrines may not have all been biblically sound, Calvin’s torture and execution of this man is inexcusable.7

Another problem with Calvinism is that it offers no assurance of salvation. The reason for this is that while the Bible declares “whosoever” may come, Calvin’s grasp and understanding of “predestination” was so all consuming as to become “another gospel” where one gets saved if and only if God has already chosen to save someone; hence, receiving the Gospel according to Scripture is both impossible and of no avail to someone predestined to Hell. It is worth noting that in his will, Calvin wrote a plea to God to save him if He can find it in His will to do so.8 This is completely contrary to Scripture that promises us assurance of salvation:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)

England and the “Middle Way”

The history of Christianity in England is marked by some extreme highs and lows, often happening simultaneously, where good and evil were always present, clashing with but never eradicating the other. King Henry VIII had a highly questionable personal life, but through the course of related events, broke away from Rome, instituted an English church, and made the Bible available to the people. Below is a brief historical synopsis of this turbulent period of English history:

In England, the Reformation began with Henry VIII’s quest for a male heir. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry, the English king declared in 1534 that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church. Henry dissolved England’s monasteries to confiscate their wealth and worked to place the Bible in the hands of the people. Beginning in 1536, every parish was required to have a copy.

After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign and then endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I. In 1559, Elizabeth I took the throne and, during her 44-year reign, cast the Church of England as a “middle way” between Calvinism and Catholicism, with vernacular worship and a revised Book of Common Prayer.9

Without a doubt, a reformation was needed. And the reformers paid a high price, some with their lives, to help pave a road away from the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church and toward biblical purity. But even though their roles in this were substantial, nevertheless, they were still just fallible men and women who were used of God and in some cases of our adversary. They should not have been put on spiritual pedestals to be esteemed so highly that centuries later, when a Christian challenges their writings, he is sorely ostracized by much of today’s Christian academia.

The Counter Reformation

Understanding some of the history behind Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and the Jesuit agenda to bring back the “separated brethren” to the “Mother of All Churches” reveals one of the darkest periods of church history. Untold numbers (some estimates are in the tens of thousands, others in the tens of millions) of Christians, Jews, and other non-Catholics were tortured and killed if they refused submission to the pope, refused to accept that Jesus Christ was present in the Eucharist, or simply refused to be Catholic.

In fact, at this point, I would suggest our readers either read or re-read a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. This will give an excellent overview of the suffering and torture imposed on Bible believers during the Reformation and Counter Reformation Period by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. For those who are unable to read the book, we will provide an example, quoting a source that explains who the Huguenots were and the persecution they endured because they desired to follow the Good Shepherd:

The Huguenots were French Protestants. The tide of the Reformation reached France early in the sixteenth century and was part of the religious and political fomentation of the times. It was quickly embraced by members of the nobility, by the intellectual elite, and by professionals in trades, medicine, and crafts. It was a respectable movement involving the most responsible and accomplished people of France. It signified their desire for greater freedom religiously and politically.

However, ninety percent of France was Roman Catholic, and the Catholic Church was determined to remain the controlling power. The Huguenots alternated between high favor and outrageous persecution. Inevitably, there were clashes between Roman Catholics and Huguenots, many erupting into the shedding of blood.

Thousands of Huguenots were in Paris . . . on August 24, 1572. On that day, soldiers and organized mobs fell upon the Huguenots, and thousands of them were slaughtered. . . .

On April 13, 1598 . . . the newly crowned Henry IV [who favored the Huguenots] . . . issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted to the Huguenots toleration and liberty to worship in their own way. For a time, at least, there was more freedom for the Huguenots. However, about one hundred years later, on October 18, 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. Practice of the “heretical” religion was forbidden. Huguenots were ordered to renounce their faith and join the Catholic Church. They were denied exit from France under pain of death. And, Louis XIV hired 300,000 troops to hunt the heretics down and confiscate their property.10

Nothing New Under the Sun

This brief study of the Reformation and the Counter Reformation opens a window to the past that has either been forgotten or ignored. We know that most Catholics today would be totally against people being tortured and burned at the stake, and while it is not our objective to open old wounds or to be called “Catholic bashers,” it is important to understand what happened in the past from a biblical perspective with the hope it won’t happen again.

Unfortunately, something is happening in the Protestant church today that would shock and horrify those believers who have gone before us suffering torturous deaths because they would not bow the knee to the Catholic Church. Many of today’s Protestants, who at one time agreed that the Reformation needed to take place, have now proclaimed that the Reformation has no relevance anymore and that Protestantism and Catholicism need to see themselves as one church. While the same unbiblical dogmas, traditions, and ideas are being taught by the Catholic Church (and being labeled as harmless by many Protestant leaders), the martyrs of the Reformation are now considered by some to be anti-ecumenical crackpots who endured tremendous suffering and death for what is now seen as trivial and unnecessary.

The church that once relied on the Word of God now follows men who have compromised the truth or ignored the truth entirely. Church history is being repeated, perhaps for the last time, and many have fallen asleep or are willingly ignorant.

The last-days delusion is upon us. Many Christians who are attempting to maintain biblical integrity and not “go with the flow” of megachurch madness cannot even find a church to attend that has not compromised the faith. Denominations and associations of fellowships that were once on track have been derailed.

If we have heeded the warnings and instruction of Scripture, we must expect this attack on biblical faith. Like those who were willing to speak the truth in the past and suffer the consequences, the Good Shepherd is calling those who are willing to take a similar stand today.

To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.

Endnotes:
1. History.com; The Reformation: http://www.history.com/topics/reformation.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Toward the end of his days, Luther became profoundly anti-Semitic, and the publishers and author of The Good Shepherd Calls and this booklet wish to dissociate themselves utterly from the views he expressed on the Jewish people during these final few years. As Perry, Peden, and Von Laue point out, “Initially, Luther hoped to attract Jews to his vision of reformed Christianity. In That Jesus Was Born a Jew (1523), the young Luther expressed sympathy for Jewish sufferings and denounced persecution as a barrier to conversion. He declared, ‘I hope that if one deals in a kindly way with the Jews and instructs them carefully from the Holy Scripture, many of them will become genuine Christians . . . We [Christians] are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord.’”  Based on this point, Luther went on to say: “if it were proper to boast of flesh and blood, the Jews belong more to Christ than we. I beg, therefore, my dear Papist, if you become tired of abusing me as a heretic, that you begin to revile me as a Jew.”  Thanks in no small part to the appalling extent of Rome’s past persecution of the Jews ‘in the Name of Christ’, the vast majority of Jews did not convert to Christianity, and this, combined with Rome’s many false teachings about the Jews, prompted Luther toward his violent diatribes against them. It should also be borne in mind that he lived in a very anti-Semitic time, and in a very anti-Semitic part of the world. Tragically, centuries later, Adolph Hitler utilized the anti-Semitic sentiments of Luther to help justify to the Germany people his atrocities toward the Jewish People, which resulted in over six million Jewish deaths.  For further information on Luther’s views of the Jews, read William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
5. http://www.history.com/topics/reformation, op. cit.
6. B. Kirkland D.D., Calvinism: None Dare Call it Heresy (Sarnia, ON: Local Church Ministries, www.fairhavensbaptist.com), p. 4.
7. Ibid.
8. Norman F. Douty, The Death of Christ, Rev. And Enlarged (Irving, TX: Williams & Watrous Pub. Co, 1978), p. 176.
9. http://www.history.com/topics/reformation, op., cit.
10. The Huguenot Society of America, “Huguenot History,” http://huguenotsocietyofamerica.org/?page=Huguenot-History.

To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.


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