Repentance is more than just turning.

As one reads through Hosea, particularly chapter 7, it is amazing the number of metaphors God uses to show Israel’s perfidy. They were separated from their God and Protector through their own actions. God hadn’t gone anywhere, Israel had. They needed to repent and turn to Him.

However there is turning and there is turning. God was angry that Israel turned to idols. They turned to Egypt. They turned to Assyria. They turned to themselves, in their own beds crying and wailing. (“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds”; Hosea 7:14) They turned a lot. They didn’t turn the right way.

They turn, but not upward,  (Hosea 7:16a)

Turn upward! More..

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Mockingbird Christianity

(By, Do Not be Surprised)

The mockingbird is a creature true to its name. By some reports, a male mockingbird could learn and effectively mimic more than 180 different calls or sounds over the course of just a few months. And, amazingly, these do not have to be the calls of other birds. A mockingbird might mimic a barking dog, a squeaky gate, a croaking frog or even an alarm clock. In short, the mockingbird is an astoundingly unique animal. There seems to be no limit to the number of songs it can add to its repertoire. Here it would be quite simple to launch into a meditation (no, not that kind of meditation) on the unfathomable creativity of our God. Such a time of pondering would no doubt be appropriate and would fittingly bring praise to our minds and lips. Instead, I would like to make a loose—albeit very loose—analogy, though analogies and illustrations can only be carried so far before they fall apart. Nevertheless, I want to attempt at least a vague comparison between the mockingbird and today’s version of Christianity as we ask: Are churches today filled with mockingbird Christians?

The mockingbird hears a sound and he mimics it. The false convert who, in his own self-deception, is seeking to convince himself not only of the reality of his salvation, but also of its superiority to that of those around him (i.e., rationalizing that he at least is a “better” Christian than the person next to him), might engage in a similar “mocking” exercise. Now, here is where the analogy already begins to break down. When mockingbirds imitate the calls of other birds, they are not seeking to be accepted or welcomed by that type of bird. Yet, when the false convert mimics what he hears around him, he does so to blend in with the “right” crowd. The church crowd. Once he has mastered the lingo, there can be little question as to the authenticity of his faith—whether it is in his own mind or in the mind of others. After all, if one talks the talk, he must be walking the walk, right?

The tradition, clique or—dare I say it?—tribe does not really matter in these situations. False converts come in all stripes. Whether the false convert seeks to be “missional” and “intentional” as he is “doing life” with others, or whether he is “sold out” for the gospel as he “loves God and loves people,” or whether he “asked Jesus into his heart” on his quest for “purpose,” it is rare to find a self-deceived person who is not familiar with, and adept at using, what he perceives to be “Christian” vocabulary.

Even the more theologically sound traditions have their mockingbird members. These may even wax eloquent about true and wonderful realities like trusting God in His sovereignty. Empty words are found in every theological camp. But do we forget that Jesus says that only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven (Matt 7:21)? Do we forget that James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17) and that Christians must be doers of the Word (Jas 1:22)? “If our lips do not match our lifestyle,” then we are in for a rude awakening one day. Similarly, if our lives are littered with empty works, we also will find ourselves turned away by the Savior (Matt 7:22–23).

Yet, a hearty “Christian” vocabulary is perhaps one of the cleverest tools of deception available. Such a word collection lulls the deceived one into a false sense of security. After all, if he knows these many words—all of these truths—then surely he must be saved! Yet if he merely is mimicking what he has heard fall from the lips of his friends, family, pastor or favorite famous preacher, then he stands deceived, regardless of the accuracy of the doctrine he discusses. He is no more a Christian than a mockingbird is a car alarm simply because it can mimic the sound.

If the truth of the gospel is not internalized, if it does not produce a change of the inner man, a change of the heart that is evidenced outwardly in a man’s life (Gal 5:24–25; cf. 1 Cor 6:9–11; 2 Cor 5:17), that man’s alleged conversion is a farce. Sadly, the churches today are filled with those who profess Christ with their mouths but deny Him with every visible aspect of their lives. They say they love Christ but their lives and love of sin testify otherwise. False conversion—self-deception—is a dangerously damning disease, yet it is not an exaggeration to say that it is an epidemic spreading rapidly in the visible church.

All these words are written not as one who points the finger, but as one who pleads. As a former false convert who knew all the right words but knew nothing of their true meaning, but who was graciously and mercifully saved by Christ out of such deception, this writer pleads with those who, if they were honest with themselves, know their profession does not match their practice. Is it pride that holds you back from admitting you might not be truly saved? Pray that God would decimate that pride, reveal the depravity of your sinful soul and the gravity of your sin before God, and bring you to a place of true repentance and a genuine turning and trust in Christ alone for salvation. What good is it to “save face” before men when the One who will judge your soul sees beyond your hypocrisy and into your dark heart? One can only exist as a mockingbird Christian for a time before the empty words and works grow cumbersome. But the yoke that Christ offers is light (Matt 11:30). Your life in Christ may bring upon you persecution, hardship or loss, but the peace in the midst of trial and the eternal reward will far outweigh those fleeting discomforts. Dear professing Christian, examine yourself, and if by God’s grace you find that your love for Him exists only in what you say, but does not overflow from your heart, know that Christ alone can lift the veil of your deception. He forgives even those who have disparaged His name with their false witness. Repent. Turn to Christ so that you may never hear those terrifying words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Sound the Alarm

In recent days the flood gates of change, the tide of evil and the clouds of war have been sweeping over our world. The signs of the coming Day of the Lord have multiplied as never before. In every area we look, the warnings of the end of the age are shouting at us.

The alarm bells have been sounding for decades, now as the sounds of the alarm grows louder and louder the world is striving to mute them. Much of the professing church is deaf and blind to the signs that are flashing on every side.

Earthquakes are multiplying, storms and floods are devastating, pandemic threats are looming, economic collapse is threatening the world and we are helplessly watching our world slipping into totalitarianism. Moral collapse is corrupting society and our politicians and leaders. World government, a new world order and a world church are slowly and steadily unfolding in shadows, ready to engulf the world and its people. We realize that behind it all there are powerful forces and powerful people carrying forward their agenda. We also realize that this whole agenda has passed the point of no return, there is no going back now and we expect it to suddenly explode upon us, unfolding with lightning speed. Our world and our lives will never be the same again; it is time to get our priorities in line with this unfolding end time Biblical scenario. It is time to fix our eyes on Christ and seek to do His will and to please Him, in whose presence we will soon be.

More heartbreaking than these, is the terrible apostasy that has swept over the evangelical church and the fact that some who have identified themselves as fundamentalists have now shifted into the Laodicean/Evangelical camp. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been abandoned for the social gospel that is actually socialism under the banner of social justice. Those who are caught up in promoting the social gospel are working, perhaps unwittingly, to build the world church of the false prophet and Antichrist. The foundation of the harlot church will be socialism. The amazing thing is that these professing Christians are blind to what they are doing.

We have a parallel between Israel prior to the Old Testament Day of the Lord and the Laodicean/Evangelical church of the present hour immediately prior to the coming great Day of the Lord. In that crisis moment for Israel God raised up His prophets to sound the warning, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand” (Joel 2:1). Israel did not respond to message from the Lord and the judgment did come, but the prophets were faithful.

In the book of Ezekiel God gave a warning to His prophet, “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6).

For some years now I have been trying to sound the trumpet to warn everyone I can about the soon coming of our Lord. I have tried to be circumspect so as not to appear fanatical and lose the hearing of my constituency. I am now so impressed with the lateness of the hour and the dangerous place I believe so many professing Christians are living, that I am throwing caution to the winds and not holding back any longer.

What awaits Laodicean/Evangelicals? This is a great burden upon my heart, I am not striking out,but I am deeply concerned about people.  John describes the Laodicean church of the last days as an unsaved church. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16). That is an unsaved church and that is the evangelical church of the present hour. I believe, not without much evidence; that a great multitude of present day evangelicals are unregenerate and at the rapture will be spewed out into the coming tribulation period and be deceived by the harlot church. Some evangelical pastors have been saying for years that they believe that a majority of their people are not truly saved. They have concluded this by observing their life styles and lack of commitment to Christ.

I believe we have evidence of that in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

The scriptures give us the marks of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. These marks are not optional; they are a very part of the new nature that comes with genuine salvation. Either you have this new nature or you are not born again of God’s Spirit. If you are truly born again these marks will be evident, though there will be a struggle to reinforce them, this is the sanctification process.  We see it in the life of Paul in Romans 7. The sanctification process is evidence of salvation but the process must be evident.

The first mark in the life of a true follower of Christ is the Lordship of Christ.

He is Lord of all, Lord of every area of your life, your time, your money, your associations, your love and devotion. The life of a true disciple will not be compartmentalised, Christ will be a present Lord in every area of his life. Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:11).

It can’t be sports and Christ. It can’t be a career and Christ. It can’t be a relationship and Christ. Christ must be first and foremost, He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. You can seek to rationalize this away and if you do, you do not understand the call of Christ on your life. Everything takes second place to Christ and when it does Christ will bless your life.

Another mark of true salvation is discipleship.

The true child of God is a disciple of his Lord. A disciple is one who is committed to hearing all that Jesus has said and is committed to obeying it.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…..” (Matthew 28:20).

The disciple has a hunger and thirst for God’s Word. Listen to David, “I will keep thy statutes,” “Thy Word have I hid in my heart.” “I will delight myself in thy statutes,” “Thy testimonies are my delight,” “I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart,” “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

You will never get to know God apart from His Word. You will not get to know God in prayer; you will experience God in prayer to the extent that you have learned about Him from His Word and obeyed His Word.  “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

The person who has a hunger for God will find that hunger satisfied in His Word. If you do not have that hunger something is wrong and God’s servants cannot give you an assurance of salvation.

The one who is true disciple of Christ will live a life that is like a burnt offering. His life will be consumed in pleasing God and in doing His will. His life will be burnt up on the altar of sacrifice until there is nothing left of his life but the fulfilled will of God. Paul said, “Not I but Christ.” He also said, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).

I would exhort you to understand that there is a nominal Christianity that is counterfeit Christianity. Do not wait until it is too late to discover this fact. True discipleship is radical, true Christianity is radical. Jesus taught that if you follow Him the world will hate you. They will consider you radical.

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” (1 John 2:15). If your lifestyle is not different from the worlds you are not saved. “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:19-20). Satan wants as many unsaved evangelicals as possible to believe they are saved when actually they are not.

A disciple of Christ will identify with Him and be a witness to the gospel.

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9). “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). I warn you that you trifle with this command of Christ at your eternal peril. Not that you will lose your salvation, but that your life will prove that you were never saved in the first place.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Today multitudes are fashioning a Christianity of their own design and it is counterfeit Christianity that leads to hell. Many are following another Jesus, a Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Bible and they are holding to another gospel which is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Another mark of true discipleship is separation from the world. “

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Separation has always been the program of God for His people, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Israel was commanded to be separate from the nations and people around them. In Jeremiah 10:2 we read, “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen…” The Lord commanded Israel to separate from the heathen around them so that they would not learn their ways and become like them.

Since evangelicals abandoned separation in the early 1950’s we have had two generations of evangelicals who have learned the ways of the world. They have fallen in love with the world. They have abandoned separation from the world and today there is no distinction between them and the world. This is totally unacceptable to the Lord.

It is heart breaking to see multitudes who claim to be born again followers of Christ and yet there is absolutely no separation from the world in their lives. The world’s entertainment is their entertainment. Professional sport is the entertainment of the world and yet multitudes of evangelicals and not a few fundamentalists are captivated by this worldly entertainment. There is no separation from the world in their lives. They sit in front of the TV set and drink in the world, for such people there can be no assurance of salvation given. David rejected television nearly 3000 years ago, he said, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalm 101:3). Drinking in the world by the hour via television is contrary to what the Christian is to be and to do. These are not incidental issues they are fundamental to the life of a true disciple.

Jesus said that the world hated Him and that it would hate His followers and He commanded us not to love the world. Peter said that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. 1 Peter 2:11, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” The song writer had it correct when he wrote, “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through.”

I can hear some saying, Art you are out of step, you are out of touch, you are nit-picking and you’ve gone overboard. Jesus was out of step with the world. In fact He said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). There is a broad way, and a great multitude is on it, with not a few evangelicals, and they are on the way to hell, Jesus said the broad way leads to destruction. There is a narrow way and there are very few on it, but it leads to life everlasting.

Don’t cry legalism; the words of Jesus are not legalism, He said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words….” Paul said by the leading of the Spirit, “Love is the fulfilling of the law…” The cry of legalism is often the cry of a rebellious heart. We do the things Christ commands us, not because we have to, but because we love Christ and desire to please Him. If you do not love Christ and do not want to please Him, then cry legalism and be disobedient to Him.

Don’t cry liberty; the scripture never gives liberty to disobey the commands of Jesus and the teaching of scripture. Liberty is also often the cry of a rebellious heart. We do have liberty in Christ; we have the liberty to live a life that is pleasing to Him. No effort, no sacrifice and no self-denial are too much, because we love Him.

Wake up! Which road are you on? To think you are a Christian means absolutely nothing! I plead with you to make sure of your salvation. How awful to think you are a disciple of Christ and wake up in eternity to discover that you have been deceived and lied to by other deceived people. Peter said, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). Peter is saying check out your life with what the Word of God requires and make sure you a true believer.

Is your life style the life style of the world? Are your dress and music the dress and music of the world? You say, “I don’t want to be different and to stick out like a sore thumb.” Then you do not understand what the calling of Christ is. “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). You cannot deliberately go on defying the commands of Christ and be His disciple.

“We call Him ‘Lord,’ and say we believe His Word. We are careful all along the way, and yet He says, “Why call me Lord and do not the things I say?”

Millions have laid down their lives for Christ. Millions have suffered terrible persecution and deprivation for Christ. And you say I will not give up my worldly friends, my worldly music and my worldly lifestyle. I will dress the way I choose, everybody is doing it. I will not give up the entertainment I enjoy. You say, I am a Christian and I am going to enjoy the best of both worlds. Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” Will you chose to serve yourself or Christ?

If you have decided that you will not suffer the reproach of Christ. Listen to the words of Jesus, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).

This is a desperate appeal to professing Christians whose lifestyle does not authenticate their profession. This comes from a heart of love and concern, not a condemning spirit.

Search the scriptures to see if these things are true.

by Art Sadlier
Sound the Trumpet

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

[Repentance] Q&A With Dave Hunt

urgent callQuestion: What is repentance—the same as faith? How do you explain its absence in John:3:16; 5:24; 6:47; Galatians; Acts:16:31, etc.? You have written in An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith , p. 223, that those “living in sin” have no right to assurance of salvation. Is assurance based on behavior or on the objective promises of God’s Word? Please clarify where you stand on “Lordship salvation,” which ties salvation and assurance to faith and repentance as conditions for eternal life.

Answer: Faith is the only condition of salvation: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” To be saved, one must only believe the gospel. That is the promise of God’s Word.

As for repentance, I agree that the word is not in the Gospel of John, nor in Paul’s definition of the gospel in 1 Corinthians:15:1-4, etc. But Paul did preach “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts:20:21); and Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3). Yet to overemphasize repentance could lead the unsaved person to imagine that he somehow must reform his life before he is acceptable to God and can be saved.

Jesus didn’t ask the woman at the well to repent, nor did He ask repentance from the woman taken in adultery, or from Nicodemus, or from any of the disciples that He called to follow Him. But He brought them to repentance. It is innate in the publican’s guilty cry under conviction of the Holy Spirit, “God be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk 18:13 )! In believing the gospel and thereby accepting Christ as Savior in His sacrifice for sins, one is admitting to being a sinner worthy of God’s judgment, to being sorry for his sin and desiring deliverance from its penalty. In that very act of faith in Christ for dying in one’s place, there is repentance and turning from sin to the Savior.

Your question reworded what I wrote. I didn’t say that those living in sin “have no right to assurance of salvation.” I said, “We offer no comfort or assurance to those living in sin; we don’t say, ‘You’re okay because you once made a decision for Christ.’ Instead we warn, ‘If you are not willing right now to live fully for Christ as Lord of your life, how can you say that you were really sincere when you supposedly committed yourself to Him…in the past?’ And to all, we declare with Paul, ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith…’ (2 Cor:13:5).”

In that section of the book, I refute the ideas that one must be baptized, speak in tongues, etc., in order to be saved. I specifically say, “Are we not then saved by our works? Indeed, not….Good works bring rewards; a lack of them does not cause loss of salvation. The person who hasn’t even one good work ( all of his works are burned up) is still ‘saved; yet so as by fire’ (1 Cor:3:13-15). We would not think such a person saved at all….Yet one who…has no good works…if he has truly received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, is then ‘saved as by fire’….”

What I wrote is certainly not a promotion of “Lordship salvation”—the idea that if one is not living in complete obedience to Christ as Lord, then one is not saved. I don’t believe that John MacArthur, who is accused of teaching this doctrine, means that good works save. Rather, he is saying that works are an indication of whether a person is saved or not. Scripture declares that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” is saved. It is not only what one says , but what one believes in the heart —and the heart is deceitful. Jesus himself warns that many, calling Him Lord, will claim to have done great works in His name and yet have never been saved (Mt 7:21-23).

Many “make a commitment for Christ” and later turn away because they had not been sincere. The person who has fallen into sin and would like to turn from that sin, but it has a strong hold on him, may be a Christian. But the person who is living in sin, doesn’t care, and claims he is saved because he once made a “decision for Christ” was probably never saved. It would be wrong to comfort such persons with, “You believe in Christ, so you can’t be lost no matter how you live.”

Neither you nor I know anyone’s heart. People stand before witnesses, swear their undying love, then divorce the one to whom they made the vows. Did they really understand the seriousness of the vows they made? In their hearts, did they really intend to keep them? So it can be with those who claim to receive Christ or to believe in Him. For some, these are just words they repeated. The faith and conviction has not touched their hearts. God alone knows the heart. But a good indication of whether or not one’s faith ever was real can be found in present attitude and actions.

In my book I did not say (nor have I ever) that if a person is not living for Christ, he is not saved. I said then, as now, that one’s attitude of heart and actions are a good indication of whether one ever really understood and believed the gospel. Those who are not living for Christ but claim to be saved ought to be warned to repent, as many scriptures declare.