Friday, January 31, 2020


            The Scripture speaks of the mystery of the kingdom of God, the mystery of Christ, the mystery of the gospel and the mystery of godliness. These mysteries are revealed in Jesus Christ. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1Timothy 3:16) And Jesus will return again. His second coming was proclaimed by an angel when He ascended up into heaven.
But there is another mystery that will be revealed before Jesus’ second coming. The mystery of iniquity will be revealed by the coming of an imposter who will claim to bring world peace. He is called in Scripture the son of perdition because he has allowed Satan to fill him. (Jesus called Judas by that same name because Satan had filled Judas’ heart.) Many will follow this deceiver, and, while promising peace, he will lead them into eternal destruction. Satan always seems to have an evil counterfeit for the good gifts God has given us. Many people will be taken in by this counterfeit peace that will be offered to the world. And it may seem for a short while that peace has come, but it will be suddenly replaced by a hostile, demonic takeover by the forces of evil. We know this deceiver as the antichrist. He is opposed to all that Christ is because he is filled with the spirit of the devil. His power and wisdom come from the devil, and he is sold out, fully committed to do the work of Satan. Second Thessalonians 2 warns us about him and his spirit that is already at work among us.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of Christ] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”
            Paul warns the believers in Thessalonica to be careful so they will not be deceived with the spirit of antichrist that is already at work among us. That man of sin has not been revealed yet, but we can already see the lawlessness that is in the world. Be careful that it does not creep into your heart, turning you away from Jesus. Paul’s warning is important for us to hear. It is easy to let down our guard and begin to receive doctrines that seem okay, but actually lead us astray from God’s Word. The lack of power among God’s people and the lack of urgency for evangelization shows a lack of being filled with God’s Spirit and His Word. It is imperative that we don’t become lax in our relationship with Jesus in these last days.
There is a short chapter in the book of Psalms that can help us stay full of the Spirit and the Word of God. It is the very first psalm in the book.
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].
(Psalm 1:1-3 Amplified Bible)
This chapter may be short, but it gives us some of the greatest information we can have. It outlines the two basic choices for life and the consequences of both. Although it is concise, it breaks down the components enough that we understand how to wisely incorporate this wisdom into our lives. We can choose to be blessed or cursed. We can choose life or death. But as we go on reading in this psalm we see the things that lead us in each direction.
The first part lets us know there are two counselors. We can take counsel from God’s Word or from the ungodly. But we need to differentiate between those voices. There are many voices offering advice and opinions. Social media is full of voices that claim to know the truth. How can we know the difference between God’s counsel and ungodly counsel? This passage of Scripture tells us the one who does not take ungodly counsel is the one who finds delight in the Word of God. They read it, meditate on it and apply it to their lives. Those are people who are walking in the will and counsel of God. When you are full of God’s Word, it is easier to recognize deception. Being full of His Spirit gives us the discernment we need.
Don’t take the word of others who say they know what the Scripture says. Go to the Scripture for yourself. Ask God to show you the meaning and how to walk it out in your daily living. Beware of the counsel of the ungodly. The ungodly have advice that might seem good on the surface, but it is not God’s counsel.
The ungodly will tell us to “look out for #1” (meaning ourselves). “Always do what will give you the best advantage.” But God’s Word tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves and to do to others what we want them to do to us. In other words, we are to be looking out for the good of others.
If someone wrongs us, the ungodly will tell us to get even with them and make them pay for what they have done. Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44) In other words, let God handle it. Many people consider anything less than standing up for our rights is showing weakness in us. But when we are weak, the strength of God will be seen more clearly working through us. Our part is to do good to others and pray for them. That is a choice. We have a wise, strong, powerful, all-knowing Counselor in Jesus Christ. Isaiah 9:6 speaks of Christ like this: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. We can depend on His counsel every time.
There are also two ways or paths. There is the way of the sinners. But Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life No one comes to the Father except through Me.” It may seem easier to walk in the way of sinners, but the end is destruction. It may be difficult to live in the kingdom of God while we are in this world, because they are two opposing kingdoms. But following Jesus will lead to life. Jesus is the only way to the Father, the only way to heaven. When this earth has passed away, the kingdom of God will stand strong. Which kingdom will we be in? That depends on which path we take.
There are also two choices. We can scoff at Jesus and His teachings, or we can choose to be His disciples and follow Him. When Jesus hung on the cross, He hung between two thieves. Both were dying for crimes they had committed. Jesus had done nothing wrong, yet He was dying for their sins, your sins, my sins. One thief believed in Christ and asked to be remembered in His kingdom. That thief followed Jesus into paradise that very day. The other thief had the same opportunity, but he chose to be among the mockers of Christ. His punishment removed him from this world to face eternal punishment without Christ. It is so much better to follow the counsel of God’s Word, to walk the path where He leads us, and to make the choice to surrender to Him.
The last three verses of Psalm 1 clarify the consequences of those who choose the counsel of the ungodly, the way of sinners and the seat of the scornful. And it reinforces the blessings of those who choose God’s counsel, God’s way and following Christ. It says, “The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so” [not fruitful and prospering], “But they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked shall perish.” (Amplified Bible)
 The way of the ungodly can have a strong pull, but our God is able to keep us. Beware of the spirit of antichrist that is already at work in this world. It is a lawless spirit, a deceiving, Godless spirit. Make sure you stay close to God in His kingdom. Study His Word and allow His Spirit to lead you. If you do, you will prosper even in the face of the turbulent evil of this world. Keep your heart clean and do not forsake meeting together with other believers who can build you up and encourage you.
 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” (Hebrews 3:12-14 NKJV)