Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      We are living in perilous times when faith is being eroded by the 'Frog in the Boiling Water Syndrome'. Great changes in Moral Values and Biblical Beliefs both in society and the Church came upon us slowly at first, and as we acquiesced and accepted the New Normal, the 'Stockholm Syndrome' took over and we become neutralized in order to get along with the world, the flesh and the devil. I believe this message should help us get back on track. 
      The Freudian theory denotes that Stockholm syndrome is a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be a threat!
       This Syndrome has caused the Church to be silent on many moral issues like homosexuality, ‘man-on-man’ marriage, abortion, hatred of Israel and the brutal persecution of Christians in despotic Islamic nations. In fact, we are now seeing the church leading the charge on the Devil’s side of these issues. It also explains why some women defend homosexuality because their sons and friends are involved in that perversion!
       The New Normal is the 'Devil's Trick' to liberalize, confuse, water down and discount the Word of God  as the Rule Book for faith, conduct and morals! The Faith of Jesus Christ led the Early Church and the Protestant Reformers to spread the Gospel and build civilized and thriving Nations based on the Ten Commandments.
       The British Common Law came out of the Law of Moses, and the teachings of Jesus Christ and St. Paul became the belief system and the glue that bonded together to form a vibrant, democratic society with righteous virtues and values!        
       The PURITANS left the tyranny in Europe and arrived on Plymouth Rock to found a nation under God. The Great Revivals of righteousness that spread Christ's Gospel across America, the Ivy League Colleges founded by ‘Men of God’ that became great Universities, validates the amazing power of the Holy Bible to transform a people!
       MARTIN LUTHER warned: "I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.”
       Dr. A.A.HODGE of Princeton Theological Seminary (1823 –1886) warned: “I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”
                       HARVARD WAS RAISED UP BY PEACHERS!
       DANIEL WEBSTER warned: "If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, then error will be. If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy.
      “If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of this land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end." 
      Harvard was officially born in 1636. Its Number One goal was: “And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee to be the only very God and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent.”- John 17:3 (The Geneva Bible). The following goals are from 'New England First Fruits' regarding Harvard College Laws of 1642:
      “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.(John 17:3)… And seeing the Lord only gives wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him.” (Proverbs 2:3) - Taken from Wikipedia
     TODAY, many of these universities are now cesspools of liberalism, modernism, agnosticism, immorality and sexual perversion. HOW TRAGIC!
      DANIEL WEBSTER warned: "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
    “All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.”  Martin Luther
      St. Paul writes to Timothy, his son in the faith: "That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in His times He shall show, Who is the blessed and Only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality dwelling in the LIGHT which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen," (1 Tim. 6:14-16)
                                   REPENT OR ELSE!
      St. John saw the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and fell on his face at His feet as dead: His eyes were as a flame of fire, His feet like fine bronze as if they were burned in a furnace, His head and hairs were white like wool, as white as snow and His voice as the sound of many waters!
     It is no wonder that the Apostle John fell on his face as dead after seeing the Risen Christ in all His Glory, Majesty and Omnipotence! How could any human being be able to handle such a sight? St John called Jesus Christ, "The True Light, which lights every man that cometh into the world." (John 1: 78, 9)
     Saul of Tarsus was blinded by that awesome light when our Lord arrested him on the Damascus Road. He fell onto the dust, crying out: "Who art Thou Lord?" (Acts 9: 5). The Lord answered: "I am JESUS Whom thou persecutest..."; "and he trembling and astonished said, "What wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9: 6). 
    These are the two most important questions a person could ask Jesus: 'Who are You, really? and "What do You want me to do?" Much later, St. Paul wrote: "That I might KNOW Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." (Phil.3:10).   
      And the two most important words we could say to Jesus are: 'My LORD and my GOD." And after seeing the risen Christ, Thomas cried out: "My Lord and my God." (John 20: 28). When we call Jesus our Lord we are saying, "I will obey You, Lord', and when we call Him Lord, we say, "I worship you as God'!
     To five of the seven Churches in Asia Minor which are pre-pictures of the Seven Church Ages, the Glorified Christ sternly said, "REPENT OR ELSE." His last words to His disciples and followers before He ascended to Heaven were: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
      “And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
      About SIXTY YEARS later our Lord appeared to St. John on the Isle of Patmos with another message for the Church. It was: “Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works or else I will come unto thee quickly and I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou REPENT.” (Rev.2: 5, 6)
     That was His message to the Church at Ephesus which during the ministry of St. Paul was a spirit-filled, model Church! Oh, how far it had fallen from the time of the Apostle Paul until Christ’s appearance to St. John on Patmos! He warned: “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee; because thou hast left thy first love.” (Rev.2: 4)
     The CHRIST of the Candlesticks is also the LORD of the Lampstands, and His words of warning still reverberate throughout the Holy Bible and in our hearts as we read His words in Rev. 2: 1-29; 3:1-20) His message to the Church at Pergamos were: “REPENT or I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Rev. 2:2: 16)
     His powerful Words to Church at Thyatira were: “And I gave her space to REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they REPENT of their deeds. And I will kill he children with death; and all the churches shall know that that I AM HE that searches the reins and hearts: And will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Rev.2: 21-23)
       To the Church at Sardis, the Christ of the Candlesticks admonished: “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 unto thee.” (Rev.3: 3)
       The LORD of the LAMPSTANDS gives this stunning rebuke to the Church at Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art LUKEWARM, I will spew thee out of My mouth.
      “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not the thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich; and white raiment that thou may be clothed; and that the shame of thy NAKEDNESS do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve that thou may see.
     “As many as I love I REBUKE, and chasten: Be zealous, therefore and REPENT. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3: 14-20)
                     WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT JESUS?
    A Gospel song carries these beautiful words: “Where would I be without Jesus? Where would I spend eternity? I would be lost in this world, full of sorrows. Without Jesus, where would I be?
     1). Where would I be without the mercy of God? Without His love and grace? I would be lost and doomed forever!
      2). Where would I be without the great sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s Cross? Without the shedding of His pure and holy blood? I would be a lost and condemned sinner!
       3). Where would I be without His glorious resurrection from the dead that guarantees our eternal life? I would have no hope in this world or the next; Doomed forever in a Christ-less eternity together with the world’s greatest terrorists, murderers, thieves, liars, perverts, Satan, the Antichrist and False Prophet!
     4). Where would I be without God’s revealed will unto man, the Holy Bible, God’s sacred Word? What could I do without the Holy Scriptures that makes one wise unto salvation? How could I survive without God’s divine, holy, infallible and inspired Word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, in short a road map to Heaven? I would be a doomed soul probably looking in great sadness to the writings of men and their failed philosophies and theosophies, lost forever!
      5). Where would I be without Jesus Christ, the world’s greatest Freedom Fighter, Who liberated the human race through His vicarious, substitutionary death on Golgotha’s Hill and His death dealing victory over Satan, the enemy of God and man? Where would I be without the blessed Holy Spirit of God Who fills us, comforts us and leads us into all truth, power and liberty?  I would be a slave to the empty philosophies of men, the dog-eat-dog approach of the business community, the propaganda of the politicians, the lies of the evolutionists and the damnable teachings of false religionists who prey on the vulnerable and ignorant!
                  I AM AT REST KNOWING WHOSE I AM!
     St. Paul wrote: “For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Tim. 1: 12); “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, Whose I am and Whom I serve.” (Acts 27: 23)
      The Bible states: “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6: 19, 20)
      I am God’s property, God’s dwelling and His servant to do His bidding. Like John the Baptist, I must decrease and He must increase. Our Master said: “Without Me Ye can do nothing.” (John 15: 5)
     St. Paul explained: “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwells NO GOOD THING: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Rom.7: 18) That is precisely why Jesus Christ said: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
     “Except a man be born of water (God’s Word washes) and of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3: 3-7)
     St Peter also stated: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD of God, which lives and abides forever. (1 Peter 1: 22)
      I feel myself most privileged that I am called “a child of God, an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ” (Romans 8: 14-17) and that I have “been accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph.1:6) And all of that, not because I have done anything to deserve it, but because of His great love for me and His mercy and grace for sinners such as I. (Eph.2: 8, 9)

    To God be the glory forever and ever in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord! (Galatians 1: 3-5) Amen.