Strongholds In The Church

Jesus is THE TRUTH and He gave Himself for us that He might sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of the water by the word. Where we are deceived and unable to see our sin or where we have false beliefs, concepts or reasonings regarding our Christianity or faith, Jesus, THE TRUTH, will expose these false beliefs that we have had from our beginnings in order to wash and sanctify us. The word “principalities” in Eph. 6 means false beliefs from our beginning. We are fighting against these strongholds of false beliefs. Where we have false beliefs, satan will operate in our lives and churches. Jesus came to deliver us and set us free with THE TRUTH, so we must be meek and teachable in these last days as THE TRUTH exposes our false beliefs and washes and sanctifies us in the water of the word. As Jesus said to Peter when He knelt to wash Peter’s feet and Peter objected, “If you don’t allow me to wash you, you have no part with me.”

A stronghold is a fortress of wrong thinking, beliefs, reasonings, concepts or arguments that we have that allows us to remain in the sin and deception we are in so that we will not change or accept THE TRUTH when Jesus exposes our deception and sin. Thus we reject THE TRUTH, Jesus, and we persecute the person He speaks through because we are so sure we are right and our spirit and mind are not meek, humble and teachable. Only the meek (teachable) will inherit the earth because they can be instructed unto righteousness. A fortress is usually unpenetrable, strongly defended and doesn’t allow anyone in that doesn’t have the same belief system.

I was recently reading a book by Gary Smalley where he was writing on something called “€œConfirmational Bias”€. Confirmational bias is where you believe or make your mind up about something and look for evidence to support your belief. In the movie Sentinel, which concerns the investigation of the murder of a Secret Service agent, the lead investigator for the Secret Service is surprised when the city police have solved the case after just 30 minutes. The lead investigator for the Secret Service states, “You know what I don’t like about assumptions like that? You tend to only look for the evidence that backs up what you believe and ignore the rest. You won’€™t see fresh or new evidence. You won’€™t even be looking for it.  You’€™d probably reject it anyway”.

Psychology can call it “Confirmational Bias”€ but the bible calls it a stronghold or a false set of beliefs or assumptions, wrong thinking, reasonings, concepts or arguments that looks for evidence to support our beliefs, even in the bible, as we take scripture out of context to create a doctrine, while allowing us to ignore or discredit anything that does not support our belief or reasoning, even if this evidence comes from the bible as well.

Let me give an example as to how this plays out in our daily lives on a relational level. Take a look at this picture below. I can make an assumption about what is going on in this picture based on what I believe about this 10 year old girl. If I believe that she is selfish and lacks concern for others and seeks only her own will and way, I will make the confirmationally biased interpretation of this picture seeing her as taking this floating raft away from and elderly lady for her own personal use. After all, the elderly lady looks quite serious in her conversation with the little girl and almost looks angry as she clutches the raft closer to herself.

If I believe that this little girl is kind and caring and thoughtful of others, my confirmational bias will cause me to believe that this little girl is offering this floating raft to this elderly lady who is now surprised and thanking the little girl. Do you see how your confirmational bias can cause you to interpret what you see and read?

Below is what really happened regarding this interaction between these two people.

Neither one of the interpretations was accurate and my conformational bias or stronghold caused me to misread the whole interaction. The elderly women was coaxing the little girl into standing on the raft while assuring her that she will hold it and keep her safe, much like God does with us. Do you see how the strongholds, confirmational biases or lenses through which you view life can cause you to be wrong in what is true or what is accurate in your relational life, personal life or even your spiritual life? Do you see why it is so important to be meek, teachable and humble in order to let Jesus do what He died to do in pulling down strongholds, conformational biases, reasonings, concepts or arguments that we have because we can be wrong and He is THE TRUTH and part of what He died to do was set us free with the TRUTH? If you reject the TRUTH, you reject Jesus because of your stronghold or conformational bias through which you read and believe the bible.

I had an interaction with a relative on the phone that happened much the same way. I had been estranged from this relative for some time and had tried to reconcile. I had taken responsibility for anything I had done, confessed it and apologized. This relative and I were talking on the phone one day and she asked me a question. Because I know about conformational bias, strongholds or some call it negative thinking, I am now slow to speak and I choose my words more carefully, especially with this person because her bias is so negative and she will take anything as support of her negative thinking regarding me. Because there was a pause in the conversation after she asked a question as I carefully weighed my words and choose them wisely, she interpreted the pause in the conversation as €œproof€ that I was lying and she snapped back, What, or is that a lie, too? Her conformational bias regarding me causes her to interpret what I do, don’€™t do or what I did in the past through a negative light instead of through a positive one and she totally misses any evidence that her interpretation of what she sees may be inaccurate or in error. She is looking for evidence or proof that what she already believes about me is accurate and this can really damage relationships when you believe the worst about someone and interpret everything they say and do through those “glasses” you wear. You could be wrong about what you believe about them or how you interpret past incidences.

Another example of conformational bias; I have a very sweet, dear friend from church who believes in reincarnation. Because of this false belief or stronghold, she has found scripture to support this belief. Where Jesus states that John the Baptist came as Elijah, she uses this to support her stronghold of reincarnation because of her ignorance regarding what Jesus was talking about in this scripture. Jesus was talking about the anointing or prophetic mantle that was on both Elijah and John the Baptist. It was the same anointing on them. Also, Elijah never died. He was caught up into heaven and still has a body so he wouldn’t be reincarnated as John the Baptist. Also, what would be the whole point of Jesus dying for sinful man if we could finally get it right by just being reincarnated enough times to work out our own salvation? I am sure you get my point regarding having a false belief and looking for scripture to support it. While I am starting out with a more far-fetched, not readily held belief by most Christians to make my point, I need to say that most of today’s churches have some form of stronghold or another that needs to be pulled down in order for us to see the power and glory of God demonstrated as the early church did. Until this is done, satan will continue to rule and reign in our churches and suppress moves of God. Many pastors and Christians are crying out to God for revival and miracles, but they do not want to have their strongholds pulled down that suppress God from moving in their churches and ministries. They ask God why and when the answer comes, they reject it because they are so sure their reasonings, beliefs and doctrine are correct, yet they lack the fruit of meekness or being teachable or instructed unto righteousness. They believe they have already attained it and cannot possible be deceived just as the Pharisees were in Jesus day. They knew the word of God inside and out, but Jesus didn’t come as they thought a savior would and He didn’t agree with their confirmational bias or stronghold and they rejected their Messiah and crucified Him. Our religious leaders and churches are the same way today.

Another example of conformational bias or a stronghold is a couple who came over to our home, took one look around in awe and stated, “Man you must have tithed a lot into the kingdom of God in order to be blessed like this”. € They held the belief that gain was Godliness or God’€™s stamp of approval on you, only to be earned by your works, not through the blood of Christ. The bible says to think not that gain is Godliness and this is a stronghold that the tithing prosperity churches have. The word “prosperity” in the bible means “€œto mature”€ or “perfect”€ or€ “grow up so as not to remain immature”€. It has nothing to do with money. When they read that the poor have the gospel preached to them, they read that word “poor” to mean “€œlacking money”€ because it supports their stronghold of false beliefs. The poor that Jesus was speaking of were the poor in spirit or those who mourn and grieve over their sins. The gospel preached to them is that they are forgiven.

In the book of Malachi where people were called God Robbers€ because they did not tithe, you need to ask yourself this. Who was God talking to? Answer: the priests or pastors. Why did they tithe? They lived in a Theocracy and under the law and as part of the law they paid tithes. It was like our taxes we pay under a democracy. The money went to build their streets, keep up their temples, feed the priests and it was their welfare system that fed the poor and its purpose served the same purpose as our taxes. It was the pastors or priests who were being called God Robbers€ because they were keeping the money for themselves and neglecting the needy. Now a days, the church leaders call the poor and needy God robbers for not giving a tenth of their income to the church when they can hardly support their families, especially in today’s economy. They bind up heavy burdens on the people grievous to be borne and do not lift a finger to help you and by so doing, they shut up the kingdom of God to these people who believe that God will not do anything for them because they can’t tithe. Therefore, they do not have faith for anything that the blood of Christ purchased for them and they fall away. Again, these same pastors and priests are the God robbers, not the people. Who was God telling to tithe? Answer: the pastors and priests as the governmental leaders, because it was this tithe that was to take care of the poor and needy and they were neglecting the needy in their midst. When reading the bible ask yourself a few questions and read it in context. Who was God talking to? What was He saying? Why was He saying it? What was God’s point? Sometimes you can read the bible and miss the whole point, as in the above case, because of your stronghold. God hates it when the poor and needy are not taken care of by the church and it was the pastors being rebuked by God for not meeting the needs of the poor when the congregation of wealthy had provided for the pastors and priests.

I have had a pastor believe that folks lost their jobs in today’s economy because they didn’€™t tithe and the devourer wasn’t rebuked in their lives because they insist that the congregation adhere to this one aspect of the law. The loss of the job supported their confirmational bias or stronghold the pastor had because a legalistic spirit looks at the external for evidence instead of what is happening in the heart or spirit realm. What really what was going on with this particular Christian who lost their job was that they were being tested. They accepted a job from a prominent Christian business woman who was a Christian leader in her city, It was a good position with decent pay but within the first week, the Holy Spirit started grieving within the new employee as she started to take note of illegal activity. Because she was in a supervisory position, other employees came to her with fraudulent, illegal activity that the Christian business owner was partaking in. They had tried to quit, but were blackmailed by this Christian business owner because they had been forced into participating in these illegal activities and they were afraid of being prosecuted. They wanted out and didn’€™t know how to go about it. This new Christian employee had a personal dilemma as to whether to do the right thing, which would mean losing her job and income or fall into the same trap the other employees did and participate in the illegal activity in order to keep the job and income. Basically she had to choose God or mammon or money. She chose God and the so called Christian business owner is being prosecuted by three federal agencies and two state agencies. The new employee was prophetic and God had placed her in the company in that position to help the other employees, who were also God’€™s children, out of their dilemma. A strong prophetic warning was given to the Christian business leader that her sins would find her out and she was being judged by God. God is faithful to warn you and give you a chance to repent before He judges you and judgment starts in the house of the Lord. The employees were called “€œcrazy”€ because of all the God€ talk and they were persecuted. This is the true story of what happened, but the pastor viewed it through his stronghold or confirmational bias as proof that this Christian was being attacked by the devourer because she didn’t tithe. This Christian had gone through several long periods of unemployment before getting this job and had debt as a result. After doing the right thing and choosing God over money, this Christian soon found that her investments had made the exact amount that would cover the debt she had accumulated during her time of unemployment and she was able to pay off her debt and she expects to be starting a new job with twice as much pay. This pastor would ignore this evidence because it didn’t agree with his reasonings or strongholds.

Let me ask you this, how meek and teachable are you and will you allow Jesus to do what He died to do and that is to pull your strongholds down with the Truth, which is who He is? Will you allow Him to wash you in the water of the word and expose your strongholds and set you free? If you do not allow Him to wash you, you have no part with Him and no part means, no part and you will be rejecting Jesus.

I will be pulling down strongholds in the church with the Truth, exposing doctrines of demons in the church and equipping the church with tools to discern for themselves. Let’s continue on with the Word of Faith churches with their positive and negative confession.

Counterfeit Christianity is everywhere. The difference between true Christianity and the occult is that in true Christianity we are to be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit and we will confess the word of God as led by the Holy Spirit to do so. This is initiated by God not man. It is used as the sword of the spirit to defeat the enemy, satan. The sword of the spirit or word of God is not to be used against God. Counterfeit Christianity, with their false Christs, lead and control the spirit realm by praying back God’s word “because He watches over it to perform it”. This is initiated by man, not God. That is witchcraft 101 and we have churches all over, today, calling themselves Christian while practicing the occult because they are deceived, as the devil or a spirit of divination has twisted scripture to them. God has become nothing more than a vending machine genie that performs and jumps to their spells or incantations, which are scripture promises quoted out of context. With their positive or negative confession theology they believe they have the ability to create their own reality by what they confess. My God is bigger than my mouth. Their god with a little “€œg”€ isn’t and this doctrine is all about them and their abilities to get God to do their bidding. It all sounds very Christian, but it is witchcraft. We are to be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit. We do not lead and control the spirit realm. People fall away when they find it doesn’t work or they are accused of not having faith, etc. if they don’t get what they want. They have forgotten about God’€™s sovereignty. It is always about them and their ability to have faith, confess scripture, etc. not God. These are seducing spirits and doctrines of demons that the bible talks about entering the church in end times. The bible calls witchcraft an abomination to God and those that practice it will not enter the kingdom of heaven and those that teach it will have the greater damnation. Satan has to wrap witchcraft in biblical terminology to get a Christian to swallow this lie and practice it. There is an explosion in psychic phenomena, spiritism, satanism, witchcraft, nature worship and the New Age Movement appearing even in our children’s shows and school books evangelizing them from the crib to the religion of the New World Order of the Antichrist (1 Timothy 4:1).

The tool to use here is “€œwe are to be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit”€. Any doctrine that would have you leading and controlling the spirit realm, even using the name Christ, God or Jesus by praying back scripture (just as in using an incantation or casting a spell) is a spirit of divination, witchcraft or occult. A spirit of divination counterfeits all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and calls himself the Holy Spirit to a Christian to get him to accept this demonic practice. He has to wrap it in a Christian package in order for you to accept it and will twist scripture out of context to do it. Once you have been indoctrinated with this confirmational bias or stronghold, you see scripture to support it, just as my friend did who believes in reincarnation. God says that His people perish for a lack of knowledge. It isn’t that God is unfaithful in giving you the truth to set you free, it is that you do not accept the truth when it is presented to you because of your stronghold or fortress of wrong thinking. You do not allow your fortress to be penetrated because you perceive the truth, or anyone preaching it, as the enemy. Not everything that is supernatural is of God. Satan counterfeits what God does through the gifts of the spirit because they are valuable. I have a whole chapter dedicated to this subject in the book €œMy Glorious Church Without Spot or Wrinkle and it goes into more detail. I suggest getting your free copy by clicking here.

Another spirit or stronghold in the church is a religious legalistic spirit. This spirit substitutes works, money or other things in place of the blood of Jesus. It is a “€œJesus’ blood plus your money, appearance, keeping of certain rituals or holy days, etc. in order to be accepted or more highly accepted or blessed by God. The only thing that makes us even remotely acceptable to God and allows us to come into His presences is the blood of Christ. Jesus delivered us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, taking God’s wrath upon Himself so we may be acceptable in God’s sight. What was the curse of the law? Sickness, poverty and spiritual death. Jesus’€™ blood provided for your healing emotionally, physically and spiritually. It was the blood of Jesus that mends the poverty of spirit where you mourn and grieve over your sins as you are told you are forgiven. It is the blood of Jesus that provides for all your needs. When Adam sinned and was cast out of paradise, he now had to work and toil to meet his own physical needs and that was part of the curse that Jesus redeemed us from. You don’t obtain this through your tithes and offerings or any of your works. It was provided for you through faith in the finished work of the cross. Not cutting your hair, not wearing jewelry or pants does not make you even more favored in God’€™s presence as some legalistic churches teach. You cannot ad to what the blood of Christ purchased for you and your works could not make you acceptable in God’s sight before the cross and it does not make you more highly favored after the cross because any good works done through you are done by the Christ in you and you don’t get the glory, God does. In the Messianic (Christian) Jewish community this spirit wraps the same legalistic doctrine in a way that they will accept it. In the book of Galatians Christians were told by the Jewish believers that they have to be circumcised and keep certain parts of the law, in order to be a true Christians and they were led from faith back into works to gain approval in God’s sight. Today, the Jewish believing community is heading in the direction where they have to keep all the feasts and holy days and they add to the blood of Christ by heaping on other things you must do to remain or gain acceptance and favor in the eyes of God. Anything that causes you to add to the blood of Christ to gain favor or blessings from God that the blood of Christ already purchased for you on the cross comes from a religious spirit of legalism. It causes pride and haughtiness or superiority among those that keep the rules and puts down those that don’t. It is this spirit that is called the accuser of the brethren and it scatters rather than gathers into the kingdom. These people are very judgmental and actually do the very things that they accuse others of doing. I have dedicated a whole chapter to this spirit as well and would suggest reading the book. Anything that substitutes works or money to replace the blood of Christ is against Christ and what He did on the cross. Against Christ is also “€œanti-Christ”€ and this anti-Christ spirit is in the church today.

If you are performing for, paying for or obtaining God’s favor by your works instead of through the finished work of the cross, you are an unbeliever, not a believer. Jesus purchased God’s acceptance, forgiveness, blessings and favor in the Father’s sight by His sacrifice on the cross. It is not “Jesus’ blood plus your money, works, etc.” In trying to purchase with your money, performance and works what Jesus already purchased with His blood, you are proclaiming that Jesus’ blood and sacrifice were not sufficient to meet the need and you are therefore an unbeliever, not a believer. Your good works must flow out of a loving, thankful heart for what God has done for you, not out of unbelief. If you obtain your love and acceptance from God based on your works, you will not be loving and accepting of others unless they perform as well. Likewise, if you freely receive God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance based on the fact that Jesus purchased these things for you freely, then you will love and accept others freely as well. Freely you have received, freely you give. That is the heart of the believer and by their fruits you will know them. Jesus commanded us to try the fruit and to do so is not judging. Don’t let your heart deceive you in this midnight hour! Jesus is seeking the lost sheep. Are you one of them?

What kind of fruit are you displaying? Are you paying for, performing for or participating in religious rituals, rules and practices to obtain for yourself what the blood of Jesus Christ purchased for you freely? Not sure? Can you give up your tithing, church attendance, performance, cut your hair or stop participating in religious rituals and still feel loved and accepted by God or do you feel like you allowed your fire insurance to expire and impending danger awaits?

There were two trees in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could eat of all of them except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God wanted them to eat of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life represented Jesus and how we are to get our life, value and worth from Him. The Tree of Life represented resources and food for everything we ever needed. Anything we ever needed could be obtained from the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve fell and experienced shame when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Until they ate from that tree, they fellowshipped and walked with God without shame. Once they had eaten from that tree they knew the difference between good and evil. Knowing evil or wrong and that you had sinned, brings shame and Adam and Eve dealt with the shame of their disobedience to God by covering themselves. They defended themselves and Adam refused to take responsibility for his behavior by actually blaming God and Eve. Adam said to God, “€œIt was that woman YOU gave me!”€ Having the knowledge of evil and your sin brings shame and separates you from God and each other. There was another side to this same Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and that was the side with the fruit of the knowledge of good. Having the knowledge of good and what is right causes pride in us if we think we are performing well and are blind to our own sin. We disdain others and look down on the sinful and non performing with a smug self righteous hatred. We do this to feel good about ourselves. All fruit from this tree is evil and produces a religious, judgmental, holier than thou, legalistic, prideful person who cannot receive correction. They become wrathful and a spirit of murder is quite comfortable in religious settings or with the folks eating from the side of the tree only that has the fruit of the knowledge of good. These folks are quite capable of murder in the name of God, Allah or whatever religion they are practicing, even Christianity. They are not true Christians or believers. Doesn’€™t matter what denomination or church you find them in, they are there and they are not saved or born again, even if they do know their bible inside and out. They don’t get the whole point of the bible because they filter it through their confirmational bias or stronghold. They do not get the whole point of the bible and the ten commandments or the law, which was to drive them to Christ. The law and ten commandments were to show man that they could not keep them and that they needed a savior. There is no such thing as life, confession, repentance, etc from the legalistic unbeliever. A true believer sins, but they go and eat from the Tree of Life and receive their forgiveness, love and acceptance from God and get whatever it is they need from that tree to keep from remaining in that sin. They do not fall into condemnation when their sin is confronted. They have freely received. They are actually receiving God’s love, forgiveness, power and strength in their life and they are being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. They realize they are going to screw up and they know where to go to receive life and be fed and it isn’t from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good. They don’€™t need to see themselves as €œgood€ by justifying their behavior and rationalizing it away and looking down on others who are “evil” in order to feel good about themselves. They go and get cleansed and receive life and healing in the blood. Once that is real in you, condemnation has no place in you and confession and repentance is easy. There is no such thing as perfection. All believers will sin, but confessed sin is washed. Rationalized and justified sin is judged. What tree are you eating from? Are you a believer or unbeliever? Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven”. There are many who believe they are Christians who are deceived and will be turned away as Jesus announces to them, “€œDepart from me, I never knew you”€! The bible says “€œIn Him was LIFE and that LIFE was the light of men. Only those eating from the tree of LIFE, Jesus, will be a light in this dark world. Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. This is who He is and to reject Him as the only way to get to heaven is to reject Jesus. To reject THE TRUTH that is designed to pull down your strongholds and set you free and wash you in the water of the word is to reject Jesus. To reject THE LIFE and not get your life, power, strength not to sin, value and worth from Jesus is to reject Jesus and you must know Him as all three. Jesus must be Lord in order to be savior.

Tool to use to discern a religious legalistic spirit: Is it a Jesus’€™ blood plus_____________________ (insert your own word) doctrine that causes you to be more highly favored or blessed by God.

Let’€™s go on the doctrine of eternal security being taught in today’€™s churches.

Many of today’s churches preach a once saved always saved doctrine and they partially quote Roman’s 8:1 as “€œThere is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”€. They falsely believe that if you accept Jesus in your heart you are saved and they never mention repentance before believing in Christ. Without repentance or turning away from your sins there is no salvation and they believe you are “€œin Christ Jesus”€ just by believing in Him or giving mental acknowledgement. They stop quoting Roman’s 8:1 before the sentence is finished and have a doctrine formed around an incompletely quoted sentence because of their confirmational bias or stronghold of once saved always saved€ and you are €œeternally secure after accepting Christ€. The rest of the sentence goes on to say, “€œwho walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit”.€ You can tell who is truly in Christ Jesus or a true believer because they will be walking in the spirit and be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit and their fleshly desires will not have control over them. There isn’t any condemnation for those folks as Romans 8:1 states, but what of the guy who walks in the flesh? Rather than ignoring scripture that states otherwise, let’s honestly look at what the bible says. I had one Christian leader tell me that if he were going to be wrong in any doctrine it would be in what I teach because there is no danger in being wrong in it. If you are wrong about eternal security and choose to walk in the flesh and sin because of the rampant “grace is a license to sin” theology being taught today, being wrong can have some pretty devastating eternal consequences so let’s put aside your pride as we examine what no one wants to preach on these days because it may be offensive to the folks who want their ears tickled and their flesh patted. After all, the bible states that some men love darkness more than light and will not come to the light that their deeds can be exposed that they were wrought in darkness. Plainly put, some who claim to love Jesus, love being in denial over their sin and strongholds more and will defend themselves and their strongholds when light tries to expose their sin or deception. Why? Perhaps pride or they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God as the bibles states people will be in end times. They don’t care what God thinks about their sin or deception and their once saved always saved theology makes them quite comfortable in remaining in sin and darkness.

The word “condemnation”€ in Roman’s 8:1 means €œjudgment or to be cut off. The literal translation means crisis or the point at which it is determined whether something will live or die. Judgment or condemnation starts in the house of the Lord as the bible states and God does judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Almighty. The bible says to behold the kindness and severity of the Lord. Jesus said that before He returns, He will send His angels (literally translated messengers, not spirit beings) to gather out of His Kingdom all who offend and all workers of iniquity. The book of Revelations also states that you can have your name removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life and those whose names were not found written in the Lamb’€™s Book of Life had their part in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels. There is only one way of having your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in the first place and that is to be born again of water and spirit. We can’t ignore this scripture in the book of Revelations where the church is being judged and God’s wrath is being poured out on the earth. The wrath of God does not come upon His children who walk in the spirit or do His will, but the bible says that it does come upon the children of disobedience. The word €œchildren€ is used in terms of an immature child of God who willfully sins. This is not an unbeliever. When Jesus spoke to Peter, a miracle working disciple and follower of Christ, He told him that if he didn’€™t allow Jesus to wash him, he had no part with Him (Jesus). No part means no part. If Jesus said this to a miracle working disciple, it applies to us. Judas also was a miracle working disciple who was called a “€œson of perdition”€ or son who fell away into damnation. How about the 10 virgins who lit their lamps and went out to meet their groom? Only 5 took extra oil with them. The oil signifies being filled with the Holy Spirit and the bride groom is Christ. All the virgins slept, but some were wise enough to bring extra oil or Holy Spirit in case things didn’t go as they expected, which it didn’t. When it was time to meet the groom and the groom’€™s messenger was sent ahead to wake the virgins, only 5 had sufficient oil to light their lamps and they were ready in an instant. The other 5 didn’€™t have any and were shut out of the wedding feast. Having the oil or Holy Spirit signifies that they were also born again, but ran out of oil or Holy Spirit as they slept and they hadn’t planned for the unexpected and were not ready when the Lord came. Perhaps they didn’€™t allowed their strongholds to be pulled down and they rejected the Truth.

Grace is not the license to sin. It is the power of God given to you after being born again to not sin. Prior to salvation and Christ living in you, you were a slave to sin and sin had power over you. Now, whom Christ sets free, he is free indeed. You are no longer a slave to sin unless you choose to be and you are empowered to live a righteous life. God counts you as righteous as long as you are making the trip as you allow Him to wash you and change you. The problem with the eternally secure, you can never be judged or condemned, theology is that it has never produced truly righteous, obedient believers, only false converts who fall away and go back into sin, all the while thinking they are heaven bound because they went down for that alter call and some were even water baptized.

Galatians 5:16-24 states: This I say then, “€œWalk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these things are contrary the one to the other so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law”.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery (looking and lusting is adultery by God’s standard), fornication (masturbation and sex outside marriage), uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry (having an image of God that isn’t scriptural but who you make Him to be is considered idolatry, so is placing anything or person above God), witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath (getting even), strife, seditions, heresies (lies), envying, murders (hating someone is considered murder by God’s standard), drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

And they that are Christ’s (or in Christ Jesus) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. How about you? Has the fleshly things, as described above, been crucified?

Who was Paul talking to in the book of Galatians? He was talking to believers, not the unsaved. He was telling them that they have to choose to walk in the Spirit and they have been equipped to do so. To choose to walk in the flesh means that they will not enter the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 10:26-31 states: For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge HIS people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Who was being spoken to? Believers, not unbelievers. You can’t get any plainer than the above scripture regarding the Lord judging or cutting off those who willfully sin and choosing to continue to practice sin after knowing the truth. There is no such thing as eternal security for those folks who continue to practice sin and walk in the flesh after knowing Christ. If the Lord has taught you and watered around you and fertilized around you as He would a tree and you still do not produce any fruit, He finally says: Cut it down. Do not let it burden the ground any longer. It is in the bible. We are to be washed in the water of the word and fertilized and the Lord will be coming around looking for fruit. It is imperative that He find it or judgment takes place. A salvation message without repentance doesn’t lead to true salvation and those who will crucify the flesh and walk in the spirit. We are preaching the wrong gospel and until the true gospel is preached, you will not see the power and glory of God manifested in the earth. You must turn away from sin and continue walking in that direction to be in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 6:4-8 states: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of that heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. Again, this is talking to believers.

Matthew 7:21-23 states: Not everyone 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.

That word iniquity means “€œyou know it is wrong and you do it anyway”€. This is what today’s flesh patting, ear tickling, grace is a license to sin, you are eternally secure gospel we are preaching produces. How deceived do you have to be to believe that you can continue to do things wrong or practice sin and still inherit eternal life? When Jesus states that He never knew these people who professed to be miracle working Christians, it was because they had an idol or image of God that wasn’t scriptural or how He really was. They had a stronghold of false beliefs and they worshipped a Jesus they had made into an image they wanted and they would not allow their strongholds to be pulled down. Imagine their shock after being told to depart from the true Jesus because He never knew them. What Jesus do you believe in during these end times with so many doctrines of demons and seducing spirits in the church?

The bible states that in order to be a true believer, we must crucify the flesh and the lusts thereof and do the will of the Father. We must pick up our cross, deny self which is our own will and way and give up our own self interests, and follow Jesus.

Below is an article on what end times will be like before Christ’s return.

Lovers of Self – 2 Timothy 3:2

Dr. Dan Hayden

Self-centered behavior is the most destructive influence upon interpersonal relationships imaginable. It eliminates concern for the other person’s welfare and sucks the life out of any meaningful communication (constant interrupting, dismissing the other person’s feelings etc). It is the first sin of the universe, when Adam and Eve chose themselves over God, and it tops the list of sins that God hates (pride €”Prov. 6:16). Self-love is the cesspool out of which oozes every other perversion of the human heart, for ultimately everyone and everything else becomes expendable in the pursuit of its insatiable lust. Yet the thing that is most exalted in our society is the “self”.€ Self fulfillment, self-determinism, and self-image are highly regarded as the essence of life by our hedonistic culture.

The breakdown of our society is usually blamed on other things (too much drugs, too many guns, right wing fundamentalists, etc.), but those who can see beyond their animal instincts recognize that the real culprit is the self-centered, egomaniacal, prideful condition of the human heart left unchecked by the moral laws of God. Relax the moral restraints on the depraved nature of man and it will seek its own narcissistic level—every time!

Paul warned Timothy that the last days€ culture would be characterized by peril due to the loss of moral integrity (2 Tim. 3). The list of eighteen sordid dehumanizing attributes of this culture begins with “€œfor men shall be lovers of their own selves€ (2 Tim. 3:2). Actually, €œ”lovers of their own selves”€ is one word in the Greek text €”philautos. This compound word is built around the intensive pronoun autos which means “self”€ and is translated variously himself, herself, ourselves, themselves. This word has invaded our English vocabulary in a multitude of compound words €”autograph, autobiography, automobile, autocratic, automatic, etc. In all of these words, the idea of “self”€ or €œby itself€ is dominant. For instance, autobiography€ is the biography of oneself €”and, œautomobile€ is the idea of being mobile by itself.

Now in the Greek word philautos, the additional word philos is added to the notion of oneself (autos). Philos is the common Greek word for love and signifies the kind of love that comes from the emotions of the heart. When we are attracted to something or feel emotionally drawn to someone, we are experiencing philos. Basically, philos is what turns us on. Therefore, when added to the word autos, this compound word indicates that the thing which turns us on is ourselves—philautos. This, the Apostle Paul says, will be the most defining element of the last days culture—people will be “lovers of their own selves” (philautos). More than anything else, this is the reason we are seeing a major decline in goodness and a drastic increase in badness. People are acting selfishly. They are putting their own interests ahead of the needs and concerns of others.

When a young man pulls the trigger and kills his school mates, that person is acting in a philautos manner. When someone steals from someone else, that is a philautos act. Likewise, when a man leaves his wife and family for other interests or sits lusting while viewing porn , he demonstrates that he is a philautos individual. Even little things that we do every day in putting our own interests ahead of others, or in contrast to God’€™s desire for our lives, indicates that there is a large measure of philautos in all of us.

According to the Bible, self-love is the most degrading thing about us €”and the only antidote is to confess our sin to God, claim forgiveness through faith in Christ as our Savior, and pray that the Holy Spirit will put within us a giving, sacrificial spirit.

There is another Greek word for €œself€ in the Bible. It is the word idios€” which means €œone’s own, peculiar to oneself.€ We see it in our English word idiosyncrasy and idiomatic €”and it is where we get the word €œidiot,€ or a person who is consumed with himself, his will and his way. So in the final analysis, I guess we can say that the person who is characterized by philautos (lover of self) is really the ultimate IDIOT.

We have to all read our bibles for ourselves and apply it to our lives in order to be founded on the rock when the storms of life come. We have to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer only in order for our house to stand when the storms of life come. How can we be a doer of the word if we don’€™t even read it? We have to be doing the will of the Father and those that love Jesus can be characterized by obeying His word, believing in Him and not living under the law, because to live even under one aspect of the law, you have to live by all of it to be justified and the point of the law was to lead you to Christ by showing you that you couldn’€™t keep it. You needed a savior. The Savior who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.

Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God and lovers of self will be a characteristic in end times. Man will not give up his wants for God or others, even while claiming to be a Christian. Self, (your) will, wants and way will be exalted above God’s will and way and there will be no denial of self and picking up the cross to follow Him. It will be too much work or trouble and lazy people are not willing to put in any effort. People claiming to be Christians will actually rebel against God’€™s will and defend their right to do whatever it is they are doing that God wants them to put aside for the greater good. The bible says that rebellion is as witchcraft and those folks will not enter the kingdom of heaven. No one is going to control them, not even God and there is no submission to God in their life. Jesus can’t be savior if He isn’t Lord. They have no desire to read the bible or pursue God unless it is passive. Even our church services have become entertainment events and require nothing from us and we wonder why we don’t see God move in our services. We wonder why these €œChristians€ do not receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which is to equip you to minister and flow in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. If you are not willing to deny self, lay down your will and way to obey Christ and follow Him, you are not a candidate for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because you won’t deny self and get up and do something with it anyway so God doesn’t waste it on someone not willing to pay the price and put in the effort and deny self. They will be lukewarm and Jesus claimed that the lukewarm would be spewed out of His mouth. Literally, this word spewed means to make sick or vomit. The lukewarm make Jesus sick and we wonder why our prayers aren’t answered as we plop ourselves in front of our TV sets and computers each evening worshipping the God of entertainment rather than spend time reading the bible, praying, seeking the presence of God and witnessing to others. When Jesus stated that our gold would be tried in fire, He was stating that everything that can be shaken will be shaken out of our lives that we place above Him. Our economic system is declining because our gold is getting ready to be tried in fire. We think we have need of nothing, but wait until we have nothing and we will truly see how needy and spiritually bankrupt we are. We live in a “€œDon’t worry, be happy”€ and entertain me world. We are complacent and lazy and do not want to put effort into anything God would want because it is too much work and we just want to relax€ and be entertained and we justify this. It is all about to go away. If you had one week or month to live are you going to be sitting in front of your TV or computer being entertained or are you going to do something meaningful with your life in your final hours? The church has been fed so much, a lot of which is garbage, and we are fat, lazy and complacent and we do not give out what the Lord has given us. That is why I write because the bible states that those who give out what God has given them, will be given more so I write, publish books and articles and reach as many through the internet as possible all around the world. Use whatever method God has placed before you to reach people.

The bible states that Jesus’ people perish for a lack of knowledge. It is not that God isn’t faithful to set them free with the truth. It is that they reject it because of their strongholds. You can’t be deceived unless you want to be and the bible states that in end times men will be willfully deceived or “€œignorant or stupid on purpose”€. Why would someone choose this? Pride? Denial? They might have to give up their pleasure, deny self, pick up their cross and be obedient to the word of God and His will and way? The word “believer” is translated “one who obeys” so a true believer is a doer of the word, not just a hearer only. When the storms of life come, as they do to all of us, only those that are doers of the word will have a house that stands because they are founded upon a rock. How can you be a doer of the word if you can’€™t find the time to even read it and how do you expect your house not to cave in during times of storm? Let me ask you, “€œIs it worth it to be lukewarm about the cross and the blood of Christ, thus making Jesus sick and bringing His judgment upon you?”€ Start reading your bible and start doing what it tells you to do and renew your mind and heart with it and you will experience the God of the word. I am not talking about going back into a legalistic mindset and practice the law. I am saying apologize if you have offended someone and the like. Treat others as you would want to be treated, etc. Let the Holy Spirit show you the condition of your heart and change it.

Another false doctrine in the church is regarding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which results in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. This is to equip you for the work of the ministry and every believer is to have a ministry or manifest Christ in the earth. We all should be operating in the supernatural realm and only about 3% of the church actually is and some of that is demonic. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that happens after one believes in Christ. It is a separate occurrence. The bible states that many believers and churches will have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof. It was power that came upon those in the upper room in the book of Acts at Pentacost. The gifts of the spirit are for today and didn’t go away with the original disciples. You won’t find that anywhere in the bible and the bible states otherwise as believers are to do greater works than those of Christ. Instead of saying that they went away, why not ask why you or the church are not experiencing it. Lack of repentance and not denying self are the primary reasons and we must repent of our sin and exaltation of our own will and way before the Holy Spirit will endue us with power from on high.

Moving in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit requires being led and controlled by the Holy Spirit and hearing from God. Most of us do not want to be led or controlled. We want to lead and control our own life and destiny and God won’t waste His power on such a person.

Read and study your bible and read it in context. Be meek and teachable and let the spirit of God reveal Himself to you through the word as you apply it to your life. If you don’t apply it, you won’€™t get anything out of it. Desire the Truth and try the fruit of anything you are being taught. A true man of God will not mind you questioning him on anything because he will not want to be in error either and he will be humble enough to listen and seek God for the truth.

Jesus said, “€œMy people perish for a lack of knowledge”. Don’€™t be one of them. You can’t be deceived unless you want to be. Don’t hold on to your strongholds or confirmational bias because that is how you have been taught. Let Jesus wash you in the water of the word or with the TRUTH and pull down your mental strongholds. I read the story below and had to add it.

In the mid 1800’s there was a gold rush in California. About 300,000 people left the east to travel a hard and dangerous road to seek earthly riches. There wasn’t a very big or stable police department out in California at that time. So the gun and fear was the way the west was run. Many people risked their lives for just the hope of finding a piece of gold. Many of those people risked and lost their lives searching for that gold nugget. Some people did find what they thought was gold. They hid it when they found it. They did not tell anyone about it. Then in their minds they dreamed about what they were going to do with their new found riches. So they finally go to the bank to change that gold nugget into cash. There hopes and dreams were riding on this precious piece of metal. They bring it to the bank and the banker says to the person, this is FOOOOLLS gold, it not real. Is the body that way with all the treasures and wisdom God has for us if we would truly listen to Him and not man.

Eternity is a long time to find out you have been holding onto fool’€™s gold or believing in a demonic doctrine that looks like clouds that promise you rain in your season of drought. They pass over you without a drop of anything to offer but eternal damnation, all the while you thought you were holding on to the real thing that promised you rain in your drought and you’d receive your promise. Try the fruits and see if they are of God. Does it confess Jesus as Lord and point to Christ and the finished work of the cross or lift up man? I pray you won’t be willfully ignorant or “stupid on purpose€ as the bible states men will be in these last days. The Lord has told me, “€œIt is time to prepare my bride”€. I am walking in obedience to His command. Don’t be a foolish virgin!

Joanne Armstrong

Latter Rain Ministry