6/11/21 - Trials

As many already know, earlier this week, the elders of our church removed me from teaching The Bereans, the adult Sunday School class we've loved and been part of for several years.  The main reason given was that I was causing division and that, mainly because I teach a firm pre-millennial dispensational understanding of the End Times and that anything else is wrong.  In other words, that the Lord Jesus Christ will, at any moment, come down into the clouds and call us up to Himself; 'For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.' 1Thes 4:15. 

That imminent Rapture will be followed by the seven year Tribulation, the 70th Week of Daniel from Dan 9, at the end of which, The Lord Jesus Christ will return physically to Earth, at Armageddon, accompanied by us, when He will set up His thousand year Kingdom on Earth with us ruling and reigning with Him, after which He will destroy the current Heavens and Earth followed by His recreation of all the Universe over which we will, with Him, rule and reign forever.  That's it!  That's what the Bible clearly teaches and, I believe, to say that this is wrong... is incorrect.  Basically, that is what is reported to be causing division.  Also, included, is that I do name false teachers, today.

Until recently, that has, historically, been the belief and teaching of the Conservative Baptist Association.

No matter that many 'eminent scholars' believe and teach contrary to this, God's Word is true and He intended His Word to be perfectly understandable, even to the simple: 'Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.  The entrance of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.' Psa 119:129

When I was called in, I took it pretty well; I didn't become angry or argumentative; I simply left the building.  Since then, I've juggled between fine, OK, not so OK and one short burst of anger yesterday; I was suddenly angry at God for about 1 minute until, I sensed His Spirit say, 'I knew you could handle this.'  That caused me to immediately stop and think.  He was the One doing this: not humans and not demons; He planned it and He executed it but He also was giving me the strength to trust Him through it. 

He seemed to ask, 'What do you always tell those going through difficult trials?'  I tell them, 'You are being offered the wonderful opportunity which those, who do not go through difficult trials, never receive: to glorify God and, so, gain unimaginable eternal rewards that many others will never receive.'  God had, before any of this happened, determined that I could handle it, that I could walk through this and, so, be part of His glorification of Himself in and through me.  He would glorify Himself before both of His audiences, humans and angels.  Humans could watch this episode and give God glory; angels, elect and fallen, would see this; those elect angels would give God glory and the fallen angels would curse and swear but God would be glorified in their failure.

I am not writing any of this to glorify myself; I just can't help myself from teaching... always; teaching myself and others.  I can learn and grow through the trials God brings into my life and if others can, also, so much the better.  And, make no mistake, we Bereans, this is a trial which God has brought into each of our lives and His intent is to mature all of us through it.

Some would say, 'You must have been doing something great for God so Satan needed to shut it down.'  I thought about that but decided that I disagree; God is in complete control over everything, everywhere at all times.  He doesn't need me to do something great for Himself, and, His number one plan, as relates to me, is to glorify Himself through His work of daily forming me more and more in the image and likeness of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; He is, now, preparing me for the wonderful work and ministry He has planned for me to step into when He sets up His Millennial Kingdom not very long from now.  God does use Satan, and all evil spirits, in completing His plan but He is always in complete control.  Satan, demons, evil spirits can do nothing apart from God's will, purpose and plan.

God delights in bringing difficult trials into the lives of His children whom He knows are able to bear up under them and, so, bring Him glory.

That seems like a strange statement.  Let me explain: It is God's joy and delight to cause difficult trials for His children but never so difficult that they cannot bear up under them.  'No temptation (or trial) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.'          1 Cor 10:13

There is a reason He so enjoys causing us trials: He knows that when we do go through them and glorify Him that we will then have won even more unimaginably wonderful eternal rewards when we stand before Him:

'My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.' James 1:2

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt 6:19

It will be His eternal joy to shower upon His children the rewards they will have earned during this minute speck of time while we are here, on Earth, before we are removed and our opportunity for gaining unknown, unimaginable rewards will have ceased.   It was as if God was asking, 'Do you want to go through this in anger, bitterness and resentment, all the while being most miserable... or do you want to go through this with joy, trusting Me to strengthen you and to store up, for yourself, even more eternal rewards?'  Well... only a dope would choose to despise and dismiss an opportunity to deposit an unimaginable, fantastic reward into his safe deposit box in the Bank of Heaven that will be there waiting upon his arrival.

Our spirits and flesh are in constant battle while our soul must daily choose which direction we will follow; our flesh constantly draws us away from God and His glory: 'Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.' Gal 5:19  But our spirits are constantly drawing us toward God and His glory: 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.' Gal 5:22

That is the question for every one of us when we are forced to undergo any trial.  'What do we want the result to be?'  The result can always be our joy and God's glory.  Peter wrote it clearly: 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.' 1 Pet 1:3

But our choice can also be anger, bitterness and resentment, with no heavenly reward; we must daily choose.

In this, I choose the glory of God; hopefully, tomorrow, in the next trial, my choice will be the same.

Although I am saddened by my removal as your teacher, I must, again, say how very encouraged & honored I have been to be used of God in that capacity. The outpouring of love and support that many of you have expressed in your emails and calls has been a precious encouragement to our hearts.  God is still in complete control and works all things together for His glory and the good of those whose hearts belong to Him. 

We may not have a venue to meet all together but I am continuing to upload notes each week to our website for our study together, and I am always available to answer questions and engage in edifying conversation. 

All of us must never allow a spirit of bitterness to take up residence in our hearts.  Instead, we must always seek for God's perspective in His Word, and in prayer, and trust Him for His perfect plan and will to be accomplished in, and through, each of us, separately and together.  

Nothing will ever quench the torch in my heart for upholding the truths of God's Word and proclaiming His hope that awaits those whose hearts are completely His.  I remain, always, your brother Berean who continues to "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18