A couple of things has puzzled me over the last few years. One of them is that by his own account, Billy Graham’s preaching message by itself only produced less than a 5% conversion rate of those accepting his alter calls. In other words, the fall off rate after receiving Christ and repeating the “Sinner’s Prayer” at a Billy Graham meeting, was more than 95% ! Oddly enough, the real heroes in this particular soul winning process were the local churches which added an estimated additional 20% to the conversion Graham’s rates through follow-up and one-on-one counselling. The local church’s made disciples, not Billy Graham.
The other figure which puzzled me, was an informed assertion that only some 1% of Christians in the USA believed in the end times (See 1% Article).
As I have been writing these articles for His Kingdom Prophecy, I feel that the Lord has put a burden on my heart to reach out to the missing 90% and 99% of my Brothers and Sisters whom I can best describe as Christians in the Desert.
Quite honestly, God does not take apostasy lightly. He withdrew Himself from the Israelites many times because of apostasy and He will do the same for Christians. As Second Peter 2:21 says:
“… it would have been better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness, than fully knowing it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
Hebrews 6:4-6 is more pointed saying:
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame.”
Yes, Hebrews 6:4-6 says it is impossible, then goes on to repeat it again in the same sentence. Yes, God does take this seriously.
The position which we are in, or are entering into, was predicted for us by Paul in Second Thessalonians 2:3 as he wrote (Amplified Bible version):
“Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition) …”
Why do I use the Christians in the Desert, to describe the present situation? Actually, it came to my mind last week as I was reading and studying and was then confirmed separately by two Pastors at a “School of the Spirit” which Jill and I are presently attending.
We all know the story of Moses taking the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage for the Promised Land and in the process, spending 40 years to complete and 11 day journey.
“Moses” or משׁה in Hebrew means ” taken out; drawn forth.” Thus, from the time of his very birth, Moses was destined, even by name, to take the Hebrews out of Egypt. Similarly, “Joshua” or יהושׁע / יהושׁוּע in Hebrew, was originally named “he will save,” until his exploits as a spy into Canaan, after which he became “Yahweh is deliverance.” Joshua was the man who led the people from the desert into the Promised Land.
Why did it take the Hebrews 40 years for an 11 day trek? The answer is simple, they, the Hebrews, the Israelites, upset God by their constant complaining. As Numbers 11:1 records: “… the people were evil, as those complaining in the ears of Jehovah. And Jehovah heard, and His anger was kindled.” So, just days after God had saved the Hebrews from Pharaoh, they began to regret the cost of their salvation and complain that the conditions in slavery weren’t all that bad after all. As a result of this, of the adult males who came out from Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb walked into the Promised Land. The vast majority, did not make it.
Will all Christians make their Promised Land after working out their salvation? The Bible and Jesus confirm that they will not. As Matthew 25:33 says of His sheep: “then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” while in Matthew 25:41 He says of the Goats “… Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
We Christians, and indeed this whole world, are no longer in the Bible Age, but in the Kingdom Age. We are no longer ruled by the Moses anointing, but by the Joshua anointing.
There is a spiritual battle going on for the hearts and souls of mankind, and Christians are particular targets because we belong to Christ. Satan knows he is ultimately defeated, but he knows if he can disrupt the plans of God the Father, he will have longer to rule here before his fate arrives.
Satan is “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44) and as Second John 1:7 says “… many deceivers have entered into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-christ.” Unfortunately, many Christians have been deceived, such that although like the Hebrews they have left their Egypt, they are destined to die in the desert before reaching their Promised Land, ending up instead in the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God reads our hearts as well as our actions. Our intent is important to Him. We are saved by Faith, but as James 2:22 clearly demonstrates, good works for Christ will follow as a result: “Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete?”
Simply accepting the Lord and paying lip service to His requirements for us, will simply not make it. We need to be changed inside, so that the ways of the world are no longer acceptable to us.
Read what Jesus has to say on this:
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
John 17:14 “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
John 17:16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
To be a Christian, is to believe and live the life of Christ thereafter. That is what disciples do. True belief and faith will bring changes in a person. But it takes effort to deal with these changes in a world which Jesus says will therefore hate you.
Many Christians who are sitting in the desert, are quite simply unable to give up control of their own lives and obey God. They want God for what He can do for them, but want to be their own gods at the same time, loving the worldly lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. They want that which is impossible: God and mammon – mammon a being word for “riches” and is personified as a heart idol.
The Lord has given us His Holy Bible as the A-Z of a Christian life and Christian living. With a personal relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Bible, we have all we need to turn our backs to this world and focus on entry to the Promised Land. No one said taking the Promised Land would be easy, for as the twelve spies said of it, there are giants to overcome. But let us recall Numbers 13:30 where “Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once and possess it [the Promised Land]. For we are well able to overcome it.”
For Christians, First John 4:4 ought to allay all fears for under the New Covenant we have a special unbeatable position, because “You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
In conclusion to this article, I would like to present you with what I think are two wonderful teachings on the changing of one’s heart and mind for Christ. Both are by Pastor Paul Washer whom I hold in great regard and whose hand I would dearly love to shake in appreciation for is service to God’s Kingdom and my own education in Christ.
The first is a short testimony about what it means to come to Christ in a meaningful way, rather than just saying the Sinner’s Prayer at an Alter Call, and never setting foot in church again.
The second, a longer video to a group of American youths, explains the results of Satan’s deception, should we succumb to it and find ourselves in the desert.