Dr. Stephen Phinney
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
For those who are 'fans' of our publications, it is no news regarding my struggle for the lukewarm believers, who our Lord calls, Laodiceans. If any need a reminder of Jesus's goal to awaken "believers," it is certainly this 'jibe' group. If you're unfamiliar with the word 'jibe,' it defines those who shift from one side of the ship to the other. The definition describes the concerted compact of most church members today.
The lukewarm at heart needs encouragement to be advanced with the authentic love in and of Christ Jesus, not the obsessive passion of being 'loved' by fellow disdained opinionates. Rather each needs to discover the riches of Jesus's full assurance of understanding the fulness and mysteries of authentic salvation, which is Christ in you. However, I must say, it is beyond challenging to reach a people of effrontery, masses that have audacious behavior that deludes into plausible arguments. The firmness of faith is as foreign to them as immovable faith.
A few nights ago, the Lord woke me from a deep sleep. He said, Stephen, I have a word for you. As per my norm, I pop out of bed, head to my office, and put my hands on the keyboard. Here is what He said.
Stephen, you say, 'these people will not listen.' I claim before you today that there is a faithful few bathing amongst the tepid waters. Call them out before I release the Lion from the forest to strike them down; a wolf from the desert to devastate them. A ruthless leader is watching their cities; soon, everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces because they have lost their honor of Me. Their apostasies are great. How can I pardon them unless they repent? Tell them I have Grace in their time of warning. But know this, My time of Grace will end soon.
This reminder sent me on a journey to contemplate the most important message for the faithful few bathing in the tepid waters. The only thing that came to mind was the tepid waters of the Dead Sea. More acutely, waters that cannot be consumed without harm.
Millions of visitors visit the Dead Sea to bathe in its healing salt compounds. While these dead waters indeed provide external healing to the body, an advantage of the delights of buoyancy, mud, and minerals - what most visitors don't calculate is the temperature. The high temperatures of the Dead Sea come with a warning to its bathers. When you mix heat and salt, certain death accompanies pleasantries over prolonged bathing. The sign on the beach warns to keep bathing to less than 20 minutes.
One of the Dead Sea phenomena is the gaping earth eruptions – sinkholes opening up in the sea floor's base, pulling swimmers into its abyss without warning. The sign on the beaches also notes this warning: Floating Upside Down. At the same time, the amount of salt in the seawater indeed enables swimmers to float effortlessly, but if you try it once, you also know that the same fact makes it difficult for swimmers to flip or change position, which results in a high number of drownings annually. The final warning is if you feel a little dizzy or weak, get out of the water immediately.
The warning signs on the Dead Sea seem facetious at best. The sign seems to be deserving or inviting ridicule or mockery. Honestly, it's absurd! However, after studying the Dead Sea extensively, the parallel to the message the Lord gave me was clear.
What would happen if a bather ignored the warnings of bathing in the Dead Sea? The outcome is reprehensible. Prolonged bathing would cause death, an eruption could cause a bather to slip into the abyss, and a panic attempt to change their position in midstream could result in eminent death – drowning in the Sea of Death. So, for the reachable lukewarm bathers, I have this encouragement.
For those who have received Christ Jesus into their mortal being, it is time to walk in Him. Know that you are rooted in the Tree of Life, built up in Him, and in the process of being established in His indwelling Faith. Heed the great warning; see to it that no one takes you captive by woke philosophies, empty words without life-transforming powers, duped by human traditions, which derive from elementary demonic spirits of the world – not according to Christ.
You must experientially know that in Christ Jesus, the eternal fullness of His deity dwells in you, and you have already been filled up in Him. However, the greatest challenge is in honoring, accepting, and adhering to the immovable fact that Jesus is above all rules of society and what your friends say, and He is THE authority that is required to walk in Him. If you resist His authority, it is time for another bath in the Dead Sea.
Remember, if he presently indwells you, you were circumcised (flesh cut off) with a circumcision conducted by Jesus, cutting off your old self, nature, and depraved powers of darkness. Jesus requires us to put off the passions and beliefs of old nature by calling to mind Jesus's circumcision of our flesh. Also, knowing that we have been buried with Jesus in the likeness of His death, then baptized into the living waters, not the Dead Sea. Fact. The Dead Sea is dead because the river Jordon, which is alive, drains into this sea. However, the Dead Sea does not empty into another water mass – as into the crystal sea of Holiness. If the living water passes into a sea with no outlet, it becomes a sea of death.
We cannot be grown into maturity in Him through His faith in the powerful working of God the Father unless we appropriate what is true about us in Him. If you are not authentically saved, you are dead in your sins, uncircumcised regarding your flesh, and you WILL drown in the Dead Sea. On the other hand, if you have been redeemed and made new in Christ, God, through His Son, made you alive with all other Bridal members of Jesus through the forgiveness of sins – canceling the record of sins once recorded in the Book of Life. All recorded sins must be addressed by the legal demands God placed upon Himself. There is only one way to be freed from such judgment that demands a verdict – to have our rebellions erased, with their sins, from the judgment that is soon to occur during the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ.
Since Jesus puts the ultimate blame on rulers and authorities that deceive the lukewarm believers, He, in the end times, will disarm the rulers and authorities by putting them to shame when He arrives in His Second Coming. Much is given; much is required. We don't understand the levels of consequences of judgment, but we do know that all those authorities that deceived the lukewarm will incur greater consequences. Yes. That includes all liberal or woke preachers of our day. Dying and going to Hell is bad enough but knowing a special kind of penalty is set aside for those who led the weak down to the beaches of the Dead Sea, fully knowing it would kill them, well, a wicked kind of payment is soon to arrive on their doorstep.
Let no woke or liberal friend, teacher, or pastor manipulate you into adhering to demonic doctrines – you know the gig, no foods, drink, festivals, or other shadow beliefs. Jesus warned us of these misnomers were to come. Well, they're here. These end-times ideologies are a shadow of more things to come. While we should not focus on these global depravities, Jesus will take care of those propagating such demonic ideations. We should focus on the fact that since we died with Christ to the elemental demonic spirits of the world, we no longer need to be alive to the world and its depraved rules of 'feeling' wanted or needed. All these have an appearance of wisdom indeed, but they are self-made religion and asceticism and severity of man-made rules to only heal the external body, which we find in our Dead Sea analogy.
I will close with the remaining words God gave me a few nights ago.
Their children have forsaken Me and have sworn by gods that do not exist. When I fed them with my Truth, they continued to commit fornication and adultery while pursuing passion instead of Truth. They were well-fed with the Truth that My faithful ones have imparted, yet they lust, each seducing strangers of the nations. Shall I not punish them for these things? Unless they receive My Son, I am obligated to keep My Word. I will go up through her vine rows and destroy, but will not destroy them completely until their hour has come. I shall strip away her branches, for they are not Mine. They are the fruit of destruction. The fruit of My enemy. These are what you call 'fake believers.' Grapes of wrath are treacherous to Me. They have spoken falsely of Me and have said, 'He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. Nor will He judge the nations. His prophets will become wind; the word of Truth is not in them. Thus shall destruction be done to them!' I shall keep every word I have spoken since the days of the first Adam. Stephen, go now and make My words known.
Calling all lukewarm believers. If you are indeed redeemed and saved by the Life of Christ, begin walking in Him. Start by studying the book of Colossians and then move on to the book of Galatians. But first, pray a prayer like this:
Blessed Holy Father, in the name of my Husband and Savior Jesus Christ, I choose to pray in the Light of the Holy Spirit. I recognize that only as Jesus lives in my life will I be able to escape the works of my flesh. I desire the Holy Spirit to bring all the works of my flesh to death. I choose to bring all the work of co-crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ into my life today. I pray that the life of Christ may produce His fruit within my whole being and fill my heart with Your love for You and others. I claim Your forgiveness for how I have grieved or quenched You. Enable me to embrace and respond to Your Grace. Cause me to release Christ's obedience to fulfill Your precious Word. Grant me discernment to resist being deceived by the lies of the enemy. I choose this day to allow the Holy Spirit to control my heart and mind. I apply my Victory in Christ over my flesh and worldly influences. I completely yield my life to You. I now pray that you empower me to bring praise and adoration before your throne. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I receive all the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the fulfillment of the New Covenant into all areas of my being today. Amen.
Suppose you are not indwelt by Jesus or have doubts about such salvation. Pray this prayer ONLY if you believe the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do so.
I, at this moment, surrender everything that I am, have, and ever will attempt to be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. I ask that you come and save me by causing the Holy Spirit to possess me, fill me up, and redeem me. By faith, I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I am now crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life, and I take up the Cross believing that I was raised from the dead and seated at Your right hand.
I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on, I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me; to do what I can't do; quit what I can't quit; start what I can't start; and--most of all--to be what I can't be. I trust you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your Grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory, and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don't feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says-- to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory.
I praise You for victory in Jesus' name, Amen.
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