THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD
Hebrews 12:5-11 – And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Here we read that the Lord’s chastening, which is corrective punishment, is designed to change behavior and bring repentance for His sons, God’s children. Thus it is aimed at what is considered to be the church; more specifically, the church today. Let’s focus on the church in America as it is now and see if His chastening is needed. Is the church in America today the epitome of righteousness, virtue and moral values? Absolutely not! The apostle Paul knew by the Holy Spirit what the condition of the church would be like in these last days.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
We know Paul was describing the church because, as stated in verse 5, where else do you find “a form of godliness” or piety? Certainly not outside the church or in the world! The problem is the pretense of godliness in the modern church – it is false, a put on, in name only and not in changed lives and lifestyles. The church today, for the most part, is self-serving, self-indulgent, filled with hypocrisy, false doctrines and practicing false traditions of man:
Ephesians 4:14 – that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.,
Too many people in the typical church (alleged Christians) are no different than non-Christians, you can’t tell the difference. Yes, there are exceptions, but in general, that which is called church, that which is to represent Christ, DOESN”T! As a result we see typical worldly and fleshly behavior as listed in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 as listed above.
Jesus is returning for a church that is pure, holy, righteous and represents Him:
Ephesians 5:26-27 – that He might sanctify and cleanse her (the church) with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
This does not describe the typical church in America today! Something has to change to get the church ready for His return. How will this change come about? It will come about by chastening, the corrective punishment for wrong behavior as described by the apostle Peter which he identified in the entire second chapter of his second epistle. Peter then addresses that these behaviors will be dealt with by the Lord’s chastisement:
1 Peter 4:17-19 – For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
There are some that may say God will not do such a thing to His people – WRONG! Consider God’s select people Israel and what God had to do to them repeatedly to correct their behavior and bring them back in line with Him. Some people think that because of God’s grace that he will not administer corrective punishment – WRONG! Actually it is because of His love and grace that he does!
The church in America today exists in two forms: one is the church that Christ is building, and the second is the church that man is building. The church Christ is building knows Him personally and represents Him by showing forth His character and nature, and is centered in Christ. The church that man is building knows OF Him but represents man in his fleshly carnal nature and is centered on the church as an institution. This church of man is what needs to be dealt with to change; this constitutes the majority of the church in America today.
These two churches are likened to the parable of the ten virgins: the five wise are like the church Christ is building – their light remained shining. The five foolish are like the church man is building. Both know Christ is coming and prepares to meet him, but the foolish were not really as ready as they assumed. What was their problem? Their light went out! The light and life of Jesus Christ was not evident in them! Our Lord wants this corrected; so He will bring a purge to the church in order to bring about repentance (change) to those who will.
How will this purge occur? Mostly though trials and tribulation! When people are forcefully brought to their knees and humbled by oppressive circumstances, they will humble themselves before God and cry out to Him. Then He has their full attention as they get off their smart-phones, computers and TV’s and pray as they never have before. Still there will be those who are just too arrogant to do so and will just defy God.
Much of the church in America suffers from “easy-believism” as its faith has never really been challenged. Christians in many other countries suffer persecution and death for their faith; such Christians have real faith and hold fast to Christ in the face of severe oppression – they know who they trust in and why.
The true church that Christ is building endures such trials and thrives. Persecution has never hurt the true church; it only makes it stronger – this is a historical fact. Consider the church in China, Romania, Bulgaria or Africa that had to go underground under the persecution of Communism, or that which is occurring today elsewhere under the curse of Islam. Such Christians draw closer to the Lord and change accordingly when they become more and more dependent on Him for protection, provision and guidance.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own
understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
So guess what is coming to America, and is already beginning? It’s God’s chastisement in attempt to bring about the needed change (repentance). This is the opposite of the change President Obama and the globalist New World Order liberal progressives are bringing, (which is beginning the oppressive persecution of the church that Christ is building). This judgment as mentioned in 1 Peter 4:17 will begin with Christians in the church; then it will apply to the rest of America to get them to repent.
1 Peter 4:17 – For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?
God is also concerned for all of America and wants the unbelievers to repent and change to be with Him. All this will happen before the return of Christ. Consider that there are two purges of God’s people under the New Testament. The first purge came after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ which birthed the church at Pentacost, when thousands of God’s people, Israel, accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. The second purge comes at the end of the church age to prepare it for Christ’s return. This is likened to when Jesus purged the temple of God two times: the first time (John 2:13) at the beginning of His earthly ministry; the second time (Matthew 21:121) at the end of His earthly ministry. Note that the temple of God (the house of prayer) is no longer a building but each individual believer according to scripture:
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
During the severe trials coming to America, people will have a chance to make a very important and specific choice, to either repent and return to the Lord with their whole heart, or to reject the Lord and depend on man and government. Following this purge the true church of Christ will be easily seen and identified – and prepared for Christ’s return. Then they will be “without spot or wrinkle”! It will truly represent Him as His people.
We need to embrace the chastening of the Lord – it is His love for us that brings the purging and chastening to us as His beloved children. It is for our own good, as many parents tell their children when they discipline them.
2 Timothy 2:19-20 – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: “The Lord knows those that are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
As a final note of warning for America to repent and turn back to God, we must be aware that God’s chastisements come in progressively more intense forms if ignored. America has been warned steadily by His servants (watchmen) about the consequences of not returning to God. In our generation the likes of David Wilkerson in his book, THE VISION, and many others since. Since this writer has studied God’s chastening of Israel, my concern for America is that, the final level of chastening (judgment) is that a nation loses the right of governing itself. This means that since the people of that nation, and it government, continue to defy God and prefer to go deeper into the darkness of sin, God allows that nation to be taken over by another people, or nation, that then imposes its rules upon them. Such a conquering nation or people are usually barbaric, cruel and vile, and take a spoil of the wealth and value of the conquered nation, including making slaves of the people who are seen as having any value or worth to the conquering nation. Those of no value are eliminated. So is the likely future of America if we do not repent and turn back to God.
THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD IS COMING AND YOU WILL BE AFFECTED – YOU DECIDE WHETHER IT BE FOR YOUR GOOD OR NOT.