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It is time for Christians to ensure others have access to Jesus and the opportunity to know the truth

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Aaron MapesI used to wonder how it would be possible that so many would be deceived at one time. It is hard to comprehend how quickly we have devolved to the place we now find ourselves. Where things that are clearly wrong would be praised as "good," and those who stand for Truth would be hated and labeled "evil."

Yet, increasingly, this is the position we find ourselves in. The reason it seems so many people are no longer in their right mind, or delusional, is because that is precisely what the Bible says will happen leading up to events predicted long ago by Jesus himself (Matthew 24, Luke 21).

The truth is, just 30 years ago, that kind of mass deception was impossible to imagine for most people. Twenty years ago, this still seemed far off. Even 10 years ago, some unthinkable things remained unthinkable. The devolution we see unfolding makes it possible for things, evil things, to happen on a broad scale that most of us, especially those of faith, had a hard time imagining possible just a few short years ago. And, that those who perpetuate those evils would do things truly believing they are acting morally. That's the point of delusion ... it doesn't make sense and isn't rational.

"18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them ... 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.

"28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, [m]covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." (Romans 1:18-25; 28-32)

The wrath of God is not just the increasing birth pains promised to come, leading up to the greatest tribulation in all history or that will ever be, ushering in the return of our King. The wrath of God is when He turns men over to their own thinking and they abandon Truth for a lie. And, many of them are not aware, or may even justify their evil actions under a twisted banner of religion, but not one found in Scripture. It is one they have crafted, mirroring a twisted world and culture to justify their own desires and image.

Those still thinking clearly will not understand it, but it will happen none the less just as Paul describes. That delusion will be sent by God because they did not love truth and took pleasure in unrighteousness. That is a frightful reality...

"9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Yet the mission of the Church and mandate has never had more clarity. Go, and make disciples. Be salt. Be light. Bring access to the Gospel to those who have never yet had access to it so that Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 will be fulfilled. We can do this with confidence knowing it will happen because the God of the Universe and our King have commanded it to be so. This has profound implications for our churches and children as we seek to understand HOW to make disciples in such strange and perilous times and in a post-truth society. I will have to share those at a later date, so stay tuned for Part 2 of this column in the not-too distant future.

Christian, now is not the time for fear or retreat. It is "go time." Lift your head, for your redemption draws nigh, and work like never before in the fields of harvest, and especially to ensure that those who have never had access to Jesus have the opportunity to know the truth. You carry hope with you wherever you go. As Paul says, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?"

"12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!'

"16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:12-17)

You carry the ONLY answer and truth that leads to life now, and for eternity. Do not be afraid to speak the only truth that leads to life...

Aaron Mapes is the lead pastor of First Assembly of God. He can be reached at 541-447-7254.

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