The Prize


by Mike Ratliff

ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι· ἓν δέ, τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος, κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. (Philippians 3:13-14 NA27)

Brothers, I do not consider myself to have made it my own; but one thing, forgetting what lies behind while straining forward to the things ahead, according to the goal I pursue the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (a personal translation of Philippians 3:13014 from the NA27 Greek text)

Those truly in Christ are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Not all agree about what that means, but according to that passage it does tell us plainly, “ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις· τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν, ἰδοὺ γέγονεν καινά” or “so that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old things passed away, behold he has become new.” Those who are a καινὴ κτίσις· have moved from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ Jesus. He or she now live for Christ by living for others, effected by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:3, 6, 18) and the death of Christ (5:14-15). This was destined by God to come amid this evil age. Notice it was never meant to suppliant it, but to be in the midst of it and be continually at war with it. This war causes many casualties. So many professing Christians fall victim to taking the wrong side in this war and find in the end that their profession was nothing more than words. The god of this age blinds the eyes and hearts of his slaves and many of them are very religious. This blindness creates hearts so hard and unbelief so thick that the Gospel, even when well preached, interests them not at all.  Continue reading

Being Light in the Darkness


by Mike Ratliff

Διὰ τοῦτο, ἔχοντες τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν, οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν (2 Corinthians 4:1 NA27)

Therefore, having this ministry as we received mercy, we do not lose heart. (a personal translation of 2 Corinthians 4:1 from the NA27 Greek text)

As we have been exploring the depths of apostasy attacking the visible church from the very beginnings of this ministry, it has been from a viewpoint, at least from me, that we were seeing depths of darkness that had to leading to God’s coming judgment. The Gospel was being abandoned left and right. Those who previously held it and the Word of God high were now compromising and seen standing in ministry with outright heretics. I remember seeing a very well known evangelist being interviewed on television by David Frost alongside a Roman Catholic Bishop and it was if they were old friends. It was then that I realized what a foolish thing it is for Christians to follow after men for then we can make the mistake of idolizing them and when they fall off those pedestals, it can indeed shake our faith. That is, our faith can be shaken if it is not rooted in Christ and Christ alone.  Continue reading

James White vs Harold Camping Debates


Below are the links to mp3’s of the debate between James White and Harold Camping.

I had never heard Harold Camping speak before listening to this debate. I had never heard what he had taught except through third party references. When he revealed his method of Biblical interpretation in these debates I was stunned. How could anyone take this man seriously? You judge for yourself. If I am wrong, please let me know.

Part 1 Debate

Part 2 Debate

Part 3 James White Review

Part 4 Harold Camping Review

Redeeming Our Time in This Evil Age


by Mike Ratliff

Βλέπετε οὖν ἀκριβῶς πῶς περιπατεῖτε μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι ἀλλ᾽ ὡς σοφοί, ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρόν, ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσιν. (Ephesians 5:15-16 NA27)

See therefore how carefully you walk not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (a personal translation of Ephesians 5:15-16 from the NA27 Greek text)

There is a great deal going on the visible church, much of it having little to do with genuine Christianity, that most of can do little about. Yes, we can pray, which is very powerful. We can also obey God and expose the evil to other believers. However, the older I get in the faith the outrage over much of what people like Rob Bell or Rick Warren say or write I no longer allow to consume me. I know what my role is in the Truth War do you what yours is? For most of us it is to obey what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 5:1-21.  Continue reading

Teaching Doctrine


by Mike Ratliff

ἕως ἔρχομαι πρόσεχε τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ. (1 Timothy 4:13 NA27)

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 4:13 from the NA27 Greek text)

I witnessed the changing of the guard this morning at our church. The pastor who planted it about 10 years ago participated in the ordination of the service of his replacement. The pastor whom God sent to plant our church is moving into a ministry to the sick and dying as a hospital chaplain. I love him. I love all the elders at our church. I was sitting there last Sunday in a lot of pain just a few days before my shoulder surgery and one of them came up and just conversationally asked me what was going on and as I shared that he immediately had me added to the prayer ministry. I sat in a strategic place this morning so I could see the whole ordination service take place and I thought no one would really notice me off to the side yet I was approached by elders and friends all wanting to know how it all went and how I was doing. However, my favorite part of this morning was that, before any of that, I got about 30 seconds of my new pastor’s time to give him a hug after he asked me about the surgery as I walked through the front door. I told him that I came there this morning for two things, to hear him preach the word and see him ordained. Then I got another hug.  Continue reading

The Mystery of Iniquity


by Mike Ratliff

τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται. (2 Thessalonians 2:7 NA27)

For the mystery of iniquity is already at work. There is one restraining it until He is out of the way. (a personal translation of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 from the NA27 Greek text)

Before my surgery this week, my friend Mickey sent me a piece on The Mystery of Iniquity, which was an exposition of 2 Thessalonians 2:7. I promised that I would write something on this as God led me. Of course, the reason I made that promise was that I was already being drawn to into researching it. Without a doubt, much of what we see in the ‘visible church’ is not Christian. They are apostate religious institutions that were either once contained within the genuine Church because the Gospel was preached there and the Bible was believed and held high as the Word of God, but they have abandoned all of that or they are heretical man-made religious groups that call themselves ‘Christian,’ but they are anything but.  Continue reading

Giving Thanks


by Mike Ratliff

καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρίτης. (Luke 17:16 NA27)

and he fell on his face at His feet thanking Him and He was a Samaritan. (a personal translation of Luke 17:16 from the NA27 Greek text)

I woke up in the recovery room in the Ambulatory Surgery Center about 3pm CDT this afternoon. I noticed two things right away. I was cold and the place on my right arm the Orthopedic Surgeon had marked with his pen about two hours earlier was very sore. There was an ice pack on my right shoulder. There were tubes and wires running everywhere, but the only other person I saw was a nurse who asked me if wanted something to drink. I nodded and as she went to get some water, she offered me some Teddy Grahams as well. That sounded great and so the first words from my mouth in hours was my enthusiastic assent. I ended up eating two bags of those and drinking several cups of ice water. Of course, all of that was a test to see if was going to get sick from the anesthesia. Other than the sore spot on my shoulder and the cold from the ice pack, I felt great. I was already offering up my gratitude to my Lord for all He had done.  Continue reading

Proclaiming Christ and Him Crucified


by Mike Ratliff

οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά τι εἰδέναι ἐν ὑμῖν εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωμένον. (1 Corinthians 2:2 NA27)

I decided to not know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (a personal translation of 1 Corinthians 2:2 from the NA27 Greek text)

As I shared in Those Who Love God, when I started this writing ministry I had completely different goals (i.e. motives) than what I have now. I was doing this as a career move. I approached it from that perspective, but it did not take very long at all for God to force the issue and take away all of that as most in what we know of as the ‘visible church’ would consider what we do here as borderline reprehensible. However, I find it interesting that many of these same people do not hesitate to come to us for prayer and counsel when they hit rock bottom and God leaves them without an escape from the fiery trial that has come upon them.  Continue reading

Homosexuality and the Church


by Mike Ratliff

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV)

During my trip to Oklahoma at the end of April into the first part of May I received a request from a publisher for permission to quote from one of posts in a book they are about to release. What surprised me about that was that the press date is just a few weeks away and they are just now getting around to asking me for rights to use my copyrighted article. The name of my article is Homosexuality is a Sin, which I originally posted on May 11, 2009. The entire article is reposted below. They do need my permission to use my article. It bothered me that they were trying to rush this through. The name of the book they are publishing is Issues that Concern You: Homosexuality. I tried to contact the permissions coordinator for the publisher to tell them that I would grant them permission only on condition that I approve of how my article is used in their book. I have not heard back.  Continue reading

Christ Our Advocate


by Mike Ratliff

Τεκνία μου, ταῦτα γράφω ὑμῖν ἵνα μὴ ἁμάρτητε. καὶ ἐάν τις ἁμάρτῃ, παράκλητον ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν δίκαιον· (1 John 2:1 NA27)

My little Children, these things I write to you so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. (a direct translation of 1 John 2:1 from the NA27 Greek text)

Perfection is not for anyone is this life. The only perfect person who ever walked this Earth was the Lord Jesus Christ and the reason He could be perfect and was perfect is that He is deity. Part of His mission was actually to perfectly keep the Law in order to be the propitiation and only acceptable sacrifice in the Father’s eyes in place of those He came to save. We see this in the following verses.

καὶ αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, οὐ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου. Καὶ ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐγνώκαμεν αὐτόν, ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν. ὁ λέγων ὅτι ἔγνωκα αὐτὸν καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ μὴ τηρῶν, ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ἐν τούτῳ ἡ ἀλήθεια οὐκ ἔστιν· ὃς δ᾽ ἂν τηρῇ αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον, ἀληθῶς ἐν τούτῳ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ τετελείωται, ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐσμεν. ὁ λέγων ἐν αὐτῷ μένειν ὀφείλει καθὼς ἐκεῖνος περιεπάτησεν καὶ αὐτὸς [οὕτως] περιπατεῖν. (1 John 2:2-6 NA27)

And He is the propitiation for our sins, not for our sins only, but also for the whole world. And this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commands. The one saying, “I have known Him” and he does not keep His commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God has been perfected, by this we know that we are in Him. The one claiming to abide in Him ought to walk as He walked. (a direct translation of 1 John 2:2-6 from the NA27 Greek text)  Continue reading

Those Who Love God


by Mike Ratliff

Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεὸν πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν. (Romans 8:28 NA27)

And we know that to the ones who love God, He works all things together for their good according to His purpose. (a direct translation of Romans 8:28 from the NA27 Greek text)

As I shared with some of you in private conversations over the last several days and weeks, the place God has taken this ministry over the last few years is remarkable, but the way He has done it in and through me has been quite painful. Through these lessons of submission to His will and obedience through fiery trials and tests, I have let go of many things I used to think were important while submitting more and more to His will in simply having no goals or ambitions for me or this ministry in this world at all. When I first began, I thought that God was going to eventually grow this ministry into something and use me and who knows how far He would take us? However, that has not been the case at all.  Continue reading

Do Not Become Puffed Up


by Mike Ratliff

Now these things, brothers I made into a figure of speech with respect to myself and Apollos for you, that through us you by learn not to go beyond what things have been written, lest any of you be puffed up against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6-7 a direct translation from the NA27 Greek text)

Pride is an insidious enemy. Any teaching about the Gospel that attempts to explain away the clear teaching of God’s Word in favor of what is not taught there, but is more favorable to what people want to hear is both rooted in pride and feeds it. As you know if you have kept up with what I have been teaching over the last several weeks, we must always stick like glue to God’s Word for our truth, never adding philosophy or the so-called wisdom of the world to it nor the requirement of man’s experience. Those who do these things always place their interpretations on a higher plane than the clear, direct teaching from God’s Word. They do this because they are puffed up in their pride and so are in unbelief in what God’s Word says and in that darkness lash out and attack not only God’s Truth, but also those who teach and preach it.  Continue reading