Effectual Fervent Prayer

by Mike Ratliff

ἐξομολογεῖσθε οὖν ἀλλήλοις τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων ὅπως ἰαθῆτε. Πολὺ ἰσχύει δέησις δικαίου ἐνεργουμένη. (James 5:16 NA27)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray on behalf of one another so that you may be cured. The petition of the righteous, being effective, has great power. (a personal translation of James 5:16 from the NA27 Greek text)

While I took some time off over the Memorial Day holiday to be with family, I received some very disturbing news vial email from two separate sources. I am not prepared to address either, but I will as God enables me to do so. The first has to do with claims by a group that we collectively refer to as “New Agers” based upon a new video that some of them have released claiming that mankind and the Earth are preparing for the next stage or step in the evolutionary process. Here is the link to their website. If you watch their videos or read anything there, please do so prayerfully. The second set of “disturbing news” was the reappearing of the John Piper/Rick Warren Interview. I really haven’t a lot of time to go over it, but I have received emails from some of you wanting me to Biblically address some of what these men say. I did look at a few of comments and was not surprised at the usual automatic defenders of John Piper and/or Rick Warren who have NO CLUE what true Reformed Theology is say absolutely idiotic things in order to smoke screen what is going on there. Again, I will address this as God enables me to do so.  Continue reading

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

What is Biblical Exhortation?

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)

One of those things all Christians, and especially Christian leaders, should be about is obeying Paul’s command in 1 Timothy 4:13. We looked at the level of that devotion in The Fruit of Devotion. Now let us look within that command at what Paul means by “exhortation.” As is the case with so many other words, our English word, “exhortation” does not quite carry the same depth of meaning as does its Koine Greek equivalent. In this post we will look at both the Greek noun is translated as Exhortation, παράκλησις or paraklēsis as well as παρακαλέω or parakaleō, which is often translated as “beseech.” Why do this? Much of what passes for preaching and teaching in the visible church these days in neither of these things, as we shall see. Consider this a call to repent to those Christian leaders who have compromised their ministries in order to become less controversial or to be more man pleasing as well as a time for you to learn how to discern that what you are hearing from your Church leaders is from God or not.  Continue reading

The Fruit of Devotion

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)

As the passage above (1 Timothy 4:13) makes clear, to the Apostle Paul the centrality of preaching in Christian ministry was critical. He knew that the fruit of that was the working of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ producing godliness. However, its neglect produces its own fruit. I am not exaggerating when I state that most ministries today are built on entertainment, personality, crowd-gathering events, gimmicks, programs, and any thing entrepreneurs can come up with to draw people together that simply appeal to the flesh. However, that was not nor has it ever been the Biblical model of a Christian ministry.  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

What is the Church?

by Mike Ratliff

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς. (Matthew 16:18 NA27)

And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (a personal translation of Matthew 16:18 from the NA27 Greek text)

What is the Church? There is much debate and with that, a great deal of unbiblical beliefs about what our Lord was talking about in Matthew 16:18 in the context of μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. This literally says in the Greek, “of me the ekklēsian.” The noun ἐκκλησίαν is the Accusative, Singular of ἐκκλησία or ekklēsia, “a called out assembly.” The Accusative case corresponds to the English Objective case. Here we see that ἐκκλησίαν is in the Accusative case because it has accusative case ending of “ν.” Nouns in the Accusative case are the direct object of the action, which in this sentence is our Lord’s stating, “καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω” “and upon this rock, I will build…” Therefore, we learn several things that tell us what the Church is and what it is not. It is built upon what our Lord called ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ and that He is the one doing the building. We learn that the Church is not built on or according to anything else nor is built by the efforts of men or according the wisdom of this world.  Continue reading