December 14, 2023

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dear friends, I had the opportunity to minister the Word at Gospel Light Church and visit the city of Charlotte.

”As He (Jesus) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the world?” Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

Very often, when I talk about how much deception reigns today, not only in the secular world but even, unfortunately, in churches, some people respond with surprise: “Max, you shouldn’t be so critical.” But let me ask you: “What’s so surprising here? If John said that even during his lifetime “many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), then even more so now in the end time, ”… when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

How many fables are preached today, allegedly in the name of God? It was not in vain that Christ pointed out to us the main sign of the end times – and this is deception. It is revealed in many areas. I will give the most widespread ones:

1) Ecumenism. At first glance, the idea seems good. It implies not only the unification of various Christian denominations but also other religions. It sounds like it will lead to the ultimate peace among nations. But note that it is not the religion that causes all sorts of conflicts but the sinful nature of people that manifests itself through lusts, greediness, love of power, and money. One may think that when the religions are united, there finally will be no criticism or disagreements. Let’s imagine a unity of at least only Christian denominations. Why, didn’t Jesus pray for our unity? He surely did, but, nevertheless, Christ did not compromise with the Pharisees and Sadducees for the sake of unity at the expense of the truth, smoothing over some disagreements. And those were the mainstream denominations of that time. Jesus prayed for unity in truth, not just for unity’s sake. Light has nothing in common with darkness. Moreover, the Lord even called those spiritual leaders hypocrites and children of the devil, since their lives were filled with lies.

2) Generation gap. Today there is a tendency to laugh at what once was. Under the influence of everything modern, old moral principles are being ridiculed even in churches. While the entire past is criticized, the present fruits indicate a worse state where respect for elders, obedience to parents, strong marriages, patience, compassion, and love have become a thing of the past. On top of that, those who try to maintain a godly lifestyle are shamed into being legalists. Of course, you shouldn’t languish for the past because it does not change anything at present. Nevertheless, the Lord, through the prophet Jeremiah, gives us good advice: ”Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths where the good way is and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16). Alas, quite frequently the second part of this verse is the answer of many: “But they said: “We will not go.” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Speaking about the coming of John the Baptist, the Lord characterized his ministry this way: ”He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6). According to this Scripture, we clearly see that God hates generation gaps. Moreover, if this happens, He threatens to strike with a curse. The true Holy Spirit unites and does not divide or destroy this connection. Therefore, I don’t understand how one can talk about starting a youth church. This is the spirit of the Antichrist.

3) LGBT propaganda. God created male and female. When questions arise about this, there is a very important note. The most obvious differences between men and women are in the bones of the skull and pelvis. The male skull is somewhat larger, and the supraorbital arches are more pronounced. The lower jaw is wider. In women, the skull is somewhat smaller, the forehead is lower and narrower, and the bridge of the nose is not as concave as in men. The male pelvis is narrow, longer than the female, and forms a cone shape, but the chest is wider. In women, the opposite is true: the pelvis is wider, but the chest is narrower. Therefore, no matter what a person identifies himself as during his lifetime when his bones are discovered and this analysis is performed, he or she can only be identified as a man or a woman.

4) Calvinism. In other words, the understanding of salvation is “Once saved, saved forever.” The most important words for us are the words of Jesus Christ. And He says: “Therefore if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life lame or maimed than having two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than having two eyes to be thrown into the fire of hell.“ (Matthew 18:8-9). Have you noticed how the Lord makes a connection between sin, which must be defeated, and eternal fire or the fire of hell, which speaks of the fate of the sinner drowning in his lusts? In the light of the words of Jesus Christ, the teaching of Paul can now be correctly understood, who taught in harmony with the One whom he had once persecuted, and now became His servant. Peter realized that Paul could be misunderstood by saying: ”Keep in mind that the patience of our Lord means salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul has also written to you according to the wisdom given to him. As in all his letters, he writes about these things, in which some things are hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable distort, as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭15‬-‭16‬). Therefore let no one deceive us who teaches otherwise.

5) Occultism. It is promoted everywhere, beginning from school books for reading in the library, movies, cartoons, programs about people with supernatural abilities, horoscopes, and ending with this practice even in churches. This may surprise you, but, alas, this has become the plague of modern Christianity. Paul writes: ”Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1). He also warns us: “Although if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than the one we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

6) Sexualization. You don’t have to go far. Just look at social networks, where even “followers of Christ” post photos with their stick-out tongues, kisses, provocative clothing, etc. They know neither the Spirit of God nor His holiness. And instead of feeling ashamed for not shining light into this world, they try to shame those who teach modesty and chastity. Paul and Peter touch on the subject of the outward appearance that deals with the heart issue. Attention! This may sound “legalistic”. “In like manner also, that women clothe themselves in modest clothing, with decency and self-control, not with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing, but with good works, which is proper for women professing godliness.“ (1 Timothy 2:9-10). ”Do not let your adorning be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine clothing. But let it be the hidden nature of the heart, that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4). However, this applies not only to sisters but also to brothers. Why then is more attention given to sisters in this regard? This is simply because men are more susceptible to lust with their eyes than women and surely this is no secret to anyone.

7) Political influence. During the Roman Empire, there was a very patriotic group in Israel called the Zealots. They, like most of the Israelites, were expecting a military-political leader who would come and deliver from Roman rule. I can imagine their disappointment when Christ said: ”… Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21). No doubt Jesus disappointed them as the Messiah. This is not how they imagined Him to be. They wanted their own Messiah, not the One who says “I am Who I am.” The true Messiah came to conquer our hearts. Leave your endless historical and political disputes. Do not put your hope in earthly things or in the flesh. Man will never be able to create a utopia on earth. Stop biting and devouring one another with this (Galatians 5:15). It’s painful to watch and grievous to the Holy Spirit! Better pray for the authorities and provide practical help, showing genuine love for your neighbor. But those who are too carried away with politics will become easy prey for the Antichrist, who will come to rule the world for a while.

Friends, given all these points, we have encouragement and comfort: ”Therefore repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the One who previously was preached to you, Jesus Christ,“ (Acts 3:19-20). The times of refreshing will come from the presence or visitation of the Lord. In the original language, the word “refreshing” means “a recovery of breath; reviving with fresh air.” This is our personal revival or awakening. Let us seek the Lord through the revelation of the Holy Spirit – the Word of God. “… Your word revives me.” (Psalm 119:50). Jesus also says: ”He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (John 14:21). Here is the secret of knowing Christ – when He reveals Himself through His true indwelling with His Spirit. Then you will hear His voice and will not confuse it with any other voice.

May the Lord protect us from all deception.

Max Volkov in Christ