Perils of the Periphery

Bobby G. Richardson
I cannot over emphasize the importance of being keenly aware of the perilous times in which we live, and the absolute necessity of having a laser focus on keeping the main thing the main thing without allowing anything to come between us and a right relationship with God **IF** we expect to make Heaven our home.
From previous studies we have taken a pretty good look at the importance of being "in" the Church, and living a committed and dedicated life for God ... without having "herd mentality". In this study, I hope to take a look at another angle: the dangers ... or perils ... of the periphery - being out of the Will of God.
periphery - 1) the external boundary of any surface or area. 2) the external surface of a body. 3) the edge or outskirts, as of a city or urban area.
What almost always happens to the animals on the periphery ... or the outskirts ... of the herds which travel along the eco system of the African Serengeti? They almost always fall prey to one of the many roaming bands of predators, and pay for it with their life. The same could be said of people who get out of Church, and end up wondering around out there somewhere on the periphery -or the walking dead among us. Not too many back sliders make it back to the ark of safety. Their odds are probably greater playing Russian roulette. And, not too many people would dare consider putting one bullet into the chamber of a pistol, giving it a spin, putting the barrel to the side of their head, and pulling the trigger. However, multitudes are doing something just as dangerous by exposing themselves ... and their family ... to the perils of the periphery.
I say this to my shame, but, as a back slider, I remember hoping I would find a transitional point somewhere down the road one day where I could gradually make my way back home as the prodigal son. But, I never did find a "transitional" point for a gradual return. What I found was an "all or none" situation ..., a "last call" from God. And, I promise you, when that happens, a person doesn’t accuse someone else or make any excuses because of what someone else said, did or thought. At that point, God’s beaming light is shining right down on you. And, the sins and faults and failures of others is NOT a concern to you in the very least.
What the luke warm Christians, back sliders and lost souls in our world needs is more Church "in" people, not necessarily more people "in" Church. I say that because the Church is NOT "in" everyone who claims to be "in" Church. And, there are multitudes who are hanging around the periphery ... or outskirts ... of the Church. What’s so sad is that the adversary of their soul has tricked them into believing that they are close enough to the Church to get back in right quick. Meanwhile, they just hang around the periphery and do their own thing. However, sooner or later, every back slider, luke warm Christian and lost person will come to the same place in their road of life where I found myself on December 10, 1985 ... a line which separates God’s mercy from His wrath, which ... once stepped over ... is a point of no return. Therefore, my most earnest and sincere prayer for every back slider, luke warm Christian and lost soul is that they will make the right decision when they come to that place in their road. There is no more dabbling around when you get to that point. Whatever their decision is at that point, it will have eternal consequences. Of that I am convinced.
Among the many perils of the periphery of these Last Days, such as not being rooted and grounded in the Word, led by the Spirit of God, being prayed up and in the Will of God, is that a person opens themselves ... and their family ... up to all sorts of unnecessary sorrows, pains, burdens, obstacles trials and tribulations.
Proverbs 13:13-15 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
Proverbs 11:6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
Isaiah 1:27-28 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
Matthew 24:3-13 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
covetous - loving money
boasters - an empty pretender
proud - 1) showing one's self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent 2) with an overweening estimate of one's means or merits, despising others or even treating them with contempt, haughty
blasphemers - speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive
disobedient (to parents) - impersuasible, not compliant, disobedient, contumacious
unthankful - 1) ungracious a) unpleasing
unholy - impious, wicked
trucebreakers - 1) without a treaty or covenant a) of things not mutually agreed upon e.g. abstinences from hostilities 2) that cannot be persuaded to enter into a covenant, implacable
(false) accusers - 1) prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely a) a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer, ... metaphorically applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him
incontinent - without self-control, intemperate
fierce - not tame, savage
(despisers of those that are) good - opposed to goodness and good men
traitors - a betrayer
heady - 1) to fall forwards, headlong, sloping, precipitously 2) precipitate, rash, reckless
highminded - 1) to raise a smoke, to wrap in a mist 2) to blind with pride or conceit, to render foolish or stupid a) beclouded, besotted .. metaphorically a) to make proud, puff up with pride, render insolent b) to be puffed up with haughtiness or pride
(lovers of) pleasures (more than lovers of God)- loving pleasure
(having a) form - 1) a forming, shaping 2) form a) the mere form, semblance b) the form befitting a thing or truly expressing the fact, the very form
(of) godliness - 1) reverence, respect 2) piety towards God
(but denying the) power (thereof) - 1) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth 2) power for performing miracles 3) moral power and excellence of soul
(from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever) learning, - 1) to learn, be apprised a) to increase one's knowledge, to be increased in knowledge b) to hear, be informed c) to learn by use and practice or to be in the habit of, accustomed to
(and never able to come to the knowledge of the) truth. - objectively 1) what is true in any matter under consideration a) truly, in truth, according to truth or of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly b) what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth or in the greatest latitude and the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention c) the truth as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposing alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians subjectively 1) truth as a personal excellence a) that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit .... Our only hope for true peace is to be found faithful, wise and vigilant when God calls us home.
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