All posts by Erich Seifert

Christ vs. Anti-Christ

“…and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is already in the world.”

— 1 John 4:3-4

Much ink has been spilled over the issue of the Anti-Christ. Just who is he or will he be—or as some want to say, Who was he?

Jesus said in Matthew 24 that many false prophets would arise and lead many astray. We see that one of the aspects of the anti-christos is to be a deceiver as well as an opposer of Christ, and he also will have false prophets as well.

Furthermore, said Jesus, some of these deceivers will be able to do supernatural things: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

We see the activity of Satan directed against Christ, for example, at the temptation. The devil claims to be able to dispose of the kingdoms of this world at his whim. This claim is not denied by Christ.

Furthermore, we have the parable of the tares and the wheat and while we slept, said Jesus, an enemy came and sowed the tares. That enemy would be the antichrist or the devil.

Meanwhile, some people have read too much into the number 666. But in every city in the world, there are probably hundreds of streets at which somebody lives at 666 First Street, 666 Second Street, Third Street and Fourth Street and on and on and on.

John tells us that the spirit of the antichrist is found in those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. The spirit of antichrist is to ultimately reject Jesus.

Dear Jesus, we see how many people reject Your holy name and Your divinity. We see how people fight against Your name and claim all sorts of roads to heaven. Thank You for being Who You claim to be…


Pride vs. Trust in the Lord

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

— James 4:6

I saw a book in a bookstore many years ago with an intriguing title. I didn’t buy it, and now I regret it. The book was entitled Not Made for Defeat. You and I were not made for defeat. We were made for triumph. That, of course, is a picture of a Roman general or emperor coming back from war, his soldiers behind him, flags flying from his chariot. Behind them, in chains, was the army of those who had been defeated and now were being brought as slaves to Rome. But there is a danger in victory—pride. When David faced Goliath, he did not boast. Instead, he put his confidence in the Lord.

It always amazes me how many Americans, even professing Christians, will frequently teach their children: “Be proud.” God gives grace to the humble, but He will tear down the proud of heart.

Pride (in the sense of arrogance, not self-dignity) says that pride is the worst of sins and leads to destruction. C. S. Lewis puts it, “It was through Pride that the devil became the devil.” Trusting in self is like resting on a broken reed that will break completely and pierce your hand.

If we trust in ourselves, if we succeed, we will be proud, and when we run into something too big, we will then be saddened, defeated, and dejected. But if we trust in Christ, we will succeed, and the glory will go to Him and not unto ourselves. That is the Christian way.

Oh God, our help in ages past, I praise and thank You for being my constant helper. Thank You for what You have helped me accomplish and thank You for the victories won. Help me always to give You the glory…


All Things New

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

— Philippians 4:4

I remember the words of the classic song, “Old Man River”: “I gets weary an’ sick of tryin’, I’m tired of livin’ An’skeered of dyin’.” Tragically, that is the picture of so many people.

But Paul the Apostle is a great model to us on how to live and how to die. He had become the possessor of a new life through Jesus Christ, who makes all things new. He tells us: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Even though he sat in a Roman prison waiting to face a possible death sentence, he still rejoiced, and again he said, “I will rejoice.”

He said for me to live is Christ. There is the secret of the fullness of life: Me, live, Christ.

Someone said it is like an arc lamp. When the two components of the self and Christ are put together, they glow with a brilliant incandescence. But if you replace Christ with anything else—with fame, or fortune, or wealth or success or whatever—then you have the smoldering dim smoky lamp that is produced by anything other than Christ.

When the love of Christ takes over the life of a soul, it produces the power of a life which can have a magnetic attraction even for the most scandalous and can change even the hardest of hearts.

Whatever happens in life, we can choose to complain or we can choose to rejoice, through it all. Paul chose to rejoice, and, therefore, they couldn’t keep him down.

Dear Father, give me strength for today to rejoice even when I don’t feel like it. Help me to remember that in You all things work out for the best for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose…


To Be or Not To Be

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

— Psalm 23:6

We can’t always say that what Shakespeare’s characters say is what he believed. Nevertheless, I believe Shakespeare was a Christian, and his testimony on that is clear.

Consider the character Shakespeare paints of Hamlet, the melancholy Dane. Consider his view of life as contrasted with that of the devout Christian.

In this famous scene, Hamlet has an unsheathed dagger in his hands. He is wondering whether he should kill himself or not:

To be, or not to be: that is the question…
To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause…

The philosophy of life and death reflected in this passage is vastly higher than the awful secular philosophy of life portrayed by much of the media today, who believe that by simply committing suicide, by flinging the gift of life back into the face of the Giver, by deserting our post, by showing our cowardice, that we are going to solve all of our problems. Hamlet chooses against suicide because the Almighty has set His canon (law) against self-slaughter.

What a vast difference there is to those who come to know Jesus. Through all the difficulties of life, the Savior can sustain us until He brings us safely home.

Lord of life and death, we acknowledge that You decide when we are born and when we die. Thank You that our time is in Your hands. When life becomes too burdensome for us, then help us to cast our burdens on You…


A Contrasting View of Life

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

— Romans 8:32

There is a big difference between a Christian view of life and a pagan one. For example, the prince of atheists, the Frenchman Voltaire, once said: “I think we human beings are indeed contemptible creatures. I exhort you to enjoy as much as you can life, which isn’t much.”

Of course Shakespeare’s Macbeth said:

Life’s but a walking shadow
A poor player
That struts and frets
His hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

But the Christian view says that God has made us in His image. He has made us a little lower than the angels. The Scriptures say that God cares for us so much that Christ left the glories of heaven and became man in order to suffer a horrible but atoning death on our behalf. We are a part of His bride, which He has bought with His own precious blood. We are looking forward to the beginning of eternity with Him by attending the marriage feast of the lamb. Thus, life to the Christian is of infinite worth and value.

Lord, give me strength for today to live life to the full for Your glory and others’ good. Thank You for letting us bear Your image and making us “just a little lower than the angels.” We are so grateful for all the gifts You give us so freely…


What is Life?

“What is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

— James 4:14

I am convinced that the vast majority of people on this earth live and die without ever having the slightest idea of what life is all about. Now that is a sweeping judgment. I make it, however, in compassion and love. It is tragic beyond words. I have given my whole life in an effort to try to solve that problem. Many live as if it will all end after their life “vanishes away.”

May I call to witness a few people who should, because of their education and their genius, understand what life is all about. One of the most applauded authors of the twentieth century, no doubt, was Somerset Maugham. He said this: “When I look back on my life, it seems to me strangely lacking in reality. It may be that my heart, having found rest nowhere, had some deep ancestral craving for God and immortality, which my reason [his fallen reason] would have no truck with.”

Or consider the British author—another skeptic—Thomas Hobbes, who gave us that concept of government as “leviathan.” He said this: “The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Not a very high view of life.

For such unbelievers, there was no future, there was no hope, there was no meaning for life. What a contrast we have with a Christian view of life where we are eternal beings created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Too bad so many will miss out on that which human beings were created to enjoy.

Lord of life, thank You for giving me life abundantly. You came to give us this rich and full and purposeful life, and You gave Your own Son to make it all possible…


Something To Really Look Forward To

“But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

— 1 Corinthians 2:9

For the Christian, death is not an enemy. It will lead us to the great blessing as we come to meet Him face to face and experience that joy of which this world has never conceived. Of course, we should do nothing to hasten our death. That is in God’s hands.

There have been many reports of people who have “died” and found themselves in heaven. Then they come back. I have known some personally who told me their stories. All such reports must first and foremost be tested by the Word of God.

If for you to live is Christ, then for you to die is unspeakable gain. You will be rejoined to all in Christ whom you have loved, and restored to all you have lost. You will walk through the meadows of flowers that never fade; alongside of rivers whose waters forever sparkle; near fountains whose spray is crystal diamonds; through bowers whose leaves are never seared; through gardens whose fragrance never surfeits. You will then know what it means to be among the immortals. Your body will be filled with an energy that never flags, with a power that you have never known. Your mind will enlarge and dilate with electric thoughts, noble ideals, and vast expansions.

Above all, you will see Jesus face to face and spend time with Him. He is the one who opened up heaven to us in the first place by His death on the cross.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made us for eternity. Thank You for preparing a place for us and for the total restoration that awaits our souls, bodies, minds, and spirits…


God and Predestination

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.”

— Ephesians 2:8-9

The Bible teaches that God is the sovereign Lord and controls all things. And in His sovereignty, He allows men to do what they wish.

Now when He allows a person to sin, it is the person who is acting according to his own evil nature that does it. Now this is where people say, “Well, is not predestination simply allowing people to act according to their own will and to receive Christ?” But it won’t work that way because the whole world is a fallen race. We are all totally depraved. We are dead in trespasses and sin. We are blind to the Gospel; we cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. Therefore, if we are left to our own natural inclinations we will one and all decide to continue in our sin to the very end.

For anyone to be saved, God has to come down into this stream, this mass of humanity, which is pressing ever downward in more and more ungodliness and sin, and He has to come and pluck people out of it, bring them unto Himself, and turn them around. He then steers them upstream and gives them empowering to go the other way. That is why when we get to heaven all of the praise goes to God. He did it all. There is none that seeks after God, no not one. That is why we should be most humble about salvation. It is accomplished by the Savior.

Beautiful Savior, thank You for choosing me to be Yours forever. I thank You for Your work in my life and the grace that You have so freely given…


God’s Guarantee of Success

“This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise.”

— Joshua 1:8

“It’s guaranteed,” the sign says. “Double your money back,” the label declares. Many a product has been sold with such a promise only to have the purchaser discover later that it contained a slight flaw. The person who made the guarantee, as you often see on TV, is counting on the fact that you won’t bother to pack it up and ship it back; or if you try to get your money back, find that the salesman has skipped town and left you with a very faulty product.

Today, I would like to talk about a guarantee that can never fail; a wonderful guarantee that is backed by the bank of heaven. In the promise of the above text, we have the guarantee of success.

Theologians have a Greek phrase, hapax logomenon—the only occurrence of the word. Sometimes in the Bible there is only one instance of something. That is the case in Joshua 1:8 with the word success. God, who can never lie and who will never go out of business, has set forth a divine guarantee of success.

Let us consider what the conditions to this guarantee are. The conditions are predicated upon meditating on and obeying God’s book. In Joshua’s time there existed only the first five books (the Pentateuch) given through Moses by God. Today, we have the completed volume, the Book of God, and what a wonderful book it is. Meditate on His Word, and you will succeed in life.

Almighty God, Your Word is precious to us. It is our inheritance. Lord, give us strength for today to live by it and pass it on to others. Thank You for the wisdom it gives us…


Mother’s Day

“…remembering the genuine faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and that I am persuaded lives in you also.”

— 2 Timothy 1:5

On Mother’s Day, we need to remember that there is no gift that we could give them that compares to the gift that they have given us—the gift of life.

In fact, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, for without the moral law of God taught them by their godly mothers, men find it extremely difficult to govern rightly. This has been echoed by innumerable great men of history. Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am and all that I hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Sometime ago a lady in this church told me she had been at a large social occasion, a dinner I believe it was, and before they sat down the people were milling around the room getting acquainted. One man walked up to her, introduced himself, and said to her, “And what do you do?”

She replied, “Oh, I’m a wife and a mother.”

He gave a small smile and turned to a woman standing nearby and said, “And what do you do?” She said she was deeply hurt.

“And what do you do?” What should she say? Well, I told her what I am going to tell you moms and housewives when you are asked that question, and you frequently are. “And what do you do?”

“Oh, I . . . well sir, I rule the world.” And then walk away. Mothers play a pivotal role in God’s design for our world.

I thank You, Lord, for my mother today. Help me to honor and love her (or her memory) and be a good child of hers all the days of my life…