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December 2015

Surthriving in 2016

The Year 2016

Surthriving in 2016


The year 2016 is likely to be a challenging year for Christians all over the world, and particularly in South Africa. Here in my home country things are heating up politically and cooling down economically, and when fabric, even the fabric of society, is pulled at both ends it tends to tear.

How will we cope with a rip-roaring year? Our ability to surthrive (thrive as we survive) will surely depend largely on the underlying quality of our Christian Faith. If our basic understanding of Christianity is that it is a religion of learning and religious observance, then we will be hard pressed to hold things together in the year that lies ahead. If our understanding of Christianity is that it is a system of morals and good works, then we will most likely experience frustration and disappointment.

Biblical, Jesus-centred Christianity is based on a supernatural relationship with a supernatural God. By ‘supernatural’ I don’t mean wooo-wooo strangeness, but rather that which is beyond and above the natural. If our relationship with Jesus is intimate and consistent, then we will surthrive. If we depend on the supernatural ability of the Holy Spirit, then we will surthrive. If we submit to the sovereignty and authority of God the Father, then we will surthrive.

Just before Christmas I preached a sermon entitled ‘A Season of Miracles’ and although its context is the Christmas story, its message applies to the year that lies ahead of us – I would like to invite you to listen to it.

You can listen to it directly by clicking the ‘play’ button below:


Alternatively, go to My Sermons Page where you can download, or listen to, other sermons I’ve preached.

And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.  All glory to him, who alone is God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore. Amen. Jude 24-25 (NLT)

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Be Blessed this Christmas

Be Blessed this Christmas

Be Blessed this Christmas

On the 25th December each year we choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The incarnation of God the Son in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is the most profound supernatural intervention this world has ever experienced. I truly hope that the wonder of this miracle, this Good News, will grip your hearts and light up your eyes this Christmas time, and that you will be BLESSED!
truthtalksI have added some more sermons and articles, so if you find you have some down-time over the Christmas season then do have a look and a listen. Click a title below to listen to a sermon right now, or go to my Sermons page by CLICKING HERE where you will also find the sermon notes.

The Grace of Giving is based on 2 Corinthians 8 verses 1 to 15. Financial giving is important but is a grace, not a law or a means of getting back from God. This sermon is about the true nature and blessing of giving.

Glory Glory Hallelujah is from Matthew 17 verses 1 to 8 and unveils something of the transfigured glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. At Panias He asked His disciples who they though He was, and on Mount Hermon He showed them who He truly was!

Hope-Full is just that! I take a look at Romans 15 verse 13 to find hope in the Lord. My apologies for the muffled sound, as this is an earlier sermon and we hadn’t quite got the noise reduction down yet, but all the later sermons are noise-free!

Then, if you would like to read some of the articles I have written you can access them all HERE or click on the topic below:

truthreadsWhat we need most: Published in 2010 this article is still very relevant to today. The solution to the woes of the church, and hence our country can, I believe, be addressed only by a genuine and powerful Holy Spirit revival. Revival is an act of God. The sovereign Lord has already spoken to several of His people about His intention to send revival. Our response is to pray and to recommit ourselves to the authority of the Bible, the practical centrality of Jesus, and the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit in our churches and lives. In this lies our hope for our nation at this time.

The Privilege of Prayer is an article in which I respond to the question why we, as Christians, are generally so passionless and powerless. I suggested that one of the reasons was that so many of us are confused concerning the nature of prayer, the stewardship of spiritual power, and the need to proclaim in word and ministry – Prayer, Power, and Proclamation.

And in keeping with the time of year, the last article is simply “Christmas”. I was driving an ex-minister friend of mine to a Sunday service when he turned to me and said, “So what’s your doctrine of gambling?” He had just won a lottery and was wrestling with his conscience. Many Christians wrestle a little with Christmas. Should we celebrate it, because, after all many say it is just a pagan festival. Yes, of course we should, and it’s a great time to witness to unsaved family and friends.


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More Woes in the form of Religion

Religious Woe


Religion is a word cherished by many but vilified by the irreligious, and there is a reason for this.

Once again, things will only become clear when we get to later chapters of Revelation, so before I state what I believe to be the second Woe, let’s follow a few clues.

  1. The second demonic plague of Revelation Chapter Nine, pictured as grotesquely mutated horses, is connected in some way to the Altar of Incense (Revelation 9:13). We know from Revelation 8:3-4 that this altar is a symbol of prayer and worship and Revelation 9:20 strengthens this connection by declaring that the victims of these invading demons are caught up in idolatrous worship.
  2. The hosts of hell were released from across the great Euphrates, a river that provided a natural divide between the West and the East. In ancient times great invading powers like Babylonia and Syria were to the East of the Euphrates. In later ages the major ‘invading’ religions, such as Islam, came from east of the Euphrates.
  3. The colours of the demon horses were red, blue and yellow (Revelation 9:17). Why did John record this seemingly insignificant detail? Because it is not insignificant – the three prime colours of pure light are Red, Blue, and Green but the prime colours of reflected light are Red, Blue, and Yellow, which when mixed together form Black. This represents the exact opposite of the beams of refracted light coming from the throne of God which I described in and earlier post.

So, this second Woe has to do with demonic prayer, worship, eastern religions, and the ‘throne’ of Satan. We encountered in the letter to Pergamum (Revelation 2:13). Let’s give this Woe a name … RELIGION.

This might shock many of you because the word ‘religion’ is usually used in a positive or neutral sense. However, I see religion in an entirely negative light. An origin of the word is the Latin religare: to restrain or bind, and that is just what I believe it does.

Christianity is not a religion, although many call it that, rather it is a living relationship with the living God. It is an eternal relationship and a supernatural relationship, and in this relationship we are set free, not bound!

I see religion as the sum of The Occult, New Age Mysticism, World Religions, Cults, and Apostate Christianity.

Religion is in essence the enthronement of satan and the denial of God. It is man’s attempt to make a god in our image and then to prescribe a way of worshiping this idol.

The first four in this list are obvious, but Apostate Christianity needs some explanation. It is the religious system of rites, rituals, teachings, and sacraments that masquerade as ‘Christian’ but is in effect Christ-less. In this system Jesus is honoured as a Prophet, but not as God Incarnate, the Bible is regarded as instructive but not truly inspired, and salvation is believed to be attained through learning, intellectual ascent, and good works.

Religion has plagued our world for millennia and has caused endless destruction. Just consider the crusades, wars, bigotry, enslavement, oppression, and terrorism perpetrated in its name. What you will see in later chapters of Revelation is that Religion always partners with Humanism and together they form a formidable trinity of evil. Trinity, because the third ‘woe’ in the upside-down triangle of terror is Satan himself.

I have more to write concerning Chapter Nine of Revelation, but that will have to wait until the new year. In the meanwhile, please take a look at the following depiction of some of the southern constellations in the night sky (from the vantage point of Jerusalem) and see if you think they relate to the revelations of Chapter Nine.


scorpio and sagitarus


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Revelation Series: Woe is us

Woe is Us

Woe is Us

A natural calamity can be a warning but a supernatural invasion can only be described as a Woe.

The First four trumpet blasts of Revelation represent ecological warnings to mankind (discussed in my previous post), but the two that follow are of an entirely different nature and are called ‘woes’. The trumpets of Revelation Chapter Eight affect humanity indirectly though the environment whereas the woes of Chapter Nine effect mankind in a very direct way.

The graphic presentations in this chapter are among the most bizarre in the book and have given rise to some weird interpretations. I have read books in which the strange locust like creatures depicted here are really Apache attack helicopters and the horses that follow them are Saracen tanks! But how are we supposed to interpret what these strange ‘beasties’ represent? Actually, it’s not that difficult to work out the general meaning of these scenes if you remember the interpretive principle of Revelation 1:20 – the truth is conveyed through symbols and is not meant to be reduced to concrete objects, dates, and numbers.

So, let’s look at the clues in the text:Woes: The bottomless pit

  • The scene opens with a ‘star that had fallen from the sky to the earth’ (Revelation 9:1). According to the interpretive key ‘stars’ equal angels, so this depicts an angel that had fallen from heaven to earth. Jesus used very similar words when He exclaimed, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18-19).
  • This fallen angel is given the key to the Abyss, the bottomless pit. Once again, we can look to Jesus to understand what this represents. Luke:8 26-33 records how Jesus confronted the hoard of demons possessing a man living in caves in the region of Gadara. Verse 31 records that they ‘begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss’. So, the Abyss is the name assigned to the state where demons are confined and so the terrifying beings pouring out of the abyss therefore represent demons.
  • All of this is supported by the added detail that ‘they had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon’ (Revelation 9:11). i.e. the devil.

So, we can easily determine that demons constitute the first Woe, but you will need a further clue in order to understand their ‘sting in the tail’: ‘They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads’ (Revelation 9:4).

Their target is unsaved humanity; those who’s spirits and souls are not sealed by the Holy Spirit and protected by the truth. They rob such people of life while not physically killing them.
At this point you will need to extend some grace to me for I need to make a bold statement that I will only be able to substantiate when we get to Chapter Thirteen.

The demon locusts are a vivid symbolic depiction of HUMANISM in all its various forms.

Now this statement is probably a bit of a shock to the system. The dictionary definition on humanism is ‘a system of thought which is based on the values, characteristics, and behaviour which are believed to be best in human beings, rather than on any supernatural authority’. This is indeed how a spiritually unregenerate person would view humanism, because a worldly understanding is that humans are essentially good and that the supernatural does not exist. But, if we take the source of humanism as the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden, then both of these presumptions prove false – man is not inherently good and supernatural evil is both real and responsible.

I understand humanism to comprise science, medicine, philosophy, economics, technology, military power, politics, and hedonism. There is an obviously dark side to each of these, such as war, addiction, greed and so on, but why would I label the ostensibly noble pursuits of the human race as a ‘woe’? Well I don’t. What I class as a catastrophic woe is the pursuit of these things outside of the Word of God, the authority of Scripture, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I therefore define humanism as the godless pursuit and manipulation of the categories of human endeavour I have listed. Defined in this way humanism is nothing less than the enthronement of self and the denial of the lordship of Jesus Christ… and that is indeed a demonic woe that has plagued mankind for millennia and will ultimately deliver a death blow to godless humanity.

The second woe is just as destructive… but I will write about that next week.


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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.