Sunday, 26 June 2016

Getting Ready for Jesus. ~ Ganeida

The first thing I would ask you to do this morning is sharpen your discernment.  That means I want you to listen closely & weigh what I have to say against the scriptures & what the Spirit of God confirms in your own heart.  This is scriptural. We are exhorted to study the scriptures for ourselves[2 Tim 2:15] that no man deceive us. [1 Thess 2:3]

 As you know, for the past few weeks we have been discussing who we are in Christ. However when I consulted the Lord this week on which aspect he would like us to look at, what I believe He said to me is: Tell my people I am coming soon. They are to get ready
So what I am going to consider is what we look like when we are prepared & ready for the return of Christ.

The first thing I want us to look at is being established in Christ. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Col2:7

There is a reason for this which is explained in the verse that follows: Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

Friends we know that in in the Last days perilous times will come [2 Tim 3] & there will be great apostasy  because  These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.

 Jesus is very clear.  John 15:5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.

The first indication that a believer is prepared for Christ is that they abide in Him.  Remember the pictures we have talked about of what it means, how we are grafted into the true vine & the only way for that graft to take & not fall away is if it only feeds from the source it has been grafted into.  If we continue to feed on worldly things then we will have things we don’t want in our lives sprout below the graft & eventually, if we are not diligent, we revert to being just like the world.

This is our only real protection against false teaching.  The bible has a lot to say about false teaching & how people allow themselves to be deceived. I say that because mankind still has a fallen sin nature & if we are not relying on the Holy Spirit for insight & guidance then even reading the scriptures can lead us astray. 
This is why we have pastors, & even whole denominations, endorsing things that are wrong. Some have simply misunderstood what the scriptures say.  Some are interpreting scripture with a humanistic mind set. Some are simply too clever for anyone’s good.  Some deliberately & intentionally pervert the scriptures. One need only study the scribes & Sadducees of Jesus day to see how that plays out. This is why, @ Harvest Family Church we never say sola scriptura; we always teach Word & Spirit! The word alone very easily leads to legalism.  The Spirit alone means we have no way to assess what spirit is leading us but together we have an accuracy that either alone cannot impart.

Those who abide in Christ build their lives on Him. Now we are prone to think of that in terms of what we do ~ or don’t do as the case may be.  That is so ~ up to a point.  It also refers to how we believe.  Hear what Psalm 92:12 says:
But the godly will flourish like palm trees

    and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
13 For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
    They flourish in the courts of our God.
14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
    they will remain vital and green.

Cedars were highly prized in biblical times.  They grow in the rocky places on mountain tops sending their roots down deep & can reach as much as 100 feet high with a spread of 35 or so feet. Their wood is highly prized for being hardy & durable but also aromatic.  As a symbol it shows us what God’s people look like when they are firmly planted & established in Him.  Their situation may be precarious, the storms may batter them, but they do not waver. They remain a sweet, sweet perfume to our Lord.

Those who are established in the Lord do not let fear control them:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

1 John 4:17&18 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
When we know what the Word says the Spirit imparts a confidence that cannot be shaken. That in turn helps us to not fear. We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Which brings us to my next point: We know from James2:20 that faith without works is dead & from Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God but look at what Galatians 5:6 says:

 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Faith works by love.

Galatians also explains Let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith.[6:10]

Now I want to balance that scripture with a warning from Timothy.

You should know this, Timothy,  that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! This aligns with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:6:  “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Hard as it is there are some people whom we cannot reach & we are warned to leave them alone because they will seek to undermine our faith, lead us astray & teach that which is not true. Does God love them?  Yes!  Does God desire their salvation?  Without question! But… They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.Furthermore, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, He gave them up to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.… Romans 1… I have not quoted the whole passage which goes into great detail but take heed; the church is not immune!  Not all who say they are believers are truly saved. This is why I began with being rooted & established in Christ. It is sad.  It is heartbreaking.  You cannot serve 2 masters.  You cannot have Christ & the world for you will love one & hate the other. We will know them by their fruit!  A true believer will consistently reject the things of the world & hunger after the things of God.

We are exhorted to show love especially to the household of faith.  Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, "Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well"--but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do
? See, Love is an action. We are to provide for each other if we see our brother or sister in need.  This does not exempt anyone from working for a living.  2Thessalonians 3:10 says expressly that one who won’t work doesn’t eat.  They are not to bludge on believers who do work.  However, if through circumstances a believer should be in need & a brother or sister in the Lord can meet that need then love should prompt us to do so.

My last point this morning is from Luke 19:13~ 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come…

I really like how The Message puts this passage: “There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’

We are to operate with the authority of Christ until He returns. We need to grasp that we will rule & reign with Christ so now is when we should be getting in the practise we need. This requires endurance [2 Tim. 2:11–12], Meekness [(Matt. 5:5)], Purity [Titus 2:14] & a love of the Truth [2 Thessalonians 2:9–11].  As Christ’s salt & light we are to live in such a way that the whole world is astonished at the love we have for each other. 

Ephesians 5:27 says He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. Without spot.  Without blemish. Holy. Faultless. That is how Christ will receive His bride.

.To recap:  the bride will be established in Christ with deep roots.

.The church will be fearless.

She will express faith through love.

She will love the Truth.

.She will exercise her authority in Christ until He returns for her.

·      Lastly:
“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. 
Luke 12:35-36.

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