Friday, 28 April 2017

As we Come to the End.~ Ganeida

Scripture teaches us that there is an end to all things.  A time is
coming when the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll & the earth will disappear in fire & smoke. Before that happens Jesus taught that there would be signs indicating that the Last Days were upon us.

We are in those Last Days & it is just as 2 Peter 3:3&4 says: Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Because we believe that Jesus is coming back again, just as He said He would, the love of God compels us to speak of these things, in season & out of  season. 2 Peter 3:4 goes on to say: The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

We do not want you to be ignorant of the Truth or be destroyed for lack of knowledge. [Hosea 4:6]

There are a lot of excuses people give for not believing Scripture, for not attending Church, for not wanting to be labeled *one of those Christians* ~ & they are just that: excuses. Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian actually is one so to reject God on the basis of what a church or a pastor or a *christian* has done is not only illogical; it is dangerous. Rejection of God is not new.  Even back in Job's day And yet they say to God, 'Go away. We want no part of you and your ways.' [Job 21:14]

God's invitation has never been to church, or to a pastor or to other Christians.  It is an invitation to know Him personally; an invitation to shed guilt & shame & to be freed from the stronghold sin has on your life.  The choice has always been ours ~ but true choice is based on knowledge of the facts so it is no surprise to find Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Satan doesn't want people to know the Truth least they turn from their rebellion & are healed. [Matthew 13:15] 

How then should we live?  What should we do?    If you have not repented of your sins & made yourself right with God through His son Jesus Christ then that is the very first thing.  The promise has always been that if you draw close to God, then He will draw close to you. [James 4:8]

The rest of us need to understand the Times we are living through, informed by scripture.  Understand that you are in a battle.  Two Kingdoms are coming together in a final cosmic battle: the Kingdom of God & the kingdom of satan. It is a battle between the children of Light & the children of Darkness. It involves the wrath of God, of satan & of the Nations. [Revelation 14] It is why we are seeing such turbulence among so many nations, so much conflict, so much cultural turbulence. The world is being polarized because satan knows his time is short. [Revelation 12:12]

Matthew 24:7~8 talks of the pre~tribulation signs & events that occur on earth to indicate the sort of world we will live in. I do not have the time to teach on prophetic fulfillment. I will confine myself to 4 signs Jesus mentions in Matthew 24, warning of the coming of the end. 

  • The first thing Jesus warns about is deception ~ false messiahs, false religion, false truths.
  • There will be wars & rumours of wars.
  • Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
  • famines and earthquakes in various places
These are the birth pangs, the beginning of sorrows.  Now some people would tell you that there will simply be a steady increase in these things & they will come more & more frequently but anyone who has ever experienced childbirth knows that's not how it works.  Labour pains will increase in strength, duration & proximity, falter, even cease for a period, then begin again & build until there is a final tipping point from which there is no return. 

So the first thing we must do is Watch. [Matthew 24:42] "So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming." 1 Thessalonians 5:6 confirms thisSo be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded

 Or I could point you to the parable of the 10 virgins: 5 of whom were wise, 5 of whom were foolish. In these days we cannot afford to let our lamps go out, or the oil of the Holy Spirit diminish in our lives for to do so imperils us & leaves us outside the Kingdom. 

Watching helps us to guard our minds. We will be alert when it comes to doctrine for we remember scripture warns us to not be deceived.  We will not worry because we know that wars, rumours of wars, Nations & kingdoms squabbling, earthquakes & famines will happen but Jesus says they do not indicate the end.  We have time yet to obey the command to preach the gospel to every creature.

The 2nd thing is Pray.  Perilous times are times to don all our spiritual armour & pray in the Spirit. [Ephesians 6:18] It saddens me when I hear so called Christians condemning tongues for 1 Corinthians 14:2 says: For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the Spirit. This is prayer that is fully in the will of God because the Spirit of God is Himself directing our prayers. Jude 20 commands us to pray in the Holy Spirit & Ephesians 3:16 informs us that the Holy Spirit strengthens our inner man & 1 Corinthians 14:4 tells us, “He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself.”~ so praying in the Spirit helps us guard our Spirit, builds our faith & strengthens us spiritually for the spiritual battle.

The 3rd thing is something we are not to do.  Enter not into temptation. It is perfectly possible to freely choose to enter into temptation ~ & we will reap the consequences. This is the reason we must watch & pray for they guard our hearts & minds so that when we are tempted we recognise the deceit of the enemy & are strong enough to resist.

The fourth thing Is Oil in our Lamps. This of course refers to the parable of the wise & foolish virgins & the oil is the unction of the Holy Spirit.  However as I was researching this I came across something interesting & I believe it is pertinent to this discussion.  There is a close relationship between the Greek word for oil[elaion] & the word for mercy [Eleos].  In these last days it is going to get harder & harder to keep our hearts tender & loving & merciful towards others. Matthew 24:12 says Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. The next verse tells us that the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.  What's more  God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 The love & mercy we need to persevere to the end are obtained through the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is vital for our spiritual well being.

Like the parable of the 10 virgins the parable of the Talents is an End Times parable. The 5th thing is Don't Hide that Which Belongs to the Lord. The men in question were given money to invest & that is certainly one way to interpret this parable because robbing from God has always been a religious pass time. Malachi 3:8 "Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! "But you ask, 'What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?' "You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me."

However I believe there is another way to understand this parable. Acts 2:17 In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.

God has always blessed His people with gifts.  When we hide them, refuse to use them, make excuses to not obey a call of God on our lives, we effectively rob Him. Paul explicitly instructs Timothy to *stir up* the gift that is in him. 2 Timothy 1:6. God's gifts have been given to use to use in His service. To not do so robs God & dishonours us.

Lastly there is a specific prayer for the end times.  It is mentioned in Luke 21:36 & comes at the end of Jesus discourse on the End Times. Keep alert at all times. "And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man."

I can't think of a more important prayer for believers in these times. In Matthew 13:starting at verse 24 Jesus explains that in this world Jesus & His followers sow the good seed of the Kingdom while Satan & his disciples sow tares in amongst the good seed. The wheat & the tares are allowed to grow side by side until the harvest but when the harvest comes the wheat & the tares are separated, the tares to be gathered up & burnt, the wheat to be gathered into God's barn.

The end times creates a great schism. The world becomes clearly divided between those who believe & those who don't; those who follow the spirit of God & those who follow the god of this world; those who continue in love & mercy from those who have allowed their love to grow cold; those who are exercising their gifts for God & those who are not. Stay vigilant.  Remain alert.  As his time grows short satan is seeking to take as many as he can down into hell with him.

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