Tag: last days

Doing all for God’s Glory!

Scripture reading for November 12th:  1st Peter 4, Psalm 79-80, Proverbs 10

Key Scriptures:  1st Peter 4:7-11 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Peter encouraged the church to keep a sober attitude for the purpose of prayer as the last days counted down.  Finishing well is important in the race of life and for the Christ-follower.  Whatever we do, in word or deed, all must be done for God’s glory.  He alone is worthy of all glory and dominion!  Amen!

Faith Confession:  I recognize we are living in the last of the last days and will continue to pray for God’s wisdom and strength to do all He has directed me to bring glory to Him alone.  Praise His Holy Name!

Proverbs 10:29-30 “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.  The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.”

 

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Jesus: Superior to Angels!

Scripture reading for October 14th:  Hebrews 1

The writer of Hebrews, who is not identified by name, wrote primarily to Jewish believers concerning the superiority of Jesus to the old covenant that they were raised under.  He used a style close to classical Greek and gave encouragement and warning to the believers about the dangers of apostasy–falling away from the faith.  It speaks to the church today when many are abandoning the faith!

Before the time of the New Testament, God spoke to His people through the prophets.  These prophets were moved on by God to write about the One who would come as the Messiah.  But when Jesus Christ came, God spoke a final and complete Word through His Son.  “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.  After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.  So He became as much superior to the angels as the Name He has inherited is superior to theirs.”  (Hebrews 1:3-4)

The first comparison the author makes is that Jesus Christ is far superior to angels.  Jesus Christ is the exact representations of God’s being and glory.  The angels are created beings, the Son is eternal.   Jesus’ Name is above every other name given under heaven.  Only Jesus made provision for purifying man from his sins.  Only Jesus is seated at God’s right hand!  Angels are ministering servants but the Son rules!  “But about the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.””  (Hebrews 1:8)  Jesus sits far above all angels and humans ruling ’till I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet.”  (Hebrews 1:13)  

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The godly will suffer persecution!

Scripture reading for October 6th:  2nd Timothy 3

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.”  (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)  Paul impressed on Timothy and upon us the coming  difficult times.  These times would be difficult because of the rising rebellion against God and godliness.  Some of this would come from those calling themselves ‘Christians’ but living like the world.  Sin would abound and believers must live holy lives in spite of the culture of rampant rebellion.  They must separate from those in the church who have only a form of godliness  but live without power.

“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings–. . Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will  be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  (2nd Timothy 3:10-13)  Paul pointed to his own life and present experience of suffering in jail  to remind Timothy and us that the godly will suffer persecution.  This would increase in the last days and believers and ministers should prepare themselves and the church to stand firm.  Jesus Christ would rescue them and promises ultimate victory!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)  The word of God was the primary instrument to equip the minister and the church!

 

 

 

 

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The ‘Last Days’ have come!

Scripture reading for May 7th:  Acts 2

The disciples obeyed their ascended Lord Jesus and waited in Jerusalem. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like a blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  (Acts 2:1-4)   Ten days after the ascension, on Pentecost morning, the promise was fulfilled.  The Holy Spirit came like a rushing wind with tongues of fire and touched each person of the 120 who were waiting there.  The immediate initial effect was speaking in other tongues.

When the sound came, a crowd gathered.  Many were there in Jerusalem for the celebration from around the known world.  They were perplexed when they heard these disciples speaking in their own languages and declaring the wonders of God!  They asked “What does this mean?”  (Acts 2:12)  Some thought they were drunk!

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:  “. . .these men are not drunk, as you suppose.  It’s only nine in the morning!  No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people.   Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.””  (Acts 2:14-18)   The ‘last days’ had arrived!  Peter boldly declared the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy!  It was for all Jesus’ followers then and now!

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God’s final Word!

Scripture reading for October 30th: Hebrews 1:1-14

We serve a living God!  This great God and Father of us all is a God who speaks to His people.  The Bible is the story of God’s speaking to man to reveal His plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The unnamed writer of Hebrews wrote to Jewish Christians who were going through intense persecution.  Some of them were tempted to return to their past religion.   The writer of Hebrews encourages them and us today to listen to God’s final Word!

“In  the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.  After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

God had spoken to His people many times in the past.  The Holy Scriptures contained the records of God’s communication with Moses, Noah, Abraham and the  many prophets.  But God’s final word came in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God appointed Jesus as heir of all things, having made the universe and all it contained through His powerful word.   Jesus Christ now upholds all things by His word and is the exact representation of God the Father.  It is through Jesus Christ that we have purification of our sins.  Jesus is now seated at God’s right hand in Heaven and is our mediator with God on our behalf.

The Jews understood and reverenced angels.  Hebrews declared that Jesus was superior to angels in many ways.  (Hebrews 1:4-14)  His name was above all other names.  Jesus was declared the Son of God and  His Father declared that all angels should worship Him.  The Father declared His Son was  ‘God’ and gave Him a throne and kingdom lasting forever.  His Son would be eternal and would outlast the creation He made.  The angels were only ministering spirits, sent to serve the heirs of salvation.

Have you listened to God’s final Word from heaven?  Do you want to know what God is like?   Listen to Jesus and observe His life and teaching!  He is worthy of our worship!

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Equipped to serve!

Scripture reading for October 24th: 2nd Timothy 2:22-3:17

The last days would be full of trouble and terrible times for Christians.  Idolatry and godlessness would abound and selfishness would bring great violence and sin to the earth.  People would become lovers of pleasure and reject God as the supreme lover.  Even the church would be affected by those with just a form of godliness but no real power to live a holy life.  (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)  False teachers would also arise and oppose the truth of the Gospel and those who were faithfully preaching it.  Those living godly in Christ Jesus would suffer persecution. (2nd Timothy 3:12)

“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  . . And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2nd Timothy 2:22, 24-26)  Pastor Timothy must actively pursue God through prayer and the word.  The character of Christ will then enable him to effectively reach out to those who are opposing him.  All men are important to God and God wants them all saved.  (1st Timothy 2:4-5)  Satan is the one who is blinding them and has taken them captive to do his will.  The Gospel message, when presented with a loving spirit, will effectively break the bondage of the devil’s trap!

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2nd Timothy 3:14-17)  Timothy lacked nothing that he needed.   He had good teachers, the Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit.  The word of God thoroughly equipped him for every good work!  Is it working in you as well?

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Setting an example of godliness!

Scripture reading for October 19th: 1st Timothy 4:1-16

“The Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1st Timothy 4:1)   Paul told Timothy that there would be many false teachers to confront in these last times before Christ’s return.  These teachers would be full of demons which would bring doctrines that would cause people to depart from the true Gospel of salvation through faith.  These teachers would have their consciences cauterized so that they could not feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

But a minister of Christ would know the truth and teach it.  They would have nothing to do with these teachers, rather they would warn the believers to have nothing to do with them.  Not only that, they were to embody the truth by living in godliness by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (1st Timothy 4:8-10)  Only the Gospel has the power to bring godliness into our sinful lives through faith in Jesus Christ!

Preaching the Gospel is the life-calling of pastors and teachers.  “Command and teach these things.  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching.” (1st Timothy 4:11-13)   Paul told Timothy to move forward in his calling.  For a pastor this involved setting the example for the believers with your own life.  His ministry must be matched by his living.  If these contradicted each other, his message would be lost!

Timothy was to devote himself to public reading of God’s word!  (Romans 10:17)  The central focus of all a minister’s preaching and teaching must be the word of God!  Myths, jokes, and ‘old wives’ tales’ would not bring the change needed in the hearts of his flock!   “Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save yourself and your hearers.”  (1st Timothy 4:16) As you look for a church family today, evaluate what you are receiving from the pulpit ministry.  Is there an example of godliness and strong preaching and teaching of the word?  Beware of wolves in pastor’s clothes!

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Every effort is needed!

Scripture reading for November 29th: 2nd Peter 3:1-18

The last days, according to Peter, will bring scoffers and mockers of God and His truth.  Peter continued to remind the church about their need to stay close to God’s word and apply it to their lives.  Knowledge would be of no value if not applied!  A day of judgment was coming that would reveal the truth about our faith and Peter wanted his flock to be prepared and ready.  It would require some diligent effort on their part!

The mockers of the last days will use the failure of Jesus to come back again as He promised as a reason to leave the faith.    Peter pointed out that those of Noah’s day mocked Noah as he built the ark and warned of the coming judgment.  But there was a day when the earth was destroyed by water, just as God promised!  Peter also stated: “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (2nd Peter 3:7)

Why was God so slow in bringing about His promises then?  Peter stated God’s heart to the church so that they might have an answer for the scoffers.  “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:8-9)  God’s heart is merciful to those who are slow to believe and even to the mockers.  He is allowing them time to repent before the final judgment!

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people out you to be?” (2nd Peter 3:10-11)

Peter encouraged these believers to ‘make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” (2nd Peter 3:14)  Truth from God’s word calls for diligent action!  Every effort must be made to come to Christ and cling to His Gospel.  This truth is to be shared!  Jesus will come suddenly!

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Building Yourselves Up!

Scripture reading for December 23rd: Jude

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.  For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude3-4)

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus.  He became a follower and disciple of Christ and understood the salvation that Jesus bought and paid for.  It was not the cheap grace that was being peddled by some of the false teachers of his day and ours!  Jude wanted the church to contend earnestly for the faith that brought true repentance and a changed life.  This was the only kind of faith that could save and deliver a person from eternal condemnation.

The false teachers had come from the ranks of the church.  They were evidently taking the wonderful message of God’s grace and forgiveness of sins and making that a license to continue living in sin.  In doing so, they were actually denying Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of His own body and blood to deliver us from the power of sin.  (Romans 6:11-14)  Sin is no longer our master, but by His Spirit we can overcome sin’s grip!  These false teachers were teaching believers that they could continue to live in sin and that God’s grace would cover their sins, thus dividing the church.  Jude wrote that this lie would lead to eternal condemnation and separation from God!

Jude had a remedy:  “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in the God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 20-23)  The fight of faith requires Spirit inspired prayer!  This builds us up and keeps us in God’s river of love.  It enables us to reach out to those who struggle and snatch them from the fire!  Fight the good fight of faith!

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Then the End Will Come!

Scripture reading for October 13th: Matthew 24-25

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately.  “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)  Jesus’ disciples were responding to a statement that Jesus made as they had left the temple.  He had stated that every stone would be thrown down in the beautiful temple.  The disciples knew that Jesus was coming back again and the present age would end.  This question is important for us today, because we are still waiting for Jesus to return.  Let’s look again at Jesus’ insight!

The first sign of the end, according to Jesus, was the rise of false teachers and prophets.  (Matthew 24:4-5)  Deception of people by satanic religious lies would be wide-spread right before the end.  These false prophets would claim to be sent by God and to speak for God.  Some of them would even claim to be “Christ” and many people would fall for their lie!

There would also be an increase in wars and political unrest among the nations.  This would be coupled with natural disasters such as earthquakes and famines around the world.  These factors would cause much fear and distress among the inhabitants of the earth just before Jesus would come.  These things were likened to “birth pains” that preceded the coming of a baby.  When they began to happen, look out!  (Matthew 24:6-8)

The next sign was persecution of believers.  Followers of Jesus Christ would be hated by all nations and put to death for their faith.  Because of the persecution, many would fall away and others’ love for Christ would grow cold.  There would be those among the faithful who would betray others and false teaching would cause divisions in the body of Christ.  This would call for perseverance and patience on the part of true followers of Christ.

The final sign Jesus gave concerned the mission of His followers.  “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)  As believers in the last day, the mission of reaching the nations must not be dropped!  Jesus is patiently waiting for His followers to preach His Gospel to all nations.  Are you doing your part?

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