Sep 18 2014

The Trap of the Almost Christian

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John Wesley said, “Ever since the Christian religion was in the world, there have been many in every age and nation, who were ‘almost persuaded to be Christians.’ But seeing it avails nothing before God, to go only thus far.”[1]

Luke wrote in Acts about the apostle Paul’s confrontation with King Agrippa, Paul says, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains (Acts 26:27–29).”

Almost persuaded. The truth is almost is not enough.

In the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24–30) one of the applications Jesus teaches is that the tares represent something degenerate. They are worthy to be burned. He’s clearly talking about someone who isn’t genuinely saved. They may look the part; talk the part; act the part, but deep down they are “almost” Christians.

Tares represent the almost Christian. They exist among the wheat (what John Wesley calls the “altogether Christian”), hearing the Word, believing it to some degree, but lacking true conversion. They never take the next step in their faith to complete and total surrender to Jesus.

Pastor David Platt in his book Follow Me puts it this way:

“Churches are filled with supposed Christians who seem content to have casual association with Christ while giving nominal adherence to Christianity. Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves acknowledging certain facts or saying certain words. But this is not true. Disciples like Peter, Andrew, James, John show us that the call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer, it’s a summons to lose our lives”[2]

Friend, if you’re a tare or are an almost Christian, it’s sinful poison. You’re only hope of being set free is really understanding your current spiritual condition because you’re partaking of the devil himself and need to repent immediately!

The fact is that at some point Jesus will clean and separate the precious from the worthless, the wheat from the chaff, the wheat from the tares. It’s your decision, but remember the almost Christian sets aside so much of the life Christ died to give.

If you’re an almost Christian here’s some of what you’re missing:

  • The fullness of Jesus and all He has for you
  • The power of the Holy Spirit continually filling your life
  • The joy of completely resting in Jesus and His plan for your life
  • The peace of living in His will and not wandering from this way to that way.

Quoting Pastor Platt, “Superficial religion involves a counterfeit Christian life that consists of nothing more than truths to believe and things to do, and it misses the essence of what it means to follow Jesus.”[3]

Don’t fall into the trap of simply be “almost” as King Agrippa or others in the church. Go to God and take seriously, with Him, your current spiritual condition. Don’t wait until it’s too late—repent, confess your sin and get right with God.



[1] John Wesley, preface by John Emory, The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M. Vol. 1, (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane for the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1840), 20

[2] David Platt, Follow Me, (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), 3–4

[3] IBID, p. 66

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Sep 16 2014

While Men Slept: The Problem of Apathy

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Have you ever noticed that it’s easier for problems or challenges to surface when we let our guard down? When we “fall asleep at the switch” as the old adage reminds us?

In the parable of the wheat and tares Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”

In Jesus’ day, after a field had been sown with wheat, a mischief-maker might sneak over and sow darnel (tares) over the original crop. Darnel looks almost identical to wheat, but it has no market value.

The success of the mischief-maker was the fact that men were asleep. They were not paying attention. Then, as the wheat grew and matured they looked around and said, “Hey, how did this happen?” Their sleeping, literally their apathy, led them to cluelessness and a possibility of destroyed crops or harvesting crops of no value.

It’s my strong feeling that the American church has fallen prey to the Enemy, the supreme mischief-maker, while men (and women) are lethargically sleeping. The church has become apathetic instead of heeding Peter’s words, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).”

Peter says, as he closes his letter, “Let me remind you, children, that you are in a war and that this is a very serious war with a very identifiable enemy.”

Friends, we are in a war. Many churches and good church-going people are being duped into apathy. They don’t see the reality of the Enemy and his encircling ways to take our minds and hearts away from what we know (the wheat).

How do we bring ourselves out of this attitude of apathy?

Peter says, “Be sober, be vigilant.” Just two words, but they come in staccato like rapid fire to grab our attention. He’s reminding us that we have to have a certain mindset about living the Christian life.

Yes, in verse seven Peter tells us, “Cast all of your care upon the Lord for He cares for us.” But before he gets here he reminds us that while we are not to worry, we are to watch. While it is true that we are to give our burdens to the Lord, that doesn’t mean that we switch our minds to “off” and we walk willy-nilly through the world oblivious to all that is going on around us. People don’t fall asleep when they are ordered to watch, be sober and be vigilant. Instead we are alert to the mischief-maker and his bag of tricks.

Being sober means we’re seeing life as it really is. It implies that we don’t allow ourselves to be fooled by the world. Instead you look at it and see full at its face and take it for what it really is. Are you willing to “be sober?”

Being vigilant means to be awake and to be watchful.  It indicates spiritual alertness.  It has for an emphasis one’s focus of attention, always looking, always watching. Are you willing to “be vigilant?”

If you said yes to both questions you will assure yourself of not falling into the apathy trap. You will be alert and awake to what is happening and take action to stop it.

If you answered “no,” then you need to wake up. Don’t let yourself be fooled and wake up one morning asking “what happened?” Take Peter’s advice seriously because the Enemy is lurking and desires to have you in a stupor, asleep and apathetic.

 

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Sep 11 2014

O God, Bend Me!

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Before any revival happens there is always an honest evaluation of our spiritual condition, a desperation for God’s restoration and an intercession for God’s salvation. God responds to honest, desperate and praying people.

If we, our church, this nation, and this world are to have revival, we must have these three foundational ingredients in our hearts because apart from these nothing will happen.

So, let’s start with the first one—what does an honest evaluation of our spiritual condition look like?

Let me share a story from the Welsh revival in 1904.

Evan Roberts came from a typical Welsh family and was the son of godly parents. He started working in the Welsh mines at twelve years old. He took his Bible everywhere and he regularly studied it. One night, in the spring of 1904 God drew him even closer. In his words, “He prayed by his bedside at night and he was taken up into a great expanse—without space or time—into communion with God.”

Before this moment, Evan Roberts was afraid of God, but after this, God awakened him nightly and took him up into divine fellowship for about four hours. Fear turned to awe and worship. This special time with God continued for several months. Evan was entering Bible School, and one evening the Reverend Seth Joshua took Evan and a group of twenty young people To Blaenanerch to attend meetings.

“Singing and praising they reached Blaenanerch in time for seven o’clock service which was being conducted by one of the missioners. Evan Roberts was already deeply moved, but he quite broke down when at the close Mr. Joshua led in prayer and used the words, “Plyg ni, O Arglwydd”—“Bend us, O Lord.” [Evan] heard no words but these. “This is what you need,” whispered the Spirit of God. “Bend me, O Lord,” he cried.”

Evan Roberts stayed for the next service. He later said, “I fell on my knees with my arms over the seat in front of me and the tears flowed freely. I cried, ‘Bend me! Bend me! Bend us!’”

Evan Roberts went on to be one of the leaders of the Welsh revival. He followed God’s command to spread the Gospel to his nation and well beyond. [1]

J. Edwin Orr wrote, The Welsh Revival was: “the farthest reaching of the movements of general awakening, for it affected the whole of the evangelical cause in India, Korea and China, renewed revival in Japan and South Africa, and sent a wave of awakenings over Africa, Latin America and the South Seas.”[2]

Evan Roberts played a huge part in the Welsh revival. He recognized society’s pitiful condition, he recognized that he first needed God’s bending and he followed the Holy Spirit’s leading to do great and mighty things. Evan Roberts heeded to an honest evaluation of his own spiritual condition. He “bent” to God’s will and God’s way. Then, he went out, with God’s power, to change his nation.

What about you? Do you see the perilous times we are living in today? Are you looking for revival? Are you first open to some bending? Let’s pray that prayer together—O God Bend me! Then, let’s open our hearts to what God has for us individually and as a church.



[1] Taken from Jessie Penn-Lewis, The Awakenking in Wales: A First-hand Account of the Welsh Revival of 1904, (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 1993), pp. 65–75

[2] Elmer L. Towns and Douglas Porter, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, (Gospel Light Publications, 2000), 36

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Sep 9 2014

William Wilberforce—One Man Who Changed His Times

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Revival doesn’t have to begin with a tent meeting or a special service that meets on Wednesday from 7 to 9 PM. It can happen when one person looks deeply into their own spiritual condition, is desperate for God and seeks His plan through prayer and intercession. One person can start a revival.

William Wilberforce (1759–1833) was just such a person. You can read the details of his life in Eric Metaxas’ fine book (which I recommend) Amazing Grace. Some of you may have seen the movie of the same title, but the movie, while good, doesn’t come close to help us know the passion of this godly man who not only helped end the slave trade in England, but also had massive impact on England’s spiritual and moral fabric.

Wilberforce was such a man of God and a man who inspired others that Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship actually gave out a Wilberforce award to someone for:

Making a significant impact on the social ills of the day through personal effort, skill, and influence; for showing perseverance and selflessness in combating injustice, even to the point of willingness to sacrifice personal comfort, career, and reputation; for making a positive change in the values and character of society—“reforming manners”—through personal witness, example, and education; and for serving as an exemplary witness for Christ.[1]

Wilberforce became a Christian at 25. He struggled early with his faith and his chosen life as a politician. His mentor and friend, John Newton a former slave trader who became a Christian and penned the famous hymn “Amazing Grace,” told him, “It is hoped and believed that the Lord has raised you up for the good of His church and the good of the nation.” This advice helped him to search for his calling in politics.

Christ radically changed Wilberforce. He was no longer short tempered and he gave up pursuing the “good life” of 18th century England to develop himself spiritually and mentally. He spent hours reading his Bible and seeking God’s help to mold his character and bring about revival in all of the British Empire.

Wilberforce was hardly a charismatic leader. He suffered greatly from ailments and many times he was bedridden and in tremendous pain. So how did he do what he did?

To paraphrase Eric Metaxas from his book Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness, he:

Realized he could not do it in his own strength. John Wesley sent him a letter early in his campaign against slavery where he “felt compelled to warn young Wilberforce that to fight in one’s own strength was insanity; but to rely on God was to be assured of victory, even if one did not get to see it with one’s own eyes.”[2]

The second way Wilberforce did what he did was through prayer. “Wilberforce prayed and read the Scriptures every day; and he prayed with many others over these issues.”[3] He memorized Scripture including all of Psalm 119. He held fast to God’s Word and in the intimate contact and intercession with God.

Third, he relied on help from his Christian brothers and sisters. He wasn’t a “Lone Ranger.”  He sought out others for strength, combined prayer and advice.

A few days before his death, slavery was abolished in all of Great Britain. Wilberforce brought about revival. He brought the hope of Jesus Christ to literally millions of people worldwide. He changed Parliament as it’s said that when he left office nearly all of the British Parliament were born again believers. Most can trace their salvation to Wilberforce or someone in his community of believers.

Are you a William Wilberforce? Are you ready to seek God’s help and guidance to have an affect on your family, your church, your city, and your state? The nation?

Start with examining your spiritual condition. Seek Him for restoration and for direction. Then pray alone and with others.

Let’s be praying for revival and how we all can be involved.



[1] Eric Metaxas, 7 Men and the Secrets of Their Success, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2013), 32

[2] ibid. 48

[3] Ibid

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Sep 4 2014

God’s Deliverance

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We’ve been examining Ezekiel 38 and 39 over the last few weeks. Chapter 38 focuses on the threat from the Ten Most Wanted (Gog and the nations) who are opposed to God and His people. Chapter 39 concentrates more on the deliverance of God’s people from that threat.

Our God is a God of deliverance. Chapter 39 is but one example of how God provides deliverance. I can surely attest that He delivered me, big time.

Let me give you an example of His deliverance from the New Testament. In Luke’s Gospel, chapter eight we find Mary Magdalene. Before she met Jesus she was a deeply afflicted woman. Mary was a woman who had been demon possessed but was set free from this awful condition by Jesus Christ. In fact, she was not just possessed with one demon—seven had possessed her!

The very moment that Jesus’ compassionate eyes saw the wild-eyed and cringing woman of Magdala, He commanded the tormenting demons to come out of her and stay out of her, and immediately, she was set free. On that day everything about Mary Magdalene changed.  She was delivered, healed and returned, clothed and in her right mind to her home and family.

Just as God delivered the Israelites from Gog and the Ten Most Wanted in Ezekiel 39, He delivered Mary. Whatever she might have been like before she met Jesus, what happened to her that day changed everything in her life. Her “death” was turned into life, as we read in Ephesians 2:1, and her darkness was turned into light, as we read about in Ephesians 5:8.

What can we learn from Mary and from Ezekiel 39? Two things for sure:

Scripture shows us what God can do for us. Friends, no one is outside the reach of a loving God. Mark 16:9 says, “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” Of all the disciples and other people who followed Jesus He chose Mary. It shows me that no matter how far we may feel we are away from God, when God gets hold of our heart and our life, we can are close to Him and everything He has for us. He wants to deliver us and He will deliver us.

While the world is certainly crazy, this passage reminds us that in all of our trials, in our sadnesses, and our loss and worry over what’s happening, the Lord Jesus cares about us intimately. He comes to some of you today and He says to you, “Why are you worrying,” because the Lord is risen and you are not without hope. He is alive and your hope can live again. He delivers.

Secondly, Ezekiel and Mary show us what we can do for God. Yes, it’s true as we live in these times and we recognize that God is in charge and fully capable of delivering us, we need to look at what we can do because of Him. The Israelites returned to their land and knew God (Ezekiel 39:22,28). The enemy was defeated. They returned to God. Mary’s life was radically changed and her response was to become a strong voice of testimony to the risen Christ and I’m sure that she gave her testimony of her changed life many times. As a result of God’s deliverance on her life she passionately told others.

We need to do the same. If God has delivered us (and He has) we need to let that story be told and our lives need to reflect it everywhere we go—not just at church, but everywhere from our job to the parking lot of the local grocery store. In these perilous times we need to shout Jesus and deliverance every time we have an opportunity.

What God did for the Israelites and Mary He can do for you. That’s the hope of these passages of Scripture. The fact is He wants to do it for you. If your heart is broken, and you’re losing hope. If you’ve tried everything without success, please look to Jesus. He will save you. He will hear you. He will deliver you.

 

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Aug 28 2014

Which Side Will You Choose?

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Friends, God uses prophetic voices like Ezekiel’s to tell us about events that are going to happen—He literally tells us what is going to happen before it happens. Today’s news seem like they are being ripped directly from the Bible. God has told us these things will happen and we see, right in the news that they are continuing to happen.

He has a question for you—what are you going to do about it?

You might be one of three types of people who are reading this Blog article:

First you may be the person who never in their life has met Jesus Christ. Maybe you went to church, maybe you didn’t, but along the way you never truly met Jesus. You didn’t know there was passion and life available to you. You didn’t know that God loves you so much that He gave His only son for you. You’re looking at world events and your questioning and searching for more than just what you can find here on earth. You are in the “valley of decision and you’re trying to make up your mind for Jesus or against Jesus.

The second group is the undecided.  If you are in this group I’m going to be open and candid with you—to be undecided is to be decided. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me (Matthew 12:30).” There is no middle ground.

The third group of people has met Jesus at some point. It was real and you walked with Him for some amount of time. But, something happened—whatever happened or didn’t happen you find yourself in a place where you are not walking with Him. Your head and your heart are full of doubt. You are caught up in things you never thought you’d be doing. You are what the Bible calls, “backslidden.” You have wandered from the fold. You are a prodigal and you wonder if you can come home.

Whichever group you are in, you’ve got a decision to make, friend. You need to make a decision for Jesus. You are not reading this by mistake. The Bible says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you (Jeremiah 31:3).” Today, right this minute, God wants to forgive you and make your sin that is as red as crimson, as white as wool. He wants to cleanse you from top to bottom, inside and out. He wants to draw you to His loving arms. You just have to make a decision for Him.

I can tell you that there is the grace and mercy of a loving Father who is ready to put a robe on your back, a ring on your finger, and sandals on your feet and throw a party if you will return (Luke 15:11–32). But, you’ve got to choose! Don’t fool around. The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said, “Brethren, do something, do something, do something!” [1]

Friend, make a decision. Say, “yes” to Jesus. He is waiting!

 

 



[1] Ray Comfort, How to Win Souls and Influence People, (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 1999), e-Book edition

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Aug 26 2014

Crazy or Clarity

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There is one thing that brings clarity to crazy times—the fact that God is in charge. As long as we’re on God’s team, we can have hope, peace, and yes, clarity.

Proverbs 21:1 tells us, “The King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills (NKJV).” The world powers may not realize it, they may not even believe in God. But God still has the power to work in and through them to meet the needs of His people and to accomplish His will and eternal plan. Clarity is knowing that God is in charge and can work through even the most evil men or circumstances to accomplish His purposes.

Authors and Bible teachers H. Wayne House and William Grover wrote:

You can trust God at all times because “power belongs to God”! This is what we need to remember in our times of greatest difficulty, when we wonder if God is really in charge. Though this world is on a frenzied roller coaster ride jarring and turning and rising and falling, God is not just another passenger on the roller coaster. Though our lives may seem to be bouncing freely out of control, we must keep in mind we see things from a limited perspective. God has a plan in all this that should give us optimism even when we suffer. This divine plan means that all things, even tragic things, that happen to us are under the sovereign, divine dominion of almighty God who loves us dearly. God has power; He is in charge![1]

Deuteronomy 32:39 gives us a vivid picture. It says, “See now that I am He, and there is no god beside Me; I kill and I make alive, I wound and heal, and there is none who can deliver out of my Hand.”

God alone is in charge. He alone saves and He alone destroys. The Believer’s Bible Commentary says, “He has sworn by Himself (for there is no one greater) to deal with His adversaries.”[2] He is in charge over everything and every adversary.

Let me ask you, are you looking for clarity in your life? Are you worried about the craziness of current events? Do you truly believe that God is in control of every circumstance and that He is in charge?

Are you willing to trust Him to take care of you?

Or are you on the wrong team? Are things crazy? Are you stubborn and demanding your own way? Are you fighting against God every day and every time an opportunity comes for you to get right with Him?

Which person are you? Let me say that God loves you and He died for you. It’s not scary to let Him be in charge, it’s absolute freedom to trust and know Him. Knowing Him brings clarity to your life.

If you don’t know Him, will you take that step before another day crazy day without clarity goes by?



[1] H. Wayne House, William Glover, Does God Feel Your Pain? Finding Answers When life Hurts, (Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishers, 2009), 73

[2] William MacDonald, edited by Art Farstad, Believers Bible Commentary, (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1990), e-Sword edition

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Aug 21 2014

The Best Kind of Fear

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We live in perilous, yet exciting times. We witness tragedy every day in the Middle East and other parts of the world. We read our Bibles and can witness God’s prophecy revealed in the very headlines we’re reading or watching.

While we might have a tendency to be afraid, I’d like to point us to another kind of fear—a positive fear that we need to talk about and stand upon every hour, and minute of every day—The fear of the Lord.

I know I’ve lost about half of you by saying this because you think I’m suggesting about some heavy-handed, legalistic, mean-spirited kind of fear. Please don’t quit reading because that is not what I’m writing about.

We need to totally re-think about this concept of fear of the Lord. We need to realize it’s fabulous. We need to realize that the fear of the Lord brings us everything we’d ever want in life. It brings incredible peace, and joy in every season, even one that’s filled with tragedy and, from the world’s perspective, hopelessness.

Fear of the Lord unlocks the absolute bounty of Almighty God. How? Let me quickly share some insights.

It’s a different type of fear. I’d encourage you to read Psalm 33:10. In this verse we can realize that fear of the Lord means that we have great reverence for Him and out of that radical reverence, we want to walk in His way, His Will and in His Promises. So, we’re not “afraid” of God, we are embracing Him in reverence and awe for who He is, what He has done and what He will do.  It’s a totally different kind of fear.

It’s the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When we fear the Lord it opens the door for wisdom in our minds and hearts. To fear the Lord is to put a reverential trust in Him that helps us to do things to please Him and avoid the things that displease Him.

The fear of the Lord is timeless. We can pick up our Bibles and see the fear of the Lord from Genesis to Revelation. It’s that important. God has spoken of the fear of the Lord all the way through His sacred, God-inspired writings.

It touches every area of our lives. The fear of the Lord is practical—in every season we face and in every place we are. The fear of the Lord touches nations, it touches businesses, it touches churches, it touches your workplace and it touches your family. The fear of the Lord touches how you worship and how you serve the body of Christ. The fear of the Lord is an all-encompassing truth that penetrates every area of our lives.

As we look at today’s news we can be scared or reverent. We can question God, or we can look to Him with awe, thanksgiving and the peace of mind that He is in control and if we fear Him, and follow His Word, His Will and His Ways, we’ll draw nearer to His perfect protection, plan, and peace.

If you are reading this post and are afraid, please look up, not out. Fix your eyes on the God of the Universe who loves you unconditionally. Replace angst with awe and reverence.

If you’re reading this post and you’re not scared—you don’t have fright but you have reverence and awe, stay there! Learn more of what it is—the fear of the Lord—because it’s going to unlock the bounty of God’s goodness in your life because He is so awesome.

 

 

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Aug 19 2014

Waking Up to What’s Going On

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As we read today’s headlines and see all that unfolding in the Middle East, and other places, we need to wake up, realize what is happening especially in light of biblical prophecy. We need to be aware as God let’s us know what’s going to happen before it happens.

How we need to respond to these times brings to mind the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew. 25:1–13.

First, Jesus introduces five wise virgins. A spirit of expectancy marked these women. They were constantly watching and waiting for the coming bridegroom.

They also were prepared. They had oil in their lamps and their vessels (base-like plates or reservoirs) so their lamps would keep burning as long as it was necessary. Oil in the New Testament represents the Holy Spirit. These five wise virgins are like those filled with the Holy Spirit.

There were also informed. They knew they had to have their own oil. Nobody could get it for them—they could not rely on anything or anyone else but God.

Because they lived expectantly, waited patiently, worked to prepare, and sought the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the virgins were asked into the wedding when the bridegroom came

The foolish virgins, on the other hand, were not prepared. They were not informed. They didn’t realize they could not ride other people’s coattails. They didn’t know the truth from the Word, so they wasted time and energy on foolish things instead of asking and receiving what God had for them.

The bridegroom told the foolish virgins, “I never knew you.” They could be compared to “almost Christians.” They were in the number but not active in the body. In the end, they were left out. The Bible says, “And the door was shut” Matthew 25:12).

Jesus ends this parable by saying, “Therefore keep watch, because you never know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

We need to be like the five wise virgins by watching and being ready. We can’t have out head in the sand or simply wait and rely on others. We need to make a choice to know what’s happening and be ready.

How do we do that?

We possess a kingdom heart. We see what we do, what we have and the opportunities God places before us through a heart that is totally focused on His kingdom, heaven. We see eternally, not just locally. Our hearts are open and ready to be used for kingdom purposes.

We read the Word. We’ve been looking at current events through the lens of biblical prophecy (Ezekiel 38). We all need get a firm grasp of what God’s Word is telling us. We need to read it with our eyes, and hearts, wide open. We can’t stubbornly refuse to be prepared and fall into the same trap of the foolish virgins. We need to be informed and prepared by God’s Word.

We live expectantly.  When we live expectantly, we are living with hope. We are looking upward with confidence that God is in control of all things. When we live expectantly, we are like the five wise virgins who were waiting patiently and fervently for the Bridegroom.

Are you awake? Are you looking at today’s headlines with a kingdom heart and through the lens of what God said in His Word? Are you expectant? Are you spiritually prepared for the days ahead?

Steve Berger is Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel in Leipers Fork, TN. His latest book is titled Between Heaven and Earth and is available in print and electronic formats from all major booksellers.

 

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Aug 14 2014

The Assurance of Bible Prophecy

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In my last post, God’s Ten Most Wanted, I wrote about the certainty and accuracy of biblical prophecy. God tells us what’s going to happen before it happens!

To develop this point further we only need to look at two Scriptures. First is Isaiah 46:9–10. It says, “Remember the former things of old, 
For I am God, and there is no other; 
I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, 
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, 
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, 
And I will do all My pleasure,’”

Theologian and Bible commentator Albert Barnes (1798–1870), writing about this verses, made the following points:

Declaring the end from the beginning—foretelling accurately the course of future events. This is an argument to which God often appeals in proof that He is the only true God.

My counsel shall stand—My purpose, my design, my will. The phrase ‘shall stand’ means that it shall be stable, settled, fixed, established.

And I will do all my pleasure—I will accomplish all my wish or effect all my desire. God would accomplish everything which was to Him and object of desire; everything which He wished, or willed.”[1]

Clearly, God is in charge and He lets His children in on what’s going to happen, and it happens!

The second Scripture is 2 Peter 1:19. It reads, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The word “confirmed” means steadfast or hard. Much like concrete, prophecy is “cemented” into our hearts as true, sure and complete.

Writing about this verse, pastor, evangelist and Bible commentator F.B. Meyer (1847–1929) recalled Peter’s moment on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter sees and hears first-hand prophecy fulfilled. On that mount and through Jesus’ teaching and life Peter witnessed prophecy fulfilled. It was deeply rooted in his heart—cemented as sure and confirmed.

Friends, we need to have the same attitude toward biblical prophecy. We need to know, deeply cemented in our hearts, that God’s prophecy is sure. We need to pay attention to it because it is as light in the dark places.

We also need to respond to it with an eternal vision, not one that’s rooted in the world’s things and ways. God is in charge even when it looks like we are outnumbered and under attack. He is Lord over all things and is working to fulfill His plan for us and the world.

Are you changing your vision in light of today’s headlines and the unfolding of God’s prophecy right in front of you? God’s prophecy is sure, it needs to be cemented into our hearts and minds and lead us to maximum eternal vision and focus on Him, His will and His way for us.

Are you with me?



[1] Albert Barnes, Notes on the Book of Prophet Isaiah, Volume 2, (New York: Leavitt & Allen, 1853), 176

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