A Thief in the Night! – Part I

coffee

Well, I am up early again today and already on my first cup of coffee – French Vanilla today.     Ummm, love it.

This week I have gone back to my files and retrieved some notes from a sermon I preached several times while I was a pastor.

There are a lot of scriptures accompanying this post and I hope you will read those as well in their entirety, otherwise, you will not get the full meaning of what I am trying to say. So, fasten your seat belts…off we go.

seatbelt

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing….

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

  • Watch and pray
  • Watch, you do not know the day

If you are a farmer and

  • you want to reap corn, then plant corn
  • you want to reap soy beans, then plant soy beans
  • you want to reap wheat, then plant wheat

If you want to work in a factory, then work in a factory

BUT: If you want to be a witness, then be a witness whether you are a farmer, a factory worker, a housewife, a professional, a college student. No matter what, BE A WITNESS.

In other words:

  • be fruitful, bring in a great harvest to the kingdom.
  • be helpful.
  • lift others up, followers of Christ, and those who do not follow Christ.

No wonder Christ’s return is of importance to the Christian faith, as approximately one out of every thirty verses in the Bible mention this teaching. The coming of Christ, as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are not the coming I am speaking of in this post.

Christ’s return is mentioned in 318 references in 216 separate chapters. Entire books, for example 1 and 2 Thessalonians are devoted to the subject.  Entire chapters, including Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, are given over to it.

Christ’s return is the theme of the Old Testament prophets. The careful reader will quickly note that they sometimes merge Christ’s two comings so that it is not at first apparent that there are two comings of Christ, yet the teaching is there.

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow….1 Peter 1:10-11

Jesus bore constant testimony to His coming again.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also….John 14:1-3

The angels bear testimony to His second coming in:

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven….Acts 1:11

The apostles faithful proclaimed this truth:

Repent therefor and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before….Acts 3:19-20

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord….1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation….Hebrews 9:28

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming….1 John 2:28

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

The church is told to look forward to this great hope that we have in His second coming.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…Titus 2:11-13

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?…2 Peter 3:12

His second coming is a teaching from God’s Word that proves to be the greatest incentive to living a consistent Christian life.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect….Matthew 24:44

But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man….Luke 21:34-36

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming….1 John 2:28

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure….1 John 3:3

One question we should ask ourselves in all areas of life, especially some”gray” areas, is:

“Would I like to have Christ find me doing this when He comes?”

His second coming is a great comfort to all believers.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words….1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

Some scoffers say it is not going to happen. Why would something so comforting and helpful to the believer be spoken against or seldom, or not at all preached in the pulpit of our churches across the land?

There are many reasons some have for believing that lie from Satan.

  • The unbelief of the individual and, in general, the church
  • Preconceived ideas
  • Extravagant or non-scriptural predictions as to time
  • Lack of knowledge of the Scriptures
  • Failure of the churches to teach on this subject.

WELL, THAT IS THE FIRST HALF OF THIS POST…MORE TOMORROW.

How About Putting Jesus in Our Homes?

We see a lot of posts about putting Jesus back in the classroom.

Jesus in school

It amuses me a little when Christians complain that “Jesus is not in our schools anymore.”  Have they not read the Word of God that says

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there….

Psalm 139:7-8

or how about

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good….

Proverbs 15:3

If our children are serving the Lord, then He is there in the classroom because His Word also says

I am with you always, even to the end of the age…Matthew 28:20

Bu while we complain about God not being in our schools, perhaps we should be more concerned that He is in our homes.

God’s people on their knees seeking God for

  • revival in their own lives
  • revival behind our pulpits and in our pews,
  • revival in Washington DC.

If we allow the Bible in the classroom, in this multi-religious society that we live in, we will also have to allow Allah, the Koran, Buddha, hundreds of Hindu deities and all their books, Satanist and the other many cults.

To be truthful, I and you neither one want that scenario.

We need to take responsibility to teach our children about God at home and know the truth they are receiving. Then we need to pray that God will instill in them the truth of His Word.  Finally, we need to trust in God to cause that truth to take root and grow in their lives.

The Biblical pattern has always been that the home, the family is to be the one responsible for teaching the children about God.

Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates….Deuteronomy 6:4-9

And it is not just in the Old Testament where we are told it is the parents’ role to teach their children about God.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Do you really think having a teacher – who may or may not believe in Christ – lead your children in a prayer is going to make them good followers of Christ.

Let’s put Jesus in our homes – then He will be with us everywhere we go – school, work, the mall.  He does not live in a classroom, He lives in the hearts of those who commit their lives to Him.  And NO ONE can keep Jesus out of the schools for those children in whose hearts He resides.

family

 

 

 

Thoughts on Truth vs. Untruth

Yesterday I was on here at 3 am…well for an almost 78-year-old that makes for a long day. I did manage to get a two-hour nap in the afternoon and then went to bed at 8 pm as I could not hold my eyes open any longer. Well, needless to say I was awake at 10 pm…then back in bed at midnight…to the recliner in the living room and tried to read but fell asleep… back to bed at about 1 am.  You get the picture.

sleeping

As I was thinking, my thoughts turned to the very short book of Jude in the Bible. It has only 25 verses and is a quick read. In verses 5-19 (most of the chapter/book) it deals with  people sharing false teaching and refers to them in some very unflattering terms.

In modern language we would call them apostates, cults, strange, not understanding and I think I am being not too unkind. When you look at a pig, how do you describe it…it looks like a pig. When you look at a cow, how do you describe it…it looks like a cow.

Verse 12 describes them as

“clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots.”

verse 13 says

“raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

Verse 11 mentions three different individuals:

Cain – He was his own God
Balaam – He worshiped riches
Korah – He fomented rebellion

You do not need to be unkind to those who knock at your door…for the most part they are disillusioned but firmly believe what they believe. We need to show the love of Jesus to them. On a cold day we have invited them in our home and given them a hot cup of coffee and a friendly smile and let them warm up and they were ever so grateful.

But the best antidote to the false teaching is to know for yourself what the Bible says.  Paul wrote to Timothy

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

Truth

For interesting reading, go on Amazon and try finding a book called “Kingdom of the Cults” by Author Walter Martin, publisher Bethany House.

Martin says

” All cultic belief systems manifest a type of institutional dogmatism and a pronounced intolerance for any position but their own.”

This book is not an easy read but it sure is packed with the truth.

Healed by His stripes

At about 4 AM this morning…I rarely sleep for more than four or five hours nightly, I turned my attention to the Word of God.

Isaiah 53

Today I reread the familiar passage of Isaiah 53. I was particularly struck by a phrase in verse number five which says

“And by His stripes we are healed.”

In the work on the cross we all focus on

Salvation, Grace, Completion, Ultimate Love

But sometimes we let slip by some of the other things provided in the atoning work of Christ on the Cross. Another similar verse is in I Peter 2:24’s phrase

“by whose stripes you were healed.”

Isaiah is pointing forward to the cross and I Peter is pointing backward to the cross….the same work. It was accomplished. Each time we take communion we remember His death, His burial, and His resurrection but let us remember ALL that was accomplished there, on the cross, that terrible day but great day.

Let us never forget. As we partake of communion we can quietly also ask for the healing of our bodies, our wounded spirits, our suffering loved ones, our nation.

Oh wow!!!

Meditate on all that and give God the glory due his matchless Name.