Saturday, July 9, 2016

Signs of the Time

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2 Timothy 3:1

Many people speculate on when Jesus is returning to take those that follow Him away; also known as the rapture.  But Jesus said

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Matthew 24:36-37

The bible records the days of Noah as exceedingly evil:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  Genesis 6:5

Today I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine and it really made me think of the times in which we are now living. It sounds just like the description of the days of Noah.  

¨    Though the human side of me detests all of the hatred leading to the senseless killings that are rampant today, 

¨     though I am saddened in my heart as I see more and more suicides and attempted suicides among every status of society, 

¨     though I simply hate what the rampant use and abuse of drugs is doing to our children and has done to a large portion of our adult society regardless of the race, 

¨     though I abhor the total loss of morality in regards to sexuality and marriage no matter the gender, 

¨     though I am baffled by the same sex/homosexual and same sex marriage issue, 

I am fully aware of what the word of God says in relation to these times we are now living. 

Because the word of God tells us of the things preceding Jesus' second coming. we should not be surprised at the cruel, heartless and downright evil activity that is at epidemic proportions today. 

Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals.

Apostle Paul describes the nature of people as worded above in this manner:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 3:1-7

Those of us who believe in God and His word should recognize that we are living in the end times and thus we should be more about our heavenly Father’s business more now than ever before. 

God would not have us ignorant.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;  2 Timothy 3:14

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

We know that through His word that when the world knows of God, then the end is coming.  Yes, we mourn the senseless deaths, the moral decay that has eaten away the very fabric of our society but saints, it is time to look up; be as the sons of Issachar and recognize the signs of the times.  

Come on church (body of Christ) let’s do our part and put an end to the gross darkness that has taken over the world.  This is not the time to be vying over church positions, arguing over religions and other insignificant things.  We need to be prayerful, be praying, be alert and be sharing the good news of Jesus!

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.   Matthew 24:14

Biblical Studies

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Growing up in God

Image result for 1 Peter 1:5-7

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  1 Peter 1:5-7

Spiritual maturity helps us maintain God's standard and also helps us achieve emotional maturity. If we lack emotional maturity, important decisions may be made in a fit of anger or self-pity. This can have disastrous long-range results.

As we mature spiritually we will develop the "Fruit of the Holy Spirit" which is evidence of spiritual maturity that results in emotional maturity:  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

. . . But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. . .  Romans 12:2

Spiritual maturity leads finally to transformation, another prerequisite that enables us to know the voice of God. What natural man (human nature) desires to do and what God desires for our life is different. This creates a conflict between the flesh (natural man) and the spirit (spiritual man).

Apostle Paul wrote of this conflict:  

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things ye would.  Galatians 5:17

Apostle Paul recognized there is a continuing struggle of the flesh against the spirit in matters relating to the fulfilling of God's will. He identified this struggle as taking place in the mind:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
  Romans 7:23

Because of this he urged:  

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2)

The word "beseech" means to plead, implore, or beg. The phrase "present your bodies a living sacrifice" indicates an unreserved surrender to God.

To offer something for a sacrifice means to give it up completely. In the Old Testament when a sacrifice was made, it was given completely to God to be burned with fire, consumed by the priest, or both, as the law indicated. The giver of the sacrifice had no further claim to it.

So it must be in our surrender to God. The natural man, the old self nature, must die to the world and the flesh. This is what is meant by "transformation." It is being changed into another image patterned after the Lord Jesus Christ:  

I am crucified with Christ.  Galatians 2:20

They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh.  Galatians 5:24

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.   1 Corinthians 9:27

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Romans 6:12

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.  (Romans 6:11)

Actual physical crucifixion, as Jesus experienced, is an unnatural death. There is significance in the fact that the death prescribed for the self-nature is crucifixion. The fleshly nature of man will never die a natural death. It will not die voluntarily. It must be put to death by force just as in actual crucifixion in the natural world.

As Apostle Paul lets us know, such surrender precedes the knowledge of God's will. If we want to know God's voice and His will, we must first surrender. We often want to reverse the process. We want to know His will, then decide if we will surrender to it. But our ways are not God's ways and He says through His word to surrender by the transforming of our minds first and then we will come to know His good, acceptable and perfect will.  

The reason we are hesitant about surrender is because we do not understand God's will is always , good, acceptable and perfect. We are afraid to surrender to God totally because we have not grasped this basic concept; this declaration from God towards us:   

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

To be in God's divine will, we must totally surrender to Him. 

Biblical Studies