Readiness in the last days – Part
The last days will be a period of the greatest challenge the Church has ever faced. They are days preceding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. John the Beloved calls on all believers to abide in Christ and in the experiences they have through Him so that when “he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
To avoid the shame of being rejected and left behind, we must be ready for the rapture. The Apostle affirmed and confirmed by the inspiration of the Spirit that, at his time, they were already living in the last days. This means that those of us alive now are living in the last hours of the last days.
Inspired by the same Spirit, Paul the apostle revealed activities that will signal the last days. There will be seducing spirits, which will affect, teach, influence and seduce people into the “doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”.
He further revealed that the last days shall be perilous and difficult as men would be “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. They would also have a form of godliness, “but denying the power thereof.”
The last days are days of deception and deadly distortions. The highest duty is to prepare the church for the rapture. The greatest preparation is for the individual believer to be rapture-ready and the greatest responsibility is to warn and win sinners to Christ so they will not perish with this sinful world.
The devil has a short time; he works unrelentingly to deafen and deaden as many as possible so that they will not hear, believe and embrace the true gospel. The characteristics of the last days require that believers urgently go out to preach, win and bring sinners out of their nominal and superficial Christianity into the Kingdom of God.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Many people claim to be members of bible-believing churches but their initial consecration is gradually fading. As a result, the church is becoming worldly. These conformists are lust-driven. They are controlled and motivated by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The passage reveals the command not to love the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15; Romans 12:1,2). This is a straightforward command to members, ministers and to everyone who claims to be in Christ.
Many people think that not loving the world has to do with only their appearance. The truth however is, when a believer’s heart and mind is centred on material things as if his life depends on them, he loves the world. Those whose minds are renewed by the Lord obey His command and they are hardly influenced and polluted by the world.
Two, the corruption of the lust of the flesh (1 John 2:16; 1 Peter 2:11; 2 Peter 2:14,17-22). The lust of the flesh brings corruption, leads astray and attracts defeat. We are admonished to “abstain” from them because they “war against the soul”, lead to “bondage” and deny the soul of the privilege of getting to heaven.
Three, the contamination of the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:6; Joshua 7:21). Eve was deceived and went astray through the lust of the eyes. Achan “saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment… and… coveted them.” Fleshly lusts damned his soul and we must avoid the same pitfall and fate.
Four, the condemnation of the pride of life (1 John 2:16; Daniel 4:30-33,37; Ecclesiastes 4:13). Pride is very dangerous and condemnable. It makes a person to lose his place/position in the Kingdom and be rejected by God. For pride, God turned the heart of Nebuchadnezzar to that of a beast and he lost his kingdom. When he recovered, he later realised that “those that walk in pride [God] is able to abase.”
Five, our continuation in the will of God (1 John 2:17; Matthew 7:21-23). Believers must keep on doing the revealed will of God. Rather than being offended when His word shows a blemish or flaw in our lives, we should go to Calvary and get cleansed. It is not those who prophesy or cast out devils in His name that “shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 John 2:28,18; 1 Timothy 4:1,2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1,2; 1 Peter 2:11; 2 Peter 2:14,17-22; Genesis 3:6; Joshua 7:21; Daniel 4:30-33,37; Ecclesiastes 4:13; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:18-23,26; 4:3; 2 John 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Hebrews 10:29; 2 Timothy 2:17,18; 1 John 2:24-29; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 5:5; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 12:1,7-11; 14:3; Romans 16:20; Mark 16:15-20.
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