Lesson 11 -- second quarter 2007
May 13, 2007
© Copyright 2007
Do we live in the end times?
Yes, I think so. The signs about us certainly seem to encourage that conclusion. More than 50 years have passed since the restoration of Israel. Knowledge has multiplied and continues to multiply at an incredible pace. Wars rage around the globe with more and greater ones looming on the horizon, roiling and churning like angry clouds steadily coming our way. Famines, droughts, floods, earthquakes, and other calamities also seem on the increase. And without question, sin has so enveloped the planet that it seems we are closer than ever to "the days that were before the flood" (Matthew 24:38). Yes, I really do think we live in the end times.
Or do I?
I mean, I give the intellectual assent of that first paragraph, but does my life show the urgency and focus of one living at the trailing edge of history?
"They that turn many to righteousness"
One trait of wisdom is shining as a bright life for Jesus so that others might follow "the path of the just" all the way "unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). You see, those who by their words and lives win others to righteousness are wise (Proverbs 11:30). So now that our names are in the book of life, let's lead more to the Lamb so their names also may be there!
Certain enough to live by
Recently, as He measures time, God made clear that any day He would bring time to a crashing conclusion. That will be a great day of reckoning and judgment. On that great and terrible day of the Lord, the earth shall burn away, the heavens shall be dissolved, and the elements themselves shall melt.
Do you believe it? If you don't, it doesn't make any difference -- it will happen anyway. If you do believe it, does it make a difference...in how you live? Or as God puts it in 2 Peter 3:11, "What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness...?"
My life proves (or disproves) my faith in God's pronouncement. I can say I believe, but if that doesn't lead me to holy, godly living, then I really don't believe. You see, those who "look for new heavens and a new earth" (2 Peter 3:13) will live their lives here and now striving diligently by the grace of God to "be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14).
"When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Yes! And may He find it in me and in you.
Some places I do not like to visit or even pass through. Some things I do not like to hear or see. Some people I prefer not to associate with. These all bring back memories and feelings which even yet can pain and trouble me. And even without those places, people, sights, and sounds to serve as triggers, occasionally I still remember. Then, if I am not on my guard and disciplined, I can go around and around as in a whirlpool, down, down, down.
But some day those memories shall flee away because God will "create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind" (Isaiah 65:17). Some day those mental sounds and images will be gone. And that day may be soon. Perhaps you will read these words at a time when all this is finally reality. Or perhaps you will never read these words because all of this is finally reality. (I don't pretend to know how it will all come to pass.) But whatever the case, that time of newness and freshness may come upon us at any time.
Are you ready? I believe I am ready. But millions are not. And among those millions are family members, friends, and other acquaintances. So I would just as soon that day didn't come yet, as wonderful as it sounds to me. The thought of these people being on the wrong side of eternity troubles my soul.
So what do you think I should do about the matter? And how about you?
Is your name written there?
The Lamb has a book in which millions of names have been written. Call it a members' roster or an admission list, if you will. Some day, everyone's name will be checked against it. "Every one that shall be found written in the book" (Daniel 12:1) shall experience final deliverance and redemption. Entrance into "that holy city, new Jerusalem" shall be granted only to those "which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:2, 27). Upon entering their eternal home, the saints shall begin to experience and understand that which Jesus spoke of in John 14:2,3 -- "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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
But your name must be written in that book of life!
Make sure you believe on the Son. Make sure you have the Lord. Only through faith in Jesus will your name appear in that book. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36). "He that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:12). There is no other way. Absolutely none.
Make sure you live in faithfulness to the Son. Be true to Him and He will leave your name in His book. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life" (Revelation 3:5). Once you have begun in the Way with Jesus, don't turn back. Don't even look back! Remember that those who "shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13).
So . . . is your name written there?
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Revelation 3:5). "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32). Be true to the Master in word and deed, and He will leave your name in His book. Furthermore, when you stand before God Himself, the Lamb shall speak for you!
Being an overcomer can look very difficult. Well, looks are not deceiving this time, because victorious Christian living is difficult. It's a battle, in fact. But the only wise God our Saviour "is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24). Amen!
Follow Him all the way home!
For Jesus' earliest disciples, following Him meant a change in occupation and style of living. It meant a radical change in their purpose for living. It meant personal sacrifice. It meant learning and relearning priorities. It meant an almost complete change of values. It meant forsaking all.
Jesus didn't show any disposition to make it easy for anyone to follow Him. At least once He commented, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord" (Matthew 10:24). In other words, His disciples could expect to live what He lived, how He lived, and why He lived. He set the highest standard for discipleship -- always deny yourself, always yield your will, always obey Him (Matthew 16:24). To try to get by with anything less declared a personal unworthiness of the Lord -- "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38).
But what about you today? What preconditions have you set for being a disciple? Under what circumstances do you decide to indulge yourself instead of obeying His Word? How much have you given up as a disciple? How much are you willing to give up?
Many of us even now attempt the impossible -- serving both self and Jesus, both the world and the Father. It can't be done! Those who refuse to quit trying will not succeed in following the Master all the way home.
|Share This Page|
Thoughts for the Week: Archive | RSS Feed | Sponsor adding more | Put it on your site!