Friday, 14 June 2013
HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE?
To live soberly and purposefully during these perilous end times, we need to arm ourselves with wisdom and discernment.
The apostle Paul did warn us to expect perilous times in the last days. There will be spiritual decline and pretensions:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. * And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
First, we should wise up by preparing ourselves against deception. Jesus warns that deception will be a prominent feature during the end times (The Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24).
Believers have to be wise—in fact, extremely vigilant and discerning—if they want to stand up against deception in these last days. Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour the weak and unwary (1 Peter 5:8).
More on deception: http://limpohann.blogspot.com/2013/04/deadly-deception.html
Peter exhorts us to be alert and sober that we may pray, to love one another and utilise whatever gifts or resources God has given us to glorify Him (1 Peter 4:7-11).
More on stirring up the gifts:
Paul instructs us to live circumspectly, make the most of every opportunity, seek to understand God’s will for our lives and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18).
More on seeking God’s will:
Apart from discovering our own unique calling, we need to focus on the Great Commission. In order that the Gospel may reach every nation (Matthew 24:14), we have to play our part, whether it’s to go, pray or give financial support to those who go (Matthew 28:18-20).
WATCH AND OCCUPY
The parable of the ten virgins warns us to be numbered among the wise virgins who—ever watchful of the bridegroom’s return—had oil in their lamps.
Watching does not imply twiddling our thumbs as we gaze towards the heavens. It implies a God-consciousness in our lives, not just doing our own thing.
The ones who were eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage in the days of Noah (before the flood) had clearly excluded God in their lives. They were swept away when the great deluge came. And Jesus warns us not to have that same spirit of reckless abandon so that we won’t be caught off guard when He returns.
Being watchful is not quite easy to figure out. You might say, “Bills have to be paid, food has to be laid on the table, children have to be educated. How can I just watch?”
But we’re told not only to watch but to occupy ourselves productively until He returns— whether it is “serving Him in ministry” or engaging in whatever trade we’re called to. Won’t there be two men working in the field when Christ returns and one is taken, one is left (Matthew 24:40)? Why did Jesus paint such a mundane picture of productive living—not “holy” work in church—just before His return?
More on how to “occupy ourselves”:
LIKE A THIEF
Paul said that Jesus will come back like a thief in the night. But will believers be taken by surprise when Jesus comes back again? No. His coming will only take unbelievers by surprise.
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).
The Bible does not tell us the exact date of Jesus' return. But believers close to His heart will know the season of His imminent return through various signs He has given us. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates” (Matthew 24:32-33).
One of these signs which have to be fulfilled before Jesus returns is this: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Someone has said, “Live as if Christ can come any moment. Plan as if Christ will come in a thousand years. For to God one day is as a thousand years.” No one can accurately predict the future. We can only get a sense of the times and seasons we’re living in. And these end times are indeed perilous and turbulent.
* HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS:
Beware of Trojan horses both in the world and the church.
DANGER OF PROFESSIONALISM
SPIRITUAL DARKNESS AND LIGHT
DANGER OF PERFORMANCE CULTUREhttp://limpohann.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-danger-of-performance-culture.html