Thursday, December 10, 2015

Are You Interested in Sack Cloth Ministry?



If someone shows up in sackcloth, they probably don't have good news. We live in a culture today that almost automatically shuns bad news. I don't believe that we have the ability to decide anymore what is bad news. Our culture equates bad news with things that make you unhappy. Yet how many times did God send an unhappy message with Jonah, or Ezekiel the Prophet or even John the Baptist to the hearers of their words? John the Baptist said that the Lord is laying the ax at the root of the trees. There are times in our lives, as Christians, that we need to take the mantle on ministry that Jesus would have us take and have us to have. He was the most loving individual the world has ever known and he is the most hated individual the world has ever known as well. This is possible because He loved but He also exposed darkness. People love darkness more than the love light. As Christians, in some audiences, we should be the most loved people, and in other audiences we will be the most hated. Not because we hate people, they will hate us, as Jesus said, "Don't be surprised if the world hates you, because they hated Me first." He said if you were of the world, they would love you. But I am not of this world and hopefully you are not either, and so the world will hate us as they hated Him.

They hate you because you represent the light of the Lord. If we were to say, God condemns adultery, God condemns homosexuality, God condemns robbery of banks, God condemns pride. People are going to say, how can I fix this in my life and want to know what they can do to get right in their life. While others are going to call us every name in the book, they will walk away from you, want nothing to do with what you just said and will hate you. This is the Christian ministry. It was John the Baptist's ministry. It was Jesus' ministry. In the Book of Revelation, it is the sackcloth ministry of those that speak for God.

Revelation 11:7-14 ~ "Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. At that very hour there was a severe earthquake an a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people will killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed, the third woe is coming soon."

Revelation 11 introduces us to a very key period of time with regard to the great Tribulation period. We have already studied who the two witnessed are. We only really know who one of them is for sure and that is Elijah based on scripture references from both the Old and New Testament. We don't know for sure who the other one is. Some say Moses or it could be Enoch. The views are divided on just who it is, because things in the Bible point to both of them. It could very well be either or. Elijah and Enoch never died. They were both taken by God. It is appointed once for every man to die and then judgment, Elijah and Enoch never died a physical death.  The Bible says that Elijah must come back, we just don't know how he will appear.

They will be in Jerusalem preaching for 3 1/2 years not sure where exactly but as we come to this portion of scripture, these 3 1/2 years have commenced. They will have been preaching to the people for the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period possibly at the signing of the 7-year peace treaty. This is not some made up story. This is real and it will take place at some point in the future. The Bible up to this point has never been wrong in any of the prophetic events it predicted would take place, have taken place in the most precise and minute details. These things will also happen exactly as predicted.

God's witness is not accepted by everyone. Have you realized that not everyone you talk to wants to hear about God and what He has done for you? You mention God, or Jesus or even open your Bible, people have a tendency to close up. You will make people very uncomfortable. The name that is most used either cursed or worshiped in the world is Jesus Christ! You either curse Him or worship Him! You can't say that about Mohammad, Buddha, Joseph Smith or Billy Graham or even the Pope. You either love Jesus and you say so, or you care a less about Him and it shows. The moment you tell people that Jesus died for us it makes people upset. They may not say it but they want to know why did He have to die. Just the thought is interesting to them but not in a good way. He died for our sins, and that is the problem they have. The cross implies that something is wrong in people's lives and that is the very reason, they want to have crosses and even the Ten Commandments removed. All of us are sinners and Jesus died for all of us. He loves us so much that He went to the cross for us. We need Him.

The message of God is unacceptable to the world now and to the world that is coming.

Revelation 11:7-8 ~ "Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified."

Can you imagine for 3 1/2 years the testimony of these two witnesses will be broadcast on Fox News, CNN and every other news organization every day all day. All the conviction, truth and uncomfortableness of what these witnesses are talking about will be broadcast 24/7. That Jesus Christ is the Messiah. We need to believe in Him and all the things mentioned in the Bible. Can you imagine how anointed their messages will be? If you think you've heard of a great sermon in your life, it will be nothing compared to one of their messages. They will be sent from heaven, anointed by the Holy Spirit and have had a long time to prepare their messages.

The reason this message is unacceptable to the world is because the message of God is personal. When they finish their "testimony," the word testimony is a legal term. It means when they bore witness of the truth. When they have finished their testimony or delivered their goods, then we read how the Antichrist and the political world will kill these two. They will not die until they have finished their testimony. When they die, their testimony is complete. God will not allow these two to suffer death, until the job is done.

For those of you under the age of 18, honor your mom and dad. The Bible says if you do this, you will live a long life. For those of you over the age of 18, serve the Lord will gladness. You will live a long life. I know the wisdom of God. The Bible says that He has numbered our days. We will not die a day sooner or a day later. We need to serve the Lord with gladness however many days He has appointed for us to live on this earth, because we want our life to count. I don't want to simply breathe air until it's time to go home. I want to make a difference, I want to live my life is such a way that when God says it's time to come home, I want to be able to say I am ready to go. I don't want to be on my death bed, begging God for more time because we now are facing regrets for what we didn't do with our time. We want to live for Him.

These two lived for the Lord with all their heart. When their time of testimony is done, it will look like to the whole world, that the Antichrist took the power and that he destroyed them. But as have read through the end of this chapter, everything turns around.

We know that these two witnesses will speak to the world in sackcloth as we remember from Revelation 11:3 ~"And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth." People automatically equate wealth with those they see on Christian TV. They won't be expecting these two witnesses of God to be wearing sackcloth. They are part of a sack cloth ministry because whenever someone showed up wearing sackcloth in the Bible, it was to announce judgment. These guys and their message is not all that encouraging. Not doubt they give the gospel message however which is encouraging. It will challenge them to come to faith in Christ. Jonah was the first sackcloth prophet who had a similar ministry. The first submarine captain. Jonah went to Ninevah and what did he say? He's God man who walks on the scene and tells them that in 40 days, Ninevah will perish. We know Jonah hated the Ninevites. He preaches his message and goes to sit down under a tree overlooking the city to watch it all happen. He was excited that he was going to see an entire nation go up in flames.

But God told Jonah that they were repenting of their sins and that they were sorry. He can't destroy them. They were doing what He had hoped they would do. Jonah was all bent out of shape because he didn't like what God was doing because He was willing to accept their apology and forgive them. This was the greatest revival in all human history. The very minister who delivered the message was furious at his results. God is gracious and merciful but He is also Judge and He is holy! God will bring judgment during the Tribulation Period. We are called at times to have a sackcloth ministry.

Galatians 6:1 ~ "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

When we see a fellow Christian, we are to gently restore and rescue them back to the faith. This is sackcloth ministry. Don't confuse condemnation with the sackcloth ministry. God is not into condemnation. Yes, God is bound by His holiness to exercise judgment, but God is not willing that any man should perish or that any man should be condemned. Are men condemned? Yes! Do they perish without Christ? Yes. Who's choice is that? Not God. It's not His choice. It is their choice.

That is why God sent His Son, so that man could escape that destiny. But sometimes people don't respond to that kind of message.

Jude 1:22 ~ "Be merciful to those who doubt."

Some of us respond to a message of grace or some have to respond to a message of fire. "It's the goodness of God that leads a man to repentance." Some respond to the message of what God has done in His great love for us and we are moved to make the decision to follow Jesus in faith. That is good. That is the way it was intended. But some of us are not wired that way. Some people respond to the fire and brimstone methods of teaching. They need the message to be straightforward and blunt to the core of what they are doing and what the end result will be if they don't respond.

Lord, 

I ask You right now that there are those who are like the woman caught in the act of adultery, thrown down to the ground, and brought Lord to Your feet. Your grace transformed her life. And then there are others like myself who inadvertently stumble into a church not knowing, heard about the judgment and condemnation of a sinner and knew that I was heading for fire. And You got me. So Lord, those who need grace to lead them to Your feet, those who need to hear and smell the crackling of eternal fires of hell itself, that they would come to Your feet. Lord, thank You that Your salvation is all encompassing, to all those who turn their hearts to You, in Jesus Name ~ AMEN!!!

1 comment:

Terra said...

Beautiful post about sackcloth ministry.