Friday, April 1, 2016

We Have A Tendency to Exalt God's Human Elements!

Ever since Revelation 4:1, the church or believers in Christ have been raptured by this point and are now in heaven dwelling with Christ during the Tribulation Period. We haven't come back to earth yet, that happens in Revelation 19, so who is Jesus speaking to as we continue our study in Revelation 16?

Two things. He is still speaking to us, believers in Christ or even non believers as we read the Book of Revelation today. We might not know Jesus at this point and are coming across this in the Bible to help decide on our future outcome before this happens in our present time and to remind us as believers in Christ to always be watching. He knows we will be reading this after it has been written more than 2000 years ago.

He also writes this to remind Tribulation saints who are still alive at this point in the Tribulation period, believers in Christ, as a reminder to endure during this time. Their efforts will not have been in vain. Keep watching. He is coming again.

We haven't heard from Jesus in the Book of Revelation since the letters to the 7 churches. There is a reason why Jesus speaks now in the midst of the worst of all the wrath being poured out upon the earth. To give hope! It is written in red, hopefully in your Bible. We have the option of reading this before it actually happens to a Christ rejecting world. At this point in the Bible, they will NOT repent, no matter what happens.

We are benefiting from this now because it hasn't happened yet. People can reject Jesus and for now, they can still get away with it. Yet when people reject Christ for too long, there comes a time when they will be sealed in that judgment and their hearts will harden and they will lose the ability to change their hears and minds like Pharaoh, especially during the Tribulation Period.

2 Thessalonians 2 fits in perfectly with Revelation 16. There will come a time when God will give up on those and they will not have a choice to choose to follow the Gospel message and believe in Jesus. They will instead choose to believe a strong delusion and they will believe it. Why does God do this? Because while they had time to believe in Jesus, they didn't.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 ~ "and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because the refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God send them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Does this mean that when the Rapture happens, they won't be able to choose to believe in Jesus?

I believe they would have had to hear the true clear gospel message at some point and many times as believers, we don't always share the 100% truth with them. We offer a watered-down version so we don't scare them off. The Bible says a time is coming when after they hear the clear message of the Gospel, their hearts will harden and the door of opportunity will close, much like the door of the Ark in Noah's day when God closed it. The opportunity for them will cease.

This is why it is so critical if you are reading this and you haven't accepted Jesus. You might not have another chance.

Revelation 16:15-21 ~ "(Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there has never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city (Jerusalem), was split into three parts, and the cities of the nation fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain her cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plagues of the hail, because the plague was so severe."

The difference between some believers and non believers is that when people hear about Jesus coming back at any time, most believers are joyful and filled with expectation, while non believers and some believers are afraid. Why is that? Why are some believers afraid?

Because they are not ready for a couple of reasons. Why are you not ready?

1. The Spirit is convicting you that you're doing things you shouldn't be doing, so you're not ready if Jesus should come back today and see what you're up to. Fix that today.

2. You could be one who loves being around Christians and the church, trafficking in and out, but you don't feel accepted. You need to deal with that now with the Lord and ask God to show you what is going on in your life so you can fix that.

3. You have regrets about what you should have been doing and what you shouldn't have been doing but are humbled that you know you are saved only by the grace of Jesus, even though you haven't walked as close to God as you should have. You find yourself facing conviction when these questions are posed.

How many people have you led to the Lord?

How many times have you blown money on stupid stuff for yourself instead of helping God's kingdom grow?

How many of us are wishing we would have spent more time in God's Word instead of living for ourselves doing what we wanted?

Yet in the midst of these questions we can still answer that we realize all that God has done for us. Our salvation is not based on what we have done for Jesus but what He has done for us by dying for us, for our sins, as sinners. We have a tendency sometimes to exalt God's human elements.

We need to remember, they all struggle with sin like we do. That's why so many struggle with teaching from a pulpit. It puts something between them and us. Jesus didn't use one. The prophets and apostles didn't use one. Some say that preaching from a pulpit is like preaching from inside a coffin, all people see are knuckles and a head peering out. It's like a barrier. People like that distance between pastors and Christian leaders. They want to see them as sinless and pure. But that is so far from being true. Jesus is the only one who can do that. We are ALL earthen vessels.

Hebrews 9:27-28 ~ "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly awaiting for him."

When Jesus comes again it will be apart from dealing with the issue of sin. It's already been dealt with. It's over! Now He will come to get us and take us to heaven!

People have often wondered why the reference to Jesus as a thief in the night. Why not something else? When you think about a thief, if you are watching out for them, they can't catch you off guard, and unaware. Those that don't believe he is coming, will be caught completely surprised and off guard. It will be unexpected and they will regret not being prepared for it. It is frightening for non believers because Jesus is coming to steal His believers away from the coming wrath of God, that will commence once the church is removed. These believers have been watching and discerning the times and seasons and are ready!

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 ~ "Now concerning the times and seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

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