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People, Get Ready

by Susan Budensiek  
1/04/2018 / Christian Living


There are many things God wants accomplished before He comes for His bride.

 

 

We know the last days are upon us and that we must “redeem the time” while we still can (Ephesians 5:16, Colossians 4:5) There are many things God wants accomplished but many hindrances are standing in the way. The church – not just one particular religion– is stagnant and accomplishing very little today.

 

Many will disagree with this statement. They are blinded by their own “good works” – mission trips, feeding the homeless, church dinners and other functions – all good things in their own right, but... we are not called to “busyness.” Multitudes of these very people will be the ones the scriptures speak of in Matthew 7:21-23 where it says, “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, `Lord, Lord! Didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we expel demons in your name? Didn't we perform many miracles in your name?' Then I will tell them to their faces, `I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!'”

 

[As I was writing out this passage the words awoke a question – if Christ says He doesn’t know these people, how could they cast out devils and prophesy and do miracles in His name? We know His power is greater than anything else and just His name is immensely powerful, so consider the implication here – Christ doesn’t know these people – they are not His – these people claim to have cast out demons and prophesied and performed miracles. Perhaps the key is that the people claimed to have done these things and they didn't really happen. We know that today it is common for people to have an inflated idea of how much good they are doing. In Acts 19:14-16 there were exorcists using Jesus’ name but the demons caused the man in whom they lived to beat them up and run them off naked and bleeding. They were unable to cast out these demons using Jesus’ name so, who are these people talked about in Matthew 7? Did they really do these wonders? He knows His sheep (John 10) and they know Him and even the demons know Christians: “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” Acts 19:15 --- As much as I would like to say that I completely understand this, I have to say I don’t.]

 

There are also many who will agree that the church is of little effect at this point in time. Though they see this fact, they mistakenly lay blame on the church as a whole. The church consists of individuals, none of whom are without fault, each of whom has a part to play as explained in the scriptures. We are only one body with many parts, many callings. (I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 2:10 

 

Consider a machine – if one part doesn't work the entire machine doesn't work properly. This is what is going on in the church today. The church/machine is barely functioning because of so many non-working members/parts. And as a remedy, the owner of the machine (in this case God Himself) initiates repair/revival when the machine is not working right. This is why “scheduled” revivals usually don't produce lasting fruit. Plenty of warm fuzzies at the time but lasting fruit is largely MIA. It is up to the machine owner to determine when a machine needs fixing, and spontaneous revival from God is real repair for ailing churches and individuals. Each individual must be maintained. As a squeaky hinge needs oil so we also need spiritual as well as physical maintenance if we are to do our part as a component of the true church.

 

We often fall victim to the “pillar syndrome” - always having to be the one with all the answers. You know what I mean – I've been a Christian for however many years – I no longer struggle - my actions and reactions are always the correct action or reaction for a Christian – I can't let anyone see I am weak today or they won't think I am worth listening to - people won't look up to me for my wisdom in spiritual matters if I don't have all the answers or appear weak, etc. In essence, without saying, or even consciously acknowledging it, our egos can't stand the thought of not being “the answer man/woman.”

 

There is a desperate need for mature Christians to disciple new believers and “babes in Christ.” Discipleship is nearly a lost art today. Few there are who are equipped and willing to disciple others. There seems to be far greater glory or notoriety for the one who “leads a person to Christ” than for the one who nurtures that new convert to a level of usefulness for God's kingdom – especially in the eyes of that troublesome ego we all have. A pitiful, pathetic truth is that we all know the right words to say but are devoid of the essential substance to back them up, rendering us incapable of nurturing a new believer.

 

Another bitter truth is that we, who have been Christians for many years, get complacent. We have read the Bible a lot over the years as we attended the adult Sunday School classes and some of the “extra-curricular” Bible studies, seminars, retreats, etc. We become hypocritical as we verbally endorse daily Bible reading – all the while our own Bibles lay in the car from one church service to the next – and daily prayer so we can communicate with God and He with us – as we rattle off a quick “grocery list” type of prayer every day...well, nearly every day. But those “right” things to say are well-memorized and at our ready disposal so we can easily maintain our saintly image.

We are sadly remiss when it comes to maintaining our spiritual health. God is not pleased with our arrogance toward living “for Him” as we would say it. We cannot reasonably think we can thrive and at the end of this life hear our Lord say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant”, without constant infusion of God's Word, without serious “quality time” in prayer and meditation. This is vital maintenance.

 

We substitute conversation with other people and an occasional looking up of some particular Bible verse to validate our point, for reading God's Word. Others of us read ten or maybe even twenty books in the course of a year by Christian authors, and that becomes a convenient substitute for the vital communication with our Father. Or are you a deacon, or an elder, or a youth pastor, or any one of a number of available titles? No, a title bestowed by men does not equal an acceptable substitute either. None of these are acceptable substitutes because there is no such thing as an “acceptable” substitute for what God has already outlined so plainly in His Word.

 

A few of the many instructions to believers are:
Be ready - 1 Peter 3:13-17
Seek God – Jeremiah 29:13
Study – 2 Timothy 2:15
Be holy – Leviticus 20:7, Hebrews 12:14
Be the salt of the earth – Matthew 5:13
Love Jesus Christ – Matthew 10:37
Listen to Christ – Mark 7:14
Abide in Christ – John 15:4
Take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ daily - Luke 9:23
Worship God – John 4:23
Always pray and not lose heart – Luke 18:1
Do not be anxious about the necessities of life – Matthew 6:25
Humble yourself – Matthew 23:12

Or, all wrapped up in one short verse “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 (KJV)

 

Knowing very well the scripture commonly referred to as “the great commission”, it is abundantly clear what God expects us to do. Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” There is a catch here though and that is: we can't teach what we don't know and we can't “go” if we aren't maintained, just like preparing our car for a road trip – gas, oil, etc. A car won't run without gas and it won't run very long without oil to lubricate and maintain.

 

People, get ready – and help others do the same - for what is coming, physically and spiritually. We don't have the right to sit back and reap the rewards of the gift of salvation, just because we call ourselves Christians.

I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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