PREPARATION FOR THE LORD’S COMING
by Leland Earls
Easier reading of this at: http://www.firstloveministry.com/Earls/articles/preparation.htm
“Prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (Amos 4:14). “And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (the Lord) in the spirit and power of Elijah. . . to make ready a people preparedfor the Lord” (Lk. 1:17). “That servant which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Lk. 12:47). These “stripes” are tribulation conditions on this earth. HOW should we prepare ourselves andothers? The following ways are suggested.
I. Prepare by lifting up the Trumpet (voice) of warning.
We need to warn concerning:
(1) The sins which are destroying our nation.
God’s word to Isaiah was, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Israel their sins” (Isa. 58:1). The Psalmist asks the question, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can (and should) the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3). We are living in a day when the foundations of our society are being eroded away. When the foundations begin to crumble, then the walls (of God’s protection) also begin to fall, and people become “open game” to the hordes of marauding spirits unleashed in our day. In the days before the flood when similar conditions prevailed (Gen. 6:11-13), Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (1 Pet 2:5); and this is what the righteous must do, preach and hold uncompromisingly to God’s Standards. Jesus warned that because unrighteousness and iniquity would abound, the love of many (Christians) would grow cold (Mt. 24:12). Also with major church groups deviating further from God’s standards, many Christians are going to have to hear God’s call as given in Rev. 18:4, “Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.” The clergy of modern-day “Babylonish” churchianity are much like the compromising prophets of ancient Israel, of whom God said, “You have not gone up into the gaps (breaches in the walls), neither made up the hedge (wall) for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord” (Ezek. 13:5). WHY? Because they were preaching-”smooth things” (Isa. 30:10), and holding out false hopes of peace (Ezek. 13:10), instead of warning, declaring God’s righteousness, and calling the people to repentance. We need men like John the Baptist who came on the scene proclaiming “Prepare [ ] the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mt. 3:3). His “paths” are His ways of righteousness for His people. They had been made so “crooked” by an apostate priesthood that it took a preacher of righteousness to “straighten them up.” Jesus warned that only the house built on the sure foundation of His teachings (His righteousness) will be able to stand in the coming “storm” of tribulation (Mt. 7:24-27).
(2) The sword which is coming on our land.
The “sword” speaks of God’s judgment coming through WAR. God tells Ezekiel in Ezek. 33:1-9 that he is a “watchman” to warn of the “sword” coming, and tells him the consequence of the failure to warn. In Rev. 6:4 John sees a RED horse and rider, “and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth. . . and there was given to him a great sword.” This red horse is RUSSIA, in World War II, after the successful defense of Leningrad, Great Britain decreed that a sword should be presented to Russia for her heroic stand. Thus “A GREAT SWORD” ranking among the costliest and most magnificent ever made, was furbished and ceremoniously presented to Stalin by Winston Churchill at the Teheran Conference in Nov. of 1943; all that we might KNOW positively who the red horse and rider is. Russia is becoming more truculent and bold in her subversion of nations, for she knows our society is termited with moral decay and lack of will, and that our peoples (especially the younger generation) have been by pro-leftist propaganda. She now believes she has the military power to enforce her will on the nations. This will be greatly enhanced when she has completed the space station now orbiting the earth. Read the following booklet which will help you understand: “Christ vs. Anti-christ” by Leland Earls. [Ed. note: not available through this ministry.]
(3) The economic crisis that is coming.
The scriptures are clear that our “Babylonish” financial system is going to fall (collapse). See. Rev. 14:8; 13:2,10,21. We cannot take the time and space here to explain the “whys” that make this certain. The piling up of astronomical debt through our unscriptural debt and interest money system cannot continue indefinitely. Inflationary pressures and rising prices, plus other economic uncertainties, will create increased climate for unrest, strikes, business failures, uprisings, riots, etc. Anarchy on a limited scale is certain, but how bad it becomes will be determined by what the federal government does. Anarchy is merely the prelude to some kind of dictatorship. Sooner or later strong leadership will take over to put an end to the anarchy. No doubt the debt will be repudiated and new currency put into use; or the old redenominated. Remember that money is simply what the government says it is. Those in power will also likely use this time of calamity to try to impose an international money system on the so-called “free world” as a prelude to world government. Many economists, who are not on the government payroll, and are thus free to tell the truth, predict an economic crises in the not too distant future. One such writes:
”According to our calculations–the United States dollar is ready to collapse not with a whimper but with a bang, probably before the end of 1980, and that there is nothing that can be done about it because we are locked into fundamental policies which will not be changed. Our society is analogous to a huge locomotive rushing downhill with the brakes gone and with a six-year old [ ] at the controls. The end is certain. Your bank deposits will be worthless so you should convert them into things of real value before then. The price of all commodities will be astronomical even though dollars will be scarce. Buy dehydrated survival food, not only to eat but for future barter material.”–E. L. Anderson, Ph.D.
I am quoting this only by way of illustration, and am NOT saying that his timing is right or that his advice should be followed exactly. However, buying some dehydrated foodstuff at today’s prices, which have a shelf life of several years, and having it available when food prices go sky-high, seems to make sense, and should result in great savings. Also, the Lord spoke prophetically to our assembly in 1974 to begin searching out ways to store up a certain amount of food for times of crises and famine that are coming.
(4) The “stripes” that are coming through tribulation conditions.
At the beginning of the article we quoted Lk. 12:27 where Jesus warns of stripes coming for those who know the Lord’s will yet fail to prepare. I am personally convinced that these “stripes” are the buffeting conditions of coming tribulation. The idea that all Christians are going to be taken out through rapture before any tribulation comes is pure myth. The truth is that multitudes of Christians throughout the world are already IN great tribulation. All we have to do is to go back to the great ante-type of the church, the nation of Israel, to see that God does not save His people from all tribulation. Israel suffered the first three plagues in Egypt before God protected them from the balance of the plagues. Again, in the wilderness, Israel suffered many plagues before entrance was effected into the Promised Land. Besides this, there is a purpose for His church on the earth during the coming tribulation: to raise up a witness to the truth in power of the Spirit such as the world has never seen, that multitudes worldwide might find their way into the kingdom in a final great harvest of this age. Yes, a firstfruits (Rev. 14:1-4) will be translated before the last three and one half years of great tribulation, but that is only a small portion of the whole church. We need to warn that there shall not only be “stripes” for unprepared Christians through tribulation buffetings, but also for some more careless and disobedient servants of the Lord there shall be conditions which will lead to “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 24:51). However, we need to realize that these dealings of the Lord are redemptive in nature; designed to do a quick work of preparation, that those prepared might be ready to be presented to the Lord at His coming.
II. Prepare by giving ourselves to those spiritual revelations and disciplines necessary to get us personally ready to meet the Master. We need to:
1. Arise and respond to the light God is giving to the church in this day.
In Isa. 60:1-2 we read: “Arise, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen on you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you.” “Arise” in this passage means to “stir up”, “rouse up”, as if one was asleep or indifferent, or in a measure of bondage. Read Isa. 52:1-2 where God’s people are told to “awake”, “put on strength”, and “shake themselves loose” from captivity. Even so today. God’s people are captive to so many things, especially traditions, which stupefy and blind them to what God plans for His church in this end time. God has been pouring out of His Spirit, and will do so in even greater measure, not just that we might get a blessing, but that the church might be disciplined into truth, holiness, and victory; for the Lord is going to present to Himself “a glorious church (sanctified by the glory of His presence), not having spot (defilements of the world), or wrinkle (no signs of aging�youthfulness and spiritual vigor restored), or any such thing; but that it should be holy (totally separated and dedicated) and without blemish (defects which would hinder its effective functioning to the glory of the Lord).” (Ephes. 5:27). The scripture is clear that those who know their God “shall be strong, and do exploits” (Dan. 11:32), even greater works that Jesus did (John 14:12). A double portion and more will come on the church through the early and latter rain together (Joel 2:23, Hos. 6:3, James 5:7). The fulfillment of this vision will not be dependent on great numbers, but on a wholly dedicated group of Christians willing to “arise” and give themselves to the Lord in this time of preparation, letting the Lord “build” them together in unity and love. Read the article “The Three ‘I Wills’ of Jesus ” by Leland Earls. Let us take heed to Paul’s admonition in Ephes. 5:14, “Awake you that sleeps, and arise. . . and Christ shall give youlight.” “It is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11).
2. Get extra oil.
In Mt. 25:1-13 we read the story of the wise and foolish virgins. The wise were made ready through the extra oil they had in their vessels (25:4). Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The “oil” which we received when we were saved, symbolized by the oil sprinkled on ail the garments, etc. of the priests when they were consecrated (Lev. 8:30) is not sufficient. We also need the oil poured on the head, as in the case of the High priest (Lev. 8:12; see also Lev. 14:15-18 for the use of the oil in the cleansing of the leper). This is symbolic of the Baptism or outpouring of the Holy Spirit which is to come on us after we are saved to “anoint and sanctify” for the priestly service “beyond the veil” in the Holy of Holies of His Presence. We must not think of the extra oil as confined to one experience, however, for Paul admonishes us in Ephes. 5:18 to “keep on being filled with the Spirit.” That is, keep ourselves continually available for the Spirit’s continuing sanctifying work in us, as well as the Spirit’s enablement in us to meet every circumstance and need. God is “purifying to Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). In the O.T. pattern, God said “the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory” (Ex. 29:43). Likewise, our own individual tabernacle must be sanctified by the glory of His presence. That glory cloud, which filled the O.T. tabernacle, was actually a pillar of fire. So are we to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and FIRE (Mt. 3:11). We have been “called to His kingdom and GLORY” (I Thess. 2:12), but we must “give diligence to make our calling and election sure” (II Pet. 1:10), if we want to be associated with Christ in His GLORY and heavenly kingdom; otherwise our lot will be on this earth in deathless physical bodies, at least for the millennium.
3. Seek holiness.
This is a continuation of the preceding. The writer of the Hebrew letter admonished: “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14). This scripture alone should make us realize that it takes more than just being saved to be made ready for the Lord’s immediate presence. Jesus said essentially the same in Mt. 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” John reminds us that the hope of being with the Lord is a purifying hope. “Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” (I John 3:3). Paul prays in I Thess. 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Listen carefully to the words of Jesus given to the church of Sardis in Rev. 3:4: “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” Notice, to be worthy of walking with Him in His glorified realm, we must keep our garments undefiled. These are the inner soul garments which have been “purified through obeying the truth in the power of the Spirit” (I Pet. 1:22). Such will walk with the Lord “in white” (inner purity). James reminds us that “pure religion and undefiled before God is to . . . keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Jesus admonishes in Rev. 16:15: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” “Naked” would simply symbolize lack of preparation and readiness. Lord, help us to seek holiness and pursue it.
4. Put on righteousness.
Paul admonishes us in Eph. 4:23-24, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and thatyou put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Notice that both righteousness and holiness are necessary for the “new creation” within us. As we have seen, holiness (or sanctification) is the negative (purging, purifying) work of God’s Spirit within us, whereas righteousness is the positive (imparting, vivifying, fruit-producing) work of God’s Spirit in us. But we must cooperate with the work of the Spirit by “putting off” (the old ways) and “putting on” (the new ways). Read Eph. 4:22-32, Col. 3:8-l7 & Rom. 13:12-14, for “putting off” and “putting on.” Righteousness is called a fruit of the Spirit in Eph. 5:9. It is likened to a robe of fine linen in Rev. 19:8. Linen is made from flax, and thus a “fruit” or product of the growth process of the earth. Even so, righteousness as a “fruit” must grow and develop within us, or like the strands of “fine linen” be “woven” gradually within the fabric of our soul until we become more Christ-like in nature, conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). We begin our Christian life with a divine deposit of imputed righteousness; that is, Christ’s righteousness “put down to our account” so that we may be accepted (Eph. 1:6). This is a legal transaction, and is what might be termed “positional righteousness.” This takes place the moment we truly believe in Christ, and might be likened to the coats of skin with which Adam and Eve were clothed when God killed the sacrificial animals in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21), which typified the sacrifice Christ made for us that our nakedness might be clothed with His imputed righteousness. However, such “sheep-skins” of imputed and positional righteousness which make it possible for us to be accepted and saved, are not sufficient for us to be made ready to dwell in the immediate presence of Christ as part of His “ruling” Body. His righteousness must also become personal within us, imparted and woven within us as the garment of fine linen. For it is not just the “sheep-skin” which makes the Bride ready, but the fine linen of His rightousness WITHIN. [Ed. Note: Brother Earls clarifies in "The First and the Last " that the first stage salvation of imputed righteousness does not include actual new birth which belongs rather to the second stage of imparted righteousness.]
5. Follow the Lamb.
In Rev. 14:4 we read of those who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” In Mt. 16:24, Jesus said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Here the question is not salvation, which is a free gift (Rom. 6:23), but of the desire to follow Jesus into the heavenly kingdom, receiving a glorified body like to His (Phil. 3:21), whereby those who so rule with Him will be able to help subdue all things to Him in the ages to come. Those who inherit the heavenly kingdom, instead of the earthly, must be prepared through discipleship, and Jesus gave three requirements:
(1) self-denial (loving Him more than self and others),
(2) taking up our cross (willing submission to the path He has set before us), and
(3) following Him (in close fellowship and obedience).
Those who are not willing to do this, Jesus said, are NOT WORTHY of Him. He is not referring to salvation, for salvation is not a matter of worthiness; but rather of fitness to live in close proximity to Him in His glorious kingdom (see Mt. 10:34-38, Lk. 14:25-33). Discipleship (being taught and disciplined by Him) is necessary, and Jesus reminds us in Mt. 14:33 that “whosoever He be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple,” and again in John 8:31, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed.”
6. Put on the whole armor of God.
In Eph. 6:10-18, Paul gives instructions concerning the armor which God has made available to Christians for their battle against the forces of darkness and demonic hosts of Satan. We cannot take time here to discuss and evaluate this armor, but especially in these days, when the pit has been opened (Rev. 9:2), and demons in ever increasing numbers are being allowed to prey on human beings, it is extremely important for Christians to make sure they are heeding Paul’s admonition to “take to you (put on) the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”, and “thatyou may be able to withstand in THE EVIL DAY, and having done all (the crisis demands) to stand (resist and stand your ground, firmly in your place).” (Eph. 6:11,13). I believe the time in which we live is especially “the evil day” of which Paul spoke. We don’t want to yield to the enemy in these critical days, but rather to vigorously seek to conquer and overcome the enemy in every area of our lives. Paul says in Rom. 8:37 that we are “more than conquerors through him that loved us.” The Greek word translated “conqueror” here is nikao. This word, in its verb or noun form, is used over 30 times in the New Testament, and means to gain the victory, conquer, prevail, or overcome. It is the word used repeatedly in Rev. chapters 2 & 3 where special promises are made to the “Overcomers.” The Word is clear that only the overcomers will rule and reign with Christ (Rev. 3:21). Therefore let us heed the admonition of the apostle Paul in Rom. 13:12: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
7. Walk circumspectly.
“Walking” is symbolic of the way we live; our daily life and conduct in the sight of God and before the world. In Eph. 5:15-17, Paul admonishes his readers to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be [ ] not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” The Greek word translated “circumspectly” means accurately, precisely, exactly, and assiduously (diligently, with unremitting attention and devotion). Paul further underscores this in 5:17 by indicating that this would be according to the “will of God.” He also points out that by this kind of careful and accurate and purposeful living, we can REDEEM the time; that is, buying up each opportunity and making the very most of the time we have in preparation for the momentous days ahead. For, says Paul, “the days are evil” (5:16). Evil has ever been in the world since the fall of man, but I believe Paul’s statement here is a prophetic implication of the last days when evil’s “cup of iniquity” is coming to the full. Read I Tim. 3:1-7 where Paul gives a graphic description of the conditions in the world in these last days. Therefore let us “watch our step” and “walk honestly” (Rom. 13:13), “walk worthy of our calling” (Eph. 4:1), “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2), “walk as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8), living purposely and carefully in this evil world.
8. Rejoice in the tests and provings of life.
A prepared people must be a tested and proven people. James tells us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4). “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him” (1:12). There are numerous scriptures which declare that God tries, tests, and proves His people. Prov. 17:3 says, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but the Lord tries the hearts.” Psalms 66:10-l2 gives a graphic description of such provings of the Lord and their purpose: “For you, O God,have proved us; you have tried us, as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laidaffliction on our loins. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through the fire and through the water: but you brought us out into a wealthy place (place of freedom).” Testing is necessary to prove the genuineness of anything, to reveal strengths and weaknesses, to show what needs to be corrected, and to “refine” or purge out impurities, that those proved might be prepared for something greater in inheritance and responsibility. Job said, “when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (23:10).” See also I Pet. 1:7. Deut. 8:1-3 gives a vivid account and enumeration of the reasons why God tested Israel in the wilderness: “to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in yourheart, whether you would obey his commandments or not. . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” Israel had to go through the wilderness before they could possess the Promised Land. Even so are “wilderness” testings necessary for us to prepare us to possess the fulness of the inheritance that God has prepared for us. “For the righteous God tries the hearts and the reins (Ps. 7:9).”
9. Be faithful.
In Rev. 17:14 we read of certain ones who are “with the Lamb “–sharing His power and victory, and they are said to be “called, and chosen, and faithful.” In the parable of the talents (Mt. 25:14-30), those who are commended and invited to enter the greater inheritance are greeted with the words, “Well done, you good and faithful servant; youhave been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” Notice the emphasis on faithfulness. God does not ask us to do great and mighty things for Him, but He does require that we be faithful in the small things committed to us, for “it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2).” Also, the Lord requires faithfulness in the sense of “fidelity” in our covenant-commitment and love relationship to Him. James tells us that the “friendship (intimacy) of the world is enmity with God (4:4).” In II Cor. 11:1-3, Paul says to the Corinthian Christians, “I have engaged you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (11:2). But then he expresses concern lest the serpent (Satan) who beguiled Eve would succeed in corrupting them from the “simplicity” (single-hearted and pure devotion) toward the Christ (11:3). In other words, concern lest they be unfaithful, and not totally committed to their “first love” (see Rev. 2:4). Lord, help us to be among the called, chosen and faithful .
10. Watch and pray.
Jesus connected the words “watch” and “pray” on more than one occasion. To “watch” means to be awake and alert, and “on guard” against the tactics and encroachments of the enemy. Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41). Thus prayer is coupled with “watching” for we need to “reach out” for the Lord’s strength and enablement. Prayer is the soul’s awareness of its complete dependence on God. We dare not trust the “arm of flesh” (see Jer. 17:5-8). Prayer is a part of our weaponry against the “wiles” of the devil (Eph. 6:18). Jesus also admonished to “watch and pray” with reference to the approaching end of the age and His coming again. “Take [ ] heed, watch and pray; for you know not when the time is. . . Watch [ ] therefore: for you know not when the master of the house comes. . . lest he comessuddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all, Watch” (Mk. 13:33, 35-37). See Lk.17:36.
11. Love His appearing.
Paul speaks of the “crown” laid up for him, which he will receive at the day of the Lord’s coming, and also for all who “love His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8). This “crown” is NOT salvation, but rather the privilege of “ruling” with Christ in His own glorious realm. Are you ready for the “crown”? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I longing for His return?” “Does it thrill my soul to think of the lover of my soul coming soon?” “Do I love His appearing?” The Hebrew writer reminds us that “to them that LOOK FOR HIM shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Heb. 9-28). Jesus, referring to the worldwide distress of nations and other signs, said, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up (expectantly), and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Lk. 21:28). What a glorious thought: He is coming soon!
12. Press on towards the goal.
In Phil. 3:13, Paul says of himself: “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” First, Paul admonishes, forget the past! We can get so hung up on past failures, disappointments, sins, etc. that it hinders our “going on” with the Lord. We need to put the past in the same place God has: in the “sea” of His forgetfulness. Benefiting from past experiences in terms of learning important lessons is good; but other than that, all time and attention given to “brooding” over the past is folly. Forget it! Then Paul says, “press on toward the prize of the high calling.” Notice, he uses the word “calling”. Salvation is a gift; not a calling (Rom.6:23). The “calling” is to win the PRIZE, for which one is crowned (I Cor. 9:24-27). Salvation is not a prize. Without taking time here to go into detail, let me say that the “prize” which Paul wanted to win, and which he knew the possibility of falling short of (I Cor. 9-27), was that of being in the “out-resurrection”, “out from” the earth (Phil. 3:11) into the glorified estate to be a co-ruler and co-heir with Christ in His heavenly kingdom realm. This can be ours only if we “press on” and not give up. One of the most important principles the Lord wants to teach us is that of persistence or steadfastness. Heb. 6:12,15; 10:32, 35-36. [Ed. Note: Brother Earls deals extensively with the gift vs. prize distinction in "The Gift and the Prize."]
13. Cultivate a growing, personal relationship with the Lord.
Paul wanted so much to be related to the Lord in an intimate way that he declared, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. . . that I may KNOW Him. . . and be found (in experience) IN HIM” (read Phil. 3:7-10). To the foolish virgins Jesus said, “I know you not” (Mt. 25:12). “Knowing” in this sense means a personal intimate relationship with the Lord. The foolish virgins were saved people who were not walking close to the Lord. Enoch is a type of those to be translated, and “Enoch walked WITH God” (Gen. 5:22), and God translated Him without the experience of death (Heb. 11:5). Jesus said to Philip, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip?” (John 14:9). What pathos! How the Lord must feel grieved when He has been with most Christians so long, and yet they do not know Him in a living, personal, intimate way. Peter admonishes us to “grow in grace (favor), and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18). Not just a head knowledge, but a growing inner experience of “knowing” Him through His grace working in our lives by the Holy Spirit.
14. Build on the Rock.
Read Mt. 7:24-27. These words (and parable) conclude Jesus’ teaching in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. If we hear His sayings and DO them, we are like the wise man who built his house (life) on THE rock. The King James version says “a rock,” but the original Greek text has THE rock, for Jesus Christ Himself (and all He taught) is that specific ROCK on which we must build (see I Cor. 3:11). Such a “house,” Jesus said, would STAND in the storms, whereas the house built on sand would FALL in the time of testing. There are many “storms” of life that TEST how well we are building, but there is also one great worldwide storm that is coming which is to be a time of testing such as the world has never seen (see Lk. 21:25-26, Rev. 3:10). And we need to BUILD well now, that when the “floods” of Satanic oppression and persecution come in fulness, we will be able to withstand all that shall come on us and to remain unshakable on that solid rock.
15. Abide in His presence.
Psalm 91 has ever been a source of great comfort to Christians, but the Divine protection and provision promised there is conditioned; it is for those who “dwell” or “abide” in a certain “place.” “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my REFUGE, and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust” (Ps. 91:1-2). I believe vs. 11 is particularly significant, for the ministry of ANGELS is going to increase dramatically in the closing years of this dispensation. “For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Help us, Lord, to abide in You; finding that perfect “resting” place of security, for “I will trust in the covert of your wings” (Ps. 61:4, see also Isa. 32:2), Amen!
Dear Friends in Christ;
This article is sent with the hope that it will “stir you up” to the realization that NOW is our time of preparation for the momentous days ahead, and for the personal return of Jesus Christ to this earth. I hope that it will make you realize that just “run-of-the-mill,” lukewarm Christianity will not meet the test of what is coming. Neither will you be prepared for the Lord’s coming by just resting in your “salvation,” even though that is an important first step.
I also hope that you will find in this article a “tool ” you can use to help alert others; to help fulfill your responsibility of warning, as well as to help prepare others for tribulation and persecution coming on the church. Did you know that over half of the world’s Christians are already in great tribulation? Others need to know what the Lord requires to be ready to enter by translation the Lord’s glorious kingdom; and this article will give them information not preached in many churches.