Monday, March 2, 2015

Because of the Nearness of the End...
Living in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His people.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Time is short! The judge is at the door! Christ said that He comes quickly! The Lord is near! Let everyone who has an ear listen! Time is running out! The day of reckoning and the day of divine disaster quickly dawns. Let men and women care for their souls enough to consider eternity, examine their souls, and trust in Christ for their eternal welfare! Because of the nearness of the end, God’s people must live in light of the imminent — any moment — return of Jesus Christ for His people.

1. Be preaching!
Because Christ could return at any moment, God’s men must lift up the voice with urgency, with immediacy, with courage, and with boldness! God’s men must preach with lionlike boldness and with Christlike truthfulness and plead with sinners to repent of sin and trust in Christ! This is the only message that saves! Supernatural power flows out when the Word of God goes forth. Nothing can stop the Christian from verbalizing the gospel of Christ! He must preach the gospel in season and out of season. Regardless of what people feel or ask for that may tickle the ears and be attractive to the unregenerate, the biblical Christian knows that he must herald the full counsel of God and all the doctrines of Scripture so that the saved would be sanctified and so that the godless would be converted. Nothing can shake the world like a sermon preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. Urgently preach the full counsel of God from the Scriptures! If the head of the household would know what time the thief were coming, he would ready and prepare himself. How terrible it will be for the masses who live in such a way that they do not expect the soon-coming of Jesus Christ. He will in fact come as a thief in the night and will destroy all His enemies. Because of the imminent danger that looms over every unbelieving soul, preachers must lift up the voice now and herald! Ministers of God must not trifle or downplay God’s truth. They must not neglect the calling of God and forfeit their ministry by being faithless and destructive shepherds. Rather, God’s men must cry out, like John the Baptist, and preach with God’s power, with God’s Spirit, with God’s Word, for the Glory of Christ that all men would turn from their sins and trust in Christ alone to escape the soon-dawning wrath of Almighty God.

2. Be praying!
Nothing in all the world is as powerful as God’s people praying to God. There is no other activity that so moves God and so rocks the world than prayer — hidden, private, fervent, believing prayer. Satan trembles when the weakest believer calls upon Almighty God in prayer. Believers pray to God the Father in the Name and through the work of Jesus Christ by the enabling power and divine intercession of the Spirit. An amazing concert of four-persons coming together in prayer occurs when every believer cries out to God! The Christian prays to the Father. And he prays only through the mediatorial work of and glorious access made available by Jesus Christ. And he prays in the power of the Spirit and as the Spirit of God intercedes with silent groans that He brings to the Father. Thus, the Triune God is actively at work in the prayers of God’s people. Because the time is short, God’s people must pray! They must pray hard! They must pray for revival! They must pray for God’s power to use the preached Word and the gospel proclaimed to quicken hearts and save many from the eternal fires! God’s people must intercede for missionaries, for evangelists, for pastors, for teachers, for counselors, and for one another. Because Christ promises to come soon, God’s people must urgently & intently pray!

3. Be persuading!
The gospel is the message that saves! There is only one message in all the planet that saves souls from eternal wrath and that is the good news of God’s grace revealed in the perfect life of Christ and substitutionary atonement of Christ at Calvary. This message is received as a gift from God by grace alone through faith alone! God’s people should present the gospel to the lost and persuade them to respond to the gospel in repentance and faith. Presenting the gospel is good, but the example of Christ and that of the early Apostles demonstrates an important element of evangelism: persuading sinners to come to Christ! Even the Old Testament prophets model the passion in persuading rebellious sinners to turn from sin and come to God! God’s people have nothing to lose. The lost have everything to lose! The saints of God should slaughter the fear of man — that is, caring more about what people think than what God thinks — and present the gospel and passionately plead with sinners to count the cost and trust in Christ! To befriend people and not to present the gospel to them is not real friendship nor is it evangelism. Evangelism consists of the verbal presentation of the gospel news that saves. Deepening friendships without presenting the full gospel and calling people to repent from their sin and embrace Christ is not a real friendship; nor is it true love for their soul. Eternity hangs in the balance. Time is short! The Judge is soon-coming. Eternity draws near! God’s people must urgently and passionately and compassionately and seriously persuade sinners to leave their life of sin for the greater joy of receiving Christ’s forgiveness and His righteousness through faith alone.

4. Be prioritizing!
God lovingly tells His children to make the most of the time because the days are evil. God calls His people to come out of the midst from the evil ones and perfect holiness in the fear of God. Believers must redeem the time. They must live for eternity. Many options exist for the people of God as to how they can spend their time. And not all are necessarily evil. But readers must remember the warning from Christ Himself that there will be those who hear the Word but they are the ‘thorns’ as the Word falls upon them and yet they are distracted with the desires for other things (Mark 4.18) and the Word is choked out and they remain unconverted. O the people of God must prioritize their time. Hours are quickly passing by! The Lord is soon returning! Judgment day looms. All men who live and walk on this earth will meet their Maker. Ask yourself: does your calendar reflect a heart that is set on eternity? Does the way you spend your money reveal a purpose of life fixed and focused and anchored in eternity? Who do you spend time with? How much time do you spend with social media? On TV? Watching movies? Shopping? Surfing the web? Trifling? Sleeping? Now ask yourself in comparison, how much time do you spend reading and studying the Word of God? Memorizing the Scriptures and hiding it in your heart? Praying and meeting with God in fervent and worshipful prayer? Proclaiming the gospel to the lost? Intentionally meeting with other believers with the Word open and engaging in Christ-centered conversations and accountability relationships? Does the worship of God with the people of God take the highest priority in your week? What do you love the most? O people of God, prioritize your time to live for eternity and to think toward eternity! Live with one eye on earth and with one eye in heaven! Live with one ear hearing the singing of heaven and with the other hearing the shrieks of hell. Remember eternity! Don’t trifle! Be serious! Be in earnest! Win souls! Be wise! Serve Christ! Be faithful! Endure till the end! Prioritize your life!

5. Be pure!
Unholy men are more fit for hell than for heaven. Living a life of sin and walking in patterns of sin makes one more of a son of the devil than a son of the Living and Holy God. God is holy and He is pure. He is upright and He is blameless. He is righteous and He is glorious. He is majestic and He is sovereign. God’s people, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, have hearts that have supernaturally changed by the working of God at the moment of regeneration and thus they want to live for God, they long to worship Christ, and they live in the power of the Spirit. They pant for purity and they hunger for holiness! This is the heart of the child of God — not perfection, but sanctification. God’s people have not achieved perfection; but the trajectory of their life is one of continuous growth in godliness and a focused pursuit of God Himself as He is gloriously revealed in Christ. The goal of the Christian life is Christ. The Christian longs for heaven and yearns to behold Christ and to see the face of God! But none who are unconverted, who live in ongoing sin, who live without concern for sin, and who demonstrate their unconverted state by a lack of mortifying — slaughtering! — sin will enter the glorious bliss and eternal perfection of heaven. This is not a works salvation; it is a salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone that demonstrates itself in a relentless and joyous pursuit of purity and holiness of life because the newly changed heart longs to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. A saved heart sweetly sings of the salvation of Christ! A changed heart craves conformity to Christ! A redeemed heart runs swiftly and persistently to the Righteous God who imputed the righteousness of Christ to him by faith. A living heart longs for the oceans of love that will ever-flow from the lavishly flow from God, his Father. Christian, for the sake of the gospel and because of the dire urgency of the times, be pure! Be holy! Be Christlike! Be a glorious picture of the power of God displayed in the gospel that saves and the gospel that sanctifies!


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