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"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
As Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to sit by and worry over the ways of the world. I know this is a hard point of view to accept, as I struggle with it every day. I am a news junkie, and I have to have my fill of it each day. As we should do as we are told to watch and pray. Jesus instructed His disciples to do this as we must be aware of the things that are happening around us. We must be prepared for the events that are about to take place. More importantly we are the keepers of His truth and the light-bearers that must issue the warning to a world lost in the flow. "But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36) As Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we have work to do.
It is not possible to observe the events of the day and not realize that the times we are in is nearing to maturity and if not today or tomorrow, we are one day closer to when the Lord shall call His bride out of the coming tribulation. What a glorious twinkling that will be, but what of those who will be left behind. No Christian who is filled with the love of God can be idle and uninvolved in getting the gospel message of our Lord out to the lost, so they have the opportunity to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior or to reject His truth. "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:8)
Jesus looked out upon the people of the world and had great compassion upon them. He saw them as "distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:36) It was the purpose of the Father to send His Son into the world to save that which was lost, the Jew first and then the Gentile. It is the commission that has been given to every disciple of Jesus to "make disciples of all the nations." (Matthew 28:19 The time is now for us to revive ourselves and consecrate ourselves unto the Lord and be in solemn prayer that our testimony by word and deed bear fruit for His Kingdom. The world is spiritually starved for His truth, pop culture has driven the truth from their midst, and now they hunger and know not for what. It is now as it has always been, desperate times for the souls of men, only more so for the time is drawing nigh, and the fields are ripe for the harvest. "Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)
Jesus came into the world in complete obedience to the will of His Father God the Most High. His three-year ministry many followed Him for He performed many signs and wonders. Many became His disciples, but the Father gave Him twelve to focus and train for the mission that was before them, building His Church. (Luke 6:12-13) His ministry was not only of benefit to the multitudes but a training ministry for the twelve. The culmination was the issue of the Great Commission before His ascension to return to the Kingdom of God. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20) He sent the eleven out as Apostles, along later with the Apostle Paul, to turn the world right-side up. They went forth empowered by the Holy Spirit from the Day of Pentecost and evangelized the world. From these twelve, there are now millions of followers, and the number grows each day. We as Disciples of Christ have also been called to this Great Commission. Either by word or deed our purpose is to present the Gospel of Christ to all that will hear, as all of mankind needs His truth for their salvation. Salvation is the purpose of our calling; this is the purpose of our life through Jesus Christ, to lead those which are lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Sadly, most will reject the Word of God. The saving of one soul is worth the reward of one having an eternity of abundant life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is to bring His sheep into His fold. "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." (John 10:16) It is the goal of the follower of Jesus Christ to “leave no one behind.” The Church will be victorious in its mission. The Church will not fail, even as few as the workers are, all who have been called will be saved. "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 2:9) The work of His Church will be done according to His purpose, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18)
Some search for many ways to their salvation. They follow the Ten Commandments and believe that they can find redemption by their obeying the laws of God. But even if it were possible to do that, still they would be faced with the fall in the Garden of Eden, which leaves us all born into sin by our sin nature. The Apostle writes to the Church in Rome that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) Man left to his own devices will naturally gravitate to sinful behavior. A child must be trained up in the way that he should go (Proverbs 22:6) so that he will be disciplined in the way of God’s Word. We do not naturally know this, and if we are not taught we will seek the way that is right in our mind. (Proverbs 16:25) Believing that Church attendance or having righteous parents will work for them. My Father constantly prayed for God’s mercy upon me, but that did not save me. My acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ atoning blood as my salvation and working out my salvation through faith is the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven. One cannot be good enough as our righteousness is measured in the light of Jesus; neither can one find salvation in the family plan. The Gospel message is very simple, and it is man that has made it complicated. In the Beginning was the Word, and man has been adding to it ever since. (John 1:1) The only way to restoration of our fellowship with God is through Jesus Christ. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)
We worship God in the Spirit of Truth. That is the only way. God is a Spirit, and therefore we must worship Him in the Spirit. This may seem to be an impossibility, as we’re a spiritual being living in a flesh tent. Our hearts tainted by the sin of our flesh will remain trouble to us until the day we are free of our sinful flesh. God has forgiven the repentant sinner and removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) God forgives, but it’s hard for man to forgive; man does not forget. We must know that our guilt has been removed by the blood of our Christ, but how can we be sure. Upon conversion we are given the Holy Spirit. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) This Spirit is not something of us but something dwelling within us. It is the Spirit of God that enables us to grow into the image of His Son Jesus. Jesus described the Spirit as our counselor. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me" (John 14:26 John 15:26)
I don’t care who we think we are; still we’re slaves to something. Slaves to the selfish desires that we have, slaves to the profession that we have, slaves to the pop culture of the world, and slaves to our sinful lust for possessions that we can never keep. To make the point simple, we are slaves to sin, or we are slaves to His righteousness, without which we will never see the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 6:33) God the Father can only see us through the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. How can we the Christian not share this good news to all who would listen? How can we have a love of God and not be concerned for those who are living and dying outside of the truth of God’s Word? We can’t!
Where is the world today? The Apostle Paul explained it to Timothy exactly like this two thousand years ago, and it is precisely true today. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4) The truth is seldom spoken in public anymore. We have taken the truth out of our public schools. We have taken the truth out of our government. It is politically incorrect to speak of the truth because those who have built their spiritual house upon the sand find it offensive. I do not intend to be politically correct and deny my neighbor the opportunity to hear the gospel. Everyone deserves the chance to listen to the truth because it will determine their eternal destination. I will not bear that denial on the Day of Judgment. It is my calling, and it is yours as well. "For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!" (Romans 10:11-15)
We will not grow in our walk across the water with Jesus without sharing His Word to the uttermost parts of the world. This is our command, and Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) This is my prayer for you and me also as we continue on our journey to the Promised Land. "I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake." (Philemon 6)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
Durant Bible College March 17, 2015
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