Welcome to 2018.
While we rejoice for entering into a New Year, with all the blessings and promises that accompanies it, it will not be out of place to seek the mind of God for this year, and to ascertain the things to keep before our eyes as we take our journeys. Before I list the reminders, let me say that we all need an heavenly view to things…to all things. More often than not, we tend to see things from an earthly perspective. In fact, we even see the things of eternal life, from an earthly viewpoint. That is, if we make a scrutiny of our priorities, sincerely speaking, we will find out that the things of heaven, of the world to come, of the age when Christ will physically rule the nations, even if we do have it in our world view, we tend to tuck it away somewhere out of our immediate reach.
This is a rough idea of what it looks like to consider eternal things from an earthly viewpoint. The problem is, this way of making eternity a “hope-less” hope (a hope you ponder on less and less) will make you to orient (align) yourself more with the legitimate demands of life and living until you become alien again to the commonwealth of God’s saints. We cannot afford to be going through the cycle of recommitting our lives to the LORD, especially because we find out that we have lost touch with Him (and eternal realities) in our pursuits of things not necessarily sinful, but portent all the same to weaken our consecrations and our longing (heart cry) for the Saviour to fill us with Himself and to return in His second coming to gather us unto Himself.
These are the first three reminders I have for you in this New Year:
- The imminence of the LORD’s coming (Behold I come quickly)
- The prevalence of Grace in and through you (Thy Kingdom come)
- The diligence of labouring with God (Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might)
We will only discuss the first one in this message today.
The Imminence of the LORD’s coming
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12
Whether He comes this year or tarries for another twenty years, this notice from our LORD must never lose its urgency upon your spirit or else “…your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” (Luke 21:34). Many people miss the point when they think that since these words have been written for two thousand years, and Christ has not yet come, then you cannot take it literally. And there are others too on the flip side who take it beyond the boundaries of sanity that they even huddle together in a camp or desert, faraway from civilization, “waiting” for the LORD to come for them.
“Don’t spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do that, you won’t be able to think straight, and the end might come when you are not ready.” (CEV, ERV) OR suddenly like a trap (ESV) Luke 21:34
First, those who think waiting for the LORD’s coming means leaving their families to go join some weird people, who have allowed a host of evil spirits working in a man to teach them, are unfortunately deceived. We bear the hope of the LORD’s imminent return in the midst of earthly commitments (marital, familial, occupational), as a testimony to a lost world and a signature of eternity upon all that we do.
And for those who mock and scoff “…saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4). Let the Scriptures repair their willful ignorance (v 5): “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
So, in God’s timing, not much time has gone since the LORD Jesus left for heaven. Hence, we must know that when Jesus says He is coming quickly, we need not argue with that, but rather simply live ready so that the day will not catch us unawares or like a thief in the night. Also, He has not come because He is bearing with us, not wanting any of us to perish. Please note that this was written to believers. While we await His coming, let us make ourselves ready.
What are the things that will retain the efficacy and urgency of Christ’s coming upon our hearts?
- Seeking the LORD.
- Seeking His will in your life
- Choosing the Word of God over all man-made doctrines and traditions
Seeking the LORD
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” Isaiah 55:6
You see, the time we have is a currency and we are free to use it to purchase whatever we like. Some use their time to develop a skill, and that is good, at least good in a worldly sense. With a highly developed skill, you are not likely to lose value in the marketplace. But this is not all we do in the 12 to 16 hours we are awake daily. Apart from developing our capacities to solve problems and serve people (skill), we need to use time to develop our relationships with family and friends, but most importantly, we need to commit a good portion of our time, in an incremental sense, to seeking the LORD. That will be the best trade we can make with time. It is a purchase with eternal returns, popularly known as rewards.
“Whatever receives the commitment of our time determines what we are becoming.”
How do we seek the LORD? Look for time to be alone with Him, to read and study the Word of God and to fellowship with the Holy Spirit in prayers. You may think you don’t have time for these, but honestly you do. You can cutback on the amount of TV programming you are consuming, even Christian programming. Even those who are on TV, whether they are genuine or not, didn’t get made in front of a TV camera. Spend time where it matters. Let TV and social media become happenstance (something that happens by chance) for you, not something you settle down to consume for hours that you really cannot account for.
When you begin to do this you will understand the scripture that says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). The quickening we all need to live above sin, free of fear and full of faith, overcoming all compromises and life’s obstacles, comes from the Spirit of God, and we are only able to touch or contact the Spirit when we settle down to allow Him to speak to us (God’s Word) and when we respond back to Him (prayer).
The time when He can be found, according to Scriptures above, is the time that is deliberately spent with Him, not the time that overlaps with another legitimate activity. However, we can carry on the fragrance and continuation of our fellowship with God into all other legitimate activities of family life and career pursuits. This cannot be faked when there is no account of times spent with the LORD previously.
Seeking His will in your life
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 6:38
The act of seeking the LORD daily and putting your life through the counsel of His Word and Spirit is a very liberating experience. This is the way to walk in the light and to escape the snares of the enemy. In order to live for Him, you have to lose the fear of men, for it has been discovered that even after a person is willing to do God’s will, the fear of what people will say often always terrify him into cowardice. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25). Please note that it is the will of God we follow in our lives that allows us to contemplate eternal realities dutifully. When we are out of His will, we will also boycott the heavenly realities that should occupy our thoughts, as we go through life.
Choosing the Word of God over all man-made doctrines and traditions
Let me make an important statement here: if all Christians will only read the Bible and believe the Bible and live by the Bible, more than half of all that divides us will suddenly collapse, and we will be free to fellowship with one another, regardless of our race, colour, social status and Christian groupings. Can you ask yourself the following question:
- Why do I believe what I believe?
- Is my beliefs based on the Bible or on the “man of God”?
- Are the Scriptures clearly teaching what I profess it teaches or I am forcing it to say what I want or what will appeal to humanists and other worldviews?
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18
How clear can the Holy Spirit be? Mark them, note them so that you can set them aside… those who cause divisions and offences contrary to God’s Word (doctrine) which you have learned. You are to avoid them. It is because of Scriptures like this that I don’t listen to every single “Christian” preacher on TV or other media, especially those whom I have marked as teaching something different from the clear thought and testimony of Scriptures. Even if you are carried away and think they are all serving Jesus, the Holy Spirit spoke through our brother Paul saying they serve their own belly, rather than the LORD Jesus Christ. And because they are orators, they can spun high sounding, rhyming phrases, and you who have not allowed your heart to measure the depth of God’s Word, will likely get carried away and be deceived.
A heart that is fully engaged in God’s Word will be too deep for men with sweet tongue to sway out of the Truth into half-truths that are used to camouflage errors. Don’t be too simple minded this year. “Simple” is the way the bible call those who are unsuspecting, in other words, those who are too innocent to the point of being foolish. Which means they will allow the charisma of a “man of God” to make them think, “he is too nice to deceive anybody, look at the testimonies, look at his donations”. Meanwhile, if you are like that, satan himself can disguise into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), doing all that is practically and psychologically necessary to win you over. Please read Ephesians 4:14, 5:6; Colossians 2:4, 8; 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
The Psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). Stop ignoring your lamp, for that is the only way to see the real face of men and the real meaning of Scriptures. Subject every preacher (especially the one writing this) to this Lamp. Subject every doctrine to this Light. You will not miss your way this year if you will not be too wise to crosscheck things with God’s Word. Nobody outgrows this stuff. Nobody is too matured to say he doesn’t need to check the Word of God, at least the one already stored up in his heart. We live in a dark world and every light that is not Christ is a level of darkness that can only be discerned by those who are carrying their Lamps with them.
May you not enter into a snare in this new year and may your light (Christ in you) shine brighter at home, at work and everywhere you go. Keep seeking the LORD as a lifestyle and His coming will not catch you unawares. God bless you.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotation is from the King James Version.
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