3-17-2018 Is the Ambassador in?
We are in a season of blessings coming from the Father. This is a time of restoration and restitution for the church and its people.
Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins to caution the church to not let go of its faith. And how quickly His words came to pass. Within thirty years of Jesus’ return to heaven, Paul had to write letters to the churches because they were being side tracked by erroneous teaching and fables.
The seven year period we are currently in basically began January 2015. If you count the Hebrew calendar, this season may have actually started with Rosh Hoshana, September 2014.
Nonetheless, this period is for church growth. For various reasons, the church, for centuries, has gradually moved away from its original doctrines and has been serving man’s interpretations and sometimes whims. Paul warns us that the church would experience a falling away (1) before Jesus’ return. Because Father does not want any to perish (2), the church, nor anyone for that matter, for a while now, He has been bringing especially His church back around to where it should be. Just as God tells Jeremiah to warn Israel because of their disobedience He was bringing judgment upon them (3) He also warns today’s church of the same. Even the ‘righteous’ will die in their sin when they don’t repent (4). And any righteousness he has done will amount to nothing (5).
So He’s bringing his church back into a true relationship with Himself. He gives us a warning about what is happening then encouragement about what we need to do to get back into that right relationship which is being a true reflection of His love in this world.
So what about the ten virgins (6)? The warning goes to the five foolish virgins who took their lamp with oil, but no extra oil. The oil represents our relationship with Jesus Christ. Some may argue that the oil represents the Holy Ghost and I won’t disagree, because the Holy Ghost solidifies our relationship with the Lord. Right? When we don’t make Jesus Lord of our life and live for Him, we jeopardize any relationship we may have with Him. When we don’t maintain a relationship, that relationship starts to break up and crumble. When that relationships disintegrates far enough, it is gone and we fall back into our old habits and don’t even bother to repent of what we are doing. We begin to excuse our actions or explain them away. But we don’t take responsibility. Sinners will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (7). Without repentance, we fall back into that old person who we were when we started looking forward to God’s eternal kingdom to begin with. But with no repentance, our sin remains in us.
The time will come, and may even be upon us, when parts of the church will attach themselves to those who tell them what they ‘want’ to hear and not what they ‘need’ to hear. They will turn from the truth to man-made fables (8). Some will come preaching another Jesus, other than what the apostles preached (9) and people will listen and follow.
There are those who will get off track and become performance orientated and think that by ‘doing certain things’ is the way to eternal life. The Jews believed that because they “did” what the letter of the law said and thought they were okay (10). And Jesus called them hypocrites. Their hearts were off in left field. There were seven sons who thought they could cast out devils in the name of Jesus like Paul did, but were rudely brought to their senses (11) discovering they not only needed the authority but the power as well. Giving “lip service” doesn’t mean our hearts are right with the Lord and it doesn’t give us power with Him (12). Those who do lip service are like a whited sepulcher, all clean and white and lookin’ good on the outside but with nothing but dead bones and rotting flesh and no real faith on the inside (13).
When we hear about Jesus for the first time, four things could happen. 1) Absolutely nothing! We totally refuse to receive Him. 2) We receive Him and abide with Him for a while, but then trouble and problems arise, we get discouraged and walk away. 3) We receive Him and abide with Him for a while but then the world looks so good to us, we turn our tails and run back into it. Sounds a bit like the five foolish virgins, doesn’t it (14)? They let their oil run out. They didn’t continue in their lifestyle with Jesus. Point four, we’ll leave for the next section.
This all leads into what we need to understand about the church. How many times have we heard the complaint “they’re just a bunch of hypocrites”, “yeah, they look good on Sunday, but you should see them Monday thru Saturday”. The church is a place of growth and continuing growth. The good, the bad and the ugly all reside in the church. They reside in each and all the fellowships and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a genuine Christian from one who’s there because he’s ‘supposed to be’ or it’s ‘part of being a well-rounded person’. Or, even a plant from the enemy intended to disrupt the church. When the time comes, God will separate the righteous from the unjust, the wheat from the tares (15), true believers from the pretenders.
He will take time to separate the good and the bad. The good, He will welcome into His fellowship because of their faithfulness. He will cast off the bad like dead branches because their hearts were never really with Him (16).
So what do we do then?
We start with the sower and point four. When we hear God’s word and understand it we are the seed on good ground. We hear the word of God and receive it. We seek God and bear fruit. That is we grow in our relationship with Him and share what God has given us (14).
God loves us, for He is love (17) and so we ought to love Him. We show that love by loving Him and loving not only our brothers and sisters in the Lord, but everybody. We don’t do the works to get saved, but because we have a growing relationship with our Lord Jesus (18) we show our faith through the works we do for others.
How do I show my love for God? If I love God, I will keep His commandments (19). I come to understand that the Ten Commandments are a very basic description of love – Love God, no idols, honor God, take time to talk with Him, honor mom and dad, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery or steal, don’t lie and don’t desire the things my neighbor has (20).
Loving God isn’t easy. We have to turn from the old, wicked ways and start living life according to God’s plan. When temptation comes, we have to resist (21). And that’s not always easy for the Devil is always trying to draw us back into the old nature, away from God. Yet, it is a narrow path that we walk, resisting the temptations of the world (22) being aware of those people and things that try to drag us away from the kingdom of God. We have to persevere and stay on course, expecting to win through our determination to follow Jesus (23). Remember, we don’t have to be first to cross the finish line, but we do have to finish this race and cross that line. Then we all become winners collecting our prize, that crown of eternal life (24)
I run this race with all my heart, mind, soul and strength showing my love for God by giving Him some time from my life, daily then expressing His love to those around me (25). For everything I do I remember I do for God (26). Not pleasing man, but pleasing the Father. I remember that Jesus tells me that whatever I do to the least of my brothers, I have done to Him (27).
I need to remember that just because I’m part of a church, I don’t just sit back and reap the benefits, but I have to be doing things, something, for Jesus with a right heart (28). I also need to remember that there may be those doing the work of Jesus that I’m not aware of so if someone is sharing the word of God and they have a right heart and even though they may not be a part of where I am, I ought not to complain (29). I don’t know ALL whom God has called (30).
Should I encounter someone I’m not sure of, I should try the spirits by the Spirit to see if they are of God. Every spirit that confesses that Christ is come in the flesh is of God, if it doesn’t, it’s not of God (31). The Holy Ghost gives us the ability to recognize this (32). Then I should welcome those whom the Spirit has confirmed, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
We should be comforted because we are knit together in love, understanding the mystery of God, the Father and of Christ. We should not be drawn away by enticing words but hold steadfast to our faith in Christ Jesus, walking in His love because we are in Him. We should be thankful that we are not tricked by vain philosophies and deceits of men because we have become grounded in the truth of Jesus for we know He has all power. We are buried with Jesus in baptism and knowing that God raised Him from the dead, and He will do the same for us, raising us from spiritual death into eternal life. We were dead in our sins because He nailed those sins to the cross, redeeming us into the kingdom of God, giving us new life in Him. We are no longer bound by man’s traditions but humbly, with all believers, join the body of Christ (33). As our head, Jesus feeds us and helps us to grow in God, so we are no longer bound to man’s ordinances, many which look reasonable, but honor the flesh. We are bought with a price (34). But we honor God and as we do that, God will give us favor, even with man (35).
We should rejoice for we are become new creatures in Jesus Christ. For God has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation. We should share His love with whomsoever He sets before us. He who knew no sin and was made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God though Him. And through Him, we become His ambassadors in this world (36).
1 Thess. 2;1-3 A falling away first
2 Peter 3:9 Lord not slack but desires all to repent
3 Jer. 1:14-16 Lord will bring kingdoms of the north against Israel (the church)
4 Ezek. 3:20 A righteous man sins and dies in that sin, he is lost
5 Ezek. 3:20 … his righteousness will not be remembered …
6 Matt. 25:1-13 10 virgins
7 1 Corinth. 6:9-10 The unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, etc. not enter in …
8 2 Tim. 4:1-4 Turn from the truth to fables
9 2 Corinth. 11:4 One preaches what we didn’t
10 Matt. 7:21-23 Didn’t we prophecy in your name
11 Acts 19:13-167 Brothers of Sceva
12 Matt. 15:6-9 You say the right things but your heart is far from me
13 Matt. 23:27-39 Whited sepulcher
14 Matt. 13:18-23 The sower
15 Matt. 13:24-30, 13:37-43 Wheat & tares
16 Matt. 31-46 Sheep & goats
17 1 John 4:7-19 God is love … so let us love
18 James 218-20 I’ll show my faith by my works
19 John 14:15-18 If you love Me, keep my commandments
20 Exod. 20:3-17 The Ten Commandments
21 James 4:7 Submit to God, resist the devil, he will flee
22 Matt. 7:12-20 Path is straight & narrow
23 1 Corinth. 9:24-27 Run the race to obtain
24 2 Tim. 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight to obtain that crown of righteousness
25 Mark 12:28-31 Love God with all the heart, mind, soul & strength
26 Col. 3:23-25 Serve with all heart as unto the Lord
27 Matt. 35:40 … to the least of my brothers, you have done to Me
28 Matt. 3:7-12 Fruit worthy of repentance
29 Luke 9:49-50 They aren’t with us should we forbid them
30 John 3:16 I have sheep which are not of this fold
31 1 John 4:1-5 Try the spirits by the Spirit
32 1 John 2:18-28 We know the truth having an unction from the Holy One
33 1 Corinth. 12:12 We are all members of the body of Christ
34 1 Corinth. 6:19-20) … we are not our own, but bought with a price …
35 Prov. 3:1-4 … keep my commandments … favor & understanding with God
36 2 Corinth. 5:17-21 We are new creatures in Jesus Christ and ambassadors