Stop looking at the signs and start looking at your walk. So many in today’s world are obsessed at looking at the signs. From viewing one YouTube video after another to listening to every new false prophet that comes along, the Christian community is being forced further into captivity by the prince of darkness. Signs are important otherwise Christ would not have given them. Signs are like signpost that give directions and alerts us when we are close to our destination. To concentrate only on the signs and not the many other things necessary to be a good and safe driver would not only be foolish, but could end in tragedy. Well, it’s the same way when it comes to concentrating on the signs of Christ’s Second Coming and not on the many things it takes to be faithful followers of Christ. Yes, many things. So many things that Jesus Christ gave us the indwelling Spirit to remind us of everything He said and taught. The Bible says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:12-13a). So, stop looking constantly at the signs and pay attention to your driving. Stop obsessing on the signs of Christ’s return in Glory and let’s agree to spend more time in preparation for His arrival by listening to God through the Spirit. Without the Spirit, the Bible would not be discernible. It would be a nice history book and wise teachings from an ancient Teacher, but remiss of Spiritual power. The power necessary for spiritual growth and faithfulness to God.
Now, that I’ve got your attention let’s look briefly at some of the things we need to be concentrating. First, let’s get rid of all the old baggage that the enemy insists that you hang on to. The baggage the world says you can’t get rid of, no matter how hard you try, but what does God say? Remember, we are to listen to God. Not to the world and not to the enemy. The Bible, His Word, says that we, that is, believers in Christ, are made into a brand-new creation. Let’s read it together, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). Wow! That means that all the old baggage belongs to the old life, not the new. So, to hold onto that old baggage, which no longer exists, either shows your lack of faith or calls God a liar. Friends, to walk in this new life is true freedom. Freedom from all the old sins, bad behavior, emotional and psychological hang-ups, and yes even all your old bad habits. Believing this is your first step in spiritual growth. Trust me, if you don’t believe this you will never get to the second step. And that my friend, is exactly where the lukewarm church is presently in their unbelief.
For you, I think better, so let’s move on to the second step. Put off the old, and put on the new life in-Christ. Sounds like two things, but it’s only one. These things must be done simultaneously, at the same time. The Apostle Paul gives us some wonderful examples in Scripture. Let’s look at them together. The Bible says, “Wherefore putting away lying, [Put off the old life] speak every man truth with his neighbor [Put on the new life]: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). And then again, the Bible says, “Let him that stole steal no more: [Put off the old life] but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” [Put on the new life] (Ephesians 4:28). And again, the Bible says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, [Put off the old life] but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers [Put on the new life] (Ephesians 4:29). One last example, the Bible says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [Put off the old life] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” [Put on the new life] (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Now, like I said these are examples so let’s see if we can think of others. The point is when you stop an old bad behavior then replace it with a new good behavior. Yes, this works with your emotional and psychological hang-ups too. Most have to do with thinking and learned attitudes. For example, if I have always in the past allowed negative thinking to get me down to the point of being depressed, then I need to put that off, but at the same time I need to put on good positive thoughts along with prayer. Again, the Bible gives us some excellent things to put into our minds and think about. The Bible says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Trust me my friends, God gives us the power to control what we put into our minds. The world and the devil would like you to think differently.
So, you are already beginning to see it’s a full-time job being a Christian who wants to be prepared at Christ’s Second Coming. So, are you ready for the third step? Service. Yes, I said service. It must be right in the beginning of our Christian pilgrimage. We must immediately start serving our new King, the Righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ. It’s so sad that the lukewarm church has never traveled this far. Sports and recreational events, potlucks and movies, along with many other social events would be hard pressed to qualify as truly serving the Lord, although they could. So how does God want us to serve Him. Along with the new life in-Christ comes immediately the Holy Spirit, our new Holy Resident. And when He comes, He does not come empty handed, but He comes bearing Gifts. Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have taught many classes on how to know your Spiritual Gift and how to use it for God’s glory. I cannot overemphasize the importance of teaching all God’s children the use of their Spiritual Gifts for the health and wellbeing of the Church. And yes, we are the Church, which explains the weakness and worldliness of today’s churches. How valuable the Spiritual Gifts are in building up, encouraging, preaching, teaching, and admonishing one another in Christ. Not to mention the many other Spiritual Gifts to strengthen and grow God’s Holy Church. Therein is our true service to the Master.
There are other steps along the Way that we must all take, but these first steps are essential or you will never be ready to meet our Master coming in the clouds to collect His Beautiful Bride, the Church. This is how Christ is doing His part in preparing for that glorious Day, the Bible says, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25b – 27). Now, once you are being made ready and concentrating on the important things of our Christian pilgrimage then only take a quick glance at the signs knowing He’s at the very door where every eye will see His glorious coming. I pray that all reading this will be ready when He comes. I will leave you with these Words from the Master. The Bible says, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Taking these initial steps, my friends, are God’s will for you, the Church. Amen
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