Through It All…(Part V)

“YET THROUGH IT ALL, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive.”  Matthew 24:14

We have been looking at this passage for a few weeks now.  The first week we tackled intimacy with the Father, which I believe is essential for anything else to work in the kingdom.  It is not about a formula but about a relationship.

Then we analyzed the three things in Revelation that tells us what believers will use to overcome the enemy in the last days. The first is the blood of the lamb, which is very powerful.  This power is only exhibited and demonstrated when we know what we have been given through the blood.  This allows us to act in faith.  Believers will also overcome by the word of their testimony.  A testimony opens the door for people to say that because God did it once, He can do it again!  The third thing listed in the scripture that is essential for believers to beat the enemy is that they daily die to self.  The people in Revelation that overcome did not love their own life unto death.  Why? They had already identified themselves in the co-crucifixion, burial, and resurrection with Christ.

In Matthew 24 Jesus addresses some signs that the last days are approaching, and these are events and happenings that you cannot do anything about.  They will be just that—signs or signals. However, there are some other things that He points out for us to watch for because they could take us off guard if we are not ready.  These are things that we can and must do something about.

“Jesus answered, ‘At that time deception will run rampant. So beware that you are not fooled!’”  Matthew 24:4

This scripture shows one of the main downfalls of believers in the last days—deception.  The problem with deception is that you do not know you are being deceived, and here Jesus indicates that His own followers can be deceived. If this is true, is there anything we can do about it? Is there any hope?

There is always hope.  The word of God does not leave us alone, and neither does the Spirit of God. In fact, Jesus promised to never leave us as orphans.  This is possible because the counselor, the Holy Spirit, will be with us and teach us in Jesus’ absence. However, we are still responsible for dying to ourselves (see previous article) and submitting to His teaching.  If we fail to do this, we will quench the
Spirit in our lives.

“My people are DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”   Hosea 4:6

Our Father does not want us to be destroyed.  The only way believers will NOT be deceived is by gaining knowledge.  In fact, He has provided everything we need to reign in life (Romans 5/2 Peter 1).  This state of living does not just automatically happen because you said a prayer, just like gaining the promised land didn’t just happen for the Israelites. Joshua had to lead a generation of people that believed those promises to be TRUE despite their current circumstances. (Joshua 1-5)

Some of the passages in scripture can seem like a mystery and are sometimes hard to understand with the mind set that we were given at birth.  However, the Holy Spirit wants to teach us these spiritual truths.

“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”10 BUT GOD HAS REVEALED THEM TO US THROUGH HIS SPIRIT. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now WE HAVE RECEIVED, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that WE MIGHT KNOW THE THINGS that have been freely given to us by God. 13 THESE THINGS we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.”  1 Corinthians 2:6-16

WOW! Talk about taking away the excuses from us.  If we come into a relationship with Abba Father, then we are given the mind of Christ.

How?

Well, if He is IN you and you IN Him (reference from John to Revelation) then His mind is included. But again, there is a process of getting what has happened in the inside to display itself on your outer self. Sanctification happens through the renewing of our minds and the washing of the water of the word of God (Romans 12/Ephesians 5).

For example:

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to SEARCH OUT A MATTER.”   Proverbs 25:2

Ha! Why would I show you this verse? Obviously, we are far from kings! Or are we?

“and HAS MADE US PRIESTS AND KINGS to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  Revelation 1:6

In the kingdom you are made Kings and Priests. One of your jobs as a king in the kingdom is to search out the mysteries of God.  Yes, they are sometimes hard to find, but God is waiting on you to search out His heart and plan, and He promises that if you seek, you will find!  If you already knew all there was to know about God and his character, there would be no need to search and no need for faith. Yet we are called to LIFESTYLE of faith! (2 Corinthians 5) This seeking and this practicing of faith will lead to more and more revelation and knowledge and less and less deception.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS BUT DENYING ITS POWER. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 ALWAYS LEARNING and never able to come to the KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH.”  2 Timothy 3:1-7

This passage reemphasizes that in the last days, there will be the obvious things that we know are evil, but some things may sneak up on us if we are not careful.  These verses refer to people who have disguised themselves as the light (2 Corinthians 4). They have a form of godliness.  They are good people who do good things who even look churchy.  They do what they are “supposed to do.”  They truly believe that they are doing the right thing, however, there is no real change.  They probably even said a prayer because they had a basic understanding that they needed forgiveness.  They could have even been baptized, yet they have never given up their life to become like Christ.

Some of these people are even learning more and more. Deception is very easy for us church folks to identify in the world and its systems, but Paul says judgment starts in God’s house first.  Let’s cast a probing eye inward for a bit.   One of the places that many, many people go to deepen their biblical and theological knowledge and learn more about Christ, is seminary.   I wonder how many seminary students or professors I could count on to go with me to cast out a demon, heal the sick, or face persecution. No doubt I could get a quick opinion about the prosperity gospel or a good quote about hushing a woman in church, but I hear and see no real evidence of God moving in power.  What if we glanced into the doors of our churches?  What would we see happening on Sunday’s?

Remember that statement at the beginning—the problem with deception is you don’ t know you are being deceived…

So what do we do?

We are to not only seek out the things of God like a hidden treasure that we want more than anything, but we are to also simply ask Abba Father for it.

“IF ANY OF YOU LACKS WISDOM, LET HIM ASK GOD, who gives to all LIBERALLY and without reproach, and it will be GIVEN to him”.  James 1:5

“do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, MAY GIVE YOU THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM and REVELATION IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM, 18 the EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED; THAT YOU MAY KNOW what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power”  Ephesians 1:16-19

Abba Father is ready and able to reveal the things of Himself and His kingdom to us.  However, we don’t seem to be ready to receive it.  If we operated in a tenth of what is taught in our churches, our societies would look totally different. Knowledge without wisdom just leaves us puffed up and thinking we know more than the next guy.  That is not what we need!

James puts it this way:

“Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of SELF-DECEPTION. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! 23 If you LISTEN TO THE WORD and DON’T LIVE OUT the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning. 24 You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin. 25 But those who set their gaze deeply into the perfecting law of liberty are fascinated by and respond to the truth they hear and are strengthened by it—they experience God’s blessing in all that they do!”  James 1:22-25

How about the book of Wisdom? What does it imply on the matter?

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And IN ALL YOUR GETTING, GET UNDERSTANDING.” Proverbs 4:7

In all your getting! And we get a lot! We need understanding to do what He has called us to.

“Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “WHAT IS TRUTH?” ….”   John 18:33-38a

Pilate asked a huge question here–much deeper than he knew at the time.  In fact, truth was standing right in front of him in His fullness. Everything he needed in life and for life was standing before him and he didn’t realize it! How often do we do the same thing?   We Look for truth when He (truth) is standing at the door, knocking.

We think that there must be more to it! There must be something we are missing.  No. Everything- all understanding- is found in Him.

Think about this with me.

In the garden Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That tree represents a judgement.  When they ate of that tree, they moved out of their original purpose God had for them.  God pursued man so that he could be put back on his original course.  This pursuit led all the way to the cross. The cross is the judgment tree–the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Jesus is the tree of life that covered the tree of knowledge.  When we come into a relationship with Him, we should no longer judge the world (think the old way) according to our old nature but by the nature of God because we have partaken of a new tree. Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. The old way of thinking (Adam nature thinking) goes away, and now we have a way of thinking that brings life through communion with Abba Father.

Jesus said He came to save “THAT” which was lost.  “That” is the way it was before we ate from the wrong tree.  It is time for us to get understanding, quit being deceived and therefore destroyed, and walk in truth! Truth that sets you free!

 


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