Archive for the ‘Thoughts on Getting Ready for Christ’s Return’ Category

Does it matter when the rapture happens? Yes, for the Lord tells us in Revelation 2-3 that there are three different scenarios that different groups in the church will face if the rapture is pre-wrath. Those three ways are rapture, martyrdom, and death by the Lord. (more…)

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One group of Christians which strongly makes its voice heard regarding readiness for the end times believe that we must keep the sabbath law or we will be damned – all our efforts will be for nothing. Once one of these believers detect that you are not keeping the sabbath (which includes worshiping on Saturday), then all of your warnings and teachings are thrown out the window. You will miss the Rapture. You will not be in the kingdom. You are an idolater who should burn forever.

Does the sabbath’s importance really carry this much weight? Did God intend for the sabbath day observance to be our highest priority, that without it all our holy practices to be like Christ will fail? Let’s examine the passages regarding the sabbath in the Old Testament and the New. The scriptures are where I get my teachings, so I will ignore the writings of the many believers who insist on keeping the sabbath. You can use an online Bible search and search the Word for “sabbath,” as I did for this study. If I read these sabbath Scriptures myself, will I end up with the same conclusions as the sabbath-lovers do?

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One reason why I would have no incentive to prepare for Christ’s coming is if I believe the Rapture of the church includes all members of the church, without exception. For other believers, the promise of a Rapture from a loving Savior prompts them to lay down their lives for Him in gratitude. This is a wonderful response to the Rapture promise, but it is not shared by those whose love for the Savior is absent.

To those of you who are lukewarm in your affections for the Lord, and are depending on a universal Rapture, what if I could show you that the Rapture is conditional? We’ll find in Revelation chapters two and three that Jesus makes a difference among believers regarding who will be rewarded and who will not. One of the conditional rewards offered is the Rapture. (more…)

“Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father I heaven” (Matt. 7:21)

Jesus frequently mentioned heaven (a.k.a. the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God). In this instance He gave us a qualification for entering it. You would think entrance should be by faith alone. Jesus tells us plainly that entrance requires obedience to the Father’s will – of having His words and doing them. Isn’t it supposed to be by faith alone? Is this a contradiction in the Bible? (more…)

Is the Church in crisis? When we focus on only a small part of a whole, we tend to neglect the big picture. When we do that, we may conclude wrongly and take inappropriate action. For instance, we read, “On the basis of that testimony the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Chief Justice Roy Moore from office and stripped him of his reputation.” The government did not remove Judge Moore from office based on his beliefs about Jesus, but because he would not obey the order to remove the display.
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Last year I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. As I learned more about diabetes, I cut down on sugar and processed foods. My wife added more fruits and vegetables to the home meals. I ate smaller portions, and spread the food over five meals a day. I made sure to keep on weightlifting.

My lifestyle changes were not particularly difficult to make. Why was my transition to a new diabetic lifestyle so smooth? Shouldn’t I have mumbled more over eating less chocolate? Why wasn’t I grouchier after eating a smaller meal than usual? Because, as a Christian, it has already been normal to repent of old behaviors and to take up new ones. (more…)

The short answer: Because God is faithful. The long answer: Because God will do exactly what He promised in His Word. If we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus will cleanse it away. If we reckon our flesh to be dead and identify with Christ – that we are risen with Christ in the heavenly places – we will not reap the corruption of the flesh. If we study the Word as a workman who needs not to be ashamed, then we’ll be prepared for every good work. If we are doers of the Word and not hearers only, then the Lord will reward our works. If we exercise ourselves in obeying God, yet have patience because this journey will take a lifetime, then we’ll abide in Him. If we remember the Lord’s death for our sins, the giving of His body and blood, then we’ll have a right view of the horror of sin and steer clear of it more consistently. (more…)

With all this talk about judgment, Christians may ask, “What about the grace of God?” Some Christians misunderstand grace. Yes, God will be merciful now, but at the judgment seat of Christ He will show mercy only to the merciful (“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”). God will be patient with the proud Christian today, but He will give the kingdom to the meek and the proud will be totally excluded from any inheritance in it (“Blessed are the meek, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”). (more…)

One of the barriers that kept me from getting ready for the judgment seat of Christ was the knowledge that God is good. Let me explain.

I’ve been to several different churches. Each church had a different culture. At my current church, the culture stresses God’s love toward us and His grace. It stresses faith, hope and love. In this culture, what happens if you receive a teaching of God’s judgment or of the fear of God? Since you are accustomed to hearing that God is good to His children, you would think that verses speaking of a negative judgment will apply to non-believers, not to believers. The “good and faithful servant” is a believer while the “wicked lazy servant” is an unbeliever. The wise virgins are believers and the foolish virgins are unbelievers. (more…)

Reporters and commentators who are analyzing Cho’s murder of 31 people and his suicide on the campus of Virginia Tech are in a bind. They would usually point to a poor upbringing as one reason for the carnage. The problem is Cho’s sister, who is as different than her brother as day is to night. While Cho was moody and practically never said a word or mixed with other students, she was bright, and attended Princeton and the Bible studies there. (more…)

Someone asked why there are so many dissenting viewpoints about biblical doctrine. I see several reasons for this.

1. We espouse many viewpoints on various passages because we are at various stages of growth, of sanctification. For instance, Christians new to the faith, who do not yet know how to live by just trusting God, would tend to want plain rules for right living. But the mature in faith know that they are to be led by the Spirit and not mere laws and rules. (Read the book of Acts and you’ll see surrendered men moved by God and not rules and laws.) (more…)

“If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Cor. 15:13, 32-33).

Should the resurrection of Jesus Christ affect how we live our lives? Yes: The resurrection should prompt us to live righteously. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we may follow the philosophy of living for the present: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” If we believe in the resurrection, but live for the present, what lessons have we missed regarding the resurrection? (more…)

A concordance helps me find a Scripture when I already know a word in the verse. I also use the concordance to see how a word is used in Scripture, and whether its definition is limited in scope or varies widely.

However, if I want to know all about my salvation, looking up saved and salvation will be insufficient. We may wonder, “Can I lose my salvation?” We may try to answer it by using the concordance. Looking up saved and salvation does not seem to help, especially when passages like “being saved” or “will make you wise for salvation” (both referring to Christians) seem to muddy the waters. (more…)

Articles on predestination frequently address God’s omnipotence and foreknowledge, and man’s free will or lack of it. Many of these lines of thought can be traced back to classical thinkers like Augustine. My studies on predestination purely from the Word of God have unearthed an emphasis absent in debates on predestination. The Bible links predestination to a sanctifying process where one by faith becomes more like Christ. Let’s look at a few passages where predestination and this process are tied together. (more…)

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10 NKJV).

Paul suffered for the elect that they may obtain the salvation with eternal glory. In context, Paul is writing to the elect (chosen ones) who have already believed Jesus through the gospel. Paul is not suffering to share the gospel to unbelievers. He is working hard to bring believers to eternal glory. If the elect are already predestined to glory because they have been justified by faith (Rom. 8:29-30), why would Paul write this seemingly contradictory verse? One perspective of predestination tells us that Christians will make it to glory no matter how they live. Paul, writing to believers, does not see predestination this way. (more…)