The Result of Abiding in Christ, An Examination of John 15:1-8

John 15:1-8

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Our Excerpt today is from F.B. Hole’s “Commentary on John” published in 1947.

The surest proof that we are in Christ is that we abide in Christ; and the surest proof that we abide in Christ is that we produce fruit in life and service, the very character and ways of Christ coming out in us. Without Him we can do nothing. Abiding in Him there is much fruit; we are brought into communion with His mind so that we ask with liberty and have our desires granted, the Father is glorified, and our discipleship is proved genuine beyond all question.

It is a great privilege, as well as a great responsibility, to be left on earth to bear fruit; it is even a greater privilege to know ourselves to be the objects of Divine Love. The love of Jesus rested upon these disciples—and upon us also—just as the Father’s love rested upon Himself. In the knowledge, the consciousness, the enjoyment of His love we are to abide. This abiding is maintained by obedience to His commandments.

Words of Grace for Strength

The idea of “abiding in Christ” that we find in this passage is explained by the understanding that it is the Word of God (Jesus is the Word, See John 1:1-5), that is being spoken of. Abiding in the Word means living by the truths and doctrines of the Word. This takes place when the Word has taken deep root in the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ. He has a true affection for the Word, the Word is truly food for his soul. When the disciple of Jesus abides in the Word, he is able to know it, understand it, teach it, and stand fast in it.

This passage establishes this truth, abiding in Christ ensures fruitfulness. There is a general truth stated here when Christ says; “I am the vine.” But, it becomes personal to the disciple when Christ says; “you are the branches” because it brings each individual disciple into a connection with Christ. So now, the truth is made definite and becomes a personal application when we continue to examine His statement in verse 5; “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.”

Jesus is not merely setting forth a law here, but instead is giving a promise that will be completed in the disciple by the action of Jesus Christ Himself. Notice when Christ is speaking of bearing fruit here, He says “much fruit.” The inference here is that as disciples we are not to be satisfied with a little fruit or immature fruit or shriveled up fruit. Instead, by abiding in Christ, the fruit we bear is plentiful, lush, sweet, and mature. In other words, abiding in Christ will produce in the disciple, a character rich in the manifold graces of God which bears fruit. Indeed, those branches that are fruitless are taken away by the Father as the vinedresser in order to preserve the health of the fruitful vine, those that bear fruit are pruned, tended with loving care, so as to allow even more fruit bearing as one grows more fruitful in Christ in one’s walking in faith with Him as a growing disciple.

So this union of the disciple with Christ as he abides in Christ produces fruitfulness which in the end glorifies God and increases growth in the disciple. Christ’s life is all about glorifying God, our lives also should be all about glorifying God. For our lives are not our own if we have truly given them to God when we accepted His gift of Salvation. A mature, fruitful branch within the vine is now part of the vine, no distinction can be made of it as separate and apart from the vine itself, they grow as one.

Abiding in Christ means we are “In Christ” becoming every day more like Christ as His disciples. This discipleship will only be completed at the point in time we are ushered into the physical presence of Jesus Christ. As we live here in our earthly bodies we are in the continual process of becoming, His true disciples and servants.

If we bear much fruit because we are abiding in Him, the bearing of fruit will cause us to grow closer to him and be more of a disciple, which in turn will cause us to bear more fruit. Discipleship in Christ produces character, and character produces conduct which rests not on the character of the disciple, but in the character of Jesus Christ. When Christ’s Word abides in us it is more than intellectual understanding or acceptance of His Word, it means the whole consciousness of our very being is saturated with His desires, His affections, His understanding, in other words we have surrendered our will to His Will.

This brings us then to verse 7. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” This must be understood not of temporal things, such as riches or honors, profit, pleasure, or anything that the natural man might desire, but of things spiritual which are limited by the restriction that what is promised, is as according to the Will of God. Christ in His earthly ministry cared little for physical comforts as long as physical needs were met. The true focus was on the spiritual needs and growth of those who had chosen to follow Him, for God is spirit, and will be with us in spirit and in love.

When we look back to verse 3, we find the phrase “because of the word” which tells us how the working of the word is what has made us clean. Verse 4 then says “abide in Me, and I in you” and warns that we cannot bear fruit unless the disciple will “abide in Me.” Now in verse 7, again we read; “if you abide in Me, My words abide in you” which is significant in that it illustrates a position of obedience in the life of the disciple. “I in you” demonstrates that we are possessed of Christ, while “my words abide in you” demonstrates action on the part of the disciple to be a disciple.

In other words, the disciple has completely given his will to the Will of God. In doing so, the disciple’s will is no longer his own, but instead is God’s Will, what the disciple desires, or asks for is what God desires for the disciple to receive. In Verse 8 we are given the key to understanding this whole passage; “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” It is all about the fruit! Our prayers should always reflect God’s Will for us. What we should desire, what we should ask for, is to bear “much fruit” and in doings so we are accomplishing the Will of God in our lives, and are becoming His disciples. A fruitful branch grows deeper into the vine (the Son), is tended carefully by the vinedresser (the Father) and lives to produce fruit by the indwelling of God within us (the Spirit).

Become His disciple and bear fruit!

Discipleship: Fully Committed to Christ

In Luke 14:25-33 we find a passage that describes what is required to truly be a disciple of Christ.

“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘”If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”’

Many would consider this passage as some of the “hard sayings” of Jesus. At the point in His ministry at which He made these statements, He had been attracting great crowds which followed Him everywhere to hear His teaching. Yet many of them were following Him expecting temporal reward or at the very least, reflected glory for themselves. And so, Jesus delivers to them this message in order for them to understand what truly would be required of anyone who desired to be His disciple. Additionally, He shared with them examples of counting the cost of being His disciple.

When Jesus spoke to them in verse 26; “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” the implication was not that they would truly hate their own family or themselves, but in fact, that as much as they loved their families, they must love Jesus infinitely more. And in verse 27; “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple,” He is saying, in order to be His disciple, not only should one be willing to face unspeakable persecution and suffering, but one willingly commits to following Christ even if it means his death. In verse 33 Jesus said; “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Again, the inference is that if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to put our love and service to Him above all of our material possessions. My friends this is a total commitment that He is requiring. You must follow Him completely or not at all. It is all or nothing. Jesus Christ is either Lord over everything in your life, including your life itself, or He is not Lord at all.

To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ one must count the cost. One must realize that sacrifice is required, suffering and persecution is to be expected, and we very well may be required to forfeit our very lives. In teaching on discipleship I often say it is not for the weak at heart. Again, remember Jesus told us in John 15:20; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” and they crucified Him.

So, we have looked at what Christ says is required to be a disciple, but how does that relate to being a Christian? Let’s look at Acts 11:28; “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” In this passage, which is telling about Barnabas taking Paul to Antioch, disciple is synonymous with Christian. I’m wondering if that puts a whole new light on your understanding of your relationship to Christ. Let’s look again at the words of Christ, this time in Mark 8:34; ‘“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”’ There are three imperatives here:

  • First, is self-denial. This again is putting Christ before anything, anyone, and everything in your life;
  • Second, is self-sacrifice. Again, being willing to suffer and lay down your very life for Jesus Christ if so required;
  • Third, Jesus said “follow me” and there have been volumes written about the meaning of those two words, but the short version is this, having embraced self-denial and self-sacrifice,
    • commit to the life of a disciple by studying the Word of God,
    • grow more Christ-like by living by the Word of God,
    • share the Word of God with others,
    • and defend the Word of God without fail.

Here then is the bottom line. Jesus, the very Son of God, was born into this world to become the Christ. At Calvary He took on the sin debt owed by all humanity, paid it with His own life, was buried, and resurrected Himself into life. By His victory over sin and death, He has offered to all mankind the free gift of salvation and eternal life for all who will believe in His finished work at the cross and recognize Him as their Savior, and Lord of their life. In understanding this, we comprehend that discipleship as a Christian is voluntary. In accepting Christ’s gift we willingly are giving over our will to His Will. In that respect, becoming a Christian and a disciple is intentional.

Unfortunately, there are many who call themselves Christian, yet have not counted the cost. They never really surrendered their will to His Will. If you take an honest look at your life, can you truly say that you have surrendered your will to Christ? If not, you must seriously question your commitment. Are you truly following Christ? Are you His disciple? Again, if not, there is no better time than now, no better day than today to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and surrender your life and your will to Him.

True discipleship begins at the cross of Christ. It requires sacrificial devotion to Christ without compromise, it requires putting the needs of others ahead of one’s self for the sake of the gospel, it is an absolute commitment to God’s Will in the disciple’s life.

Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Signs of the Times: Are There Any Pre-Millennial Millennials? – Part Three

Since starting this little mini-series in August, I have tried to read what I can of the research that has been done on the Millennial Generation and fit it into how those of us who follow a pre-millennial dispensational view of the Bible should be responding to them. It is clear that the average Millennial thinks differently than the generations that immediately precede them. It is a logical conclusion that given the huge size of this cohort (a generational group as defined in the areas of demographics, statistics and marketing research), the Millennial Generation will have a significant impact on all phases of society and culture as it marches (as cohorts tended to do in the Roman Empire) through the season of time that they run things in this world.

As I look at the biblical teachings of end times prophecy, I continue to wonder about the impact this generation will have on the popularity of a pre-millennial dispensational approach. Hence the question in the title of this post, and hence the fact that this is Part Three.

I have done some reading which concludes that the millennial is not happy with the way things are going in this country, this comes as no surprise as a lot of us who cannot call ourselves a millennial feel the same way. But here are some of the reasons cited for millennial anger:

  • Nearly a third of adults ages 18 to 34 are living with their parents
  • Only about two-thirds of men in their late 20’s have a full-time job
  • Nearly half of the Millennial Generation are using about half their paycheck to pay off debt
  • The average millennial has a savings rate of around negative 2 percent
  • Nearly half of college graduates still have some level of financial dependence on their parents two years after graduation
  • National debt is in the $18 trillion range (and growing) and the Millennial Generation will be paying it off the rest of their lives

It is easy to see the current economic state of our country is not being kind to the average millennial. This probably is not making the parent of the average millennial very happy either, given the situation and the help they must continue to give to a generation struggling to come into their own. Parents rightfully worried about what kind of life their children (and eventually grandchildren) are going to face.

So what does all this have to do with those of us who hold a pre-millennial worldview? Unhappy people are usually looking for answers and I believe we have the only worldview that has the truth and clarity of the bible to back it up. If we engage with this generation as I discussed in Part Two, we have the opportunity to reach them with love, with answers to where the world is going (and why), and begin to bring them along to a life of solid bible study and understanding.

Why can reaching this generation have so great an impact? It is estimated that over the next few decades (should Jesus not return in that time-frame), this generation will inherit $30 trillion in wealth. Who and what they give to will be impacted, giving them a sound biblical worldview will be crucial to the body of Christ continuing to make a difference to millions as we minister to the world. We need them to see the relevancy of bible prophecy and understand a focus on Jesus is still the only way to truly help the world. Money alone will not help, but money spent in a God honoring way will. We can show them the way.

Why is this generation a crop so ready to be harvested? In addition to the attitudes of the millennials who identify as Christian, nearly 2 out 3 non-Christian millennials have never read the Bible. There is a vast group of this increasingly powerful and influential generation who have only heard what people tell them is in the Bible (and given the world opinion of Christianity, mostly likely a negative view). We have a vast opportunity to reach out and save souls, and bring the lost to a proper interpretation of the Word of God. I believe there is more opportunity to reach people with a pre-millennial dispensational view of the Bible than ever before. The harvest is ripe, and the workers are few. Let’s make some more.

Another recent survey is also interesting to me from a different perspective. Barna research found that the millennial will gravitate to a quieter, more traditional church space. 2 of 3 surveyed preferred a “classic” church to a trendy one. 3 out of 4 preferred a church sanctuary to a church auditorium. About the same number wanted quiet and not loud. Survey respondents were looking for a deeper, more authentic church experience. However, the survey seemed to focus on the visual nature of the millennial with the classic church setting being more of the stained glass cathedral type setting over the artificially created atmosphere of many mega-churches today.

Not all of us attend that type traditional church (at least what seems to be the millennial definition of traditional), I know I don’t. But I would love to spend time with a millennial talking about the truly traditional church, the one described in the Book of Acts. What I believe to be the True Church is modeled on the church founded by Jesus Christ as described in the early part of Acts, which is the church at its’ earliest time. Not the stained glassed cathedral with that slightly medieval sense of awe. I would point them at the church that is truly traditional, that will lead to the deepest, most authentic relationship, the one that Jesus established, the one that Jesus wants for members of His Church. Often a church with a house church type of feel. Might not evoke feelings of solitude and awe, but will embrace you with feelings of love and being part of a family.

Maybe I am kidding myself into thinking this is the church the average pre-millennial believer desires, and is in. But it is clearly the one we should be. And it is the church I feel we are best equipped to lead the millennial into, to turn them into pre-millennial millennials. The millennial with a wish to expand and deepen their social network should respond to that premise, and we of the pre-millennial dispensational approach are uniquely qualified to lead them to and reach them there.

After all, reaching people for Christ, pointing them to Him, giving them an understanding of this world and its’ problems, giving them an understanding of the only One who can solve these problems, is not that the reason to preach and teach biblical prophecy and the end times events that will come to pass?

Read Part One here:

Read Part Two here:

Awareness, Alertness, Anxiety – 2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad

I believe that those who have a view of eschatology that holds to the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture is the proper way to view end times prophetic scripture. It is not escapism, wishing to get away before any of the bad end times stuff begins to happen. I think the pre-millennial, pre-tribulation view gives you the firmest, most realistic grasp on what is happening in the world, what is likely to happen next (no date setting, please), and why we should not be all that surprised by events in the world. From earlier posts, you know we believe Christians in general will face increasing persecution as the world drifts further away from God, severe persecution even in America, before the Rapture occurs. You know we believe there is a convergence of events in the world today which show growing evidence of the fulfillment of End Times biblical prophecy.

Our eschatology and the belief it is being fulfilled as we speak makes us aware, it makes us alert. But all too often, I read posts, tweets and/or articles from like-minded believers that seems to show a great level of anxiety as well. We should be anxious (eager for and joyous about the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ) but not anxiety filled (worried about the current state of affairs, and most usually with its’ impact on our personal lives).

Let’s be honest with ourselves, a life of worry is a life of sin. We were commanded by our Savior not to worry, but to trust in Him, to trust in God. It is how we are to live our lives, trusting in the provision of the Lord. He made it clear He will meet our needs, how could we doubt it as He provides even for birds (Matthew 6:26). He will for us, for He told us we are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31); we cannot doubt the sufficiency of God’s provision in our lives. Yet we worry, often beside ourselves with worry, often beset and nearly overcome with worries.

We are sinners and we know all have sinned and fall short in God’s eyes (Romans 3:23). We are often not the good soil that yields a hundredfold (Matthew 13:23), more often we are choked by the worry of the world (Matthew 13:22), producing nothing but our own anxiety.

It has been said ignorance is bliss, but we cannot have a blissful, unaware mindset and lead of life dedicated to serving Christ. We need to hear the words of Jesus in John 14:27 and not let our heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. Worry in the life of a Christian is an indication of a troubled, fearful heart, one that is not relying on the peace we have in Christ as much as He would have us.

However, we need be aware. We need to know what is going on in the world if for no other reason than to use it as an opportunity to share Jesus with others and explain why the happenings in the world are not as surprising as one might think. We need to be aware of the opportunity to witness and evangelize, we need be aware of the need to prepare for His Imminent Return, like the ten virgins of Matthew 25:1-13. We need to have our lamps trimmed and our oil flasks filled and close at hand. Jesus is coming soon! Even so, Come Lord Jesus.

In addition, we need be alert. The time of His Coming is unknown to us, He will call us with a shout to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17). But alertness is also vitally important because of the enemy, who is seeking to devour us like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and will continue to seek and devour the unwary until the day our Lord stops him. We need to be alert for our Lord’s return, but equally alert to the enemy’s tricks, lies and wiles as he seeks to take us out of the battle. And as you think of how many are around you who so desperately need the good news of the Gospel, who wants to be taken out of the battle by the enemy? Fight the good fight, finish the race as the Apostle Paul did (2 Timothy 4:7). We need the same level of calm, thanksgiving and acceptance at the end of the battle in this life that the Lord has purposed for us.

All in all, I think those of us who believe the End Times view mentioned here, those of us who believe in the literal truth of the prophetic Scriptures passages, do a good job of being aware and alert, of speaking the truth and sounding the call to others.

We should stand with Israel, encourage others, including our government to do likewise. We should grieve over those of the nation of Israel who are losing their lives in the daily battle. We should grieve over the fact that it seems the world hates Israel, and grieve that it is increasingly clear that the world is hating Christianity more and more daily.

But we should not worry as if God is going to allow Israel to get wiped off the map, or that the Lord is going to abandon His church. That is just not going to happen and we know it.

I know that I wish I could view current world events with a little less anxiety and a lot more trust in the sure promises of  God. I am pretty sure others wish that as well. For we know in our hearts that the Lord is not slack about His promise (2 Peter 3:9). We know that Jesus is coming soon! We know it deep in our hearts, our minds, our souls. But maybe we do so with anxiety of how it affects our daily lives.

Awareness, alertness, anxiety. Most of us described in this post have all three.

In the world of Christian faith and obedience to the Lord,  2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

America You’re Too Young to Die!

In the 1970’s a ministry was born under the leadership of Del Fehsenfeld Jr. whose message is to call God’s people to repentance, restoration, and revival; especially here in the USA. From 1980 to 2000 the primary program of the ministry was entitled “America You’re Too Young to Die” and was a call for spiritual renewal and revival in the church and its people to ensure God’s continued blessing on the church and the United States of America. The ministry continues today under the able direction of Byron Paulus who was named national director, after the Lord called Del home in 1989. In the late 1970’s I was a member of the “Action Ranch” staff which at that time was the youth camp ministry of Life Action. While I was not a member of the revival “Teams” or even the counseling staff of the camp (I was the resident “Real Cowboy” overseeing the trail ride horses and barns), I did experience firsthand the powerful message being delivered to churches and individuals alike. The revival message which called for the real and essential need to return to a true biblical understanding of what a relationship with Jesus Christ is, and that a failure to do so would in fact doom America as a nation to an ungodly future.

There are three things which I gained during my short time with Life Action which remain with me today. First, Del Fehsenfeld taught me how to pray. During a road trip, as I drove him from headquarters to meet one of the teams for a revival, he asked me to pray with him for the revival. I learned from his example on that trip, that prayer is part adoration, part thanksgiving, and part supplication; all accomplished in a conversational manner which can be done anywhere anytime. The second thing I learned from Del (though it would be years before I fully embraced it) is a passion for the calling of God in your life. He literally lived every day filled with passion for God’s people to be revived and have a restored, living, obedient, fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ. And the third thing I learned from Del, may have been wholly unintentional on his part, but fully intentional by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. During another road trip Del explained how God in His sovereignty blesses nations or destroys nations depending on their obedience to Him (he used Nineveh in the Old Testament as example). This of course was in reference to the United States and whether it would continue under God’s blessing. My take away from this conversation was that God in His sovereignty has always had a plan, and that plan has been laid out in His Prophetic Word.

My passion is Bible Prophecy. Understanding the Prophetic Word of God, and then to the very best of my ability, in subjection to the Holy Spirit, teaching that Word so that others in the Body of Christ can understand it as well, and then act on it in their lives. As much as 30% of the Bible is Prophetic in nature, yet most mainstream churches seldom teach prophecy, and the majority of pastors in the pulpits of these churches could not begin to explain the significance of the book of Daniel to the Revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded by John. Even worse, their poor theological training or willful ignorance of a literal translation of Scripture, causes, even enables, them to disseminate un-biblical teaching, such as ascribing the promises to the nation of Israel falsely to the church. It is a fact that seminaries have turned from a literal translation of Scripture, and embraced un-biblical liberal theologies that are rife with secular humanism, humanistic psychology and pluralism. Of the literally hundreds of so-called evangelical seminaries, it would be far easier to name the few who remain true to Scripture than to name the vast number of those whose liberalism relegates them to a place of opposition to the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

We are as a nation, plagued with a form of Christianity which has a “form of godliness” but is “denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). Recently at his Bible conference, Dr. David Reagan shared the results of a Barna research study which said that 85% of Americans consider themselves Christian, and approximately 40% as evangelical Christian; but when asked a series of questions as to whether they were “born again,” or believed Jesus was the Son of God, or that the Bible was God’s inerrant Word, only 9% could affirm a true Biblical Christianity.

My passion for Prophecy brings us back to the plea, “America You’re Too Young to Die!” which was the revival message of Del Fehsenfeld. Unfortunately, in the 40+ years since his call to revival began, America has continued its moral and Spiritual decline into ungodliness. Understand, it is not for lack of dedication on the part of Life Action or the many other ministries (such as our own) who continue “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word, and calling for revival, but it is actually rooted in the Prophetic Truth of God’s Word. I believe the United States of America, like many other nations before it, as well as other nations extent, is under God’s judgment. As a nation we have turned from the very things which brought God’s blessings on us, and embraced those things which bring about our own condemnation by Him. Many have twisted and turned and tried to find in God’s prophetic Word, the United States in End Time Prophecy. It isn’t there. That doesn’t mean that the continent is gone, or that the country is gone, or that society is gone, or that there are no people there, but what it does mean is that it has no relevance in the world of the End times.

America isn’t too young to die, but there yet remains millions within her borders who need not face an eternal death. Spiritual revival is still possible in America and in the world. In order for that revival to take place the 9% who have a True Faith in Jesus Christ must be willing to pray for personal revival in their own lives, keeping their sins confessed before God. The 9% must be willing to make a spiritual stand for Jesus Christ. The 9% must find a true passion in their lives for studying the Word of God and applying it to their lives. The 9% needs to understand and affirm that Scriptures which speak to Israel are for Israel, and those which speak to the Church are for the Church. The 9% must develop a distinct prayer life which involves adoration and thanksgiving before supplication; which is both continual and effectual. The 9% must embrace the need to understand, teach, and defend the prophetic Word of God because of the times in which we live. The 9% needs to be actively sharing the importance of biblical prophecy with their children and grandchildren. It is quite probable in my mind that those who are described as being a part of the millennial generation today, or “millennial’s,” who do not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ may in fact experience the Tribulation and could survive to see Jesus Christ return in power and great glory to establish His Millennial Kingdom. How tragic that would be, to survive in unbelief only to be destroyed at His return.

Pray for revival, pray for it to start within your own life, to start within your family, within your local church, within your community, within the United States of America. Pray for revival because the Rapture of the Church is imminent, the time of Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are near, pray for revival because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Speak the Truth in Love, Becoming an Effective Witness

In these Last Days our responsibility to be witnesses for Jesus Christ grows more important than it perhaps has ever been. We are living in a time when civility, morality, and godliness have been abandoned and are in fact ridiculed. As followers of Christ we must be boldly standing for the Truth of Scripture and Speaking Truth in such a way as to show mankind that Jesus Loves them and desires a relationship with them.

How do we do this?

• First we must be willing to let Christ have complete control over us to the point that we can say as the Apostle Paul did; “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Paul understood that by surrendering his will to Christ’s will, he would be used of God to bring others into a relationship with Christ. In Romans 12:1&2 Paul wrote; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In order to be Witnesses for Christ we must be willing to let Christ not only use us, but have preeminence in our lives. We must be willing to personally live within His will, turning away from all sin. The allure of the world should not cause us to desire to turn from our calling, because Christ has replaced self in our lives. We must give Him absolute lordship over our desires, thoughts and actions. Daily we must be growing in grace, desiring to be more Christ-like, having the Mind of Christ, in order to accomplish His will for our lives… to be Witnesses.

• Second we must have a Christ-like love for Lost Souls. In Romans 5:8 we read; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ shed His own blood for the Lost, and at one point that included you and I. How much less should we love the lost? 2 Peter 3:9 tells us; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Jesus desires that all men to come to Him, and we should have that same desire.

Too often we tend to turn away from being a Witness because of the way someone looks or acts. My Grandfather, R.H. Marlin, once said: “If we understand and believe that God is the Blessed creator of all things, then we can never see anyone as ugly or unredeemable. Everyone’s Soul is important to Jesus, because He loves us, we must love them.” Jesus Loves the Lost! So must you and I if we are to be effective Witnesses.

• The third thing we must do to be effective Witnesses is to have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. God’s Word is what brings men to Christ, it is the instrument He has provided to us, which He uses to convict sin, reveal Christ, and regenerate a lost Soul. In Romans 1:16 Paul writes; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” So, we are told to know and use the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are instructed to; “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We can only be “rightly dividing” the Word when we are actively studying the Word.

We need to know how to use Scripture to show those who are Lost:

o They need a Savior (Romans 3:10-12; Romans 6:23)
o Jesus is the Savior (John 14:6; Romans 5:8-11)
o They need to accept Jesus as their Savior (Romans 10:9-13, 1 John 5:13)
o That the Savior can meet their needs (Romans 8:1; Hebrews 13:5&6)
o That they can live successful lives In Christ (John 20:31; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 4:4; Galatians 2:20)

Remember the words of the psalmist, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) It is never too late to begin to memorize God’s Word.

• A fourth thing we need to do to be an effective Witness is to have a consistent prayer life. We must Pray for wisdom as we witness, we must Pray for guidance as we witness, we must Pray for the words to speak as we witness, and we should always Pray for a greater desire to be Witnesses. We need to Pray for the Lost, about the Lost, and to see the Lost turn to Christ. We must be warriors for Christ in Prayer!
(Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14&15, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

• A fifth thing, is that we must have a heart to serve Christ. A good Witness will have a servant’s heart. This means we are willing to show the lost the same unconditional Love Jesus expresses toward us. We must be willing to meet them where they are, where their need is, however difficult it may be. When we have a servant’s heart as Witnesses, Souls will be saved, lives will be changed, and Christ will be glorified. (1 Peter 4:7-11, Galatians 5:13&14, Colossians 3:23&24)

• The last thing we must do to be Witnesses for Christ, is to know that until He returns to establish His kingdom, He has commanded us to do so. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8

Because of the times in which we live, because we all have family and friends who need the Savior, because the world is filled with lost souls in need of the Savior, because the Rapture of the Church is imminent, because Tribulation will soon envelope the world, because His Second Coming will soon follow; we need, more than ever, to be Witnesses of and for Jesus Christ!

Because He alone is Salvation, because He is the Hope of the Church, because He alone judges the nations, because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing, Part 2

In our first part of this study we established that the Rapture of the Church and the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming are indeed two separate events. As we continue to look at this subject, in order to defuse any possibility of confusion we need to first understand the fact that the Bible is to be translated literally (here I refer you to our article Biblical Prophecy ~ Part 4 ~ Teachingposted on April 17, 2014). If we apply a systematic, analytical approach to interpret the Word of God literally, we will see that it makes perfect sense. The Holy Spirit did not deliver the Word of God to the writers of the Old and New Testaments in an ambiguous or allegorical way, God means what He says and says what He means. Therefore, as we examine the passages of Scripture delineating the Rapture and Second Coming we can discern the truths taught of the two events.

For instance, in the first part of this study we saw that in the Rapture Christ comes for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at His Glorious Appearing or Second Coming He comes with His Church (Revelation 19:14). In other words at the Rapture we meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and at the second coming, Jesus literally comes down to the earth setting His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4, 9; Matthew 25:31-32). In the Rapture, the Church leaves the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at the Second Coming the Church comes back to the earth (Revelation 19:14).

The Rapture is the removal of the Church from the earth for deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:9) whereas the Second Coming involves the removal of unbelievers in an act of judgment (Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 13:47-51; Matthew 24:40-41).

The Rapture will happen in an instant and only those who are looking for Him will see Him (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 John 3:2), yet the Second Coming will be visible to all the world (Matthew 24:29-30; Revelation 1:7).

There are no signs that precede the Rapture, it is imminent and could take place at any moment (Matthew 24:36; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13) while there are many signs which precede the Second Coming (Matthew 24:15-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 6:1-Revelation 19:10).

The Rapture of the Church precedes the time of Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10) and the Second Coming will be the culmination of the Tribulation (Revelation 19).

At the Rapture of the Church, Jesus gathers His Bride in preparation for the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) and at the Second Coming, Jesus establishes His Kingdom (Zechariah 14:3-4; Revelation 19:11-21).

After the Rapture of the Church the Antichrist will appear and go forth conquering (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Revelation 6:1-2) but at the Second Coming the Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

At the Rapture peace will be removed from the earth (Revelation 6:3-4), because the Holy Spirit is all that is restraining Satan at this time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12), but peace will be restored to the earth at the Second Coming (Isaiah 9:6).

At the Rapture Satan’s activities on Earth increase (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:2) but at the Second Coming Satan will be bound and cast into the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 20:1-3).

Clearly when we read the Scriptures in a literal way we find there are no contradictions or confusion regarding the Rapture and Second Coming (Glorious Appearing) of Jesus Christ. In each event the nature of Christ’s return is different. At the Rapture Jesus is the Bridegroom calling out His Bride, the Deliverer calling out His Church, while at the Second Coming He returns as conquering King to exact judgment, by pouring out the wrath of God on the wicked nations and peoples who rejected His free gift of grace. At the Second Coming, His Bride follows with Him as He establishes His Kingdom. So even though a comparison of 1 Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 19 display an emphasis on Jesus Christ, in truth they have nothing else in common.

The Rapture is the Blessed Hope of the Church, and the Second Coming is the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords as He establishes His Kingdom.

The Blessed Hope is imminent, Tribulation and the end of days is at hand, His Glorious Appearing will follow, for;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome