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BE PREPARED FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD! (CC)

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[THEME: PREPARE FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD! IT WILL SURELY COME. IT WILL BE A DAY OF JUDGMENT. IT WILL BE A DAY OF DELIVERANCE.] PLEASE RISE. DEAR FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST: GRACE AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM GOD OUR FATHER, AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. OUR TEXT THIS MORNING IS 1 THESSALONIANS, CHAPTER 5 VERSES 1 THROUGH 11. "NOW BROTHERS, ABOUT TIMES AND DATES WE DO NOT NEED TO WRITE YOU. FOR YOU KNOW VERY WELL THAT THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT. WHILE PEOPLE ARE SAYING, "PEACE AND SAFETY," DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON THEM SUDDENLY, AS LABOR PAINS ON A PREGNANT WOMAN, AND THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE. BUT YOU, BROTHERS ARE NOT IN DARKNESS SO THAT THIS DAY SHOULD SURPRISE YOU LIKE A THIEF. YOU ARE ALL SONS OF THE LIGHT AND SONS OF THE DAY. WE DO NOT BELONG TO THE NIGHT OR TO THE DARKNESS. SO THEN, LET US NOT BE LIKE OTHERS, WHO ARE ASLEEP, BUT LET US BE ALERT AND SELF-CONTROLLED. FOR THOSE WHO SLEEP, SLEEP AT NIGHT, AND THOSE WHO GET DRUNK, GET DRUNK AT NIGHT. BUT SINCE WE BELONG TO THE DAY, LET US BE SELF-CONTROLLED, PUTTING ON FAITH AND LOVE AS A BREASTPLATE, AND THE HOPE OF SALVATION AS A HELMET. FOR GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO SUFFER WRATH BUT TO RECEIVE SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE DIED FOR US SO THAT, WHETHER WE ARE AWAKE OR ASLEEP, WE MAY LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM. THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD EACH OTHER UP, JUST AS IN FACT YOU ARE DOING." THIS IS GOD'S WORD. LET US PRAY: DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER, WE TURN OUR ATTENTION TO THE LAST DAY. AND WE READ ALL THAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN IN YOUR WORD CONCERNING THAT. WE REALIZE THAT IT IS A TERRIBLE DAY OF JUDGMENT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE REJECTED YOU. BUT IT IS A GREAT DAY OF JOY FOR US WHO BELIEVE IN YOU. WE TRUST IN YOUR FORGIVENESS. HELP US THEN, AS WE MEDITATE UPON YOUR WORD THIS MORNING TO REALIZE ALL THE MORE THIS GRACIOUS PROMISE OF YOU THAT YOU WILL COME BACK TO TAKE US TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER. WE ASK THIS IN YOUR NAME JESUS. AMEN. AMEN. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WILL BE WHEN IT HAPPENS? YOU COULD BE DRIVING DOWN THE FREEWAY. OR PERHAPS YOU'LL BE SLEEPING IN YOUR BED. OR YOU MIGHT BE STANDING OUTSIDE TALKING TO A NEIGHBOR. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE "BIG ONE" WILL HIT. GEOLOGISTS SAY THAT IT IS NOT A MATTER OF "IF", BUT A MATTER OF "WHEN". AT SOME TIME A DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE WILL HIT THE LOS ANGELOS AREA AND THE LOSS OF LIFE AND DAMAGE TO BUILDINGS WILL BE CATASTROPHIC. THAT'S WHY CALIFORNIA OBSERVED THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DAY CALLED THE "GREAT SHAKEOUT". AS BAD AS THE "BIG ONE" WILL BE, A GREATER DESTRUCTIION IS COMING. PETER WROTE, "THE HEAVENS WILL DISAPPEAR WITH A ROAR, THE ELEMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE, AND THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING IN IT WILL BE LAID BARE." [2 PETER 3:10] WE DON'T KNOW WHEN IT WILL HAPPEN, BUT PAUL'S MESSAGE TO US TODAY IS: PREPARE FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD! 1. IT WILL SURELY COME; 2. IT WILL BE A DAY OF JUDGMENT; AND 3. IT WILL BE A DAY OF DELIVERANCE. PAUL SAYS IN OUR TEXT, "WHILE PEOPLE ARE SAYING, 'PEACE AND SAFETY,' DESTRUCTION WILL COME ON THEM SUDDENLY, AS LABOR PAINS ON A PREGNANT WOMAN, AND THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE." THEY SCOFF AT GOD'S WARNING OF THE END JUST LIKE THOSE WHO DID IN ANCIENT ISRAEL. DURING THE TIME WHEN GOD KEPT SENDING THE PROPHETS TO WARN HIS PEOPLE TO TURN FROM THEIR EVIL WAYS AND REPENT, THE CONSTANT MESSAGE WAS: "THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING." HERE ARE A COUPLE OF MANY EXAMPLES. JOEL PROPHESIED: [JOEL 1:13-15] "COME, SPEND THE NIGHT IN SACKCLOTH, YOU WHO MINISTER BEFORE MY GOD; FOR THE GRAIN OFFERINGS AND DRINK OFFERINGS ARE WITHHELD FROM THE HOUSE OF YOUR GOD. DECLARE A HOLY FAST; CALL A SACRED ASSEMBLY. SUMMON THE ELDERS AND ALL WHO LIVE IN THE LAND TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND CRY OUT TO THE LORD. ALAS FOR THAT DAY! FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD IS NEAR; IT WILL COME LIKE DESTRUCTION FROM THE ALMIGHTY. AND ISAIAH PROPHESIED: WAIL, FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD IS NEAR; IT WILL COME LIKE DESTRUCTION FROM THE ALMIGHTY. BECAUSE OF THIS, ALL HANDS WILL GO LIMP, EVERY MAN'S HEART WILL MELT. TERROR WILL SEIZE THEM, PAIN AND ANGUISH WILL GRIP THEM; THEY WILL WRITHE LIKE A WOMAN IN LABOR. THEY WILL LOOK AGHAST AT EACH OTHER, THEIR FACES AFLAME. SEE, THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING -- A CRUEL DAY, WITH WRATH AND FIERCE ANGER -- TO MAKE THE LAND DESOLATE AND DESTROY THE SINNERS WITHIN IT. THE STARS OF HEAVEN AND THEIR CONSTELLATIONS WILL NOT SHOW THEIR LIGHT. THE RISING SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT. I WILL PUNISH THE WORLD FOR ITS EVIL, THE WICKED FOR THEIR SINS. I WILL PUT AN END TO THE ARROGANCE OF THE HAUGHTY AND WILL HUMBLE THE PRIDE OF THE RUTHLESS. I WILL MAKE MAN SCARCER THAN PURE GOLD, MORE RARE THAN THE GOLD OF OPHIR. THEREFORE I WILL MAKE THE HEAVENS TREMBLE; AND THE EARTH WILL SHAKE FROM ITS PLACE AT THE WRATH OF THE LORD ALMIGHTY, IN THE DAY OF HIS BURNING ANGER. [ISAIAH 13:6-13] BUT DID THEY LISTEN? ISAIAH COMPLAINED, "WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR MESSAGE?" NO, SADLY, FOR THE MOST PART ISRAEL SCOFFED AT GOD'S PROPHETS OR WORSE YET, STONED THEM AND PERSECUTED THEM. THEY SCOFFED AT THE PROMISED DESTRUCTION BELIEVING THAT JERUSALEM WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED. GOD'S HOLY CITY. BUT THE ARMIES OF ASSYRIA AND BABYLON MARCHED IN JUST AS GOD PREDICTED AND ONLY A REMNANT WERE SAVED. MOST MERELY LAUGHED AT THE PROPHETS AND WENT ON WITH THEIR LIVES WITH NO REPENTANCE. PETER ALSO WARNED AGAINST SCOFFERS. HE SAYS: FIRST OF ALL, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT IN THE LAST DAYS SCOFFERS WILL COME, FOLLOWING THEIR OWN EVIL DESIRES. THEY WILL SAY, "WHERE IS THIS 'COMING' HE PROMISED? EVER SINCE OUR FATHERS DIED, EVERYTHING GOES ON AS IT HAS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CREATION." [2 PETER 3:3-4] BUT IN TODAY'S TEXT, PETER, I'M SORRY, PAUL USES THE PRESENT TENSE INSTEAD OF THE FUTURE TENSE WHEN HE SAYS: THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT." THE DAY OF THE LORD IS ALREADY ON THE WAY ... IT'S LIKE A SMART BOMB THAT HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM THAT HATCH IN THE PLANE AND IT'S GUIDED IN ON THE TARGET BY GOD AT HIS PREDETERMINED TIME. NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP IT. AND IT WILL HIT MUCH LIKE ONE OF THOSE VIDEOS YOU'VE SEEN OF A MISSILE SLAMMING INTO THE HOUSE OF A TERRORIST. THE DESTRUCTION WILL BE COMPLETE AND SUDDEN. IT'S THE SAME WORDS USED TO DESCRIBE THE SUDDENNESS OF A TRAP THAT SPRINGS ... IT SPRINGS SHUT. JESUS SAID: BE CAREFUL OR YOUR HEARTS WILL BE WEIGHED DOWN WITH DISSIPATION, AND DRUNKENNESS, AND THE ANXIETIES OF LIFE, AND THAT DAY WILL CLOSE ON YOU UNEXPECTEDLY LIKE A TRAP." [LUKE 21:34] SNAP! THE CAREFREE DAYS OF THE MOUSE COME TO A SUDDEN END. BANG! THE TERRORIST AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE WITH HIM IN THE HOUSE ARE SUDDENLY DESTROYED. THE END! THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL ARRIVE. IT IS ALREADY COMING, AND IT WILL NOT DELAY! THOSE WHO HAVE REJECTED OUR LORD WILL NOT ESCAPE THE ETERNAL DESTRUCTION OF THEIR SOULS. EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE A DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE HITS. WE JUST DON'T KNOW WHEN. ARE YOU PREPARED? PERHAPS YOU HAVE LOTS OF WATER AND STOCKPILED FOOD, AND A GUN IN THE CLOSET. PERHAPS YOU'RE LIKE MANY WHO THINK THAT FEMA WILL COME TO THEIR AID AND HAVE DONE LITTLE TO PREPARE. WHILE WE CAN TAKE STEPS TO PREPARE FOR AN EARTHQUAKE, INADEQUATE AS THEY MAY BE, WHAT YOU SAY, CAN WE POSSIBLY DO TO PREPARE FOR AN EVEN GREATER DISASTER ... THE END OF THE WORLD ... WHEN THE HEAVENS WILL DISAPPEAR WITH A ROAR; THE ELEMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE, AND THE THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING IN IT WILL BE LAID BARE! WHEN WILL THE DAY OF THE LORD COME? JESUS GIVES THE DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO THAT IN MATTHEW 24, VERSE 36: "NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THAT DAY OR HOUR, NOT EVEN THE ANGELS IN HEAVEN, NOR THE SON, BUT ONLY THE FATHER." AND EVEN AFTER JESUS WAS NO LONGER IN HIS STATE OF HUMILIATION AND HAD RISEN FROM THE DEAD, HE SAID TO THEM: "IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW THE TIMES OR DATES THE FATHER HAS SET BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY." [ACTS 1:7] HIS MESSAGE TO US IS SIMPLY: "BE PREPARED AT ALL TIMES!" THE "WHEN" IS NOT SO NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS THE IMPLICATIONS THAT IT WILL HAPPEN. IT IS ON ITS WAY! AND IT WILL BE A DAY OF JUDGMENT. WE LIVE EVERY DAY IN THE EXPECTATION THAT IT MIGHT BE OUR LAST. SARAH STELZER ... DID ANYONE HEAR ABOUT HER IN THE NEWS? SHE WAS A HEALTHY 18-YEAR-OLD FRESHMAN AT SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY. SHE CAME DOWN WITH A FEVER. TWO DAYS LATER, SHE WAS HOSPITALIZED AND TWO DAYS AFTER THAT SHE WAS DEAD. WAS SHE READY TO STAND BEFORE HER CREATOR? WELL, CALLOUS AS THIS SOUNDS ... IT'S TOO LATE TO THINK ABOUT HER. BUT IT ISN'T TOO LATE FOR YOU AND ME, OR THOSE LIVING NEXT DOOR TO US, OR THOSE WORKING WITH US. OR THOSE ATTENDING SCHOOL WITH US. IN OUR OLD TESTAMENT READING, DANIEL DESCRIBES THE DAY OF THE LORD: [DANIEL 7:9-10] "AS I LOOKED, THRONES WERE SET IN PLACE, AND THE ANCIENT OF DAYS TOOK HIS SEAT. HIS CLOTHING WAS AS WHITE AS SNOW; THE HAIR OF HIS HEAD WAS WHITE LIKE WOOL. HIS THRONE WAS FLAMING WITH FIRE, AND ITS WHEELS WERE ALL ABLAZE. A RIVER OF FIRE WAS FLOWING, COMING OUT FROM BEFORE HIM. THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS ATTENDED HIM; TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND STOOD BEFORE HIM. THE COURT WAS SEATED, AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED." JOHN, IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, DESCRIBES THE SAME SCENE. HE WROTE: "THEN I SAW A GREAT WHITE THRONE AND HIM WHO WAS SEATED ON IT. EARTH AND SKY FLED FROM HIS PRESENCE, AND THERE WAS NO PLACE FOR THEM. AND I SAW THE DEAD, GREAT AND SMALL, STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE, AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED. ANOTHER BOOK WAS OPENED, WHICH IS THE BOOK OF LIFE. THE DEAD WERE JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAD DONE AS RECORDED IN THE BOOKS. THE SEA GAVE UP THE DEAD THAT WERE IN IT, AND DEATH AND HADES GAVE UP THE DEAD THAT WERE IN THEM, AND EACH PERSON WAS JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAD DONE. THEN DEATH AND HADES WERE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. THE LAKE OF FIRE IS THE SECOND DEATH. IF ANYONE'S NAME WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE, HE WAS THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE." [REVELATION 20:11-15] JESUS WANTS US TO BE WATCHFUL AND ALERT. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO ARE UNPREPARED WHEN HE RETURNS? THE BIBLE UNFLINCHINGLY STATES: IT WILL BE A DAY OF JUDGMENT. MARK 16:16 SAYS: "WHOEVER BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED WILL BE SAVED, BUT WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE WILL BE CONDEMNED." SOMETIMES WHEN OUR GOSPEL READING IS HEARD, PEOPLE HAVE A MISUNDERSTANDING. JESUS COMES IN GLORY WITH ALL HIS ANGELS WITH HIM AND IS SEATED ON HIS THRONE IN HEAVENLY GLORY JUST AS DANIEL AND JOHN PICTURE HIM IN THE PREVIOUSLY DESCRIBED QUOTES. AND HE SEPARATES THE SHEEP FROM THE GOATS ... THE BELIEVERS FROM THE UNBELIEVERS ... AND HE SAYS TO THE BELIEVERS ON HIS RIGHT: "COME, YOU WHO ARE BLESSED BY MY FATHER; TAKE YOUR INHERITANCE, THE KINGDOM PREPARED FOR YOU SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD." [MATTHEW 25:34] AND HE GIVES EXAMPLES OF THE GOOD THINGS THEY'VE DONE. THEY'VE FED HIM, THEY'VE CLOTHED HIM, THEY'VE VISITED HIM, THEY ... THEY UH, WHEN HE WAS SICK OR IN PRISON. THE FIRST IMPRESSION IS THAT THEY HAVE EARNED ETERNAL LIFE BY THEIR GOOD DEEDS. LIKEWISE WITH THE UNBELIEVERS ON HIS LEFT [MATTHEW 25:41] WHEN HE SAYS: "DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO ARE CURSED, INTO THE ETERNAL FIRE PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS." AND JESUS SAYS THEY DIDN'T HELP HIM WHEN THEY HAD OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. AGAIN, THE FIRST IMPRESSION IS THAT THEY ARE BEING CONDEMNED BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF GOOD DEEDS. AND IT ENDS BY SAYING, "THEY WILL GO AWAY TO ETERNAL PUNISHMENT." [VERSE 46] BUT YOU CAN'T INTERPRET SCRIPTURE JUST FROM ONE PASSAGE, CAN YOU? SCRIPTURE INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE! AND WE KNOW FROM ALL OF SCRIPTURE THAT ALL OF OUR ACTIONS ARE EVIL AND SINFUL APART FROM CHRIST. EVEN THOSE THAT APPEAR GOOD TO THOSE AROUND US. WITHOUT CHRIST'S FORGIVENESS, ALL OF OUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS STINK IN GOD'S NOSTRILS. WE'RE LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON WHO HASN'T BATHED IN A YEAR AND CAUSES ALL AROUND TO GAG AND HOLD THEIR BREATH AND RUN AWAY. THERE'S NO ONE RIGHTEOUS IN GOD'S SIGHT, NOT EVEN ONE. THERE IS NO ONE WHO DOES GOOD, NOT EVEN ONE. THAT'S WHAT ROMANS CHAPTER 3 TELLS US. THE REASON THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN CHRIST JESUS WILL BE CONDEMNED IS BECAUSE NONE OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE GOOD IN GOD'S SIGHT. ALL OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE EVIL. AND IT IS GOD'S PERSPECTIVE THAT MATTERS, NOT OURS. WE ENTERED THIS WORLD SINFUL AND DESERVING OF DAMNATION. AND, APART FROM CHRIST, THAT IS THE WAY PEOPLE LEAVE THIS LIFE ALSO. THE SPIRITUALLY DEAD, THAT'S THE SECOND DEATH, DYING APART FROM CHRIST IS THE SECOND DEATH, BEING THROWN INTO HELL ... ETERNALLY SEPARATED FROM GOD. THE SPIRITUALLY DEAD WILL BE CONFIRMED IN THEIR SPIRITUAL DEATH FOR ALL ETERNITY. SEPARATED FROM GOD AND HIS LOVE FOREVER IN AGONY AND AS THEY PAY FOR THEIR SINS BY BEING PUNISHED IN THE FIRES OF HELL. AND WE KNOW THAT NO PAYMENT IS EVER ENOUGH. THANKS BE TO GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THAT WE HAVE BEEN RESCUED FROM ETERNAL DEATH THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD! FOR WE WHO BELIEVE, THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL BE A DAY OF DELIVERANCE! [IN 1 THESSALONIANS 5 ...] PAUL SAYS TO US: "BUT YOU, BROTHERS, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS SO THAT THIS DAY SHOULD SURPRISE YOU LIKE A THIEF. YOU ARE ALL SONS OF THE LIGHT AND SONS OF THE DAY. WE DO NOT BELONG TO THE NIGHT OR TO THE DARKNESS. SO THEN, LET US NOT BE LIKE OTHERS, WHO ARE ASLEEP, BUT LET US BE ALERT AND SELF-CONTROLLED. WE'VE BEEN RAISED TO LIFE BEING UNITED WITH CHRIST IN HIS DEATH AND RAISED WITH HIM THROUGH BAPTISM INTO HIS RESURRECTION. WE'VE HAD OUR SINS WASHED AWAY [ACTS 22:16] THROUGH THE WASHING OF WATER WITH THE WORD ... THE PROMISE OF OUR SAVIOR: "WHOEVER BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED WILL BE SAVED." [MARK 16:16] AND AS PAUL WROTE TO TITUS: [TITUS 3:5-7] "HE SAVED US," HE SAVED 'US'! "NOT BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUS THINGS WE HAD DONE, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY. HE SAVED US THROUGH THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE POURED OUT ON US GENEROUSLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR, SO THAT, HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED" - HAVING BEEN DECLARED RIGHTEOUS - "BY HIS GRACE, WE MIGHT BECOME HEIRS HAVING THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE." AND PETER REMINDS US IN THE SIMPLE WORDS - "BAPTISM SAVES YOU BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST." [1 PETER 3:21] IF YOU LISTEN TO NOTHING ELSE IN THIS SERMON, LISTEN TO THE FOLLOWING: YOU WILL NEVER GET TO HEAVEN BY WHAT YOU DO. IT IS ONLY BY WHAT CHRIST DID FOR US THAT WE HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT WE ARE FORGIVEN. GOD DEMANDS BE PERFECT. BE HOLY. BE ABSOLUTELY RIGHTEOUS DOING ONLY GOOD AND NEVER DOING BAD. THOSE ARE THE DEMANDS OF OUR HOLY GOD. HE IS SET APART FROM SIN. HE WILL NOT ALLOW SINFUL HUMAN BEINGS TO COME INTO HIS HOLY PRESENCE. BUT JESUS CHRIST, TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN TOOK OUR SINS AWAY AND AS THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB OF GOD PAID FOR THEM ALL ON THE CROSS WHEN HE OFFERED HIMSELF UP FOR US. WE ARE FORGIVEN BECAUSE HE MADE FULL PAYMENT. THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO PAY. FULL ATONEMENT HAS BEEN MADE THROUGH HIS BLOOD. THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY WE COULD BE RIGHT WITH GOD. WE COULDN'T DO IT, SO HE DID IT AS OUR SAVIOR. HE IS THE ATONING SACRIFICE, NOT ONLY FOR OUR SINS, BUT FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, JOHN WROTE. [1 JN 2:2] AS 2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 REMINDS US, "GOD WAS RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF IN CHRIST, NOT COUNTING MEN'S SINS AGAINST THEM. AND HE HAS COMMITTED TO US THIS MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION." IT'S NOT THAT OUR ACTIONS DON'T MATTER. THEY DO. AS SONS OF GOD, AS MEMBERS OF CHRIST'S HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS [1 PETER 2:9] WE WALK IN THE LIGHT OF GOD'S WORD. [2 PETER 1:19] AS THOSE WHO ARE FILLED WITH GRATITUDE ABOUT HOW MUCH HE HAS DONE FOR US, HOW MUCH WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, [LUKE 7:41-48, 2 PET 1:9] WE WANT TO LIVE FOR GOD. WE WANT TO DO HIS WILL IN OUR LIVES. GOD'S WORD IS A LAMP TO OUR FEET AND A LIGHT TO OUR PATH. [PSALM 119:105] WE TURN TO IT FOR GUIDANCE AS WE LIVE OUR GRATEFUL LIFE FOR GOD. LIVING FOR OUR SAVIOR IS OUR SPIRITUAL ACT OF WORSHIP. [ROMANS 12:1-2] WE NO LONGER LIVE AS UNBELIEVERS DO, UNAWARE OF THE MEANING OF LIFE. WE REALIZE THAT WE HAVE BEEN CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS INTO LIGHT FOR A PURPOSE: TO DECLARE THE PRAISES OF OUR GOD AND SAVIOR. WE WHO WERE SPIRITUALLY BLIND HAVE HAD OUR EYES OPENED TO THE PLOTS OF SATAN AND HIS INFLUENCES. AND WE PUT ON FAITH AND LOVE AS A BREASTPLATE AND THE HOPE OF SALVATION AS A HELMET. PAUL'S WORDS HERE ARE VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT HE WROTE IN EPHESIANS, CHAPTER 6:11-18: "PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD SO THAT YOU CAN TAKE YOUR STAND AGAINST THE DEVIL'S SCHEMES. FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, AGAINST THE AUTHORITIES, AGAINST THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD AND AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS. THEREFORE PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD SO THAT WHEN THE DAY OF EVIL COMES, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND YOUR GROUND, AND AFTER YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING, TO STAND. STAND FIRM THEN, WITH THE BELT OF TRUTH BUCKLED AROUND YOUR WAIST, WITH THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN PLACE, AND WITH YOUR FEET FITTED WITH THE READINESS THAT COMES FROM THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. IN ADDITION TO ALL THIS, TAKE UP THE SHIELD OF FAITH, WITH WHICH YOU CAN EXTINGUISH ALL THE FLAMING ARROWS OF THE EVIL ONE. [OF THE DEVIL] TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD. AND PRAY IN THE SPIRIT ON ALL OCCASIONS WITH ALL KINDS OF PRAYERS AND REQUESTS. WITH THIS IN MIND, BE ALERT AND ALWAYS KEEP PRAYING FOR ALL THE SAINTS." WE DON'T GO ALONG EACH DAY ... ALONG THE WAY THE WORLD THINKS. WE SEEK EACH DAY TO BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MIND SO THAT WE CAN TEST AND APPROVE WHAT GOD'S WILL IS - HIS GOOD AND PLEASING AND PERFECT WILL. [ROMANS 12:2] AND WE TRY TO LIVE AS CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT, WALKING THE PATH OF GOD'S WILL AS DIRECTED BY HIS WORD. FOR WE KNOW THAT GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO SUFFER WRATH BUT TO RECEIVE SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. FILLED WITH THAT JOY, WE ARE MOTIVATED EACH DAY TO LOVE THE ONE WHO LOVED US FIRST. AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP BEFORE CHRIST'S COMING? PAUL WRITES: "CHRIST DIED FOR US SO THAT, WHETHER WE ARE AWAKE OR ASLEEP, WE MAY LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM." AND AS PAUL WROTE IN 1 THESSALONIANS 4, "WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED AND ROSE AGAIN AND SO WE BELIEVE THAT GOD WILL BRING WITH JESUS THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IN HIM." PAUL ENDS THIS SECTION WITH THE WORDS: "THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD EACH OTHER UP, JUST AS IN FACT YOU ARE DOING." THIS IS WHY WE GATHER TOGETHER EVERY WEEK AROUND GOD'S WORD. AS WE AWAIT THE DAY OF THE LORD, WE DO SO WITH CONFIDENCE, REMEMBERING PAUL'S WORDS AND GOD'S PROMISE TO US: GOD DID NOT APPOINT US TO SUFFER WRATH BUT TO RECEIVE SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. LET US KEEP WATCH AND BE VIGILANT AS WE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER ALL THE MORE AS THE DAY DRAWS NEAR. JESUS TOLD US ABOUT THE COMING OF THE DAY OF THE LORD: UNBELIEVERS "WILL FAINT FROM TERROR, APPREHENSIVE OF WHAT IS COMING ON THE WORLD, FOR THE HEAVENLY BODIES WILL BE SHAKEN. AT THAT TIME THEY WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY." [LUKE 21:26-27] BUT HE ALSO ADDS IN THE VERY NEXT VERSE, "WHEN THESE THINGS BEGIN TO TAKE PLACE, STAND UP AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, BECAUSE YOUR REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NEAR." AS SONS OF THE LIGHT, AS SONS OF THE DAY, SONS OF CHRIST ... WE KNOW THAT CHRIST HAS FULLY PAID THE DEBT OF OUR SINS - THEREFORE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR AS YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY OF OUR LORD AND ITS COMING. AMEN. NOW MAY THE PEACE THAT COMES FROM KNOWING THAT ALL YOUR SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN THE TRUE FAITH TO LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.

Video Details

Duration: 24 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 62
Posted by: hischild on Nov 12, 2014

Guest minister Rev. Jim Sherod earnestly reminds us the DAY OF THE LORD will surely come as God has promised. www.ziontorrance.info

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