“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (1Cor. 16:13)
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb. 12:14)
“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
The Bible tells us that these last days which we are living in shall be “perilous times.” It says that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13)
There shall be “perplexity” and “distress of nations.” (Luke 21:25) Men’s hearts shall fail them because of fear “for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26)
There shall be a “strong delusion” upon the earth to believe a lie, that they “all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:12)
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24)
Now, more than ever, in these last days, it is imperative that believers know and understand the written Word of God in order to not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4:14)
There are and shall be many voices arise in these last days. No matter how pious, religious, respected, or prestigious the speaker, there is one thing believers must remember in order to not be deceived.
GOD NEVER CONTRADICTS HIMSELF.
No matter how miraculous the miracle, how vivid the vision, how powerful the preaching, or how real the dream, if it does not line up with the written Word of God then it is not from God.
It will take the faith of the Son of God to stand in these last days, not be deceived, and walk with God.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
When the economy is failing, jobs are scarce, money is tight, and friends and family forsake you; when voices arise and the powers that be tell you that God has forgotten His people; it will take the faith of God to trust and not be afraid, and to wait upon the Lord.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)
“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 37:9)
God gives the gift of faith to every believer when they accept Christ.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)
It is the fruit or produce of the Holy Spirit who comes to live inside of you upon salvation.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Gal. 5:22)
In the same way that fruit begins as a seed, so it is with faith.
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matt. 17:20)
God wants your seed of faith to be nurtured and grow. It is nurtured by hearing and the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
It does not require intelligence, a diploma, or a degree to understand the Word of God and have the faith that it will bring.
But it does require the Holy Spirit and belief that God is faithful.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor. 2:14)
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1John 2:27)
If we are faithful to read and study the written Word of God, then God will be faithful to give us the understanding and the faith that we will need to walk in these last days.
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1Tim. 4:13)
Another area of our life in which God has given us talents to trade with or to be occupied with is the area of our lifestyle.
“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.” (Eph. 5:27)
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” (1Peter 2:9)
The Bible tells us that we are a chosen generation. As the prophets of old prophesied of the coming of Christ and the Church age, they longed for the time yet to come which they prophesied of.
“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” (1Peter 1:10)
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1Peter 1:11)
The Holy Ghost would come upon them and fill the Old Testament prophets with the power to prophesy and do great works for God. They knew the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Prophecy but not as the Comforter whom Jesus said the Father would send.
The Bible teaches that they were men no different than us, with similar emotions and passions.
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” (James 5:17)
Moses was a man prone to anger, and because of it he struck the rock in the wilderness after God had told him to speak to it for water. He was denied entrance into the Promised Land because of his disobedience.
Elijah became depressed and hid in a cave.
David lusted after another man’s wife and plotted her husband’s death.
Elisha’s pride was hurt and he caused the death of taunting children.
They knew the power of God for miracles but not the power of the indwelling Spirit who changes men’s hearts and desires.
We long for their time and the glory that God received because of the power and miracles they performed. However, they longed for our time and the glory that God receives in a changed life.
We are a chosen generation. We have been given the indwelling Spirit of God who shall never leave us nor forsake us. We have been given the power to change our lives and be a holy people different than the rest of the world.
We have been given the power to resist temptation and put away sin.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 6:12)
We have been given power over addictions and habits.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
We have been given power over our carnal lusts.
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13)
We have been given power over our emotions.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” (Eph. 4:26)
You are the chosen generation that knows the salvation of God and has His indwelling Spirit. He has chosen you to be kings and priests with Him. He has also called you to be a holy nation.
We know a nation’s location because of its geographical borders. The borders may be rivers, or mountain ranges, or lines marked by signposts. Whatever they may be, they separate that particular nation from all others.
The border that separates our nation from all others is the godly and holy lifestyle which the Holy Spirit empowers us to live.
When the rest of the world sees us have peace and faith in the midst of perilous times, when filthy language and cursings fill their daily conversation but they hear us refrain from sinning with our tongue and speaking evil, when they feel the need to escape by yielding to every carnal desire, yet they see us hold fast to our faith and refuse to partake of things contrary to our beliefs;
Then God is glorified among them and they have hope that there is a better way.
They see not a hypocritical Church that says one thing on Sunday but lives in the same manner as they do on Monday. They see a “glorious church” not having “spot or wrinkle”.
This is the Church that Jesus is coming back for to be His Bride.
The Bible tells us clearly what God considers to be sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us as to what is right or wrong.
It is time for us to make a decision and a commitment to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to choose the right over the wrong, and the godly over the worldly in everything we do.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17)
(TO BE CONTINUED)