“Many pastors are making converts, but not disciples.”
“Only 30% of people attend church regularly. Many say they don’t go to church because they don’t find it relevant.”
Practicality. How can I live like Jesus? Over and over we hear messages about salvation. It’s great to be reminded of Christ’s love for us as displayed on the cross at Calvary, but we need relevancy. We need to know how to apply Scripture to our life today. Jesus said His word will never pass away. It’s as relevant in the 21st century as it was 2000 years ago and beyond. So here’s my practical advice from a few verses I read this morning: be ready for what’s coming.
You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:17-19 ESV)
“You’ll be hated by all”; that’s encouraging. Jesus then says, but not a hair of your head will perish. I don’t think He means the hair on these mortal, death-plagued bodies, because two verses earlier He says some of His disciples will indeed be killed, but I believe He’s speaking of our resurrected bodies, reminding us to look ahead to eternity and the Day of the Lord when Christ returns and we all are resurrected into immortal, imperishable bodies. Then Jesus ends with, “by your endurance you will gain your lives.” He is preparing us for hardship, for serious, serious persecution. In order to be prepared for the persecution every Christian will eventually face, we need to set our minds on eternity—not the now.
After continuing His teaching, telling us of all the terrible plagues and famines and wars that are going to happen, Jesus ends with:
“Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 HCSB)
So let’s start to do this now. Why place our hope in a shaky rapture doctrine when Jesus clearly teaches us to put our hope in the resurrection at the last day? We need to be prepared for the worst, not the best or easiest scenario.
We need to:
1.) Be alert at all times
What does this look like practically for you? Stay sober. Don’t get caught up in too much entertainment. Don’t drown yourself in career. Stay in the Word and be aware of what is happening in our world because there are clear signs that show us His return is nearer and nearer and we need to be ready to face Him.
This is the most practical thing any Christian can do, but many of us don’t pray as fervently as we are commanded to. We need to pray for strength, that no matter what happens, we won’t lose hope, but endure till the end. We need to pray that we are worthy to stand before Christ, because there is a standard, and how unbiblical it is to think confession alone will get us into His eternal presence. I’m not preaching works based salvation, but more so “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Don’t take it for granted, don’t think you can sin all you want and still be spotless before God who searches hearts and knows all things. He does say we Christians will be judged too and there are certain sins (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) that will keep us out of heaven, and Hebrews says that we cannot abuse His grace or we can expect a “consuming fire that will devour [God’s] adversaries.”
So stand firm, family. We see our first amendment rights are continuing to be trampled on by the Obama administration. We need to stay alert and keep praying every day. May I and you be found worthy on the Day of the Lord and may I meet all of you in heaven. I pray we all endure, because Jesus says the love of many will grow cold and a great falling away of the church will happen before He returns. I pray you and me are not apart of that falling, but that we rise together in glorious bodies and attain salvation to be with our Lord forever. And may we choose to imitate Jesus today in our pursuit of prayer:
So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NKJV)
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12 NKJV)
Love you and praying for you,