Are You Fully Aware?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV

“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”

The Times and Seasons

Let’s examine the times and seasons we are living in now. No matter where you live on the earth, you have probably not been unaffected by what has been going on in the world this past year, plus a few months. For, there was a global pandemic declared over a year ago that turned the world upside down.

All of a sudden, it was like everything came to a halt. I felt like I was living in an old Sci-Fi movie. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life of 71 years. Businesses shut down. People lost their jobs. They couldn’t pay their bills. People were confined to their homes. And we were told we all needed to social distance and wear masks.

Now, I know that seems trivial compared to what is happening to many people in other countries, but it was a definite disruption in the lives of many, and it has had many repercussions, not all of which are obvious, I am most certain. And many people have died as a result of all that has been happening. And our way of life has definitely been altered.

There has been much upheaval in various areas of our lives. We have experienced all sorts of angst the past year or so with the pandemic, the elections, with racial tensions, and now with the proposed remedies for all that has been going on, too. There just seems to always be something stirring the pot getting people all up in arms.

And don’t think I am minimizing any of this. I am not. I just know that in America we have not yet had to suffer like people in some other nations. So, by comparison, what we are going through may not be as severe as what they have had to suffer, at least not yet, but that in no way diminishes the suffering here.

The Spiritual Pulse

What do our present times and seasons reveal to us about the spiritual condition of the church? I really don’t know where the church stands in other nations, only that Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ in some nations throughout the world, so I am assuming that is because they are serious about their walks with the Lord.

I live in America (the USA), so I can speak about the church here. I know that the vast majority of the church in the USA partnered with the government and with the world of big business in an unholy union, and they turned the church upside down, too, turning its gatherings into a marketplace to be marketed to the world just like any other product.

Thus, they altered the gatherings of the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ to appeal to the world and to human flesh. They made it about pleasing the people of the world instead of about pleasing our Lord. Thus, they twisted God’s words and they pulled Scriptures out of context, and they created a false gospel which does not honor God.

Most of them are teaching a “feel good” gospel which requires no dying with Christ to sin, no walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands, and no submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as essential elements of believing faith in Jesus Christ, and for our salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God.

They have definitely been preaching a “peace and security” message that has people believing that they can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and that their sins are forgiven, and heaven is secured them, no matter how they live, and that nothing will harm them, and that Jesus will rapture them before anything really bad happens.

But this past year or so began to unravel some of that “peace and security.” And I believe some people are beginning to wake up. But that false gospel of a cheapened grace is still going strong, and it is spreading far and wide, and many people are being deceived by those who are spinning their webs of deceit to catch their prey in their traps.

For, Satan is behind this. He is the one out to destroy Jesus Christ and his gospel and to bring down the church (not the buildings, but the people of God). And he is turning many hearts away from genuine faith in Jesus Christ while he is leading them to a false faith based on a lie from hell.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 ESV

“But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

If we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ, though, we should not at all be surprised by what is going on in the world and in our individual nations, in the world of politics and big business, and within the gatherings of the church, too. For, the Scriptures told us what to expect. And we are seeing some or much of that taking place right now.

We should not be accepting everything as truth that comes from people in positions of rule and authority within our governments or within the church, for we must know that deception is a huge part of the “times and seasons” related to the nearness of our Lord’s return. So, before we just trust what someone tells us, we need to be praying for discernment.

And not one of us should be caught up in the “cheap grace gospel.” We should be able to spot the lies because we are in Christ, and God’s Spirit is living within us pointing these things out to us. If we have died with Christ to sin and if we have been reborn of the Spirit, we know what is required for us to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God.

So, if we are genuine followers of Jesus, not one of us should be walking in the darkness, doing the kinds of things we did before we believed in Jesus, or doing the kinds of things the ungodly are doing. We should be walking, instead, according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

This is NOT saying that if you profess faith in Jesus Christ that you will not face the wrath of God. Please understand this. The Scriptures make this quite clear. If we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, in sin, doing what we want to do deliberately and habitually, we will face God’s wrath. We will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life.

What this is saying is that this is not God’s will that we should face his wrath. That is why he provided the way of salvation for us from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, we need to encourage one another to walk according to the Spirit, living to please the Spirit, and then we will have eternal life.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]

The Great Redeemer

Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915

How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.

He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.

Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.

He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.

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