“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.”
I Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV
There have been moments in time when it was great to be a witness of the events unfolding. I have spent much of my spiritual life considering what life must have been like for those in that first century church. They were few, but growing in number and outside of the community in which they were a part.
They were set apart by the faith they had been saved into, set apart by the peculiar beliefs that they held, and set apart by the presence of the Holy Spirit with in them. Some of them had seen Jesus in His ministry before the cross, others had seen the risen Lord, and many had come to know Him through the ministry of the Apostles. They lived life contrary to the world, a world hostile to them.
I am especially focused on that time because I feel like we are at the end of the continuum of faith: They saw the ascension, we may be the ones to see His return. The words above are worth memorizing in these times of seemingly endless turmoil, and increasing foreboding. Those in the early church faced many of the same challenges that we face today. They were being saved out of a corrupt and sinful world, and we are living in one that is increasingly corrupted. The moral base has shifted, and what is good has become evil and what is evil, called good.
We must be watchful. We must be cognizant of the values we allow into our hearts and our minds, and the limits that we set. The shifting sands of immorality, can sink the righteous if one is not watchful. In recent years I have heard of many christian spouses laying aside marital vows, and pursuing adultery. I have heard of pastors, musicians and many others loudly proclaiming their loss of faith, only to be discovered to not been in the faith in the first place.
We must also be watchful of the signs of the times. We are seeing them everywhere. Those of us who know the Lord, and read the Scriptures are watching and seeing prophesies come to pass. Even the nonbelievers sense that some kind of change is coming.
Believers, watch for the signs, but do not fear. We are safe in the Lord. Watch and stand fast in the faith. When the flesh desires to cower, seek the Lord, when discouragment fills you, seek the Lord. Read the word of God, worship with spiritual songs, and pray for the saints and those who need Jesus. I have found myself praying fervently for the friends and loved ones I know who do not know the Lord. By the signs, I sense that time is incredibly short. We are getting but a sample of what will be in this year 2020. Far, far worse is coming.
We stand fast by doing the spiritual things we must do, we also show that strength in not neglecting the fellowship with other believers. I am thankful that we can attend church. I am encouraged as I am able to use my spiritual gifts face to face, albeit at a distance of six feet. That fellowship helps us to be strong in the Lord. It also gives us boldness. We build up a resevoir of strength and acceptance with the body of believers, and develop confidence to go out and share the message of the Gospel with an unbelieving world.
Going out at this certain time and sharing the Good News is a brave act. To tell someone that they are a sinner, bound for hell and that only forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ will save them is not the message they want to hear. We believe that we are good.
Loving these days is hard. We are living in a world that hates our Jesus, and is embracing death. Even those who call themselves Christians, are turning on others more devoted to the Lord and the word of God. I read of a black medachurch pastor in Atlanta who said that abortion was in line with Christ’s teachings. Sadly around twenty million black infants have been aborted since 1973. I guess only some black lives matter. We are certainly in perilious times.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”
I Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
We are there.
Still we must love, still we must go out and share the Good News to those who hate us. We must be about the Father’s business until the Lord takes us home. Soon very soon.
Brothers and sisters, watch, stand, be strong, be brave, love and do all to the glory of God!
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