I’d like to begin today, by reading some of the opening verses of Matthew 24, beginning in verse 3.
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
The word translated nation, here in verse 7, is ethnos, from which is derived the English word ethnic, relating to national and cultural origins, or decent.
This might be described today, as racial conflicts, and or religious conflict, of which the world is currently embroiled. A clear example would be ISIS beheading Kurds and Christians.
This ethnic clash, in a broader perspective, could be framed as Israelite verse Gentile, with an example being the nation of Israel again fighting the Palestinians.
Another would be the Wests incursion into the Ukraine, in which Israelite nations are involved in a proxy war with Russia.
And in a spiritual sense, true Christians, the Israel of God, will be persecuted by the spirit of this age, manifested in the form of Babylon the Great. We see increasing signs of this developing, through our government’s crackdown on Christianity of all forms, especially in the military.
Verse 7 also describes kingdoms or sovereign states at war with each other as well. Also mentioned are famines, earthquakes, and pestilences all of which seem to be on the increase at this time.
Ebola being a prime example, and also increased volcanic activity which in many cases is tied together with earthquakes.
I think you will agree, that there seems to be a ratcheting up of all these things, around the world, at this time. Jesus predicted this increasing global unease, in the next verse.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
The word sorrows could be much better translated, and understood as birth pains. In so much as a woman experiencing increased pain and frequency of pain, as the birth of her child draws near.
That is the
comparison that our Savior was making, which unfortunately is lost in the
translation time of sorrows. And what birth was Jesus referring too, in
answering the disciples question regarding the end of the age? It is the
spiritual birth of the Kingdom of God.
Let’s look at
this a bit more closely, turn please to Isaiah 66.7-9
7 “Before she
was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child.
referring to Jesus Himself, as the firstborn of all creation, as is stated in
8 Who has
heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give
birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in
labor, She gave birth to her children.
9 Shall I
bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who
cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.
And of course
the answer to these questions is no. God will deliver salvation to His
children, at the end of this age. We read more about this in Romans 8,
beginning in verse 18.
18 For I
consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the
earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him
who subjected it in hope;
21 because the
creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the
glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know
that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
So we find here,
that the entire physical creation, is symbolically waiting for the spiritual
birth of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Which will in
turn produce a restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of
all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3.21
various prophecies reveal to be a complete renewing of the entire planet, back
to how it was when God first created mankind, in the Garden of Eden. So we see
from these verses in Romans, that our spiritual birth, and the establishment of
the Kingdom of God on earth, will be reflected in the physical creation as well.
Spirit flowing over the earth as pure water will flow over the sea. This will be
further reflected by the fact, that there will no longer be carnivorous animals.
For the lion will eat straw like the ox, spiritually reflecting the removal of
satans influence over carnal human nature, and so forth.
“They shall not
hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea” As we read in Isaiah 11.9.
The carnal mind
of humanity will be converted, a process in which we are all currently engaged.
For it is through our patent endurance and perseverance in overcoming, that will
qualify you and I and all the saints, to guide and to teach, our spiritual
children, in the world to come.
23 Not only
that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves
groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our
24 For we were
saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still
hope for what he sees?
25 But if we
hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Friends, this is
what we must be doing, Having our minds firmly fixed on the goal, of our
spiritual birth into the family of God. We must be persistent in our continued
pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness, regardless of the events
that may impact our current lifestyle in the near future.
Let’s turn to
Acts chapter 8, and review some of what the first century church had to endure.
Speaking of the death of Stephen, as is recorded in chapter 7, we read beginning
in verse 1 of chapter 8.
1 Now Saul was
consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the
church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the
regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2 And devout
men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3 As for Saul,
he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and
women, committing them to prison.
believe that many of us will experience this same type of persecution, as we get
closer to the end of this age, and the pains of our spiritual birth increase.
In fact our
government has already labeled believers of Christianity as potential terrorists
along with the gun owners, the tea party and other constitutionalist groups.
precedent of the government forcibly intruding into homes, has already been set.
Recall the events surrounding the Boston Marathon in which entire neighborhoods
were locked down, with no one permitted to leave there homes, and in which house
to house searches were conducted by heavily armed SWAT teams, under the pretense
of looking for one suspect.
Back in the Book
of Acts, in Acts 14 verse 22 we read that the Apostles were strengthening the
souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We
must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Friends, we must
be preparing now spiritually speaking for this coming time of persecution. For
if we are not firmly grounded in faith, and have an unshakable conviction in our
beliefs, and in the promises that God has given to us, we in all likelihood,
will find the coming trials untenable.
So how do we
prepare spiritually for the trials that most certainly lie ahead?
As Dave has
mentioned several times in the past, one of the most important things, that we
must do, is develop the hunger and thirst for Gods righteousness.
principle way we do this, is by developing the sound spiritual habits of reading
scripture every day.
And this is
something that does not come naturally; as I’m sure all of you are fully aware
of. For the carnal mind, influenced by the spirit of this age fights against our
And this need to
develop sound spiritual habits, of daily bible study and earnest prayer, is
something that I personally have fallen way short in doing. But as Jesus said,
we do not live by bread alone, but also by every word of God. And the scriptures
are replete with admonition to read Gods word daily.
admonition is found in Joshua chapter 1, verses 7-9. In which is written “be
strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law
which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or
to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
8 This Book of
the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and
night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For
then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9 Have I not
commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And of course
God has preserved this text for us, it was written for our admonition, “upon
whom the ends of the ages have come” For by reading the God breathed words that
have been preserved in the Bible, we over time, develop the very mind of Christ,
As we read in
Ephesians 5, our minds are nourished and washed by the water of God’s word,
being cleansed, of every spot and blemish.
God’s word says, that real living faith is only developed by hearing, or in our
case reading God’s word. And without faith and the spiritual vision and
fortitude that is developed by growing close to God, we will most certainly put
our spiritual destiny at great risk.
For as I said
before, scripture reveals that the trials that we will be encountering as the
birth of God’s kingdom draws near, will be overwhelming to the carnal mind.
Luke 21:25 and 26 states
25 “And there
will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth
distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 men’s hearts
failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on
the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
informs us, that at some point in the not to distant future, life on earth will
become so horrific, that people will be getting heart attacks from sheer fear.
But God gives us
the living hope and promise, that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. As we
just covered in Josh. 1.9, where God instructs and also promises “Be strong and
of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is
with you wherever you go.”
And as we read
in Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a
good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
should be forever cognizant of the fact, that God has called us for His special
purpose. God did not just select us willy nilly. He did not just one day say oh
I think I’ll call so and so. Kind of like being blindfolded and drawing a name
out of a hat.
No my friends,
the reality is God specifically created each and every one of us to be called.
Let’s read a few verses from Ephesians 1, beginning in verse 3.
3 Blessed be
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He
chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before Him in love,
predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the
good pleasure of His will,
6 to the
praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Friends, we are
indeed very special to God, God having predetermined that He would create us to
be called, at this specific time, at the end of the age.
Drop to verse 9,
“having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure
which He purposed in Himself,
Verse 11, “In
Him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the
purpose of the Father who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
12 that we who
first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him we
also trusted, after we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation; in
whom also, having believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 which is the
guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,
to the praise of His glory.
incredibly profound and comforting words. The question remains therefore, are
our lives a true reflection of this reality? Are we fully engaged in helping
God, to fulfill His purpose and desire for us?
Are we doing
what the Apostle Paul was imploring us to do in Romans 12, where he wrote
beginning in verse 1 ?
1 ”I beseech
you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
2 Not being
conformed to this world, but rather being transformed by the renewing of our
mind, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of
Let’s turn back
to Romans 8, and continue reading in verse 28:
28 “And we know
that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are
the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He
foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He
might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom
He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified;
and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Again, here we
find the truth of our preselection and elected calling being reemphasized.
And notice that
the word glorified is in the past tense, meaning that in God’s mind we have
already made it, God is giving us the benefit of the doubt.
Our names are
already in His book of life, for it is the Fathers good pleasure to give us the
But make no
mistake. We cannot rest on our laurels, or our past good deeds and endeavors.
For King Solomon is a perfect example, that it is not how we begin our journey
to the Kingdom, but how we finish it that counts.
In 2 Timothy 2,
the Apostle Paul gives insightful instruction to Timothy, regarding how to
rightly pursue our Christian calling, and the mindset he must employ to achieve
Let’s turn there
and read a few verses. Beginning in verse 1, 2 Timothy 2.
therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the
things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to
faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No one
engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may
please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
instruction we glean from this verse, is to be single minded in our focus, fully
engaged in the task of overcoming. And not allowing the affairs of this life to
undermine, ensnare or sidetrack us from completing the mission that God has
I find this
military metaphor quite notable, for it underscores the reality, that we are
indeed engaged in a spiritual battle in which our eternal destiny is on the
line. This truth often does not come to mind, as we pursue our daily activities
of life. However, we are reminded here, how important it is to keep our calling
in the proper perspective.
As Christ also
admonishes us in Matthew 6:33, we are to seek first the Kingdom and Gods
righteousness. We are to love the Lord with all our heart mind soul and being,
to cleave to Him, for He is our life and our length of days.
5 And also if
anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to
We must not only
finish our personal race, but we must do so lawfully. We must play by the rules
of the Kingdom, letting the love of God rule in our hearts and minds. Likewise
in verse 6.
hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
We must strive
to overcome, being motivated by the knowledge, that we will reap what we sow,
and thus we must sow the fruits of righteousness, in order to reap salvation in
the Kingdom. Verse 7.
what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
And so therefore
as the Apostle Paul writes in Hebrews 12, beginning in verse 1,
1 “let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before
Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
consider this important reality. It’s how we use our time, and conduct our
lives, from this day until our physical death, or Christ’s return that will
determine if we will be born into the Kingdom.
I have 2 quotes
taped to the wall in my study, both of which I don’t read nor heed often enough.
The first is
from Ralph Waldo Emerson in which he said “No one can cheat you out of your
ultimate destiny but yourself”
And the other is
from Benjamin Franklin, who stated simply “that lost time can never be found
bring several scriptures to may mind. The first, in reference to Emerson’s
quote, of cheating yourself of your ultimate destiny is found in Revelation
3:10 -11, which reads;
10 “Because you
have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial
which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am
coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
No one can cheat
us out of our special place in the Kingdom, as being apart of the very Bride of
Jesus Christ, except ourselves, and our lack of vision, focus and pursuit of
what God lovingly wants to give us.
As we read a
little earlier in Ephesians 1, verses 9 and 11,
God has “made
known to us the mystery of His will” and “In [Christ] we have been given an
inheritance, being predestined by the Father Himself.
what the Apostle Paul stated twice in his epistles, regarding the second quote
about squandering precious time. Paul stated we should be walking in wisdom
redeeming the time, because the culture in which we live is evil.
Let’s once again
turn back to Rom 8, and continue in verse 31
31 What then
shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did
not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with
Him also freely give us all things?
35 Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Verse 37 Yet
in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am
persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height
nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the
love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
what encouraging words. In that nothing in the universe can separate us from
God’s love and concern for us! And why is that? Because God has Created us for
His special purpose! We are very special to Him!
Let’s turn to
some more inspiring words in 1 John 3, beginning in verse 1.
1 Behold what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children
of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2 Beloved, now
we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but
we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as
And so because
the reality of our lives is so incredibly special, what must we do?
Verse 3, tells
us what we must be actively doing.
everyone who has this hope in Christ, [in the hope of eternity in the Kingdom]
purifies himself, just as He, Christ is pure.
Friends we are
all a product of our environment. We are a sum total of lives experiences and
how we were, molded, shaped and impacted by them. Many of us carry mental and
emotional scars from past experiences.
The point being,
that physical life has formed us in a certain way. These traits are reflected in
our thought process, often guided by the carnal mind.
The only way to
purify ourselves, as we read in verse 3, to remove these spots and blemishes, as
Paul states in Ephesians 5, is by renewing our minds day by day, through
interaction with God, through prayer and study.
We must fully
wrap our minds around this fact, and also be mindful of the fact, that all of
our effort, all of our patient endurance in overcoming will indeed be worth in
in the end.
As we read in 2
16 Therefore we
do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man
is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light
affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do
not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For
the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are
scripture tells us that without vision, we shall surely perish. So it is
absolutely imperative that we keep these scriptures in our minds eye. Resting
our hope fully on them, as the living words of God.
Let’s turn to
one more passage just to solidify this most important reality of our lives.
1 Peter 2:9-10
9 [We are] a
chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, [we are] His own special
people, that ]we should] proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of
darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were
not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now [
we] have obtained mercy.
perception of our spiritual reality is spoken of in Hebrews chapter 6. Let’s
turn their please, beginning in verse 13.
13 For when God
made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by
“Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
15 And so, after
he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16 For men
indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of
17 Thus God,
determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of
His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
18 that by two
immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong
consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
19 This hope we
have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.
OK my friends,
so hopefully I have helped to firmly fix in our minds, the incredible and almost
unimaginable promise of eternal inheritance, as the spirit born sons and
daughters of God.
For having this
vision of reality deeply embedded within our minds, as an anchor for our souls,
both sure and steadfast- is imperative if we are to endure the trials and
tribulation that stand between us and the Kingdom. Between now and the end of
So in closing I
want to look at what our mindset must be, if we are to endure what is to come.
Turn with me to
2 Thessalonians 2.1
brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering
together to Him, we ask you,
2 not to be
soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if
from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
3 Let no one
deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away
comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes
and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he
sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Verse 6 And now
you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
Drop to verse 8.
8 And then the
lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His
mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
9 The coming
of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs,
and lying wonders,
10 and with all
unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the
love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this
reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all
may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in
God will give
the world strong delusion, with powerful signs and false wonders. and we read
more about this in Revelations 13:11.
11 Then I saw
another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and
spoke like a dragon.
12 And he
exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the
earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound
13 He performs
great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in
the sight of men.
14 And he
deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do
in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image
to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
15 He was
granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the
beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the
beast to be killed.
these things take place, the entire world will fall under the deception of
Satan. The world will believe that the man of sin, is really God in the flesh.
And what I find most interesting is the statue of the image of the beast that
will be set up by Babylon the Great.
Notice that in
verse 15, it states that anyone that does not worship the image of the beast
will be put to death.
The question I
will pose is this. The Gospels tell us that some Christians will be brought
before kings and rulers to testify as a witness. Might it be that some
Christians, maybe even some of us, will be arrested and brought before this
image of Babylon the Great?
Recall that a
very similar event happened during the time when the first kingdom of Babylon
reigned on the earth. Let’s look at that, and of the scriptural example that has
been left for us, on whom the end of the age has come.
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and
its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of
2 And King
Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together all the officials of the provinces,
to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
3 So the all
the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image
that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that
Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then a
herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,
5 that at the
time you hear the sound of all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship
the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;
6 and whoever
does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a
burning fiery furnace.”
verse 4 says this was directed to all the peoples, nations and languages, this
is similar to what we read in Revelation 13. I believe what we read in
Revelation 13, is a fulfillment of a duality. The worship of the image of the
King of Babylon.
8 Therefore at
that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews.
9 They spoke
and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!
10 You, O king,
have made a decree that everyone shall fall down and worship the gold image;
11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have
And then the
king, gives them a second chance to spare their lives, verse 15.
15 Now if you
are ready at the time you hear the sound of all kinds of music, and you fall
down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship,
you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who
is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have
no need to answer you in this matter.
17 If that is
the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery
furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
18 But if not,
let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we
worship the gold image which you have set up.”
believe it would be a good spiritual exercise, too in our minds eye, place
ourselves in the position of these 3 faithful men. For in the presence of the
most powerful person in the world, and in the face of certain death, these men
stood steadfast. We should be mentally preparing ourselves to do likewise.
For we should
all embed there example of living faith deeply within us. In that looking into
the face of what seemed like certain death, they said “our God whom we serve is
able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace” “But if not, let it be known
to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold
image which you have set up.”
Friends, what a
powerful example of living faith. These men chose obedience to God, regardless
of the circumstances, in the face of what seemed to be certain death.
And of course we
know the story, that God chose to save them, but they did not know that at the
refresh our minds, by reading the closing verses of Daniel 3:
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and
they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should
not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
29 Therefore I
make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss
against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and
their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can
deliver like this.”
30 Then the king
promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
And to this we
can tie in the scripture that states, all things work together for good, to
those that are called according to His special purpose. And so likewise, if we
successfully endure the birth pains at the end of this age, we also will be
promoted like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, by the King of Kings Jesus,
Christ to rule over cities on earth, in the age to come.
scripture informs us that if we live on until the time of the tribulation, that
we will all face equally scary situations. Therefore it behooves us to be
developing this same rock solid faith, that will most certainly be needed to
endure such a time.
The bottom line,
is we must have a similar mindset, which all the saints down through time have
had to develop, in order to be counted worthy of salvation.
32 And what more
shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson
and also of David and Samuel and the prophets:
33 who through
faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the
mouths of lions,
34 quenched the
violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made
strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the
received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting
deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection
36 Still others
had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 They were
stoned, they were sawn in two, or were slain with the sword. They wandered about
in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
38 of whom the
world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves
of the earth.
39 And all
these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the
40 God having
provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart
In closing I’d
like to look at the scriptural example left for us by the Apostle Paul.
2 Corinthians 5:
1 For we know
that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God,
a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this
we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from
3 if indeed,
having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
4 For we who
are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but
further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
5 Now He who
has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as
6 So we are
always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent
from the Lord.
7 For we walk
by faith, not by sight.
8 We are
confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present
with the Lord.
9 Therefore we
make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must
all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the
things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
In this passage
Paul demonstrates a mature Christian mindset, regarding the reality of a
Christians physical life.
As he further
states in Philippians 1:21
21 For to me, to
live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live
on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I
23 For I am
hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ,
which is far better.
Friends, as we
know, it’s not as if Paul had a death wish. Rather he fully understood the
reality of his calling. In that this physical life, is only a means to the end.
We are all
spiritual sojourners living within a physical tabernacle. and in due time we
will indeed relinquish our physical tent, which is our bodies, and be given an
eternal spiritual body, which as Paul states is fair better.
In verse 21, he
says to live is Christ, and to die is gain. This statement underscores the
thought process of the Apostle Paul. For he was indeed a person that was fully
committed in very way, to his calling. Putting all of his energy and effort into
developing God’s righteousness within himself.
We should all
mediate deeply on these profound words, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
And seek to develop this same level of dedication and love, for God the Father
and Jesus Christ, and the plan they are working out within us.
My friends, soon
the fall Holy Days will be upon us, which for us represent, having attained the
goal of eternal life, as first born members of God’s family.
And just as the
Feast is getting close, so is the end of this age. So let us make every effort,
to make our calling and election sure.
It is my hope,
that the scriptures we have covered today, will help all of you, to stay focused
and committed to God and to your calling.
Let us all make
the very best use of the time we have remaining, in preparation for our
spiritual birth. So that on that faithful day, God may say to each and every one
of us. “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord”
Thank you for
your time today.
Thomas C. Trinka