Are you a sheep or a goat? PI

sheep or goatMatthew 25: 31- 46 

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25: 31- 33

Are you a sheep or a goat? The foolish will be judged and removed from the wise; the wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:14-30).

This parable is about the coming, final, inescapable Judgment! There was a judgment that was escapable, when the Jews could flee from their homes and business as the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. But, this time there will be no escape; all will be judged! It is about evaluation and separation; the good are set apart from the bad! The faithful are rewarded; the unfaithful are damned. The wise are praised and the foolish are judged Matt. 25:1-46).

Those who are in Christ will receive their blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed! This is a harsh teaching; nonetheless, it is true, and it will happen (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)!

When the Son of Man comes. This refers to Christ’s reign on earth, predicted by Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14). This is a depiction of our Lord’s absolute authority over the apocalypse, judging all who have ever lived, and of both His omnipresence and omniscience.

Angels. Jesus is perhaps quoting Zechariah 14:5. Angels are important and powerful in Jewish mysticism; however, Jesus is the Judge who will evaluate us as to whether we are saved or not, and reward us for how we served and represented Him (Psalm 62:12; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Ezek. 18:30; Daniel 7:13-14.).

All nations will be gathered. This is the Judgment to come; no one will be immune or have a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” unless he or she is in Christ (Isa. 2:4 Mic. 4:3).

Sheep and goats. Both the sheep and the goats grazed together and were herded together; they were both for food; the sheep gave clothing and the goats gave milk and cheese. At night, they were separated. The sheep needed the outdoors, for their fur kept them warm; the goats needed to be inside or they might freeze to death. Sheep were much more valuable to the Jews because of the necessity of clothing they provided and the income from the selling of the wool. Sheep are also the representation of God’s chosen people (Ezek. 34; Matt. 10:16; 18:12). In pagan literature, goats were associated with the devil and being bad, whereas sheep were representative of good.

Do you realize who you are in Christ? As His child, do you realize how much He loves you, how valuable you are?

Separate. The segregation referred to individuals, not nations as a whole. Nations referred to all people groups. Right hand.  Left, in ancient customs, the right side was the place of authority and power, whereas the left was for guests or those in trouble.

Reflection:

When Jesus comes back, it will be magnificent, but it will also be a time of extreme anguish, as people will be separated and condemned for their blatant foolishness in not accepting Christ as Lord. It will also be a time of condemnation, woe, and guilt, as there will be judgment for those who wasted the gifts and opportunities He gave. We all will be surprised to see who made it and who did not! What Christian leaders will be there, and which ones will not? Which ministry will be praised and which ones will not? Those we think are the real Christians may turn out to be pretenders, and those we toss aside, thinking they are not worthy, may be the heroes, as we look at pride and accomplishments; God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Those who are in Christ will receive blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed. Is this fair? Yes or no? Why?

At His second coming, Jesus will be looking for those who are prepared and faithful. What have you learned to help you be prepared?

Christ’s return will be glorious and present us, the faithful, with commendation, victory, and security. How can this fact give you confidence and help build your faith?

Scoffers on the Second Coming PIII

Read, 2 Peter 3: 1-9

Have you ever thought that God seems slow? What needs to take place so we can understand that we can have patience and trust in Him and His timing? 

Because it has been nearly two thousand years since Christ’s ascension and proclamation to return, many people have given up and even stated, perhaps Jesus is not coming back. But is this valid? No. If we take God’s Word as true, then we know He is coming back. If we really read the Scriptures and see that God lives outside of space and time and is not governed by our physical or temporal laws of physics or humanity, then we can easily see two thousand years is nothing for God. Besides, this is an aspect of grace to give humanity time to consider the implication of God’s sovereignty and our convection to receive Him as Lord.

For God, time is totally relative and in the scope of eternity. This does not necessarily refer to a literal timeline. Rather, that God’s view and perspective of things is not our view and the converse thereof. This long wait is an aspect of His sovereignty (Psalm 90:4).

We have no knowledge of God’s timing! Thus we are not to forget or refuse to heed to God’s Lordship when we feel impatient.

Patient means that our God is a long-suffering God. When God delays His judgment, this means He is demonstrating His love, grace, and forbearance for the consummation of His purpose. We are to take comfort in that He is a God of grace and mercy and is patient with us when we do not deserve it. He seeks our repentance and trust. Therefore, we have no need to be impatient or confused or allow the mocking or misleading of others to distract us from His purpose and plan (John 6:39).

It seems that God is slow to us, but He is in absolute control and we can have patience and trust in Him and His timing. We are impatient with our thinking and expectations, whereas God is patient, allowing His grace and plan to work out. There is no need to make up dates or predict His Second Coming. We are called to be obedient and wait actively in His Word and truth.

Peter is restating his purpose of being an encourager and, at the same time, is shepherding them. A shepherd protects his sheep. If the sheep run astray, he will do what it takes to keep them safe and put, even if he has to break their legs so they will not be eaten.

A pastor needs to root out false teachers and discipline those who cause others to stumble. If not, others will fall prey to things that are misleading, counterfeit, and dangerous.

We can’t just look the other way, hoping all will work out. We have to be proactive and engage the enemy, even the ones in our own flock. Of course, we do this in love-but not just with feelings of love because we will not feel like loving them and, unless one has a disparaging personality, dispensing discipline will not be a joy.

However, we are called to act and to do so within the Fruit of the Spirit and love, carrying a staff to remove the wolves that desire to carry off our flock.

Scoffers on the Second Coming

 

Scoffers-2-Peter2 Peter 3: 1-9

Do you realize that most arguments about end times come from our faulty thinking and conniving agendas pitted against others faulty logic, and lack of good biblical exegesis causing us to forget God’s promises and even His past provisions?

Peter in 2 Peter, is restating his purpose by reminding them of some essential precepts of our Lord, he stated in his last letter. He was writing about some of the same root problems, namely, those of forgetting Christ’s power and impact. So, he shows them from God’s Word. He has apostolic authority and is a principle church leader with the job of giving them instructions.

The problem is that the depraved human mind still will refuse to listen, no matter by what means or authority the message is relayed.

God’s patience with and love for us is so amazing (1 Pet. 1:13-2:12)! 

This is what most people get wrong, the meaning of “Last days” or last times, for the first century Jew and Greek, it means the “Christian era.” This will be a surprise to many, because It does not necessarily refer that the actual, final days of our existence, as in the second coming, are around the corner. Keep in mind also it has been nearly two thousand years; thus, not a few days. Rather, it means the period from the resurrection to His second coming. In other words, the present time or what many call the “church age.” Many have mistaken this term to mean that Jesus is right around the corner. Maybe He is, but for countless generations who have said that, well, they have been wrong and have missed the primary point, there will be a judgment(Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2)

Peter even points out to us the term “Scoffers,” people who ridicule and make fun of what you do not comprehend or understand. Such as how the early Christians were treated by friends and family and many of us face today. Peter points us to that this behavior only makes the person who scoffs the fool. As at this time, the Gnostics did not believe in the idea of a judgment because they did not believe in moral accountability, so they scoffed. And if you hold to the true Truth today, people will scoff, even fellow Christians who are deluded by seeking one’s feelings to be fulfilled and not God’s Word.

Key word to know: “Evil desires.” Not being rooted in good thinking will create evil stemming from a lack of accountability or a basis for a morality to be built upon.

Here in Peter’s day, the false teachers were ridiculing the idea that Christ would return, since He had not yet. In the same way many Christians ridicule one another over the others view, when the irony is they are both wrong. Also, in Jewish tradition at the time, to ridicule a righteous person was considered evil. They also argued that God neither cares for us, nor intervenes in our lives and we should not trust in Him. Just because something has not happened does not mean it will not happen. Many lives, businesses, and opportunities have been destroyed by this feeble way of thinking.

Yes, Christ will return! We just do not know when. So, let’s stop the argumentation with one another and look to His Word, so we are not the ones who are willingly ignorant. So we can be fruitful with His Word and to one another. We can’t do much with the secular scoffers; other than live the life with fruitfulness the best we can and be the example of His love (2 Cor. 5:20).

What is the ‘Blood Moon’ all about?

blood moon

 

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.” Acts 2:20

“The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light…”  Matthew 24:29

 

What if Jesus had returned yesterday night, April 15, 2014 as many false teachers have presented? Oh, that did not happen by the way. What were you doing? Does your life and attitude show that you were prepared by faith and not by theory?

Many Christians today take their word from false teachers who are tantalizing and provocative. They feel they have special knowledge from God and thus do not read or study the Bible. Instead, they listen to fools who point to themselves, pseudo Bible teaching and not to our LORD or the true Truth of His Word. This creates the havoc of emotional driven immature Christians with false knowledge that leads to a weak do nothing faith and division in His Church.

Here comes the latest buzz, the Blood Mood!

I am sure you have heard of it, perhaps you got caught up in it, pun intended. What is this all about?

The blood moon is the earth’s moon in the night sky that will turn red, or as an astronomer would say, “in a deep red hue,” resembling the color of blood, hence the name. These events remind us of several Bible passages from Joel, Matthew, Acts and Revelation that Christ is coming back. While, others have stated that it is the significant sign of the apocalypse and or rapture or the end of days.

To make this more foreboding, there will be four of these on or close to the main Jewish feast days of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the next 2 years. So, a lot of Christians have been so tied up over this. The first of these blood moons arrived on April 15, 2014 near Passover (the foreboding part is this is tax day for Americans) then there will be three more in the next two years. As, we will have one in October, 8, 2014 and then two more April 4, and Sept. 28, 2015. Astronomers say this is not rare, as even though there will be 4 in the next 18 months, normally they average 3 every 2 years. Yet, all astronomical events are rare, because we have a lot going on in our big universe.

Is Jesus coming back during these blood moons? Probably not. Yes, Jesus can come back during these events, but according to His Word, nothing needs to happen that did not already. Thus, He can come back at any moment, now, or thousands of years from now.

Lets see what Jesus said about it!

Matthew 24:29-31: “The sun will be darkened.” This is a reference to a significant astronomical event, perhaps more than just an eclipse. And this is in the form of O.T. Judgment language (Psalm 18:6-19; Isa. 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Jer. 4:20-28; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 3:14; Zech. 14:6).

The question is not if or when, as many of us obsess over; rather, He will come and we had better be prepared with our attitude and mindsets! 

Darkness” was the most frightening prediction (Ex. 9:21-23)! 

The sign of the Son of man” refers to God bringing about the opportunity for people to repent for having caused Him grief. Then, the Kingdom of Heaven will flourish (Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7).

Sign” refers to the first real evidence of Christ’s second coming.

Son of man” means He is Lord and King (Matthew 10: 16-26)!

Clouds” mean judgment. This refers to a spectacular event, the numbers of angels testifying to God’s glory. It could also mean an extraordinary storm of clouds. Such as numbers of angels testifying to God’s glory (Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10; Matt. 16:28; 24:30, 34; 26:64). 

“Trumpets” were used to announce the coming of or the succession of a king. They were used to summon people together and for a war cry to motivate troops and scare the enemy (Judg. 7:8-25; Isa. 11:12; 27. 13; Jer. 4:5, 19-21; Zeph. 1:16). Here, it is a popular prayer Jesus uses to refer to a future gathering of believers in Christ (Zech. 9:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

“Taken” refers to being taken to Judgment (Jer. 6:10-12)! Most people think this is the rapture, but, it is never explicitly taught or illustrated, although this text is popular for such as view, it really means judgment and you do not want that.

Some have thought that this passage can also refer to the coming defeat of Satan and His dominion or an apocalypse, but there is no textual support; rather, it is about His second coming in His timing (Matt. 13:40-43; 16:27; 25:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:14-17).

In addition, Revelation 6: 12-17 tells us, “Moon turned blood red,” this may refer to an unusual lunar eclipse or even something more spectacular. These events being described are not necessarily literal, astronomic events as many today think. 

“Stars in the sky fell to earth” means the cosmic scope of God’s judgment, as all will be affected (Isa. 34:4). This was also a sign for the coming of Christ (Mark 13:25-26). It may also refer to angels coming down or some stunning event that all will see in the sky (Isa. 24:21; Dan. 8:10; 10:13; Rev. 12:4).

Here is what we should wrap our brain and faith on, what Jesus was actually saying: 

Matthew 24: 36-50: “No one knows…angels, or the Son…” Why did Jesus not know, when He is the Omnipresent God? God keeps most of His plans secret for good reason (Deut. 29:29; Zech. 14:6-9).

We would become preoccupied with them and miss our purpose for being here on earth. Just look at some Catholics and how they are overzealous with artifacts; in fact, there are enough so-called pieces of the cross of Christ in European Cathedrals to build a large church! There is also the obsession for the Holy Grail (the cup of Christ in His last supper). They look to “stuff” and not to substance! Let us not do that with our refusal to look to His Word and instead look to personalities.

 

God Promises Christ’s Return to us!

Read 2 Peter 3: 1-9

Where does your thinking need to be stimulated? How does remembering what our Lord has done for you in the past help strengthen your faith for the future?

Peter restates his purpose of the Epistle, and desires to get his people thinking about Christ, not the trends of the day, not the new philosophies, false teachers, or the scoffers.

How relevant is this now? What that early church was going through, is what we are going through right now!

 Some key words from Second Peter three:

Dear friends” means “loved ones.” Peter wants us to know for certain that Christ will return! Which is the prime point of Escatolody, that Christ is coming back. So, what he is doing is to “Stimulate” as to “stir you up.” this is a literary device to grab attention, so this is important, a call to listen up. In order to help them remember who they are in Christ and the wonders of Him, not the lusts and desires of the flesh. God wants us to live lives that are worthy of being given the grace and to show excellence in our character for His glory, and our contentment in Him (1 Pet. 2:11; 4:12).

One of the goals of Christ’s Second Coming that takes us beyond a carrot on a stick to as Peter states, “simulate”, but to what? That would be, “Wholesome thinking” which means to have a pure mind, undefiled by the filth of false teachers so we can be better prepared (Matt. 24:42-44; Rom. 12:1-3).

Peter affirms his argument by identifying the Old Testament prophets with the New Testament Apostles as of equal authority. Both are specially called and used by God to spread His truth. This is so we trust in what he says, so we can get it. However, this may not apply to us today, as we should get the fact the Bible is God’s Word! What we can take to heart is that whoever is in Christ is now a representative of Christ and has responsibility and His authority to spread His knowledge (2 Cor. 5:20).

The Peter brings us the other aspect of the Second coming we do not hear much about, why He is coming. We get so captured by the vehicle delivery apparatus theories and miss the point. Like we are more exited about the hubcaps of the limo than the fact it is taking us to the Grammies. We have a call attention to an important issue. The issue is, there will be a judgment! 

Here is a key word many get wrong. Because they assume in the English and not bother to look it up in the Greek and its Junra and syntax….Last days and its equivalent, “last times”… So what does it mean? It is the “Christian era.” It does not necessarily refer that the actual, final days of our existence, as in the second coming, are around the corner. Rather, it means the period from the resurrection to His second coming. In other words, the present time. Many have mistaken this term to mean that Jesus is right around the corner. Maybe He is, but for countless generations who have said that, well, they have been wrong and have missed the point (Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:2).

The main point is that Peter wants them to focus upon Christ and the precepts and the hope He brings. And of course, this means us too! This applies that, our thinking needs to be based on Christ, not what we want or how we think things should be. This takes trust and seeing hope. God wants us to understand that He has real, true substance for us to know and do! We have the responsibility to know this trust and hope and put both into our life and practice them.

How important is the “Second Coming” to you concerning how you live your life? Consider theses applications:

How does it make you feel and/or strengthen your faith that God intervenes, cares, and He is involved, with the intention of making you for a plan and a purpose?

What about the idea that you are no mistake, so therefore, you are wanted and have a destiny?

So, what can you do to put His willingness to infuse and use you into practice?

How do we live lives that are worthy of being given the grace and excellence in our character for His glory and our contentment in Him?

 

The God Who Judges, the God Who Holds Us! P2

Read Jesus’s Words in Matthew 11: 20-30

What is the “Day of Judgment” about? Basically this means, no one has an excuse.

When we look to Scripture and the judgments God has done, we can see the pattern of what He will still do. Even in the wickedest of cities, the righteous people testified on behalf of God. God showed mercy upon mercy, until there was no hope for their repentance (Book of Jeremiah; Matt. 12:41; 23:13; Luke 12:47-48; Rom. 1:20-2:16).

What do we need to learn and take away from this?

Judgment as we looked at before means God will overthrow every resistance of evil (1 Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 25:31-46). It will bring the deeds of darkness to the Light (Isa. 29:15; 45:16-17). It is a part of the liberation of Christians who trust and obey God (Luke 18:1-8; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; Rev. 6:10). This also means a new world administrated by Christ that will replace the present one (2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1).

We all are responsible to God, according to the election and Grace that we receive or reject (Matt 3:11-12; 24:29, 35; Luke 12:17 ff.; John 5:22; Rom. 2:12-16).

What are we to focus on in our teaching about Judgment?

We cannot justify ourselves or say we are right in wisdom and learning (1 Cor. 1:26).

Wisdom is never something a wise person would claim or boast. When they do, then you know they are not really wise (Job. 12:24; Prov. 3:5-6; 12:15; 16:2; 21:2; 26:12).

To fear God is to reverence Him and acknowledge that He is Lord over our lives. It is not fear as in being afraid; rather it is ultimate respect and awe (Job 28:28; Psalm 11:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). We can be in His rest with awe!

God sees the humble as the real wise ones, whereas the world looks to pride and arrogance, which God hates (1 Sam. 2:39).

God does not owe anyone an explanation or a revelation!

God’s judgment is the Christians hope and comfort!

Yet, God is patient–as in long-suffering–in exercising judgment so that people may have the time and the chance to come to faith and repentance (Luke 13:6-9; Rom. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

Take a look at this key word, “Hidden these things from the wise.” This refers to God’s sovereignty and control. He alone chooses who will be clued into His truth, and who is not worthy to know or not ready. God is the One who chooses and dispenses wisdom and life. He is the only One who is capable and sufficient in knowledge, wisdom, justice, and mercy to do so. God reveals Himself in the heart and His Word. We cannot come to know Him or understand God from any other secular means; no learning, science, or power can grasp whom God is or what He is up to.

All things means that all things in the universe have been committed to Jesus. Being fully God, He is Sovereign (John 12:44-46). When you know Jesus, you know God; God’s Spirit allows us to know Jesus. Thus, Jesus has the power of predestination.

Yet, what is our Lord up to? He tells us to….Come unto me, which is is a promise of wisdom and the offering of God’s strength, and perhaps the most endearing words uttered by our Lord! It is so simple for the humble to see and accept, yet so hard for a mind preoccupied with the pride of self. Without humbling ourselves to acknowledge Him, we cannot receive the Savior. Rather, we get a need unmet and a soul empty.

This is a picture of Jesus, offering Himself to us. He has the authority to invite and He is the author of our salvation. Jesus’ load is heavy and requires our fullest for His Highest; yet, it is easy when our eyes and faith are on Him (1 John 1:7)!

God will Judge justly in His perfect timing, and He is patient–as in long-suffering–in exercising judgment, so that people may have the time and the chance to come to faith and repentance. How can this thought give you comfort if a loved one has passed away, and you are not sure if they knew the Lord?

How has Grace protected you?

The God Who Judges, the God Who Holds Us! P1

You may know that God is a God who gives us grace, comfort, and rest, but, did you know He is also a God of judgment?
Read Jesus’s Words in Matthew 11: 20-30

All too often we forget His holiness, righteousness, and right to judge. We forget we are responsible for our actions. We just go on with our meager lives without any forethought of the consequences or opportunities.

Yes, our God is a God of Grace. How wonderful and comforting to be able to allow Him to be our haven of rest, our comfort. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to neglect His full magnitude and character. All too often, we, as sinful humanity, place ourselves in the judgment seat, passing our Will and agenda to others. Perhaps we are correct in our assumptions, but, conceivably, we cannot see the hearts of others, or the facts.
We must be able to leave the judgment to Christ; He is perfect and all knowing, and we are not. We need to be willing and able to wait and rest in Him, His plan, and in His ways, not ours. Even in times when we suffer stress and confusion, even when we fail, He is there, holding us, loving us, and giving us His rest and grace beyond what we can fathom. When we surrender our yoke–that is, our Will and plans–over to His perfect rest, how splendid a Christian walk we will have; what an impact we can be!

• Look at this key word: “Rebuke the cities.” This is called a “judgment oracle.” It was common of OT prophets to condemn evil cities whose people had rejected God (Amos 3:2; Jonah. 4:11). Rebuke/ denounce are very strong words conveying justified indignation.
• In Jesus’ time, Tyre, and Sidon were considered the most wicked and pagan cities that had ever existed. Few to none of their inhabitants repented or acknowledged God (1 Kings 16:11; 17:9-24).
• The more knowledge you have, the more responsibility you have to use and practice it. That is why Moses was not let into the Promise Land; he disobeyed God. He knew better than anyone who ever lived not to do that! Fortunately, today we have Grace!

Even though Moses disobeyed God in a relatively minor matter in our perspective, God was still gracious, and showed him all that would come. What God sees as important, we sometimes skip. Remember, Moses knew better. And, when we sin, we know better too! Thus, the offence of striking the rock was bad enough for him to be excluded from entering the Promised Land. Moses had been face to face with God, and knew his duty and call. His anger broke the trust he had with God, resulting in grave consequences. Fortunately for us, we have Grace to further protect us (Ex.17: 6; Num. 20:8-11)!

How does knowing that God is a God of judgment, as well as a God of holiness and righteousness affect your faith and obedience?

What happens to a Christian’s growth and faith when all he acknowledges is God’s grace, and not the rest of His attributes?