Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
To log onto UNITYINCHRIST.COM’S BLOG, Click Here
Unity in Christ
Introduction
About the Author
Does God Exist?

The Book of Acts
Gospels
Epistles
Prayer
Faith
the Prophets & Prophecy
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes

Song of Solomon

OT History
Early Church History
Church History
Sabbatarian Heritage
The Worldwide Church Of God
Messianic Believers
Evangelism

America-Modern Romans


Latin-American Poverty

Ministry Principles

Topical Studies
Guest Book
Utility Pages
Share on Facebook
Tell a friend:
 

Luke 12:22-48

 

“And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens:  for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them:  how much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?  Consider the lilies how they grow:  they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after:  and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:  verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.  Be ye therefore ready also:  for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.  Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.  But if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of the servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required:  and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

 

“We continue this evening.  ‘Father we settle our hearts as we continue, and Lord that you might speak to us through your Word.  Lord, we are thankful Lord you have blessed us with a simple format that we might come and worship you, singing your praises, studying your Word, and enjoying, Lord, the fellowship you’ve given us.  But Lord we ask in all of these things you would be changing us, strengthening us Father, pouring Father your life into us by your Spirit.  And Lord, that Lord, we would find our lives in your Word, that we would live in its pages, that Lord we would never gather out of curiosity, or Lord just to probe, Lord, portions of Scripture that would Lord just feed our imagination or our questions, Lord, but that we would always be looking for what you have to say about our lives, how we might yield, Lord, to you.  How we might find a greater experience of your presence Lord, walking before you, Lord, how we might live in greater expectancy of your return.  So Lord as we continue this study in Luke’s Gospel, Lord we look forward to standing around your throne with Luke, Father, with the Great Physician, Lord, Jesus you, with this other good doctor, and meeting Lord, him face to face as we look into your face.  And Lord, this evening as we continue this study, Lord, be present, we pray Lord in your name, amen.’

 

The Question About Money, Wealth---What Should Our Focus Be?

 

Luke chapter 12, Jesus is in the last six months of his public ministry.  The religious leaders have decided that they will look for an opportunity to trap him in his words, and outsmart him.  And whenever you look for an opportunity to entrap God or outsmart him, you’re in trouble.  And Jesus kind of reads them the riot-act about their hypocrisy, the things that they’re doing that are wrong.  And then he turns, it says, to his disciples who were probably much broader than the twelve that we must think of.  There’s an innumerable multitude, it says.  And he first begins to warn them of hypocrisy, take heed and look out on yourselves.  He challenges them, and it is to be constantly be taking heed unto yourselves that you look out for the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  And he tells us that is infectious.  And we all can tend to be infected with that, because there’s a little bit of Pharisee in all of us.  And he says to look out for that, we can get a little bit religious in what we do, and kind of loose the heart of it all, that we should always remember that the Bible tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance, that the nature of Christ should be being expressed through us.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/agape%20I.htm to learn more about this core of Christianity, the core of what Christ was trying to convey to people.]  We shouldn’t just be theologically correct, and cold and calculated.  We can be religious, we can be a little Pharisaical [and we must be on the lookout for that in our lives].  A man interrupts then and says, ‘But Lord, tell my brother to split the inheritance with me, will you.’  And the Lord turns around and says, ‘Man, who made me lord and divider over you?’  And he takes the opportunity to tell them a parable of a rich fool, who spent his entire energy to amass to himself material gain, and then said to himself, ‘I’ve been increased with much goods, I have everything that people want, I have everything that the world holds out on a platter in regards to physical gain.  And I’m going to tear down my barns, and build bigger barns, and lay this stuff up in store for myself, and for many years I’m going to say to my soul, Soul, you’re enriched with goods, so take your leisure, eat, drink and be merry’, thinking that security is found in the abundance of things that we possess.  And Jesus in this parable says ‘The Lord said unto him, Thou fool…’  And in the Bible a fool is not like we would say it to somebody today.  In the Bible a fool was someone who could not receive instruction, Psalm 14 says the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’  You could have a 200 IQ and be a fool Biblically.  [Carl Sagan anyone?  Richard Dawkins?]  Because if your attitude toward spiritual things is good, you could be someone whose quite simple, and yet be spiritually very intelligent and a giant as it were, because you understand obedience, and are yielding your life to God and his Word.  This man was a fool.  I’m sure he was a good businessman, I’m sure he had a lot on the ball naturally, because he amassed great goods.  But the Lord says “Thou fool, this night thy life will be required of thee.  And then who shall these things be?”  And Jesus says, ‘So it is with those that are rich toward themselves, towards this world, and not rich towards God, they’re are not flourishing or prospering spiritually.  They are just using their life in regards to physical abundance.  So Jesus in verse 22 begins then to challenge us on how we should live.  ‘You know, OK Lord you’re saying to us, we shouldn’t just store up stuff here, we shouldn’t just get everything in order here?’  And look, the Lord, throughout the Scripture never condemns wealth as it were.  Abraham seemed to be a wealthy man.  It said he had an overabundance of gold and silver and cattle and goods and so forth.  But he never built a mansion, he always lived in the tent.  [Some of those Arabian tents could be quite exquisite J]  He was a man of the tent and the altar, if you read the life of Abraham, the tent defined his relationship with this world [temporary], and the altar defined his relationship with the next world.  He lived in a tent because he found no continuing city here, and he was not holding on.  And he built an altar because he knew the shedding of blood was providing an entrance into that Kingdom, the next world.  Joseph was wealthy, so were Daniel, David and Solomon.  Wealth is not condemned.  But the love of money, when you are possessed by your possessions instead of possessing them and offering them to God with the rest of your life, when you worship them and it becomes idolatrous, then you have a problem. 

 

“Take No Anxious Thought For Your Life”---Beware of Worry

 

So we might say that, ‘OK Lord, what do you want me to do, then?  Just go sell everything?’  And people do this, ‘I’m afraid, Lord, if I give you everything, if I just say OK, here I am, you’re gonna send me to the Eskimos to be a missionary.  Now you know I hate the cold, and I hate the thought of living in an Igloo, but surely the only spiritual thing for me would have to be something I hate.’  No, I don’t find that in the Bible at all.  So what do we do then?  Well he begins to talk about it.  “And he said unto his disciples,”---his learners, that’s all of us here this evening that are believers, because we can be deceived by the wealth of this world---“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.”  It says, “take no anxious thought”, it means to be filled with anxiety, worry is the key word here, in case you have never heard of it before, worry.  I know some people, when you look up “worry” in the dictionary and it gives a definition, and then their picture is there, and says for further information call and gives their phone number. ‘I say unto you, Take no worrisome thought, anxious thought for your life in regards to what you shall eat, neither for the body, what you shall put on.’ “Because the life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment” (verses 22-23).  He’s saying, ‘Look, first of all, as a Christian your life should not be characterized by anxiety.  You know, here’s a guy who spends his whole life to store up wealth and clothing and food.  His life should have been characterized by anxiety,’ if he knew he was going to die the next day it would have been.  But Jesus is saying to us, ‘Our security lies in something different than that.  And for you and I, life he says, is more than feeding it and clothing it.’  That’s not the purpose of life, so we can sit here fat and happy, and warm.  He says life is more than that, just dressing it up and stuffing it up, there’s more to life.  And when it comes to that, we shouldn’t be filled with anxiety in regards to what Christ is going to tell us about what life is about.  Anxiety, worry, you shouldn’t be saying to someone ‘You know, you need to get saved,’ chewing your fingernails, ‘You need to become a Christian, because, what if you get cancer, what if you get in a accident,…’ and somebody’s looking at you thinking, ‘No thanks, maybe I’ll try Buddha or something.’  No, our lives as Christians should not be characterized by anxiety.  “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (2nd Timothy 1:7), we’re told.  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  And by the way, in Matthew Jesus will say, “Take no anxious thought for tomorrow”, here it says “for your life.”  You know, that characterizes worry, we can only live in the present, if you haven’t noticed.  You can’t live in the past, and a lot of people do that.  A lot of Christians do that.  They are tortured about something they did a long time ago, or something somebody did to them.  And unless you get in a time-machine, and you ain’t gonna, you ain’t gonna go back and fix that.  And if you do, you might change history, you know, you saw the movie.  So you can’t do that (Back To The Future).  But people are tortured by the past.  You cannot change the past.  Everything that is important to you in life is ahead of you, the Kingdom, heaven [i.e. at the Wedding Feast of Christ], reunions with loved ones, all that’s important to us lies ahead of us.  But we can only live in the present.  We can’t live in the future, we can’t live in the past.  Now worry feeds on the future, ‘What if this happens, what if that happens, what if this happens, what if that happens, what if I get this, what if I get that, I got this pain here, it’s one of the Seven Signs of Heart Attack, one of the Seven Signs of Cancer, I saw it on TV…’ and some people are just so driven by worry, their blood type is B-Negative, and they’re tortured, they get ulcers about things that might happen.  I heard a story about a guy in this town, people used to make fun of him, because all he did was worry, always upping his insurance to this, always going to the doctor getting blood work, he never stopped, just worried about everything, hair was falling out, the guy was a mess.  And all of a sudden they started to see the guy, walking around town, smiling, whistling, just happy as a lark.  And finally somebody said to him ‘What is going on with you?  We’ve never seen you like this, for years…’  He said, ‘Well, you guys always told me, I just worried about everything, and I couldn’t handle it anymore, I had ulcers, so I hired somebody to worry for me, and he works 16 hours a day.  He sleeps, but then when he wakes up he starts worrying for me.’  The other guy says, ‘That’s crazy, who would do that?’  He said, ‘No sweat, I’m paying him half a million dollars a year.’  The guy said, ‘Half a million dollars a year, you only make $40,000 a year.’  He said, ‘That’s his worry.’  [laughter]  Some of us are driven by worry. 

 

God’s Cure For Worry

 

Jesus says this, “Consider the ravens:  for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them:  how much more are ye better than fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (verses 24-25)---taking anxious thought, worry.  Now in other words, you can’t worry yourself taller.  I think you might be able to worry yourself shorter.  But you can’t worry yourself taller.  And most scholars, by the way, think that he’s speaking of adding a cubit to the span of your life.  It can either be stature or length, but nobody ever worried themselves into a longer life.  People have worried themselves to death, but they have not worried themselves a longer life.  You know, it’s interesting, I read a report from the Mayo Clinic, and they were talking about heart problems, and they said, ‘We’re a fiber crazed people’, ‘We need FIBER, we’re lowering cholesterol, just discovering cillium, and we’re doing all this stuff, and we’re drinking all this stuff, and we’re keeping ourselves moving, and we’re trying to lower cholesterol.’  And they said, “Still, 90 percent of heart problems could be alleviated if we could alleviate stress, even with cholesterol.”  If we could alleviate stress, Jesus said nobody ever added to their life by worrying.  “If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?”  If you can’t take one more step, at least it wouldn’t be making yourself 18 inches taller.  So we’re probably looking at ‘If you can’t even add one step to your life by worry, why worry about everything else?’  [Comment:  People in church tend to do this over the subject of prophecies about the Tribulation, and then add to it all the conspiracy theories floating around, whether true or not, doesn’t matter.  And their whole attitude and bent on life is to worry about these things.  And along with causing unnecessary ulcers, it also makes for a very bad witness to the world about one’s Christian faith (i.e. where is the faith, there is none, it’s all worry).  A healthy knowledge of prophecy is good, if one uses it aright.  But we don’t need to be adding other things to God’s Word, which only causes undo worry.  Comparing prophecy with current events, trying to see how the two line up, that’s ok, but you don’t need all the rest, and to be wasting so much time majoring in the minor’s as they say.]  “Consider the lilies how they grow:  they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (verses 26-28)  Now, it’s an interesting passage here as we read this.  In Matthew he says “Consider the sparrows”, and those of you who’ve been to Israel with us, in the hills just north of Galilee there, particularly in the spring, those hills are covered with sparrows and with lilies.  And you can imagine Jesus sitting there saying ‘Consider the sparrows of the field, consider the lilies.’  Wherever he is at this point, evidently there are ravens there, because he’s just picking up what’s around him.  Here he says ‘consider the ravens.’  They’re probably there, picking up junk.  And it’s an interesting prescription he makes here.  If you are a person that is worn by worry, by fear, by anxiety, you know, we want to run to Prozac, and we want to do this, we want to get on a psychiatrist’s couch.  Jesus, who is the Great Physician, makes a different prescription here.  And it’s free, you ought to try it.  Consider, in both places [Matthew 6 and Luke 12] is a Greek word that means to learn thoroughly.  ‘Learn thoroughly from the birds.’  If you’re a worrier, and you’re going out of your mind, and you’re worried and you’re fearful, and your anxieties are giving you ulcers, look, there are professionals, but try this too.  Go sit in the park, not just a day, go sit somewhere where there’s some birds around some nests, and sit there until you learn thoroughly, and watch them, and see if you see any of them out there with a little tractor, driving, planting, putting seed in the ground, and coming through with a combine and harvesting, see if you see any little bird-barns in the trees where they’re storing their grain.  It’s funny, isn’t it.  Well, what the Lord’s saying is, ‘How much more value are you than they?’  Because he’s going to say, ‘Your Father,’ not their Father, your Father, ‘and if he cares for them, what will he do with you?’  The lilies, learn thoroughly from them.  Don’t just walk by them and look at them.  You know, for our worrisome hearts, for mine too, it will do you a world of good, and Jesus says it, and he’s the Great Physician, go sit by some flowers some day, and take your time, and look at them, and look at the texture of them, look at the smell, look at the colors, look at the beauty of them, and learn thoroughly from them.  ‘If he so clothe the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is burned, how much more will he care for you?’ 

 

The Lesson of the Lilies and the Sparrows

 

Don’t just stare at them for a minute and say ‘This ain’t workin.’’  Sit there for awhile, learn thoroughly, consider, learn thoroughly from them.  If he puts that much care into a sparrow or a crow or into a flower.  And they’re not stagnant.  You know, it isn’t as though the sparrow leans on the branch, the crow opens his mouth and says ‘OK God, drop food into my mouth.’  No, they make appropriation of what God has for them.  The idea is, there’s sustenance for them, there’s things around, the lily draws nutrients from the soil, it’s there, God’s placed it there, there’s a system, there’s some work there, the birds go and gather.  But the idea is, you don’t see sparrows with bald heads from worrying, you don’t see them drinking Maalox up in the tree, because they’re saying, ‘Oh no, what happens if there’s no food this year?  What if we’re the first generation of sparrows forsaken by God?’  It’s not happening.  They aren’t stagnant, they work, they fly around, they clean up the bugs and seeds.  You do the same thing.  When you’re hungry you don’t sit by the refrigerator and think ‘Come on, come on, open up, come on.  That peanut butter and jelly, I want it to float right out here to the table, come on, come on white bread, come out of the drawer, milk cold, come on…’  No, you don’t sit there and think…You know some people do that with a job, ‘Well, when the Lord wants me to work, the phone will ring.’  And they just sit there.  [laughter]  Why don’t you try that with your next sandwich.  ‘When the Lord wants me to eat, the food will come out of the refrigerator by itself.’  You abandon that theory then, because you are right in that refrigerator.  Well, the lilies and the fowls of the air are not stagnant, they make appropriation of what God has for them, and we should do the same thing.  God has made appropriation for us, he has made a means for us to eat and to be clothed.  And maybe he hasn’t promised us everything that worldly people pursue and their wealth, that still would leave us empty, if we had all of those things.  How many do we see that are millionaires that are in the Betty Ford Clinic or we see them busted for drugs.  They have everything of the physical that someone might think would satisfy.  There are lessons all around us, if we’d open our eyes, but people who worry, Jesus is saying, ‘They don’t even see the world around them, the birds, the flowers., they’re blinded by fear, by worry.’  [Where the saying came from, ‘Take time to stop and smell the roses.’]  Jesus prescribes ‘Go sit for awhile, relax, have a look around, and think, if God so clothe the grass of the field, so takes care of the birds of the air, how much more will he clothe you or ye of little faith?’ 

 

“Neither Be Ye Of A Doubtful Mind”---What is That?

 

Next verse, “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.”---what is our goal?  As soon as something happens, we’re worried, we have a doubtful mind.  The last time I did this study on worry I had read this article about a fog that settled in, I’m not sure whether it was Minneapolis or Saint Paul, a fog had settled in.  It closed down the airport, it closed down traffic.  It was so thick, this haze, and it just shut everything down.  Well one meteorologist figured that it was so many trillion droplets of water.  I don’t know who counts those things, I don’t know how they figure that stuff out…But his point was, you could condense all of this into half a glass, three quarters of a glass of water.  And I do that with problems sometimes.  I’ve got a half a glass of problems, and within a day I’m shutting down the airport, I’m shutting down the streets, the police are coming in, I spread that out, it makes everybody blind, I can’t see nothing no more, it’s only a half a glass of problems.  We shut the whole city down.  A mind filled with doubt, doubtful, it’s like careful in the Bible, it means full of care, and doubtful means full of doubt, a mind that’s full of doubt.  Because who are we doubting?  He says ‘you’re doubting your Father.  You’re doubting the one who puts a much higher value on you than on the grass of the field or on the birds of the air---“For all these things do the nations [the Gentiles, the unbelieving world] of the world seek after:  and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (verses 29-31).  He wants to take us from being the rich fool, who thinks that his security is in what he can amass in this world of wealth, to a wise investor, someone who is living their life for God, and laying up stores eternally and trusting God.  He says ‘If you trust him and you serve him, and you seek the Kingdom first, I didn’t say it, he said it, ‘all of the things that you need will be added to you.’  God is not going to forsake you, he’s your Father.  ‘For all these things the nations seek after’, ‘Your Father knoweth you have need of these things.’  ‘Rather, seek you the kingdom of God and all of these things shall be added unto you.’  “Fear not, little flock:  for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (verse 32).  Isn’t it interesting, only here in the New Testament, “little flock.”  He’s not giving it grudgingly.  ‘Father, you know I’m gonna be a missionary, I want to serve you, but how do I know I’ll have food if I serve you?’ and he’s in heaven going ‘Oh man, you mean we’ve gotta feed him again?  You know these missionaries, all they want to do is eat, can’t they fast 40 days, and fast another 40 days, and fast another 40 days?’  No, he says ‘It’s his good pleasure, it pleases him to supply, for those who trust him, the things they need, for this journey, for this pilgrimage.’  And twice he says, is because your Father…You know, I get an idea that as I read this, that he’s much more interested in raising children than theologians.  He doesn’t say ‘Your professor whose in heaven, your New Testament theology Prof., it’s his pleasure to give you the Kingdom.’  I think again he’s encouraging us in a child-like faith.  My kids do not worry.  They’re not at home saying, ‘We don’t know if he’s going to pay the gas bill this month…I mean, we have really been pushing it, we’ve been pushing the envelope here.  You know, there’s been food in the refrigerator, but with dad you never know, he gets in one of those moods, he may empty it out and let us starve, I just hope that he stays in a good mood…’  They’re not worried about that.  They open the refrigerator, it’s full of food and they say ‘There’s nothing to eat!’ [laughter]  ‘What?!’  And of course in their closets, ‘There’s nothing to wear!’  Mark Twain once said, ‘Raising children is like being picked to death by a duck.’  [loud laughter]  Hey, my kids are tickled pink to take advantage of anything that I supply for them.  And he’s saying to us, “Your Father”, he’s couching it in terms that we understand, we have been someone’s child, and hopefully we’re not fractured because we’ve been abused in that situation.  Hopefully, the majority of us have been in a situation where there was a parent that loved us and gave to us.  Or we are now a parent that is loving a child, or we know at least what is right and how that should happen.  And those are the terms that Jesus chooses to explain this theology of how we should live, and couches it in those terms of a parent-child relationship, and says ‘He’s your Father, it’s his good pleasure to give you the kingdom, you can serve him, you don’t have to live trying to amass physical wealth for yourself, worried about where your next meal’s gonna come from or how you’re gonna live.  If you seek him first, and if you seek his kingdom first, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, and add all of the things that you need in life to you,’ instead of being nail-biters.

 

You Can’t Take It With You, But You Can Send It Ahead

 

“Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell that ye have, and give alms, provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth” (verses 32-33).  Now this is not a law, he’s contrasting the rich fool, who was, if you look in verse 21, “so is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”, the rich fool who takes nothing with him when he dies.  Jesus says, ‘sell that you have, give alms, care for the poor, the less fortunate, provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts,’ “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (verse 34)  So what he’s saying here is, ‘You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead.’  People who just amass wealth around themselves in this world, die, and they don’t take it with them.  And it says in the Book of Ecclesiastes, sometimes the problem is, a father whose a hard worker, and he’s industrious and he works his whole life, and he amasses wealth, and he dies and leaves it to his son in his will, and his son is a fool and an idiot, and just wastes it all.  The Bible says you can’t take it with you but, you can send it on ahead, you can invest it in the Kingdom today.  Not just your wealth, but your life, your attitude, your willingness to help someone else, to lay down your life for someone else, to go the extra mile to help somebody else.  Send it ahead, because there you have bags that don’t grow old, and you have treasure that is never corrupted, it’s in heaven [and don’t forget, heaven’s coming to earth, the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:1-23].  And if you live that way, he says, ‘Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart, where your worries are, that’s where your heart will be.’  Are you worried about the Kingdom that’s coming, the life’s that’s ahead? 

 

Live Your Life With Expectancy, For The Coming Kingdom of God

 

So, verse 35, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” he’s going to challenge them now about an attitude.  Let me read down a few verses, and then we’ll back up and look at this.  “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:  verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” (verses 35-37).  So he begins now to say ‘Look, you have to live your life with expectancy, live your life, if you’re sowing up your treasure in heaven, you’re living your life in light of eternity, it will make you steer your life a different way, it will make you live a different way, it will make you realize a different value system.  You know, instead of worrying about this world, if you trust God, and you seek him and you seek his Kingdom instead of living like the hypocrite or the rich fool, that you’re living for God, you will then live a life of expectancy.  You know, if you’re not out compromising or getting drunk or stoned or goofing off in this world, and living saying ‘Boy, I hope he doesn’t come tonight.’  You know, I hope he doesn’t listen to you, because I hope he does come tonight. And everybody in this room who is living for him is in the thick of the battle, because it is a warfare, undeniably it’s a warfare, and it’s a struggle to live for Jesus in this world.  But the beautiful thing about it, is if you’re living without compromise you can lift your head to heaven and say ‘Lord Jesus, come quickly.’  If you’re living in compromise you’re going to say ‘Oh Lord, don’t come now, wait till my hangover’s gone, wait till my wife’s black eye is gone.  Wait until I’m not stoned anymore, wait till I come down from this acid, don’t come now, wait till my bills are paid off…’  If you’re living in compromise, you’re saying something else.  But I hope he doesn’t listen to you.  I don’t want to wait till you get it together.  I want to go now.  I want Jesus to come tonight.  Because what is there in this world?  Retire and play golf in Florida, if there still is a Florida?  What removes our worries?  Kofe Anan?  He’s getting the world together, settling everybody down?  [He just quit his job of trying to bring peace in the Syrian civil war.]  What takes away my worries?  Federal Reserve?  I’m glad they’re there.  [laughter]  Hey, you know, our hope is a Blessed Hope, and it’s a hope that Jesus is coming.  And John will say that any man that has this hope “purifies himself, even as he [that is Jesus] is pure.”  If you believe that Jesus could come at any time, it has a powerful effect on your life.  If you’re a businessman, you’ll be a pure businessman, because you’ll think ‘Hey, Jesus may come today, I’m making this bill out right.’   If you’re a dentist you’re going to think ‘I’m not overcharging for this, because Jesus might come right in the middle of this filling.’  And the guy in the chair is probably hoping the same thing.  [laughter]  You’re out on a date at the drive-in, I’ll tell you, if you think Jesus is coming, you’ll be eating popcorn and watching the movie [loud laughter]. [Now we know prophecy, compared to the Gospel of Salvation, is secondary.  But Jesus may not come unexpectantly to the Body of Christ.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm.  No matter whether this doctrine is flawed or not, we’re all one breath away from death anyway, in which Jesus has come for us, right then and there.  So the lesson here holds true, regardless.]  It will effect your life.  And he says that. 

 

“Let Your Loins Be Girded, And Your Lights Be Burning”

 

“Let your loins be girded, and your lights be burning.”  Now, in that culture they understood what that was.  They would walk around with a robe on.  When you had to run or you would have to work, you would pull the back of the robe up between your legs and tuck it in your sash, belt, and it would kind of make like kucklots or shorts, and then you could move around without tripping, without getting caught up.  Peter will say “let the loins of your mind be girded up.”  Here what the Lord’s saying is, ‘Live your life without getting snagged, without getting tripped up, without getting caught up in the things of this world.’  Take your robe there and tuck it in your waist.  I know you’re thinking, ‘Don’t start talking about waist Pastor Joe, that’s none of your business.’  “let your lights be burning”  Why? 
Because this is a dark world.  Let your light shine.  Get your kid to teach you the song ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.’  If you don’t know it, learn it, and live it.  Let your loins be girded, let you lights, your lamps be burning. 

 

What Does It Mean To Be Living In Expectancy?

 

In that culture, they understood.  ‘And you yourselves, this is how to live, like men, human is the idea, that are waiting for their lord to return,’ if you’re expecting the return of Jesus, it alters your attitudes and your actions, and particularly in relationship to the physical.  You’re waiting for him to return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks on the door, you can open to him immediately,  “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:  verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”  Now just listen to what’s it’s saying.  ‘If Jesus comes and finds you expectant, watching for his return, it says he himself will come, gird himself, put himself in the position of the laborer, make them to sit down at the table, and come forth and serve them.’  That’s almost embarrassing. Now it’s in parabolic form, but there’s a truth there being communicated, that he will come and serve us in that day, if he finds us faithful and watching. He says “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  Will he find us living in expectancy?  You should live in expectancy.  Now there’s all kinds of things, of course, written about the Lord’s return.  And every so many years somebody comes out with a book and tells us when he’s coming.  88 reasons why he was coming in ’88.  99 reason why he didn’t come in ’88.  You know, Wiesenhopper, whatever his name was.  Then he wrote why Jesus was coming in ’89.  Again, the beautiful thing is, he smoked all these people up to go to Israel for the Feast of Trumpets [which does symbolize the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, by the way. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm.] because the Lord was coming.  Well Chuck Smith called the travel agent and found out they bought roundtrip tickets, and said that if this guy really believed in what he was preaching, why didn’t they buy one-way tickets, if they’re getting Raptured from Jerusalem, what kind of faith did this guy have?  I remember one of the guys in the area, a radio show, and he said the Lord was coming in September a few years ago [1994].  And we happened to be at a conference center in the area trying to book our Men’s Retreat for the next year and they said we can’t have that date, because so and so has that date booked for a Prophecy Conference.  I said, wait a minute, his book says we’re all out of here in September, and he’s booked a date in November for a conference?  What kind of a guy is this, he’s got guts selling those books to anybody if he thinks he’s going to be here in November and he’s telling everybody we’re leaving in September.  And those are the kind of people that give what we believe a screwball color to it.  They’re the screwballs in the Mall that think Jesus is coming.  Let me tell you something, if that’s what it takes, I’ll wear it, I am a screwball in a mall that thinks Jesus is coming.  But I’m not going to set any dates, because it says “no man knows the day or the hour.”  Now that I’ve said all of that, let me tell you when he’s coming.  And listen carefully, for those of you who don’t believe that Jesus is returning, he’s coming at an hour you expect not.  That’s what the Bible says.  I’m prophecying.  You’re sitting here tonight, you’re saying ‘This is a bunch of nonsense, Jesus ain’t coming back.’   Well let me tell you when he’s going to show up.  He’s going to show up in an hour when you don’t expect him.  Know let me tell you when he’s coming for the believer.  If you are living, watching for his return, he’s coming in a day when you do expect him.  I don’t know what day it is, but if you’re watching for him to come, he’s coming when you expect him, because you’re watching.  And that’s all we need to know.  [And that is beautiful, because we don’t have to be egg-head in our knowledge of Biblical prophecy and all of that stuff, just be living in expectancy.  If you die, he’s come for you.  If you live and he comes, you’ll know it, regardless of which Biblical interpretation of end-time prophecy you hold to.]  And the teaching of the immanent return of Christ did not surface with John Darby and Margaret McDonald and a bunch of people in Wales and Scotland and Ireland and England. It is the New Testament teaching of the apostolic Church that he could come at any moment.  [now Pastor Joe is trying to defend the Dispensational/Rapture pre-millennial interpretation the Calvary Chapel’s hold to.  Personally, I think they’re all off, and the real truth may lie with an interpretation that harmonizes the Scriptures used by both their group and those that hold to the Classic or Historic Pre-Millennial interpretation. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm and see what you think.  It made sense to me.  What you believe and what actually occurs could be two different things, no matter what you believe.  I don’t know of any other book in the world (and the Bible is not of this world, may explain that one) where Holy Spirit inspired believers in Jesus can all read it, many of them, and come up with so many differing interpretations to what it says about prophecy and the 2nd Coming.  But they do.  So pick an interpretation that makes you happy, shut up and sit down, is what I say.  Personally I don’t care whose right, just so it happens and this evil world comes to its end.]  And we should live our lives that way.  And don’t tell me again it’s not historic Church doctrine.  You’re right, and whose proud of historic Church doctrine?  Martin Luther and Calvin [two men who had blood on their hands] almost gave their lives for trying to bring justification by faith back to the Church, because it was not historic Church doctrine [he’s talking of Catholic historic Church doctrine, not apostolic Church doctrine, which got destroyed except for what we find in the Bible, by the Catholic Church].  It was New Testament doctrine, it was apostolic doctrine, it was Biblical doctrine, it was not historic Church doctrine.  Historic Church doctrine by then was works [again, he’s talking Catholic].  And when they tried to bring back to the Church Biblical doctrine about grace and justification by faith, they almost paid for it with their lives. [Naturally, when you try to bring back to a Church that was never a part of true Christianity, a true Biblical doctrine, you may end up paying for it with your life. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm  Also, Luther and Calvin were not nice dudes, they both had blood on their hands.  Luther had command of an army in Germany, and John Calvin had killed other Christians who did not agree with him doctrinally, had them martyred, killed.]  And the immanent return of Christ is not historic Church [Catholic] doctrine, it is New Testament doctrine, it is Biblical doctrine.  And the Bible teaches clearly that he could come at any moment.  Because that is the healthiest thing that we could believe.  Because anybody who believes that, their life is altered by it, and that’s what the Bible tells us. 

 

Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down

 

Blessed are those servants,” verse 37, “whom the lord when he cometh shall find them watching:  verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”  Imagine Jesus saying, ‘Hey, sit here.’  [Comment:  this is probably in the setting of the Wedding Feast, on the Sea of Glass, right after the 1st Resurrection to immortality, when all the resurrected saints will be gathered together at the Wedding Feast, and Jesus will be serving his Bride.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm to see an interesting scenario on this.]  “And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through” (verses 38-39).  Now let me ask you a question.  How many here have been robbed?  Come on, be honest, get your hands up so I can see.  You can see, it’s a lot of people [they live in Philly], and isn’t it, what’s the sense of coming home, and finding your house rummaged, or even worse, coming home and finding the person in the act.  I remember my dad was 71, 72 years old down in northeast Philly, came home, and as they came home, walking up on the front porch, saw somebody running through the house towards the back door.  My dad at 72 was so mad, run off the front porch and jumped over the fence, 72 years old, he hadn’t jumped that high in fifty years I bet.  And the guy was racing across the back yard when my dad came running around the house, and the guy didn’t know that the metal clothes pole was in the hole in the middle of the yard and my dad said all he heard was boyng! and the guy fell down, and he got up and ran out, and he didn’t catch him.  But, you know, there’s that sense of violation, a sense of anger, a sense of being violated or betrayed, there’s this anger.  Now let me ask you a question, all you people who raised your hands, what if you knew when that guy was coming?  There would be some newspaper articles wouldn’t there.  What would you be doing?  Sitting inside with a shotgun?  I know some of you are thinking that.  It would probably be wiser to have the police there waiting.  [Yes, some people have shot one of their own kids sneaking back into the house, thinking it was a robber.  They’ll never in this life get over that.]…But I’ll tell you this, whatever your plan of action was, if you knew, you wouldn’t let your house get broken into.  And that’s what the Lord’s saying.  And all of a sudden there’s that sense of violation.  There will be, I believe, a sense in the world a suddenness about this event when the Lord comes.  And not talking about the 2nd Coming with the Church, I’m talking about the 2nd Coming for the Church [now he’s getting into Rapture doctrine/theory], and there’s a difference, when Jesus comes for the church, and Jesus comes with the church.  Those are two different things.  And I believe it’s almost a premature, I believe people in the Church are going to be shocked.  You read the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, it says five of them were wise, five of them were foolish.  The five wise had oil for the lamps, the five that were foolish didn’t, and it says when the bride groom came, he had to wake all of them up, even the ones with oil were asleep.  So there’s going to be a suddenness to his coming, and that makes me think it could happen at any time.  There will be other events that lead to his return physically to earth with the Church, the sun going out, that’s a dead give-away, no more stars, moon turns to blood, I mean there are things that will happen at that time, that it says all the tribes of earth will see him and mourn because of him.  Those that pierced him will wail because of him.  There’s no secret, no suddenness, no shock on that one.  But there is a coming like a thief. 

 

Being Wise Stewards With What God Has Given Us

 

“Be ye therefore ready also:  for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”  “Then Peter” we expected this “said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?”  Now let me tell you who he’s talking to.  He’s going to tell you who he’s talking to.  “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?”  Now he’s talking to stewards.  And everyone in this room is a steward.  A steward is someone who takes care of something that belongs to someone else.  OK?  You have a wife, men?  You’re a steward.  You’re married to God’s daughter.  Ladies, you have a husband?  You’re a steward, [you’re married to one of God’s sons].  Grandparents, you have grandchildren?  You have stewardship.  Parents, you have kids at home?  You are stewards.  Those kids are on loan.  You have health?  You can move, you’re mobile?  I can introduce you to people in wheelchairs, that would love to have the stewardship you have, to be faithful over it.  You have your eyesight?  You’re a steward.  You have your mouth, we’re all able ministers to the New Testament.  We’re all stewards over some thing, over the mystery of Christ, over some area of ministry, over some area of faithfulness, all of us, every one in this room [and every Holy Spirit indwelt believer reading this].  And remember, when we stand in his presence and he rewards us, when we’re rewarded, it will not be for the scope of our ministry, it will be for the faithfulness with which we attended it.  And again, so that means there is some grandmother whose been more faithful with her grandchildren than Billy Graham maybe has been with his ministry, and will be rewarded accordingly.  According to faithfulness, not according to scope of ministry.  I mean, you guys see how big the church here is, but maybe I’m an idiot, maybe this church was supposed to be three times bigger than it is.  [He said within one of the past few sermons that 10,000 attend CC Philly.  Now I heard it is now roughly 30,000, so it tripled.]  But because I’m a lazy good-for-nothing, it’s only this big.  And maybe the majority of you have been more faithful in the ministry that God has given you. But we tend to look at public figures, we tend to look at the television, we tend to be impressed in a era of movie stars and rock stars, and we tend to measure everything, no, no, no, no, God measures things quite, quite differently.  He’s looking for servants.  Unnamed servants.  Peter says, ‘You talking to us?  Or are you talking to everybody?’  He says, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?”  So, we know this, that being a steward for God has something to do with benefiting the lives of others, instead of living self-centeredly, it has something to do with living more selflessly.  It has something to do with the fact that by the time you leave this world, someone else’s life should have been benefited by you being here, besides yourself.  “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath” (verses 42-44).  Now he’s talking about serving.  Jesus speaking to those that are faithful in the ministry that God’s given to them, whatever it might be.  What he’s saying is he doesn’t want us to be a bunch of pew-potatoes.  He wants us to have our eyes open, and he wants us to be aware, he wants us to live our lives for him, he wants us to notice the lilies and the sparrows, and he wants us to live for the Kingdom, and he wants us to have our minds girded, he wants us to be stewards, he wants us to be watching, he wants us to be sober and vigilant.  You know, teaching on prophecy and teaching on the end-times, you know, it’s interesting, when we do Revelation, church gets packed out.  You know when we do Revelation on Sunday night, church is packed.  We do Leviticus, we dwindle a bit.  Because people, they like that prophecy stuff, and I love prophecy.  But the point of it all, attached to predictions about the future in the Bible, is always the exhortation to be sober, be vigilant, be watching, be serving, be busy about God’s business when he comes.  That is always the pressure that it should put on our lives.  Not just to fill our intellect with prophetically correct things, not just to build an eschatological position that is a bulwark that nobody can penetrate.  But it’s to live like we actually believe that he’s coming.  [And that applies to whichever prophetic interpretations you embrace, regardless of which.]  Do you believe that he’s coming?  Do you believe that he could come at any time?  Are you getting drunk during the week?  Are you living in fornication here tonight?  I doubt whether you believe he could come at any time.  Are you spending your money at Atlantic City gambling away something that could be used for a different purpose?  I doubt whether you believe that he could come at any time.  I believe you can say it with your mouth, but I believe when that conviction takes ahold of our hearts, we kind of go, ‘Whoa, he could come at any time.’

 

Beware of Unfaithfulness, The Bad Servant

 

 Look in verse 45,  he gives us the contrast, “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” (verses 45-46).  So the idea is, someone who puts off the coming of the Lord, you have to realize, it bears bad fruit.  If you believe in a post-Tribulation Rapture, you cannot maintain both of these positions, they’re mutually exclusive.  You can’t say ‘I think Jesus could come today, and say ‘He’s not coming till the end of the Tribulation, you can’t say both of those.  [Comment:  And post-Tribulation, Classic Pre-Millennial ‘Rapturists’ don’t try to say both of those.  This is a parabolic teaching Pastor Joe is going through, not meant to be taken absolutely literally, as he will admit.  The spiritual point of the parable is correct and right on.  The conditions the church will go through if a post-Tribulation Rapture is true, which I believe it may be, the Church, the Body of Christ is going to go through a period of very serious persecution, so much so that any fair-weather Christians are going to get blown aside in short order (cf. Matthew 24:9-11-13).  See http:/www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm]  And Jesus is saying, ‘Someone who puts off his coming [which for all believers up to now meant their death in the faith], it bears bad fruit.  If you believe he’s coming at this instant, you’ll purify yourself even as he’s pure.  You know, people say to me as a pastor, ‘Aren’t you afraid to teach a pre-Tribulation Rapture?  Aren’t you afraid?  What if he doesn’t come?’  I’ll change my position.  [That is exactly what I show will happen to all those who teach a pre-Tribulation Rapture, should they still be here after the First Seal of Revelation 6 opens.  See that link to Matthew 24.  They’ll all have to be “changing their position” if that is true.]  Am I afraid to teach God’s people to live their lives like Jesus could come at any moment [absolutely nothing wrong with that in spiritual principle]?  You know, when you think of the Rapture of the Church and the Coming of Christ, the miracle is not, in my mind, that he would spare us from his wrath coming on a Christ-rejecting world, the miracle to me is that in a twinkling of an eye, in an atomos, the smallest glimmer of time, in a fraction of a second, in an instant, that this corruption will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality.  That will be a miracle whenever it happens.  It isn’t a miracle to me that he loves us so much that he won’t beat up the Bride before the honeymoon.  He says “husbands, treat your wives the way Christ treats the Church.”  Lady’s if your married to a post-Tribulationist, you’re in trouble.  Jesus says those who put off his coming, saying, ‘The Lord’s not coming,’  bears this bad fruit.  And I’ve heard Christians say that [not Sabbath-keeping Church of God Christians].  You know, if I knew the Lord was coming seven years from now I’d repent six years from now.  [Those that say that cannot have the Spirit of God indwelling them, in my estimation.  You’re not even dealing with a believer at that point.]  Hey, the Lord might be coming for you tonight [like the rich fool].  “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he’s not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will,  shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:  and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (verses 46-48).  You know, people are troubled by this, what does it mean, are there degrees of suffering in hell, does it mean someone whose a believer and knows the Lord’s coming and doesn’t get ready will be appointed his portion with unbelievers?  Well I don’t know.  Am I a five-point Calvanist?  I think so.  I believe in eternal security.  [Then how do we deal with that four word Scripture of Paul where he said “Quench not the Spirit”?]  I think so.  I heard Calvin said, ‘All a man could get right in his theology is about 80 percent.’  So, that’s tough on a five-point system.  You have to realize that.  And, I was a druggy, I just got saved in 1972.  People have been trying to figure this out for thousands of years, don’t bet your eternal security on me, please.  This is a parable [and what did I say about pinning a specific prophetic pre-trib Rapture doctrine on a parable?].  It isn’t something you can build New Testament church doctrine on.  It is set up to be a warning.  It is saying that he could come at any moment [or the end-time scenario that begins the prophetic events leading to the 2nd Coming have just started].  And people who know that, and don’t respond to it, will be giving the greater account for it. 

 

Live Ready

 

One of our doctors here at church has a friend in Washington.  Somehow, as the years have gone by he’s become involved in the Federal Emergency Management Association, FEMA.  And he has a position of attending to the President in a national emergency.  And they take him through this drill twice a year.  He’s never warned.  He’s never told when.  3 o’clock in the morning, second watch, the third watch, a limousine pulls up to his house, military escort, blowing the horn, they run to his house, bang on the door, he comes to the door, they drag him out.  His wife and his kids can’t come with him.  To the limo, to Air Force One, to wherever they’re going.  And he doesn’t find out till he gets there whether it’s real or not.  And his wife and his kids say good-bye to him and don’t know if it’s a nuclear problem.  Imagine living like that.  The point is, you never know.  You never know when he’s going to come.  How do you get ready for that?  [Comment:  If the other scenario is correct, and we’re here, Matthew 24:9-14, right up through the period of the First Seal of Revelation 6 being opened, and Christians actually recognize the Beast person and False prophet, during he first 3.5 years before the opening of the 2nd Seal, the Red Horse, WWIII, we have to be ready spiritually for that event, just as much as for the 2nd Coming.  For we will have to endure intense persecution right up to just before the point described in Matthew 24:15.  This parable still fits as far as being ready, spiritual preparation.]  As a Christian I can say, ‘Honey, if this really happens, I will see you on the other side.’  But you never know.  Chuck Smith a few years ago bought a castle in Austria.  It’s a Schloss, it’s not a Berg, for those of you who understand the pricing of castles.  And they started doing pastors conferences there before the Iron Curtain came down, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Polish pastors, really interesting, Romania, Russia.  Well, there was a story in the paper in Czechoslovakia about a woman whose husband was a doctor, and she found out her husband was having an affair, was being unfaithful to her, and it crushed her.  And she tried to decide whether she wanted to kill him or kill herself, she was so distraught.  They lived on a 5th story apartment, as many people do in Eastern Europe.  And she decided one day that was it, she was going to kill herself.  She went out on the balcony, 5th story, and jumped.  Well she didn’t know her husband was coming home early from work that day, and she landed on him, [loud laughter] and killed him.  I’ve got to work this in here somehow.  That man was not ready.  He did not expect to get struck by his wife when he was walking into his apartment building.  Live ready. 

 

Keep Being Conformed to the Image of Christ

 

Do I have struggles in my life?  Sure I do.  There are things, you know, I find as we’re being conformed into his image and likeness, as soon as we come to terms with something in our life that needs to change, then God says, ‘OK, let’s move onto the next thing.  You’re not Jesus yet.’  Anybody whose Jesus yet?  We need more love.  We need more compassion, we need more selflessness.  Yeah, there are things in my life that need to change.  But I, as I examine my life, I don’t want to be in some rebellion or outward sins, and deliberate action that denies the fact that I believe that he could come at any time.  Yeah, there are internal things that I want God to change, about me.  There really are.  I struggle with anger.  You know, in traffic, I feel like I should wear one of those glasses with a big nose and a mustache sometimes.  Because I think ‘I hope nobody saw that.’  I struggle with selfishness, and with lust, with I’m a human being.  There are things I want God to change in my life, I’m growing, and I’m changing, I’m being conformed into his image and likeness.  But I am staying in the thick of the battle, bringing every thought into captivity to Christ.  Saying ‘Lord Jesus, change my selfish heart, change me more into your image and likeness, teach me to live selflessly.  Let me be busy doing your work when you come.  Whether it is the work of raising my children, which I need to be better at, or the work of being a husband, which I could bring my wife to give testimony on, I need to be better at, or the work of being a pastor or a boss or a C.E.O or all the other things that are there, the work of being a better brother in Christ to someone, a better servant. 

 

Don’t Be Living ‘On The Edge Of The Cliff’ Spiritually

 

Are you worried about, ‘Are you a believer and you’re going to be lost?’  Don’t even go there.  Why build your theology on a question mark?  Why not build your theology on “Beware of hypocrisy, Beware of covetousness, Beware of worry, Beware of unfaithfulness, build your theology there.  Live your life as a servant of Christ, and all of those questions will be answered.  Don’t look for loop-holes.  And we find people who do that…’You mean that if I’m not doing what I should be doing, I could be appointed my position?’  What are you so nervous about?  Are you one of those Christians who says, ‘Can I live this close to the edge and still get in the Kingdom?  Can I just hang this foot over the edge and still get in the Kingdom?  I know I can’t be drunk, but can I just drink two and a half cans of beer?  or, I don’t get a buzz until three cans of beer.  And can I watch this show on TV and turn it off if something wrong comes on?’  You know there’s some Christians that just want to live their life close enough, just as close to the edge as they can without falling off.  Because you know why?  Because their focus is ‘What do I have to give up for Jesus?’  Instead of being in love with Jesus, and turning their eyes toward Jesus, and concentrating on who they are separated unto, instead of what they’re separated from.  I mean, what are you giving up?  You’re trading in a Hyundai for a Rolls Royce and you’re griping?  What do you have to give up?  Gambling?  Money?  Sex?  Alcohol?  What do you have to give up, what does it cost you?  People say ‘Oh it cost me so much.’  Let me get out my violin.  I was there, it didn’t cost you nothing!  You got saved, you got washed, you got cleansed, you were a jerk, you were going to hell, and Jesus saved you, now you have a home in heaven, streets of gold, walls of jewels [and this heavenly Jerusalem will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23], you have hope, you can be reunited with loved ones that have passed on, all your guilt and your shame have been washed away.  There’s no more on your record, any of your sin.  What have we given up?  Come on, cut me a break.  People who are trying to figure out how much they can get away with and still be saved are looking in the wrong direction.  [Remember Jesus said: “No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is worthy of the Kingdom of God.”]  They’re looking in the wrong direction.  We can’t go any further…let me ask you a question.  Are you ready for Christ to come, this evening?  Do you know Jesus?  The Bible says, in Daniel, when you see a reunification of a European world politic “in those days, in the days of those kings” the Son of man will return.  The Bible says that when you see wars and rumors of wars, famine, pestilence, earthquake, these are the beginning of sorrows, labor pains.  When they’re all happening at the same time, the Bible says when you see Israel reborn as a nation, that means all of those other things didn’t matter until 1948 when David ben Gurion called the nation Israel because of Ezekiel’s prophecy.  And in 1948 what God did should have put to rest all of our questions about Was Israel Israel?  When we were there in November Avi Lipkin came and spoke to us about Israel’s military predicament, he’s a Major in the Reserve.  They have their nukes loaded, ready to go.  I talked to Chuck Smith this afternoon, who was supposed to meet with Netanyahu a few days ago, and Netanyahu was somewhere else and sent his #2 guy, I always forget his name, and met with him, and he said, ‘We’re very concerned, we don’t think this thing with Iraq is settled, they are in a state of alert, constantly, they are nuclear ready.’  When Saddam Hussein was pushing the envelope and it looked like a confrontation might have started in the Middle East, Israeli Intelligence talked to some of the guys in Calvary and said, ‘We have sent diplomats to Baghdad to tell Saddam Hussein that if we see anything coming through the air in our direction, we will turn Baghdad into a cinder, because in the last confrontation in the Persian Gulf we used restraint.  This time we are talking about nuclear and biological, and the first blurp we pick up on radar coming in our direction, we will unleash our neutron weapons on Baghdad.’  And we’re here watching the Six-ers, ‘Why don’t the Eagles draft somebody,’ living in this world that could ignite at any moment.  And if it does, are you ready to step into eternity?  Are you ready to meet your Maker?  Are you ready to step through the Vail?  Or are you saying ‘Nah, don’t give me this stuff, heaven and hell, that’s not real, when you’re dead you’re dead.’…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 12:22-48 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Latest Events In Prophecy

 

Pastor Joe has brought up some interesting things.  Since 1996 when this sermon was given, Gulf War #1,  9/11 and Gulf War #2 have all taken place.  Now the “Arab Spring” is progressing with the Civil War in Syria.  If Basher Assad is overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood will be in control from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt all the way through Syria to the Turkish border.  The nation of Israel will be in an Islamic Muslim Brotherhood sandwich caught between Egypt and Syria. And this block of Arab nations united under the Muslim Brotherhood will in essence form a power-block that was predicted way back in Daniel 11:40, where it was called The King of the South.  End-time events could not really start happening until this power-block appeared on the scene.  Now it is actually forming before our very eyes.  The related links below will take you to some prophecy sections on this site. 

 

Related links:

 

Prophecy section:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm                                

 

Middle of the road interpretation for when the Rapture could occur:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm

 

Various beliefs about heaven and hell within the Body of Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

 

First Resurrection to Immortality, What Jesus is Offering Us:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

 

How Do I Become A Christian?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

and,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm

and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to Become a Christian”

and read from there.

Click Here to Print

 

content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
Questions or problems with the web site contact the WebServant - Hosted and Maintained by CMWH, Located in the Holy Land