Yesterday we considered why we quit. We looked at what potentially leads us away from God and His people – His Kingdom the Church. Even with all that is against us we can keep on keeping on. We can “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:58)”
How Can We Endure?
- Know Satan’s ploys.
- Know our own tendencies.
- Work on MYSELF.
- Help each other.
- Purpose of assembly.
- To learn
How Can Avoid Falling Away:
- Remove all occasions to stumble.
- Help each other deal with temptation.
- Be Spiritually minded.
- Engage in godly activities.
- Surround self with good influences.
- Know / learn the Truth.
With our last thoughts on What Destroys Churches we come to what may not only be the most dangerous, but also the easiest for us to fall prey too. If this danger describes us, then we can fall prey to persecution. If this characteristic is ours, we open ourselves up to the manipulation of false teaching. When we allow this last risk live in us we easily drift into worldliness. I am talking about indifference.
Indifference Destroys Churches. This is a subtle yet very effective tool of Satan. I can imagine Satan’s minions surrounding him, asking what he is going to do about the resurrection of Christ and all the people who turn to Jesus. I imagine Satan laughing in a typical low evil chuckle, and saying almost under his breath, “Let them follow Jesus for a while, then in time the fire will weaken and the embers die down. They will consider themselves followers, but they will not be on fire for Jesus. Let them lose their First Love (Rev 2:4). Let them think just enough about God to convince themselves that they are on fire for Him, but they will be lukewarm (Rev 3:15-17). Remember, Jesus himself said, ‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,’ (Matt 12:30). This will be great!”
The good news is that you can know if you are lukewarm? There are symptoms you can look for in your Christian life:
- Irregular Attendance: Do I make every effort to gather with fellow disciples in worship and service? Or am I present only when it is convenient for me?
- Lack of Participation: When I gather with fellow Christians, do I participate in the congregational singing? Do I volunteer to teach, assist, serve, set-up, run equipment, or make comments in classes as we study together? Or do I attend; sit in my self-assigned seat, while hoping the deacons do not ask me to serve?
- Consistent Tardiness: Do I arrive in time to catch up with my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I make effort to arrive early to greet guests? Or am I consistently walking just as worship begins?
- Waning Efforts at Evangelism: Am I talking to my family, friends, and fellow workers about the Gospel? Or am I acting ashamed of Christ and His good news?
- Lack of Private Study / Prayer: Am I diligently spending time with God in my private life? Or is the only time my Bible (Bible App) open and my head bowed is during a crisis or in worship when I do attend?
The Antidote is Fervent Service:
- Gal 6:9 “Do not grow weary”
- Heb 6:11-12 – “Do not be sluggish”
- Heb 10:24-25 – “Encourage / provoke”
2 Cor 2:11 “ . . . lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices! Now let us get busy in our service to God.
Image: Idea go /freedigitalphotos.net
This morning, there may be no rhyme or reason to what follows. I am simply going to post what I am thinking. There is a lot on my mind lately and I am certain there is a lot on yours as well.
1. Newtown, Connecticut: So much runs through my mind as I think about the perpetrator, the victims, and the survivors. Having a student in my house and an elementary school teacher, this event really struck a nerve. Events like this make us question why there is evil in the world and observe that evil seems to be growing. Yet a friend related this story to me: The school massacre with the most deaths, occurred in 1927 in Bath, Michigan. An angry school employee, used dynamite to blow up part of the school building. 39 people at the school, mostly children, were killed. Before he went to the school he murdered his wife, killed all his farm animals, and burned down his barn. Afterwards, he lured four more people to his truck, where he murdered them and then committed suicide. That morning at the school, He told some of the children, “Today is your last day’. They did not understand. Evil has always been a part of the world. Our only answer is to first be right with God ourselves and to do our best to bring others to God through Christ.
2. Cancer: A friend of ours lost his father to cancer a few years ago. Then a couple of years ago, his mother began battling cancer (she is also a friend). After a hard fight, we all thought that she was going into remission, but just this week the doctors found more tumors in a different part of her body. She is starting radiation treatment this week. My first thoughts were “why?” Why does it seem that those who suffer continue to suffer and almost never seem to get a break? Then I thought of Job – he faced heartache after heartache and suffering upon suffering. Job stayed reliant upon God. I will too.
3. The End of Suffering: Paul says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2Co 4:16-5:1 – ESV).
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
Tuesday night was the next to the last lesson in our series of Revival messages from Levi Sides. He challenged each of us present last night with the message, “Don’t Let Anybody Take Your Crown.”
He described our crown using Bible verses as:
- Incorruptible – 1 Cor 9:24
- Never Fading – 1 Pet 5:4
- Indescribably beautiful – 1 Cor 2:9
- A Prize of High Calling – Phil 3:14
- A Rest – Heb 4:9-11
- Eternal – 2 Cor 5:1
This Crown of Glory (1 Pet 5:4), of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8), of Rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19), and of Life (Jas 1:12) is the symbol of a victorious king and belongs to the one who overcomes (Rev 2:10-11).
We must guard our crown against the one who would see us lose it. We must guard against the schemes of the devil. Certain Galatians (Gal 5:4) and Demas (2 Tim 4:10) are examples of some who forfeited their crown by returning to their old ways or by loving the things of this world more than the things of God. When we stand strong and endure to the end (Matt 10:22), we have the assurance of that Glorious Crown.