Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY FEB. 11, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well stricken in years [of very old age]. So it was, that while he [Zacharias] was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.”

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He [John the Baptist] will also go before Him [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’” Luke 1.5-17

Something To Consider:
After four hundred years of spiritual silence, God was ready to break through the barrier between heaven and earth, and He had His watchful eye on a certain priest named Zacharias, and his wife Elizabeth. The name Zacharias means God remembers. God remembered His promise to the nation of Israel of a deliverer like unto Moses. God also remembers the frailty of our flesh and our tendency towards sin. Therefore God put His promised plan of redemption into action, by sending an angel to a man named God remembers!

Yes, in approx. 400 B.C. God put it into the heart and mind of another man named Malachi, which means My messenger or messenger of Yahweh, to proclaim a message of judgment against the Jewish nation of Israel and its corrupt and evil priestly religious system. In the book of Malachi the evidence of hypocrisy, infidelity, unequally yoked marriages, divorce, false worship, vain worship, and spiritual arrogance as well as religious pride is presented as a human reminder that God does not delight in the wickedness that is done in His sight. This sounds like a message for our 21st century religious system!

Beginning in verse 1 of Malachi chapter 3, Malachi announced a message from God. “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold He [Jesus] is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He [Jesus] appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi [the priestly order of religious leaders], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.”

When Jesus appears, will we be a people prepared to stand before the Lord, or will we fall because of His judgment upon us?

Something Else To Consider:
Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous and blameless before God. Simply speaking, that means when they committed sin, when they were convicted of wrong doing, they were willing to bring the proper sacrifice for their sin. At that time God required the blood sacrifice of an animal, but all that was about to change with the first coming of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus would become the acceptable sin sacrifice, the Lamb of God for all Israel and for the entire world as well.

John the Baptist would become great in the sight of the Lord. Every person has been good, bad, or indifferent in the sight of the Lord. But the ability to be great in the sight of the Lord, spiritually speaking, lies silently as if sleeping just beneath the surface of every single soul. May this be the day of our Great Awakening! God is watching and God remembers. Therefore, will we make the effort to be spiritually prepared for the second coming of the Lord? Will we endeavor to endure to the end as commanded by Jesus? It is for our own eternal good!

Something More To Consider:
As Malachi looked into the future when every man, woman, and young person would appear before an Almighty God, he was inspired to ask two very important and eternally relevant questions, “But who can endure the day of His [Jesus’] coming? And who can stand when He [Jesus] appears?” The answers to these two questions are extremely revealing.

But who can endure? According to Jesus we must endure to the end in order to be saved. Therefore only true believers and enduring to the end saints of the living God can endure the future second coming of the Lord. And who can stand when Jesus comes? The answer is, only those who have faithfully stood for Jesus during their lives, and are present tense standing faithfully for Jesus, who is in essence the Word of God!

The writer of Psalm 1 gives us clear insight into the difference between those who endure to the end and who will stand before God and those who choose rather to live among the ungodly who will not stand at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The evidence is lengthy but it is inspiring. “Blessed is the man [woman, and or young person] who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his [or her] delight is in the law [Word] of the LORD, and in His law [Word] he [or she] meditates day and night. He [or she] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he [or she] does shall prosper.”

The writer continues by soberly stating, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous [those enduring to the end], but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” But the way of the ungodly shall perish. Why? Because a great God remembers what is done on earth in the sight of the Lord, whether good or ungodly!

A Few Final Words:
We have a choice to make as always having read or heard the Word of God. We can determine with the help of the Holy Spirit to be great in the sight of the Lord as was declared of John the Baptist. Or we can be remembered by God as one who squandered our earthly opportunity to become great in the sight of the Lord. But what does it really mean to become great in the sight of the Lord?

According to Jesus in Matthew 5.19, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments [Word of God], and teaches men [women, and or young people] so, shall he [or she] be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he [or she] shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” There lies another reason for the According To Jesus website!

Therefore, are we willing or desirous to become great in the sight of the Lord by becoming a people prepared for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ or our meeting Him by way of our departing this life in death? Will we become people of the Lord, prepared for future end time events that have been predicted by Old Testament prophets and New Testament holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit of God, whose warnings have been preserved for our benefit? The truth has been told! Will the truth be believed?

Great leaders and great leaders in training recognize and understand they are being constantly watched by others and by God. Therefore, they set their sights on being faithful to their upward calling and election of God, by being a people spiritually prepared for the Lord. Luke recorded of John the Baptist, “For he [John the Baptist] will be great in the sight of the Lord…” Can that be said of us? And if that has not been the case in our past, why not allow the Lord to make us new creatures in Christ with all things forgiven and made new! Our being made great in the sight of the Lord is only one prayer away.

Our Father in heaven, it is encouraging to know that You remember each of us and that You are preparing us for the second coming of Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!

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