Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY JULY 29, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He [Jesus] who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He [Jesus] will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3.11-12

Something To Consider:
John the Baptist proclaimed that his baptism was with water unto repentance. With John, baptism and repentance from sin were inseparable. This should always be the convincing case with baptism and repentance. Baptism should never become something to simply satisfy man’s rules or restrictive regulations. Never! Repentance should never be as yesterday’s dust, just something you sweep away and out of sight. Together they represent spiritual growth in the right direction for the true believer in Jesus.

John was quick to reveal to those who gathered, speaking of Jesus; “He who is coming after me is mightier than I…” David, as king, poet, song writer, lover of God, and leader of God’s people, wrote in Psalm 24.8; “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” Solomon, David’s son, speaking prophetically of He who was coming, said, “Mighty is He!” And we know His name to be Jesus of Nazareth, and mighty is He who is coming!

John the beloved disciple of Jesus wrote of Jesus in the introduction to the book of Revelation in chapter 1 and verse 7, by stating prophetically; “Behold, He [Jesus] is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes [nations] of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” And then John records the first words of Jesus recorded in the book of Revelation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” And so, we also proclaim, mighty is He who is coming!

Do our everyday lives proclaim the biblical fact that mighty is He who is coming? Do we truly believe that Jesus is mighty and that He is coming again? Or do we at times find it difficult to fully understand and therefore we yield to the temptation to not truly believe with our whole hearts that Jesus is indeed coming again as He and others have promised and have on many occasions predicted? Maybe this lesson of a lifetime will be of help to clarify this truth for us once and for all!

Something Else To Consider:
John the Baptist also declared, speaking of Jesus, “He who is coming after me… will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Baptism is a ceremonial act that spiritually portrays our dying to the flesh and being buried with Christ, while also being spiritually resurrected to new life in Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual picture and a powerful witness to others of our decision to walk with and to follow Jesus in a personal relationship called Christianity. Baptism is a spiritual event depicting the cleansing and washing away of our sins in the water of God’s Word. Baptism is a declaration that with God’s help, we have separated ourselves from the continued practice of sin.

And that leads us to the biblical fact that there is a separation coming! We know this to be true because of the testimony of two or more witnesses. Paul, writing in 1 Thessalonians 4.13-14, declared’ “But I do not want you to be ignorant [or without knowledge], brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died believing in Jesus], lest you sorrow as others [unbelievers] who have no hope. For if we believe [present tense believe] that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep [have died] in Jesus.” Paul emphasizes that at death there is a separation that takes place.

Paul continued in verse 15; “For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we [present tense believers in Jesus] who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep [or have died]. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Something Else To Consider:
The apostle Paul is describing an end time event that when it happens, it will create a long waited for end time separation. Paul further writes in 1 Corinthians 15.51; “Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep [die], but we [end time true believers], we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” And in verse 58 of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul admonishes his readers by stating; “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [being busy about the Father’s business while enduring to the end], knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Jesus also spoke of this end time separation that is coming in Matthew 24.37-51. He mentioned the separation that took place at the time of the flood reminding us how Noah and his family were safely protected inside the ark during the flood of judgement and wrath of God that was unleashed upon the earth because of man’s wickedness. Jesus spoke of individuals, both men and women conducting business as usual when in the midst of their daily routines a great separation will occur.

And surrounded by further future examples and evidence in advance of an end time separation, Jesus warned all end time true believers in verse 44 of Matthew 24, by saying; “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man [Jesus who is mighty] is coming at an hour you do not expect.” And when He who is mighty comes, so comes the great separation as in the days of Noah and of Lot, between the righteous who are found enduring to the end as end time true believers and the wicked unbelieving rebellious who will face the unhindered wrath of Almighty God.

Yes, there is a separation coming! But mighty is He who is coming to bring about that separation, by gathering His wheat into the safety of the barn and the gathering and burning up of the chaff with unquenchable fire according to John the Baptist and the Word of God in our text today. Fire in the bible, many times speaks of a form of judgment. Wheat is spoken here as those followers who have come to Christ, continued in Christ, and have continued in His Word, while being found by Christ faithfully producing fruit worthy of repentance. Is that the case with us and our loved ones?

Chaff is that worthless, lightweight portion of the husk that is blown away by the wind while winnowing or separating the wheat from the chaff. There is a separation coming, but He, Jesus, is more than mighty enough to keep us from being burned up alongside of the chaff, as long as we are His wheat! His wheat bears good fruit; therefore, it is of a much heavier weight and of more value. There is a separation coming. Will we be found by Jesus as wheat or as chaff?

A Few Final Words:
The answer to the above question is not one that should be taken lightly. It is not a decision that should be delayed! The writer of Psalm 1 clearly speaks to a final separation that is coming that no one whether past, present, or future will be able to escape. “Blessed is the man [woman, or young person] who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his [or her] delight is in the law of the LORD [Word of God], and in His law [Word] he [or she] meditates day and night.”

Then the focus of Psalm 1 is shifted from the righteous to the ungodly. “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, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” God will make a stark difference between the righteous and the ungodly on the Day of Judgment! The unrighteous shall be forever separated from the righteous at that great harvest separation time.

Spiritually minded leaders in training welcome the baptism of God’s Spirit and fire, for it has an eternal tendency to bring both power and a positive internal passion and a proper eternal positioning, especially in the final time of separation!

Our Father in heaven, keep us as leaders in training, close to Him who is mighty and worthy of our allegiance and our obedience. In Him Always, Amen!

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