Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY DEC. 16, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Jesus said to them, ‘You will surely say this proverb to Me, “Physician, heal Yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your company.”’ Then He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was great famine throughout all the land: but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’

“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, Jesus went His way.” Luke 4.23-30

Something To Consider:
While Jesus was preaching in a synagogue in Nazareth He predicted that the people would ask of Him, “Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your company.” But instead of performing miracles, as if some traveling magician in a signs and wonder circus, He warned them and us of the danger of our human nature, in rejecting the words of a prophet, a messenger of God sent by God, with or without signs.

We must be reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 and verse 24, when He was speaking of end time events surrounding great tribulation and the end time event Jesus and Daniel called the abomination of desolation. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” In other words, Jesus has told us in advance that many will be deceived by end time signs and wonders! Let us as God’s elect not be found among them!

Jesus saw their need to believe Him and His Word more important than their desire to see signs. Their being familiar with Jesus held them back and spiritually blinded them from believing His Word. The same is still true of many today. Therefore, Jesus chose to give them a history lesson from their Old Testament. Sometimes the answer to future dilemmas is easier found in our looking backward at history itself. History should be our best teacher of past situations and circumstances so we do not make the same mistakes all over again in the present and in the future.

Something Else To Consider:
Elijah, meaning my God is Jehovah, was a prophet and national hero of Israel. And yet, Jesus reminded the religious church goers, that during the famine spoken of in 1 Kings chapter 17, God sent Elijah, my God is Jehovah, not to any of the many Jewish widows in the land, but to a Gentile, one non-Jewish widow of Zarephath. Zarephath was the home of the Sidonians, who were early oppressors of the nation of Israel. This lesson of a lifetime quickly angered the Jewish men, who just moments ago marveled at the gracious words Jesus had spoken.

The fact that many who at one time marveled at the things of God, can be angered at God, is a history lesson for us to learn as we approach the end times. As billions of thought of as Christian believers begin to witness first hand end time events that have for recent decades been taught to happen after a pre-tribulation rapture, begin to unfold before their very eyes as according to Scripture, much confusion will fill their hearts.

And according to Jesus, beginning in Matthew 24.10; “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he [or she] who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Something More To Consider:
We must determine for ourselves as students of Scripture, what the end result is to both sides of the biblical understanding of being for or against a pre-tribulation rapture. If I had my choice I of course would prefer to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, but the evidence just does not appear to be there. We must ask ourselves where believing either side of this debate leads us.

As we look closely at the end result of either believing in a pre-tribulation rapture which is in total opposition to Jesus’ teaching an enduring to the end doctrine, we can honestly determine which view if adhered to provides us as believers the best and most helpful spiritual fruit to be produced in our lives.

Therefore, if a pre-tribulation rapture is proven in the end to be God’s choice, what has been lost by those who rather believe Jesus taught an enduring to the end faith for a reason? Or, what if in the end, enduring to the end, if proven to be the correct biblical mandate by Jesus, what have others lost by their believing the pre-tribulation rapture teaching? That is the bottom line and the proper line of thinking for the true student concerning any disagreed upon Scripture and or biblical teaching that cannot be clearly decided on by two or more parties.

In other words, where does a particular teaching lead us if that teaching is later found to be false? What spiritual damage if any would have be done? If a pre-tribulation rapture is God’s choice of making a way of escape for true believers, would we not be correct in assuming those enduring to the end, those taking up their cross daily and following Jesus, while abiding in the Vine of Jesus Christ, and while attempting to deny themselves; that they would be included in God’s gathering to Himself when Jesus comes in all His glory and power with the holy angels?

It would only make sense that if individuals and families were attempting to obey and observe all things that Jesus taught, that they would be counted worthy to escape the coming of God’s wrath upon an unbelieving Christ rejecting world, according to Jesus! And yet, on the other hand, if God’s plan is for all true believers to endure to the end to thereby be saved, according to Jesus in Matthew 10.22, Matthew 24.13, and Mark 13.13, and millions choose rather to believe the pre-tribulation rapture theory, what would then be proved to be a lie, what could they expect to receive for their believing that lie and rejecting the truth?

As for me and my house, we will choose to believe the Lord Jesus Christ and other New Testament writers who were influenced by the Holy Spirit! Either way, those attempting to endure to the end in obedience to Christ’s commands, have the written and preserved promise of God that they will be saved. Why would anyone take an eternal chance and knowingly go against the spoken and written words of end time warnings given us by Jesus, God’s Son, the Word of God come in the flesh? Why would anyone choose to follow after that which contradicts the teachings of Jesus and the biblical evidence?

Please do not make your decision based on emotion and a man-made doctrine that did not exist prior to the 1800’s. Let us base such an important decision on both the Word of God and also our looking down the road to where that belief and understanding will lead us and others that are watching our every move to decide for themselves what they too will believe. Are we willing to stake our eternal destination on a lie?

A Few Final Words:
Jesus continued the history lesson. This time His focus was on Elisha, whose name means my God is salvation. Of all the lepers in Israel at the time of Elisha, only one named Naaman, a Syrian and a non-Jewish man whose name meant pleasantness, was healed of his leprosy. In hearing these words the so-called worshipers of God were instantly filled with wrath and tried to kill Jesus by casting Him off a cliff. Jesus, with the Spirit of the LORD upon Him, simply went His way. His way was to preach the gospel to the poor, not to be thrown over a cliff by a murderous religious mob. After His teaching them a forgotten history lesson, He safely went His way.

This exact same religious hatred of Jesus and those who preach His message is filling the earth even as we read these words today! This vivid image of a murderous religious mob has been played out many times down through the centuries. What therefore have we learned from these history lessons and other lessons taught by Jesus, written by holy men of God, and inspired by God’s Holy Spirit? What has been written and preserved is for our benefit and for us to learn from. How are we doing as we attend the classroom of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis? What have we learned lately?

Leaders and leaders in training, who are led by God’s Holy Spirit, may at times be led to simply pass through the midst of people who are hardened in their horrible ways and deceived by false man-made belief systems. What will we do with that which we have been presented with today concerning our belief in either the pre-tribulation rapture or enduring to the end? What will be our decision?

Which of these two concepts leads individuals to a closer and more scriptural relationship with Jesus who commanded His people to endure to the end thereby to be saved? This will prove to be one of the most important decisions millions, if not billions of people make or refuse to make in these end times in which we find ourselves living. Please do not make a rash decision based on what you would prefer to believe rather than what Scripture reveals to be true!

Our Father in heaven, may our misguided understanding never blind us to the many lessons of a lifetime to be learned from the life of Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!

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