FAITH NEEDED FOR THE “LAST DAYS”

In his Dialogue with Trypho, the 2nd-century Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, summarizes the Christian life in those days:

And we who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons, our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage, and we cultivate piety, righteousness, philanthropy, faith, hope, which we have from the Father Himself through Him who was crucified… Now it is evident that no one can terrify or subdue us who have believed in Jesus over all the world. For it is plain that, though beheaded, and crucified, and thrown to wild beasts, and chains, and fire, and all other kinds of torture, we do not give up our confession; but the more such things happen, the more do others and in larger numbers become faithful, and worshipers of God through the name of Jesus.

Virtue does not emerge from some inherent goodness or nobility in man. Virtue is God’s grace manifested in men. Left to their own devices, men, and even women, are anything but virtuous. 

Dialogue with Trypho, CX

For Justin and the earliest Christians, many things about their newfound faith were probably still unclear. However, what was crystal clear, they knew that Jesus rose from the dead and His claim to be the Son of God was true. They knew that only by repenting of their past life and accepting Jesus as their Saviour and Lord could they receive the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and have the power to live the Christian life. Godly virtues, faith, hope, piety, righteousness, philanthropy were attainable only by the grace of God. These things were obvious to early believers in Christ.

Further, because of God’s grace, it was possible not only for men to become moral creatures, but it was by His grace that men could live freely. By His mercy, man could be liberated from the powers of supernatural oppression and the oppressive weight of their sins. In this freedom, the Christian had no fear of losing his head (literally), being thrown to wild beasts, put in chains, crucified, burned alive, or otherwise tortured. God’s grace provided the path to both virtues in life and victory over death.

Perpetual revolution” (not reformation) is the explicit doctrine of the foot soldier for the unconstrained vision of man.

As prophesied, men and women who reject any need for divine aid or help and who really believe a new revolution can solve the problem, are taking control of our institutions. Trade-offs are unacceptable for the advocates of the unconstrained view. Only total solutions are acceptable. Perfection is within society’s grasp, any identifiable flaw in the fabric of society must inevitably spur on the next revolution. The problem, of course, with this view, one Justin and the early church Fathers would have roundly decried as heretical, is that it consciously rejects what it regards as the most detestable doctrines of the Christian faith: original sin and the desperate need for God’s grace.

WHAT HAS GOD CALLED YOU DO?

A great message from David Platt of McLean Bible Church in Virginia. It is part five of his sermon series, titled “Following Jesus: Faith That Changes Lives in a World of Urgent Need, Can I suggest you take the time to view the sermon series, just click on the link.

‘What kind of Christianity have you bought into? Who told you that following Jesus would lead to greater comfort and ease in this world?’ Because that didn’t come from this Book,” said Platt while holding up his Bible. “That came from a very skewed version of this Book that’s being sold all across our culture.”

Platt said that many Christians need God to point them to the reality that “the ultimate need of every single person in the world is to be forgiven for their sins.” However, he said, in order to be reconciled to God, a person needs to first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Platt emphasized the importance of Christians not being afraid of difficulties that they might face while spreading the Gospel to remote places because, he said, “there are 3 billion people in the world who have never heard the Word of God, and they won’t have their sins forgiven if they never hear the Gospel.” (My add) Moreover, if God has called you to go, He will guide and protect you.

“God made a way for humans to be forgiven for all their sin, to be reconciled to Him, to eternal life, through faith in Jesus, by what He did on the cross, His resurrection from the grave,” he maintained. “We have been commanded to show God’s love in a world of earthly suffering, and ultimately, we have been commanded to proclaim the Gospel to keep people from a second death (David said eternal suffering). “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.

“Somebody has to go and tell them. If no one goes and tells them, they will spend eternity separated from Him. Do you see what’s at stake here? Do we see the need?” Platt asked rhetorically. 

ARE YOU BEING A FAITHFUL SERVANT?

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23

Your faithfulness does not depend upon how much or how little you have, talents and resources, but what you do with them. Ninety percent of serving is just showing up. Are you faithful in showing up and using what God has given you.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:8-10

In fact, God has preordained good works for us to do, the question is will we do them.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to meTruly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to meMatthew 25:35-40

We are all called to share and serve Jesus by serving others and note Jesus takes this personally.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

These two scriptures make it crystal clear what types of good works we are called to do. I would suggest not too many in our institutional churches today are doing them. Moreover, these same people are probably not giving the following Scripture the consideration it deserves.

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.Romans 14:10-12

Tough message, but we all need a wakeup call from time to time, I certainly do, even Paul wrote: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.Romans 7:18-20

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.Revelation 20:11-12