REPENTANCE ESSENTIAL FOR JESUS COMING KINGDOM

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Matthew 4:17

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.Mark 1:15

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.Luke 13:3,5

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:38

Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, Acts 3:19

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this, he has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

We are called to live holy lives that honor God. Our decisions either fuel the fires of revival or quench the Spirit— we either rejoice in God and walk in His Word or grieve the Spirit by disobeying. The choice is ours.

THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

Tribulation is ahead for Born Again Believers who uphold Biblical inerrancy and therefore God’s moral values. Moreover, the apostasy we see playing out in the world today was prophesied by God to occur in the “end times” prior to Jesus’ return to this earth.

Clergywoman marrying two males

The sanctity of marriage was established in the beginning, in Genesis. Gay marriage is law in many countries in total opposition to God.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.Genesis 2:24

Homosexuality is an abomination to God who made males and females and defined their roles and the institution of marriage. They along with many other sinners will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.1 Corinthians 6:9-10

The following Scripture shows us that Paul and those with him experienced intense tribulation when they went to Asia. What is important for us to note is what God did in response. Also, note Paul’s request for prayer and why; “so many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many”.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction (tribulation) we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On Him, we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.2 Corinthians 1:8-11

We should not be fearful of the coming tribulation. Why? Because God will comfort His children who are in any affliction or tribulation.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4

BELIEVE AND OBEY, BOTH NECESSARY

There is no doubt Jesus accomplished all we need to be righteous before God our Father. Salvation is available for all those that repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as both our Saviour and Lord.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Romans 1:16

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.Romans 3:21-22

We are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

It is a done deal, however the following verses also indicate that Jesus calls us to action.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.And he rose and followed him.

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Matthew 16:24

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10

Jesus has put us in right standing with our Heavenly Father and made it possible for our Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the Christian life, to be our Counsellor, our Comforter and Teacher so the question now is are we truly obeying His call to follow Him and to do the good works He has prepared for us?

PERSECUTION COMES WITH THE TERRITORY

What an entire generation of Christians do not understand is that refusing to align your language, choices, and actions with scripture is a blatant denial of Christ Jesus. Attacks on the doctrine of scripture are attacks on the Kingdom of God. Likewise, if we deny His word, we also deny Him. We cannot claim Jesus as our own and also continue to endorse the world’s philosophies. As the years continue to pile up in our postmodern society, so do the excuses Christians make about why they are willing to deny Jesus and His doctrine.

We would all do well to meditate on Jesus’ warning in Luke 9:62. He says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Here, Jesus is reminding us all not to “look back” at the worldly life we left behind. In doing so, we err like Lot’s wife did in Sodom – not trusting God’s provision. When we take our eyes off the prize and look back at the world we left behind, we declare ourselves unfit for the kingdom of God.

Christians, a day is coming when you will be forced to make this very decision: plow forward or look back.

But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

God’s word warns us of many last days false prophets and teachers and apostasy in the church, all evident now and proof we are living in the last days. Prepare your heart now, you will be tempted to deny your Lord and Saviour. You need to consider the cost of following Christ but also the cost if you turn your back on Him. Your eternal destiny is at stake. We need to be prepared to lay down our lives for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Remember, that it is “He who endures to the end that shall be saved” Matthew 24:13

Let us meditate on the apostle’s words. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.Philippians 3:8-10

While our current persecution might be light, in comparison to what other brothers and sisters are experiencing in the world, it is still persecution. The doctrine and truth of God’s Word is being put to shame in our culture. It is time for you to decide if you will heed the call. Will you follow Christ or is the cost too much for you to bear? Far too long has the church been idle, ignoring this question. Will you take the yoke and plow the field for the Kingdom of God? Yes, there will be a cost for following Christ. But in such work, you will find joys and wonders of which you never dreamed. Pray that when you are forced to decide between plowing forward or looking back, you will choose the yoke of Christ. Pray that you will be a faithful slave of Christ. It is time for Christians to start owning that title.

Much of this post is taken from the article entitled Doubling-Down on Christian Persecution: The Cost of Following Jesus  JANUARY 19, 2021 by Jack Lee http://www.patheos .com

TOUGH SCRIPTURES ON TRIBULATION AND PERSECUTION BUT

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles Matthew 10:16-18

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.Matthew 13:20-21, Mark 4:16-17

strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.Acts 14:22

For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.1 Thessalonians 3:4-5

Here is the BUT

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35-39

Peter explained how Christians should respond when they suffer because of their beliefs. Called the “apostle of hope,” Peter’s primary message is to trust the Lord, live obediently no matter what your circumstances, and keep your hope fixed on God’s ultimate promise of deliverance. Suffering is to be expected, but it is temporary and yields great blessings for those who remain steadfast. Peter probably wrote 1 & 2 Peter in the mid-60s A.D.

God ordains, or appoints genuine believers to suffer, with the explicit purpose of bringing us to final glorification. It tests our faith, removes the impurities thereof, and produces perseverance in us so that we might behold Him face to face and enter the Kingdom of God. Naturally then, it must be restated that those who do not endure cannot obtain the crown of life. Suffering then not only waves a banner for us to see Christ more clearly and behold Him in faith, it separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 13:20-21).

Remember what Jesus suffered for your salvation and that He made it possible for the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be your Comforter, Counsellor and Teacher. He will uphold you through all trials and tribulations.

GOD’S KINGDOM WILL COME

Christianity initially grew because of the suffering service of its adherents. It had no political power for several centuries yet it continued to gain followers. However, once it hitched its wagon to the Constantine cart it went off the rails because power found in weakness doesn’t gel well with a government that wants to flex its muscle. 

We need to be very careful when we try to use worldly power to promote a Gospel that is inherently about power in weakness. When we take Christianity into the halls of power we are in essence asking Jesus to leave His embarrassing life of suffering service behind and become the poster boy for a political cause. God has always worked through that which the world considered foolishness, yet we seem intent on making Him worldly- wise. We need to take Paul’s exhortation in the second chapter of Philippians seriously because it constitutes the rule of law for the Kingdom of God.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2: 5-8)

We cannot forget that we are citizens of another Kingdom where we render unto God what is God’s and obey God rather than men. We have been saved by a God who did not wield a hammer but yielded to the nails. Maybe we can let more of God’s Kingdom peek through if we practice a bit more yielding and a bit less wielding.

THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF JESUS

The coming Millennial reign of Jesus on this earth is when we will see His Kingdom truly come to earth. Biblical prophecy reveals Jesus will reign with the resurrected saints from a restored Jerusalem, with a rod of iron, for one thousand years. God has unfinished business with Israel, the nation He established to be an example to the other nations of His Kingdom on earth. It is a transitional period before the second resurrection of unbelievers followed by the White Throne Judgement and finally a new heaven and a new earth when Jesus hands authority back to our Heavenly Father. We are told that during Jesus thousand-year reign Satan is bound unable to deceive those born during this time. Sadly, we are also told that when Satan is released at the end of the thousand years, he is still able to convince thousands if not more to join him in rebellion against Jesus and His Kingdom.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years are ended. After that, he must be released for a little while.
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:1-6

Wickedness of the heart of man

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.Genesis 6:5-6

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.Jeremiah 7:9-10

HOW TO BE PART OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

God is reviving His church, to restore it back to the church as described in the Book of Acts. This is a must watch video for those interested to know what God is doing at this time in the USA. People selling their homes and going as God leads, to make disciples as God instructed. The barriers of the institutional church are being broken down and true, John 17 unity is being restored. It is exciting to hear the testimonies of these transformed Christians. I hope you will be inspired to get in step with what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do in these last days before Jesus returns.

POWER OF KINDNESS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

With all the problems in the world, it’s good to know there are still Christians showing Jesus’ love with simple acts of kindness.

Steve Strang CEO of CHARISMA in his podcast today, interviews Convoy of Hope president and CEO Hal Donaldson. He shares how his organisation has stepped up during the pandemic to distribute more than 10 million meals to families who lost access to food and school lunch programs.

Steve states that he has known Hal since the early 1980’s, since Hal was a beginning journalist and Steve was working to get Charisma off the ground. Steve says, “It’s been great to see Hal develop as a leader over the years. The pivotal moment of his life came when he was given the opportunity to interview Mother Teresa in India, and she asked him what he was doing to help the poor. Her question shook him to the core, and he rose to the challenge it posed.”

ConvoyOfHope-Truck

Hal experienced poverty firsthand as a teen after his father was killed in a car accident and there was no insurance to take care of the family. He also knows how he was affected by the kindness of a woman in the church who bought him a nice pair of tennis shoes.

It’s an amazing story, and Hal explains it much better so listen to his testimony on today’s podcast , and ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference in someone else’s life. One immediate way is to partner with Convoy of Hope, which you can do at the Convoy of Hope website convoyofhope.org.

DO YOU REALLY KNOW FULLY, WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST?

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of the One having called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.1 Peter 2:9 

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 

Once you enter in the Light of Christ, where everything has meaning, everything is important, everyone has purpose, then, and only then, can you truly love others and live a life that is pleasing to God.  We become keenly aware of the importance of obedience to God and how we perceive and care for others.  This is not simply a gospel of “being nice” but a deep knowledge that the devil is “playing for keeps.”  We must view people as souls either on the path to destruction or walking the straight and narrow.  We are not permitted to “cross the road” or “look away” when we see someone taking a beating by Satan.  Like the Good Samaritan, we are to GET INVOLVED.

Remember, when Jesus sent out the 70 disciples “to heal the sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” they returned saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Luke 10:9,17

Jesus told them not to rejoice in this fact but rejoice instead that their names are written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20), He nevertheless acknowledged the fact that devils MUST obey them. This is TRUTH! When passionate Christians wake up in the morning, Satan should literally SHAKE IN FEAR. We should be a daily reminder to him that his days are numbered. Sadly, how many of us believe and act out this TRUTH!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, It is time for your army of spiritual warriors to be released.  Let us not be bound up with things of this earth but let us set our sights on Your Heavenly Kingdom. Let us never forget the One who died for us so that we may win the spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls.  Already, we are seeing more of our brothers and sisters in Christ being martyred for their faith and we know from end times prophecies, that in the last days before Jesus returns that will only increase. Help us to be fully cognisant of the sacrifices that will need to be made. Please send the power of Your Holy Spirit afresh this Pentecost to equip us so that we may be courageous warriors in Your service. 

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THE VOICE OF TRUTH WILL NOT BE SILENCED

Be bold and truthful says Pastor Shane Idleman. The world wants to silence preachers of God’s Word. Sadly much of the church has abandoned God’s Word, denying its inerrancy, its inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

Fortunately, Jesus told us in Matthew 24:14 that “the major sign of His coming and the close of the age” will be:

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end will come” Matthew 24:14

The climax of the age will not be brought about by the actions of secular government or military power, nor by the floods of satanic deception and lawlessness. The final decisive activity will be the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom accomplished by the church of Jesus Christ.

Quoting from Derek Prince in “Shaping history through prayer and fasting”

Scripture is very precise about the message that will be preached in the last days. It is to be the gospel of the Kingdom. It sets forth Christ in His kingly victory and power. It will be true and effective witness to all nations.

“Where the word of a king is, there is power.” Ecclesiastes 8:4

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

The kingdom gospel is supernaturally attested “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit ,,, Hebrews 2:4

The “last days church” will be like the church described in the Book of Acts. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

God will bring together the various resources that are needed: the human resources of Spirit filled people of all ages but particularly young people, and the material resources of wealth and technology.