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“Be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Master is coming ...For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matthew 24:42.44)

“SET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER!”

(2 Kings 20:1)

By DON STANTON

Say! If Queen Elizabeth was coming to your house next month, what would you be doing right now? Say your home has been selected for a royal visit - would you be busy preparing for the occasion, or would you be simply passing the time?

I can imagine how busy you would be! You would not be leaving everything until the last day to put your house in order! You would have started weeks or months before. The house would be painted anew, the floors polished, the windows sparkling, the silverware and utensils shining, the garden would have new shrubs and flowers growing, and not a pebble would be out of place. All the electrical fittings would be in order, and nothing broken, stained, or scratched would remain. “Immaculate” would be the word!

You would check every square inch of your property to make sure that everything was in order. Your house would be as new!

It would be a lot of work for a visit that may not last a single hour, but you would count it all a privilege. You would be excited about it, and on tip toes. You would not be taking things casually.

Now, say Jesus, Y’shua the Messiah, the King of Kings, was coming to your house this month! If you knew the exact date, I am sure you would be busy setting your house in order!

If you did not know the date, you might be saying, “Take it easy! He may not even come this century!”

But there is a possibility that the Heavenly Master may visit your home this very month, and say to you, “Come away! Leave all this behind!” It is possible that He may take you, or other members of your family away, this very month!

He may take you away by means of death, or, if you are a born-again believer, by means of the Rapture.

The King of Glory is coming, and although we do not know the date, His return is certain. The exact day is appointed!

Many people scoff at the “Second Coming.” “Oh,” they say, “They’ve been saying ‘Jesus is returning’ for hundreds of years, and still He hasn’t come! How do you know all that is not simply a myth?”

The apostle Peter warned of endtime scoffers:

“In the last days scoffers will come, mocking and following after their own evil desires; and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers died, everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation.’ “But they deliberately forget that long ago, by the Word of God, the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was destroyed being flooded with water. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

“But do not forget this one fact, beloved, that with the LORD one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. YHWH the LORD is not slow concerning His promise, as some understand slowness, but is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:3-9)

“But how can we be so sure that the Messiah’s return is so near?” some ask. “Who knows, it might not take place for another 2,000 years, or more?”

Good question! You are entitled to question our assertion that Jesus may come at any tick of the clock. Certainly we must have some good reasons for us saying that the Master’s return is imminent. It would not be right to exhort my readers to concentrate urgently on “last minute” activities, if the Master was not “right at the door,” as the apostle James says:

“Look! The Judge is standing right at the door!” (James 5:9)

“But,” you say, “that was written 1900 years ago, and still Jesus has not returned!”

True! James presented a very definite imminent coming, and this is the expectation that the church should always have! And if the return was imminent in James’ day, how much more imminent it is today!

Someone asked me recently, “Are there any possible dates for the coming of the Lord this year?” “Yes,” I replied, “there are 366 possible dates this year!”

The vital question is not, “Is the Lord Jesus, Y’shua the Messiah, coming again?” It is not even, “When will Christ return?” The most important ques­tion is, “Is your house in order for the Master’s return - if it should happen today, tomorrow, or whenever? Are you ready for the trumpet call of God? Are you ready for the Rapture - ready to be caught up to meet the Saviour in the clouds?”

In this context, “Is your house in order” has nothing to do with your house of wood and brick. It’s your spiritual house that needs to be in order for the second coming of the Messiah. It’s your spiritual status and condition, as well as that of your family members that’s in focus here!

Is Jesus the Messiah your Saviour and Master?

Are you under His control, and walking in His Spirit?

Do you give clear, compelling witness for the Saviour?

Are you living like a Christian ought to be living?

Is your life a vessel that is clean and pure within?

Are you praying for your friends and family?

Do you long to see the Saviour with a yearning heart?

Or will you be taken by surprise?

Will His words “Well done” be your waiting prize?

Is your House in order for the coming of the King?

THE COMING OF THE KING!

You know very well the Lord Jesus is coming again! We can all discern the times and seasons! He is coming SOON - it’s just a matter of time. For the believer who is walking rightly with the Saviour, the imminent return is a thrilling prospect. The thought of the Rapture fills him with expectation and great joy. He is excited to be alive, and wants to be ready for this great event which could take place at any tick of the clock. For the believer whose “house is in order,” the coming of the Master is a “blessed hope,” because Y’shua has promised to take His people to the Mansions He has prepared for them - to the city whose builder is God. Y’shua has promised to take them, without dying, to the spiritual realm called the Father’s House.

The Master said:

“In My Father’s House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)

The Master must be making the final touches, right now, to the Heavenly Mansion that is to be the believers’ future home. At any moment now ...

“… the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who have died with faith in the Messiah - shall rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

Faithful followers of the Messiah have been looking ahead to the ‘‘Rapture,” to the Second Coming of the Master, for almost 2,000 years. And shortly it will take place.

The Rapture, however, will not be the joyful experience of those who are left behind. For those “too-late-knockers,” it will be tragedy. They will knock and cry, “Lord open unto us!” - but it will be too late; the Tribulation will have begun - the judgment upon this Christ-rejecting, God-despising, heaven-defying, evil-loving generation. In Acts 17:31 we read:

“God has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all by raising Him from the dead.”

The Tribulation appointed, however, is not a 24-hour day; it will be a period of seven years. It is called, “The Great Day of the Wrath of God Almighty.” It is also referred to as, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” and, “The hour that is to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”

This is the period of which the Lord Jesus warned - the period when every natural calamity, and every vice of man, and every man-made weapon, and every plague imaginable, will be deemed to be the judgment of God. Men will blaspheme and blame the Almighty for the miseries coming upon them.

As the believer sees this “day” ready to burst upon the world, his excitement because of the joy set before him, is tempered by his concern for unsaved friends, neighbors, family members and fellowmen - for those who will be objects of the divine wrath. Time is running out for the unsaved!

My friend, let me say, Just about everything is pointing to the Master’s imminent return and the awful Tribulation. Following are 50 general and specific Scriptural signs, with the Biblical references, that indicate that we are in the last days. Many of these signs are not new, but the fact that they are all occurring together at this time, is very significant!

1 Increasing natural calamities on earth; EARTHQUAKES, CYCLONES, TYPHOONS, VOLCANOS, and FLOODS. (Luke 21:11, 25)

2 Increasing PESTILENCES, DISEASES and PLAGUES, as prophesied by the Lord. (Luke 21:11)

3 Chaotic weather conditions that are bringing disastrous results to agriculture, and in various places, FAMINE. This also has been prophesied by the Messiah. (Matthew 24:7. Isaiah 9:20)

4 DEFORESTATION and rapidly EXPANDING DESERTS,   are also bringing famine to multitudes. (Revelation 16:12)

5 The POLLUTION of the air, land and waters, including the dumping of extremely POISONOUS PRODUCTS into the seas. The Revelation foretells such pollution for the Tribulation. (Revelation 8:10-11. 16:3)

6 The RAPID PACE of CHANGE and TRAVEL. (Daniel 12:4. Nahum 2:4)

7 The CORRUPT and ARTIFICIAL WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM that is bringing the nations into horrendous indebt­edness. It’s a system that must crash, and it is likely to do so in the very near future. (James 5:1-6)

8 The increase of CIVIL and MULTINATIONAL WARS, as prophesied by the Lord Jesus, and the increasing threats of World War, prophesied by Joel, John, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Daniel. In 1998 there were 27 major wars occurring around the globe. (Matthew 24:6-7. Joel 3:9-10. Ezekiel 38. Daniel 11:40-45. Zechariah 12:3-9. Revelation 6:4)

9 The phenomenal build up of ARMAMENTS, prophesied by Joel. Fantastic weapons were seen in the two Gulf Wars: laser-guided missiles, cluster bombs, fuel-air bombs and a vast array of high-tech armaments. And the arms race continues! (Joel 3:9-10)

10 The growing “Nuclear Club,” and the stockpiling of NUCLEAR WEAPONS around the world. These weapons have the potential to fulfil the prophesied global holocaust of Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation.

 (Zechariah 14:12. Ezekiel 29:9-12. Revelation 6:2-8)

11 Stockpiling of fearful BIOLOGICAL and BIO-CHEMICAL WEAPONS that can destroy whole continents, and poison the oceans of the world. Revelation prophesies such poison­ing. (Revelation 16:3-4)

12 The development of SPACE STATIONS, and the deployment of nuclear missiles, and killer satellites in space. These may help to fulfil the prophecies concerning the Tribulation. (Revelation 8:10-11)

13 The POPULATION EXPLOSION in the developing nations which is uncontrollable except under dictatorship. Over­-population is leading many nations to mass poverty, unrest, starvation, crime and international tension – the prophesied endtime conditions. (Genesis 15:5. Rom 4:18. Heb 11:12. Rev. 20:8)

14 The increase of wickedness all over the world. CRIME, VIOLENCE and TERRORISM has been prophesied by the Master, by Paul, and in Revelation.

 (Luke 17:26-27; 21:11. Genesis 6:11-12. Mathew 24:12. 2 Timothy 3:3. Rev 6:4; 9:21)

15 The CORRUPTING OF THE YOUNG, by TV, video games, internet sites,bgand by unwarranted “sex-education” in the schools. This has led to a phenomenal spate of teenage pregnancies and sexually-transmitter diseases. This is the PROMISCUITY that has been prophesied for the endtimes. (2 Timothy 3:2-3. Luke 17:26-27)

16 The MORAL COLLAPSE in society, with permissiveness, pornography, perversion, rape, adultery, and “just do it” and “everyone does it” attitudes. Minds and hearts are becoming increasingly immune to God-given moral standards. Modern society is now as sordid as it was in the days of Noah and the days of Lot - Sodom and Gomorrah. (Luke 17:26-30. Genesis 6:2. 2 Timothy 3:1-4)

17 “ABORTION ON DEMAND,” is the tragic result of the permis­siveness of modern society. This is now the position of many nations. Infanticide is part of the brutal, unloving, and inhuman conditions predicted. (2 Timothy 3:3)

18 The ATTACK ON THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY, the most basic foundation for society. De facto and same-sex sexual relationships, along with skyrocketing divorce, and the breakup of homes, are creating an increasingly confused society.

19 ANTI-SCRIPTURAL SEXUAL MORES, both heterosexual and homosexual are becoming ACCEPTABLE, not only by society in general, but also by various clergymen and clergywomen, and some Christian denominations.

There’s a REJECTION by many church leaders of the BASIC TEACHINGS of the WORD OF GOD – the Word they ostensibly claim to follow. Apostasy. (2 Thessalonians 2:3. (Romans 1:24-27)

20 ENTERTAINMENT, AND IMMORALITY in the Church. (2 Timothy 4:3-4. Revelation 2:14, 20)

21 The vast DRUG TRADE that is leading millions of young people into ruin, and bringing also an avalanche of crime and immorality. (Revelation 9:20-21)

 

22 The wave of ALCOHOLISM that is gripping nations and  bringing domestic violence, crime and ruin. (Revelation 17:2)

23 SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES such as GENETIC ENGIN­EERING, CLONING, and GENETICALLY-MODIFIED FOOD are not only defying God’s plan in creation, but are now entering the dangerous territory of “playing God.” (Genesis 11:6)

24 The increase of FALSE PROPHETS, FALSE CHRISTS and CULTS that are deceiving multitudes and leading them away from God. (Matthew 24:5, 23-24)

25 The emergence and rapid increase of SATANISM, with its witchcraft and vile practices, including orgies, drugs, immorality and human sacrifice. This is the “doctrines of demons,” which Paul said would proliferate in the last days. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

26 The vicious, BLASPHEMOUS ATTACKS on the deity and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This shows an indication of the endtime Satanic spiritual warfare that is being waged against God. (2 Timothy 3:2)

27 The prophesied APOSTASY is increasing as so-called “Christian” churches promote unbelief, rationalism, modernism and evolution. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

28 The APATHY, CARELESSNESS and INDIFFERENCE on the part of many Christians to the conditions in the world, to the claims of the Word of God in their lives, and to the nearness of the Lord’s return, reveals that we are now in the LAODICIAN STAGE - the last stage - of church history. (Revelation 3:15-19)

29 The CONFUSION, PERPLEXITY and FEAR in the nations because of the pressures, instability, and their inability to cope with geophysical, economic and other world problems. This perplexity was prophesied by the Lord. (Luke 21:25)

30 A growing awareness and EXPECTANCY of the Lord’s return in the hearts of many of His people everywhere. (Titus 2:13. 1 Corinthians 1:7. Romans 8:23)

31 The moving of the Spirit of God in many places, gathering in the endtime harvest - the “LATE RAINS.” (James 5:7)

32 The NATION OF ISRAEL, restored and strong but threatened, is ready to play her prophesied endtime role in world affairs. (Ezekiel 36:24, 33-34)

 

33 The reunification of JERUSALEM as the “indivisible and eternal capital” of Israel, and the plans and preparation for building THE TEMPLE in Jerusalem. A tribulation temple will be built, and taken over by the Antichrist. (Isaiah 30:19. 35:10. 51:11. 52:8-9)

34 The training of LEVITICAL PRIESTS in Israel, in preparation for the re- instituting of the Mosaic sacrifices. (Psalm 51:18-19. Malachi 3:3)

35 The RELEASE of East European nations from communism, leading to the RE-ALIGNMENT OF NATIONS. (Isaiah 49:24-26 and Ezekiel 38:1-8)

36 The Reunification of GERMANY (Gomer). (Ezekiel 38:6)

37 The collapse of the Soviet Union which opened up the way  for a re-alignment of nations - the NORTHERN CONFEDERACY led by Rosh (Russia). It’s preparation for the proph­esied invasion of the Middle East and Israel. (Ezekiel 38:1-9)

38 The tremendous build up of CHINA, and other Eastern nations, in readiness to fulfil the prophecies concerning the “Kings of the East.” (Revelation 16:12)

39 The continued ANIMOSITY OF MANY NATIONS TOWARDS ISRAEL, and the fragility of treaties that have been made. (Isaiah 10:12-14. Zephaniah 2:8-10)

40 IRAN’S (Persia’s) NUCLEAR PROGRAM and its THREATS to Israel. (Joel 3:9-12. Ezekiel 38:5)

41 The insurmountable issues in the MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS – especially Jerusalem, which is destined for destruction once more.  (Zechariah 12:2-3. 14:2)

42 The EUROPEAN UNION now has 27 nations, and more nations are negotiating entry. The EU has a European Parliament which is seeking to ratify a federal European constitution. The EURO, a single currency, has been adopted by most of the EU nations, and a European Central Bank has now been established. (Revelation 17:9-13)

43 The attempt to establish a NEW WORLD ORDER of co-operation through the 34-nation, European-Soviet-American-Canadian Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe(CSCE). (Revelation 13:1-5)

44 The emergence of the NEW AGE MOVEMENT, with its attempts to synthesize western and eastern religious philosophy and practice, and to produce a World Confederate Religion. This is being backed by the Vatican and the Ecumenical Movement, and is fulfilling the prophecy concerning “Mystery Babylon.” “The United Religions” and the “World Parliament of Religions” are some of the “new world religion” bodies. (Revelation 17: 1-9, 15-18)

45 The KNOWLEDGE EXPLOSION and DIGITAL TECH­NOLOGY, which is bringing about the computerization of the world in readiness for the reign of Antichrist in the Tribulation. (Daniel 12:4)

46 The progress of the “mystery of iniquity,” the Satanic conspiracy to usher in a NEW WORLD ORDER, and to impose a world government upon the nations, under the rule of the Antichrist. (2 Thessalonians 2:7. Revelation 13:3-7)

 

BARCODING TINY BIOCHIP CAN BE IMPLANTED IN THE HAND DOG RECEIVING CHIP INJECTION
 
47 The plan to number every person in the world, and to invisibly “tattoo” IDENTI-FICATION NUMBERS on the hands or foreheads of every individual worldwide. Implantable biochips which will no doubt be part of the new international economic order, have been developed over the past several decades and are now being used. (Revelation 13:14-18)

48 The GULF WARS, the most powerful, concentrated wars of all times. The most significant goal of the wars was to establish a NEW WORLD ORDER in the Middle East, including a PALESTINIAN STATE. (Zechariah 9:5-7)

49 The MILITANCY of ISLAM, with Persia (IRAN), Hizb’allah, al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, and Hamas, as the main enemies of Israel and the non-Islamic world. (Ezekiel 38:5-8)

50 The MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS which aims at solving the multiple problems between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Behind this process could be the “hidden master,” the Antichrist, who will arbitrate the treaty (covenant) prophesied by Daniel. (9:24-27). The signing of that covenant by “many,” will initiate the 7-year Tribulation.

And these 50 are not the only signs. There are many other conditions of which you read in your local newspapers and journals, or see on TV, every day, that indicate the endtimes are upon us. All these signs are signs of the endtimes, the Tribulation, and the climax of the age.

They are not actually signs of the Rapture, because there is nothing in particular that we are looking for, as a sign of the Rapture. There is no specific thing that we can say, MUST take place before the Rapture. Here are just general signs. The specific signs will take in the Tribulation. But as the Master will call His people away before the Tribulation begins, it means the Rapture could take place any day now!

Reader, are the treacherous and evil signs and conditions we see in the nations today, not a clear enough indication that God MUST judge the world soon?

True, God is patient and long-suffering, not willing that any should perish. But there is a limit! God says He will not strive with men forever. (Genesis 6:3). His justice will permit His patience to extend only so far. If Yahweh, the Ruler of the Universe, continued to tolerate the gross wickedness indefi­nitely, would He Himself not become a party to the evil? But that cannot be! For His own righteousness’ sake, God must act. Indeed . . .

“The Judge is standing right at the door.” (James 5:9)

Another sign that the Master’s return is indeed imminent, is that throughout the world, God has raised up preachers and teach­ers who have a great burden to give a warning of the impending judgment, and to proclaim to the world, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus Christ is coming very soon. The Maranatha Revival Crusade is just one of many ministries that are devoted to this message. God is not leaving the world with­out a warning. He is shouting, as it were, from the heavens ...

“THE JUDGE IS RIGHT AT THE DOOR!”

Many a prophet’s voice goes unheeded - but that itself is a sign of the endtimes. The indifference of the multitudes to the warnings of coming judgment, was one of the conditions of Noah’s day. It was, and still is the fruit of scepticism, unbelief and recklessness.

But God keeps on warning; the Spirit of God continues to strive with the lost; and the preachers keep on warning while waiting for the trumpet to sound, when they, along with all born again believers, will be caught away.

Some people listen, believe, repent, and flee from the wrath to come. Others - the majority, evidently - will call on the Lord only when it is too late! But for the sake of those who will heed the call, God is holding back the wrath, not willing that any should perish. But the time of striving with souls may be almost over!

In the last chapter of the Bible the Heavenly Master says:

“Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near. He who is unrighteous - an evildoer, let him continue to be unrighteous; he who is vile and filthy, let him continue to be vile. And let the one who is righteous, continue to practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, let him continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to what he has done ... Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter by the gates into the (heavenly) city.” (Revelation 22:10-12,14)

The expression “wash their robes” here, has more or less the same meaning as the expression, “Set your house in order” It means to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. It is to have “oil in our lamps, and the wicks trimmed.” It is to be “walking in the light as He is in the light.”

The words, “Set your house in order,” come from the Bible. (2 Kings 20:1). King Hezekiah was mortally ill, and Isaiah, the prophet came to him and told him to set his house in order, for he was soon to die.

Whatever he could do, he was to do immediately. If he had not made a “last will and testament,” he was to do it quickly. If he hadn’t asked forgiveness of his wife and family, and more important, of God, then he must do it immediately. If he had outstanding bills, he should settle them right away. If he had failed to make provision for his family, he had better do what he could now. In short, whatever was out of order in his home, he was to put right, for this was his last opportunity, and very soon he was to stand in the Presence of God, to give account of his stewardship.

And, my beloved reader, each one of us must give an account of our stewardship when our Master returns. How imperative it is then, that our “houses” are maintained in good order.

There are two important questions that we must ask ourselves.

First; when Y’shua, the Lord Jesus, calls His people, and catches them up to meet Him in the air and takes them to the glorious mansions He has prepared in the Father’s House, will I be included in that blessed company? Or, will I be left behind, to suffer and probably to die in the Great Tribulation?

Second; if I am caught up to meet the Master in the air, will I receive His commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or will I be ashamed at that time?

We should make sure of just where we stand. Let’s look at these two important questions.

1.

HOW CAN WE BE SURE OF BEING INCLUDED IN THE SAVED COMPANY?

Tragically, there will be millions left behind! Those who are caught away may be a small minority of the world’s population.

There will be a few surprises, though, at the Rapture. There will be some who may be generally considered unworthy to be caught up, who will be caught up. And there will be many who thought they should be taken up, who will be left behind. Many bearing the label, “Christian,” will be left behind; they had profession, but not possession. There will be good living people left behind; those who trusted in their good works, but not in the Saviour and His atoning sacrifice. False prophets and all non-believers will be left behind. What about you, my reader?

If you are not sure that you are saved; if you are not sure whether you will be caught up to meet the Lord, or if you will be left behind, now is the time to make sure. The only condition or requirement needed to qualify you for inclusion in the saved company is that Y’shua, Jesus, is your personal Saviour and Master - that you actually belong to Him.

The Master was talking to His people when He promised;

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)

And the apostle Paul was writing to believers when he said,

“For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who have died with faith in the Messiah - shall rise first. Then we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master for ever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Yes, every one of the Lord’s people will be caught up to meet Him. It is not a question of how good or bad we are, or whether we feel we are worthy to be caught up. It is a matter of whether we belong to Saviour, or not!

The question is; Do you belong to Jesus? Is He your personal Saviour? Do you have this basic relationship with Him? If you are not sure whether you belong to the Saviour or not, then ask yourself these two questions.

A. HAVE MY SINS BEEN FORGIVEN?

B. HAVE I RECEIVED JESUS AS MY MASTER?

If you can give a definite “Yes” to both questions, you can be sure that you have been saved. If your answers are “no,” or “not sure,” then my dear reader, let me show you in the next couple of pages, just how you may receive Jesus the Messiah as your Saviour and Master. Let’s look at these two questions.

A. THE SIN QUESTION

We all must admit that we have sinned. We have sinned a million times - in thought, word and deed. But the sad fact is that we are all “born sinners” - born with a sinful nature inherited from Adam. We were condemned from our birth, and separated from God! It is because we are “born sinners,” that we sin.

It is, firstly, because of the condemnation that came through Adam’s sin, that we need a Saviour. Secondly, because of our own sin, we find ourselves under the penalty of sin - “for the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

This is not merely physical death, but spiritual death - separation from God. This separation, unless we are redeemed, results in eternal Hell!

The Messiah, the Anointed One, is the only Person who can save us from that eternal fate. How can He save us? He died in our place. We, the sinners, should die for our sins, but Y’shua, Jesus, took our place and willingly embracing the cross at Calvary, and paid the penalty of our sin. The Son of God, became “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

This is the truth revealed throughout the Scriptures;

“Surely He has taken up our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded - pierced through - for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the punish­ment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed ... My Servant, will justify many, as He will bear their iniquities ... Because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:4-5, 11-12)

“For indeed the Messiah died for sins once for all, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous, so that He might bring us to God. He was put to death in the body, but was brought to life by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

Now some may ask, “Why should Jesus die as a substitute for us. Why shouldn’t each one of us pay the penalty for our own sins?”

The problem is that if we paid the penalty of our sins, there would be no salvation, for our own death would not redeem us. We would still be separated from God for eternity.

The Scriptures make it clear; from the beginning, redemption has required the shedding of the blood of an unblemished sacrifice.

“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission – no release or forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22)

Before Calvary, animals were sacrificed to make atonement; but only spotless animals were acceptable. God accepted those sacrifices as a “temporary, provisional measure,” to cover the people’s sins until the Messiah came and paid, once and for all, the penalty for the sins of the whole world.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things like silver of gold that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of the Messiah, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 2:18-19)

One sinner cannot redeem another sinner. And look as you will, you will never find a spotless Person on this planet, except the Son of God. Y’shua the Messiah, because of His virgin birth, was born without sin. (He did not inherit Adam’s sinful nature.) And He also lived a sinless life. Therefore He was qualified to become the spotless sacrifice for our sins. The death of the Messiah is the provision - the only provision -God has made for our redemption. Y’shua’s death paid the penalty of men’s sins, and therefore all sinners who believe and accept this provision are freed from the condemnation of their sins.

On the cross, Y’shua, the perfect Man, carried our sins. He endured the pain, and the wrath. He was separated from God (“My God, why have You forsaken Me?”), and died.

Y’shua did not go to Hell as some have taught. He went to Paradise which is in the spiritual, Heavenly realm.

Y’shua did not need to go to Hell. He did not die for His personal sin, for He had none! And when He bore our sins, He did not participate in our sins. He paid the full penalty for them when He suffered and died on the cross. By His sacrificial death, He provided redemption for all who would believe. The work of redemption was completed on the cross.

“Then,” some will argue, “when an unbeliever pays the penalty of his sin and dies, he should be free of the penalty, and then be able to go to Heaven!”

No! Even though a sinner pays the penalty, he cannot be redeemed by his own death. He can only be saved by receiving the provision God has made - redemption through the sacri­fice of the Messiah. “Redeemed” means to be “bought back,” and “set free from sin and its penalty.” The moment a person believes and receives the Saviour, he is redeemed - his sins are forgiven, he is reconciled to God, he is justified, he is placed “in Christ,” he becomes a child of God, he indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he receives Eternal Life, and Heaven becomes his home. The unbeliever has no such redemption and destiny.

When a believer dies physically, he goes to Heaven, and is never again separated from God. As Y’shua said.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me, even though he dies, he will live; and whoever is living and believing in Me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

But when an unbeliever dies physically, he finds himself totally separated from God. Hell is the outcome because he did not receive the provision, the salvation of God.

WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF Y’SHUA THE MASTER WILL BE SAVED ! (Romans 10:

The Messiah’s death becomes effective for everyone who turns from his sin to God, and confesses Y’shua as his personal Saviour and Heavenly Master.

“God be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

It is God’s grace that enables us to turn from our crooked way, and by faith, receive Y’shua as our personal Saviour.

“If you confess with your mouth Y’shua as LORD, (the Heavenly Master), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

On the basis of the death of Christ (the spotless and anointed Messiah), God pardons the sinner and gives him new life - the gift of eternal life. And it is through faith in the living Saviour, that a person is saved.

“For by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

B. THE LORDSHIP QUESTION

When one receives Y’shua as his Saviour, he also receives Him as his new Master. “Lordship” means the Messiah is the Master or Head of one’s life. Our need is not only to be for­given for past sins, but to have a new life and a new Master - One who will deliver us from our present sins and failures.

Only a living Saviour can save and sanctify us. This is why the resurrection of Christ is such an important part of our faith.

After His sacrificial death at Calvary, and the three days when His body lay in the tomb, the Messiah rose victoriously from the dead. If Y’shua had stayed in the tomb, bound by death, He would have been a false prophet, for He had prophesied that He would rise again on the third day. (John 2:19)

The Messiah Himself rose from the dead, and at the same time, He was raised from the dead. (Acts 2:24, 32. Luke 24:6-7, 34).

By the resurrection, Y’shua proved, and God the Father also proved, that the Messiah was indeed the Son of God, and the One who is able to save all who come to Him in faith.

The Scriptures declare that God has made Y’shua both Master (Lord) and Messiah (the Anointed One, Christ).

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made this Y’shua whom you crucified, both Master and Messiah.” (Acts 2:36)

“Therefore (because He stooped so low), God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Y’shua every knee should bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth - and every tongue confess that Y’shua the Messiah is the Heavenly Master, to the glory of YHWH, God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

When one comes to the Saviour, there is a change of owner­ship, a change of status. We are no longer slaves of Satan, but children of God. We’re no longer in darkness but are in the Light. We now belong to the Messiah, who calls us His friends, His own, His Bride.

To accomplish God’s will in our lives, Y’shua requires us to surrender the reins of our life to His control, and to walk in fellowship with Him. He wants to take over “the steering wheel,” so that, as the living Saviour, He is able to deliver us. Do you see then, the necessity of making Him the Master of your life? This is why He says:

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)

And in Romans we read:

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service and spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is - His good, acceptable and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

When we receive Jesus as our MASTER, we become His disciples. We are called to follow Him, and to obey Him.

There will be times when the disciple makes mistakes - when he fails or falls; but having received Jesus Christ as his Master, he will always have the mighty Deliverer with him.

My friend, these two points, the Sin Question, and the Lordship Question, show what is involved in receiving and following Christ. When Y’shua is received by faith, a miracle takes place in the believer - the miracle known as “the new birth.” This is the implanting of the life of God within us. God’s Holy Spirit accomplishes this miracle in us, and from that moment, He permanently indwells us.

Dear reader, this matter is very vital and real! Salvation is not a matter of feeling. It is not a matter of religion, or merely believing all the facts concerning Christ. It is not a matter of how good or bad you are; it is a vital miracle that takes place, when we receive Jesus the Messiah as Saviour and Master.

WHY DON’T YOU RECEIVE THE SAVIOUR RIGHT NOW ?

If you have not yet received Jesus Christ, will you do so, right now, wherever you are? Kneel and tell God that you believe and are trusting in His Son for salvation. Make your covenant, your commitment to Him now.

Confess your faith that Christ died for your sin and rose again to be your Saviour. Trust the Lord Jesus to save you. The Father will forgive your sins, cleanse your life, pardon you, and give you His gift of eternal life. Then yield yourself to the Master and become His faithful disciple from this day on.

This may sound simple. Indeed it is, but it will change the whole course of your life. It will mean, if you are genuine in this matter, a miracle, and eternal salvation. It will mean you will be secure “in Christ.”

“To all who received Him, to those who believe in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

This is the way to make sure you will be included in the company that will meet the Master in the air. Will you do it right now?

The following Decision Prayer may help you to express your heart, and to receive Y’shua, Jesus, as your personal Saviour.

DECISION PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I come to You just as I am, a sinner needing Your grace, forgiveness, and salvation.

I believe that the Messiah, Jesus, died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins; and I believe He rose again from the dead; I believe He is the living Saviour who saves all who call upon His Name.

Lord Jesus, I yield my life to You and receive You as my Saviour and Master from this day on. I trust You to deliver me from all my sinful habits, and by Your grace, to make me Your faithful follower and witness throughout my life.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for hearing my prayer. Thank You for Your forgiveness and eternal life. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your love for me, and for Your sacrifice at Calvary to redeem me from my sin and hopeless condition. Thank You, Master, for Your salva­tion. Thank You, Father for making me Your child. Thank You.

Thank You. Amen.

Signed ………………….................. Date …………….

PLEASE KEEP YOUR SIGNED PRAYER WITH YOU AS A REMEMBRANCE OF THIS WONDERFUL DAY IN YOUR LIFE.

If this has been your decision prayer today, would you write a note to us to let us know. We will rejoice with you and pray for you. Write to ...

Maranatha Revival Crusade at one of our addresses on the contact page.

2. HOW CAN WE LIVE SO THAT WE WILL NOT BE ASHAMED AT THE RAPTURE?

From the words of John, it is evident that some believers may be ashamed when the Master comes:

“And now, little children, abide and stay in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (1 John 2:28)

Evidently there will be many believers who, although caught up to meet the Master, will be ashamed at that time; ashamed because they have not lived faithfully for Him, and to their commitment to Him; ashamed because they have wasted opportunities, time and talents; ashamed because they have laid up treasure on earth, and not in heaven; ashamed because they have been so half-hearted, so small in faith, so careless in service, so slow in obedience, and so selfish in living.

Yes, many will be ashamed at that time! But my dear reader; I, for one, do not want to be ashamed. I want to gaze into my Saviour’s Face when I meet Him, and not hang my head in shame.

Sure, there are things in my life of which I am ashamed. And now there’s no way I can change the past. But I can make the most of the available time still before me, to live in, and for my beloved Master!

My reader, we don’t want “easy answers” to our question, “How can we live so that we will not be ashamed at the Rapture?” We need Scriptural instructions!

ABIDING IN CHRIST

To put your house in order is not a matter of giving the house a whitewash. We need to look into the Scriptures and examine our relationship with our Master. And this is what we will seek to do in the rest of this book.

In John’s epistle, we are exhorted to abide in Christ. The word “abide” is a key word for the believer’s spiritual life. Abide means to “live in and remain in.” Y’shua said:

“Live and remain in Me, and I will live in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you live and remain in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. If anyone lives in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing ... If you live and remain in union with Me, and My words live and remain in you, you will ask whatever you will, and it will be given to you.” (John 15:4, 5, 7)

We know that the Messiah abides in us, for His Holy Spirit indwells every believer, and He has made each one of them a temple of God. Moreover, the Sh’khinah Glory - the manifest Presence of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, resides in our spirit, our innermost sanctuary.

The Messiah abides permanently in us, but do we constantly abide in Him? Or do we often take “time out”?

Let me illustrate. Take some modern homes. There are two types of people. These days, some people have apartments, but they hardly live in them. They go home to sleep, and to have a bite to eat. Their home is a place where they can keep their possessions, but they seldom live in their homes. They are out all day - come home late at night. Saturday they are out, Sunday also. They are hardly ever at home.

By contrast, other people live in their homes. Their home is their kingdom. The wife works to make the home a lovely place. The husband returns home early from work, to enjoy his family and the blessings of the home. He likes to bring his friends home; and so do the children. They take an interest in the garden and in making the premises comfortable, pleasant and enjoyable. Their whole attitude is different to the first type of “home” which I have described. This second home is not just a place, but a dwelling - an abiding place.

So it should be with the believer ... he is to live in Christ, not like the first type of person, who is content with a casual use of his home. The believer cannot be casual about his relationship to his Master. He is to abide, to live, to dwell deeply in his beloved Master. It is only as one abides in Christ, that he is prepared for the Master’s return.

IS JESUS, LORD OF YOUR WHOLE HOUSE?

From another angle, please consider your spiritual house - your life. Is Y’shua enthroned in your house, or do you try to keep Him in a back room, or in a corner?

Some people pray “Lord Jesus, come into my heart,” but their attitude seems to say, “Now Lord, please stay in this one room and please don’t enter or interfere with the other rooms.”

They want to keep the Saviour in the “religious room,” and don’t want Him in the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen, the sports room, the entertainment room, the social room or in the business room.

Why? Maybe those rooms are not in order. If the Master comes into your life, He comes in to be Master of all your life. But He will move only into the places that we open and prepare for Him.

Reader, is your whole house in order?

CLEANSE THE HOUSE

The apostle John writes of a purifying expectation of the Master’s return.

“Every one who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)

Certainly, if the Second Coming is a hope at all, it must be a purifying hope. This is the constant emphasis of the apostles’ teaching concerning the imminent return of Christ.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible (self-controlled), upright and godly lives in this present age, awaiting and looking for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Y’shua the Messiah; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness, and purify for

Himself a people who are uniquely His own, people zealous to do good works.” (Titus 2.11-14)

“Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to and earnestly desire the Day of God (the Day of YHWH) ... Therefore, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him, without spot, blameless, and at peace.” (2 Peter 3:11-12,14)

To “purify ourselves,” of course, does not mean that we are able to cleanse, remove or atone for our sins. It means that we confess our sins; we forsake them, and receive continuous cleansing from all unrighteousness. Daily we bring ourselves to the Saviour, to have fellowship with Him. Thus we are able to walk in the light, and the blood of Y’shua cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7, 9)

To “cleanse our house” means to get rid of those things that sully our lives. We are to lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles or besets us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Now, if we are going to set our house in order, we must “turn the light on.” We must allow the searchlight of the Holy Spirit to penetrate into every corner of our “house,” so that not a speck of dirt remains. In the words of David, we should pray:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts; see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

We cannot be content to “let things sort themselves out.” We cannot be complacent about our responsibility to live purified, God-honoring, Christ-exalting lives. Reader, does your house need to be swept and cleansed?

 

THE PERFECTION OF THE BRIDE

The need for purity, for spotlessness, is very evident and urgent when we remember that as believers, we are the “Bride of Christ” - His beautiful, corporate Companion. We have been chosen and called to share the life of the Eternal Son. And He, the Son, is working for the perfection of His Bride.

Yes, Y’shua is doing this, right now!

“And He gifted and gave some disciples as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as shepherd-pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the set-apart believers, for the work of service, for the building up of the body of Messiah; until we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown, mature, perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

“The Messiah also loved the Ekklesia (His universal Bride) and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of water with the Word, and that He might present the Ekklesia to Himself, a glorious Bride, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing - but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

The apostles, and especially Paul, had this goal of perfecting believers constantly before them.

“We proclaim Him, warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect, mature and complete in the Messiah. For this reason also I toil, striving according to His power which mightily works within me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)

The Bride must be perfected, for she is soon to be presented to the Heavenly Bridegroom to be His eternal companion.

When He comes to receive His Bride, dear reader, how will the Bride­groom find us, individually? Spotless, and in order? Or neglected and in disorder?

Once I had an unscriptural dream. There was a knock at my door. I knew instinctively who it was. “It’s the Lord, He’s come!” I cried. I flung the door open, expecting to be caught up to heaven. The Lord was standing there, and He said to me; “You have to put some things right! I’ll be back after half an hour.”

Well, in my dream I can’t remember the Lord coming back. Anyway, the dream is unscriptural, because when the Master comes, He won’t say, “You have half an hour to put things right.” But the dream was a warning! I must be ready, every moment. Reader, is your house in order, this very moment?

As the glorious marriage is drawing near, how urgent it is for us, each one, as individual members of the Bride, to reach on to perfection in Christ!

Some believers, sadly, do not like the idea of perfection. Some are afraid of the word. Some feel that perfection is beyond the reach of the believer while on earth, and so they treat the subject with extreme caution, or avoid it altogether.

Others have gone to the other extreme, bringing in false teach­ings such as the “sinless perfection” idea - a teaching which says a believer, on earth, can reach a state where he does not sin any more. This teaching says that the “old man,” the sinful nature in man, is gradually eradicated in the believer, so that he does not sin any more. This idea is contradicted by the apostle John who, while warning that “the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8), also says:

“If we claim that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

Another wrong teaching says that the believer’s “old man,” his sinful nature, was crucified with Christ at Calvary, and therefore he cannot sin.

Teachers of both of these false ideas will tend to regard only the most grievous things as sins, and make allowances for faults such as a bitter spirit, a harsh word, failure to obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting, dwelling on wrong thoughts, criticism, etc. - all of which are sins indeed.

The truth is that in POSITION, the believer was crucified with Christ at Calvary.

I have been crucified with the Messiah; and I no longer live, but it is the Messiah who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

The believer is counted as though he, personally, was crucified, and the “old man” died. And now, after receiving Christ, he is justified, born again, and has a “new man” created within him. He is now looked upon as though he had never sinned. And in his life, there is a very real change, for he is a new creation in Christ. He no longer follows his former sinful course; he no longer lives “in sin,” for now he lives “in Christ.”

But no honest believer will claim to be sinless. No honest believer will claim that there is no trace of a sinful nature still within him. (I heard a preacher say once, that when we feel anything of a sinful nature within us, it is only our feelings, and not actually the sinful nature – for the old man is dead.)

Oh no! This is not a matter of feelings. The believer unfortunately still has the “old man.” He is still very prone to sin, and in fact, as the work of God goes deeper within him, he often becomes more conscious of his sin.

Romans chapter seven presents the two natures of the believer in conflict. At times the battle is fierce, for the believer has three main enemies - the flesh (the old man), the world, and the devil. It is the risen Saviour, however, who gives victory to the new man. And the believer must learn to appropriate this victory in his life.

The “old man” will not be destroyed until we leave this world. But it can be, and does need to be rendered inoperative by the Spirit-filled “new man.” The apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” (l Corinthians 15:31). And Y’shua said to His disciples,

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

It is the “new man” who takes up the cross. The “new man” embraces the cross principle, which means, “Not my will but Your will be done.” The “new man” says, “No!” to self, considers itself dead to sin, and yields his body, soul and spirit - his whole being to the Master. The believer then becomes a living sacrifice unto God, (Romans 12:1), and by the power of the Holy Spirit, renders the “old man” inoperative.

“Brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, with an obligation to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14)

“So you also consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Messiah, Y’shua our Master. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not present the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:11-13)

It is when we so present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, that the experience which Paul speaks about, becomes real and effective in our lives:

“I have been crucified with the Messiah; and I no longer live, but it is the Messiah who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

This does not mean that one is now sinless. It means the Master is producing a greater maturity in believers’ lives, and living out His life in them. And we are enabled to press on to the goal of ultimate perfection. Here is a paradox. The believer is justified, and reckoned righteous, and yet he is to press on to righteousness. He is sanctified, but he must progress to sanctification. He is called a saint, but he must progress to saintliness. He is cleansed, but he must grow in holiness. The believer’s experience must develop, and line up with his position in Christ. “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Now some believers will throw up their hands and say; “However could we be perfect like the Father while we are still on the earth? That’s impossible!”

Then why did the Master give that command? Because the Father is our goal –and He will bring about out ultimate perfection. But we begin to partake of His divine nature here and now.  “He has given us His precious and magnificent promises in order that through them you might become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4).

So we reach on to perfection! There is no room for compla­cency, or self-satisfaction. Whatever degree of perfection the Holy Spirit has already achieved in our lives, we must press on towards that ultimate perfection which we attain after the Rapture and the Bema Seat - the Master’s throne where we give account of our stewardship. It’s true! We will never attain total perfection here on earth. But there are degrees that we can attain to, by yielding our­selves to the gracious working of God. Or, to put it like this: You could be more perfect than you are today, couldn’t you? And you should be more perfect now than you were one year ago!

Once we were in the realm of darkness, the kingdom of Satan; now we are in the kingdom of light, the kingdom of God’s Son. And now that we are justified, the Father is seeking to conform us to the image of His perfect Son.

We each one can afford to ask, how far along this road of being conformed to the image of Christ, am I?  Many believers may be ashamed at the coming of the Messiah, because they have made so little progress along this road. So let’s look at areas in our lives that need to be perfected.

1. PERFECTING HOLINESS

Did you realize that holiness needs to be pursued and per­fected? That is what Paul taught:

“Therefore, beloved, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of body and spirit, perfecting holiness in reverence, standing in awe of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Some believers are afraid of the term holiness as though it was the property of some extreme group. But it is unholiness that we should be afraid of! Holiness is a Bible doctrine - but it is much more than a doctrine. Holiness is the awesome nature of God. And it must become the experience and nature of the people of God. The basic meaning of the Biblical word holy, is “set-apart.” Purity proceeds from set-apartness. “He who called you is set-apart and holy; you also be set-apart and holy in all your behavior; because it is written, YOU SHALL BE HOLY (SET-APART), FOR I AM HOLY (SET-APART). (1 Peter 1:15-16)

We know that because of their position “in Christ,” born again believers are counted righteous and are set-apart by God. It is because of this imputed righteousness, this set-apartness, that we read in 1 Peter 2:9 (speaking of the Body of Messiah): “You are a set-apart (holy) nation.”

There is therefore a need for the practice of personal holiness, as Peter also says:

“Be set-apart and holy in all your behavior.” (1 Peter 1:15)

Remember, the Holy One is working in us to set us apart from all darkness, and to perfect holiness in our lives: “May the Master cause you to increase and overflow in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Master, Y’shua, with all His set-apart people.” (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

And the Father “disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. (Hebrew 12:10)

Now here is the paradox again. We are already set-apart people, but we must become set-apart in our experience.

Do you agree that we could be more holy than we are? Right! And we should be more holy today than we were a year ago. We should be more holy in one year from now, than we are at present. So let us press on to perfect holiness standing in awe of God.

HOLINESS IS MORE THAN MORALITY

Some people think of holiness in terms of morality, but holiness is much more than morality. There are good, moral people all around us who live within the old-time moral code. They do not swindle or trespass, but although they are good-living people, they may not be one bit holy.

Holiness is the inherent essence of the nature of God. And believers are called to share that holiness, as we have read above. Holiness is partaking of God’s life; it’s imbibing His holy nature (qualities) so that our lives become Godly; so that our thinking and our actions become Godly. Holiness is Godliness. Reader, can you not see the need to perfect holiness; to become Godly; to become like our Master?

With God, holiness is absolute. With us, it is a matter of progress - we are to progress from holiness to holiness.

To prepare for the coming of the Master, we need to pursue holiness in the fear of God. And to do this, we need to live in the fullness of the Spirit, to take hold of the promises and Word of God, and to apply Bible doctrine – principles - in our lives by faith.

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you by a full knowl­edge of God and of Y’shua our Master; for His divine power has given us everything needed for life and reverence, through the true, personal knowledge of Him who has called us by and to His own glory, virtue and excellence. For by these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises in order that through them you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Reader, is your “house filled” with God’s Life and Holiness?

2. PERFECTING LOVE

Another room of our house that may need to be set in order is “relationships.” If Paul and Peter were concerned that believers perfected holiness, John’s great concern was that they perfected love. Perfected love also means Godliness.

“God is love, and the one who lives in love, lives in God, and God lives and remains in him. By this, love has been perfected with us, so that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:16-19)

Is love being perfected in our relationships? Will we be ashamed at the coming of the Master, because of failure to perfect love - love for God Himself, and love for those around us?

First, our LOVE FOR GOD. What does the Scripture say?

“And Y’shua said to him, ‘You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great command.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

Are we learning to love Yahweh our God with all our hearts? Or do we say, “That’s impossible!” and tacitly ignore the first and great command? Is our love for God a vague emotion? Are we recipients only, of God’s love? Is our love relationship to Him a one-sided affair? Or is it developing day by day? Do we love God more this year than we did last year?

What about our love for our Master? Is it developing, or are we content with a casual relationship to Him? God forbid! A casual relationship! Who is this One that we should be casual about Him?

Yes, who is this One whom we are commanded to love Him with all our hearts? He is our Beloved!

God has planned that we should live with the Messiah - as His closest companion - throughout eternity. What type of a Bride are we, if our love for Him is not growing day by day? As a member of the Bride, I must cultivate love for my Bridegroom. But how do we cultivate this love?

By abiding, living in Christ - by dwelling in His presence, walking with Him, getting to know Him ever more deeply, and thus developing a profound appreciation of Him.

Secondly, what about our LOVE FOR OTHERS? How does the Scripture exhort us? IN THE MARRIAGE

Husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah also loved the Ekklesia and gave Himself up for her ... let each individual among you also love his wife even as himself; and let each wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25, 33)

God intended that every marriage relationship should be a love relationship. Most marriages start off well, but after some time, love may decline. In a Christian marriage, love can, and should be perfected. It is not merely human love, but divine love that needs to be perfected. This love is God’s answer for the strains that come into the home and family relationships. Divine love perfected, is the answer for the husband/wife relationship, and also for the parent/child relationship.

In a letter I received, a brother explained how he and his wife were always fighting, and the fault was always on his side. Then Jesus stepped into his life and changed him, and now they are loving each other more and more. HalleluYah!

When our lives are not in harmony with our Heavenly Master, they will be out of tune with others.

Is love being perfected in our home? Is there a need to prepare our family circle for the coming of the Lord? To perfect love, we need to abide in Christ.

IN THE FAMILY OF GOD “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for how can the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)

We know love by this, that He, Y’shua, laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s resources for living, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart of compassion to him, how does the love of God live and remain in him? My little chil­dren, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)

Here, “love the brethren” is a command. Love amongst believers is a sign that they are true disciples of the Messiah.

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

Love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, needs to be perfected. Oh, the regret there will be in the hearts of many believers, at the coming of the Master, because they have let bitterness, criticism, indifference and unlove towards other believers continue in their lives. They did not forgive, nor seek to perfect love towards other members of the Bride!

Oh, the tragedy when believers hold grudges against other believers; when saints prefer to avoid saints; when the saved gather and yet barely talk to brethren; when lovers of the Master don’t love each other; and when the redeemed act little better than heathen!

“Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded!” (James 4:8)

Are we prepared for the coming of the Master? How can we say we’re ready if we don’t love the brethren?

IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

What about those around us? Is our love for neighbours and our fellowmen being perfected? How are we to love them? As ourselves! I suspect that there is room for perfection in this department.

What about the people next door - the ones down the street that you don’t care for very much? What about those you work with, and those who are in regular contact with you in your daily routine and business? What about that rude postman, that gossiping woman next door, or the difficult labourers and the businessmen you deal with?

Is our love for our neighbors being perfected, or are we constantly defeated when we meet some of them? Divine love is the answer for our attitude towards our neighbours.

IN SOCIETY AND THE WORLD “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Believers are not supposed to be ordinary people, you know! We are the people of the Anointed One. Y’shua was no ordinary person. And we are to walk as He walked. We are to be as He is, in this present world. (1 John 4:17)

It is not difficult to make enemies; especially if we are faithful to the Master:

“If the world hates you, you know it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, and because I chose you out of the world, the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

Our response to hatred must be love. Our response to persecution must be love. Our response to those who gossip about us, who slander us, who despise us, who are malicious towards us, must always be love!

Oh, sure, it is not easy to love enemies. But love, we must! And divine love, God’s love in us, is the answer. This needs to be perfected in us. We need to pray for our enemies until we can genuinely bless them. How to bless them? Put God’s Name on them. (See Numbers 6:24-27)

Yahweh bless you (name your enemy ……), and keep you; Yahweh make His Face to shine on you, and be gracious to you.  May Yahweh lift up His Countenance on you, and give you peace.

So they shall put My Name on the children of Israel,  and I, yes, I will bless them.” Have we learned this lesson? Is there any room left for perfecting love? Let us not be ashamed at the coming of the Master because, instead of loving our brethren and our enemies, we have hated them, and have spoken evil of them.

My reader, this life on earth is a great arena in which we may learn to triumph, to gain mastery over natural, carnal feelings; an arena in which we should learn to perfect the Godly characteristic of love. How to do it? By living in Christ.

3. PERFECTING THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

If I ask the question, “How well do you know God?” you may be hesitant to answer. If I answer the question myself, I must honestly say, “I’m just beginning to know Him.” But, like Paul, I also say: “I count all things to be loss because of the surpassing value of knowing the Messiah, Y’shua my Master, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain the Messiah ... I want to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:8, 10)

I think Paul was one of the greatest Christians ever, and if he, near the end of his fruitful life, could say he was pursuing the knowledge of God, then how much more must I ...

“... grow in grace and the knowledge of our Master and Saviour, Y’shua the Messiah.” (2 Peter 3:18) Now, I’m sure most of my readers will agree that the knowledge of God here referred to, is not merely intellectual knowledge. It is not simply knowing all the facts of the Bible. It is not just knowing all the doctrines and explanations about “The Godhead.” It is getting to know the Almighty Himself. It is the intimate, personal knowledge of the Eternal One.

How do you get to know God so intimately, so personally? By living in Him, and walking in His Spirit! How do you get to know any person? By spending time in his presence.

So, it is with the Lord Jesus. We have to live with Him, to abide in Him, to move and have our being in Him. The more we live in Him, the more we will know Him, and the more we will appreciate Him; and the more we appreciate Him, the more we will love Him and praise Him.

The more we know Y’shua, the Anointed One, the more we will know the Father, for Y’shua reveals the Father. He who sees the Son, sees the Father.

All true knowledge of the Eternal One is through the Eternal Son. So get to know Y’shua, your beloved Master, for all the fullness of Deity dwells in Him. (Colossians 2:9).

Do you see, then, the need to abide in Christ? The more we know the Father and the Son, the more we will know the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

Do we have a knowledge of the Holy Spirit? I don’t mean, do we know correct doctrine about the Holy Spirit. I mean, do we know Him personally, in our experience? Do we know much about walking in the Spirit - about being led by the Spirit? Do we know the reality of being filled with the Spirit?

How we need to know the blessed Comforter who dwells within every one of us, if we are truly the Lord’s people! And yet He is almost a stranger to some believers!

Do you know that the Holy Spirit is very sensitive, and that believers may often grieve or quench Him? He is grieved by sin. He is grieved because of what we do to ourselves, by our failure to walk in all the provision He has made for our walk “in the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is so loving, so patient, so wonderful. He always seeks to impart more of the life of the Messiah to us, and to build us up in our faith. It’s through His indwelling Presence, that the power, victory, holiness and grace of God becomes a reality in our lives. It is through His ministry within us that we are prepared to meet our Heavenly Master when He calls us from Heaven.

Is our spiritual house permeated by the knowledge of the Holy One? Or is He mostly contained in a set of Bible commentaries in our libraries? When the Master comes, we don’t want to greet Him as though we were largely strangers - as though we were distant relatives, do we? Then let us pursue the knowledge of God.

4. PERFECTING PRAISE AND WORSHIP

Is worship our daily occupation, or are we waiting for the Rapture to start to worship in earnest? Yes, we are limited here on earth, but we are exhorted to praise the LORD with our whole being. “Let everything that has breath, praise the LORD.” (Psalm 150:6)

What type of adoration and music fills our house - our life? On whom or what do we lavish our worship? Is our house a “temple of worship,” or is it more like a rock concert? Is our house filled with complaining, gossip and irrelevant talk, or is it filled with praise, rejoicing and melody to the Lord?

“Be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making songs of praise in your heart to the LORD; always giving thanks to God our Father for everything, in the Name of our Master, Y’shua the Anointed.”  (Ephesians 5:19)

There is a wonderful blessing that is reserved for those who learn to worship the Eternal One. And isn’t He so worthy of praise because of who He is, and what He has done?

Worthy of homage and of praise

Worthy by all to be adored!

When I say we need to perfect praise, I do not mean merely the ability to string the right words and music together. Praise and worship is much more than that. Praise is not mere words! Praise is adoration from the heart - of the heart of one who has been taken up with the Holy Presence; the one who is full of appreciation for Him.

How to learn to praise the Eternal One? By living in Him, and getting to know, to appreciate, and to love Him.

  5. PERFECTING INTERCESSION AND THE USE OF SPIRITUAL WEAPONS

Here is another tremendous area we need to work on. Spiritual warfare is raging all around us, and casualties are strewn throughout our lands. Are we able to effectively use the weapons at our disposal? Or do we seek to avoid being involved in “war” at all?

Some believers imagine that the Christian life is more like a carnival or village fair, with merry-go-rounds, sideshows, stalls, colourful balloons and fun time, than a training ground for spiritual war, and a preparation to reign with the Messiah.

Some believers want to learn about spiritual warfare by sitting in a lounge chair. They learn as much about spiritual warfare as a sixth class student learns of the First World War by reading history books. To learn warfare, you must be on the battlefield. And the spiritual battlefield is around us.

Some of us are casualties of the battle because we have not learned to apply the principles of spiritual warfare! Really! How much do we know about fighting spiritual enemies on our knees? Or wrestling with principalities and powers?

Do we see victories won through intercession, or do our prayers seem to avail so little?

What do we know about the spiritual weapons of our warfare, such as the Sword of the Spirit? Not in theory, but in practice? Many of us may be ashamed at the coming of the Master because we have been of so little use to Him, to the Church, and to the unsaved, in the warfare that rages around us.

Brother, are you asking, “Where is the battle that’s all around us”?

Look, dear friend, there are millions of precious lives being destroyed all around us? Look at the deteriorating conditions in the world. Look at the moral collapse. Look at the increase of violence, crime, drugs, wickedness of every kind. Look at the increase of false cults, of witchcraft and the worship of Satan! This is all part of the spiritual warfare.

Many of us live today, however, in what is called the “affluent society.” This is the age of luxuries, and so often the affluence mentality is carried over into the spiritual house. We want our lives to be filled with comforts; soft, cushy armchairs to relax in; thick carpets so our knees don’t get sore; TV dinners so we don’t have to spend time in preparing “Manna from heaven.” We prefer to “surf the Net” than to “search the Word!” We have our quiet time with one eye on the TV, and one ear in the radio.

We like to have our “house” full of electronic gadgets so that we can do God’s work with the greatest of ease, and so that we still have plenty of time for fun, and to attend to all our other pet schemes and ambitions.

When it comes to military service for the Heavenly King, we file our certificate of unfitness. We’re overweight. And if we do fight, we do so, not with spiritual stamina, but with the flabby “flesh.” Some of us say, “We’re too old for military service now.” That’s the “old man” speaking! But where is the “new man,” the one whose youth is renewed like the eagle? (Psalm 103:5)

So, what about it? Are we being perfected as soldiers of Christ, or are we still in nursery playing with toy guns?

Sound the battle-cry. See! the foe is nigh!

Raise the standard high, for the Lord

Gird your armour on. Stand firm every one.

Rest your cause upon His Holy Word.

Rouse then soldiers, rally round the banner!

( For more teaching on the subject of Spiritual Warfare ,  see my booklet, CONSTANT COMBAT

6. PERFECTING THE ABILITY TO TRIUMPH IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

Dear reader, when things go wrong, do you go “flat”? When adverse circumstances come along, do you grumble and complain? Do you get upset at all the little things that are not in accordance with your desires and convenience?  Have we learned to rejoice in the Lord always? Not, rejoicing in the circumstances, but in the Lord Himself - even during adverse circumstances?

The Master is teaching His people to be glad in Him, and to believe that He is in control of all that concerns us. We read in Romans 8:28, that …

“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Do we believe it? Have we learned to triumph when things go wrong? It does not take much power to praise the Holy One and to rejoice when everything is going right. But we do need to perfect the ability to triumph, and to rejoice in all circumstances.

How do we do this? By living in Christ and learning His ways; by growing in grace and the knowledge of the Holy One; by growing in faith - the faith that trusts God at all times.

Believer, this world, is a wonderful environment in which we can learn to triumph ... an environment of many adverse circumstances. Let us not fail to learn the lessons. There are some lessons we won’t be able to learn in eternity where there is a perfect environment. Many will be ashamed at the coming of the Messiah, because they have failed to learn this important lesson - of triumph!

7. PREPARING OTHERS FOR MESSIAH’S COMING

So far, we have discussed preparing ourselves for the coming of the Master, and of course, if we ourselves are not prepared, we won’t be able to help prepare others. But we would be miserable, self-centered people if we were un­concerned for others ... our family members, our friends, and our countrymen. We know that after the Bridegroom catches His Bride away from this world, the Tribulation will begin ... the most fearful time of trouble, despair and judgment to ever come upon this world. It will be more fearful than the Flood of Noah’s day. What about those who will be left behind, to suffer and to die in the Tribulation?

My brother and sister, what about your own unsaved children? You do everything you can to provide physical support for your young ones. You provide food, clothes and education. You try to plan and provide for their future. Are you also seeking to prepare them for eternity?

Then, there are your relatives who are not saved. Do you care for them - whether they are redeemed or doomed?

What about your unsaved friends? You call yourself a friend! Are you too timid to warn them of the coming judgment? Would you rather let them rush along into de­struction? Do you regularly intercede for them? Do you miss an hour’s sleep because of the lost?

There are thousands of unbelievers all around you who are heading for the Great Tribulation and for Hell. Don’t you have some responsibility towards them? “Watchman, what of the night?” You can see it coming! Then don’t slumber! You see it coming, so be on the alert! Lift up your voice! Yahweh the Eternal One says:

“Son of Man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked ways, to save his life, the same wicked man will die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he will die in his iniq­uity; but you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-19)

Oh, my brothers and sisters, let us not be like unbelievers! Let us not be unprepared! It is only a matter of time, and He that is coming, will come!

Many will be ashamed at the coming of the Messiah, because they have not been faithful to the commission committed to them. They have not been soul-winners. They have not been on the alert. They have wasted opportunities, wasted time, and wasted talents. They have lived largely for themselves. They have laid up treasures on earth, and not in heaven. They have given themselves to wealth and worldly pleasures.

Soon we all shall give an account of our stewardship to the Heavenly Master. Will He put His arm around us and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Or will we hang our heads in shame on that day? Now is the time for all of us to answer that question. Now is the time, beloved, to set our house in order. Let us examine ourselves and our relationship with the Master. This is the time to live like a Christian ought to live. It is time to obey our Master. It is time to redeem the time. It is time to “owe no man anything”; time to pay off our debts. It is time that we stopped building for the world, and built for eternity. It is time churches stopped building with bricks and mortar, and started building with living stones. It is time to forget personal ambitions, and to know the will of God. It is time to renounce our luxuries, and to take up the cross. It is time to stop talking idle words and to preach the living Word.

This is the time to warn, the time to weep, the time to plead, to love, to labour and to prevail. This is the time to rescue the perishing, to deliver souls enslaved by Satan, to set the captives free, and to restore those fallen by the wayside.

This is the time to complete the things left undone, to repent and do the first works, and to surrender and do the last works. It is time to wake up, to hold fast, to throw off complacency and lukewarmness, and to press ahead.

Today is the day of Salvation, Tomorrow is the day of Judgment. Today is the day of Opportunity, Tomorrow is the day of Reckoning.

What will I hear my Master say, When I stand before Him on that judgment day? Will I hear him say, “Well done,” For the things I've said and done? What will I hear my Master say?  - Paul Johnson

IS YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER?

 

 

 

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