We are looking at the need for the Church to be ready for the Bridegroom’s return. We are looking at what we need to be doing –and not so much as to what we have done. The Holy Spirit in James tells us to be doers of the Word. Take careful notice, that is not past tense, but present. Remember, always go after what is good for one another! Always, not just for a while, but continually not just sometimes.
How many of you have heard the argument that “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian”? If you don’t go or are not involved with (a part of) a congregation of God’s Church, then how are you obeying the commands of God in the New Testament? And if you know that you are to go and worship with, minister with, and to, a congregation of God’s Church and you do not; is that not a willful act of defiance and disobedience? Sin? (James 4:17)
I cannot get you saved, I cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do. I can encourage you, help you, love you, teach you, serve you, and equip you to do works of ministry, and that, only if you are willing, and only if you are with me or in some sort of communication (but up close and within physical proximity works the best)! It is only as we but into practice the “one anothers” of God’s Word that we can be ready as a congregation of God’s Church for Christ’s 2nd coming. How can you obey the “one another” commands separated from other Christians? What are you doing to be ready… “While you wait” or are you?
In Experiencing God Day by Day we are told that “Biblically, waiting on the Lord is never passive; it is always active. Waiting requires us to cease form our own pursuits and give God our complete attention.” We are to be doing what our lord and master commands us to do. We are to be ready for His return (See Luke 12:36-48)! How can you be ready if you are not His, not walking in faith, not obedient to what you know to do? Listen, I am trying my best to warn and equip you; Jesus is coming back!
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25
As I told you last week, “In the ‘one anothers’ of the New Testament, ‘The whole congregation is called to accept responsibility for the whole congregation.’ I also told you that in 4:11 we are to mind our own business, but looking out for others especially those of the household of faith is our business! Galatians 6:9-10 says, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” And in Galatians 5:13 we are told to, “serve one another through love,” we are to serve one another through God’s love for each of us.
No one can do these things with their head on a pillow, out mowing the grass, or anything else that keeps you from being a part of a local congregation of God’s Church!
Rejoice always: As the Church together—not just as individuals—we are to delight ourselves in the Lord, together with each other as the Church! This was not addressed to you, it was addressed to us! This letter is to be read to all the brothers and sisters, to those of the Church!
Our circumstances do not determine our joy, we can be unhappy and still Rejoice! The psalmist tells that this is a day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)! Why do we rejoice in all circumstances? Because we, “know That God works all things to the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28-29). In Romans 5 :1-5, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” We have reason to Rejoice each and every day, no matter our circumstances! We know God is with us, that God is for us, that the love of God surrounds us, and we rejoice in the fact that God will see us through, no matter how painful, no matter how discouraging, and He will use it to our good.
Pray Constantly: We are to pray constantly, continually, but what does that mean? The Bible does not leave us without an answer, in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer” (emphasis added). God tells us in Philippians 4, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (emphasis added). In Ephesians 6:17-18 we are told, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints” (emphasis added).
The Word of God continues in 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” And in 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.”
Prayer does not just happen when we kneel or fold our hands together with focus and expectation from God. Prayer is also listening and walking in expectation of an answer, “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). You have the privilege of going right to God in prayer, you should take advantage of every opportunity given!
Are you, according to God’s Word – Ready?
- General: Hebrews 5:7-14, Hebrews 10:23-25, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, Philippians 2:1-18
- Rejoice: Psalm 118:24, Romans 5:3-4, Romans 12:12, Romans 14:17, 1 Peter 1:8-9
- Pray: Matthew 5:44, Matthew 5:5-8, Matthew 26:41, Romans 8:26, Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, James 5:13-18, 1 Peter 3:7-12
- Thanksgiving: Psalm 107:1, Psalm 100:1-5, Ephesians 5:4, 15-21 (20), Colossians 2:6-7