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Be Prepared

July 19, 2022

In Matthew 24, Jesus gave us clear instructions of what we should be doing in:
Matthew 24: 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

Jesus said we should be watching for the day he returns to take us home. In Matthew 24:31. Jesus said he will return in the sky and will send his angels to gather his elect from all over the world and take them home.
Before Jesus returns, he said his faithful and wise servants that he has put in charge are responsible to prepare his servants by feeding them spiritual food, so that they will know what to do before he returns.

Matthew 24: 45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.

So, what will Jesus be looking for when he returns?

Luke 18: 8 However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Jesus will be looking for the true faith we must have in him. Faith that has matured in the hope of assurance of our salvation and the certainty of eternal life because of our faith that we have in him.

Hebrews 11: 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Pastors are the wise and faithful servants who must teach and lead Jesus’ servants to mature in their faith in Jesus through God’s word to prepare them before Jesus returns. They also must teach that God will test their faith to see if it will remain true to his Son as he did in:

Hebrews 11: 32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead,
raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that theymight gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned ; they were sawed
in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

These people of faith remained true to God even when faced with death and God commended them for that kind of faith. Most Christians do not experience that kind of life-threatening test of their faith in God that refuses to forsake God. This is the kind faith God commends, one that remains steadfast in the hope it has in him and promise of being with him. God wants us to have that same kind of faith and God said he will help us build up our faith to be steadfast because he loves us and calls us his children.

Hebrews 12: 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Our faith increases in righteousness and peace when we go through God’s discipline that he does out of love for us and his punishment because we are called his children. And when we train ourselves in them our faith grows to be steadfast and not weak and feeble but will be like his Son whose faith was out of love for his Father which made him willingly die for him.

Jesus wants our faith to be like his because his saints will be tested one day to see if it will be willing to die for him when the anti- Christ is revealed and kill the saints because of their faith in him.
There are those who believe that their faith will not be tested with their life because they will be raptured before the coming of the anti-Christ saving them from being killed by him.

I once believed this and that prophetic signs of Jesus’ return were so I would be ready to be raptured and not be killed by the anti-Christ.
Paul words in 2 Thessalonians teaches that the prophetic signs of Jesus return is so we can prepare our faith to be ready when the anti-Christ comes to destroy the saints because Paul said the Lawless one, the anti-Christ will reign, exalt himself before Jesus returns.

Our faith must be true to Jesus and our Father’s will because Satan has declared war on God’s children.

Revelations 12: 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Our faith must be ready when the first beast appears because God will allow him to make war against his saints and conquer them.

Revelations 13: 7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.

This will be like the persecution and killing of the early Christians who Caesar ordered to be killed by wild animals for sport or were crucified or burned as human torches because they refused to forsake the name of Jesus. They were not raptured.
Jesus teaches what our faith must be ready for by what the anti-Christ will do.

Revelations 13: 15 He (2nd beast the anti-Christ, the lawless one) was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Our faith will be tested to see if it is willing to surrender one’s life for Jesus by refusing to worship the image of the beast and take his mark. But Jesus says that those who do shrinks back from their faith will be forever tormented and destroyed.

Revelations 14: 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

Hebrews 10: 38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

We also learn that those whose faith willingly surrenders their life for Jesus will be blessed if they should die before the coming of the anti-Christ.

Hebrews 14: 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

We will be blessed if we should die before the anti-Christ comes because of the deeds that we have done through faith that surrenders itself to Jesus we will go home to be with God forever.
We also will be blessed if we are one of the saints who the anti-Christ martyrs. We will be resurrected and will reign with Jesus for thousand years on earth.

Revelations 20: 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

As brothers and sisters in Christ I want our faith to be prepared for what is to come before Jesus returns and not mislead you to think that you will be raptured before the anti-Christ comes.
Paul said we need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling so I know we must teach God’s word the way he wants it done.

2 Timothy 3: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

If my teaching sounds like I am correcting and admonishing, I do it because of my love for Jesus and for you and how much I do not want us to go off the narrow path home to God.
We should not think that we are adults and should not be taught that way because you will always be a child in God’s eyes who will always need his correction and admonishment so that our faith remains true to him.
Faith that is ready to surrender their life for Christ comes by believing what the saints in Hebrews believed.

Hebrews 11: 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their
own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 12: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of
witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily
entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Faith that surrenders itself to Jesus is one that longs to be with God forever and not this world. It is Faith that sees this world as strange because God does not reign in it making it foreign to them because we are citizens of heaven.
When our faith is like theirs, we no longer are afraid to surrender our life for Jesus because of the hope that we have in him and his promise to be with God forever with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.
This is kind of faith Jesus will look for when he returns. Faith willing to give their life for hm and not be unprepared like the 5 foolish virgins in his parable who were unprepared by not bringing extra lamp oil and missed going with Jesus.

Be safe in Jesus, Ps. Glenn.