#48 The End Is Near; Are You A New Creature?
We are approaching the end of our journey through the book of Revelation. God’s word has been most enlightening has it not! We have stood before the glorious Throne and have gazed upon wonders and have beheld many mysteries. But God has blessed us with one thing; His unchanging truth. He has shown us the end from the beginning.
He has demonstrated His sovereignty over the nations. The heathen may rage for the moment, the enemies of the cross of Christ may have the upper hand; but their end is sure. (Ps 73:19) “Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As we saw in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, they may have good things in this life but they can’t take it with them. They have desired the riches of this world and they have their reward. “And when this life is over, like the rich man, these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but like Lazarus, the righteous shall enter into life eternal. (Mt 25:46)
The eternal damnation of the lost should bring us no pleasure at all. In fact, if we are truly born again, our hearts will reflect Gods heart when He said in (Eze 33:11) “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ In the same way we will long for and pray for the lost and when opportunity permits, we will bear witness of the truth, we will plant the seeds of the Gospel and pray that the Lord would bring an increase of souls. We will pray that God will call our unsaved friends and family members out of this world of death and into eternal life in Jesus Christ.
In his song “Brother of the Son” Don Francisco wrote, “When at last the book of life is opened, and the count of all your servants has been shown, Lord let me bring somebody with me and stand with all my friends before Your Throne.” During the Second Great Awakening, one pastor related a prayer he had heard. It seems that a young girl was praying for her father and she said, “Lord I know You have knocked on the door of my father’s heart before and he has kept it tightly shut.
Please knock again and if he still won’t open it, take it off its hinges…” Now I ask you, in light of what we have seen in this blessed book, has your prayer life been altered? You have seen the vision of the judgment to come. Has your heart been moved? I ask this because many people go to church and think themselves quite holy when in reality they are lost. Their hearts are never moved at all.
Then too there are believers who are in a horrible backslidden state who also remain unmoved by the truth. They have gone back to their former worldly ways for a time and in that state there hearts have grown cold to the things of God. They see the lost and their reactions mirror that of the world. “They’ll get theirs and I’ll be in heaven watching with glee!” Is this the heart of God? Is this the attitude of Christ? I think not!
Do you know that the name Christian (the Greek is Christianos) literally means a follower of Christ. John had some searching things to say in his first epistle. He said that if we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet are practicing sin, reflecting the attitude of the world, we are liars. He said that if we claim to have come to know Him and yet refuse to obey Him we are liars. If we have truly come to know Him, we ought to be living as He lived. And what was His manner of living? What was His testimony? “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
What is the manner of your life? What characterizes you? What motivates you? Remember that the world is completely selfish. It is motivated by getting all you can, by going for the gusto. That is the one absolute that you can put your finger on. Everything that lost sinners do is driven by their lust to get! And they don’t care who they hurt in the process!
Christians, on the other hand, are motivated by love for God and His Son Jesus Christ. They long to do those things which please their heavenly Father. They long to be conformed into the image of His Son. And their hearts, to a greater or lesser extent, depending upon their level of maturity, reflect His heart. Notice what (2Pe 3:9) says…“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Look with me at a familiar passage. (Mt 11:28-30) “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Do you hear the tender heart of God? He is calling to lost sinners to leave their heavy loads behind them and enter into the rest of God Himself. Now how does that stack up against your attitude toward your fellow man, toward family members who may have hurt you? I ask that question because there is no one who has ever been as hurt, misused and mistreated as the Holy God of the Universe.
He has extended His had all day long to a stiff-necked and rebellious people; not only lost sinners but also His own people. We are no better than the children of Israel. They would pledge devotion to Him for a time but then would turn away to follow the lusts of their own wicked hearts. And then He would have to chasten them and bring them back. Sometimes He’d let them go until they ended up in the pigsty of life and then they would see the error of their ways; they would ‘come to themselves’ and remember the many blessings they had forsaken to grope after their pet sins.
Can you at least see a glimpse of the depth of His love for you? Do you have at least a small grasp of the incredible grace that He has lavished upon you? And seeing this I ask you that question again…are you living in such a way as to bring glory to Him? You are the light of the world…are you hiding that light…putting it under a bushel basket…suppressing the truth in unrighteousness…so that you can sin? It’s time to come out of the darkness and into the light of the Holy presence of God! It’s time to wake up.
Paul exhorts us to bestir ourselves in (Ro 13:11) saying…Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The day of Christ’s return is nearer than when we first believed. One friend of mine said “It’s later than it’s ever been”. I’m not naming the day or the hour. I’m not saying that the time or the season is upon us. I’m stating the fact that Jesus told us He’d be back! We are not told when! We are told to watch, to be on the alert.
In (Mr 13:37) Jesus spoke of the suddenness of His return and told His disciples to be vigilant saying…“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. To watch means to remain awake; to be vigilant. Jesus means that we must give strict attention to ourselves and be aware of the imminence of His return. Our lives should be lived cautiously, lest through remission and laziness some sudden destructive calamity suddenly overtake us.
That is what happened to the unfaithful servant.
He had the attitude reflected in the unbelievers of (2Pe 3:4) where people grew fat and lazy and were saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For people like these the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. And I dare say that for some believers it will be the same thing. I think that is why Jonathan Edwards in his resolutions said, “Resolved not to do anything I wouldn’t do if I knew it were the last hour of my life.”
Is this how we are living? Are we living each day as if it were our last? Are we living in a manner that, were Christ to appear, we would not be ashamed at His coming? Does your life demonstrate that you love Jesus? Because He is coming again to judge the world and to receive His children unto Himself. Will you hang your head in shame when He returns or will you run eagerly to meet Him with shouts of praise on your lips?
Pastor Shelton of Mt. Zion Bible Church spoke of a man who came to preach for him one Sunday. The man’s name was Brother Joe Granier. Brother Granier went straight to the point in his evangelistic message saying, “if you can’t go back to the time and place that you realized you were a lost sinner, you cannot rightly say you are saved.” In his broken English he said, “It’s neder dis, its neder dat. Christ died for sinners, are you a lost sinner.”
Taking that lead I say do you, “It’s neder dis, it’s neder dat. If you are a Christian you should be living a life that reflects Christ. Are you doing that? Christ came to make us new creatures. Are you a new creature? Are you walking in newness of life? Is your manner of life such that men would behold your good works and glorify God?