We know that God is patient and long-suffering not because he slow but rather not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. He has provide us all with a way to get back on track and be reconciled to Him, but will you take hold of it before it is too late? Jesus came the first time to save the world not to condemn the world! Jesus came to provide us with an example as He didn’t come to be served but to serve! Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abolish it! Jesus didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it!
The other option is to keep doing it your own way, ignore the warnings and warning signs and then just deal with the consequences of your choices. There have been warning signs! There will continue to be warning signs! Right up to the day when Jesus comes back and those who have believed will be brought into the clouds with Him and even beyond so that people get one last chance to choose to follow after Him! But after the dead and the living believers are gone, things will get even tougher on those who are left behind. Have you seen any of the movies that speak to this time or read any of the books or read the book of Revelation within the Bible? The Bible provides us with signs and every year as I read thru the Bible and get to the book of Revelation it feels like we keep getting closer. The name of this blog is associated with this fact as back in 2005 when God called me to start blogging, the readings I had started in the book of Revelation and hence From 2005 to Eternity and after Facebook started, I created a page there too. None of us want to be left behind. None of us want our friends and loved ones to be left behind either and so we need to be sharing the hope that is within us, the Good News of Jesus, and hope and pray they will eventually hear it, receive it, and join the family of God!
Today’s topic was triggered by the old testament readings from Ezekiel and how all the warnings that were given to Israel on what was coming and what they should do or else they would end up having to deal with one of three troubles: famine, sword, or plague. Today’s reading is the beginning of Babylon coming in on Jerusalem. For those who were taken though, a promise was given: “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.”
So let’s be focused on doing what is good! Let’s look to have the wisdom, the boldness, and the courage to complete the good work God has prepared in advance for us to do!
There is a schedule! When Israel was going to be reclaimed by the jews (1948). When Jesus will return! When judgment will happen! We can’t sit on the fence for ever! You are either in or you are out! We all have freewill and we all need to make the decision for ourselves as to whether we will serve God or not! whether we will spend eternity with God or not! The choice is ours and we need to make that choice before it is too late! We may not know the day or the time, but we know it is coming and unlike 5 of the 10 women who were waiting for the wedding party, let’s be prepared!
So rather than focus on strife and division, let’s come together and focus on unity and brotherly love! Let’s come together and align to God’s will! As we know a chord of three strands is not easily broken, so let’s put Jesus in the middle of it all! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that in the end we will be mature, complete, and lacking nothing! Let’s accomplish the work and calling God has given us! Let’s be kind and compassionate! Let’s forgive one another as we have been forgiven by Jesus! Let’s build each other up in love!
So let’s warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.
As we look into today’s reading from the New Testament, let’s review it together…
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Instructions for Christian Living
17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Let’s not be so selfish! Let’s not be living like our old selves and our old desires, but putting on our new selves and be real and live as Jesus has called us to! Let’s not give the devil a foothold! Let’s use our word be words that will helpful in building others up according to their needs! Let’s be living lives that will glorify God!
The Day of the Lord
1Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.
19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil.
23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26Greet all Godʼs people with a holy kiss. 27I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.