Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Spiritual Prepper

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Are you a spiritual prepper--are you spiritually prepared for the Lords’ return? I dare say that most people in the world, and most people in the professing church, and some in the real church are not. Obviously the reason that most people in the world and in the professing church are not ready is because they have not been born again into new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. If that is the case with you please read God’s Gift of Salvation.

The reason some in the real church are not ready is because they have allowed all kinds of evil practices into their life. Many who claim the name of Christ have allowed evil into their life because they have freed themselves from obeying “rules” claiming “we are under grace!” It reminds me of the jingle of the Outback Steak House—“no rules, just right.” I am sad to say that is what Christianity has been slipping into. Oh what a sad state of affairs the church has gotten its self into!

God does have a moral code that He wants His children to follow, not to earn salvation, but to live a life pleasing to Him and to receive His blessings. The Christian should desire to live a life pleasing to God in thankfulness for the free gift of salvation that God has given us, not as a license to sin. “Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Gal 5:13b)

So how can a person be spiritually prepared for the Lord’s return? Make sure that they are a Christian, and then make sure that they are living a righteous life. That is that one is living a life that is without offence toward God and man. There are serious consequences for the believer who is not living in obedience to our Lord’s commands.

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (I Cor 11:30-32)

These verses suggest that the disobedient Christian will be subject to problems, sickness, and even death for their disobedience. A Christian would certainly not want to be in a disobedient state when the Lord returns. How does one live righteous? Well righteousness is summed up in just 2 commandments.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40).

Thus the two most important things for a Christian to do is to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. This is the definition of righteous living. How does a Christian love God? Jesus answered that question succinctly. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15) “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (Jn 14:21). So Jesus told us the way that we love God is to keep the commandments.

There are Christians that say to make a list of items that you should obey in the Christian life is legalism. No, to not have a list of things a Christian should obey is licentiousness. Legalism is when you say that one must obey a list of “dos and don’ts” for salvation. To have a list of do’s and don’ts from the Bible in order to show love to God is godly living. Those who say the Christian is free or at liberty to do as they wish are not free but are enslaving themselves to sin at the dictates of their misguided imaginations and fleshly desires.

If one is accused of being legalistic in saying “that in order to love God you must keep the commandments” then Jesus was legalistic when he said, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” We know that this was not the case therefore it is not legalistic to keep the commandments for the purpose of trying to love God.

So let’s talk about what God wants us to do. The very first thing one needs to obey the Lord in after becoming a Christian is to be scripturally baptized. The Christian is commanded to be baptized immediately after salvation, and there are many examples of this happening in scripture.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19). “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48). “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:37,38).

After obeying the Lord in believer’s baptism, and in many cases goes along with being baptized, is that one should find a Bible believing, Bible preaching, church. Unfortunately there are many churches that do not adhere to the Bible in belief and practice. These churches should be avoided.

In my experience a good barometer of a church is their doctrine of salvation, the version of the Bible they use, their music standards, and their emphasis on evangelism. From what I have found the most Biblically accurate churches believe in salvation by grace through faith, as outlined above, use a conservative translation of the Bible such as the KJV or NASB, have conservative music standards, and participate in evangelistic outreaches to the community on a regular basis. In my experience Independent Fundamental churches are usually a good choice.

Once a good church is found one should attend regularly. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb 10:25).

In regards to a Christian’s personal relationship with God; as much prayer, Bible reading, meditation on God’s Word, and fasting—if medical conditions warrant--should be practiced as possible. Those practices are what keep us close to God and enable us to gain strength from Him. Here are some verses that bring these facts to light.

Pray without ceasing” (I Thes 5:17) “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Jos 1:8). “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Mt 9:15).

Besides putting God first in our life by spending time with Him in prayer, Bible reading, and fasting, the Christian also needs to give God His proper place in his finances. In regards to finances God wants a Christian to at least tithe. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your increase to God. If a Christian does not at least tithe then he is stealing from God.

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-12)

Many Christians do not give God His proper place in their finances and thus suffer the devourer reaping havoc on their finances. Some Christians spend more on their pets in a year than they give to God.

I know some say that tithing is from the Old Testament law, and the Christian is not responsible to keep the law, therefore Christians do not have to tithe. It is true that tithing was first introduced in the Old Testament but we must remember that there is a ceremonial, a judicial, and a moral part of the law. The moral part of the law is valid for all time. The moral law involves any commands that affect one’s moral relationship with God or man. If something was morally wrong during the law it was morally wrong before and after the law also. For example lying was morally wrong before the law, during the law, and is still wrong today.

Tithing is part of the moral law and thus is still valid for Christians today. Jesus Himself even reaffirmed this “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Mt 23:23). We must also take into account that tithing first came about before the law was introduced, when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.

In regards to a Christian’s outward relation to his fellow man, a Christian is to love others. As the golden rule states; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 19:19). That basically means that you should treat people as you want to be treated. What does that specifically involve?...

To be continued

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