BEFORE THE COMING BACK OF THE LORD!
“Prepare ye the way”
Isaiah 40:3-5; 3 A voice of one crying In the desert: “prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Luke 3:4-6; 4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one crying in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
As we all know, these words were spoken to the people of God “Israel”, and we need to remember that by then it had been about 400 years in which God did not speak to His people! At that point, God sent John the Baptist to cry out to the people (whose hearts and souls were as dry as a desert), so that they could get ready for the arrival of the Messiah! And why did they have to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah and make their ways straight? Because their hearts were not according to God’s heart and they were not living according to the will of God.
Now, I trust most of you agree with me and with the Word of God, that after 400 years of silence by God, those people needed a great (the greatest) prophet of God (after Jesus Himself), to proclaim the Word of God, to prepare their hearts to receive the Messiah, but I strongly believe that today’s Church (God’s people), not just the religious people, is spiritually not in a much better condition than God’s people of that time! We are only saved by grace through faith in Christ, but we are just like God’s people of that time! Those people were going ahead by rituals, but they had not heard the Word of God for four hundred years! And the reason was because they were a rebellious people, so God didn’t speak to them, but now, after 400 years, their condition was even worse than that of 400 years before! They had the Torah, and they could read and hear it every day, but to them it was just a ritual. Those were just empty words to them, just like the Word of God preached and read today, to many people who attend church. They come to church and go back home just the same way they came in! No change in their hearts and lives, because they didn’t hear the Word! “To whom has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church”!
So, their ways were very distorted and every one was walking according to their own ideas! Now, If those people needed to make their ways straight (prepare their hearts for the “first coming” of the Lord, how much more do we need to prepare the ways of the Lord in our hearts, considering the fact that while Jesus was going to stay on the earth for three years, so that His people had plenty of time to prepare their ways and believe the Messiah, His coming for the rapture of the Church, will be in a twinkling of an eye; and unless we are ready when he appears over the clouds, at the sound of the Trumpet, we will not be taken with Him (see the five foolish virgins) and will be left on the earth! As the Word says; two will be sleeping in a bed, one will be taken and one will be left! If only one of them is born again, only one with be taken away with the Lord. This means that only the ones who are ready when the trumpet blows, will go to be with the Lord! And the fact that we call ourselves “born again” and went to church every day of our life, without changing our heart and mind, it want make any difference, because we don’t become an automobile by sleeping in a garage. By the same token, we don’t become Christians by just going or attending church!
That’s why I believe God is calling up people with great courage, possibly not church Pastors, but Prophets, who need to go around from church to church (wherever they will be received), because in the last few decades the church has lost her zeal and too much sin has been allowed in the local churches, for fear of losing some people to another local church. Now, I understand that as Pastors, we would like to keep our people in our churches, whether they are saints or not, saved or not, but the problem is that those who do not want to change their ways and to forsake their sins in the long run, will contaminate other people in the church! Paul says: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump”? (1Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9) If we will tolerate a sinner in the church, every other member of the church who does not really love God with all their hearts, will feel authorized to live the same sinful life, or if they love God …they will leave the church and go to a better church! Of course, we need to give people time to change their hearts and minds, because they need to grow in the ways of the Lord, and like babies, they will mess themselves up at least a few times every day, and we need to clean them up! But like any baby, if after feeding and taking care of them, as the years go by, if they are not growing and are continually messing up themselves, and are not willing to be helped anymore, we need to put them in a special place, or they will contaminate others!
In Ezekiel 3:16-19; and in 33:1-9; we read that God made Ezekiel a Watchman, to sound the alarm and warn the people when the enemy should try to come in the city. Yet if the watchman falls asleep or if he becomes spiritually blind to the point that he cannot recognize if the guy who just came in, it’s an enemy or a friend, he may allow the enemy in the church, and by the time he gets aware of it, the enemy has already done a lot of damage. That’s why there’s so much sin in the local churches today! Too many watchmen were asleep or were not wise enough!
So, what’s the condition of your church today? I know my people and I am sure you know your people, right? Under the Law of Moses, it was an abomination to commit fornication. To have sex before being married, and with no one else but with your spouse. Is it still an abomination today? Many young people go to college and by the time they are graduated, they end up sleeping and having sex, and sometimes even “orgies”, with ten twenty or fifty different people. They want to explore and be sure that eventually they will marry the person who gives them more satisfaction or who is more nicer to them, but for this reason, after a few months they are married, at the first problem with the person they married, they end up divorcing them and they will contact their many ex schools sweet hearts, ending up having an affair and eventually they are confused because they are not sure anymore that they have married the right person! Many of these people are in the churches today, some with “spiritual responsibilities”, and still live the same sinful lifestyle!
So many lies! Financial immorality, Adultery, Pornography, Drunkenness, Hypocrisy, …just to mention some. I see the situation in the local churches and compare it to the portion of the land where the seed fell, in Jesus parable of the sower, and bore fruit some 30, some 60 and some 100 per cent. Only 25% of the land were the seed was sowen, became fruitful. Only 25% of the people with whom we are working, will bear fruit, and not all in the same amount. Do we get the picture? Someone is asking Jesus if there are few, those who will be saved. Jesus response is: “Strive to enter through the “narrow gate”, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. How many do you believe will be saved? …Remember, these were Jews who were asking Jesus! They were (supposedly) the people of God, the people who are attending church today, among whom God put us today, to help them get saved and grow in the Lord’s way! Unfortunately, many of them are not striving to enter through the narrow gate, but they are “striving to enlarge the gate”, so they will not need to strive to get in, but who are they fooling, if not just themselves and those who are following them?
Statistics say that 80% of all the people (thousands or millions), who came to salvation or that received Christ at any of the Billy Graham, Louis Palau, Reinhard Bonnke, Jimmy Swaggart or any other great evangelist’s crusades around the world, are nowhere to be found in any church! They got lost on the wayside! The rest of them (20% ), are part of the probably 20 or 25% of the churched people today, whose 75 or 80% will not make the rapture! …Do we get the picture this time?
That’s why I believe that, since Jesus will come back only for those who will be waiting for Him, God knows that if a Pastor or a Prophet will start crying out against sin in the churches, many Pastors and church members who do not like to forsake their sins, and don’t surrender their lives to God to be delivered, they will push out of the church the Prophet or the Preacher who should hurt their feelings, and they will morally, chop their heads off like they did to John the Baptist! Yet, as John the Baptist continued to preach in that “desert”, so today’s Prophets and Ministers must continue to preach the Word of God, whether people like it or not! What would it profit a Pastor to have thousands of people in the church and know that only about a 100 of them will make the rapture? Yes, we are to care for the unsaved people out of the Church, but what about the churched people whom we know that they will not make the rapture! …And please, don’t tell me that we are not to “judge”! …We know very well what it takes to make the rapture, and we know those who are in church trying to deceive us and God! (see Galatians 5:19-21). …We can’t judge, but the Word of God can!
Of course there are different ministries and I believe Jesus did that for a reason. A Pastor or even an Elder of a church will be in the same church most of his life, and he needs to keep them, care for them, help them, and watch over them, but he has the tendency to become soft and not strict enough with them against sin. Yet a Prophet or even an Apostle, doesn’t stay long in a church. He will move on from church to church wherever the Spirit will take them or wherever they will be needed and wherever they will be received by the local Pastor, so the church members will not have to listen to them every week and they can’t fire them because when they should think about that, the Prophet is already gone! Then, it’s up to the Pastor to keep reminding them that Jesus will take with Him, only those who are “already …ready”, when the trumpet will blow!
When the Apostle Paul was going to Rome (Acts 20), From Miletus, he sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church, and when they arrived, he spoke to them, and told them to be careful and keep the “doctrine”. Paul did not send for every member of the church but for the Elders. Then it was up to the Elders to teach each member of the church according to the teaching he had received. And those Elders had to be “submitted” to the Apostle Paul, because he had appointed them to be responsible for the church he had started.
There is no doubt that we all need to get closer and closer to God, and although none of us can become perfect in the real sense of the word, yet we can all become perfect, according to the standard of the Lord! We will surrender our whole life to Him, and He will cleanse our hearts, minds and souls, with his precious blood which He shed for us once and forever, on the cross of Calvary!
The Word tells us that Christ will come back very soon, and for a blameless and spotless spouse (Church)! But perhaps that is (willingly) a very generalized timing, for those who do not love the Lord as they should. What instead, if Jesus would tell us that we all have only two weeks time before the rapture? Would that change the situation in our hearts, minds and in our church? …The soon coming of the Lord has been proclaimed for two thousand years, and we are still here! But what about if God gives only two weeks time? Would we be living the same life stile we have been living until now? Wouldn’t we run to our closest relatives and friends, and hurry them up to get saved because they only have two weeks? And wouldn’t we sell everything we have and use the money to preach the Gospel all over the world as quickly as possible? Now perhaps we get a better idea of what the message wants to say! Don’t we?
until He comes to take us away, God has always a Church on the earth, and the gates of Hell cannot destroy or overcome it. The Body of Christ is to be united and kept by His love, but His body can be made up of 200 Million people, or of two billion people! Of course His Church is Holy, but then our question must be: Am I a part of that Body, of that Church, of His Spouse? Remember, …many that day will try to enter because they have convinced themselves that they were good people and they attended church every Sunday, but they will not be able to enter! Yet these people assume that they are Christian; even Ministers! Yet Jesus tells them that He never knew them!!!
This message may not be for you who are reading it today, but James 5:19, 20, says that if we see or know that someone of us has turned away from the truth, and we will bring him back to the right way, we will save his soul from death and will cover (avoid) multitudes of sin. This tells us that our ministry, not only as Ministers, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s not limited to ourselves and our family (minding our own business), but it must reach to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well. We are not to say like Cain said, when God asked him where his brother was, but we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers! We are to watch over our Brethren’s spiritual, moral and material welfare! Because we are connected to each other by the “joints” of love which God shed in our hearts for each other!
May God continue to speak to each one of us through the Holy Spirit.
Blessings and power to overcome, in Christ Jesus. …Amen!
Rev. Abele Aureli (Operation Italy)