Don’t get so fascinated with the apocalyptic scavenger hunt that you lose sight of the object of the hunt—Jesus Himself. That was the main take-away from Sabbath’s concluding message in the “Boot Camp for the Last Days” series. In all the noise of apocalyptic signs and speculations, we can’t miss the main purpose of prophecy, which is prepare us to be with the One we love.
Rewind to John 5:31-35. The Jews missed Jesus because they never took John’s ministry seriously. (See also Luke 7:29-30.) They chose to enjoy John’s light for a time, but when his light got too hot, they retreated to the darkness. We must avoid this danger. For Jesus to rise, stay in the light. Even if that light exposes your sins, stay with Jesus. Take Him and His prophets seriously. (See 2 Tim. 4:3-4.)
How did the best Bible students in the world fail to recognize the Messiah?
1) They read to support their positions, not to find God. 2) They failed to realize that it’s all about Jesus. From front to back, the scriptures testify about Jesus. And if we study the prophecies, beasts, numbers, symbols and signs, and refuse to come to Jesus to receive new life, we, like the Jews, will be deceived into thinking we have eternal life, when all we really have is “virtual” life–a form of godliness. For Jesus to rise, come to Him for life. Study the Bible to have a relationship with Jesus, not to win an argument. If Bible study doesn’t lead you to a personal relationship with Jesus, it is worthless (1 Cor. 13:2).
For Jesus to rise, love God with reverence, obedience and gratitude. (See 1 Cor. 8:1-3, Amplified.) The Jews missed Jesus because they substituted the praise of men for the praise of God. That’s religion, not relationship, and religion without relationship is beastly.
For Jesus to rise, allow the Holy Spirit to “circumcise” [mark] your heart. He marks our hearts by cutting away selfishness and implanting Christ’s character—the fruit of the Spirit. God must have the heart or the rituals and traditions mean nothing.
As the apocalypse rises, we must not let the spirit of antichrist rise in our hearts—the sin of substitution. The gods of sexual sin, materialism, me-ism, politics, entertainment, greed, envy, arrogance, depravity, hatred, faithlessness, and false religion, must not rise above Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Now is the time to let Jesus rise and shine!
The most important question from Jesus to those waiting for His coming is the same question He asked Peter: “Do you love me? Do I have your heart?” As you graduate from God’s boot camp, remember the purpose of prophecy: To declare that there is a God in heaven who is in control of world events; to assure us that Jesus wins; to urge us to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth so that we’re not deceived by the lying words proceeding from the dragon’s mouth; to prepare us to stand with those who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus; and to prepare us to be with the One we love. That’s being #ready!—Pastor Randy