Essential 100 - Weeks 14 & 15

July 28, 2016

Essential 100 - Weeks 14 & 15

Hello New Life Fellowship!

IT'S THE END OF DAYS!  What I mean is two-fold.  First, we only have five days left in the "Essential 100", and second, tomorrow we begin a 5-day journey through the book of Revelation which many of you have expressed a lot of interest in.  Next week I will send an e-mail on those passages, so now is the last possible time to really jump on the "Essential 100" bandwagon!  Over the last 10 days we have seen large blocks of teaching and encouragement from the Bible.  I'd like to summarize some consistent themes for you here that I noticed this time around.

1.  I noticed that the New Testament has a large amount of teaching on sufferingThis is something the modern Church doesn't teach very well in my opinion.  The modern Church mostly has a theology of VICTORY ALL THE TIME!  So much so, that we can become very disillusioned when bad things happen to us because we think "since I'm A Christian, isn't everything supposed to go well now?!?!?!?"  We have no way of thinking about suffering from a Christian perspective, so when bad things happen in our lives, we always feel that we must have done something wrong, or that God has forsaken us...THIS however is not always the case!  Sure, bad consequences for poor decisions happen, but suffering is also something we can expect sometimes ESPECIALLY because we are doing just what God wants us to do.  2nd Timothy 3:12 says this exactly:  "12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted".    Sometimes suffering is evidence that we are following God extremely well!  God has not forsaken us; God is with us in our suffering.  Remember, Jesus obeyed God perfectly, and he was slandered, opposed, tortured and executed.  Just because suffering comes, it does not mean God does not love us or that God has forsaken us...instead, we can " Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2) and "16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).   Perspective in suffering is key.  This life is not the end of our story.  God will redeem it all.

2.  There is a large emphasis on holiness in the present lifeThis is another teaching the modern Church doesn't put out there all that much.  The modern Church's message seems to largely be, "Jesus covers your sin; now wait for heaven to fix you!".  The Bible's teaching is that one of the ways we prove that we actually are Christians is that we must turn from our sin, change our ways, and live life as if we are building for the afterlife in the fulfillment of God's Kingdom not for earthy wealth/pleasure/etc.  "14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?"  (James 2:14).  The rhetorical question is answered with a resounding "no".  How we live as Christians is evidence of whether or not we are actually in Christ.  God tells us to pursue holiness and to turn from the desire to get rich, from foolish arguments and controversies, lusts of the flesh, conceit, and false teaching not in accordance with the Word of Truth among other things.   "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6:9).  Your level of holiness also determines if and how God will use you in this present life...in Jesus' Kingdom come which is now among us.  2 Timothy 2:20-21 says " 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."   

3.  There is a large amount of teaching on judgment and rewards from God for Christians depending on how they live their lives on earthMany do not realize that WE WILL ALL stand before God's judgment throne someday, and each person who has trusted in Jesus Christ will be saved...but it doesn't stop there.  God has rewards for us in eternity for how we live our life on earth.  What we do here in this relatively short life has implications for our eternity.  The judgment seat we will stand before as Christians is described in 2nd Corinthians 5:10  "10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."  We will be saved by the blood of Jesus which covers us when we stand before God as Christians.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him."  (1 Thessalonians 5:9).  Though this is the case, our lives as individuals will also be evaluated by God and we will each "receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.This is a consistent teaching in the Bible!  How we choose to live as Christians has implications for our eternity!
  
If you feel like all of this is heavy, there is no reason to bear the burden any longer!  Turn to Jesus.  "I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation."  (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).  If you have the breath of life, GET ON BOARD with what God has for you in this life; living in this present world and it's sufferings remembering to keep an eternal perspective!  God loves you, God sees you, God will reward you, God is for you.  He is so in your corner that He came and died for your sins to make a WAY for you to come to Him.  If God is for you, then who can be against you?  Now is the day of salvation.  Now is the day to begin to live a new life in The Spirit.   "17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2nd Corinthians 5:17)