Tag: watch out
Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 21, Psalm 65, Proverbs 3
Key Scriptures: Luke 21:33-36 “”Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.””
Jesus was giving final instructions to His disciples. He emphasized that His word was eternal and dependable. He warned them about the traps that would catch men up in the last days: dissipation, drunkenness and the cares of life. He encouraged them to stay awake and pray in order to escape the traps and be able to stand before Him at the final judgment.
Faith Confession: I believe that Your Word is eternal and truth. I am awake through the infilling of the Holy Spirit and aware of Satan’s traps. I am trusting Jesus to give me grace to stand before Him when He returns.
Proverbs 3:25-26 “Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.”
Scripture reading for February 1st: Exodus 31-34, Matthew 25
Key Scriptures: Matthew 24:3-5 “As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in My Name, saying ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.””
Jesus answered the disciples questions concerning His earlier comments about the destruction of the Temple. He prefaced the answer with a warning about deception. Deception would mark the time prior to His return again for His people. This deception would even take in some of God’s people. We can look back in history to see that God’s people were deceived with a golden calf!
Exodus 32:7-8 “And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!””
Prayer: Lord, deliver me from deception and the lure of false ‘gods’. Thank you for your loving warnings in Your Word. Amen
Scripture reading for January 9th: Matthew 7
Jesus concluded His message to the people on kingdom living with an encouragement to seek God. They must be people who would be persistent to find what they needed from God. They must ask! They must seek! They must knock! All these verbs are in the continual sense of ‘ask and keep on asking, etc’. “Everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8) God is a loving Father who will give good gifts to those that seek Him!
But Jesus also warned His followers early in His ministry to watch out for false prophets. He likened them to wolves dressed up as a sheep! What an example Jesus used in that rural cultural setting! He told them that they would know the false prophets by their fruit. Bad trees don’t produce good fruit! “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) False prophet may do miracles and prophesy in His Name, but will go to hell!
Every person is building a spiritual house. You can hear the Word of God and not do it! That person is building on the sand! Those that hear and then apply it to their lives are likened to a man building his house on a rock. Storms of life come and test the foundation. Those on the sand collapse under the pressure and are destroyed. Those on the rock survive every storm! Which kind of builder are you?
Scripture reading for October 13th: Matthew 24-25
These chapters of Matthew contain the last major teaching of Jesus to his disciples as recorded by this Gospel writer. Jesus remarked to His disciples about how not one stone would be left upon another at the temple. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:2-5)
Deception will be a mark of the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. The world we live in today is full of counterfeit religions and numerous cults that claim that they are the only way to God. Jesus warned of wars among the nations. There would also be famines and earthquakes in numerous places and great distress. Betrayal and hatred toward God’s people will be common. Many will fall away from following Jesus and their love for God will grow cold. (Matthew 24:6-13)
Jesus emphatically taught that no one would know the day or hour of His return. (Matthew 24:36) It would be like the days of Noah when the flood suddenly swept the world of that time away. It would be like a thief coming to a house at night. It would be like a master coming back to find his servant neglecting his duties and doing evil. Each person should be in a state of readiness at all times, for Jesus will come back at a time when everyone least expects it.
To illustrate this point, Jesus told two parables. The first was about the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Five were foolish and five others were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take any oil for them. The wise took oil along for their lamps and were ready. The bridegroom was delayed and they all fell asleep. The midnight cry woke them up to prepare for his arrival. Only the wise were prepared and got to go with the bridegroom to the wedding feast.
Our Lord emphasized the need to be read for the return of our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. He could come at any time. May this message cause you to beware and prepare!
Scripture reading for December 6th: 2nd John 1-13
John is concerned about love and truth in his letters. He was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’! He knew the love of Jesus from a perspective that others may not have. He was one of the closest to the Master and wrote this short letter to a group of believers to encourage them to walk in love and truth.
“The elder, to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I only, but also all who know the truth–because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” (2nd John 1-3) John was ‘the elder’, because of his age and position as an apostle. The truth John was speaking of was Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior. All who have this truth, will love others who hold to the truth and walk in it.
“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands.” (2nd John 5-6a) John affirms the simple commands of Jesus Christ. These are old commands. Loving God is obedience to His commands to love Him and love others. It is so simple that a child can understand!
However, love must exercise discernment in the last days. “Many deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but the you may be rewarded fully.” (2nd John 7-8) John warned this church group and their female leader to be watchful. They were not to welcome or take in any of the false teachers into their home or church. “Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” (2nd John 11)
God has great joy when His children walk in love and truth. Love must be discerning, however. The last days are filled with deception. Ask God to give you discernment and help you to apply the scriptures from this short letter. He wants you fully rewarded!
Scripture reading for October 25th: 2nd Timothy 4:1-22
Paul’s closing instructions to Timothy encouraged this young pastor to use a simple strategy of ministry. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage– with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.” (2nd Timothy 4:2-4) There is never a season when the Word of God will not be appropriate. The Word is the complete prescription for correcting and encouraging the people of God. It is full of sound doctrine and if patiently taught is able to save and equip people for works of service and prepare them for the coming of the Lord.
However, in the last days, many will not receive sound doctrine. They want to design their own god and make their own spiritual program. People will find teachers that will tickle their ears with things that sound good to them, but are really false doctrines of demons. This teaching will only lead to bondage and death. Timothy was to keep his eyes on the Lord and the Word and fully preach the Word.
Paul, knew that his departure was near. He was ready to meet the Lord. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:7-8) Paul was soon to face the guillotine. He spoke of being poured out like a drink offering! Yet he also knew by faith that his head would wear a crown in glory! His journey through life was a fight of faith. He had finished well and was expecting a reward from his Lord!
Paul’s attitude and final instructions to Timothy model for those who are still in the fight the way to victory. Death brings reward, and is nothing for the Christian to fear. We must continue to preach the Word and live by faith! The best is yet to come!
Scripture reading for October 6th: Colossians 2:8-23
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) Paul’s straight-forward warning to these believers is also for us today. Our western world is full of hollow and deceptive philosophy, often taught in the church! Examples might include ‘positive thinking’, ‘God wants you rich’, ‘keep these rules’, or ‘there are many ways to be saved’.
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In Him, you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:9-12) Believers have all they need in Christ alone! In Him we have been given fullness of salvation. Christ is head over all power and authority in heaven and on earth. He circumcised us internally as we placed our faith in His sacrifice through the cross.
The false teachers were trying to get these believers to keep certain religious festivals and go through certain rituals like circumcision. They were being told that what they ate or didn’t eat made them holy. These were probably the Jewish dietary laws. Paul told them that these were only a shadow of the reality that they had in Christ Himself. (Colossians 2:17) These have the appearance of wisdom but are of no value in restraining sensual indulgence! (Colossians 2:20-23)
Another aspect of these false teachers was supernatural visions and contact with angels. They used these visions to distract the believers from Christ and take them another direction. I believe that the church today must be discerning about those who claim to be prophets and use supernatural experiences to attract a crowd. Not all who come in the name of Christ are really of Him. In Christ alone and His holy word do we have safety and salvation. Test everything by the Spirit and Word. Pray for a knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and discernment! Don’t worry, God will keep you safe!
Scripture reading for February 4th: Matthew 24:1-28, Psalm 24, Proverbs 7:1-5
As Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, He took time to answer the disciple’s questions concerning events that would take place in the future. One characteristic of our great God is that He knows the end from the beginning. He has perfect knowledge of future events and has even written them down as proof for us that He alone is God. That is the nature of prophesy and Jesus spoke prophetically to His close followers.
They had two questions following His statement that the temple in Jerusalem would be torn down, with not one stone left upon another. They wanted to know when this would happen and what would be the signs leading up to this event and the end of the age. “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, bu the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. These are the beginnings of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:4-8)
Jesus answered these questions with a straight-forward warning against deception. Deception would be a sign of the coming end of the age. There would be religious deception coming from people who came in His name, but were really not His. These people would be working to deceive many people. This would require watchfulness and discernment. The disciples must know what was real and be able to spot these deceivers. They would need to exercise caution and stay close to the Lord Himself.
There would also be turmoil in the world among the nations and peoples. Wars and rumors of wars would abound and earthquakes and famines would bring destruction and pain to many people. These would be just the beginning of this time of the end. It would be like labor pains in a woman ready to give birth. The time would be near and those who had spiritual eyes could see and know what it would be like. Do you see signs of the end of the age? Are you ready for Jesus’ return?
Scripture reading for October 28th: Luke 19-21
Luke also records a discussion Jesus had with His disciples about what conditions on earth would be like when He would return. This discussion took place as they were leaving the temple during the last week of Jesus’ time with them. Jesus made the comment that not one stone would remain upon another; all would be thrown down. (Luke 21:5-7) The disciples asked Jesus when this would happen and what the sign would be that this was about to take place.
Jesus told them some signs of the end that are a repeat of Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Jesus warned them about possible deception by false teachers and false Christs. He warned them about wars and revolutions in various places. He told them of nations in conflict and great earthquakes and natural disaster occurring . These were to happen right before His return. (Luke 21:8-11) But before all of this, Jesus warned them of persecution in their personal lives. His followers would be taken before kings and governors because of the name of Jesus and some would be imprisoned. This would give these disciples the opportunity to be witnesses for Jesus. They were not to worry about what to say, but would be given the words when the time came. (Luke 21:12-17)
Jesus told these first followers that they would see Jerusalem surrounded by armies and know that its desolation was near. They were to flee and not look back. Jerusalem would be given over to the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. God was in charge of all things and knew the end from the beginning. Jesus revealed to these close friends what would happen, and in recording it what the future also held for those at the end of the times of the Gentiles. (Luke 21:20-24)
The very end of the age would bring a time of anxiety and terror upon the earth. Great signs in the sun, moon and stars would add to the concern. “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27-28) Jesus will return. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Luke 21:33) Are you ready for this great event?
Scripture reading for October 28th: Luke 19-21
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you will be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:33-36
None of us like change, unless it is for the better! According to Scripture, there is nothing in this world that is permanent and lasting. Everything is in a temporary state. It is all decaying or passing away. Change is inevitable in our present world. Even our own bodies are decaying and changing. (2nd Corinthians 4:16a) We are born with a sentence of death because of sin in us and this world. This world is groaning and in it’s present state will ultimately pass away.
Now I am not in some kind of negative mood this morning that all I can think about is change and decay! No, I am encouraged as I read the Word of God that there is something permanent that I can hang on to! God’s Word is permanent and eternal. What God has written for us is ultimate truth and reality! We can be certain of it! We can build our lives on it! We can tell our children about it and pass it on to our friends!
Jesus warned His followers to be careful because of these eternal truths. Heaven and earth would pass away one day. There was a day of judgment like no other day when this would happen. It would come upon those living on the earth suddenly, like a trap catching an unsuspecting animal. (Luke 21:34) Jesus encouraged His followers to be watchful and in prayer because of these unchanging truths. There would be many who would be overcome with a reckless attitude. Some would be drunken and unable to rouse themselves. Others would be overcome with the fears and worries of life. They would not be prepared for that day and it would catch them unaware!
Those who are watching and praying, however, would be able to stand before the Son of Man. They would be trusting in His grace and be ready to meet Him. Let’s be certain today that we are really believing what Jesus taught. A day is coming when the heavens and earth will pass away! His Word will never pass away!