Living Our Lives With The “Two Minute Warning” In Play

SCRIPTURE:  1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)

In football, the manner of play I’ve noticed over the years changes when the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” has sounded.  And in VERSE 7 in our study together, Peter says “The end of all things is now.”

I think that thought gives meaning to the whole passage as the Holy Spirit is saying through the Apostle that we should live our lives on earth as if Life’s TWO MINUTE WARNING has sounded.

The question becomes…we should ask ourselves while investigating this passage of Scripture, the same one Peter asks his readers (2 Peter 3:11)–“What kind of people ought you to be?”

So with that in mind, let’s look for ANSWERS to that question:

First, as Christians living in a lost world at the end of time, we should be ARMED with an ATTITUDE.  By the way, I didn’t steal that idea from Dr. Laura–it comes right out of this passage of Scripture (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Peter is giving us a picture of putting on our ATTITUDE as part of a suit of armor.  Very similar to the passage Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian church–“Putting on the whole ARMOR of GOD” (Ephesians 6).

So What is ATTITUDE?

The English Oxford Dictionary:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.”

Referring to “ATTITUDE”, Peter is saying it’s the same one that Christ took towards suffering–ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE that He once had, completing the task, never again to wrestle with sin or temptation–that would all be over with, “It is finished!”

What it’s not saying is that if you suffer once, you’ll never suffer again.  It’s saying that we should “understand” suffering for what is right and it sometimes part of life in the body.

BIG PICTURE…as a result, you won’t live your life as if you must satisfy your earthly appetites–your desires, your pleasures, for a little suffering here.  It can’t be compared with an eternity FREE from SIN & SUFFERING.

ILLUSTRATION:

The ATTITUDE we should arm ourselves with is like that of a quarterback in the Superbowl who gets injured in the 4th Quarter of the game and the TWO MINUTE WARNING begins.  He would be willing to play through a great deal of pain for the sake of that victor’s ring because he know’s everything is at stake and the end is in sight.

We who are Christians, who stands on the edge of history should arm ourselves with the ATTITUDE that says, I can see the goal line and it’s worth any price to obtain it!

That’s the ATTITUDE that free’s us to do God’s will in our lives.

That’s NOT the Way We Used to Live, however.

VERSES 3-4

VERSE 3 actually is a direct contrast to Verse 2,  It literally says enough time has been spent doing the will of nations (worldliness) in CONTRAST to our NEW ATTITUDE which frees us to do the “will of God”–we used to live our lives to PLEASE the World and ourselves; not anymore.

And now the World doesn’t understand this new attitude of ours; why we don’t plunge into a life of SENSUAL PLEASURE–drunkenness, sensual immorality, worshipping money and fame.  The will of the WORLD summed up in the phrase “If it feels good, do it!”

Secondly, as Christians living at the end of times, we should have…AN AWARENESS OF ACCOUNTING.

To live as followers of Christ we need to understand that AN END IS COMING!

Coaches begin to watch the clock very carefully inside the TWO MINUTE WARNING.  It’s important to know where they stand in the time they have left.

Peter says that we need to understand the end is near and living in this time requires clear headedness, self-control, allowing us to keep in communication with the Coach.

It is important as well that we understand what “the end” means–that it means there will be an ACCOUNTING…whether we are LIVING when that time arrives, OR…whether we have already passed on, that we’ll give an account to our lives.

Even those who have gone before us will be judged and this is why they needed the GOSPEL too–it’s not just for those who will be living when the ACCOUNTING comes.  And when those who have gone before us put their TRUST in Christ Jesus, thought by human standards being judged GUILTY, in the spirit, they live everlasting because of the work of Christ.

As we sit on the edge of history’s end, we must be aware that Christ will judge the living and the dead.  We then must consider how we will be judged on that day.  Our DEEDS will be laid before Him.

Woe unto us on that day if our SINS are not covered by the BLOOD of Jesus.

Those who trust the SAVING GRACE of Jesus whose BLOOD was shed on Cross, understanding that only HIS BLOOD can cleanse them; that nothing we could ever do or say will make us worthy.

Those who have put their TRUST in Him alone…ALSO, commit their lives to Him–to live for Him, not to earn His affection, but to demonstrate our affection–because we have been ARMED with the ATTITUDE of Christ.

And because we are aware of an ACCOUNTING…

Third, as Christians living during the “TWO MINUTE WARNING” we should be…

ABOVE ALL AFFECTIONATE (Verses 8-9)

[8] Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  [9] Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  (NIV)

More important than anything else is LOVE.  

JESUS’ top TWO LIST was this:  Love God, Love your neighbor–everything else, He said, All of the Scripture is tied up in those TWO!

Church tradition says that when the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, became too old to even walk, used to ask to be carried to the local church meetings, go before the assembly of believers and say only this:  “Little children, love one another.”  Well, that sounds sweet enough but after a while, it started to get on people’s nerves.  Finally, the elders of the church went to John and asked him why do you keep saying that?  His reply was short and to the point:  “Because it is our Lord’s command and because it’s enough!”

LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.

The Lord knows as well as my wife, I have a multitude of sins.  That said, my wife also knows that I LOVE her.  Sometimes I hurt her feelings and I’ll demonstrate that LOVE in a tangible way–in an exercise that some have said is a “suck up gift”.  But that “suck up gift” works NOT because I spend money, but because she knows that I genuinely care deeply about her!

But it works the other way too.  Our LOVE for others covers a multitude of OUR sins toward them but our SIN should also cover a multitude of THEIR sins.  About 70 times seven I’d say.

There’s one last thing I want to mention that we should do as Christians while living at the end of time.  That’s ADMINISTERING GOD’S ANOINTING (vs. 10-11 a).

Each one of us should use whatever GIFT he/she has received from the Holy Spirit to SERVE others, faithfully administrating God’s GRACE in its various forms (verse 11).

Here is this passage of Scripture, Peter urges us to be “faithful stewards” of the GIFTS God has given to each one of us.  And as ADMINISTRATORS (Stewards) of God’s GRACE in various forms, that is of the gifts that God has given YOU (put your name in place of the word “you”), NOT for your pleasure but for His, to SERVE OTHERS.

And notice also that emphasis is given here as it has in the passages found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, to the fact that these Spiritual Gifts are exercised not in our own strength BUT in the strength of the Lord.  And this is the part that makes it important for us who live in History’s TWO MINUTE WARNING…to OPERATE in the GRACE (the FAVOR) God gives to us through SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

So as the BUZZER, the whistle approaches (or actually, as the TRUMPET sounds),  we must work in God’s strength, FAITHFULLY ADMINISTERING as good stewards, God’s Anointing in its various forms.

Conclusion:

ARMED with an ATTITUDE that says I have my eyes on a prize above and I can’t be distracted by the pleasures below.

AWARE of the ACCOUNTING–keeping our focus and ready for that day!

Above all AFFECTIONATE–because it’s the Lord’s command and because it’s enough!

And ADMINISTERING faithfully God’s Anointing that through HIS STRENGTH we might accomplish ALL that He has for each one of us as the day approaches!

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CREDITS –

VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY of Old and New Testament Words.

PHOTOS:  Advance Settings–Gooogle Image Search.

Bible Translations:  The New International Version (NIV), EXCEPT WHERE NOTED.

 

 

 

“Shall We Gather At The River” – The Book of Revelation To John – (Part Six)

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This will be my final series study in the Book of REVELATION TO JOHN.  I hope you have enjoyed the study as much as I, and… although I didn’t address ALL the issues and questions most have in the reading, I’ve tried to highlight what the Holy Spirit was leading me to present to you.  That said, let’s look at the last Chapter in the Book, and “Shall we gather at the river”?

The River of Life – REVELATION 22:1-2:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  [2] down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

THE RIVER OF LIFE:

What a great day that will be when we gather together to see Heaven’s glorious scene for the first time beside the RIVER, flowing from the THRONE OF GOD and of the LAMB.

THE CRYSTAL CLEAR RIVER begins as a trickle, then flows throughout NEW JERUSALEM to provide healing and life to all who live on its banks.

The green grass, beautiful flowers, trees and meadows along its banks and can only be seen in the hearts and minds of man for the present, but one day soon, see it just as John has described.

What a day that will be.  All the troubles and trials of this life will pass into nothingness when we see JESUS face to face.

THE POWER OF THIS RIVER OF LIVING WATER:

Ezekiel 47:1-5 (NAS Bible):

[1] THEN HE brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from  under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar.

[2] And he brought me out by the way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by the way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.

[3] When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles.

[4] Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching my knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins.

[5] Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.

“Oh, those DRY BONES…”

Ezekiel has been down to the VALLEY OF DRY BONES, representing the dead spirituality of Israel as a nation.

These DRY BONES also stand for every man who ever lived that didn’t have the life-giving flow of God in their lives.  When God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”, He was asking a question for which there was only one answer:

If we answer in the power and ability of our own minds, our thinking, the answer would have been NO!  But in the POWER of the life-giving RIVER OF GOD, bones not only live but become a mighty nation able to do great things!

In John 4:14, we can see JESUS as He is waiting for the woman at the well who heard JESUS’ words:

“But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life” [Amplified Bible].

As the WATERS of that river flow, much of it will go to those who will step into its water, wade out just a little bit and then deeper each day.

Every Christian must step out into the WATERstock-photo-testing-the-water-2831255

Ezekiel saw the waters as they were only ankle-deep as JESUS began leading him to the unseen depths of the RIVER.

Do you ever find yourself standing on the sand of a warm beach, looking towards the water wondering how cold, how deep, are there sharp rocks I can’t see in the water?

As a Christian, we must also step out into the unknown, to explore the things of God.  And as we MATURE in Christ and our relationship grows, we begin to wade out a little further from the shore…a little further until finally we are lost in the LOVE OF JESUS and learn to live by FAITH.

Too many people won’t venture out into DEEP WATER

My wife is an example of not wanting to venture out into the ocean.  “Knee deep,” is about it for her, all because of a teenage experience.  She almost drowned when stepping in an unseen hole beneath the waters with waves crashing over her and having difficulties in breathing. “I thought I was drowning,” she said.  Fortunately, a boy and a float-raft were nearby, helping her to get back to shore.

Are not RELATIONSHIPS sometimes like venturing out into deep waters?  Too many people won’t go out into the DEEP WATER in the relationship with JESUS because it requires a COMMITMENT OF FAITH to believe, that Jesus’ POWER keeps them afloat.

In these Scriptures in EZEKIEL, you see how that JESUS has taken Ezekiel to the House of God, the Temple, and revealed to him the source of the RIVER that will flow out into a dry and thirsty land, providing LIFE for all it touches.

“The WATERS came out of the right side of the house…flowed from the south side of the ALTAR”

What a wonderful picture that gives of the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST–

The BLOOD flowed from His side on a Hill called Mount Calvary.  The BLOOD began as a trickle, then became a flow that reached down and began to flow out from beneath the “Altar of Sacrifice of the Cross”–to go down to the earth to flow over the souls of a sin darkened and lost world.

“What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus”

THE RIVER BRINGS LIFE!

Look again at John 4:14:  To those who choose to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb through REPENTANCE of sins, and acceptance of the SACRIFICE of JESUS, surrendering their lives to Him will have this same WELL of Living Water flowing from the heart of every believer which provides the ability to reach out to other people who have been washed in the BLOOD also.

The HOLY SPIRIT within each of us who are believers in Christ Jesus, in what He has already done on the Cross, is the MANIFESTATION of that RIVER of Living Water as He speaks through us, leading and teaching us everyday.

THE RIVER SATISFIES!

Psalm 63:1-5:

“Praise awaits You, O God, in Zion; to You our vows will be fulfilled.  O You who hear prayer, to You all men will come.  When we were overwhelmed by sins, You atoned for our transgressions.  Blessed is the man You choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with good things of Your house, of Your holy temple.  You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas”  (NIV Bible).

DAVID knew what it was to need God’s forgiveness, God’s blessing that only the RIVER OF GOD would bring.

We live in a dry and thirsty land, so we need to be on guard against the power of sin.  If it were not for the constant flow and the POWER OF THE BLOOD of the Lamb as the RIVER flows on us, what chance would any of us have?

We Have A PROMISE…

God’s help is there for us just as it was for King David.  David wrote another Song to the Lord that we can read in Psalm 46:4-5:

[4] There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.  [5] God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning]”  (Amplified Bible).

We, as the Bride of Christ, shall be Overcomers!

The RIVER OF GOD, that begins at the Throne of God and of the Lamb that comes from the foot of the CROSS, gives us the POWER to overcome the power of temptation and sin; the POWER to be satisfied by the Holy spirit in every circumstance and know God has it all under control!

THE RIVER CLEANSES US!

WATER has a cleansing power beneficial to all of us.  But the CLEANSING POWER of the RIVER goes much deeper than natural water.  The water from your tap, your shower head, your bathtub faucet only cleanses the outside making us look good.

BUT, the LIVING WATER from the River of God reaches down to the hearts of men and washes away the STAIN and DEPTH of SIN.

There is an old song that says,  There is POWER in the BLOOD, POWER in the BLOOD!  Sins stains are washed in its life-giving flow,  There’s POWER in the BLOOD of the Lamb.

The River of God Cannot be Stopped!

Satan cannot stop the RIVER as it moves on.  Satan and the Antichrist are destined to be washed away in its cleansing power.

The River is a FLOOD of God’s POWER cleansing the world.  Matthew 24:14,

“And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel)

will be preached throughout the whole world

as a testimony to all nations,

and then will come the end.”

To me, that is not a picture of a church that is sitting around doing nothing, waiting to be delivered.  That’s a picture of the Church as it stands (not sitting) under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and defies the god of this world; stepping out into the territory of the Devil himself to bring the MESSAGE of the Gospel to anyone and everyone who will hear!  “Let the Redeemed say so!”

There is ONE Limiting Factor in the POWER of this River to Cleanse…

That limiting factor is your own will.

God is a perfect gentleman and never forces His WILL on any man or woman.  It is up to us to ACCEPT His gentle offer and wade out into the river as Ezekiel had to do.

It all begins with that FIRST STEP!

Has the River Washed You Clean?

Have you made a Step into the Water of His Love?

God wants to let this RIVER flow in your heart today.  To let the CLEANSING POWER of the Blood of the Lamb to wash over you, right where you are sitting.

If that is your desire, SWING OUT into the Water of the River of God and experience the great SALVATION and PEACE Jesus offers!

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If FAITH AND TRUST can get you to the River, then it’s up to you to start swimming!


CREDITS:

Photos by Photo Pin and Google Images

Bible Verses:

Amplified Bible Translation (AMP) and the New International Version Bible (NIV)