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.

 

 

 

“SPRINGTIME” IS ALMOST HERE!

Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (NKJV):

THE SHULAMITE (Bride)

[8]  The voice of my beloved!  Behold, he comes  Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills.

[9]  My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.  Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice.

[10] My beloved spoke, and said to me:  “Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away. 

[11]  For lo, the winter is past,  The rain is over and gone.

[12]  The flowers appear on the earth;  The time of singing has come,  And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.

[13]  The fig tree puts forth her green figs,  And the vines with the tender grapes  Give good smell.  Rise up, my love, my fair one,  And come away!”

I just completed a six part study in The Book of Revelation to John, and in Part 4 – “Rapture Ready!” [See Footnote [i] ],  I had some comments regarding The Rapture: Pre-Tribulation; Mid-Tribulation or Post-Tribulation viewpoints.  I mentioned to one commenter, who disagreed with my belief of the “catching up” of the church–the Bride of Christ, before the Tribulation was not my purpose in the blog.  It was not to debate the correctness of the different views, but to bring awareness to the event referenced in Scripture.  I went on to explain, perhaps in another blog, I would go into more detail of the RAPTURE.  So here we are!

A Summer Picnic Experience…

Several years ago, I decided to visit a nearby church fellowship I heard was an “on fire for the Lord” church.  After attending the church for three months (didn’t want to make rash decisions), my wife and I attended a Summer church picnic.  “Church Summer Picnics” almost have come to be “doctrine” over the years.  I regress.

Trying to be a good listener and getting to know people’s values and beliefs, I noticed one particular conversation regarding the phrase, “end times.”  In a nutshell, the vast majority gathered at the picnic that day, didn’t believe in the Tribulation, much lest the “RAPTURE” of the church.  They understood the book of The Revelation in terms of its first-century setting, claiming that most of its events have already taken place.  As “preterists,” they relate the contents mentioned in Scripture describe the struggle between imperial Rome and the church, so that everything was fulfilled at that time.

Now being saved and brought up in a conservative Baptist church… lessening the Blessed Hope in Scripture almost gave me whiplash.  I thought, is this church doctrine, or just a few misguided, spiritually immature believers?

So, holding back on judgement, I decided to move in closer to the group and wait…wait for an “empty” space in the discussion for my interjection of the TRUTH in Scripture.

Finally, I asked the question:  “Pardon me, but I couldn’t help over hear your talking points.  You don’t believe in the “Rapture” that the bible mentions?”  The response to the question was like an ice-cube being dropped down my back, but I tried not to over react.

“Do you have children?” asked one church leader.

“Yes, I have three,” I replied, wondering what was coming next.

“Are they married, have children?” he asked.

I didn’t have any idea at this point where the conversation was headed:

“Yes, they are.  And yes, I have four grandchildren.”

“Congratulations.  I want to see my three children grow up, get married and have children.  So why would I want or desire God to “rapture” the church now, or ever?

He went on to say,

“And besides, the word “RAPTURE”  is never even mentioned in the Bible”.

Later, I discovered the “preterist” viewpoint (unbelief in the “catching away” of the church) was the belief of the entire church assembly.  But for the most part, they kept their doctrine under wraps.  Although we had come to love the people over the months, we had to leave the fellowship.

The pastor later asked my wife and I if we would come to his office, to discuss our decision in leaving.  He was very polite, even sorrowful that we were leaving the fellowship and asked us with almost a whisper, “Then your decision is final?”

“Yes pastor, it is.”

And then I asked him a question:  “Are you a “preterist”?”

“Mostly” he answered.  He added, “Scripture is unclear and doesn’t verify the “taken up” principle, except once in Paul’s letter to Thessalonica.”  

“Really?.  That’s what you believe?  Even the Old Testament refers to the “catching up”-the Rapture.”

With a blank look on his face, he said, “And where might that be?” Almost as a challenge.

I pointed to the Song of Solomon (S.O.S.) as a reference to the “Rapture,” citing S.O.S. 2:8-13. 

So here I am once again, comparing verses in the Old Testament with verses in the New Testament concerning Jesus’ return for His Bride, the church.

The Rapture!

bride4christ

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 is often used in discussing the RAPTURE, or the “catching up.”

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first”  (Amplified Bible).

I want to look at the Old Testament, Song of Solomon, TO COMPARE with the evidence supporting the idea of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” view.  No arguments, just the evidence of Scripture to authenticate the viewpoint.

“The Voice of my beloved!  Behold, he comes”  (Vs. 8 a.) –

Who’s coming with a shout in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?   “The LORD Himself”!

“Leaping upon the mountains,  Skipping on the hills”  (Vs. 8 b.) –

The Heavens – 3 Levels Identified:

–The FIRST is from ground level up to the tallest mountain.

–The SECOND from there to outer space.

–The THIRD is heaven ITSELF.

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know,  God knows–was caught up to the third heaven”  (2 Corinthians 12:2 AMP).

When the RAPTURE–“the catching up” occurs, JESUS will only come down to the “mountain top” level to catch us away.

His “Second Coming” or “2nd Advent” will be at then end of the Millennial Reign (The Revelation to John, Chapter 19), and the believers will be following Him as He rides on “A Horse With No Name”!  [See Footnote [ii]]

As JESUS circles the earth gathering His bride (the church), it might look like someone “skipping”…”leaping” from hilltop to hilltop!  (S.O.S. 2:8 b.)

“He looks in through the windows, he glances through the lattice”  (Vs. 9 b.) –

"He is looking through the window"
“He is looking through the window”

JESUS in heaven, is looking over the window sill, waiting to CATCH His bride away!

I remember a particular September day 1964, the year I was married, expectantly waiting by the altar as my new bride walked down that long aisle in church–glancing at her smiling approach as I grinned myself in anticipation of being together for lifetime.

“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away”  (Vs. 10) –

This idea presented in those words reminded me of my recent blog-POST in the Six Part Series in The Book of Revelation (Part Four- “A Glimpse of Heaven”): 

Revelation 4:1  And the first voice I had heard addressing me like [the calling of] a war trumpet said,  “Come up here…”  (Amplified Bible)

“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone”  (Vs. 11) –

What is the significance of the word “RAIN”?

“COME AND let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us;  He has stricken so that He may bind us up.  [2] After two days He will revive us (quicken us, give us life); on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him.  [3] Yes, let us know (recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; let us be zealous to know the Lord [to appreciate, give heed to, and cherish Him].  His going forth is prepared and certain as the dawn, and He will come to us as the [heavy] rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth”  (Hosea 6:1-3 AMP).

James 5:7-8 (NASB):

“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until th coming of the Lord.  Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.  [8] You to be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

What is “RAIN” symbolic of in Scripture?  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The OUTPOURING happened when the church was born (the former rain–the first 4 Feasts of Israel has already been fulfilled).

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  [18] And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy”  (Acts 2:17-18 KJV).

The First Four Feasts of Israel–

I am not saying that we should all commemorate/follow the SEVEN FEASTS OF ISRAEL found in the bible, but as Christians, we should at least be acquainted with them and what they can signify in the New Covenant.

1.  Passover.  2.  Unleavened Bread.  3.  First Fruits.  4.  Weeks.

The Latter Rain has yet to be fulfilled–

THE LATTER RAIN starts around the time of the Fall Feasts–the first of which is “Feast of Trumpets” falls in September (succeeded by the Feast of Atonement and Tabernacles).

HELLO?  When is the LAST TRUMPET blown?  The Feast of Trumpets!

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed”  (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 – NIV Bible).

When is the bridegroom coming for His bride?

When the RAIN is over and gone.

“The fig tree puts forth her green figs”  (Vs. 13 a.)

Green Figs
Green Figs

Remember what JESUS said in His Olivet Discourse?

Matthew 24:32-33 (Amplified Bible):

[32] From the fig tree learn this lesson:  as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near.

[33] So also when you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of surety that He is near, at the very doors.

Could this parable Jesus is referring to be the one in Song of Solomon?  The bridegroom coming for the bride?

S.O.S. verse 10, 13, the bridegroom says “Rise up”.  Why does He say it twice?

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

For this we declare to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death].

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the blast of the trumpet of God.  And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first.

Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!

CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE HERE? evidence

He speaks once for the dead in Christ Jesus, and gain for those alive and remaining.  HALLELUJAH!  The bridegroom is coming for His bride (the church) and we will rise up to meet Him.

My point in this Blog-post is not to convince, nor to persuade you one way or another regarding the viewpoints of the RAPTURE:

–Pre-Tribulation

–Mid-Tribulation

–Post-Tribulation

My intent is to present you with the Scriptural evidence.  My view by now, is “Pre-Tribulation”.

[See and read the following evidence presented:  1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10]

 

 


FOOTNOTES and CREDITS:

Footnote [i] – “Rapture Ready!” https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/rapture-ready…lation-to-john 

Footnote [ii] – “A Horse With No Name” https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/a-horse-qwith

Bible References:

New King James Version (NKJV); Amplified Bible (AMP)