Do you believe that we are getting close to the return of Jesus Christ, and the end of the age? Most people in God’s Church would answer, “Yes.” But how can we know for sure? There is not much we can do about heavenly signs and things like the sun being darkened, and the moon not giving her light, or the stars falling from the sky. More importantly, what do we as the Body of Christ need to personally watch out for as we see that day approaching? Jesus gave us some clues:
Matthew 24:3 As [Jesus] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?
That time is about now. We are fast running out of time. Many of the “old timers” are rapidly dying off – and we still have some very serious concerns to face. Everywhere from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood, our nation is in a moral quagmire. Worse than that, the Church of God is not prepared for the return of Jesus Christ. There is division in the Body, and a lack of Godly love. Jesus predicted it would happen:
Matthew 24:12 Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
The apostle Paul picked up on this loveless trend when he warned Timothy of these dangerous last days:
2Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
That self-serving kind of love is destructive and ungodly. God says that it is not divisive to walk away from those who exhibit that kind of detrimental conduct among His people. In fact, it would be wrong to hang around and thereby condone that kind of faithless behavior. It takes Godly character and spiritual discernment to know what to do when encountering such vile communication. That kind of loveless environment is not something we want to rub shoulders with. It is a Godly unifying love toward others that must be growing in us as that day approaches.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I love you with all my heart and soul?” They mean that they love you with all of their being and deepest emotions. When we speak of the “spiritual” realm, let’s understand that the spiritual transcends this earthly domain of ours. So much of what we deal with in our faith has to do with concepts that are not physical, but spiritual. If we are to understand the will of God, it is imperative that we distinguish between the things of this present evil world and the things of God. That is spiritual discernment.
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul had to explain that it was necessary for true Christians to differentiate between the two concepts – physical and spiritual. He described how the spiritual domain of God the Father and Jesus Christ superseded the physical things of the world. Paul had to enlighten the brethren to the fact that the spiritual presence of God is more real than the visible world human beings live in. Paul wrote it this way:
“As it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except by the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
“But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Corinthians 2:9-16)
Paul introduced this concept of spiritual discernment. Christians are to grow from their initial unconverted carnal state – to the point of having greater spiritual discernment as their conversion increases.
Just before He died, Jesus explained how Christians would be able to begin to have spiritual discernment by having God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Jesus said, “Even the Spirit of truth; [God’s Holy Spirit] which the world cannot receive, because it cannot see it, neither knows of it: but ye know it; for it dwells with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)
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