The end of all things is the renewal of all things. The end of this world is the beginning of the Kingdom of the Lord. So why do we fear it? Why do we recoil from talking about it? Why are our conversations not framed by what is sure to come? If the end ushers in the Kingdom of the Lord and his Messiah we must understand what this means. In order to love and long for Christ’s return we must understand who “Christ” is. Jesus Christ fed those who had no homes and no food regardless of who they were. Jesus Christ reached out a hand of forgiveness and mercy to rescue a woman from public humiliation and death. Jesus Christ understood a father’s doubt that the impossible could become possible and proceeded to heal his son. Jesus Christ brought a young girl back to life with the sweet words of, “Sweetheart, get up.” Jesus Christ endured public abuse, torture and death for crimes he did not commit and said nothing to deliver himself from injustice. Jesus Christ is Lord and the end will be the beginning of a world ruled by him. Now do we understand the rejoicing? Now do we understand the praise? Our faith and the entire world is moving close and closer to the Kingdom of the Lord. However, to partake in this kingdom we must repent. We must acknowledge that Jesus IS Lord. We must trust that Jesus will be with us by the Holy Spirit and will achieve his good and perfect will in our broken and sinful lives. He is Lord and he is able. But never edit, sanitize or hide the end from those you love. Tell them the end is near but tell them the whole story. Tell them what this means. Tell them about our Lord. Tell them about King Jesus. Tell them that the end will be the renewal of all things and the beginning of his Kingdom. While many people are hesitant and often resistant to accepting Jesus as Lord, all people want a world ruled and governed by someone like him. He is the ideal. He is perfect and he is beautiful. This is our hope and this is our peace. Jesus come quickly.
The grace of Jesus is the battleground. It is the issue of grace that is most fiercely attacked and perverted. Therefore it is over this issue of grace that we must most fiercely contend and defend. Grace is the most precious thing. It means that in our imperfection and sin, God still loves us. It means that even at the very core of an idolatrous and sinful heart, God’s forgiveness in Jesus remains victorious. Grace means that we are not only understood as imperfect yet loved but that the gift of eternal peace in the Kingdom of Heaven was bought for us, not by our sacrifice but that of Jesus, the perfect and sinless Son of God. The grace of Jesus is unparalleled and undeserved. Yet, it is fully ours by faith alone. How is that just? How can it be that simple? How can it be that easy? These are reasonable questions. Yet, they are not questions asked by someone pursuing the grace of Jesus only to find a license to live in sin. The sinful heart looks tirelessly for more justification to sin. The sinful heart will use anything and anyone in order to excuse and promote the ongoing appetite for sin. Including Jesus and his gospel. The message of grace in Jesus can radically transform a sinner’s heart but it can also radically ingrain and cultivate sin within a person if left unchecked by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of the Holy Spirit the grace of Jesus is simply a “get out of jail free” card. Without the Holy Spirit the grace of Jesus is cheap, convenient and powerless to change anyone. The free gift of God’s forgiveness paid for by the blood of Jesus should drop us to our knees in repentance. It should knock the wind out of our spirits that we were saved from death at the last minute by the intercession of the Son. As we regain our breath only praise, thanksgiving and humility should propel the next words that leave our lips. The free gift of God’s grace should break our heart for the price Jesus paid before it lifts our hands in rejoicing and praise that we sinners are loved and forgiven and not measured by impossible standards of perfection. The latter is just as true but if rejoicing enters our hearts before repentance the enemy can so easily step in on the glorious gift of God’s life-giving grace in Jesus and take the life Jesus paid so much for us to receive..
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Do you recognize the impact of what you say? Do you choose your words wisely? Do you anticipate the far-reaching implications of what you bring to a conversation? The Spirit of Jesus creates in us a sensitivity to such things. We no longer speak with others with careless and haphazard abandon. We no longer approach conversation as a mere activity but a privileged and blessed opportunity. Conversation is not simply a transaction of words and sentences. Conversation is communication. What are you trying to communicate with the words you so carefully choose? Or, are you careful? In Jesus there is no option, we MUST be cautious and we MUST be careful. We must ask the Lord Jesus to not only transform our sinful heart but to provide us with a heavenly wisdom to guide and direct our words for building up and not tearing down. Is what you are about to say worth saying? Does it need to be said? What will it bring to the conversation at hand? Will it cause some to stumble unnecessarily? As we grow in Jesus this checklist will become more natural and less time-consuming. But perhaps it’s time-consuming nature is a good thing. Perhaps it’s best that we err on the side of silence and not noise. Listening does more to unite and talking does more divide. Err on the side of listening. Listen to others and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Beware that the enemy does not use you as an instrument of his destruction. He will try. There is nothing the enemy desires more than division in the Church. His entire existence rests on this. A united Church is a strong and enduring Church. A strong and enduring Church is a listening and loving Church. Is unity a hallmark of your church, marriage, family, community group? In Jesus it MUST be. And if not, why? Ask this difficult question. Why does division reign in your life. Why are there more people prepared to avoid you as opposed to embrace you? Division is not always a result of poor and foolish word choice. However, poor and foolish word choice will always cause division. Seek unity and seek to speak unity through love into the lives of those around you. Don’t allow the devil a foothold and proactively address the spiritual illness before it becomes life threatening.
Read 2 John 4-6
We are commanded to love those around us. Loving them means to tell them the truth about Jesus. However, we must be wise. We must be discerning. How ought we to tell them the truth? It is possible to tell someone the truth in a most unloving way. It is possible to tell someone the truth about Jesus apart from the love of Jesus. We must be discerning. We must pray. A Christian cannot escape or run from this blessed responsibility to tell people the truth. Christianity void of sharing the truth is no Christianity at all. However, we must follow Jesus. We must ask the Holy Spirit, our Counselor and Teacher how we ought to tell the people we love the truth about Jesus. We must pray and we must always prioritize love. Love does not burden. The love of Jesus frees us from our burdens. The truth will undoubtedly upset some. Jesus, the word and sword of the Spirit, came into this world to divide. His blessed name causes pain and causes division. However, this pain is only the result of our sinful flesh being judged. This division is only the separation of what is sinful to what is ready to be made holy in the name of Jesus. Our primary concern is not that they simply profess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. Our primary concern is not that they begin attending a place where others profess Jesus is Lord. Our primary concern is love. Jesus loves them do you? Or are they simply assignments? Are they mere obstacles you have to conquer and overcome in order to validate and affirm your calling as a Christian because to share is a commandment? Do you love them? This question must precede any testimony to someone about Jesus as truth and life. Love them and pray for them first. God will make a way for you to tell them the truth. He will give you words. He will ordain the timing. He is not complacent nor has he forgotten about this person you pray for. His timing and will are perfect and good. Trust in him. Have faith, Christian. Our Father in heaven knows and he is good. He loves this person you pray for even more than you do. Do you love them? Do you want them to know the love of Jesus more than a knowledge about him. Do you want them to know that they are healed, set free, beloved, called accepted, forgiven? This is the truth. This is the good news. They need to know the truth and perhaps you are the one to tell them. Love them and pray that your love for them open their eyes to Jesus who loved them first.