Jude 17-25 says, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh .Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen!”
I am not sure if it’s just me noticing how each day is quickly passing by or maybe it’s because am experiencing “midlife crisis” at my age. Recently, I am watching and listening to news more often. I know to some they don’t like it because it is depressing to know every bad news and will only makes you even more to worry, on the contrary it gives you awareness of what is happening around the world, although there is not much we can do about it, but as Christian it makes us even realized that each day we are nearing in the End times that anytime, any moment Jesus is coming back soon or sooner than we thought. No one knows the time and the hour, for His coming is like a thief in the night. (Revelation 16:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:2).
Another thing is that most people prefer to focus on living, but death is a reality we must all face. Hebrews 9:27 “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”. We also don’t know the day and the hour. Yet the Bible assures us in Christ to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21). At these present moments of our lives, with many challenges and changes, the big question is how we as a Christian and as a church are going to cope up and respond positively and be an effective witnesses in Christ Jesus.
Recent statistics shows there is a big decline in church attendees and many small community churches are closed, many pastors are considering stepping away from full-time ministry, some suffers from mental depression and few even committed suicides. Many of the leaders in the churches today involves in some scandalous acts, some openly admitted their “deconstructing faith” Christians rethink their faith, sometimes to the point of no longer identifying as Christians. It is closely related to the “exvangelical” movement. And we are talking here not those who are just novice but leaders and been in a ministry for long time.
Burn out? Exhaustion? On the other side, lukewarm, compromising and carnality among believers.
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “That in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, [b]unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
The latest event that had happened is about having “One Religion- Chrislam” – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – peace and coexistence. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. Calling for unity and agreement yet the very core of its belief is absolutely different except in one truth denying Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah! The Only Name written under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12 says, Build yourself Up, How? – Pastor Ron teaching- Upward, Inward and Outward Upward – personal relationship with Jesus- Know God
Inward– Community of believers -we each are part of the body of Christ. (Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:27) every one of us is looking for a sense of belongingness and sense of purpose. –Life hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20).
Outward – life and testimony as a witnesses for Christ Jesus. Colossians 4:5-6 “ Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Four Keys to Spiritual Growth — Building Up
Acts 2:42 reads, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
1. Doctrine– which is the Word of God – Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed by lack of knowledge.
For the time will come when people 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. 2 Timothy 4:3 – Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,“That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord. Amos 8:11
Colossian 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.
2. Fellowship – Koinonia- the unity of the Spirit
Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26
3. Breaking of Bread – This verse is obviously a reference to the Lord’s Supper. In Acts 2:46 describes the conduct of Christians in Jerusalem in the early days of the church. They continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
–Sharing and giving – Matthew 14:19 (Upward, inward, outward). And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
–And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: the Lord Jesus,“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you.
4. Prayer – By praying in the Spirit, means by enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
The Christian must know how to pray privately; the Church must know how to pray together.
—Inner Room – Secret Place But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Upper Room – The Church was born in the upper room. Acts 1:14 “all continued with one accord in prayer”
Power of agreement in Corporate prayer – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:19-20
There is power in praying together. Deuteronomy says of God’s army that ‘one man (could) chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight’ (32:30). There is a multiplied effect in being together before God. It was the corporate prayer of Acts 1:14 that produced the corporate power of Acts 2:42-47. Corporate prayer brings corporate power (Acts 4:14-31).
— KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD – Perseverance!