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Thursday, November 12, 2015

True Disciples Watch for Christ's Return

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Jesus said that true believers will be watching for His return:

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40)

In 1 John 2:28, the Apostle exhorts all: “. . .when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Today we live in a society which does not except the return of Christ. This lack of belief in a key doctrine surrounding Messiah was already evident in the Apostolic times (2 Peter 3:4).

Even then some Jews believed. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” (John 8:31)

Notable signs that we are living in the "end times" include:

1. Reestablishment and eventual turning of Israel to Messiah

“The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.” (In Zechariah 12:7,8)

The surviving nation of Israel will be converted:

In verse 10, Zechariah prophecies: “. . . they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

2. Worship of self

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” (2 Tim 3:2) They will have "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2 Tim 3:5). Paul tells Timothy to "avoid such people."

This in contrast to a true disciples who takes up the cross to exchange his nature for Christ's nature. Luke 9:23–25.

3. Times will be difficult

Writing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul said, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come." (2 Timothy 3:1)

We are to take courage, however, because "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8) and "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son." (Colossians 1:13)

True disciples will face demonically-inspired challenges. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons..." (1 Timothy 4:1)

4. Lukewarm, nominal Christians

There are many who call themselves"Christians" who are lukewarm in following the things that produce real salvation and godliness. Many fall away after making professions of faith. The word “Christian” was used only 3 times in the NT, but disciple is used 372 times. Jesus' true disciples stay faithful even when other disciples stop following Christ. (John 6:66–69)

How many of Christ's disciples are versed well enough in the Scriptures to refute the errors of the cults?

There is no Christian discipleship without the adoption of the disciple’s self concept. This involves confessing himself to be a disciple of Christ (John 9:27, 28; Matt 10:32, 42; Acts 9:26).

The true disciple seeks to learn the ways of Christ's holiness. He has an aggressive attitude to learn and abide in Christ's teaching (Matt 13:11, 12, 23; 28:19, 20).

A true disciple maintains an abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus by faith (John 15:1–16) and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13, 14).

A truly committed disciple serves in a local Church that functions as a fellowship of disciples (Acts 11:26; 13:1–3).

A true disciple seeks to bring others to Christ, knowing that the days are evil and the age is coming to an end.

Related reading: Rabbi Kaduri on the Identity of the Messiah; Spiritual Warfare; Call to the Discerning and Wise

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